It’s time for the usual taped edition of Friday Night Smackdown and I’m going to make a bold prediction: this show will be a MILLION times better than that live craptacular from last week. What is it about the WWE’s inability to take a decent wrestling show like Smackdown and show it off to the fans on a live broadcast?
We open with a shot of Booker T knocked for a loop as the announcers tell the audience that, during Booker’s entrance before the show wound up “on the air,” Cody Rhodes assaulted him. Cody is still at ringside as Michael Cole somehow tries to justify the actions of the Intercontinental Champion. But wait, apparently Lilian Garcia is back! Woo hoo! She gets on the mic but Cody interrupts her and says no one cares about her return because no one noticed she ever left. He talks about the “symmetry” of one announcer dropping out and another coming back. He asks who will spew annoying cliches and go on and on about Fave Fives that include 11 people now that Booker’s gone? Rhodes says the answer is simple: HE will replace Booker on the announce team!
Beat the Clock Challenge
Wade Barrett vs Ezekiel Jackson
If either Wade or Randy Orton win their respective matches faster than the other, that superstar gets to choose the stipulation for their match at TLC. My money’s on a Table Match. Big Zeke has decided to let his hair grow back for his “big return” and I can’t believe that I at one time placed him in my own Fave Five. Thirty seconds in and Barrett has Zeke in a headlock. Jackson powers out and sends Wade to the outside. Barrett gets back in and he’s walloped in the corner. Barrett fights out of it and rams Jackson’s shoulder into the post. We’re at two minutes as Barrett tries for his eleventh cover of the match. Pump handle slam to Jackson only gets two as we jump to commercial.
If Barrett and Orton BOTH lose their respective matches, does that mean the one who took longer to lose gets to pick the stipulation? Just something to think about.
We’re back as Barrett has ANOTHER headlock on Jackson but Zeke powers out and nails his wind-up clothesline in the corner, followed by a sidewalk slam. Zeke nails two body slams but Barrett slips out of a Torture Rack attempt! Wasteland attempt is nullified as Zeke runs Barrett off the ropes but gets caught in a side slam as Barrett picks up the victory in 7:53.
Barrett has a mic and says Orton is the only man who has gotten in his way of winning the World Heavyweight Championship. Wade says that Randy has always had a psychological advantage over his opponents, but this time the only voice in Orton’s head is Barrett’s. Wade declares himself the new apex predator of Smackdown.
Since I didn’t cover Raw in this week’s Stomping Ground, I guess I’ll do it during the commercial breaks.
David Otunga is backstage with Teddy Long, using “legalese” to try to get his loss last week expunged from his record. Honestly, if I were involved in that Christmas debacle, I’d like to forget it ever happened myself. Long says that he’s going to take a page out of John Laurinaitis’s “creative” playbook and force Otunga to compete tonight against Sheamus.
Josh Mathews is in the ring to conduct an interview with Mr. Money in the Bank, Daniel Bryan. Mathews asks him how he’s feeling right now, and DB tells him he feels like he’s let everyone down. He goes on to tell a sob story but Michael Cole interrupts and they get into a shouting match about respect. Cole tells DB to go away and be “a barista in a coffee shop.” DB leaves the ring to confront him but Cody Rhodes attacks his injured ribs until officials rush to ringside to break it up.
Raw Thought #1: Kevin Nash vs Triple H in a Ladder Match? Is the company aware that we’re not currently in the year 1995 when that could even be considered a possibility?
Back from commercial as Cole continues to fume about Daniel Bryan. Mathews calmly tells Cole he should have never interrupted him in the first place and that seems to have shut Cole up. Apparently Rhodes and Bryan will settle things later tonight.
Zack Ryder vs Heath Slater
Ryder gets an entrance and Slater does not. Do the math. Broski Boot followed by Rough Ryder and the match is over. The only thing of note was the latest 1/2/12 video that was shown last Monday popping up in a Twitter feed at the bottom of the screen.
Raw Thought #2: Remember how it was reported that McMahon could care less about the Diva Division? Any doubts should have been put to rest when the “Pin Up Strong” video package was interrupted by the 1/2/12 video.
Ted DiBiase vs Jinder Mahal
Looks like they’re testing the waters with these two to decide whether to continue the feud or end it. We get a classic cut-away promo from Mahal who spews the usual foreign heel “I will beat you and now I’ll speak in my native tongue” shtick. Cole rightly proclaims that DiBiase’s Posse is nothing more than a bunch of freeloaders who show up for the free food and not to hang with Tedward. Mahal is in firm control as Cole is in full PMS mode. Ted attempts a comeback but gets dropped face-first into the second rope. Ted manages to win with a surprise roll up and I guess this feud is far from over.
We get a replay of Big Show choke slamming Trace Adkins at the American Country Awards (didn’t even know that was a thing) last Monday as he heads to the ring before a commercial break.
Raw Thought #3: If this is a subtle way of justifying a John Cena heel turn by having him pander to the crowd every week only to have them boo him, I am totally behind it.
Big Show says it’s been 9 years (!) since he beat Brock Lesnar to become the WWE Champion. He basically goes on to say he hasn’t been champ in a decade and deserves a “Thank You” title run. Hey, if Mark Henry and Kane could have one, why not Show? He says he’s going to close the Hall of Pain for good, but instead of making it sound cool he stumbles through it. Mark Henry comes out and says he’s not afraid of Show, but he’s “half-way hurt.” I still don’t know what the fuck that means. He tells the crowd to shut up and they hilariously chant back, “You shut up!” Henry asks Show what kind of legacy he’d leave behind if he beats Henry when he’s not at 100%. Henry asks that Show wait until TLC as a courtesy and Show says he won’t put his hands on the World Heavyweight Champion. Henry gets in the ring and says they’re two of the biggest big men in the business and in two weeks they’ll have a fight that people will talk about for decades.
Yeah, on Wrestlecrap.
Henry asks for a handshake and to put the past behind them. They actually shake without incident! Henry says that Show might think he’s a monster, but the WHC actually IS a monster as he sucker punches Show! Show responds with a spear and elbow to the injured leg! As Henry rolls out of the ring and crawls up the ramp, Show follows and nails him over the back with a chair! Because they’re having a Chair Match, you see.
Raw Thought #4: I’m not at all concerned about whether Punk can retain his title at TLC. I’m more concerned about what will happen to either del Rio or Miz once they’re out of the title picture.
Sheamus vs David Otunga
Hornswoggle is the special guest ring announcer for this match and now that he can talk, I’m sure I’ll be seeing more of him on Smackdown. Great. Sheamus overpowers Otunga and nails his clubbing blows through the ropes, followed by a suplex back into the ring. Otunga manages to catch Sheamus off-guard but the Great White “no sells” with a smile on his face before knocking Otunga on his ass with a Brogue Kick to end it.
A promo for WWE ’12 is interrupted by the “Look Within” 1/2/12 video from last Monday.
I’ll probably be recapping the Tribute to the Troops show this Tuesday, so catch me then. I’m sure Andrew Wheeler is really upset he won’t be recapping the Nickelback appearance.
Daniel Bryan vs Cody Rhodes
DB is in control at the bell until Rhodes goes to the injured ribs. Rhodes whips Bryan into the corner to further damage the ribs. DB makes a short comeback and winds up on the ring apron, but Cody forces him into the turnbuckle and he tumbles to the floor on the outside. Cole spews his hatred of Bryan as we cut to commercial.
I can’t believe X-Play gave WWE ’12 FIVE STARS. It’s certainly not the best wrestling game I’ve ever played, and with the kinds of glitches I’ve experienced, how could they give it a perfect score? Four stars, sure. But not one mention of the bugs?
We’re back as Rhodes has DB in a stretch in the middle of the ring. Rhodes is all over DB this match as he runs at Bryan but gets back body dropped out of the ring! Suicide dive connects as Cole calls him an idiot for that sacrifice. Rhodes is back into the ring first as DB digs down deep with vicious kicks….but Cody goes right back to the ribs! Bryan stops the assault, climbs the turnbuckle…and misses with a diving headbutt! Booker T rushes to the ring and attacks Rhodes to draw the DQ! Cole shows his hypocrisy by claiming Booker ambushed him…even though Rhodes did the exact same thing during the show’s opening moments.
And what could have saved this from becoming a show of two-minute matches ended in a DQ. Exciting.
Teddy Long is distracted backstage by Aksana, who asks for her own show on the WWE Network. Cody Rhodes barges in and demands a match with Booker T, so Teddy gives it to him…at TLC for the Intercontinental Championship! Rhodes storms away as Aksana seems captivated by the Dashing One.
Matt Striker is backstage with Randy Orton as he tries to explain he’s using reverse psychology to get into Barrett’s head. Uh, yeah.
Wondering why we haven’t seen any Divas? Apparently a tag match was filmed where Kaitlyn turned on AJ to join Beth Phoenix and Natalya, but the company decided to drop the match and the angle for the time being.
Beat the Clock Challenge
Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler
Orton must win in less than 7:53 to choose the stipulation for his match with Barrett at TLC. I hate the opening to Dolph’s theme. Go back to being perfection, please. Orton starts things with a BEAUTIFUL drop kick! Snap suplex gets a two count. Dolph tries to escape from the ring but Randy grabs his leg. Dolph reverses a whip to the ropes but gets clotheslined for his trouble. Ziggler begs him off in the corner and suckers Randy in for a kick to the leg. Ziggler is sent to the corner, leaps up and over a charging Orton, but eats ANOTHER clothesline from the Viper! A third whip into the ropes is successfully reversed into an uppercut followed by a FameAsser for a two count. Ziggler has Orton trapped in a choke hold as Randy struggles to his feet with Dolph on his back. Ziggler lands a DDT for another near fall. Four minutes remain as Ziggler keeps Orton grounded. Neck breaker from Ziggler gets another two count as the clock counts down. Dolph climbs the turnbuckle but Orton stops him and nails a vicious superplex! Dolph misses a Stinger Splash and Orton hits a series of stiff clotheslines. Patented Orton backbreaker gets a two count. Dolph attempts the ZigZag but Orton reverses him into the second-rope DDT. You know, awkwardly. Ziggler falls out of the ring and he’s dead weight as Orton attempts to get him back into the ring. Barrett BLINDSIDES Orton as Vickie Guerrero provides the distraction! The ref is counting Orton out as he crawls back to the ring! RKO from out of nowhere as Randy gets the pinfall victory with 2 seconds remaining!
Barrett attacks Orton again and asks for a mic. He congratulates Orton and says he’s going to make a suggestion to Orton about the type of match they should have. Well looky here! It’s a table! Barrett attempts Wasteland but Randy slips behind him. Orton tries for a power bomb but gets rammed into the ring apron. Barrett escapes up the ramp so Orton power bombs Ziggler through the table instead!
And that’s all she wrote for this edition of Smackdown. Honestly, the only good thing tonight was the main event. That’s not enough to give the show a good rating. Sure, it had more wrestling than last week, but four lackluster matches are unacceptable. Perhaps it will take TWO weeks to get back into the swing of things.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: aksana, big show, Booker T, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Ezekiel Jackson, Heath Slater, Hornswoggle, Intercontinental Championship, Jinder Mahal, Josh Mathews, Lillian Garcia, Mark Henry, Michael Cole, Mike Gojira, randy orton, sheamus, Smackdown, ted dibiase, Teddy Long, TLC, Vickie Guerrero, Wade Barrett, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, zack ryder