The time has come when the year is almost at a close. Only days away from the end of the year, Smackdown holds its last show before we step into 2013, and normally this leads to something big, or at least, something that they would hope is perceived as big. Something along the lines of a title match that you know will not end in a title change or some kind of "feud-ender" of an angle that just will not quit being present. Both are highly possible tonight, but I am hoping we at least get some entertainment value out of it. Regardless...2013 should be a good year.
Booker T, GM Of The Century: Sheamus is so disgustingly "jolly," and what a proper term to use considering he starts the show talking about how he spent his Christmas. This borders along the crowd-pandering personality of Sheamus that I can not really get behind. However, I can not deny he has a humorous charm when it doesn't feel like he's trying too hard. After defeating Show in a non-title match this Monday, he takes it upon himself to request another title shot. Have we not seen enough of these two? It's not Barrett and Orton. It's not Ziggler and Bryan. It's DEFINITELY not Punk and Cena. It was fun, and the matches will never be bad, but they will grow incredibly stale, like they're already starting to do.
Big Show approaches the ring and kicks right in to his schtick, riling the crowd up and hitting damn near every mark on the mic, making Sheamus seem that much more interesting to hear. While the angle is tired, the promo work continues to grab my attention, causing one hell of a paradox of opinion considering I did admit they've been turning out good matches. They argue over whether Sheamus actually deserves the shot, prompting Booker to take the spotlight and lay down the f'n law. He's a complete boss, and he has no time for games...unless they pertain to how he decides a contender. That brings us to Booker's decision to hold a sort-of Title Shot lottery with every Smackdown superstars name in a tumbler. The wrestlers emerge as Teddy and Eve laughably argue over who gets to do the honors, with Booker trying not to get frustrated with their antics.
Your winner is...Santino Marella. Unexpected, and possibly a waste...but let's see if Santino makes the most out of it.
Primo v Brodus Clay(N/A): Surprisingly, despite it's intense brevity, this was kind of entertaining. Primo's an excellent talent, and they managed to make 1 minute seem fresh...or maybe it's just been that long since Brodus has squashed somebody. Rosa gets in Clay's face, which leads to him asking his "ladies" to take care of the pest, and for the first time outside of Naomi's match at TLC, the Funkadactyls get physically involved. All around, it felt like a bit of a change for Brodus, and it does make me think of the characteristics I liked about him in the first place.
The Fall Of Man...Or Cobra: The match has not even taken place, and Santino is already cracking me up, with a little help from Sheamus. He attempts to teach Santino how to do a Brogue Kick to help him take down The Big Show. All Santino gets out of this is one hell of a charlie horse. Things are not looking good for the Milan Miracle.
Wade Barrett & Rhodes Scholars(Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow) v Kofi Kingston & Team Hell No(Kane & Daniel Bryan)(B-): I feel like I talk about all of these guys every week. That's not a problem, because they are all well-experienced at what they do, but I feel I can not say anything more about them without sounding like a broken record. This match is as good as you would expect, if not better. Cody and Bryan get a decent chunk of time in the ring together, and it reminds me how much I wanted to see them legitimately feud a little over year ago when they teased it. Everyone is just on-point here, more than usual for a lot of them, and it pays off.
Rodriguez Or Riot: Apparently what I perceived as a charlie horse was an injury that took Santino out for the night, so despite Big Show's incessant objections, Booker rolls the tumbler again to see who gets a title shot...who turns out to be Ricardo Rodriguez. With a bit of intelligent booking and renewed motivation in Big Show, he has been knocking his segments out of the park rather consistently, and he just about does the same to Ricardo's skull when he knocks him out after filling him with confidence about potentially becoming the next champion. Absolutely hilarious. PLEASE let these segments continue all night until the actual challenger is drawn.
Zack Ryder v Antonio Cesaro(C): While this was Ryder just doing another job, it was a thorough job on the part of Cesaro. He ran through his usual gamut of maneuvers, but with more ferocity and purpose than it sometimes feels he employs. Seeing Cesaro work his magic is enthralling, but only when he's running on all cylinders like he is here. Translate that into your Pay-Per-View matches, Antonio.
The Miz v Dolph Ziggler(B): Last time these two wrestled, they gave the crowd one of the best TV matches of the year. For me, Ziggler has the right personality to make Miz click as a face, and that was proven not only by their incredible back and forth on the microphone, but the dynamic they create when opposing each other. Something about it feels so different, and this match is no different. It's like Ziggler suddenly tries to be more creative when wrestling Miz, and Miz happily obliges Ziggler's thirst for innovation. At one point, Miz tosses Ziggler over the top ropes, but Big E. Langston(standing on the outside with AJ) catches him and hardly budges, saving Ziggler from a face-plant on the floor. Just an example of how "different" these matches feel, and how both Big E. and AJ can add a new element of depth to Ziggler's repertoire, and the same goes for AJ and Big E. Also, Miz is the king of the double axe handle, and his edgy, controversial insults really put him over more than cheesier jokes like calling Dolph a member of One Direction(though that was funny).
The Bond of Men: Ricardo's out for the count, and after Brad Maddox pisses an already irritated Booker T off, he gives him his final shot, telling him his match is next. Following this, Alberto Del Rio runs in, concerned for his friend Ricardo, and this where the face turn begins to develop deeper. Playing up on the actual companionship between ADR and Ricardo rather than their relationship as aristocrat and servant brings sympathy to both characters. Not to mention Ricardo is more over than ADR, so truly pairing the two as best pals during a face run could make both more huge than either could have been before this point.
I'm getting a bit off-subject, though, as Del Rio's desire for revenge earns him the shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. That is our main event for tonight, with a brilliant set-up.
Brad Maddox v Sheamus(C-): Brad Maddox is likely to make his way into an official spot on the main roster before too long but tonight will not be the time he earns the contract. It's a fun expedition, but it's incredibly short and predictable...so do with that as you will.
The Usos(Jimmy & Jey) v Primetime Players(Titus O'Neal & Darren Young)(C-): The Primetime Players continuously hone their craft and impress me every day with how well they've come along since their days on NXT. The Usos have been stellar in the ring for a while now. The difference is the PTP have more charisma than The Usos do. I type these praises, and while the teams prove my words to be true, the match ends in a matter of moments with a roll-up, before business can ever really pick up. It had me excited for what was to come, then nothing came. These are time constraint issues, I understand. It was just a bit upsetting.
Rectifying Injustice: The Shield "hijack the feed"(at least, that's how I like to imagine it occurring) to deliver a New Year's message, a powerful one. I already knew Dean Ambrose was thrilling in his promos, but Rollins is really starting to win me over. His intensity in this gimmick allows him to overcome his lisp, and at least for me, completely masks it with the content of his words and the passion behind them. Reigns is...well, Reigns. He seems a bit too calm for the whole deal, but it doesn't hurt the ensemble one bit. Believe in The Shield.
Ok, Enough Big Show Promos: Big Show does some jaw-jacking about how Del Rio won't be any different than the two joke entries just before the main event, and it's good. Not much more I can say about it.
The Big Show v Alberto Del Rio(C+): It is interesting what can change when you reverse roles. Last time these two fought, Big Show was a good guy, while Del Rio was strongly aligned to the "dark side." With the change in attitudes, this match suddenly becomes much more interesting. I would not call it a classic by any standards, but it was better than I would have initially expected seeing the match-up on the card. The match ends in a count-out...or a disqualification...I'm not positive. Show tries to walk out, but the Celtic Warrior(Sheamus, for those not in the know((as if you'd be reading this if you weren't a hardcore wrestling fan))) bum rushes Big Show before he can escape. Somehow Big Show manages to get away, but not before the whole locker room blockades the stage, forcing him into the ring to get kicked by Alberto and Sheamus. It must be nice for Alberto do be in the spectator's perspective when Sheamus unleashes a Brogue Kick for once.
Well, it wasn't perfect, and things don't seem to be changing up in the title scene too much, but there were a couple matches that really stood out, some laugh-inducing segments, and The Shield killing the pre-tape promo more than almost anyone else in WWE. Ultimately...it was far better than RAW.