Welcome to the 1/6/12 edition of Smackdown!, the first episode of the New Year. We start off with a video of Wade Barrett injuring Randy Orton last week in the Falls-Count-Anywhere Match.
Tonight, Daniel Bryan will defend the World Championship against the Big Show in the main event. We’re also getting an IC title match tonight, which is happening now.
MATCH 1-Intercontinental Championship: Booker T vs. Champion Cody Rhodes
Book starts with a hammerlock into a side headlock, followed by a shoulder block off the ropes, sending Rhodes into the corner. Book with some knee lifts in the corner, followed by a back elbow off the ropes for 2. Book locks in an armbar, but Rhodes backs him into the corner and breaks it with punches and kicks. More punches by Rhodes. Rhodes sends Book hard into the corner, locks in an arm wringer and begins wrenching the arm. Rhodes turns it into a hammerlock, but Book elbows out. They trade chops, with Book getting the advantage. Back body drop off the ropes for Book, followed by the arm twist into a side kick for 2. Book pulls Rhodes back up and begins with the knife edge. He throws Rhodes over the top, but Rhodes hangs on and skins the cat. Book sees it and clotheslines Rhodes to the floor just as Rhodes flips back in the ring. Book follows out, where Rhodes drops him chest-first onto the barricade and follows up with a running boot. Commercials.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Cody Rhodes. After the match, Book stands up with tears in his eyes and thanks the crowd. I’m thinking that Booker T is officially retiring at this point.
Backstage, we see Cody Rhodes walking around, smiling. Goldust stops him and congratulates him on beating one of the all-time greats. Rhodes asks if that’s flattery. He says there’s a reason they don’t speak. He’s a greater success than his brother, and might even be a greater success than their dad. If ‘Dust is considering putting the paint back on and having one last run, he needs to remember that he’s not a joke or laughing stock, but he could be if decides come after Rhodes.
Zack Ryder is in Teddy Long’s office, thanking him for getting to be the assistant to the general manager. Since he’s won the U.S. title, he no longer can do the job, but has hired a solid replacement. Drew McIntyre walks in, and Long can’t believe it. Ryder says it’s not McIntyre, and introduces the actual replacement, Santino Marella. Long says that McIntyre will face Marella tonight, and if Santino wins, he gets the assistant job. If McIntyre wins, Long may consider not firing him. Aksana and her bad-even-for-porn music make their way into Long’s office. Long says he misses her, and tonight, after the show, they could go out and have some dinner.
Backstage, we see Alicia Fox talking to AJ. AJ’s worried about Daniel Bryan’s match tonight. Fox says she hopes AJ’s boyfriend can handle the loss. AJ’s concerned for Bryan. Bryan says after he wins tonight, they can celebrate. He then kisses her on the forehead.
MATCH 2-Over-the-Top-Rope Challenge: Hornswoggle vs. Heath Slater
I don’t like Heath Slater, but even he doesn’t deserve this. No one on the roster should ever have go through with what Slater’s about to go through. Hornswoggle stomps on Slater’s foot, punches him and bites his ass. Slater misses a kick and gets a head to the gut, followed by a kick from Hornswoggle. Slater grabs Hornswoggle by the throat and throws him down. Slater follows up with a foot choke in the corner. Slater hoists him on the top rope and tries to push him over, but Hornswoggle slaps him. He tries for a cross body, but Slater catches him and tries to dump him over the top. Hornswoggle lands on the apron and pulls Slater over by the hair, sending him to the floor.
WINNER: Hornswoggle. After the match, Slater attacks Hornswoggle from behind. Justin Gabriel runs in and takes Slater down with an STO, and follows up with a 450 splash. Gabriel and Hornswoggle then celebrate. Someone put a hit out on him, please.
I wonder if the movie Man on a Ledge is about a man on a ledge. Hmmm…
Did You Know? The Road Dogg and Billy Gunn have cameos in the movie The Other Guys.
MATCH 3: Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico (w/Camacho)
Before the match, Hunico says he heard DiBiase likes to have a good time. He’s never been invited to one of DiBiase’s tailgate parties. Camacho asks if he’s got something against them. Hunico then says maybe they’ll bring the party to him. DiBiase starts with a side headlock into a hip throw, and follows up with a pair of arm drags into an armbar. They trade shoves, but DiBiase gets the better of it and hits some punches. Hunico goes for a headscissors, but DiBiase holds on and turns it into a sit-out facebuster. DiBiase goes for a back body drop, but Hunico slides out and shoves DiBiase into the corner shoulder-first. Hunico then begins working on the arm, going into an armbar. DiBiase fights back up, but Hunico whips him back down by the arm, turning the move into a fujiwara. Hunico turns it into a hammerlock, but DiBiase picks Hunico up into a Samoan drop. DiBiase sidesteps a corner charge and lands a dropkick, followed by an inverted atomic drop, a running knee strike and a misdirection clothesline for 2. DiBiase looks for Dream Street, but Hunico counters into a shoulder stunner. Hunico throws DiBiase into the corner, then locks in a strange-looking submission that he actually turns into a pinning combination, getting the 3.
WINNER: Hunico. I’m not sure what to call the move Hunico just used, as I’ve never seen it before. Looked good, though. So much for DiBiase’s push he was supposedly getting.
We see Wade Barrett talking to some WWE staff in the trainers room.
Back from commercials, Wade Barrett is making his way down to the ring. He told the doctors not to bother coming down to the ring today, because he can handle the medical update himself. He then shows us the footage from last week when Orton got injured. What happened to Orton is just a byproduct of the Falls-Count-Anywhere Match, and Orton now has a herniated disc in his back. As for his career, he’s finished. He might come back one day, but psychologically, he’ll never be the same. Ironically, in less than four weeks, the Royal Rumble match will take place in Orton’s hometown of St. Louis, MO. He says it’s ironic because, instead of Orton winning the match, he has to sit with the fans and watch Barrett win. Barrett says there isn’t a single superstar who can stop him from winning now. Sheamus’ music hits and he makes his way down. Sheamus tells a story about his uncle Wilford, and that he was exactly like Barrett. He was a big talker and loved his own voice, but was just a simple sheepherder. Sheamus says Barrett will have problems winning the Rumble, and Sheamus will be his biggest one. Uncle Wilford was kicked in the head by a mule when he was a kid, and that was his excuse for his fantasy stories. What’s Barrett’s excuse for sounding like a horse’s arse?
Because no one asked for it, Jind Mahal’s music now hits as Barrett climbs out of the ring. Mahal climbs in the ring and slaps Sheamus across the face. Sheamus boots him and begins to club him down as Barrett attacks from behind. Eventually, the heels start double-teaming Sheamus, but Sheamus fights them both off, knocking them down with Irish Hammers and hitting a pair of powerslams. He picks Barrett up for the Celtic Cross, but Mahal kicks him in the stomach. Mahal eats another Irish Hammer, but Sheamus turns right around into the Winds of Change by Barrett. Mahal climbs back in the ring after Barrett leaves, locking Sheamus in the camel clutch. You know, WWE began burying this guy because they were disappointed in how badly he sucked. Why is he now getting a push all of a sudden?
MATCH 4: Santino Marella vs. Drew McIntyre
Tie-up to start, which results in McIntyre throwing Marella down. Marella does the splits to duck a clothesline and hits some punches, but McIntyre knocks him down out of the corner for 2. McIntyre throws Marella into the corner, hits a running forearm and a snap suplex for 2. McIntyre chokes Marella over the middle rope with his leg. McIntyre sets up for the Future Shock, but Marella reverses into a roll-up for 2. McIntyre knocks Marella back down with a clothesline before throwing Marella into the corner and stomping him. He sets Marella up on the top rope and climbs up. Marella falls to the apron, somehow dragging McIntyre down with him, causing McIntyre to hit head-first onto the ring post. Marella quickly hits the Cobra and gets the 3.
WINNER: Santino Marella, who is now the assistant to the GM thanks to this win.
Michael Cole shows a video from WWE ’12, featuring him beating up Daniel Bryan and winning the World title. As thrilling as it sounds.
After the break, we see Drew McIntyre in the back. Teddy Long walks in, and McIntyre makes up excuses as to why he lost. Long says this week was strike two, and if McIntyre loses again next week, he may just get fired. Santino Marella runs up and says he and Long will make beautiful music together.
MATCH 5: Epico and Primo (w/Rosa Mendes) vs. WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) (non-title)
We get a cutaway promo from Rosa, but I don’t speak Spanish. Oh, well. She looks damn good. Epico starts off with Bourne. They trade a few holds, resulting in Epico hitting a kick and some punches. Bourne fires back some kicks and an arm wringer before tagging in Kingston, who hits a dropkick off the ropes for 2. Epico trips Kingston up into the ropes, and Primo kicks him in the head behind the ref’s back. Epico gets 2 and throws Kingston into the corner for some stomps before tagging in Primo. Primo continues with the stomps before tagging Epico back in, who does more stomping for another 2. Epico hits a low dropkick for another 2 before going for a rear chinlock. Kingston fights back up, but Epico corner whips him. Kingston gets his elbow up on the charge and hits a middle rope cross body. Primo tags in as Bourne tags in. Bourne hits a hurricanrana and a kick before knocking Epico to the floor. He hits a jumping roundhouse and a forearm in the corner before going up top and hitting the double knee strike for. Epico breaks up the pin, causing Kingston to knock him to the floor. Epico hides behind Rosa Mendes, allowing Epico to drag him to the floor. Primo tries for the Backstabber, but Bourne sees it coming and hits a knee strike. Bourne goes up for Airbourne, but Epico drags Primo out of the way, sending Bourne face-first to the mat.
WINNERS: Primo easily gets the 3.
Backstage, Ken Doll Striker is interviewing the Big Show, asking him about his confidence. Show says his confidence is at an all-time high, but he can’t wait to take that belt back. He calls Daniel Bryan a good wrestler. Bryan walks in and says that he is, and he’ll soon be a great wrestler. If he had his skill and Show’s size, it wouldn’t have taken him nine years to get his championship back. Show puts his hand on Bryan’s shoulder and says not to make him hurt him. Bryan tells him to get his damn hand off his shoulder. Looks like Bryan is turning heel, despite reports that it would be Show. Who cares? Daniel Bryan rules either way.
Next week, Sheamus will face Jinder Mahal once again.
MATCH 6: Natalya vs. Tamina
Before the match, we get footage of both Nattie’s dad (Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) and Tamina’s dad (“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka), which was a nice touch. Nattie immediately spears Tamina down, then kicks her in the ribs before some mounted punches. Nattie stomps her in the gut and looks for the Sharpshooter, but Tamina kicks her off. They each bounce off the ropes and simultaneously go for a cross body, sending both to the mat. Tamina picks Nattie up in a Samoan drop, then positions her for the Superfly Splash, which connects. Tamina hits it and gets the 3.
WINNER: Tamina. While I hate to see it at Nattie’s expense, I’m glad to see Tamina finally getting pushed here.
Before the main event starts, Mark Henry makes his way out. He will be guest color commentator for the match.
MATCH 7-World Championship: The Big Show vs. Champion Daniel Bryan
So, now that Bryan’s turning heel, whatever will Michael Cole do if he goes full-bore with it? The boos in the crowd have already begun. Show keeps trying to grab Bryan, but Bryan keeps outrunning him. Show eventually gets Bryan in the corner, hits a gut shot and some open-hand chops. He drops Bryan with a tree slam, sending him to the floor. Commercials.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION, AND STILL CHAMPION: Daniel Bryan. Bryan grabs the belt and begins celebrating to a chorus of boos. I don’t know about you, but I’m LOVING Bryan as a chickensh*t heel already.
End of show.
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