After sitting through another painful Impact Wrestling last night, nothing on tonight’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown! can harm me. Nothing. Tonight, CM Punk defends the WWE Championship against Kane in the main event, which hopefully means Kane won’t be getting a title match at No Way Out.
World Champion Sheamus makes his way out to start the show. Last week, after Alberto Del Rio became the new #1 contender, Sheamus tried to congratulate him in the best way he knew how. We then see the video of last week, which saw ADR beat Kane and Orton in a triple threat match to earn a title match, which was then followed by Sheamus nailing ADR in the back of the head with an Irish Hammer on the stage. A lot of people are questioning what he did, but he was simply showing ADR what kind of champion he’s dealing with. ADR is used to being waited on hand and foot, as well as arse-kissing. Sheamus isn’t going to kiss his arse; he’s going to kick it. Money can buy a lot, but it can’t buy ADR the World Championship.
Before he can continue, Alberto Del Rio drives down stage-side. ADR tells Otunga he’s wasting his time and his breath because he’s not going to get an apology out of this peasant. Sheamus is nothing but a street hooligan. He’s so stupid, he even wears it on his shirt. That is why people like him end up working for guys like him and Otunga. And one more thing-Sheamus will be sorry. Very, very sorry, because after NWO, he’ll be the new champion. Otunga thanks him for the sentiment. However, he feels Sheamus needs a more immediate form of consequence. So tonight, Ace has authorized him to allow ADR to choose an opponent for Sheamus later tonight. ADR thanks him. Sheamus says Otunga is right. He’s sorry. Although he’s not sorry for what he did to Ace. He then knocks Otunga’s goofy ass out with a Brogue Kick before telling him he’s sorry about what he was about to do to him. He then tells ADR to never trust a hooligan.
Sin Cara makes his return to SmackDown! next.
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MATCH 1: Sin Cara vs. Heath Slater
Cara is no longer doing the trampoline entrance. He’s got new gear, too. Slater gets the jobber non-entrance, so you can predict the outcome here. Slater starts off with a kick and a punch. Cara gets in a kick to the leg and a rolling snapmare. Kick to the ribs and a springboard twisting armdrag, sending Slater to the floor. Cara goes to the top rope and levels him with a plancha before getting back into the ring. Slater meets him with a big boot, and begins stomping away. Slater starts stomping at the legs before going into a rear chinlock. Cara fights out and backflips out of a back suplex attempt. He nails a few kick and a springboard back elbow from the middle rope. Cara hits a slingshot armdrag. He lands on his feet on the apron off a back drop attempt, nails a kick to the face and a springboard cross-body. Cara goes into a headscissors and turns it into a fujiwara armbar takedown for the 3.
WINNER: Sin Cara. The finish looked a little awkward, but everything else looked crisp. Hopefully, this is a sign his botching days are over.
MATCH 2: Ezekiel Jackson vs. Damien Sandow
Much like his former Corre partner, Zeke’s getting the jobber non-entrance treatment. Not that I care, because Sandow is a god. After the bell rings, Sandow grabs a microphone and calls Zeke an ignoramus. Therefore, he will not participate in the charade this evening. You’re welcome. Before he can head to the back, Zeke whips him back into the ring and clubs away in the corner. He hits a corner clothesline and goes for the Argintinean backbreaker, but Sandow slides out, hits several knee lifts, a side-Russian legsweep and a corkscrew elbow for 2. Zeke fights back with some forearms, but Sandow boots him in the stomach and hits the straightjacket neckbreaker for the 3.
WINNER: Damien Sandow, who brushes himself off and hits a cartwheel. His finisher needs a name, something like the “Age of Enlightenment”.
Back in the locker room, ADR and Ricardo Rodriguez are discussing who should be Sheamus’ opponent. Dolph Ziggler enters and volunteers his services. ADR says he has something in his eyes and has passion, so he gets the nod. It’ll be Sheamus/Ziggler later tonight.
Ryback is up next.
MATCH 3-2-on-1 Handicap Match: Ryan Shelton and Chris Lyons vs. Ryback
Lyons tells the crowd they came a long way and just have one thing to say. Shelton mentions Ryback is undefeated while stuttering. He says they have an old saying, straight from the University of Alabama. He then chants something that I don’t care to look up because it was dumb. I love listening to the commentators laugh at the jobbers cutting promos in Ryback matches. Ryback’s still sporting a shiner, but it looks better than last week, so that’s a plus. Ryback catches a running Shelton, then boots Lyons down. He spins Shelton around into an over-the-shoulder powerslam, then nails him with a lifting powerbomb. He picks Shelton up, swings him into Lyons, then powerbombs him again. Lyons is back in the ring, where he’s dropped with a running clothesline. Ryback hits Shelton with a swinging side slam, then picks them both up in a double running fisherman’s suplex before pinning them both simultaneously.
WINNER: Ryback. Booker T talking about how every jobber that gets squashed by Ryback is big on the local independent circuit is pretty funny, especially when Michael Cole calls him out for saying the same thing every week.
RAW Rebound time, featuring Big Show. I have a feeling this might be Show’s last run. I could be wrong, but I think it’s going to happen.
As Josh Mathews is telling us about Brodus Clay’s condition resulting from last Monday, Vickie Guerrero interrupts. She begins to introduce Dolph Ziggler, who simply yanks the microphone out of her hand and says tonight, he will beat the World Champion as he walks to the ring with purpose. Guerrero looks angry and confused. Sheamus/Ziggler is up next.
MATCH 4: Dolph Ziggler (w/Vickie Guerrero) vs. World Champion Sheamus (non-title)
Tie-up to start, with Ziggler going into a side headlock. Sheamus throws him off into the ropes. I see a possible Ziggler face-turn coming. Just saying. Sheamus grabs him in a side headlock and turns it into a hip throw. Sheamus knocks him down with a shoulder off the ropes. Criss-cross ends with a Ziggler dropkick for 1. Ziggler goes into an armbar/chinlock combo, which Sheamus clubs out of. Sheamus throws him into the turnbuckle, then knocks him down with another shoulder off the ropes for 1. Sheamus locks in an armbar, which Ziggler punches out of. He gets Sheamus into the corner and unloads with more punches. Sheamus back drops Ziggler over the ropes, and he lands on his feet. He comes off the top with a cross body, but Sheamus catches him and turns it into a rolling fireman’s carry slam for 2. Sheamus telegraphs a back body drop, but still manages to send Ziggler over the top rope to the floor as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Ziggler is in control with a top wristlock. Sheamus throws him off, then levels him with a pair of Irish Hammers. Shoulder in the corner by Sheamus, followed by a running knee lift. Sheamus signals for the Celtic Cross, but Ziggler escapes. Sheamus drags him back to the center, but Ziggler makes it to the ropes. Sheamus tries again, and Ziggler manages to slide to the floor. Sheamus chases him back in, where Ziggler nails him with a shoulder to the gut and a hotshot. A dropkick sends Sheamus down from the apron onto the announce desk. Back in the ring, Ziggler hits a neckbreaker for 1. Ziggler chokes Sheamus over the middle rope, then snaps him back into the ring before going into a rear chinlock, which he eventually adds a headstand to. Sheamus manages to pick him up on his shoulders from this point, but Ziggler slides down and lands an awkward DDT for 2. Ziggler with some punches to the chest before landing a jumping elbow for another 2. Ziggler goes back to the armbar/chinlock combo. Sheamus gets back to his feet, and Ziggler turns the hold into a sleeper. Sheamus sends him over the top rope with a snapmare, then ties him up in the ropes for the forearms to the chest. Suplex back into the ring gets 2 for Sheamus. Ziggler fights out of the Irish Curse, but Sheamus holds on and turns it into a backbreaker for 2. Sheamus goes up top for the Battering Ram, and Ziggler crotches him. Ziggler runs to the top and hits a beautiful sit-out facebuster from the top rope for 2. Ziggler signals for the Zig Zag, but Sheamus catches him and just whips him off his back before hitting White Noise. Sheamus looks for the Brogue Kick, but is temporarily distracted by Jack Swagger, who just jumped on the apron. Sheamus knocks him down, and Ziggler manages to get a kick in off the distraction. He looks for the Rocker Dropper, but Sheamus throws him off into Swagger, who is still on the apron. A quick and nasty Brogue Kick later, and this one’s over.
WINNER: Sheamus. Watching the Brogue Kick in the replay, and it looks even nastier the second time. Ziggler selling it like a gunshot to the head certainly didn’t hurt, either. Good match here.
Back from the break, Matt Striker is backstage with WWE Champion CM Punk. He reminds Punk he’s been ordered by Ace to face Kane for the title. His thoughts? Punk says Ace can order him around all he wants. It’s fine, because Punk loves competition. Ace just wants to get the belt on anyone else. Punk represents everything Ace hates, and that’s fine because he doesn’t want to pal around with a clownshoe like Ace. Conversely, Ace is everything Punk hates. As far as Kane, he’s tough with some cute nicknames. Punk has a nickname, too, and it’s also a fact: “Best in the World”. Tonight, the Best in the World makes “The Devil’s Favorite Demon” go to sleep.
We see a video from last week, which saw Titus O’Neil and Darren Young beat the Usos yet again. We get a cut-away promo for them as they’re in the ring. Young says they’ve beaten their opponents tonight in the past in prime time. O’Neil then refers to their team as “The Prime-Time Players” before doing their dumb “millions of dollars” catchphrase.
MATCH 5: The Prime-Time Players (Titus O’Neil and Darren Young) vs. Zack Ryder and WWE United States Champion Santino Marella
Young starts off with kneelifts on Marella. Back elbow off the ropes and an elbow drop by Young before tagging in O’Neil. Young hits a back suplex, and the heels hit a double-team gourdbuster on Marella. O’Neil lands a European uppercut on Marella before tagging Young back in. Young stomps away on Marella in the corner before corner whipping him. Marella reverses and gets in a quick roll-up for 3.
WINNERS: Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. Okay, wasn’t expecting that. Poor Ryder didn’t even get to work the match, though. As they’re celebrating on the stage, The Big Show comes out, grabs them both by the backs of the necks, shoves Marella into the big WWE sign, then headbutts Ryder down. Ryder tries to run, and Show catches him before throwing him into the barricade. He picks Ryder up and hurls him into the ring steps. He takes the steps apart, grabs the lower half and drags it up to the ramp past Ryder. He sets it up on the ramp as Ryder tries to fight back. It’s no use, as Show clubs him back down. Show picks him up, walks over to the steps and gives him a bodyslam. He then picks the steps up and uses them to toss Ryder off the ramp before dragging the steps further up, onto the stage. Marella is trying to crawl away, but Show catches him and stomps him in the gut. Show picks him up and drops him with a knee to the gut, then presses his face into the steps. He puts Marella on the steps face-first, then locks in the Colossal Clutch. Hey, remember that move? Show then pulls Marella’s head up and cracks him over the back of the head with the WMD, knocking him out cold. Not sure why it took WWE 13 years to finally book Show this way, but it’s working.
Back from the break, we see a replay of what just happened.
AJ is in the back, making CM Punk’s gear look better than it ever has in the past. Daniel Bryan confronts her, asking her what she thinks she’s doing. Does Punk honestly care about her? No, he’s just using her. Punk knows she’s a nutjob like everyone else. AJ calls him jealous and wants to know why he cares what she does anyway. He says he doesn’t, but did once, which is more than he can say for Punk.
Back at ringside, Intercontinental Champion is joining in for some color commentary for the next match.
MATCH 6: Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd
Again, jobber non-entrance for Kidd. He deserves better than that. Kidd blocks a kick and hits a sweep. He misses a roundhouse, and Rhodes corner whips him sternum-first before stomping him down. Rhodes with a standing gourdbuster for 2. Rhodes with the Venis knee lifts. Kidd starts firing off some kicks and hits a springboard twisting armdrag. He looks for the Sharpshooter, but Rhodes blocks it and sends him into the middle turnbuckle. He blocks a punch and turns it into Cross Rhodes for the 3.
WINNER: Cody Rhodes. After the match, Rhodes heads out to confront Christian, but instead leaves the area.
Do you ever wonder if Kane gets pissed off every time he’s reminded that he hasn’t been WWE Champion in 14 years, and has only had one other World title reign (not counting the ECW belt) during his entire 17-year WWE career?
Kane/Punk is up next.
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Before the main event officially starts, we get an awesome video package for Antonio Cesaro, who will return to SmackDown! next week.
Punk tries to get a few kicks in to start, but Kane steps back every time. Punk suckers him into the corner and lands some punches. Kane counters by throwing Punk into the corner and beating him down. Punk lowbridges Kane over the top rope, then nails him with a baseball slide before going to the top rope for a double axe handle. Punk hits some forearms and elbows before throwing Kane back into the ring. After some punches by Punk, Kane comes back with an uppercut and a stomp. He sends Punk into the turnbuckle, where he nails him with a sharp right and a knee to the gut. Kane whips Punk again and goes in for the charge, but Punk dropkicks him in the knee on the way in. Punk stomps Kane down, then begins whipping the injured arm against the ring post. He kicks the arm before getting back in the ring and continues the assault on the arm with punches and kicks. He gets Kane into the corner and drops some elbows on the arm, then ties it up over the top rope. Kane boots him in the face and knocks him down with a punch for 2. Kane telegraphs a back body drop, and Punk gets him in a top wristlock. Kane manages to break the hold by sending him over the top rope. Commercials.
I must have the new ECW DVD.
Back from the break, Punk is back in control with kicks to the bad arm. He hits Kane over the upper back with some forearm shots. During the break, he slammed Kane’s arm into the stairs several times. Back in the ring, Kane manages to pick Punk up and send him back over the top rope. AJ comes out, and damn, are those tall Chuck Taylors hot. Kane picks Punk up and drops him chest-first across the barricade before throwing him back in the ring for 2. Kane boots him down before hitting a bodyslam and a running elbow drop for 2. Kane locks in a neck vice. Punk gets to his feet and fights out of the hold with punches. Kane catches him by the throat off the ropes and goes for the chokeslam, but Punk counters into a DDT. Punk hits the Pepsi Max in the corner, followed by another one. He looks for the bulldog, but Kane hangs on. Punk flips out of the hold and nails a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Punk with a pair of kicks, but Kane catches a cross-body attempt. Kane puts him over his shoulder, and Punk slides down before nailing the roundhouse for 2. Kane comes back with a big boot off the ropes for 2. Kane sends Punk into the corner and nails a clothesline. Punk gets his boot up on a second charge and hits a second rope bulldog for 2. Both are back up, and Punk looks for the GTS, but Kane is too heavy, and he winds up just falling on top of Punk. Kane follows up with a low dropkick for 2. He goes up for the not-really-flying clothesline, and Punk sees it coming, nailing Kane in mid-air with a dropkick. Punk goes up top now, and AJ jumps on the apron signaling to Punk. Turns out, Daniel Bryan is running down to the ring, and Punk sees him coming, jumping on Bryan down on the floor. He gets back to the apron, where he’s met by a hand around the throat by Kane. Punk breaks it with a roundhouse and lands the Macho Elbow for 2. Punk goes up top again and goes for the springboard clothesline, but Kane meets him with an uppercut. He signals for the chokeslam again, and Daniel Bryan breaks the hold with a double seated missile dropkick.
WINNER: No contest. Kane falls out of the ring, and Bryan continues to attack Punk with Yes! stomps and kicks. Punk eventually comes back with a running clothesline before going for the GTS. Kane enters the ring and takes them both out with a double chokeslam. As Kane leaves the ring, John Laurinaitis and Eve Torres make their way onto the stage. Ace then announces a triple threat match for No Way Out for the WWE title between Kane, Punk and Bryan. Damn. I was really hoping they wouldn’t do that and just keep it Punk and Bryan. Oh, well. It’ll be the best match Kane’s had in years.
End of show.
Not a bad show tonight. Sin Cara looked good in his return, Damien Sandow and Ryback continue to be awesome, Sheamus and Ziggler stole the show, and the main event was good, too.
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