Hey yo. I'm reviewing Smackdown this week, which is a rare thing. Why? Because TJR's regular reviewer Andrew Johnson is away this week and is unable to write his Smacking of Smackdown column. I will review Smackdown in the same style that I review Raw because that's the best way for me to do it. It may not be as detailed during some of the match write-ups, but I'll cover it as well as I can.
I'm well aware that the show aired on Tuesday. Andrew thought he could review it during the week, but didn't have the time. So I'm filling in. Let's get to it.
Live (or tape delayed) from Birmingham, England this is Super Smackdown Live.
The announcers for the show are Josh Mathews & John Bradshaw Layfield.
Analysis: In case you missed it earlier this week, JBL announced that he is back in WWE full time as an announcer. I think it's great news because he's a great heel commentator that puts over things the right way and he has credibility as a former WWE Champion as well. I'm glad he's back. While I wish it was on Raw, having him on Smackdown is better than nothing. I assume he'll be a part of WWE pay-per-views as well.
Michael Cole was in the ring. He brought out Sheamus for an interview. Sheamus was very angry. Cole told us that Sheamus and his friend William Regal went to a pub after Raw to have a good time. There was an incident at the pub. And here's the cell phone footage.
The cell phone footage showed Sheamus meeting fans at the pub and having a drink with William Regal. All of a sudden, Big Show showed up. Guys started yelling "fight" as he attacked Sheamus. He also gave Regal the KO punch. Then the video ended.
Sheamus grabbed the microphone from Cole. He told him to leave the ring. Sheamus didn't mind that Show went after him because he's a fighter, but he's mad that Show attacked William Regal, who has done a lot for Sheamus and other guys in the locker room over the years. Sheamus said he's still standing. He called out Big Show. He wanted to kick his "giant arse." The crowd was fully behind Sheamus.
Big Show appeared on the big screen. Show said he held back so that Sheamus could still make it to Survivor Series. He said he's going to knock out Sheamus once again. Show said he had no reason to go down to the ring to fight Sheamus right now. Sheamus begged him to come out. The music of Wade Barrett started up.
Barrett got a good ovation since he's from England. Barrett plugged their match on Main Event saying that he was going to beat Sheamus (he didn't). Barrett talked trash, so Sheamus told him to come down to the ring to fight him. The crowd approved of that. Barrett walked a few steps towards the ring and then walked backstage.
Analysis: I think using Regal and Barrett in a storyline while in England is a smart move. The crowd reacted favorably to this segment. Even though nothing was officially announced during this promo, you could tell what was going to happen.
The main event later is Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
The Miz and Kofi Kingston were walking backstage in preparation for another match between them.
Backstage, Smackdown GM Booker T walked up to Wade Barrett. Booker said he didn't think Barrett was the kind of guy to back down from a fight. Barrett said he wasn't backing down. Booker said he talked to Regal and made a tag match for later: Sheamus & Regal vs. Big Show & Barrett. Barrett said, "thank you."
Analysis: Cue the Teddy Long tag match jokes, but I don't mind one bit. It should be a fun match.
Intercontinental Championship: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
Apparently Miz earned this title opportunity when he pinned Kingston in a tag team match last week. Nice monkey flip by Kingston early on, which he followed up with a clothesline over the top rope. While outside the ring, Kingston scaled the ringside barrier and delivered a clothesline while on the floor. Kingston got a two count out of it. Miz took control after dropping Kingston's leg across the top rope, so Kingston was selling the left leg injury. They went to commercial with Kingston dealing with the injury.
Back from break, Miz worked over Kingston's injured left leg. There was a replay from during the break when Miz slammed the leg of Kingston into the steel steps. Kingston got a quick rollup, so Miz dropkicked the knee of Kingston that led to a two count. Miz continued to work over the left knee of Kingston by stretching it. Miz missed an attack on the ropes, so Kingston took him down with punches. Leaping clothesline by Kingston followed by the Boom Drop. He should have sold the left knee more after hitting that move. I guess I'm being picky though. Kingston went for Trouble in Paradise, Miz moved, he went for Skull Crushing Finale and then they each got a couple of rollup attempts. Miz applied a single leg Boston Crab on the left leg of Kingston. Good spot there. Kingston made it to the ropes. Kingston went to the top, so Miz kicked the top rope. Miz went for a superplex. Kingston fought him off. Kingston leaped off the top rope with a cross body block. He covered and that was enough for the victory. Really? Yes it was. The match went about 12 minutes.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Analysis: **1/2 This is the fourth time Kingston has beat Miz in the last two months. Is this the official end of their matches? I would assume so. I think their match on Main Event when Kingston won the IC Title was the best one in this series of matches. I thought the finish was a bit of a surprise because you don't see guys getting pinned by a top rope cross body block. You might have seen that over twenty years ago, but not today. That doesn't make it bad. Just saying it was different. It was a solid TV match.
Post match, The Miz wanted to shake the hand of Kingston. Instead, Kingston hit Miz with the Trouble of Paradise. JBL called that a cheapshot while Mathews called it a pre-emptive strike.
Analysis: That was a heel move by Kingston wasn't it? Or a babyface move for Miz? It could have been either. I've been calling for a babyface turn for Miz since the start of the year. Kingston going heel would be fresh too. The way it was talked about post match wasn't done in a way that would suggest either is turning heel.
Sheamus and William Regal vs. Big Show and Wade Barrett is coming up shortly. The graphic said "up next" but it wasn't up next. Graphics fail.
Later in the show we'll get the Primetime Players vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara. It's actually next.
Did You Know? The CM Punk "Best in the World" DVD is the #1 sports DVD in America. It's awesome. Here's my review of that if you haven't read it.
Sin Cara & Rey Mysterio vs. The Primetime Players (Titus O'Neil & Darren Young)
No intro for the Primetime Players. They were in the ring while their opponents made their entrances. Headscissors by Sin Cara on Young. Young hit a stun gun on Sin Cara. See? That move was a finisher for Steve Austin about twenty years ago. The heels made quick tags as they worked over Sin Cara and young grabbed a headlock to slow down the high flyer. Sin Cara escaped and leaped off the middle rope with a DDT on Young. O'Neil tagged in. Sin Cara hit an enziguiri on O'Neil, which led to Mysterio tagging in. O'Neil missed a corner charge. Mysterio took advantage in the corner with ten punches to the head and then a seated senton off the top rope. Dropkick to O'Neil. Young prevented the 619. Sin Cara hit a dive outside the ring to take out Young. Mysterio still went for the 619 after all that time, but it didn't work as O'Neil hit him with a Sitout Spinebuster for the win. The match went about four minutes. I looked it up and saw that the move is called the "Clash of the Titus" which is a pretty good name.
Winners: The Primetime Players
Analysis: *1/2 It went much shorter than I expected. That's okay because it puts over the winners in a strong manner. Decisive wins like that are a good thing once in a while in tag matches. They don't always have the follow the tag formula where one of the babyfaces gets worked over by the heels for a long stretch of time.
Post match, Matt Striker wanted to talk to Titus and Darren. Titus had a whistle because it's annoying. He interviewed Darren. Darren said that this victory means "millions of dollars" for the team. Then Titus asked what they'll get when they win the tag team titles. The answer? "Millions of dollars." Then they asked Striker what pops into his head when he sees the Primetime Players walking down the ramp. He said "millions of dollars" twice after some suggestions from Titus. Then they did the dance with Striker in the middle. Of course he couldn't because he's a white guy with no rhythm. Then O'Neil ripped on Striker's mustache because it looked ridiculous.
Analysis: Good character development. I like these guys. They're obnoxious and confident, which is what heels should be.
There was a video recap of the John Cena/AJ Lee relationship. I covered it in the Raw Deal. Thank you DVR for the FF feature. Next week on Raw there will be more evidence.
Backstage, Booker and Teddy were talking backstage. Teddy said he was looking forward to the tag team match. Booker asked him if Vickie could come up with a match like that. Teddy said yeah. Then he backtracked. Booker got mad saying he didn't hire Teddy to suck up to him. Then Booker laughed saying that he got Teddy.
Analysis: That segment was pretty pointless. Somebody tell Booker that you are not original for booking a tag match based on people having issues earlier in the show.
Big Show and Wade Barrett made their entrances. They went to break.
Nice reaction to William Regal for his entrance, who is from Blackpool, England.
Wade Barrett & Big Show vs. Sheamus & William Regal
If you couldn't figure out who was going to take the pin in this match from the listing of competitors then you haven't been watching long enough. They brawled early on. JBL loved it. He wanted them to keep fighting. Regal and Sheamus made some quick tags early on. Sheamus with a clothesline on Barrett got him a two count. Sheamus with a shoulderblock for two. JBL went off on Mathews for flip flopping opinions like a presidential candidate. I'm such a huge fan of JBL's commentating. Show tagged in and hit a body slam on Regal followed by an elbow drop. Show hit Regal with some chops to the chest. Regal tried to fight back, but Show knocked him down with a shoulder block. Show gave Regal an arm bar as the show went to commercial break.
Analysis: Again with a commercial without one of the competitors being on the floor? Shocking!
Back from break, Barrett punched Regal in the ribs a few times. Show tagged in as they continued to work over the ribs of Regal. Show knocked down Regal with a running boot to the face while Regal was on his back. Barrett hit a running knee drop leading to a two count. Regal hit an overhead suplex on Barrett to create some space. Forearm by Regal to the head of Barrett. That led to the hot tag to Sheamus to a big ovation. Running shoulderblocks by Sheamus followed by a big knee lift to Show. Clothesline knocks Show down. Top rope battering ram shoulder block by Sheamus onto Show. Barrett distracted Sheamus, so Show hit a spear on Sheamus. Regal tagged in. Running knee to the face of Show. It didn't have much impact because Big Show came back with the KO Punch for the victory for his team. The match went 13 minutes.
Winners: Wade Barrett & Big Show
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid TV tag match that got a lot of time featuring four guys that know what they're doing. I liked how physical it was. All four of them are known for that, so they worked with eachother well. I figured Regal would lose, but the finish happened quicker than I expected. I thought Regal showed a lot of fight. It would be nice if he wrestled on television more often, but obviously they want to push younger wrestlers. That's understandable.
We got a video from last week when Alberto Del Rio cost Randy Orton his match against Wade Barrett last week. Then Orton fought with Del Rio backstage. That led to the Falls Count Anywhere match this week.
Backstage, Matt Striker talked to Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez backstage. Del Rio said last week Orton got the advantage because he attacked him from behind. Del Rio called himself the Apex Predator again. He said he's going to beat up Orton all over the arena. He told Striker to leave. Rosa Mendes walked up to Del Rio. She wished him good luck. He checked out her ass as she left. The camera man did not follow her ass. Damn PG era.
Analysis: On Raw they teased the Del Rio/Rosa story. They just did it again here. Like I said in the Raw Deal, it would be a good thing to pair her up with Del Rio because a rich guy with a hot girl will draw even more heat from the fans. It will freshen up his act.
Another Raw recap highlighting the Brad Maddox promo on Raw that will lead to Maddox vs. Ryback on Raw next week. If Maddox wins he gets a million dollar contract.
Backstage, Matt Striker talked to Randy Orton. Orton said that he's about to have one of the most physical matches of his career. He said Del Rio's a hell of a competitor. Orton said they would get sick and twisted. They're going to cross the line that others are afraid to cross. He said he really enjoys showing the world just how sick and twisted he can get. Then his music played.
Randy Orton made his entrance for his match.
There was that 30 second commercial for Fandango. On Monday the name was spelled as Fandangoo, which I thought was weird. Fandago is a better way to spell it. It's Johnny Curtis in case you didn't know.
Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio entered the arena in a $150,000 Ferrari as Josh said it's amazing that Del Rio has cars even in England. Yeah he must store them at his house he owns in Parts Unknown on Jabroni Drive.
They aired a clip from Raw when Randy Orton's music cost Del Rio his match against Kofi Kingston. Then Orton hit Del Rio with a RKO. They cost each other victories. They beat each other. Now it's Falls Count Anywhere time. It's a very basic way to build up a blow-off match in a rivalry.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
JBL called Michael Cole the "dad" of Josh Mathews. That's funny. As expected they brawled early on. Rodriguez handed Del Rio a chair. Del Rio wedged the chair between the top and middle rope in the corner. Orton dropkicked Del Rio out of the ring. They fought outside the ring with Orton in control early, but then he rammed Orton's head into the security wall. Orton went for his DDT on the floor while Del Rio's feet were on the security wall, but Del Rio escaped. They went into the crowd where they fought by the staging area. Del Rio was in control for much of it. They went to break.
They were fighting outside of the staging area now. Del Rio got a pinfall attempt for two. Del Rio walked back inside the arena. Orton was in control. Del Rio countered a DDT by dropping Orton throat first onto a railing that led to a two count. Referee Charles Robinson was selling the pain from hitting the floor for a pinfall attempt. Del Rio and Orton went up the stairs on another part of the building. Del Rio took advantage with a kick to the gut followed by a chair shot to the ribs and then a chair shot to the back. That earned him a two count. Del Rio did an Orton pose as they went to break for the second time in this match.
Back from break, they were at the ringside area. Del Rio placed the "steel" steps inside the ring. Del Rio whipped Orton into the ring post and then the security wall. That led to a two count on the floor. They fought their way up the aisle. Del Rio charged at Orton and Orton gave him a back body drop that sent Del Rio back first on the steel ramp. That earned Orton a two count. Rodriguez jumped on Orton's back. Orton disposed of him easily by throwing him down. Orton punted Rodriguez in the ribs. Then Orton threw Rodriguez into the red phone booth that was located at the side of the ramp. Orton and Del Rio went back into the ring. Clotheslines by Orton followed by the powerslam. Orton threw Del Rio face first into the steel chair that was wedged between the top and middle rope in the corner. Chair shot to the back of Del Rio gets two. Del Rio countered the RKO with the Back Stabber for two. There was a table set up on the floor. Orton wanted to suplex Del Rio through it. Instead, Del Rio hit an enziguiri to the head of Orton. Orton fell through the table on the floor. That led to a two count. Best nearfall of the match so far. They went back into the ring when Del Rio decided to cut a promo. He told Orton to stop being the Apex Predator because that's him. Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker. Orton used the microphone to hit Del Rio in the head, which effectively broke the hold. Del Rio threw Orton shoulder first into the ring post. Then Del Rio set up the steel steps in the center of the ring. Del Rio went for the Orton DDT off the ropes, but Orton fought out of it. Del Rio rammed Orton into the steel steps. Del Rio went for a conchairto that obviously won't happen in today's WWE (with good reason) and that led to Orton hitting a RKO on the steel steps. That led to the pinfall. The match went 22 minutes.
Winner: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***3/4 That was a fun match to watch right around the four star (out of five) level. They have really good chemistry together and it showed as they fought all over the building. The crowd was into everything they did. The spots they did were vicious despite it being a PG show and I really liked how they ended it. Del Rio was in control for most of it. He lost the match because he lost his focus and Orton took advantage with that picture perfect RKO. The crowd popped big for it.
They're on opposite sides at Survivor Series, but I think this is the end of this feud as far as singles matches go. Over the past two months Orton has beat Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio in feuds. He's right near that main event level again. Do they push him into the WWE Title picture again? I think it's likely.
The show ended with Orton celebrating the victory.
I'd give it a 7 out of 10 for the good matches we got throughout the two hour broadcast.
There were only four matches. Three of the matches were ones we've seen many times before (Orton/Del Rio, Miz/Kingston and ReyCara/PTPers) while the tag match in the middle of the show felt fresh, which is a good thing.
That Orton/Del Rio match was one of the better TV matches of the year. It would be nice if Raw featured a 20+ minute match once in a while because it would really improve the show to see guys go all out for that long. Usually Raw matches don't go more than 15 minutes. If you can give some of the wrestlers more time the chances are good that the match will be memorable like this one was.
I liked the crowd just like I did on Raw. They were louder for segments on Raw, but they were pretty consistent on this two hour show too.
The issue that a lot of people have with Smackdown is that nothing major ever really happens. Like I said we got three matches we have seen many times and the other match ended when the World Champion pinned a part time wrestler in predictable fashion. It's the kind of show where if you miss it you're not left with the sense that you missed anything. That has to change for Smackdown to be considered more important. It's up to WWE to change how they present Smackdown.
I'll be back for the Raw Deal column on Tuesday although I may have a post up on Monday too. I've been slacking a bit, I admit, so it's time to pick things back up as we bring 2012 to a close.
John Canton - [email protected]
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