TONIGHT! It's the first SmackDown of the year and there's a hell of a card in store for us! Daniel Bryan defends the World Heavyweight Championship against The Big Show, while Cody Rhodes and Booker T have one final clash for the IC title! SmackDown is NOW!
So I was out for most of Friday and since there's NFL games to be played in a bit, I'm going to skimp on transcription today. Now before we dive in, let's quickly get into a new feature here on the SD recap...
IT'S FALSE IS WRONG: And it's in regards to Chris Jericho...
Originally posted by Me from the 11/28/11 Raw threadThese viral YouTube plugs have "Chris Jericho" written all over them. Man, are people going to be sorely disappointed when it winds up NOT being Chris Jericho.
Once again, we've learned that, at the end of the day, I don't know JACK! No matter how much I try and say otherwise, I just don't.
The Champ may or may not Be Here, as my DVR kicks in with a video package from last week's Orton/Barrett match, culminating with Barrett sending Orton off to the IR.
Opening credits - Do You Know Your Enemy? It's a new year...same old theme song. Opening pyro! We are taped from Little Rock, Arkansas. Tonight, we'll have an update on Randy Orton. Plus, a world title match. Your hosts are the two jackelopes. We're missing one jackelope and that's because he's in action RIGHT NOW!
BOOKER T v. CODY RHODES: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH We take a look at what happened last week between Cody Rhodes and his brother, Dustin, to seamlessly set up THEIR feud.
We start with a wrestling sequence, which Booker wins with a shoulderblock. Booker hammers away in the corner and hits a back elbow for 1. Cody takes control in the corner and hammers away. He follows with a corner whip with authority. Rhodes begins working over the arm before both men start exchanging chops. Booker hits a back drop. Booker hits the arm wringer/kick combo for 2. Booker dumps Rhodes, but Cody skins the cat, so Booker clotheslines him out. Rhodes suckers Booker in and drops him on the barricade to send us to our first ad break of 2012.
We come back with Rhodes in full control. Booker gets a backslide for 2. Standing side kick gets 2. Booker chops away in the corner. Booker's corner charge eats elbow. Rhodes tries a quick top-rope moonsault, which BARELY hits (though the form looked nice) and it looks like Rhodes might have dinged himself. Rhodes walks it off and hammers away in the corner. Rhodes tries to get his bearings by hitting the keylock. Booker makes the babyface comeback. Side slam gets 2. Spinebuster gets 2 for Booker. Ask Kick misses! Rhodes escapes the Bookend, but misses the Beautiful Disaster! Booker nails the Ask Kick...for 2! Booker tries for another Ask Kick and misses. Harlem Sidekick is countered with the Beautiful Disaster and Cody retains the title at 12 minutes!
WINNER: Cody Rhodes - A great match to kick off the new year. Booker was VERY game tonight and the focus should be on how much heart Booker showed tonight. So naturally, Cole buries him, because he's a dick.
Post-match, Booker gets up to a big pop from the crowd.
Later tonight, we get the status of Randy Orton. Dig the SCARY MUSIC!
Ad break - Raw promo featuring Chris Jericho
Let's take a look at the match that just happened. Cole buries Booker some more, which is just the crux of all of the problems with the commentary in a nutshell. Nobody comes away from this wanting to boo Cody. They come away from this feeling stupid that they ever bothered to cheer for Booker. It's a lesson that they JUST...REFUSE...TO LEARN!
That takes us backstage to Cody Rhodes. Dustin congratulates Cody on his win. Cody tells Dustin to shove it, because he's the bigger success between the two. Cody warns Dustin against one more run, threatening to make a laughing stock out of him.
Elsewhere backstage, Zack Ryder thanks Teddy Long for everything, telling him that he's moving on from the Assistant GM job. Ryder says he's found a replacement, but Drew McIntyre enters the picture. Ryder says he didn't mean McIntyre, but rather, he means Santino Marella. Ryder leaves Santino to Teddy and exits. Santino offers his many capabilities to Long, including giving him the vital information that Drew McIntyre LOST last week! This gets Drew's ire up (calling Santino a pasta fazool, no less!), but Long interjects and makes a match between Drew and Santino. Teddy says that if Santino wins, he'll officially become the Assistant GM. If Drew wins...he gets to keep his job! McIntyre exits in time for the saxaphone music to hit. And now we've devolved into nonsense, so let's move on...
Later tonight, Daniel Bryan faces The Big Show.
Royal Rumble Highlights! In 2008, Triple H makes his big entrance...before John Cena makes his SURPRISE (and nobody needs to lie here, we were ALL legit shocked at this) return at #30 to win the whole thing.
Backstage, AJ and Alicia Fox talk about Daniel Bryan. Fox talks about Bryan's ego. Daniel Bryan enters the picture and takes umbrage with the ego comments. Bryan gets defensive, thinking nobody believes in him. Bryan says there will be celebration between him and AJ after his win tonight.
HORNSWOGGLE v. HEATH SLATER: OVER-THE-TOP-ROPE CHALLENGE We take a look at what happened last week between Sheamus, Hornswoggle, and Heath Slater. That...mind-bogglingly...has led to THIS atrocity. Let's just skip to the end of this nonsense.
WINNER: Hornswoggle - Utterly hideous.
Post-match, Slater lays out Hornswoggle with a big boot. The save is quickly made by JUSTIN GABRIEL, who has nothing better to do. Gabriel tops this off with the Sternum-Crushing 450 Splash. Hit Gabriel's music!
Later tonight, we find out Randy Orton's status.
TED DiBIASE v. HUNICO (w/CAMACHO) Well, a Ted DiBiase match is definitely a step up from that last "match". Hunico has a mic. Hunico and Camacho take offense to never being invited to party with the DiBiase Posse and threaten to crash their party.
We start with a wrestling sequence, which DiBiase wins. Hunico tries for a swinging headscissors, but DiBiase plants him on his face for 2. Corner charge eats boot and Hunico chucks DiBiase at the turnbuckle. Hunico hits a couple of armbreakers and hits the armbar. DiBiase tries to come back, but Hunico takes him down with the armbar. DiBiase counters with a Samoan Drop. Hunico's corner charge misses and DiBiase hits a dropkick to make the babyface comeback. Dream Street is countered with an armbreaker. Hunico tries for the armbar again, but turns DiBiase into a pretzel for the pin at 3 minutes and change.
WINNER: Hunico - Short, but what we saw was pretty good.
Backstage, the backstage doctors are asking Wade Barrett about what happened last week. We learn Randy Orton's status next!
We are joined by WADE BARRETT for a promo segment. He's in WWE Magazine, you know. Barrett says that Orton injured himself and he's showing video from last week to prove it. Barrett says that Orton has a herniated disc and that his career is, for all intents and purposes, over. Barrett rubs in that the Royal Rumble is in Orton's hometown and that he'll be missing it. Barrett says he'll be winning the Royal Rumble.
Interruption comes from "THE GREAT WHITE" SHEAMUS, who wants to tell some more Irish lore. He talks about his great uncle Wilford, who told great fantasies that weren't true. This segues into Sheamus saying that HE'LL be winning the Royal Rumble and calls Barrett a horse's arse.
Next interruption comes from JINDER MAHAL, of all people. Even the announcers have no idea why HE'S here. Mahal gets in Sheamus' face and slaps him. So Sheamus starts beating the crap out of him before Barrett attacks him from behind. Sheamus holds his own for a good while, making a pretty good comeback. But he makes the mistake of trying for the High Cross and the numbers take over when Barrett hits the Boss Man Slam (now called The Winds of Change) to put an end to this heel beatdown. Hit Barrett's music! Barrett exits and Mahal puts Sheamus in the Camel Clutch for fun. Hit Mahal's music now!
Your hosts are the two ding-a-lings. They recap the three-way story between Daniel Bryan, Big Show, and Mark Henry. That leads to Tazz's old Tale of the Tape feature and...yeah, it looks kinda one-sided.
Ad break - WWE Best Matches of 2011 DVD promo
SANTINO MARELLA v. DREW McINTYRE Drew does not get his full entrance this week, unfortunately. There's a really cute irony in hearing the announcers talk about how Drew needs to win, otherwise he deserves to be released in order to let fresh new talent in. Meanwhile, here's Santino Marella, who hasn't won in ages and is doing the same exact schtick he's been doing for years. The ironing is delicious.
Santino takes control with some comedy offense. Santino tries the leapfrog corner counter, but McIntyre has it scouted and kicks Santino in mid-leap! McIntyre hits a corner clothesline/snap suplex combo for 2. Future Shock is countered with a wheelbarrow pin for 2. McIntyre continues to hammer away in the corner. McIntyre tries for a superplex, but Santino falls out and Drew gets crotched. THE COBRA~! finishes for Santino in a two-minute special.
WINNER: Santino Marella - Short match, but pretty decent. I really hope they're going somewhere with this McIntyre angle, because it's staggering how much Drew has improved since he first started.
Post-match, Santino celebrates. Rusty Trombone! Cole says the company's about to go the WCW route now. Well, the commentary's already there, so what's another step in that direction? Your hosts are the two cold sores. Cole shows off footage of WWE 12, with himself beating Daniel Bryan and winning the world title. Yup.
Later tonight, Daniel Bryan faces The Big Show.
Ad break - WWE Year in Review promo
Backstage, Drew McIntyre pleads his case to Teddy Long. Long says that it's strike two and that if he loses next week, he gets fired. McIntyre exits frustrated, just as Santino enters and tells Teddy that they're going to make beautiful music. Santino blows another Rusty Trombone!
EPICO & PRIMO (w/ROSA MENDES) v. AIR BOOM Sigh...look, I like all four of these guys. I really do. But how many times are we going to SEE this match? SERIOUSLY!
WINNERS: Epico & Primo - Remember when WWE said they were going to bolster the tag division? I would have hoped that'd mean adding more than two teams.
Backstage, the demoted Matt Striker talks to The Big Show. Show says he's confident about tonight. Daniel Bryan enters the picture and takes offense to Show's praise, feeling that he's beign sold short. Bryan brings up Show's short title reign again. Show tries to warn Bryan, but Bryan angrily brushes him off.
Ad break - Be a Star promo
We learn that based on what happened earlier tonight, Sheamus will face Jinder Mahal next week. Sigh...look, guys, I appreciate the effort in trying to set some backstory up and set up matches in advance. But that doesn't erase the fact that we've seen these two fight at least three times in the span of a month and all of the matches have SUCKED!
NATALYA v. TAMINA We see a brief video package on Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart for Natalya and a video package on "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka for Tamina. But Natalya doesn't get an entrance, so she's cannon fodder, of course. And no, I still don't know who the face is supposed to be here...nor do I care.
WINNER: Tamina - Remember when Natalya was...oh, forget it.
Raw Rewind wastes some more time.
Daniel Bryan and Big Show walk backstage. Their match is next!
Royal Rumble moment! We go back to 1988, with Hacksaw Jim Duggan winning the very first Royal Rumble by lowbridging the One Man Gang.
"THE WORLD'S STRONGEST MAN" MARK HENRY makes his entrance. He's going to join the commentary team. Well, that should be interesting.
THE BIG SHOW v. DANIEL BRYAN: WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH We get the championship intros to start. Bryan is noticeably getting heel heat and he's noticeably getting VERY heelish, playing up his arrogance for all it's worth.
Cole: So Mark, I've gotta ask you, who would win a matchup between Daniel Bryan and Hornswoggle. Mark: I can't believe you asked me a dumb question like that. What relevancy does that have to me being out here and me not having that title? You tell me! Cole: I guess none. I apologize, Mark. I mean, I'm just trying to add...trying to bring a little... Mark: If you don't have nothing smart to say, don't say nothing at all!
GODDAMN, I LOVE MARK HENRY! He's one pimpslap away from being my favorite wrestler of all-time!
Bryan tries dodging Show with his speed. Bryan tries to kick at Show, but Show catches him and chops away. Show picks Bryan up and chucks him down, sending him out of the ring to send us to our final ad break of the night.
We come back with Bryan kicking away, but getting shoved out with one hand. Show gives chase, but gets caught with a baseball slide. Bryan tries for a pescado and is caught easily. Bryan shoves Show into the steel post and comes off the apron with a running knee. Henry's disgust over both guys is just GREAT! Show comes back in and chops Bryan.
Mark: Dang, the referee...he is definitely getting paid for this. That's the slowest count I ever saw. Cole: Well, he IS on the payroll. Mark: ...My God, tell you what, you say one more word, Im'ma slap the taste out yo' mouth, you understand me? Cole: Yes, sir.
This is the most entertained I've been by the commentary in YEARS! Bryan takes Show down with a dropkick to the knee and hits the Tajiri kicks. That just gets 1 and it's a kickout with authority. Show's corner charge eats boot. Henry is within INCHES of murdering both Cole and Matthews at this point. Top-rope seated dropkick takes Show down, but it's another kickout with authority to send Bryan out. Henry yells at Bryan to get back in the ring. Show palms Bryan's head and tries to pull him back in, but Bryan hangs Show on the top-rope. Bryan tries to come off the top, but gets caught with a chop. Show makes the babyface comeback. Show misses a corner buttsplash, but hits a spear for 2. Show calls for the chokeslam, but Bryan gets the choke sleeper! Show breaks the hold loose, but Bryan seamlessly transitions to the LeBell Lock! Show rolls through it and tries for the Mayweather Sucker Punch, but Bryan slips away to the outside. Bryan looks like he's completely out of ideas, so he goes to his one ace in the hole...poking Mark Henry. Bryan gets in Henry's face, so Henry shoves him down! Bryan looks up at the referee and PLEADS for a DQ! Referee Scott Armstrong hesitates...and AGREES!
WINNER BY DQ: Daniel Bryan - This was a very interesting match, really helping get Bryan's recent character over. Oh, and Mark Henry's commentary is AWESOME!
Post-match, Bryan gives a REALLY over-the-top celebration, to a lot of heel heat. And so we end the show with Big Show and Mark Henry yelling at each other, while Daniel Bryan kisses the title on top of the ramp and celebrates like 1998-era Chris Jericho.
Memo to the E: When I said that it was a bad idea to turn Big Show heel...I didn't mean turn DANIEL BRYAN heel! That still means you have a glut of heels, made more glaring now that Randy Orton's gone!
Having said that, if they're insistent on going in that direction, you can't fault the execution. Bryan's playing this role BRILLIANTLY, using increasingly weaselly tactics and playing up his arrogance to a tee. But the best part about this is that Bryan is still convinced that he's the babyface, just because he's the Cinderella story. The crux of this angle is "I overcame great odds and nobody believed in me! I'm not a bad guy! CHEER ME, DAMMIT!" and that's...genius!
Naturally, the elephant in the room is Michael Cole. Does a Daniel Bryan heel turn make Cole a de facto face? My head just exploded.
This show wins for the opener and the main event. The rest I could take or leave.
Easily, the best Smackdown of 2012 (if I can steal @WWERawGM's joke. Which I just did.)
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show at the start looked like Lil Mac vs. Bald Bull from Mike Tyson's Punch Out.
I'm starting to enjoy Bryan's Owen Hart impression. All that's missing from his victory celebrations is screaming "I'M A WINNER!! WOOOO!!"
Also intriguing in terms of Bryan's heelness is what this means for AJ as his girlfriend. She's fallen under his sway; as he turns into the little asshole with the big gold belt, she's little by little transforming into little asshole of the Divas. I guess this is why they aborted the Kaitlyn heel turn and joining the Divas of Doom weeks ago. (Well, that and their weekly Morrisoning of Natalya.)
Let there be no doubt, however, of Mark Henry's incredible commentary. Moreso than Bryan's heelishness, I think Henry turned face on the mic. He spent the whole match yelling at the Heel Voice of WWE Michael Cole, even threatening him numerous times with bodily harm. He furiously scorned Bryan repeatedly for cowardly escaping to the outside and running from Show. And he spoke of his own dominance and credibility as champion. Everything Henry said was true. No one was more disgusted with Bryan's antics.
In Vince McMahon's world, the Goliaths are the good guys and David is the heel.
(edited by John Orquiola on 7.1.12 1256) @BackoftheHead
While I enjoyed Henry on the mic, I think trying to turn Bryan heel is bad idea. The little heel vs. the big faces sometimes leads to the little heel getting sympathy thus blowing up in everyone's face. I can't see Cole being a face after how awful his commentary has been. I am not loving this plan especially with Show acting like a heel for the most part prior to this.
The Wee Baby Sheamus.
Twitter: @realjoecarfley its a bit more toned down there. A bit.
Great, well executed main event, and yes, Mark Henry was awesome on commentary. The way he handled Cole was priceless! He even took the time to put Daniel Bryan over at one point, when he said something like: If he's able to take that, he's got to have something. (after Big Show's spear)
If WWE spent as much effort on other wrestlers as they do on pushing Hornswoggle, then they really wouldn't have as much trouble creating new stars.
I appreciate the international flavour of Smackdown! They needed a replacement for the Great Khali, who was huge in India and opened up another market for them. Jinder Mahal seems to be solid, and at least they're trying to get a few new acts over with him, Hunico and Camacho, and Epico and Primo.
I thought the main event was fantastically executed by all concerned. Yes, Mark Henry was absolute gold on commentary, but Daniel Bryan's been portraying his new character so well that the slow burn heel turn isn't so slow after all. I think it's clicking big-time, Bryan's new character is MONEY. If indeed the rumours of Orton vs Bryan for the gold at Mania are true, then I'm damn sure excited at the potential of that.
Maybe I'm living under a rock, but this is the first I've heard about Cena having any limitations on what he can do. Meltzer was reporting on Monday that Cena was fine after the RR, it just looked a lot worse than it actually was.