This week’s SmackDown opens up with the Real Americans and Zeb Colter in the ring. For one reason or another, Josh Mathews is replacing Michael Cole at the announce desk this evening. I’m okay with this. Zeb is still in his wheelchair, and he calls the Big Show an obtuse bully who attacked a war veteran for no other reason than he could. We then see the moment from RAW a couple weeks ago when Show knocked Zeb out. Back to Zeb, he calls this disgraceful, and Show’s partner tonight isn’t much better, that being a man who hides behind a mask in Rey Mysterio. What is Mysterio hiding form? This team doesn’t have a name, so Zeb comes up with one: “The Border-Hopping Bullies”. Why don’t we call them “El Gordito and the Jumping Bean”? His personal favorite? “Tacos Supremoss, Hold the Salsa”. Whatever you call them, they’re a big part of the problem in this country. Anyone who agrees with them is part of the problem as well.
Swagger and Show start the match, with Show immediately throwing Swagger down to the mat. Swagger charges at Show, and gets clubbed down. Cesaro in, and Show shoves him into the corner before throwing him across the ring. Show tosses Cesaro once more, then corner whips him. Show hits a bodyslam, then an inverted curb stomp. Show picks Cesaro up, only to club him back down before hitting a pancake off the ropes. Show grabs Cesaro around the head and throws him over the top rope and to the floor. Mysterio tags in and hits a cannonball on Cesaro from the apron. Swagger runs at him, and Mysterio hits him with a spinning headscissors that sends him head-first into the barricade before climbing back into the ring. Cesaro rolls back in at 8 to tag in Swagger. Swagger shoves Mysterio into the corner, then hits him with a kneelift. Mysterio is whipped across the ring, sending him chest-first into the buckles. Swagger whips Mysterio back across the ring, but gets hit with a boot. Mysterio ducks a clothesline and hits another headscissors, sending Swagger into the middle rope. He goes for the 619, but Swagger quickly tags in Cesaro, who hits Mysterio with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2 before tagging Swagger back in. Swagger throws Mysterio into the corner, then picks him up for another ram. Mysterio collapses in the corner, so Swagger steps on his face. Cesaro tags back in, and they double-baseball slide him to the floor underneath the bottom rope. Cesaro deadlifts him from the floor and hits a gutwrench suplex onto the apron. Back in the ring, Cesaro gets a 2-count before applying a rear chinlock. Mysterio fights out, ducks a clothesline and hits a bodyscissors into a victory roll for 2. Cesaro recovers and hits the Cesaro Swing. Swagger tags in, and the Americans hit a double back elbow for 2. Mysterio gets thrown to the corner once more, and Swagger stomps him down before catapulting him under the bottom rope for 2. Swagger applies a double chicken-wing, then throws Mysterio to the corner. Mysterio hits a boot and mounts the middle rope for a hurricanrana. Swagger blocks it, but Mysterio fights him off and hits it, sending Swagger face-first into the middle buckle. Swagger stops a tag with a kneelift and tags in Cesaro. Mysterio recovers and hits a spinning headscissors into a double DDT on the Americans. Show tags in, throws Swagger and nails Cesaro with a chop. He throws Cesaro into Swagger in the corner, stands them both up and hits a double hiptoss. Swagger gets thrown to the outside through the ropes, and Mysterio hits Cesaro with the 619. Show connects with the Knockout Punch and tags in Mysterio. Mysterio climbs up onto Show’s shoulders and hits the Dropping the Dime for 3.
WINNERS: The Big Show and Rey Mysterio.
Paul Heyman appears on the stage, telling Show to enjoy the celebration. He advises Show that he should cherish every moment of this celebration, because there will be nothing for him to celebrate on Sunday at the Royal Rumble. To Show’s credit, he stopped a takedown attempt by Brock Lesnar. Show gutwrenched Lesnar and heaved him clear over the top rope, which is why beating Show this Sunday will not be enough. He assures Show that, as unpleasant as this may be to hear, he is going to suffer and be subjugated by Lesnar, then Lesnar will go on to conquer the rest of the WWE Universe.
MATCH 2: Brodus Clay vs. The Miz
Before the bell rings, Bad News Barrett appears, rising from the ground on his podium. He asks for some decorum, then says later on tonight, we have a huge 10-man tag team match, filled with action and star power. In fact, this would be a main event match in any era, but he’s afraid he’s got some bad news. You see, in the meantime, we’re going to make you all suffer through the worst matches in WWE history. It’s Brodus Clay vs. The Miz. Why doesn’t he get this one started with a little chant of his own? “Miz is awful!” *bang-bang-bang-bang-bang-bang*
The bell rings as Barrett continues chanting, and Miz starts by attacking Clay in the corner with punches. Clay shoves him off before hitting a running headbutt. He drops a couple of elbows, getting a 1-count. Barrett’s commentary continues, and I admit that I’m kind of enjoying it. Clay hits what looks like a heart punch, then clubs Miz across the back. Miz comes back with kicks and punches before Clay hits a kneelift and corner-whips him. He hits an exploder suplex out of the corner as Barrett tells Clay he’s putting the audience to sleep, then asks him to dance. Clay turns around, gets kicked in the knee and is hit with a snap DDT for 3.
WINNER: The Miz. Miz immediately heads to Barrett and challenges him to come down. Barrett says he has some bad news, then says Miz isn’t strong enough to push the podium down. The bad news is, he’s staying up on his podium and Miz is staying down below.
We get the “By the numbers” Royal Rumble video. Sorry, but I love seeing these videos every year.
MATCH 3: WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee (w/Tamina Snuka) vs. Cameron (w/Naomi)
Cameron goes for a lock-up, but AJ nails her with a shot before hair-whipping her to the mat. AJ throws Cameron to the corner, boots her a couple of times and sends her across the ring. Cameron blocks the charge with a boot and hits a hair-mare before landing a couple of clotheslines and a seated dropkick to the side of the head. Cameron hits a suicide for 2, then baseball slides Tamina on the outside. AJ rolls Cameron up for 2, then nails her with a shinning wizard for 3.
WINNER: AJ Lee. After the match, Tamina throws Cameron to the floor. Naomi nails AJ with a flipping clothesline and a jumping back elbow, followed by a full-nelson bomb. She then covers AJ for a pin, even though there’s no match in place.
We see the Shield somewhere in the back. Dean Ambrose says that, in two days, 27 other superstars will enter the Rumble with dreams of headlining Wrestlemania. There is that romantic notion that anything can happen in WWE and that dreams come true, but this year, it’s not like that. This year, the Shield is in the Rumble and these dogs are hungry. Over to Seth Rollins, who says that, in all of time, in all of history, the Rumble match has never seen anything like the Shield. They will dominate every second they are in the match, and every superstar who steps through those ropes needs to consider themselves a casualty. Roman Reigns says he’s going onto win the match, and he’s off to main-event Wrestlemania. Believe that, and believe in the Shield.
MATCH 4: Rybaxel (Curtis Axel and Ryback) vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando, w/El Torito)
Ryback boots one of the Matadores in the stomach before hitting a gorilla-press into a powerslam. He follows up with a jumping legdrop for 1 as I find out this is Diego. He hits a shoulder thrust in the corner, then tags in Axel. The two of them hit a pair of double axe handles. Diego comes back with some punches before getting a boot to the gut. Axel leapfrogs over him before hitting a dropkick. Axel throws Diego to the corner and assaults him with kicks before tagging in Ryback. Ryback nails a gut shot and hits a bodyslam. A jumping splash off the ropes gets 2. Diego tries to fight back, but gets a forearm across the back. Ryback mounts the middle rope, and Diego blocks a splash with his knees. Axel tags in and misses a corner splash. Fernando tags in, hits a springboard double axe handle, a few knife-edge chops and a corkscrew headbutt. He jumps to the middle rope, knocking Ryback down in the process, then hits another corkscrew headbutt. He nails Axel with a hammerlock DDT as Ryback breaks it up. Diego tries to interject himself, but gets thrown to the floor. Fernando sends him outside with a dropkick to the back, then goes for a dive. However, Axel sneaks in a quick schoolboy and gets 3.
WINNERS: Rybaxel. After the match, El Torito hits Axel with a spinning headscissors to the floor. Fernando takes out both members of Rybaxel with a corkscrew plancha, and Torito nails Ryback with a plancha from the top rope.
We see Antonio Cesaro in the back, speaking directly to the camera. He says some things in Swedish, then introduces his partner, Jack Swagger. He asks Swagger about the Rumble, and Rumble says it’ll be a great victory for Americans when he throws out 29 other superstars and wins the Rumble. Cesaro corrects him, saying he’ll win the Rumble. The two then begin to argue over who is going to win. Zeb Colter rolls up in his wheelchair and wants to know what’s going on. He heard them arguing, then says it’s important to win the Rumble. He doesn’t care who wins, as long as it’s one of the Real Americans. Cesaro and Swagger apologize, do their catchphrase, and Cesaro continues speaking in Swedish as Swagger walks off.
CM Punk makes his way down to the ring, and he’s apparently going to discuss being named the #1 entrant in the Rumble. We get a recap of his recent problems with Kane, leading up to tonight. Back to the arena, he says that, last Monday on RAW, the Authority’s lapdog…er, Director of Operations Kane informed him he’d be the #1 entrant in the Rumble, which is the Authority’s way of stacking the deck against him with their hidden agendas. Big surprise, huh? Color him shocked. Maybe it was done to scare, shock or intimidate him. What it’s actually done is make them pay attention to their surroundings. You’d think they’d know him better after dealing with him for nearly a decade. What else do you expect from Vince McMahon’s spoiled-brat daughter and doofus son-in-law. Being #1 in the Rumble motivates Punk, and he’s focused on his ultimate goal, becoming WWE World Champion once again and headlining Wrestlemania. He’s done many special things in WWE, but if there’s one glaring omission, that’s winning the Rumble. The Authority has made him #1 with a bullet, and this match wouldn’t be easy even if he was #30. The odds are stacked against him, and possibly the toughest match ever. But when you call yourself the best in the world, you paint a target on yourself. You don’t cry and moan, but instead get in the ring and back it up, and that’s exactly what he intends to do. This Sunday, he walks into the lion’s den, he’s going to look the lion in the eye, punch it in its stupid face, and throw it over the top rope along with 29 WWE superstars, and he’s going to do everything within his ability to make sure he’s the last man standing.
Kane walks out onto the stage and says that, on behalf of the Authority, he wants to wish Punk the best of luck on Sunday. They say that #1 is nearly an impossible position to win, but he’s done calculations, and Punk actually has a .000000186% chance of winning, about 1 in 500,000,000. But, Kane is sure that being the best in the world will tip the scales just a little more in Punk’s favor. Punk says to never tell him the odds, and he’s a little sad that this is what’s become of the big red monster. He used to be the “devil’s favorite demon”, and now he’s at the top of the ramp in a nice little suit as the Authority’s favorite statistician. When Kane handed in his mask, Punk guesses he also lost his manhood. He knows being #1 makes it tough on him, but the first entrant has won before, and the best in the world will do it again because he’s been the best since day 1.
MATCH 5: The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young) vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt)
Harper and Young start the match. Harper assaults Young in the corner, but Young fights back. Harper nails him with an uppercut and a big boot. Rowan tags in and hits a fall-away slam. He assaults Young in the corner before tagging in Harper. Rowan whips Harper into Titus on the apron, nailing him with a big boot. Harper shoves Rowan into Young, with Young getting nailed by an avalanche. Rowan whips Young into Harper, who levels him with a discus clothesline and gets 3.
WINNERS: Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. After the match, Wyatt enters the ring. Harper and Rowan pick Young up, and Wyatt lays him out with Sister Abigail. Wyatt says that, at the Rumble, he’s not just going to defeat Daniel Bryan; he’s going to hurt him. Then, he’s going to change the world. They won’t be able to comprehend his actions, not at first. But, he guarantees they will be able to deny him no more. Follow the buzzards.
Daniel Bryan’s music hits, and he comes out onto the stage. He tells the Wyatt Family to listen to these people as a big “Yes!” chant starts. He says they fear not fate. They fear not the reapers. They fear not burning with the snakes, and this Sunday, when Wyatt looks across at him, Bryan will no longer be trapped in the prison of his madness; Wyatt will be trapped in the prison of Bryan’s. And you will find out who the real monster is as the entire universe chants, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
MATCH 6: Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. Kofi Kingston
We get a cut-away promo from Kofi, talking about all the things he’s done to avoid elimination at the Rumble, but this year, he’ll perform his greatest stunt when he wins the match. Boom. Back to the arena, the match starts, and Fandango applies a side headlock. Kofi throws him into the ropes, and he hits a shoulder. They crisscross until Kofi nails Fandango with a jumping back elbow for 2. Kofi puts on the breaks on an Irish whip, kicks Fandango, then throws him to the floor over the top rope as we see Emma in the front row. Kofi tries for a dive off the steps, but Fandango sidesteps him before hitting a clothesline on the floor. Kofi gets rolled in the ring for a 1-count, and now Fandango nails him in the chest with some elbows. Kofi counters a corner whip with a springboard dropkick from the middle rope. He follows up with a pair of double chops and a dropkick. Fandango avoids a jumping clothesline and hits a spin kick to the head out of a waistlock for 2. Fandango rolls to the outside and climbs to the top for the guillotine legdrop. Kofi gets to his feet, and Fandango leapfrogs over him, bounces off the ropes and runs right into Trouble in Paradise for 3.
WINNER: Kofi Kingston.
We get the second version of the “By the numbers” video. Still good.
Rollins and Jimmy start the match with a lock-up. Rollins backs Jimmy into the corner, then stomps him down. Rollins sends him across the ring, but Jimmy puts on the breaks and knocks Rollins down with a shoulderblock. They crisscross, and Jimmy ducks a clothesline before hitting a full-nelson bomb for 1. Jey tags in, and the Usos hit a double back elbow, followed by a double elbow drop for 1. Rollins nails a right and tags in Ambrose. Jey ducks a clothesline, hits a mule kick and an uppercut. Ambrose comes back with a boot, misses a back elbow and gets hit with a flying forearm for 1. Jimmy tags in and comes off the top with a double axe handle. He follows up with a chop and tags in Jey. Jimmy hits a running shoulder thrust as Jey tags out to Langston. Jey hits a shoulder thrust of his own, as does Langston. Langston hits several more in the corner before picking Ambrose up for a standing back body drop. Ambrose ducks a clothesline and goes for a cross-body, but Langston catches him and hits a backbreaker not once, not twice, but thrice. Ambrose blocks a charge in the corner and tags out to Reigns, who hits a jumping clothesline for 2. Reigns nails a headbutt before assaulting Langston in the corner. Ambrose tags in and nails a body shot before tying Langston up in the ropes. He lands a few more shots before Langston breaks free and catches him with an overhead belly-to-belly. Rhodes tags in and nails a springboard missile dropkick. Rollins tags in and runs into a back body drop. He nails Reigns with a forearm on the apron before hitting Rollins with the Goldust Uppercut. He misses the Disaster Kick as Rollins tags in Gunn. Rollins gets thrown to the floor, and Rhodes turns around into a clothesline by Gunn. Gunn hits an elbow drop for 2, then nails a series of rights, knocking Rhodes to the outside. Gunn throws him back in for a 1-count, then hits a kneedrop for 2. Dogg tags in and kicks Rhodes in the gut before nailing a right in the corner. He stomps Rhodes down, then boots him in the head before tagging in Ambrose. Ambrose lands a short-arm clothesline and follows up with a power-drive elbow for 2. He applies a crossface chicken-wing now, but Rhodes eventually fights his way out before hitting a jawbreaker. Ambrose recovers and lands a kitchen sink. Rollins tags in, hits a snapmare and a kick to the spine for 2. Rollins applies a neck vice, but Rhodes fights out once again. Rollins clubs him and sends him to the corner, but Rhodes counters with an Oklahoma Roll for 2. Rollins nails Rhodes and tags in Gunn, who hits a fist drop for 2. Gunn has Rhodes in a rear chinlock now, but then breaks it for a clubbing blow to the back. Reigns tags in and boots Rhodes in the gut before foot-choking him over the bottom rope. Rhodes comes back with a series of strikes, but is taken down with one kick. Reigns nails him across the back with a couple of forearms, then locks him in a cravat. Ambrose tags himself in and nails a right before choking Rhodes across the bottom rope. Ambrose picks him up for an arm wringer and turns it into a modified blue thunder bomb for 2. He mocks Rhodes for looking for a tag, then steps on his hand. Rhodes gets propped on the top rope, and Ambrose goes for a back superplex. Rhodes elbows him in the head, knocking him down. Rollins tags in, runs the apron and goes up top for a superplex to the floor. Rhodes hits him with some elbows, knocking him to the floor. Rollins slides back in and tags Reigns. Rhodes boots him away and hits a moonsault. Dogg and Goldust tag in. Goldust ducks a clothesline and hits the Goldust Uppercut. He ducks another and hits a spinebuster. Gunn comes in illegally, gets booted in the corner, and Goldust suprises the hell out of everyone by hitting a hurricanrana from the middle rope (and a nice one to boot) before clotheslining Gunn to the floor. Goldust turns around into the Juke and Jive by Dogg, but ducks the final punch and snaps off a powerslam for 2. He signals for the Final Cut, but Rollins breaks it up with a flying knee from the top rope. Langston hits the ring and wipes Rollins out with a running clothesline. He goes for the Big Ending, but Reigns puts a stop to that with a spear. An Uso (I can’t see which one) nails Reigns with a superkick, then throws Rollins to the floor. The other Uso nails Reigns with a Samoan Splash. Ambrose comes in and to toss Uso #2 to the floor, but gets tossed himself. The Usos then go for the double plancha to the floor. One of them gets tripped on the other side of the ring as the other one goes sailing, wiping out the other heels on the outside. Back in the ring, Gunn nails the remaining Uso with the Fameasser. Rhodes is back in, and he drops Gunn with the Disaster Kick. Dogg is back in, and he hits the Stretch Armstrong on. Goldust comes in and rolls Dogg up, but only gets 2 as the Shield all hit the ring to break up the pin. The referee then just throws the match out.
WINNERS: No contest. A big brawl erupts between the two teams. Rybaxel hit the ring and join the brawl. They are followed by Xavier Woods and R-Truth. The Miz joins in, as do Alberto Del Rio and Damien Sandow. CM Punk makes his way down, checks his “watch”, shrugs and hits the ring. The superstars continue to brawl as the show goes off the air.
End of show.
Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:
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