Welcome to the 12/30/11 edition of Smackdown!, and the last edition of the year. Smackdown! has been relatively strong lately, so let’s hope it can end the year on a high note. (SPOILER) Randy Orton getting injured tonight is a great way to go, in my opinion.
We get a video package for the feud between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton, which will culminate in a Falls-Count-Anywhere match for tonight’s main event.
In the arena, we start things off with Booker T making his way down to the ring. Booker says he has something to say before the show kicks off. He wants to thank the WWE and the fans because 2011 has been an awesome year for Booker T. It started at the Royal Rumble, when Booker was a surprise entrant in the Rumble match. He talks about enjoying being a commentator, other than having to work with Michael Cole every week. As for Cody Rhodes, he tried everything he could to get Booker back in the ring. Last Monday, Book beat Rhodes 1-2-3 in the ring. He thanks the fans again, then tells them to enjoy themselves. He starts to spit his catchphrase, but Rhodes’ music hits and he makes his way out.
Rhodes says the people here in Indianapolis don’t follow the news unless it involves taking a left on a race track or the now-pathetic Indianapolis Colts. Rhodes says it’s time to recap his year. He survived a career-threatening injury, beat Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania, and brought honor and prestige back to the IC title. Then, he took a washed-up announcer, and got him to reach back and regain some of his former glory. Book says Rhodes can call him whatever he wants, but Book still beat him on Monday. If Rhodes had any respect for this business, instead of running his mouth, he’d be congratulating Book. Rhodes says Book is absolutely right. He doesn’t want to come off as some bitter jerk, so if Book wants it, he’s got it. Rhodes congratulates him, then offers a handshake. Book accepts and then begins to walk to the table. Rhodes stops him and tells him “It’s all over”. He means Book’s fairy tale is over. He’s a nostalgia act. If he continues to compete, he’ll deteriorate, and if he goes back to announcing, it will tarnish his in-ring career and he will be known only as a buffoon of an announcer. Rhodes calls him a joke, tells him to do himself a favor and go home.
Later tonight, Daniel Bryan will team with the Big Show to take on David Otunga and Mark Henry. One of these things is not like the others.
MATCH 1: Ted DiBiase vs. Jinder Mahal
Before the match, we see video from 2 weeks ago where DiBiase destroyed Heath Slater, and was subsequently attacked by Mahal. Of course, DiBiase has already defeated Mahal, so expect it to happen again. We get a quick cut-away promo from Jinder Mahal, who talks about how Americans are stuck in mediocrity. Well, he would know all about that, wouldn’t he? He calls DiBiase mediocre, and his year will end in defeat. Tie-up to start, with DiBiase going into a side headlock and knocking Mahal down with a shoulder. DiBiase gets in some punches and a hip toss. More punches, but Mahal reverses a clothesline into a flapjack across the top rope, followed by a high knee for 2. Mahal hits a standing STO and a jumping knee off the ropes. Butterfly suplex gets another 2. Mahal locks in a cravat, and combines it with some knee lifts, knocking DiBiase down. He locks in a modified katahajime as DiBiase tries to fight out. He ducks a clothesline and hits a dropkick, followed by the misdirection clothesline. DiBiase hits a rydeen bomb for a 2-count, and goes up top. Mahal charges the corner and DiBiase jumps over him, immediately acting like he tweaked his knee on the landing. He turns around and runs into an inverted side-Russian legsweep. Mahal locks in a camel clutch, attempting to make DiBiase humble. Even more surprisingly than Goldust showing up tonight, DiBiase actually taps out, giving Mahal his first win in I don’t know how long.
WINNER: Jinder Mahal.
We see Teddy Long in his office, telling someone on the phone that he’s having a big New Year’s Eve party tomorrow night. I’m sure you know what happens next. Aksana tells him she’s happy, and she has a special kiss for him tomorrow night at the party. Hey, it’s Drew McIntyre! About time he got back on TV. He puts an end to this farce. Long announces he’s been signed back to Smackdown!, and despite their past, Long is willing to give him another chance. He didn’t realize how much money McIntyre was making when he resigned him, and he used to be one of the fastest rising stars in WWE, but when he went to RAW, he basically did nothing. Long isn’t going to keep paying him the kind of money he makes if he can’t get the job done. McIntyre is as talented as they come, but he can’t have someone on the show who doesn’t have passion. If he doesn’t beat Ezekiel Jackson later tonight, Long will have to think about letting him go. McIntyre says no one has more passion than him. He’s still the same guy who can make a guy beg for mercy, just like he did to Long once before. If Long has any resignations about his abilities about getting the job done, just watch his match tonight. Do you feel me, playa? On a side note, I really hope that this IS the beginning of something big for McIntyre. I’ve always liked him, and he’s been wasted over the last year or so.
Did you know? Donnie Marlow is the son of Haku/Meng.
MATCH 2: Alicia Fox and Kaitlyn vs. Natalya and Tamina
Tamina and Kaitlyn start things off. Kaitlyn hits a cross body for 2 and a dropkick for another 2. Kaitlyn hits a snapmare and goes to bounce off the ropes, but Natalya knees her in the back. Tamina forearms her from behind and tags in Nattie. Double hair whip. Nattie stomps Kaitlyn and gets a 2-count. She pounds Kaitlyn face-first into the mat, then locks in a modified bow-and-arrow. Nattie picks Kaitlyn up and hits a nice Michinoku Driver #2. She goes for a jumping legdrop, but Kaitlyn rolls out of the way. Fox tags in and botches the holy living hell out of an axe kick to get the 3.
WINNERS: Alicia Fox and Kaitlyn. Seriously, the ending of this match was embarrassing. I feel so bad for Nattie for having to sell that crap. After the match, Tamina hits Nattie with a nasty superkick, followed by the Superfly Splash. Perhaps Tamina’s finally in for a push? I’d be fine with that.
We get the final 1/2/12 promo of the year. Now that Brock Lesnar has retired from UFC, the speculation is already beginning that it’s for him. If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t put my money on it.
Now we see the footage from last Monday with Henry, Show, Bryan and Otunga, which has led to the tag team match tonight.
We see Daniel Bryan in the back, telling AJ about what happened on Monday. Big Show walks up. He wants to talk to Bryan alone for a minute. He says giants don’t need to be rescued or saved. Bryan says that’s not how he saw it, but tonight, they need to team together and win this match. Teddy Long walks up and says the match won’t happen tonight, but instead, David Otunga wants a rematch with Big Show, and he’ll have Mark Henry in his corner. Show says fine. Bryan tells him that maybe giants do need saving after all before wishing him good luck.
MATCH 3: Justin Gabriel vs. Hunico (w/Camacho)
We see a cut-away promo with Hunico, introducing his friend as Camacho. I apologize if I’m getting the spelling wrong. If you’re wondering who Camacho is, he’s the aforementioned Donnie Marlow. Hunico starts with a kick and a punch. Gabriel back drops him over the ropes to the floor. He misses a baseball slide, allowing Hunico to hit an Asai moonsault. Back in the ring, Hunico gets 2. Another boot to the head and a hard corner whip. Gabriel flapjacks him into the top turnbuckle, then hits a corner cross body. He goes for a springboard, but misses. Hunico hits another kick, but Gabriel counters with a spin-out rydeen bomb off the ropes. Gabriel goes to the top rope, but Hunico meets him and hits an arm drag. He goes up top, hits the swanton bomb, and this one’s over.
WINNER: Hunico. Short but good match. THIS is proof WWE could stand to bring the Cruiserweight title back. After the match, Hunico slingshots Gabriel into Camacho’s shoulders, and they hit a combination Samoan drop/neckbreaker. Not a bad double-team move.
MATCH 4: The Big Show vs. David Otunga (w/Mark Henry)
Otunga initially comes out alone, but Mark Henry eventually makes his way out after Otunga gets in the ring. Otunga starts off with a waistlock, but Show easily breaks free and gets Otunga in a corner. He gets in a couple of gut shots. Otunga tries to fight back, but Show takes him down with a headbutt and an open-hand chop to the chest. Another chop to the chest on the ropes and a bodyslam follow. Otunga slides out of the ring, and Henry yells at him to get back in the ring and get the job done. That’ll be the day. Otunga gets back in and kicks Show in the knee. He hits some punches, but Show plows his ass over with a shoulderblock. Show whips Otunga into the corner and hits an avalanche. He looks for the chokeslam, but Henry distracts him. This allows Otunga to chop block Show in the knee. Otunga gets some stomps in to Show’s head, then hits a low DDT for 2. Show powers out of the pin, launching Otunga through the ropes and to the floor. Henry starts to climb up into the ring, but Daniel Bryan comes in from out of nowhere and hits Henry in the back with the World title. He taunts Henry to follow him to the back, and Henry obliges. Show pulls Otunga back into the ring with one hand, hip tosses him and lands a WMD to get the 3.
WINNER: The Big Show.
MATCH 5: Ezekiel Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre
Zeke has grown his hair out. As a result, he looks like a jacked-up Ron Simmons. Zeke also got the jobber non-entrance here, which isn’t a good sign for him. McIntyre starts off with a side headlock, but runs into a bodyslam off the ropes for 2. McIntyre hits a kick to the gut, some punches, a European uppercut and a dropkick for 2. Drew gets Zeke in a front chancery, but Zeke breaks free and reverses into an arm whip for 2. Zeke clubs McIntyre across the back and hits a back elbow off the ropes for another 2. Back up, Zeke locks in a front chancery, but McIntyre gets to the ropes. He hits a big boot for 2, then proceeds to choke Zeke over the middle rope. In the corner, McIntyre hits some corner clotheslines, and follows with a northern lights suplex for 2. Zeke ducks a clothesline and hits a back body drop. A pair of corner clotheslines follow, as does a corner whip and a sidewalk slam for 2. McIntyre gets back up and kicks him in the knee, then clubs him with some forearms. The ref pulls him off, and he begins to argue. This allows Zeke to pick him up in the Argentinean backbreaker, but McIntyre almost immediately slides out. He gets his boots up off a corner charge and goes for the pin with his feet on the ropes, but the ref sees it. Zeke sneaks in a quick schoolboy combined with a handful of tights, getting the 3-count.
WINNER: Ezekiel Jackson. After the match, McIntyre looks like he’s about to cry, realizing what just happened. He tries to tell the referee about the handful of tights, but it doesn’t matter since the referee didn’t see it.
We see Sheamus walking around backstage. He will be out next.
Did You Know? Despite all of its accolades and critical acclaim, Married…With Children never won an Emmy.
We see Drew McIntyre in Teddy Long’s office, complaining about what just happened with the referee. Long says he can’t stand losers, especially ones who make excuses. McIntyre holds off from saying anything else and walks off.
Sheamus makes his way down to the ring. He says everyone’s talking about the end of 2011, but he doesn’t want to talk about the past; he wants to talk about the future, and that’s the Royal Rumble. The winner gets the ultimate prize-a championship match at Wrestlemania. He doesn’t care what number he draws or who he eliminates. The fact is, he’s winning the 2012 Royal Rumble. My evening is ruined as Hornswoggle makes his way out. Sheamus mentions Hornswoggle eliminated him from the Christmas battle royal. He asks if Hornswoggle is entering the Rumble. Hornswoggle nods. Sheamus says that, because Daniel Bryan beat Big Show, that miracles happen every day. He asks Hornswoggle who will win the Royal Rumble. Of course, he says himself. Repeatedly. Over and over. Sheamus admires his confidence, but as his great grandfather said, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you’re begging for a swift kick up the arse. Sheamus gets up and shakes Hornswoggle’s hand. Heath Slater makes his way out for some reason. He mentions Bushwhacker Luke and the Brooklyn Brawler, saying there’s always one guy who says he’ll win the Rumble, but no one takes them seriously. Slater’s not that type of guy. Sheamus isn’t the #1 redhead on Smackdown!, he is. He liked Hornswoggle better when he didn’t speak, but he didn’t even like him then. The only reason Hornswoggle won that battle royal is because Sheamus didn’t want to squash a leprechaun. He’s the “One-Man Southern Rock Band”, and he doesn’t have that problem. Sheamus says he has nothing against southern rock, but he bets Slater sees himself as a Journey type of guy. Sheamus starts singing “Don’t Stop Believing”. Dude, I thought we said no more Journey psyche-outs? He then says he bets Slater is more like an R. Kelly type of guy. You know that R. Kelly song, “I Believe I Can Fly”? Sheamus then sends Slater flying over the top rope. This segment would have been fine if Hornswoggle hadn’t come in and wasted space.
MATCH 6: Sheamus vs. Heath Slater
This match is already in progress as we come back from the break. Sheamus is working over the arm and gets a 2-count. He goes into a top wristlock and an armbar. Slater fights out with punches, but runs into a back elbow. Sheamus slams him into the corner, corner whips him across the ring, then nails a clothesline. He throws Slater over the top rope, but Slater lands on his feet on the apron. He slaps Sheamus, who just knees him and drops the forearms across Slater’s chest while he’s tied up in the ropes. Bodyslam by Sheamus, followed by an elbow drop for 2. Slater reverses a short-arm clothesline and goes for a backslide, but Sheamus throws him over his head into the corner. Slater hits a dropkick to the knee and hits a version of the Zig-Zag for 2. A side-Russian legsweep gets a 1-count. Slater hits some kicks and a foot choke. Sheamus fights back with punches, but Slater manages to counter an Irish whip with a kitchen sink. More punches, followed by a rear chinlock. Slater jumps on Sheamus’ back, but Sheamus holds on and backs him into a corner. A couple of Irish Hammers follow. Sheamus hits a corner clothesline, more forearms and a short-arm clothesline. Sheamus goes up and hits the Battering Ram. Sheamus nails the Brogue Kick and gets the 3.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is telling Teddy Long he’s Big Show’s good luck charm. Show walks in and says it was kind of cute at first, but now, it’s getting annoying. Bryan says he’s getting annoyed too because he hasn’t gotten a ‘thank you’ yet. Long says to save the ‘thank yous’ until next week. Since Dolph Ziggler is facing CM Punk for the WWE title on RAW next week, Long feels the need to compete with that, and makes Daniel Bryan vs. the Big Show for the World title next week on SD! Bryan says that, regardless of how he feels about that match, at least he’ll know that his title reign still lasted longer than Big Show’s 45 seconds. Good line.
Orton/Barrett is next.
MATCH 7-Falls-Count-Anywhere Match: Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett’s entrance theme has really grown on me over the last few months. I hated it at first, but now, it’s quite catchy. Orton starts off with punches. He gets Barrett in the corner and hits some corner punches, followed by a European uppercut and a forearm to the back. Barrett reverses a corner whip, and Orton comes back with a clothesline, sending Barrett to the floor. Orton follows, but is met with punches. He counters with some before whipping Barrett into the steps, getting 2 on the floor. He slams Barrett’s head into the steps, then stomps it. Another 2 on the floor. Orton drops to his knees, already looking for the RKO. Barrett blocks it and shoves Orton into the ring post. Orton is grabbing his ankle for some reason as we go to commercials.
WINNER: No contest.
For those that were wondering, Orton is legitimately injured. At first, it was believed that the throw down the stairs did it, but now reports are saying the back injury was pre-existing. His time out has been estimated as being a few weeks to six months. Not to wish harm on anyone, but I’m hoping it’s the latter. Someone new needs a chance in the spotlight.
End of show.
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