Running a little bit late tonight, as there was a hockey game to watch! After a final score of Jets 4, Crosby 2, I'm ready for some Royal Rumble build up.
The pre-show promo covers the Shield's attack on the Rock, and Vince's ultimatum to Punk warning against Shield interference at the Rumble. And what if anything will happen between Alberto Del Rio and the Big Show? We'll find out tonight on Smackdown!
We open with an explosion of pyro, and here come WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS KANE and WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS DANIEL BRYAN to deliver.. the opening promo? Bryan covers his ears during Kane's pyro, and we recap the graduation from Monday. Kane's got the mic, though the fans are already chanting "Yes". "We've come out here to address the rumours that started this week that we've somehow gone soft because we've learned to, to channel our anger." "Nothing could be further from the truth." "And for those of you who don't believe us, just watch the Royal Rumble pay per view this Sunday. Because after we defeat Team Rhodes Scholars-" "YES!" "And retain the WWE Tag Team Championship-" "YES!" "Then I'm going to go on, throw 29 other WWE Superstars over the top rope, win the Royal Rumble match and go on to Wrestlemania!" "YE... wait. What did you just say?" "You heard me. I'm going to win the Royal Rumble match. Look, Daniel. I've been in thirteen Royal Rumble matches, the most ever. In one Royal Rumble match, in one match, I eliminated eleven superstars, the most ever." "Wait a second, wait a second, waitwaitwaitwaitwait. But you've never won a Royal Rumble match. Which is exactly what I'm going to do this Sunday!" "No. I'm going to win the Royal Rumble match." "No I'm going to win the Royal Rumble match!" "I'm going to win the Royal Rumble match." "I'm going to win the Royal Rumble match." "I am going to win the-" "NO!" And we stop there, as THE BIG SHOW makes his way to the ring. Now what does he have to do with the Royal Rumble match?
Show enters the ring, grabbing a microphone as Kane and Bryan stare him down. "Daniel, Kane. No one cares about your plans. Lets face it, you guys have like a one in thirty chance of winning the Royal Rumble, where I on the other hand have a one hundred percent guaranteed chance of reclaiming my World Heavyweight Championship from Alberto Del Rio. The only plans you two should be making are retirement plans, if you consider making a career suicide choice and facing me at Wrestlemania." "Wait wait a second. Need I remind you that I beat you for the World Title last year?" "I'm not having any of your crap tonight, Daniel, none of it! Alberto Del Rio STOLE my World Heavyweight Championship from me! He snuck into the World Title picture like some.. creepy crawling nasty little cockroach scurrying across the border. And this Sunday, I'm going to squish that bug. And if you two don't get out of MY ring right now I'll squish the both of you." Kane looks nonplussed as he replies. "We're not a couple of bugs, big man. We are the Tag Team Champions. And we are not going anywhere." "In other words, NO! NO! NO! NO!" And before Show can escalate things, DAMIEN SANDOW and CODY RHODES w/MUSTACHE make their entrance, mics in hand.
Sandow leads us off as they walk towards the ring. "Kane and Daniel Bryan. You are making a critical error. Putting the cart before the horse. Or in your case, before the goat. You should be more concerned with your Tag Team Title match this Sunday with us. Just as Goliath underestimated David, you are underestimating Team Rhodes Scholars. And I assure you, this Sunday at the Royal Rumble, our destruction of you will be of biblical proportions." "I think you're wasting your breath, Damien. Look at who we're talking to. Look at who we're talking in front of. Heh heh, it was a joke. Let me put this into a language all simpletons can understand." "That's all of you." "At the Royal Rumble, Damien and I are going to take your Tag Team Championships." "And so, Big Show, I propose an alliance." Big Show looks unimpressed as he responds. "A what?" "An alliance. Seeing as how by this time next week, the three of us will all be champions, how about we set an example for the entire WWE by decimating Team Hell No posthaste?" Bryan and Kane drop their mics, ready to defend themselves, but of course we aren't done yet. Here comes ALBERTO DEL RIO w/RICARDO RODRIGUEZ and the Black Scarf of Mourning to make the sides even, and presumably set up a six man tag later in the show. He doesn't have a mic, he just gets right up in front of Big Show as the six men stare each other down. As Big Show threatens off-mic to rip Del Rio's head off, BOOKER T comes out to play Teddy Long. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Now wait a minute guys, I appreciate your passion to want to come out here and fight, because that's what we do here on Smackdown, we fight." Does that mean JBL's line is sticking? "Now saying that, lets make this fight official. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight's main event will be as follows. Team Rhodes Scholars will team up with the Big Show and they will face the team of Team Hell No and the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio. Now wait a minute, there will be a stipulation, this match will be a six man elimination tag team match tonight! Now can you dig that, sucka!" I like elimination tags! The Rhodes Scholars move like they want to sneak-attack Hell No, but on seeing that they're prepared they instead quickly bail out of the ring. Big Show holds up his hands peacefully to Bryan and Kane, saying he's not ready to fight yet, before suddenly lunging at Del Rio! Del Rio, however, is ready, delivering a drop toe hold to drop Big Show into the second turnbuckle. As Big Show turns around, he's met with all four opponents (well, Rodriguez is behind them) and hesitates. Del Rio delivers his trademark wink and the fans start chanting "Si" at Ricardo's encouragement. Big Show slowly departs, but not before overturning the ring steps in anger. Later tonight, CM Punk calls out The Shield! And the Rock will comment on the Shield's attack! That's coming up later, but up next, we'll have Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett!
SHEAMUS vs. #31 WADE BARRETT: These two matched up on Monday in a Beat The Clock match, of course, with outside interference keeping Sheamus from winning in the alloted time. Barrett opens with a kick, and an elbow to the back of the head, but Sheamus fights back and takes him to the corner. He tries a front facelock, but Barrett punches out of it. Whip to the ropes, Sheamus blocks the hiptoss and hits a clothesline, getting a cover for one. Sheamus picks him back up and lands more punches, before Barrett grabs him to force a break, delivers a cheapshot punch over the referee's back, then hits a running dropkick out of nowhere for a one count. Barrett stomps away, but Sheamus kicks him in the shin to drop him, and fights back, grabbing a hold. He gives up on that soon enough, whipping Barrett off the ropes. Barrett blocks the back body drop with a kick, but barely dodges the Brogue Kick after that, rolling to the outside. Sheamus is out after him to throw him back in, and he ties Barrett up in the ropes for the ten punch clubbering, but Barrett cuts him off at two with his back kick. A running big boot drops Sheamus to the floor, and we go to break!
Barrett has a chinlock applied when we come back. Sheamus fights out and tries to run off the ropes, but Barrett chases him down immediately and clotheslines him over the top. He takes the time to pose as the referee begins his count. Sheamus is up on the apron at eight, so Barrett attacks, choking him on the top rope, then landing kness to the head. Before he can do his trademark running boot, Sheamus launches himself in with a slingshot shoulder tackle! It's Neidhart-esque! Sheamus follows up with clotheslines, and a shoulder tackle in the corner, but Barrett sidesteps the kneelift. Sheamus throws him over the top rope, and this time he gets all ten punches of the clubbering! He hoists Wade in a fireman's carry from the apron, hitting the Finlay Roll for two. Sheamus goes for the Irish Curse, but Barrett blocks with elbows and takes Sheamus down with his back kick. He tries a second one to Sheamus' head, but Sheamus dodges and rolls him up for two. Back to their feet, this time the Irish Curse hits for two! Both men are slow to get up, but Sheamus is up first. He sets Barrett up for White Noise, but Barrett escapes and throws Sheamus to the apron. Sheamus fights him off and climbs to the top rope, but Barrett grabs him by the arm and tosses him down to the mat! Now he hits the back kick to the face! 1, 2, Sheamus kicks out! Barrett lands a stomp, then goes up to the second rope, he wants his elbowdrop. Sheamus gets the knees up to block it, but Barrett lands on his feet and catches those knees, only for Sheamus to reverse the reversal, grab Barrett's leg and roll him over to try to apply the Irish Cloverleaf! Barrett fights that off, rolling Sheamus up for two. But as both get back up, Sheamus lifts Barrett up and hits White Noise! Barrett is clutching at his shoulder, as Sheamus goes to set up the Brogue Kick. Barrett slowly gets up, and eats the Brogue Kick! 1, 2, 3, Sheamus wins, building momentum for the Royal Rumble. Later tonight, a six man elimination tag. But up next, a Raw recap!
Last Monday on Raw, the Rock confronted Paul Heyman and CM Punk but ran afoul of the Shield. We saw this on Raw! Rock will be here later tonight. We get a brief peek backstage at CM PUNK and PAUL HEYMAN discussing something, but enough of that, we have a Divas match coming up! After this commercial break!
BETH PHO... ER, NATALYA w/THE GREAT KHALI, HORNSWOGGLE and the Great Khali's music vs. ROSA MENDES w/PRIMO and EPICO: Josh Mathews declares that the grouping of Natalya, Khali and Hornswoggle might be the most offbeat group in the history of WWE, besides the Cabinet. And oh dear, everyone is on guest commentary. Lockup, and Natalya gets a headlock takedown. Rosa turns that into a headscissors, and Natalya kips out and springs to her feet. She poses and jobs around the ring, before trying a kick. Rosa catches that, so Natalya spins around and does a forward somersault to take Rosa to the mat, hooking her legs for a submission. Rosa somehow turns that into a headlock off-camera during a cut to the announce table. Natalya shoves her off the ropes, but Rosa lands a kick and a hairpull takedown for two. Rosa tries to apply a stranglehold using Natalya's own arms, pulling her back into her knees. The commentators, all of them, are arguing about Khali's ability to dance. Natalya uses her power to throw Rosa out of the hold, then hits a discus clothesline to take her down! Rosa kicks out at two, as Primo asks them to call the action. Natalya lifts Rosa up for some kind of slam, and Rosa slides down the back for a sunset flip which Nattie rolls through. She wants the Sharpshooter! Rosa crawls to the ropes to break it before it can be applied. JBL, asking Hornswoggle about meeting the Anvil, accidentally calls her 'Natalie'. Rosa lands a clothesline, then smashes her head into the mat repeatedly. Rosa starts to dance, getting applause from the Puerto Ricans, but Hornswoggle gets up on the announce table to return the dancing favour! This infuriates and distracts Rosa, allowing Natalya to roll her up from behind and then apply the Sharpshooter! Rosa quickly taps. Natalya celebrates by.. dancing, of course. The Rock is up later tonight, but up next, CM Punk calls out the Shield!
CM PUNK w/PAUL HEYMAN enters after the break, boasting quite the arrogant swagger as he walks to the ring. Punk will speak first! "I am scared. So frightened, I can't sleep at night. And what I'm afraid of.. is my own potential. Because think about it, 432 days as WWE Champion. And everything you see around you, this ring, the TitanTron, Raw, Smackdown, the upcoming Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania itself, this is all just a surface that I've just begun to scratch at, and that keeps me up at night, that is terrifying. Now one thing jeapordizes 432 days of unparalleled brilliance. One thing stands in the way, one thing can make those 432 days go up in smoke like that." Down comes the hoodie, as the fans chant 'Rocky'. "No. It's not the Rock, the Rock is a man, the Rock is breakable and I'm gonna break him. What I'm talking about is the Shield. Because of the Shield an their 'independant actions' a stipulation has been put in place, made official by a letter that was handed down by the chairman of WWE itself. Paul. If you would please." Heyman unfolds the letter to read from it. "And you can see, as per the chairman of WWE, if the Shield gets involved in the WWE Championship Match at the Royal Rumble, you, CM Punk, will be officially stripped of the championship." "So 432 days and now, because of the Shield, the toupee wearing flesh-peddling promoter Vincent McMahon wants to swoop in and do what no man could physically do and take from me what belongs to me, the WWE Championship! Now, y'know, except take doesn't really paint the picture, does it? Doesn't really fit the bill. STEAL! Vincent K. Mac Mahon wants to steal the WWE Championship from me! So it looks like the champ has a problem. Well, the champ's going to fix it. I'm going to do right now what nobody in the company's got the stones to do since they debuted on the scene." Punk gets out of the ring and goes over towards the announce table. "I want the Shield! And I want the Shield out here right now." Punk grabs a steel chair, going back to the ring. "Face to face, lets clear the air, lets do it. I'm not leaving until I get the Shield, I know they're out there, I know they're in their little clubhouse hanging out. We're going to have words, and I'm not leaving until you come out here, boys." Before Punk can even set up the chair to sit in, THE SHIELD's music hits, and they start their way down through the crowd. Punk folds the chair back up, holding it protectively. They might attack him, after all!
They climb into the ring from three different sides, as Punk looks on, ready to address them. "I can only explain myself in the simplest of ways. I never asked you to attack Rock. I never asked you to attack Ryback at TLC, I never asked you for anything in my life. So understand when I say stay out of my way." Ambrose is giving Punk a death stare. "You believe in justice, is that what you three stand for? You're here to fight injustice, well trust me when I tell you there would be no greater injustice in the history of the WWE if my historic title reign ended because of your interference. In two days at the Royal Rumble I fight the Rock, and I promise you, I promise all of you, I will beat the Rock. But it's not just day 434 of the most historic WWE Championship title reign in history, no, it's the biggest victory of my career. And I'm going to do it by myself. I never asked for your help, because I don't want your help. Because I don't need your help, I'm the best in the world. If justice is what you three individuals stand for, if that's truly what you want around here, then we never have to cross paths again." The three Shield members continue to stand on the three sides of the ring apron, exchanging looks. They all drop back down to the floor, hopping over the barricade and exiting back into the crowd, the opposite direction that they came from, leaving Punk and Heyman in the ring. "Now, that is how the champ takes care of business! I don't whine, I don't cry like all of you, something gets in my way I meet it head-on, I tackle problems because I'm the best in the world. The Royal Rumble, two days, Sunday, Phoenix Arizona, the Rock is great, he's good. He's the Great One, but I'm the best in the world. And the Rock is just like all of you people when it comes to the champ. The Rock is like all of you people when it comes to the best in the world. You're inferior! Two days, the Rock's inferiority meets true greatness when he steps into the ring with the best in the world, and I will prove, Sunday in Phoenix at the Royal Rumble that not only am I the greatest WWE Champion of all time, that I'm the best in the world. I'm the greatest of all time! I'll say it again, I'm the greatest of all time!" Uh-oh, there's an interruption, and it's from THE ROCK. And he's here, marching out onto the stage! Doing Brock Lesnar's Happy Dance! Foreshadowing?
Rock marches down to the ring, posing on the second rope as Punk looks on. Punk starts teasing him with the title, as Rock marches across to pose on the opposite corner. Heyman, meanwhile, has bailed out of the ring. Rock calls for a mic, though he looks like he wants to just go and attack Punk, who's smugly hiding behind his title. "The Rock is gonna put an end to your garbage right now. The Rock's gut says, you're a liar. And you are working with the Shield. The Rock's heart says despite that, he just don't give a damn. Know why? Because the Rock's boot says this Sunday it's getting shoved straight up your candy ass!" The crowd is struggling to pick a chant, settling on 'Rocky'. "You hear that, you hear that, the walls are closing in, your walls are closing in, they're closing in, because what's going to happen this Sunday at Royal Rumble in our match, you're gonna panic, and you're gonna crack. And when that does, I am going to hook you for the Rock Bottom. I am going to launch you in the air. And when you get here, time will stand still, you will have one thought in your mind, and it's not gonna be how you're the best in the world. It's not going to be that you're the greatest of all time. In this very moment, CM Punk, your final thought will be, 'It's Over'. And I promise you, like I promised the world, I will become WWE Champion, beat you in the middle of the ring, 1, 2, 3, it's over. If you smell... what the Rock... is cooking." Rock drops the mic and leaves the ring, as Punk looks on. He doesn't look entirely confident, but finally winds up posing with his title as Rock stops on the entrance ramp. Later tonight, a six man elimination tag! But up next, Randy Orton in action!
RANDY ORTON vs. DREW MCINTYRE w/HEATH SLATER and JINDER MAHAL: JBL: "This is what would happen if the Mean Street Posse ended up at a karaoke bar." The two circle warily, and Drew lands a kick, pushing Orton back into the corner and beating him down. He poses, yelling 3MB, then throws off his headband. Orton is whipped to the corner, and explodes out of it with a clothesline. He hits another clothesline, and is he really doing his comeback sequence already? The quick powerslam says yes he is! He runs into a Drew elbow, but ducks the followup clothesline and hits the 3.0. McIntyre rolls out onto the apron, which is, of course, a bad move, but before the DDT can be set up, Jinder Mahal is in the ring. He tries his jumping knee but misses, and hte ref calls for the disqualification anyway. RKO for Mahal! Now he grabs Drew for the second rope DDT, which he sells like a champ. Slater runs in and tries a clothesline, but it's ducked and he gets an RKO too. Drew starts picking himself up, but the Viper is coiled. A third RKO for Drew! Orton poses triumphantly, having momentum now going into the Rumble.
DARREN YOUNG w/TITUS O'NEIL vs. THE MIZ: Out for guest commentary is ANTONIO CESARO, who hates reality TV and thus, by proxy, the Miz. Titus distracts Miz with the whistle, allowing D-Young to get the sneak attack, followed by a short-arm clothesline. An elbowdrop follows, for two. Young applies a chinlock, as JBL mentions that Albert Einstein was educated in Switzerland to suck up to Cesaro. Miz starts to his feet, but Darren cuts him off, beating him down in the corner and landing a knife-edge chop. The chop wakes Miz up, and he starts fighting back, landing a series of lefts and taking Young to the corner. Running clothesline hits! He goes out for the double axehandle, but has to take Titus down first. A shoulder-block through the ropes stuns Young, letting Miz hit the top rope axehandle. He calls for the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Young evades it. Miz, nonplussed, kicks him in the knee, sending him down to the mat. And there's the Figure Forgot! Young taps out, and the Miz wins! For what it's worth, it was applied perfectly fine there. Cesaro waves the US flag at the announce table, as Miz eyes his title.
We're coming from Sacramento, California tonight! And here's that Royal Rumble Numbers video that people missed on Raw. And from there, on to our main event!
ALBERTO DEL RIO w/RICARDO RODRIGUEZ, the Black Scarf of Mourning and the Mexican Bucket of Fun, WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS KANE and WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS DANIEL BRYAN vs. DAMIEN SANDOW, CODY RHODES w/MUSTACHE and THE BIG SHOW in an elimination tag match: Cody and Alberto start. Lockup, and Cody gets an arm wringer. Del Rio flips and rolls out of it, applying his own armbar. Cody lands forearm shots to break the hold, then whips Del Rio to the corner. Alberto gets the elbow up to stop the charge, then goes up to the second rope. He jumps over Cody's back, catching his legs on Cody's neck as he jumps to take him over in a headscissors! And there's a big press and drop on Cody, followed by a kick to the head for two! Del Rio tries to apply another armbar, so Cody scrambles away and tags in Sandow. Del Rio tags in Daniel Bryan, and the two lock up. Sandow lands a knee to the gut and follows with a snapmare, but Bryan rolls straight to his feet, and lands a drop toe hold on Sandow into the second turnbuckle. There come the NO!kicks! Tag to Kane. Bryan snapmares Sandow, and Kane lands the running low dropkick. Kane breaks up his own cover to stare down Cody and keep him from interfering, but that gives Damien a chance to land his own low dropkick to Kane's knee. Sandow pounces and delivers punches to Kane, but on going off the ropes, Kane catches him with a chokeslam! 1, 2, 3, and Sandow is eliminated. Big Show comes up with a knockout punch that Kane ducks, and Kane takes him into the corner with punches and clotheslines. Show shoves Kane off into the ropes, but Kane catches him with his head down and lands the DDT! The cover gets two, and Kane rolls out to the apron, going up to the top rope. The flying clothesline hits! Big Show gets up by the ropes, so Kane charges him and clotheslines him to the floor, going out along with him! Kane charges Show on the floor, but Show hits the knockout punch on Kane, dropping him against the ringpost and then to the floor. Show gets back into the ring as the count is on. Big Show is mirroring the referee's count towards Del Rio, to drive home the Last Man Standing match they have upcoming. By the count of nine, Kane is crawling back towards the apron, but he isn't able to get into the ring in time and crumples to the floor once he's counted out. Show tags out to Cody, and Daniel Bryan makes his way in to face him as we go to our final break.
Bryan is landing elbows to the gut on Cody when we return, but Cody cuts him off with a knee and gets a cover for two. Rhodes applies a surfboard hold, but Bryan gets back to his feet. He turns things around and lands a kick, then runs the ropes. Both Bryan and Rhodes try a crossbody block, and as a result both men are down. Cody makes the tag to Big Show, who gets in in time to stop Bryan's tag. Bryan climbs back to his feet using Big Show's body, and Show sets him up for the chokeslam, but Bryan cuts him off with NO!kicks! Show shoves him off into the corner and hits the big backsplash, but as he goes off the ropes for his shoulder tackle Bryan takes him out at the knees with a low dropkick. Bryan rolls out of the ring and climbs to the top rope, but his attack is met with a big chop. Show throws Bryan out of the ring, but he grabs the top rope and skins the cat back in. Show was waiting and watching, and immediately lands the KO punch! Bryan falls out of the ring to the floor, letting the referee begin another count, which Show mimics once more. The ten count is reached, of course, and now Del Rio is left alone against two men, with Big Show grinning and waiting. Rodriguez leads the crowd in "Si!" chants, as Del Rio enters and attacks Show. He lands a series of kicks and punches before Show grabs him by the throat. The chokeslam connects! Del Rio rolls out to the floor, and Big Show and the referee count, but Del Rio is back into the ring at nine. He rolls back outside before Big Show can attack again, so Show goes after him. A headbutt staggers Del Rio, and he's rolled back into the ring. As Show steps over the top rope, Del Rio kicks him to straddle him on it! He hits a side kick to the shoulder, then a superkick to his head! Show falls out to the floor clutching his hamstring, and now the count is on against him. Show can't even get to his feet during the ten count, let alone back into the ring, so he's eliminated. Cody tries the sneak attack, rolling Del Rio up, but he kicks out at two. Rhodes lands a big dropkick afterwards, then stomps away. Del Rio ducks the Beautiful Disaster, then hits a pair of clotheslines! He ducks a Cody clothesline and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. As Cody starts to rise, he takes a superkick while kneeling, but rolls the shoulder at two! More 'Si' chants, as Del Rio preps in the corner. The stepladder enziguiri hits! 1, 2, 3, Alberto wins! He hops up to the second rope to celebrate with the fans, but as he gets down he eats a spear from the returning Big Show. Del Rio isn't moving in the ring, as Show clears out the space behind the announce table. He drags Del Rio out of the ring, bringing him to the announce table and landing the knockout punch! To finish the payback, Show lifts and tips the announce table over onto the fallen Del Rio! Show yells at JBL, then starts his own count. Unsurprisingly, it reaches ten without Del Rio stirring. Show proclaims himself the new World Heavyweight Champion, to a chorus of 'Big Show sucks' chants. So now Show starts counting again in Spanish! With that finished, he stalks off angrily, leaving the overturned announce table behind. Will that be the result at the Royal Rumble? We'll find out in two days, live on pay per view. But for now, we're out!
This was a really good SD! We all know Sheamus/Barrett will be entertaining almost every time out. The Punk/Shield/Rock section was good...Serious SD! Rock > "stink pickle" RAW Rock. And the ending was great, with the Show counting to 10 in English and en Espanol for good measure.
While rummaging through WWE's Investor Relations site, I found a simple answer to a question we've seen posed here: The WWE requires 1.6 million pay-per-view buys to break even for the year, at least according to their 2004 fiscal numbers.