Salutations, my erstwhile audience! Welcome to another awesome edition of the Not-So-Live Smackdown Report. I’m your sarcastic and spoiler-free host, Mike Gojira. Well, spoiler-free in that I haven’t checked out the Smackdown spoilers before I watched the show. Obviously this recap will have spoilers…it IS a recap, after all. Here’s hoping that the TWO title matches we have on tap don’t end in a completely over-the-top fashion.
Who the fuck am I kidding? I’m dreading them already.
Time to kick things off with a video recap of last week’s main event between Randy Orton and Wade Barrett. Didn’t see it? Why not read about it? Anywho, if the WWE were smart they’d drop the whole “Daniel Bryan is a pussy champion” angle and make him the plucky “little engine that could” and give Barrett a title match against DB at the Royal Rumble. Seeing as how this IS the WWE, they’re going to prolong the Mark Henry/Big Show/Daniel Bryan deal for as long as possible because Henry suffered an unforeseen injury and neither Creative nor Vince McMahon remembers how to call an audible in terms of storylines these days. Anyway, the clip ends with Barrett escaping through the fire doors (which is clearly a heel move since you’re not supposed to use that exit) as we get a long, solemn shot of a crumpled Orton at the bottom of the stairs.
Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes vs Booker T
Can I just say that I love Cody’s swagger in his entrance? He definitely looks like he’s having fun out there, which is all you can ask of your performers. The more they love what they do, the more effort they’ll put into their work ethic, says I. We start with a typical exchange of grapple holds until Cody heads off the ropes and takes a shoulder tackle to the mat. Booker nails a series of knees in the corner and lands an elbow to the face after an Irish whip. Cody fights back by trapping Booker in the corner. Hard whip into the corner drops the former King of the Ring. Booker fights out of an arm lock and they go chop for chop, followed by a back body drop to Rhodes! Side kick sends Cody to the mat but it’s not enough to put him away. Cody gets sent over the top rope but he skins the cat. Booker responds by clotheslining him right off the apron! Cody suckers Booker in and throws him into the barricade as we head to commercial.
THIS is how you start a wrestling show. Right to the action, no 20-minute promo bullshit, and a fun match between two competitors who can go.
Back to the action in the ring and the heel is in control. Cody attempts a clothesline but Booker ducks and nails him with a kick to the head. More chops and forearms in the corner before Booker whips Cody into the opposite turnbuckle. Cody nails an elbow to the face as Booker runs after him and here comes a moonsault from the Intercontinental Champion! Looks like Cody may have tweaked his knee on that landing as he covers for two. Rhodes limps for a bit before he lands a series of kicks on his downed opponent. Booker gets a flurry of offense before ending it with a side slam for a two count! Booker T calls for the Scissors Kick…Rhodes dodges but gets set up for the BookEnd…he fights out of it and attempts the Beautiful Disaster…Booker avoids it and tries for another Scissors Kick! He nails it! Cover for ONE, TWO, THR…Cody kicks out! Booker can’t believe it as he continues to take it to Rhodes. Booker seems confused as it looked like he was going for another side kick, then decided to aim for another Scissors Kick instead. That goes nowhere as the crowd is just dead for this sequence. Cody finally hits the Beautiful Disaster and this one’s in the books. Booker T is left standing in the ring as the fans cheer for his valiant attempt.
Bit of a slow ending sequence, but otherwise a good title defense which ended the only way it should have.
Michael Cole is talking shit about Booker as Goldust (dressed as Dustin Rhodes) congratulates Cody backstage. Cody says he’s already better than Goldust and has nothing to say to his brother. He even goes so far to say that he might be better than dear old dad (perish the thought!). Rhodes warns his brother against putting on the gold paint one more time because he’ll just end up looking foolish like Booker T.
Meanwhile (in the Hall of Justice), Teddy Long is in his office with Zack Ryder, who thanks Teddy for letting him be Assistant GM on Smackdown for the past few months. Ryder says it’s time for a replacement. Cue Drew McIntyre, who is actually a red herring as Drew says he’s not here for that. Ryder says he wasn’t talking about McIntyre; he was talking about Santino Marella! The Milan Miracle tells Long he’ll be a great assistant and reminds Teddy that Drew should be fired for losing last week. McIntyre takes exception to this and actually calls Santino a “little pasta e fagioli” (that’s “pasta fazul” for you non-Italians) but before he can do anything, Teddy makes a match between the two of them. If Santino wins, he’ll be Assistant GM. If Drew wins, Teddy will consider letting him keep his job. Aksana interrupts and Santino overreacts like a horny cartoon wolf. He pretends to make the “Santino’s arm is a raging hard-on” joke but decides to leave instead as Teddy asks Aksana out to dinner after the show, which she accepts.
It’s looking more and more likely that Goldust will be in a program with his bro; this exchange all but cemented it. However, can we get a midcard feud for Cody that DOESN’T involve a near-retired competitor after they’re done?
Royal Rumble Recap: 2008 in Madison Square Garden. Probably the last time any NYC crowd will ever pop wildly for John Cena, though I think it was more for the surprise factor than anything else.
AJ Lee and Alicia Fox are backstage chatting about their New Year’s Eve and AJ gushes about Daniel Bryan and how she’s worried about his match tonight. Fox asks if his ego could handle a loss, and the WHC happens to overhear as he walks into view. He reminds them that he beat Big Show before and he’ll do it again, though he neglects to mention the circumstances. Yep, he’s definitely turned heel. Sigh. Fox walks off, AJ voices her concern, DB reassures her, yada yada yada. Now I’m REALLY dreading this title match.
Over the Top Rope Challenge: Hornswoggle vs Heath Slater
As is the norm these days around the time of the Royal Rumble, we get a short match which basically reviews the rules of the Rumble match itself. Unfortunately, this time we have Hornswoggle and Heath Slater. Neither one of them does anything for me, so I could care less how this turns out. I’d put money on a Sheamus run-in just so the WWE can say he was on the show. Hornswoggle makes Slater look like a chump as Cole calls Heath an idiot. Good call, Michael. The crowd boos Slater’s offense and Cole asks why. Really, Cole? Really? Slater tries to dump the leprechaun over the top rope but Hornswoggle grabs him by the hair and dumps Slater over the top rope! After the match, Slater attacks the little guy until Justin Gabriel runs in for the save! Guess I was wrong about Sheamus. Josh Mathews reminds us that Gabriel’s called the “Cape Town Werewolf” and I have no fucking clue why.
I just realized that we’ve only actually had one match this entire night. I’m not counting that exhibition we just witnessed. What, is the entire Smackdown crew injured?
Ted DiBiase vs Hunico w/ Camacho
Hunico claims he was not invited to a DiBiase Posse party and he takes offense to that. By the way, that low rider bicycle looks stupid. All it needs is a basket and a bell. Ooh, ooh! Maybe baseball cards in the wheel spokes! Nothing screams badass like a Huffy with a low seat. Just to make the concept even less dignified, Michael Cole tells us he bought one for Christmas and is currently taking lessons. The match starts with a couple of arm drag takedowns by DiBiase. He follows that up with a beautiful headscissors into a face plant!
Mathews: “Ted DiBiase is a Southern gentleman.”
Cole: “What do you know about Southern gentlemen? You live in Jersey!”
Ted pretty much dominates this match until Dream Street is countered into a bizarre submission/pin attempt that I can’t really do justice by describing. Hunico essentially traps Ted’s arms under his legs, twists DiBiase’s legs like a pretzel, and uses the leverage for a crucifix pin that gets the job done! I don’t know any other way to describe it. Look for a clip.
It doesn’t seem like DiBiase is getting that midcard push I expected once he turned face.
Wade Barrett is in the ring now and he says he told the doctors they didn’t have to come to the ring to update us on Orton’s status; he’ll do it himself. Good, because I have no interest in hearing a doctor cut a promo. Barrett has the gall to say Randy injured himself as we see footage (again) of what happened last week. Barrett says Orton has a herniated disk in his lower back, but his career is finished. “The Viper is extinct! Just another victim of the Barrett Barrage!” Barrett says it’s ironic that the Royal Rumble is going to take place in Orton’s home town and he won’t be in the match. Obviously this means that Randy will be a surprise entrant or at least interfere and cost Barrett the match, so thanks for the spoiler, Wade. Cue Sheamus and a story about Uncle Wilfred, a boaster who was just a sheepherder (pronounced sheepHOARDer) who talked about fantastic battles that he never had due to a kick to the head when he was a kid. He asks Wade what his excuse is for “acting like a horse’s arse.”
Jinder Mahal interrupts for no reason and slaps Sheamus in the face. The heels double team the Great White until Sheamus manages to fight them off. He goes for the Celtic Cross on Barrett but the numbers game catches up to him and Barrett drops Sheamus with the Winds of Change (side slam). Mahal locks in the Camel Clutch on a prone Sheamus and the humiliation continues for the former WWE Champion. Expect a quick squash of Mahal next week.
Before we go to commercial, we get a Tale of the Tape between Big Show and Daniel Bryan. Listed under Big Show’s accomplishments is the shortest World Title reign in history. I wouldn’t put that on a resume if I were him.
Santino Marella vs Drew McIntyre
Drew bullies Santino as the match begins while the announcers shit all over McIntyre, including Cole. This angle is either designed to light a fire under Drew or to humiliate him on the way out the door. I hope it’s the former. Drew places Santino on the top turnbuckle but Santino forces him off. He calls for the Cobra and actually nails it! Strike two for Drew as Santino picks up the victory! Cole actually compares Smackdown to the end of WCW in response to Santino and Teddy Long running the show.
Michael Cole cuts to footage of him defeating Daniel Bryan in the new WWE ’12 video game.
I just don’t get it. I really don’t. You have an announcer who berates and bashes a guy the company chose to represent them as the World Heavyweight Champion, but instead of having Bryan wrestle like he should to shut the naysayers and Cole up, they have him act like a cocky heel who gets fluke wins. What’s the point? You’re reinforcing what that douchebag Cole says and in return the company looks foolish for even putting the belt on him at all. To make matters worse, I have no idea what the endgame is for all of this, but it doesn’t look good.
Aaaaaaaand we’re back with Teddy Long telling Drew backstage that if loses next week, he’s done. Santino celebrates with his air trumpet and this segues into Rosa Mendes shaking those amazing hips of hers and I completely forgot what I was talking about. I’m Ron Burgundy?
Epico and Primo w/ Rosa Mendes vs Air Boom
In a taped promo, Rosa says in Spanish that teaming her up with Epico and Primo guarantees that they will become the top tag team in the WWE. How do I know that? I know me some Spanish, son. Epico and Bourne start things off until Evan tags in Kofi Kingston. Primo distracts Kingston long enough for Epico to regain control. Whip into the corner is turned into a leaping cross body by Kofi and both men are able to make the hot tag after that. Bourne is on top of things with a leaping double knee off the top rope! Epico breaks up the pin attempt so Kofi gets involved and things start to break down in the ring. Epico goes outside the ring and Kofi plans on a suicide dive but Rosa gets in the way. The distraction allows Epico to trip Kofi up and pull him out of the ring. Back inside the ring, Bourne goes to the top but Air Bourne misses as Epico pulls Primo out of the way! Primo covers him for the win as Rosa’s fantabulous hips shimmy and shake to their theme song. I think I want them to win every match from now on.
Matt Striker is backstage interviewing Big Show, asking him about his confidence level. Big Show says he’s extremely confident even though his opponent is a good wrestler. “Good wrestler? Good wrestler?” says Daniel Bryan in disbelief. DB says he’ll one day be a great wrestler, then insults Show by adding that if he had his size AND DB’s skill, it wouldn’t have been 9 years between his title runs. OUCH. Show places his hand on Bryan’s shoulder but DB shrugs him off. “So now you’re a tough guy?” inquires Big Show.
Ugh. This is exactly the opposite of how this title run should be booked.
Natalya vs Tamina
We get a couple of nice video packages giving props to both Jim Neidhart and Jimmy Snuka to promote this second-generation superstar match. Natalya is a “house of fire” as she takes Tamina down from the get-go. She attempts a Sharpshooter but Tamina pushes her off and nails a cross body as Nattie heads off the ropes. Tamina hits a Samoan drop and climbs to the top for the Superfly Splash and that’ll do it.
Not bad for what it was, considering it was a Divas match.
Royal Rumble Recap: 1988 at the Trump Coliseum in Ontario. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan’s only real accomplishment in the WWE, besides being the only man who carried a 2×4 to the ring and didn’t use it as a weapon.
World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan vs Big Show
Remember how I said this three-way bullshit between Show/Henry/Bryan would continue? You can call me the greatest prognosticator of all time because here comes Mark Henry to the commentary table. The fans are booing Daniel Bryan and it’s bizarre to hear Mathews defend the heel champ while Cole tears into him. Michael Cole asks Henry who would win in a match between Daniel Bryan and Hornswoggle and Henry actually tells Cole to shut up and stop asking stupid questions! Way to go, Mark! Show chases DB around the ring like a god damn Warner Brothers cartoon until he catches him in the corner. He tosses DB out of the ring as we head to commercial.
This is just surreal. Face commentators defending heel champions, heel commentators spouting facts to defend their opinions, and Mark Henry as the voice of reason. I’m REALLY, REALLY dreading this match.
We’re back! Daniel Bryan is outside the ring still and uses his speed to avoid a rampaging giant. DB hits a running knee to the face to knock Show down outside the ring, hoping for a count out. Show gets back in and DB hits a series of kicks to the head. Missile dropkick gets a two count as Show powers out of the pin attempt, sending the World Heavyweight Champion to the outside. All throughout this match Mark Henry demands that DB man up and now is no different as he yells for Bryan to get back in the ring. DB climbs to the top rope for another drop kick but Show chops him down in midair! Show fires back with a series of clotheslines and a whip into the corner, but DB dodges as Show charges after him. Bryan heads off the ropes but Show spears him! DB kicks out at two as Mark Henry praises his resolve. Show calls for the choke slam but Daniel Bryan traps him in a guillotine choke! Show tries to power out but it’s reversed into the Lebell Lock! Show looks to be ready to tap but he powers out! He calls for the WMD but Bryan escapes the ring. He gets in Mark Henry’s face so Mark pushes him and DB wins by DQ!
So the tradition of free title matches with shoddy finishes continues this week. Obviously it’s to promote the upcoming PPV, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. Oh well, at least it was a fun match before the ending. In all, Smackdown was miles above Raw this week in terms of quality, so there’s that.
That’s all from me this week here at the Pulse. I’ll see you next week with an all-new Stomping Ground. Speaking of which, check out the 50th edition from this past Thursday if you haven’t already done so.
So long, and thanks for all the fish.
Tags: air boom, aj lee, aksana, alicia fox, big show, Booker T, Camacho, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Drew McIntyre, Epico, goldust, Heath Slater, Hornswoggle, hunico, Intercontinental Championship, Jinder Mahal, Josh Mathews, Justin Gabriel, Mark Henry, Matt Striker, Michael Cole, Mike Gojira, Natalya, Primo, randy orton, Rosa Mendes, Santino Marella, sheamus, Smackdown, tamina, ted dibiase, Teddy Long, Wade Barrett, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, zack ryder