Welcome to the 9/23/11 edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown! The show immediately starts off with John Laurinaitis in the ring. He is surrounded at ringside by the entire SmackDown! roster. He says he wants to address them all in regards to Triple H supposedly having lost all control as COO, including the loss of R-Truth and the Miz, who were fired on RAW this past Monday. Johnny Ace says he thinks Trips has total control of the company, and he saw a look of resolve and determination in Trips’ eyes on Monday night. Triple H will also be here later tonight to address the roster himself. He says he’d like to now announce the new World Heavyweight Champion, Mark Henry.
Mark Henry makes his way down to ringside. The other wrestlers clear a path for him to the ring. Henry says it’s taken him 15 years to earn the title, and it’ll take 15 more before someone takes it away from him, because there’s no one here who is going to take what he has. He calls out various SmackDown! employees here, saying they didn’t believe in him, but they do now. Cue Triple H.
Triple H makes his way to the ring and offers a handshake to Mark Henry. Henry just stares at him before finally handing the mic over. Before Triple H can say a word, Christian cuts him off, microphone in hand. Christian says that, on behalf of himself, the roster and the world, that Trips is doing a great job as the COO of the WWE, and his treatment of the SD superstars is exemplary, and he appreciates it. Christian says they share the same credo of “lead by example”, and the locker room looks up to Christian. Christian asks Trips that, even though Mark Henry is champion, can Triple H see him as being marketable. Christian says he deserves to be the face of SmackDown!, and that if that’s going to happen, he needs to be World Champion. He says he deserves one more match to become the champion once again. So, after Hell in a Cell after Mark Henry chokes in his match, Christian will be the one to take the reigns, beat Orton and become a 3-time champion.
Backstage, Sheamus is gearing up, as he is wrestling next.
Rage looks like it will be an amazing game, but I’m more excited for Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Professor Layton and the Last Spector and Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights at the moment.
MATCH 1: Heath Slater vs. Sheamus
Slater got the jobber non-entrance here, so I fully expect him to dominate this match. Yeah. They start with a tie-up, with Sheamus backing Slater into the corner for a clean break. Slater with a waistlock into a side headlock. Sheamus throws him off and shoulder blocks him down off the ropes. Slater slaps Sheamus, who comes back with a forearm to the face. Sheamus ties Slater up into the ropes and clubs the hell out Slater’s chest with some forearms. Sheamus is a frigging beast here. He hits the apron running knee to send Slater back into the ring. Sheamus continues to just destroy Slater in the corner. Slater comes back with a kick and a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Slater with a rear chinlock now. I’m shocked. Sheamus is actually making Slater look credible here. Sheamus misses a slam and a clothesline, allowing Slater to get a hangman’s neckbreaker for 2. Slater does some more stomps, which pisses Sheamus off. He hits a pair of clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl powerslam out of the corner. Sheamus with a running knee lift before going up top for the flying shoulder block. Sheamus drops Slater with the Brogue Kick, and this one’s over.
WINNER: Sheamus. You knew Slater was getting squashed, but give props to Sheamus for trying his damnedest to make Slater look credible. Again, I expect Slater to be future-endeavored after Wrestlemania.
We see the Great Khali walking in the back. Christian stops him. He says Khali will one day get a title match too, and asks if he’d prefer to face someone monstrous like Mark Henry or someone smaller and craftier like Christian. Christian asks if Khali has his back. Khali just stares, so Christian asks if he understands what Christian is saying. Khali says he understands Christian is small. Christian laughs at this before walking away.
MATCH 2: Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel
I would love to see Barrett vs. Sheamus for the World title headline ‘Mania next year. Just saying. Anyway, this match is happening since Gabriel pinned Barrett in their tag team match last week. Man, Barrett has a dapper ring jacket. Gabriel’s entrance music is incredibly generic. Sounds like Tekno Team 2000. Barrett gets Gabriel into the corner and clubbers him. Barrett gets Gabriel tied up in the ropes and hits a vicious running boot, sending Gabriel to the floor. Barrett gets him back in immediately for 2. Gabriel catches a headscissors out of the corner, sending Barrett to the floor. Gabriel hits a somersault plancha to the floor before throwing Barrett back in. Gabriel with a top rope Lionsault for 2. Gabriel hits some kicks, a jumping roundhouse and a punch before going for an STO. Barrett fights out, but Gabriel still manages to catch it on a second attempt. Gabriel goes to the corner for the 450, but Barrett boots him in the face, sending him down to the ring apron. Back in the ring, Barrett with Wasteland and the 3.
WINNER: Wade Barrett. This match was too short for these guys. Both are really talented. I’d love to see them get at least 5 or 10 minutes next time.
Tonight, Randy Orton faces Cody Rhodes…again.
Back from break and Ken Doll is in the back with Orton. He asks Orton for a comment on Cody Rhodes. Orton has no comment on that. He says, as far as Mark Henry at the PPV goes, he’s going to hell, but as the song says, hell ain’t no bad place to be. His words. He’ll be going to hell with Henry at the PPV, or maybe Christian, who has permanent residence there. Either way, he’s bringing back the World title with him.
We get a highlight video of the history on the Hell in a Cell. If you’ve seen this highlight video once, you’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s practically the same one every year.
Christian is in a locker room, talking to Ezekiel Jackson, basically asking Jackson for help tonight. He asks Zeke how many times he’s been World Champion. Zeke doesn’t like this. Christian says, as a former 2-time champion, he knows a future champ when he sees one, basically sucking up to Zeke here.
MATCH 3: AJ and Kaitlyn vs. The Divas of Doom (Natalya and Beth Phoenix)
I love the pseudo-Road Warriors look the DOD have here. Kaitlyn has no knee pads on. I hate that on anyone. Natalya and Kaitlyn start off. Kaitlyn with a dropkick, but Nattie gets her in the ropes. Kick by Phoenix behind the ref’s back. Phoenix tags in, and they hit a double delayed vertical suplex. Phoenix rubs Kaitlyn’s face in the mat. Kaitlyn with a headbutt to the stomach and some punches. AJ tags in and gets some shots. AJ with a corner clothesline and a dropkick to knee. She hits a shining wizard for 2, but Nattie breaks that up. Kaitlyn knocks Nattie out of the ring. AJ tries for a headscissors out of the corner, but Phoenix catches her and kicks her in the stomach. A Glam Slam later, and this one’s over.
WINNERS: The Divas of Doom. Yet another squash victory for Beth and Nattie.
Rhodes/Orton is next. And I cry a little bit.
MATCH 4: Randy Orton vs. Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes (non-title)
Wonder how Rhodes feels about Kaitlyn stealing his look. Bag boys are handing out brown sacks once again. Orton starts off with kicks to the stomach before throwing Rhodes out to the floor. Orton with a European uppercut on the floor before throwing Rhodes into the barricade. Back in the ring, Rhodes cuts Orton off with a chip block to the left leg, followed by several shots. Orton no sells a back elbow out of the corner and hits a bunch of punches. Rhodes with another kick to the knee and now Rhodes is working on the leg with elbows and knees. Rhodes slams Orton’s knee into the mat. Orton gets to his feet, no-sells and hits punches. Rhodes with another kick to the knee out of the corner before wrapping Orton’s leg around the ring post a few times. Rhodes begins taking the turnbuckle pad off behind the ref’s back, but the referee catches it and goes to fix it. Behind the ref’s back, Rhodes clocks Orton with his mask for 2. The referee makes him put it back on. Orton blocks a kick and cracks Rhodes in the face with the mask after pulling it off his head, causing the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Cody Rhodes. After the match, Orton beats the hell out of Rhodes with the protective mask, I don’t know how hard that plastic is, but you can hear each shot connect. Orton gives Rhodes the suspended DDT as the referee tries to calm him down. Another referee-the recently suspended Mike Chioda comes in as well. Orton throws Rhodes to the floor and grabs the timekeeper’s bell. He clocks Rhodes with it. Rhodes has been busted open hardway by the bell. He tries to cover up with a towel, but there’s blood everywhere. Orton hits the RKO on the announcer’s table, but the table wins once again when it doesn’t break. As my wife just said, Rhodes may have a legitimate reason to wear the mask now.
In Sheamus’ locker room, Christian walks up. He offers Sheamus a potato, as “Irish folk” love potatoes. Sheamus says it’s all they eat with a smirk on his face. Christian offers him the first shot at the World title when he wins tonight. Sheamus says he can count on him, and that he’ll cherish the potato. Sheamus proceeds to take a big bite of the potato before spitting it out. He says “This isn’t from Ireland; it’s from Idaho.” Pretty good.
We see a graphic for tonight’s lumberjack match, complete with pictures of all of the lumberjacks. For some reason, the pictures of Sheamus and Brodus Clay (remember him?) are bigger than everyone else’s.
We get another look at Edge on the show Haven. Meh.
MATCH 4: The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal
Khali’s back out to his more upbeat music, so I’m guessing he’s a full-blown face again. Man, the team of him and Mahal lasted long and was just insanely awesome, wasn’t it? I expect Mahal to be future-endeavored with Heath Slater next year, as WWE creative already gave up on him just a couple weeks in. Yes, that really happened. Mahal tells Khali to lay down for him. Khali says no. Mahal gets a kick to the leg and some forearms to the back, but Khali comes back with a clothesline and a chop to the chest in the corner. Mahal slides out of the ring. He comes back in, but right into Khali’s grip. Mahal breaks out with some kicks before hitting a DDT and a jumping knee for 2. Mahal with a front facelock now, but Khali gets back to his feet and just throws Mahal off. Khali with a pair of clotheslines and a punch to the head. Mahal comes back with a kick to the leg, but Khali hits the Punjabi Plunge before pinning Mahal with one foot.
WINNER: The Great Khali. Apparently, tonight’s the night for squash matches. There literally has been nothing else but squashes on here tonight.
MATCH 5: Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan
This is the real Sin Cara this week. If you’re wondering how to tell them apart, the real Sin Cara splits his legs on his entrance dive and has blonde hair hanging out the back of his mask. The fake (Hunico) is taller and more muscular. I’d say Hunico outweighs Sin Cara by around 20 pounds or so. Kind of like the Windham/Sting Halloween Havoc fiasco from the 90’s. Bryan starts off with a side headlock. Cara fights out but turns into a hip throw and side headlock combo from Bryan. Bryan turns it into a surfboard after Cara tries for a headscissors on the mat. Bryan turns it into a pinning combination for 1. Bryan with a European uppercut and an arm wringer. Cara kicks out of a corner charge and goes for a roll-up. He winds up turning it into a body scissors throw. Cara with a kick on the apron and a springboard cross body for 2. He goes for another body scissors, but Bryan turns it into a wheelbarrow suplex for 2. Cara with a handspring back elbow, sending Bryan to the floor. Cara with a running hurricanrana to the floor that sends Bryan part-way into the stairs. Cara throws Bryan back in the ring and climbs the turnbuckles. The ref is checking on Bryan as fake Sin Cara knocks real Sin Cara from the top rope and takes his place. Fake Sin Cara with a swanton bomb to get the 3.
WINNER: Sin Cara. Poor Daniel Bryan.
Backstage, Christian knocks on Orton’s dressing room door. Zack Ryder comes out. Christian begins complimenting Ryder on his appearance on RAW on Monday, as well as Ryder’s sunglasses. Christian asks to be the “Broski of the Week”. Ryder says he can’t because it would be a conflict of interest. Christian starts to ask something, but Ryder’s phone rings (yes, his entrance theme is his ringtone). It’s supposedly Hugh Jackman on the line. Ryder walks away while on the phone. Christian stares at Orton’s door before walking away.
October 18th needs to get here now so I can get my hands on Arkham City already. Oh, and the new Three Musketeers movie looks like crap. I don’t understand how Mila Jovovich gets work period, but I really, REALLY don’t understand how she keeps getting action movie gigs.
MATCH 6: WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom (Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston) vs. The Usos (Jey and Jimmy) (non-title)
The Usos do the Polynesian war dance bit before coming to the ring. They’re also either singing or chanting while they do this. It’s hard to tell since they’re not miked. Bourne starts off with Jey. Bourne with a kick to the face for 1. A kick to the knee, but Jimmy tags in behind Bourne’s back. They catch Bourne off a springboard cross body, with Jimmy turning it into a swinging side slam for 2. Jey tags back in and they hit a version of the Demolition Decapitation. Jimmy tags back in and gets whipped into Bourne in the corner for another 2. Jimmy with a reverse chinlock on Bourne. Bourne kicks at Jimmy’s leg and hits a low hurricanrana. Kingston and Jey both tag in. Kingston with some shots before hitting a dropkick. He gets the pendulum kick out of the corner and a high top rope cross body for 2. Kingston runs into a superkick from Jey off a distraction from Jimmy. Jimmy’s gonna put the moves on Elaine. After some miscommunication by the Usos, Jey eats Trouble in Paradise. Bourne tags in and hits Air Bourne for the 3.
WINNERS: Air Boom.
The lumberjack match for the World title is next. Supposedly, this is the first-ever lumberjack match for the World Championship in SmackDown! history.
We get the RAW video recap which, surprisingly features mostly footage of Zack Ryder beating Dolph Ziggler. I’m alright with that.
MATCH 7-Lumberjack Match for the World Championship: Christian vs. World Champion Mark Henry
The lumberjacks are already out, including Percy Watson and Titus O’Neil from NXT. I just noticed Zeke has the letters “P.O.D.” on the front of his tights. They’re a really sucky band. Both men make their way to the ring and get the formal introductions as we go to commercial.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: Mark Henry. Randy Orton runs down to the ring immediately and lays in some punches. Orton goes for the RKO, but Henry throws him off. Orton connects with a dropkick that sends Henry to the floor.
End of show.
Far too many squash matches for my taste this week, and the main event was pretty weak.
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