Welcome to the 4-6-12 edition of WWE Friday Night Smackdown! Wrestlemania 28 is in the books, and overall, the show was pretty enjoyable. Punk/Jericho was far and away the match of the night, the HIAC match, as much as I hate to admit it, was relatively enjoyable (albeit wrestled at a snail’s pace), and Rock/Cena was probably far better than it had any right to be. I know a lot of people are upset about Bryan/Sheamus, and admittedly, I was at first, too.
However, not only did I find out that the match was so short in order to break the record for shortest ‘Mania match (it failed by 11 seconds) and was not a punishment to Bryan, but I get the feeling that this will lead to something big for Daniel Bryan down the road. Not only is he clearly one of the most over personalities in the entire company, but he has fans in all the right places within the company (hint: his name rhymes with Vince McMahon). So, for everyone complaining Bryan got screwed and it’s over for him, I say take some of your own advice that you always give WWE and that is have some patience and see how things pan out before you jump to conclusions.
I’d also like to send out my best wishes to the family and friends of Chief Jay Strongbow, who passed away earlier this week.
[adinserter block=”2″]In the arena, we are “treated” to David Otunga, coffee mug in hand. He gives a formal introduction to the new GM of both RAW and Smackdown!, John Laurinaitis. Ace makes his way out, and he now has an entrance theme. Granted, it’s pretty terrible, but at least he’s got one. Ace and Otunga make their way down to the ring, where Otunga hands the mic over. Ace welcomes us all to SD. He’s sure everyone is excited for his first installment of SD as general manager, and the show will now have everything it’s been lacking in the past. Ace won’t abuse his newfound power, and instead will use it for the WWE Universe. This is a new era, an era of “people power”. In this transition, he hopes that Teddy Long will maintain his class and professionalism. He calls Long out, in order to thank him for his years of loyal service.
Teddy Long makes his way out now, with a somber look on his face. Big “Teddy” chant in the crowd. Ace knows the last few days have been tough, but…Teddy interrupts him. He says that being out of a job has a benefit-it gives him the freedom to tell Ace to go to hell. Long didn’t come out here to whine and complain about Wrestlemania, as what’s done is done. Everyone in the back told him he’d have to be crazy to show up tonight, and even crazier to come out to the ring. The fact is, he could not walk away from this show, the greatest job he’s ever had, without thanking everyone who made it happen, namely the WWE Universe. He hopes everyone had fun watching the show like he did being the GM. He asks for a “holla, holla, holla” from the crowd, which responds in kind. He starts to leave, but Ace calls him back into the ring. He’s not finished with what he has to say. Ace would like Long to take a job in his new administration. Long says he does need a job, but not working for Ace. He can take the job and shove it. Ace knows Long is a proud man, but he’s forgetting one thing, and it has to do with Long’s grandchildren and their college education. Otunga grabs the mic and says that, several years ago, the WWE Board of Directors established a college fund for Long’s grandchildren. Technically, that fund is controlled by the GM. Ace says he didn’t want to address this in front of everyone, but he suggests Long takes the job in order to keep the fund safe. Long goes to shake Ace’s hand to accept, but Ace takes his hand back. He tells Long that he needs to tell the WWE Universe that Ace is better than him. If he does that, the fund is safe. What’s it going to be-his pride, or his grandchildren’s college education? Long begrudgingly tells everyone Ace is better than him. Ace says it’s the best decision Long has made his entire life, and he suggests Long go back and start his new job. Long doesn’t know what his new job is, and Ace hasn’t quite figured it out, but there’s a lot of stuff he’s sure needs to be done, so head to the back. As Long heads to the back, Ace announces Kane will face Randy Orton in a No DQ Match. He also pits R-Truth vs. David Otunga and Mark Henry in a Handicap Match. Mark Henry makes his way out, so I guess this match will be on first.
MATCH 1-2-on-1 Handicap Match: Mark Henry and David Otunga vs. R-Truth
Sad. Just 4 months ago, Henry was one of the most dominant champions we’ve seen in quite some time. Now, he’s curtain jerking with David Otunga. Otunga starts off. He trades blows with Truth. Truth backflips out of a corner whip and hits a jumping side kick for 2. Uppercut by Truth, followed by the Lie Detector for another 2. Henry tags in now. Truth hits a few blows, but runs right into a big boot off the ropes. We see Abraham Washington looking on in the back. Henry corner whips Truth, but misses an avalanche. Truth tries another side kick, but Henry catches him and hits the World’s Strongest Slam. He goes for the pin, but Otunga begs to tag in. Henry does, and Otunga easily gets the pin.
WINNERS: Mark Henry and David Otunga. Otunga begins posing, and Henry doesn’t look too happy.
All of a sudden, Kane’s music hits. Guess we’re going right into the next match, as Josh Mathews says it will happen after the break.
This Tuesday night, we’ll have “Blast From the Past” Smackdown!, which from what I’ve read will be like the “Old School RAW” we had a while ago. Honestly, I’m looking forward to it.
MATCH 2-No Disqualification Match: Kane vs. Randy Orton
Was pleasantly surprised Orton lost cleanly at ‘Mania. Not sure it will happen again tonight. Orton starts off with some punches. Kane hits a few of his own, followed by a knee and an uppercut. Kane clotheslines Orton over the top rope and follows out. Orton catches him with a boot and a punch before slamming him into the barricade. Kane comes back with a gut shot before throwing Orton on the announce desk. Another gut shot by Kane. He tries to slam Orton into the steps, but Orton blocks and throws Kane over the desk. Orton fires off some more punches. He tries for the slam into the steps, but Kane blocks and manages to slam Orton into them. Another uppercut by Kane before he throws Orton head-first into the steps yet again. Kane and Orton begin brawling up the entrance ramp, with Kane getting the best of it after an uppercut. He slams Orton head-first into the stage before rolling him up onto it. Orton gets to his feet and fires off some punches, trying to knock Kane off. Kane grabs Orton by the throat and goes for the chokeslam, but Orton blocks with some punches. He tries for the RKO, but Kane pushes him off before catching him with a DDT on the stage. Commercials.
Back from the break, both guys are back in the ring. Orton is laying down in the corner as Kane goes to another corner and pulls off the top turnbuckle pad. Kane tries to throw Orton into it, but Orton blocks and fires off some punches. He tries to whip Kane, but Kane reverses and hits a corner clothesline for 2. Kane hits a few punches to the jaw before hitting a snapmare and a low dropkick for 2. Kane goes up top for the non-flying clothesline, but Orton crotches him, causing Kane to fall back into the ring. Orton hits a pair of clotheslines, but Kane is still standing. He goes down off a dropkick. Orton follows up with a powerslam. Kane rolls to the apron, where Orton tries to set up the suspended DDT. Kane blocks it and manages to hotshot Orton’s left arm. Kane drags Orton to the floor. Orton blocks a whip, hits a European uppercut, then whips Kane into the barricade by the timekeeper’s table before clotheslining him over it. Orton tries for the suspended DDT again, but Kane blocks it and picks Orton up for a powerslam. Orton slides out and shoves Kane into the post, but Kane counters with a big boot. He begins grabbing chairs and throwing them in the ring. Kane throws Orton back in the ring before grabbing another chair. Orton kicks Kane as he gets back in the ring, then grabs a chair and begins ramming it into Kane’s shoulder. Orton dropps the chair before finally landing the suspended DDT on said chair. Orton covers, but only gets 2. Orton’s got a little trickle of blood on his head. He tries for the RKO, but Kane shoves him off, grabs a chair and rams it into Orton’s ribs. He then hits Orton across the back with the chair several times, but still can only get 2. Kane grabs another chair before throwing it back down. He sets up for the chokeslam, but Orton slides out and shoves Kane into the exposed turnbuckle. Orton quickly hits the RKO and gets the 3. Can I call it or what?
WINNER: Randy Orton. Is it just me, or has Kane been really unimpressive since returning?
Lillian Garcia begins announcing the participants for the next match, with one of them, some guy named Barry Stevens, already in the ring. Before the match can start, Stevens gets on the microphone. Before he starts talking, we see a bunch of SD stars, including Hunico, Rosa Mendes and the Usos, watching this on a monitor and laughing. Stevens said he heard this was the happiest place on Earth, but these people in the crowd are the rudest people on Earth. His opponent finally comes out, and it’s the former Skip Sheffield, returning from injury, now known as Ryback.
MATCH 3: Barry Stevens vs. Ryback
Surprisingly, the commentators acknowledge exactly who he is. Ryback immediately backs Stevens into a corner and beats him down. Stevens gets back up, eats a corner clothesline and a hip toss. Ryback picks him up again in a gorilla press and turns it into an over-the-shoulder powerslam. He then hits a running fisherman’s suplex and gets the 3.
WINNER: Ryback. Good to see him back. If this is how he’s going to get booked in the future, I see big things for him. Fans seemed into him, too, which is a good sign.
Daniel Bryan and AJ make their way out. HUGE “Yes! Yes! Yes!” chant immediately follows. As the music dies down, the chant is even louder. Bryan says that, if there was one positive thing to happen this week, he had a chance to think about how everything was going so right, but then went so wrong. Then, it hit him-the moment it all went off the tracks. The truth is…AJ takes the microphone and tells Bryan he is a great wrestler, a great person, and she’s not the only one that thinks that. The chants continue. AJ tells him to listen to the people in the crowd, and remember the chants he got at ‘Mania, and at RAW, when he wasn’t even in the ring. Big “Daniel Bryan” chant now starts. Tell me the guy isn’t over. I dare you. AJ says everyone is here now to support him. Bryan takes the mic back. “Support me? These people are supporting me?” Even more chants. You know, it’s funny, because it kind of feels like they’re mocking him. If they were supporting him, they wouldn’t have chanted “Yes!” for the Rock. These people are mocking him, and even if they mean it, all of the chants from these sheep, they don’t make it up for the fact that AJ cost him the championship. 18 seconds AJ, 18 seconds! He defeated two giants in a cage at the Rumble. He overcame five guys at the Elimination Chamber, and in 18 seconds, it was all flushed down the toilet! All because she had to have that kiss. AJ said that kiss was his good luck charm; that was the kiss of death. AJ tries to explain, but Bryan says she can’t rewrite this story and make him the bad guy. This is her fault. He had everything going for him. His first Wrestlemania, he walked in as World Champion. He dreamed about that since being a kid, and she ruined it for him. She just had to steal the spotlight. Her unbelievable selfishness and clinginess cost him what should have been the greatest night of his life. Bryan hopes she is happy with herself, because he’s not letting her ruin his life like that ever again. Bryan then tells us he has a rematch clause, and when he gets his match, he’s doing it the right way-by himself. So go. Get in your gas-guzzling SUV. Go sit in the parking lot and guzzle the cheeseburgers you love so much, because Bryan is ready to get rid of the dead weight. He’s not talking to her backstage or anywhere. He hopes the kiss was worth it, because it’s the last one he’ll ever get from her. We are through. Now get out of Bryan’s ring. Bryan then yells at AJ before turning his back to her. After a few moments, AJ finally obliges and leaves the ring as the camera looks on at Bryan’s somber face.
Now, THAT is how you book an interview segment. Bryan was so on his game right here.
Cody Rhodes is joining in on commentary for the next match.
MATCH 4: Intercontinental Champion The Big Show vs. Heath Slater (non-title)
Before the match, we see some stills of Show knocking Rhodes at ‘Mania. Match starts, and Show immediately backs Slater into the corner. Show fires off a bunch of gut shots and a headbutt. Slater gets into the opposite corner, where he takes an open-hand chop to the chest. Slater gets his feet up on a corner charge and a dropkick to the knee, but runs right into another chop. Show levels Slater with a version of the Pounce. Chokeslam, pin.
WINNER: The Big Show. After the match, Show challenges Rhodes to get in the ring. Rhodes starts to climb the stairs and get in the ring, but jumps back down the second Show charges him. Show picks Slater up and hits him with the WMD. Rhodes tries to slide in the ring from behind, but Show sees him, causing Rhodes to immediately slide back out.
We see footage from last Monday, where Chris Jericho dumped a bunch of “booze” on CM Punk’s head before prematurely shattering a second bottle on Punk’s head. Michael Cole informs us Punk suffered some contusions to the back of his skull as a result of the bottle shot.
We see the Bella Twins talking to John Laurinaitis in his office. The Bellas are bitching about something. Sheamus walks in. Ace says that, now that he’s in charge, he wants to see good sportsmanship, reminding Sheamus of his kicks to both Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio earlier this week. He expects more from his champion, and that’s why tonight, in Sheamus’ match with ADR, he’s instructed the referee to bring both men face-to-face before it starts. Sheamus says Ace is right, and from now, the only ones who are going to suffer a kick are the ones that deserve it. Whether that’s a little weasel who hides behind his girlfriend, an arrogant rich boy, or his cousin, who bullied everyone in town because he was in charge of the local mill. The funny thing about the cousin though, all the power in the world didn’t do him any good, and the townspeople turned against him, eventually wanting to see how far they could shove his head up his own arse.
You Think You Know Me: The Story of Edge looks pretty decent. Maybe I’ll get to do a review for the site. I love how, in this commercial, they made sure to show a clip of Edge taking Mr. Kennedy out for the MITB briefcase. What WWE saw in Kennedy/Anderson, I’ll never know, but at least they had the good sense to fire his injury-prone loudmouth ass before he could do too much damage.
MATCH 5: WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix vs. Nikki Bella
Bella comes out sans-sister. For whatever reason, Kelly Kelly comes as well. Match starts, and Phoenix immediately hits a clothesline before kicking Bella a few times. Phoenix with a knee choke and a corner whip, followed by some kicks and punches in the corner. Kelly tries to distract Phoenix. Phoenix charges in the corner, but Bella slides out of the way. She hits a sit-out facebuster and gets the 3. What. The. Hell.
WINNER: Nikki Bella. There are a lot of things about WWE that I like. Their booking of the Divas division is not one of them.
We get a tribute video for Chief Jay Strongbow. Very classy video, as always.
After the commercials, we are introduced to Damien Sandow. Sandow talks about entertainment, saying it’s at an all-time low in today’s society, discussing pop culture compared to authors like Shakespeare. We are a people of laziness, mediocrity and complacency. Blame us for the ignorance? That is something that he’ll never do. Save us from the ignorance? That is his true calling. You’re welcome. Interesting promo, but very well done. If you don’t know about Damien Sandow, you should definitely look him up, as he’s pretty awesome. If he looks at all familiar, you might remember him from his first run as one-half of The Teacher’s Pets, wrestling as Idol Stevens. Much like Ryback, I expect some big things from him this time around.
RAW Rebound time, which saw the return of Brock Lesnar. While I was really unhappy with how Lesnar left WWE the first time, my opinion on his return is that, as long as he keeps his attitude and his mouth in check, I have no beef with him being here. He’s still very young (only about 34), and can still contribute a lot to the business. I may not like his attitude, but I was always a fan of his in-ring work during his first run. If he can wrestle like that again, I’m a happy guy.
The cast of The Three Stooges is hosting RAW on Monday. Go to hell.
MATCH 6: Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) vs. World Champion Sheamus (non-title)
Glad to see all these guys like Ryback and ADR coming back from injury. These returns are just adding more depth to the roster, which is never a bad thing. Considering how stacked the roster is right now, as well as the loads of talent in FCW who will likely make their debut in the next few months, and 2012 is looking to be a good year for WWE. On another note, can someone explain to me why the World title belt seemingly gets so worn out so fast? It seems like they go through a ridiculous number of belts for that title, compared to the other championships in the company. Anyway, Sheamus starts the match with a lock up, right into a hip throw/side headlock combo. Sheamus knocks ADR down with a pair of shoulder blocks for 2. ADR fights out of an arm wringer and kicks Sheamus down. He backs Sheamus into the corner and hits a forearm, but Sheamus gets his knees up on a charge. Sheamus goes up top for the Battering Ram, but ADR sees it coming. Sheamus lands on his feet, though, and manages to pick ADR up in a rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. ADR rolls to the apron and manages to hotshot Sheamus’ arm. He gets back in the ring, puts Sheamus in an arm wringer, then lands some blows to the arm. Sheamus fights back with some punches and a knee lift, but ADR comes back with some headbutts. ADR looks for the rolling jujigatame, but Sheamus slips out. He tries for the Brogue Kick, but ADR sees it coming and slides to the floor before contact as we go to commercials.
[adinserter block=”1″]Back from the break, Sheamus lands the slingshot shoulderblock for 2. After some fighting by ADR, Sheamus manages to tie him in the ropes for the forearm shots to the chest. Sheamus charges, but ADR manages to low bridge him and send him to the floor. As Sheamus climbs back in, ADR hits a nice step-up enziguri, sending him back down. ADR heads to the floor, where he slams Sheamus’ bad arm into the steps before throwing him shoulder-first into them. ADR rolls Sheamus back in the ring and goes for the pin, but only gets 2. ADR gets Sheamus in a top wristlock. Sheamus fights back to his feet and goes for a neckbreaker, but ADR kicks him down, lands a blow on the bad arm and nails a low dropkick for 2. ADR goes back to the arm with an armbar. Sheamus once again fights out. ADR lands a kick off the ropes and charges in, but Sheamus catches him with the Irish Curse. Sheamus is back up and hits a trio of Irish Hammers. Corner clothesline by Sheamus, followed by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. For anyone who says Sheamus can’t work and is only where he is because of his friendship with Triple H, bite me. Just saying. Rodriguez gets up on the ropes to cause a distraction, but Sheamus just kicks the ropes, causing Rodriguez to fly helplessly into the ring. Good bump there. ADR goes to capitalize off the distraction with a chair, but Sheamus sees him coming and lands another Irish Hammer. Sheamus grabs the chair, and the referee turns around to see Sheamus holding it. The referee thinks Sheamus clocked ADR with it, which results in a disqualification.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Alberto Del Rio. As we learned on RAW, this now means ADR gets a future title match. Sheamus, pissed about the loss, levels the referee with a Brogue Kick.
End of show.
Good episode tonight. Main event was great, awesome interview by Daniel Bryan, and we got the debuts of two new potentially major talents.
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