Is this my gig now? I know I'm not as good as those who came before me, but having some kind of show recap put up the night of the show is better than none. Like last week, doing it by memory, so a promo segment here or there might wind up out of order!
Alberto Del Rio opened the show in his expensive car du jour, though without a ring intro from Ricardo. I should mention that Michael Cole was indeed out to do commentary despite the match he'd been in on Raw. Just can't get rid of him even for one show! Del Rio wanted to share footage from Monday on Raw, of him ambushing and beating down Sheamus, including the cross-armbreaker with Sheamus hanging off the stage. Del Rio said he gave Sheamus a taste of his own medicine, and while Sheamus said to never trust a hooligan, Del Rio was... cut off by Sheamus' music. And out came Sheamus! Well, a shorter Sheamus with spikier hair. Ricardo had dressed up as Sheamus, and stalked down to the ring, pounding his chest and yelling "Fella!". Del Rio did some interactions with him, belittling him and daring him to try a Brogue Kick. Rodriguez tried one and slipped, falling on his rear. Del Rio said that would be Sheamus' fate at No Way Out, which brought out the real Sheamus with a taped elbow. Sheamus attacked despite the two on one, disposing of Ricardo twice before Del Rio bailed. Sheamus chased him back up the ramp and threatened to hit Pale Justice off the stage, but Ricardo grabbed his ankles and Del Rio landed a kick to the head. A beatdown ensued before the referee brigade arrived to save the day.
Teddy Long followed the referees out, saying that he was in charge in the absence of John Laurinaitis. But he still had to follow John's orders. Two matches had been booked in the interest of 'people power', with Sheamus going against Kane in the main event, while Del Rio would face the Great Khali. And that match was next!
Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez in Sheamus gear vs. The Great Khali: Surprisingly little offense for Khali here. After a brief initial flurry, Del Rio cut him down at the leg and worked it over, grounding the giant. Khali tried to rally and hit the brain chop, but Ricardo hopped up on the apron for a distraction, letting Del Rio hit the Arm Codebreaker and follow that up with the Cross-Armbreaker for the tapout win.
They replayed the Big Show interview from Monday. He's tired of being entertaining, he's tired of doing stupid things. Now he's just a giant and he's going to destroy whoever he wants.
Backstage, the Funkadactyls dropped by Teddy Long's office, with Brodus Clay entering the frame after some dancing. Teddy had a good news/bad news scenario for Brodus. The bad news was that he's been taken off of Raw by Laurinaitis, ostensibly to protect him from the Big Show. Brodus was not impressed with that. The good news was that he was now a permanent member of the Smackdown roster. Uh, yay? Brodus promised that whoever he faced, he'd treat them like they were the Big Show.
Brodus Clay vs. Derrick Bateman: No entrance for Bateman, as we would expect. After the bell rang, Brodus went right on the offensive, beating Bateman up and tossing him out of the ring, in what looked like an awkward fall with Bateman going straight down onto his hip. This was followed up with the running headbutt and throwing Bateman into the timekeeper's area. Back into the ring, exploder suplex into big splash, good night Derrick. The announcers played up how Brodus Clay was a complete destroyer during the match, with Bateman getting absolutely no offense in, as the replays covered the high spots. When they came back from the replays, the Funkasaurus was dancing with kids in the ring. Doesn't that take away from trying to paint him as a destroyer, just a bit? Sin Cara is next!
Promo with Booker T for the 1000th Raw. Booker's favourite Raw moment was when WCW main evented Raw for the first time, with Booker defending the WCW Championship against 'Marcus Bagwell'. Really, Booker? That's the moment you pick? Clips of the match played afterwards, though the aftermath wasn't shown. There was an aftermath, right, with Bagwell joining some heels to attack Booker outside? I blocked most of that out, and I blame Booker for reminding me of it now!
Sin Cara vs. Drew MacIntyre: I like Drew, but he can't seem to catch a break, can he? Drew went on the attack quickly, but Sin Cara fired back with fancy armdrags. The fight spilled to the apron, where MacIntyre elevated Sin Cara off a rush and then kicked him as he fell out of the ring. He couldn't keep the Mexican grounded though, and Sin Cara came back with hurricanranas. After a springboard elbow, he went off the ropes but ate a massive big boot that launched him across the ring. It only got a two count, which Booker blamed on a lax cover. Sin Cara came off the second rope looking for a big move, but MacIntyre caught him and twisted him into position for a side slam, only for Sin Cara to then twist out of that into a tornado DDT, which got him the three count. If Drew MacIntyre can put on consistently good matches, why can't they find him something to do? Seriously!
Ryback is next!
Ryback vs. Two Jobbers: No, I don't remember their names this week either. They did a "mirror mirror on the wall" promo before the match, which was as horrible as it sounds. I do like that the jobbers always get mic time before Ryback comes out, as they're so bad it helps make fans wish to see them get destroyed. Oh, and they got destroyed. #1 was caught and thrown violently into the corner. #2 tried to jump off the ropes with a crossbody but got caught (quite low to the ground, good power by Ryback) and powered back up, into a fallaway slam onto #1 to wipe him out again. Big running spear onto both of them in the corner. The Clothesline From Sin City followed up, sending the jobber hit with it tripping backwards over the other one who was trying to rise behind him. That second jobber ate a nasty powerbomb where he was lifted with such force he almost went sailing entirely over Ryback, winding up above his head before being slammed back down. The double-stack running fisherman's buster finished the jobbers, like it has the last three matches he's had. Is it time to try a triple-stack? It was really impressive the first time he did it, but when he's doing it twice a week since then it loses some of the luster. Christian faces Dolph Ziggler tonight, but up next is the Peep Show with Cody Rhodes as the guest!
They were setting up the Peep Show after the commercial when Cody Rhodes came out, chasing off the guys constructing the set and throwing the stools around. He said that if he was going to talk to Christian, he'd do it on his own terms rather than being asked embarassing leading questions. Christian came out, of course, and Cody confronted him. He wanted to know why Christian had surrendered his dignity and embraced the people again. Christian said that he'd had an epiphany after missing so much time to injury. He'd inducted Edge into the Hall of Fame, and he understood then that what he had a chance to do was special. It left him with two choices, he could be the annoying whiny jerk who got under everyone's skin by begging for 'One More Match', or he could go out and win championships. He chose championships. Cody accused him of selling out and devaluing the IC Title, and said that that would all change at No Way Out, but before he could make the presumed announcement that he was invoking his rematch clause, Dolph Ziggler made his entrance (w/o Vickie this week). Ziggler said that Cody might get his shot later, but tonight it would be Dolph's turn. That match is next!
Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler: Cody Rhodes was on commentary. He confirmed that he would be getting his rematch at No Way Out. The two competitors in the ring went back and forth, with Ziggler getting the advantage and focusing on Christian's ribs. After a commercial, Ziggler did a dropkick to Christian's stomach, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone target that area deliberately before. Ziggler did a Flair strut into a kneedrop to the gut. Dolph pressed the advantage, but a Fame-Asser was countered into a powerbomb for a long two count. Christian fought back with punches and his corner pendulum kick, but Dolph rolled through a second rope sunset flip attempt and his a floatover Fame-Asser for two. He got the Sleeper locked in, but Christian threw him off. Christian went to the top rope, and Dolph leapt up to meet him but was immediately uppercutted off the ropes. Christian went for the frogsplash and picked up the win. Cody took off the headset and applauded Christian's performance, seeming unhappy.
Raw Rebound, covering the John Cena vs. Michael Cole situation. Booker and Josh were making fun of Cole afterwards, and then JR's music cued up. Out came Hornswoggle, dressed like JR and brandishing some BBQ sauce. He wanted the segment replayed again, while saying JR-isms. The mockery was mercifully interrupted by a chorus of Hallelujah, signifying the entrance of the intellectual saviour Damien Sandow. Sandow ran down the diminutive degenerate Hornswoggle, saying that he was the avenging sword of taste and decency here to save the viewing public. Hornswoggle thumbed his nose in response, and Sandow looked ready to enact violence upon him. But making the save was... Tyson Kidd? Tyson Kidd lives! He wiped out Sandow with a springboard move, and Sandow bailed out of the ring, shaking his head and refusing Kidd's invitation to fight. Sandow then proved that he's the smartest wrestler alive by watching the Titantron as he retreated towards the back. Once Kidd turned his back to talk to Hornswoggle in the ring, Sandow bolted back into the ring to ambush him, hitting him with the straitjacket neckbreaker and using his posing pinfall afterwards, even though it wasn't a match. A celebratory cartwheel followed.
Matt Striker tried to interview Kane backstage, saying he had a rare chance to beat both the WWE Champion and the World Champion in the same week. Kane said that he didn't care for that accolade, the only thing he wanted to do was to win the WWE Title at No Way Out. What he would do to Sheamus in the main event was nothing compared to what awaits Punk and Bryan there. Striker asked a followup question about the look he'd shared with AJ, and Kane's resulting glare chased him away. Kane stalked off, and AJ herself emerged from a hiding spot to watch him go, that same smile on her faec.
Antonio Cesaro w/Aksana vs. Jimmy Uso: Teddy Long was forced to introduce Cesaro. Jimmy got off some quick offense, landing a thrust kick to the gut and a running headbutt for a near fall. His next running move was caught with a huge press into the air, and Cesaro gave him a European uppercut on the way down. His finisher, the package facebuster, followed up for the easy win. Teddy was again forced to raise his hand in victory as he made out with Aksana in the ring.
Sheamus discussed his favourite Raw moment in a 1000th episode promo, that being the Breakthrough Battle Royale set up by Jesse Ventura, where he won to become the #1 Contender for the WWE Title.
Sheamus vs. Kane: The big men went at it, brawling around the ring. Sheamus wound up dumped over the top rope but hanging on. As he went for his slingshot shoulderblock, Kane uppercutted him to send him spilling to the outside. After Kane remained in control for some time, Sheamus came back with the top-rope battering ram, a jumping Irish hammer and a powerslam. He hit the ten clubbing blows in the ropes, but Kane countered the suplex back into the ring and hung Sheamus up on the ropes. The top-rope clothesline missed, and Kane then walked into a big Irish Curse for a near fall. Kane went for a chokeslam, but Sheamus floated over and hit White Noise. He went to the corner to set up the Brogue Kick, but cue the interferene, as Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez both ran down the ramp. Del Rio pulled up short before hitting the ring, sending Ricardo in alone to attack Sheamus and get wiped out, though the DQ was still signalled. Kane took out Sheamus with a big boot and set up for the chokeslam, but AJ made an appearance, walking down the ramp and smiling at Kane. Kane gave her his confused puppydog look, like he always used to do at women back in the day. This gave Sheamus enough time to recover and land a Brogue Kick to end the show triumphant, with Del Rio withdrawing to fight another day.
And now, a rant! With all the guys they have under contract, why can't the writers find anything for them to do? Back in the day when they got ratings over 3.0, even the midcarders seemed important because they had storylines. They were doing things that at least some people cared about. What storylines did we have advanced tonight? The Del Rio/Sheamus issue and the Kane/AJ issue were. Something was teased between Tyson Kidd and Damien Sandow, which will likely set up a match for next week's show. Christian and Cody Rhodes continued their feud with an interview, and maybe a slow burn for an eventual Brodus Clay/Big Show rematch was started as well. But there's just too many guys who are coming out to do a match against an opponent that has no chance. Yeah, Ryback looks impressive squashing jobbers, but on tonight's show Brodus Clay also squashed a jobber (though at least an NXT regular), and Antonio Cesaro did the same thing, and Sin Cara did the same thing (Drew got a bit more offense, but still), and while it wasn't a match we can only assume that the Sandow/Kidd segment is setting up the same thing next week. Debuting new guys is good, but do we have to be doing so many of them the same way? Can't we set up some feuds, get some non-match interactions (Sandow's doing that, admittedly) and find a way to make the fans more invested in everyone involved? Sin Cara beating Drew MacIntyre would mean a hell of a lot more if MacIntyre had won more than one match this calendar year, for example. Or if he'd done anything relevant in the last year and a half.
Anyway, this is supposed to be a recap, not a rant. Tune in again next week!
Jericho aside, the Highlight Reel is a decent plot device to set up matches and feuds. They always end in pullaparts; sometimes they launch a rivalry, other times only a one-shot match, but it's still valuable either way.