The 1-13-12 of SmackDown! starts off with footage from last week, which saw Daniel Bryan retain the World title via DQ against the Big Show. Tonight, Bryan defends against Show once again, this time in a No Holds Barred Match.
Daniel Bryan makes his way out to a mixed reaction. Bryan awesomely tries to high-five some fans in the front row who aren’t interested in getting high-fived. I love him as a heel. Bryan wants to set the record straight. Winning the World title has been a dream come true, and defending the belt is what he lives for. Last week, he successfully defended the title against the man he won it from, the Big Show. Don’t get mad at the Big Show; he deserved that rematch, especially considering how briefly he held the title. A normal champion would move on after last week, but Bryan’s not a normal champion. He’s a fighting champion, and he didn’t want the match to end that way. He doesn’t want to have to tell his future grandkids his only defense against Big Show resulted in a DQ. Don’t buy into what you read on the internet, which says Bryan goaded Mark Henry into pushing him, causing the DQ. That is a load of dung, HeymanRules512. Bryan told Show he could have a rematch any time he wanted, and that match will happen tonight, with no count-outs and no disqualifications. Bryan thinks this is excessive because all of these problems started with Mark Henry. Henry ruined that match. He should be suspended for not only ruining that match, but…
Bryan doesn’t get to finish his thought, as Mark Henry makes his way down to the ring. Henry asks if he heard Bryan right in that he should be suspended. If Henry had gotten suspended, he would’ve gotten his money’s worth. Show came out on Monday and told Bryan about a meeting he had with Teddy Long. Henry’s out here to do the same thing. As a result of what happened last week, he’s banned from ringside. Bryan’s fine with that. Henry says this match has everything to do with him, and Long promised Henry that if he stayed out of the match, that next week, he’ll finally get his championship rematch with the winner of tonight’s main event. Bryan says that’s alright with him.
Sheamus will face Jinder Mahal later tonight.
MATCH 1: Justin Gabriel vs. Heath Slater
Gabriel starts with a headlock and a shoulderblock. He follows up with an armdrag into an armbar. Slater punches his way out, and hits a clothesline. Gabriel hits a headscissors from off the mat, followed by another arm drag. He jumps off the middle rope right into an inverted atomic drop from Slater, followed by more punches. Slater corner whips Gabriel sternum-first and hits a neckbreaker off the rebound for 2. Slater locks in a rear chinlock, but Gabriel fights out with some kicks and a jumping roundhouse. Slater counters into a spinebuster for 2. Slater goes up top, and Hornswoggle’s music needlessly hits. He slides in the ring to distract Slater, allowing Gabriel to kick Slater down. Gabriel goes up, hits the 450 splash and gets the 3.
WINNER: Justin Gabriel.
Backstage, we see Daniel Bryan warming up when AJ walks in. She tells him she’s proud of him, and tonight, win, lose or draw, she loves him.
To hype the Royal Rumble, we get a video from the 1998 event that saw Stone Cold Steve Austin win for the second year in a row.
MATCH 2: Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes vs. Ezekiel Jackson (non-title)
I feel like I’ve seen this match several times over the last year. Rhodes starts with a headlock, but Zeke throws him off. He tries for a suplex, but Rhodes lands on his feet and hits a DDT for 2. Rhodes hits a few stomps and a knee to the gut. Some kicks and punches follow. Rhodes eventually stomps Zeke back to the mat before locking in a rear chinlock. Zeke breaks out and throws Rhodes off before hitting a shoulderblock. Zeke with a pair of corner whips and an avalanche. Zeke hits a bodyslam and looks for the Argintinean backbreaker, but Rhodes thumbs him in the eyes, Rhodes misses the Beautiful Disaster, but catches it on the second try. One Cross Rhodes later, and this one’s over.
WINNER: Cody Rhodes.
Did You Know? Putting a loaf of bread in the fridge in order to keep it from drying out actually causes it to dry out faster than if you’d leave it out on the counter.
We get a video for this year’s first Hall of Fame inductee, Edge.
Santino Marella is in Teddy Long’s office, coming up with ideas for new matches, including a cage match featuring 3 different sized cages inside of each other. He also suggests overturning Jack Tunney’s decision from years ago and allow reptiles in the ring. David Otunga comes in to discuss the Royal Rumble match with long, specifically which SmackDown! superstars Long wants in the match, on behalf of John Laurinaitis. Santino Marella suggests a match between him and Otunga tonight, and Long agrees to it. Someone knocks at the door, and it’s Drew McIntyre. Long says he’s not getting any results from McIntyre, despite his salary. McIntyre’s getting closer and closer to getting fired, so he better win his match tonight, which is next.
Next week will be “Sin City SmackDown!”, taking place from Las Vegas and I believe will be featuring the RAW Roulette wheel.
MATCH 3: Drew McIntyre vs. Ted DiBiase
After both DiBiase and McIntyre are in the ring, Hunico and Camacho make their way out on a low rider bicycle. Off the distraction, McIntyre immediately connects with a big boot for 2. He picks DiBiase up and throws some punches. DiBiase counters a back body drop with a kick and throws McIntyre to the floor. He follows up with a suicide dive, sending McIntyre into the announcer’s table. McIntyre comes back by slamming DiBiase back-first into the ring apron twice before throwing him back in the ring for 2. Hunico is now on commentary. McIntyre gets another 2 before locking in an armbar. McIntyre tries for a bodyslam, but DiBiase slides out and a hits a boot out of the corner. He follows up with an inverted atomic drop, a running knee and a misdirection clothesline for 2. DiBiase mounts the second rope, but jumps off right into a clothesline by McIntyre for 2. McIntyre sets DiBiase up on the top rope, looking for a back superplex. DiBiase elbows him off, sending him into the ropes in an awkward spot. DiBiase immediately hits Dream Street and gets the 3.
WINNER: Ted DiBiase. After the match, Hunico and Camacho applaud DiBiase while McIntyre storms up the ramp.
Sheamus/Mahal is up next.
MATCH 4: Sheamus vs. Jinder Mahal
As Mahal makes his way out, he says he’s glad that no one expects him to win the Royal Rumble match this year, because he’s the most dangerous when he’s the least expected. Sheamus starts off with a boot to the gut and a bunch of forearm shots. Mahal elbows off a corner charge, but Sheamus counters with an Irish Hammer. Mahal tries for a hip toss, but Sheamus clotheslines him down. He tries for the Celtic Cross, but Mahal slides to the floor. Sheamus follows him out and levels him with a clotheseline. He throws Mahal back in and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for 2. Sheamus tries to tie Mahal up in the ropes, but Mahal fights out, hits a hotshot and a pair of really weak jumping knee strikes for 2. Mahal kicks him a couple times and drops a knee, followed by a knee lift and a neckbreaker for 2. Mahal puts Sheamus in a rear chinlock. Sheamus fights to his feet, but Mahal knee lifts him back down and goes back to the chinlock. He turns it into a front chancery, but Sheamus back drops him off. Mahal slides to the apron, where he’s ripe for the tied up forearm blows and a suplex. Sheamus goes up top and hits the Battering Ram, then immediately hits the Brogue Kick for 3.
WINNER: Sheamus. They show the Brogue Kick again in slow motion, and it looked nasty.
Backstage, a referee (I can’t remember his name. Jack Doane?) is going over the rules of tonight’s main event with the Big Show. Show says he’s been in a hundred of these matches and knows what he’s doing. AJ walks up and tells Show that she knows he has to do what he has to do tonight, but Daniel Bryan is a good guy and if he gets hurt…Show understands, and says this isn’t about hurting anyone; it’s about winning the World title back. Bryan walks up and accuses Show of trying to steal his woman now. He tells Show he needs to leave right now. Show accuses Bryan of being changed since winning the belt, but Show will fix that by taking the belt back tonight. Show leaves, and Bryan asks AJ if she’s okay. He refers to himself as her knight in shining armor, and wants to know how much she loves him. He suggests they go somewhere and talk. You know, I already knew that AJ was short, but you don’t realize how short she truly is until you see her stand next to the Big Show.
I will be reviewing the Best PPV Matches of 2011 this weekend. Review should be posted next week.
We get another Royal Rumble flashback, this time from 2002 when Triple H won.
MATCH 5: David Otunga vs. Santino Marella
Marella slaps Otunga and locks in a front chancery. Otunga backs him into a corner and hits some shoulder thrusts, followed by a clothesline. He looks for a bodyslam, but Marella reverses into a roll-up for 2. Otunga takes him down with another clothesline and a pair of elbow drops for another 2. Otunga goes for a rear chinlock, but Marella fights back up. Otunga misses a corner charge, and Marella fires off some punches and a hip toss. A saluting headbutt follows, and Marella sets up for the Cobra. Otunga blocks and hits one of the worst versions of the emerald fusion I’ve ever seen to get the 3.
WINNER: David Otunga.
We then get video for the next inductee into the 2012 Hall of Fame class, this time the Four Horsemen: Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham and J.J. Dillon. I am really happy about this version being inducted. I know some are upset it wasn’t the original version featuring Ole Anderson, but from an actual in-ring standpoint, this version was probably the best in the history of the group. In all honesty, I was never very impressed by Ole anyway. His best work was doing the voice-overs for the Black Scorpion and the Shockmaster.
“The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay is up next.
Did You Know? NewsRadio was not going to come back for a fifth season after Phil Hartman was killed, but Jon Lovitz agreed to do the show for one more season in tribute to Hartman, who was a very close friend.
MATCH 6: Brodus Clay (w/Arianne and Naomi) vs. Tyson Kidd
Screw the internet. Aside from the mostly worthless eye candy that accompanies Brodus, I LOVE this gimmick. Clay knocks Kidd down with a headbutt and immediately connects with the move formerly known as the Fall of Humanity to get the 3.
WINNER: Brodus Clay.
In his office, Teddy Long is singing and dancing to Clay’s entrance theme. Aksana walks in and says she hopes to see Clay in Las Vegas next week. Long does the tagline for Las Vegas. Aksana wants to hit a roulette table while in Vegas because she loves to hit on black. Long chokes on his water. Yeah.
MATCH 7: Natalya vs. Tamina
Nattie immediately slaps Tamina and hits a vertical suplex for 2. Tamina catches her off the ropes with a Samoan drop. Tamina goes up top and connects with the Superfly Splash for the 3.
Wade Barrett’s music hits, and he comes out, microphone in hand. The jacket is back! Huzzah! Some may have been impressed earlier tonight with the so-called “Great White” Sheamus. He was not impressed by a big Irishman with a temper problem. He is a man of civility and in control of his faculties at all time. He will win the 2012 Royal Rumble, and he’s challenging Sheamus to a one-on-one match next week at Sin City SmackDown!, which is kind of ironic, because what he does to Sheamus will probably be considered a sin. Thank you very much, and God save the Queen.
MATCH 8-No Holds Barred Match for the World Championship: The Big Show vs. Champion Daniel Bryan (w/AJ)
Bryan comes out by himself, then begins calling for someone to come out. Turns out it’s AJ, who will be in his corner. She looks good tonight. Then again, she looks good every night. Bryan offers a handshake to start. Show takes the hand, but then pulls Brian in and picks him up for a face-first gorilla press. Show gets Bryan in the corner and hits some open-hand chops. Big hip toss out of the corner for Show. Show picks Bryan back up and lands a headbutt, followed by more chops and another headbutt. Show corner whips Bryan, but Bryan gets his feet up on the charge. He goes up to the middle rope for a dive, but Show spears him down. He goes for the pin, but Bryan is halfway under the bottom rope. Bryan slumps to the floor as we go to commercial.
WINNER: No contest.
End of show.
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