Big Show battled Randy Orton in a #1 contender's match for Hell in a Cell, Beth Phoenix took on Natalya, Booker T. announced a new tag team tournament and more! Check out 411's full WWE Smackdown report for all the details!
Greetings all and welcome to 411mania's coverage of Smackdown.
Larry is taking another well deserved break for some family time this week so I, as always, will be your trusty fill-in re-capper.
A couple of weeks ago when I reviewed the Miz/Sin Cara match I remarked at its quality and stated I couldn't see where any editing took place. Boy was I fucking wrong. Turns out the end was botched three times and judicious use of crowd shots were used because the wrestling was that horrible. When I found this out I went back to check the match out again and lo-and behold there's on shot where the pair where going into one corner when contact is made they're in the OPPOSITE corner of the ring.
So I happily stand corrected on that match.
Anyway, because of illness and family commitments I'm typing this up at 2am on Saturday morning Australian time dreading the fact that sometime in the next three hours one or if not all four of my kids will be causing merry havoc in my house and sleep will be impossible.
The joys of being the SD fill-in recapper.
Anyway, we're "live" from Buffalo, New York!!
The Big Show is out as we see clips of his destruction of Tensai and Brodus Clays. He says the most dominating and destructive force is back. He reminds us that his last title reign lasted only 45 seconds and the guy that beat him for the title went onto WrestleMania and lost to Sheamus in 18 seconds while in his match he suffered ridicule and was made fun of. No one will make fun of him when he becomes World Heavyweight Champion again. He states he's the only guy on the roster that can beat Sheamus and this bring out Randy Orton.
Randy says he finds it funny that Big SHow is talking about beating Sheamus when he's still yet to beat him. He also tells Big Show that their match tonight will now be a #1 Contenders Match and the winner will go to Hell In A Cell to face Sheamus. The Big Show will not stop him from winning his 10th World Title.
Now Alberto Del Rio is out. He says you just can't throw him aside because he was cheated in his last match with Sheamus by Booker T. He's better than Orton and Big Show and they need to get to the back of the line. Randy isn't happy with his tone and gives him an RKO when Del Rio steps into the ring. He resists trying to nail Big Show and heads back up the ramp.
Match #1 US Title Championship - Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella
Lock-up to start and Cesaro kicks at the break when they jostle to the ropes. Corner charge by Antonio misses and Santino ducks a clothesline attempt. A Marella hiptoss attempt is blocked and Cesaro nails a clothesline. He continues to work over Marella in the corner and gets a suplex for a one count. Cesaro jumps on Santino chest and applies a chinlock. Santino breaks this with a side suplex, hits a flurry of punches, body slam and he goes for the Cobra sock puppet. Antonio cuts this off and tries for a gutwrench which Santino counters into a pin attempt which only gets a two count. Both men are quickly up and Cesaro nails Marella with a forearm, this time nails the gutwrench suplex which only gets a two count. Antonio starts to jaw with Santino and gets nailed by an out-of-nowhere superkick that gets Santino a two count. They both go up top but an attempted superplex but Santino is stopped by Cesaro but his own attempted at hitting the Neutralizer is stopped by Marella who hits a back drop from the top rope, he missed with a diving headbutt and Antonio quickly hits the Neutralizer for the win.
Winner and still champ: Antonio Cesaro via pinfall. Hopefully this will be the end of this feud. I love Santino but if they aren't going to get serious with him as a legit challenger then pair him up with a straight man and add him to a the emerging tag team scene as comedy fodder. Rating *
Clips of the Daniel Bryan/Kane/Doctor Shelby interactions for Monday Night RAW.
Match#2 - Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya
The do the handshake of respect before the match. They lock-up to start and Beth quickly gets an arm-wringer. Natalya does the Davey Boy Smith rolling counter into a fireman's carry takedown and gets an armbar. Beth counters this with a head scissor but Natalya does a kip up to escape. Drop toe hold by Beth into a a facelock but Natalya rolls into a chicken-wing. Both ladies are up and they jostle for position into the corner and we get a clean break however Beth quickly goes back on the offensive and gets Natalya into a side headlock and takes her to the mat but Nattie quickly fire some quick elbows and fires Beth into the ropes but gets caught trying a cross body block but quickly slips out over Beths shoulder and pushes her in the back. Beth takes this sudden outbreak of aggression non to well and and tells Natalya so to her face but gets slapped for her trouble which causes Beth to explode and takes down Natalya for some ground and pound. Beth ducks a clothes line attempt and hits a side Russian legsweep and goes up to the second rope but Natalya catches her coming down and applies the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Beth tries to claw to the bottom rope but keeps getting dragged back into the centre until finally she makes the rope and Natalya breaks. Beth manages to get a school girl roll-up but Natalya rolls through, hits an elbow to the face gets caught running the ropes and eats a Glam Slam but that only gets Beth a two count. Beth tries a victory roll from the top rope but Natalya blocks that into a pin attempt which only gets two, that's reversed and and Beth gets the pinfall win.
Winner: Beth Phoenix via pinfall. I once watched a Randy Savage/Dynamite Kid match from 1985 that went 5 minutes and I though that was about as good a 5 minute match you will ever see. No word of a lie this match nearly reached that standard. These ladies were allowed to wrestle and that's what we got. We actually got as close to a chain wrestling match as you'll likely ever see on WWE outside of a Daniel Bryan. They packed so much into this five minutes and they even managed a great false finish after the Glam Slam failed to secure the win and Natalya countered the victory roll you expected the pin to happen then but we got the surprise final counter came and Beth won. It wasn't flawless but as far as the woman's division in the WWE goes, this is the very tippy peak of that mountain. Rating **3/4
Eve is out to interrupt the tearful Phoenix to advise that she must act rationally and since the only evidence of Kaitlyns attacker is that she's blonde, she needs to be suspended indefinitely. Beth is upset and starts arguing with Natalya who keep shouting that it isn't her fault.
We go to the back where Teddy Long is praising Booker T. for the resurgent tag team division. Booker keeps that momentum rolling by announcing a 8-man tag team tournament to find new #1 contenders for Daniel Bryn and Kane titles and those teams will face-off at Hell in a Cell. Beth storms in and complains about Eve and Booker has no idea what she's talking about. Eve steps in but Booker isn't happy with Eve when he finds out what she did and reverses the suspension. Eve quickly puts blame on Teddy for telling her to do it. Teddy protests his innocence and Booker just asks everyone to leave because he doesn't know who to trust.
Quick promo for the WWE's fight against breast cancer. #riseabovecancer
We also see a video package of the CM Punk/Mick Foley/John Cena interaction on RAW. We also see Ryback intimidating Punk at shows end.
Match#3 - Zack Ryder vs. Wade Barrett
Lock-up to start and Barrett immediately kicks and hits a running shoulderblock. He keeps control with a savant kicks and a pump-handle suplex which gets a two count. Barrett works Ryder over some more and nails a backbreaker which only gets a two count. Wade goes for back bodydrop but telegraphs it, Zack takes control, hits a top rope dropkick, nails running forearm but before Ryder can hit the Broski Boot Barrett rolls to the floor. He comes back in and Zack tries to run the ropes quickly but doesn't realize Barrett was right behind him and nails Ryder coming off the ropes with a clothesline over the top to the floor. Wade gets him back into the ring and The Souvenir elbow gets the win.
Winner: Wade Barrett via pinfall. I like the new Barrett gimmick. He needs to add some new layers quickly however or else what little buzz he has now will quickly evaporate. Rating 1/2*
We get clips of the second Daniel Bryan/Kane vignettes from RAW
Match#5 - First Round Tag Tournament Match: Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow vs. The Uso's
Okay, so I'm getting excited for this match since all four of the guys can work and all of a sudden my feed jump cuts to Sandow working on Jimmy, both men tag out, Jay tries a top rope splash on Cody who gets the knees up, nails the Cross Rhodes for the pin.
Winners: Rhodes & Sandow via pinfall. They advance tot he next round. No rating for this match
Side Rant:I know the Smackdown we get here in Australia is slightly trimmed from the broadcast version that you get from the U.S but usually it's a minor thing here or there and nothing important gets missed. Why all of a sudden did we lose 4/5 of what could have been a decent tag match? I dug around a little and word has it as part of the new Hulu deal, Hulu will edit down shows for streaming and this match may have be butchered to fit time constraints and like the grand old days of NWA clipping, the wrong stuff gets cut. I'm curious if this happened on the US broadcast version.
SATURDAY MORNING EDIT: I just read other recaps of this show and it seems that the version of the show I had completely removed a MizTV segment with Sheamus. Apologies that this wasn't recapped but I can't review what isn't shown
We get the final installment of the Daniel Bryan/Kane anger management skits for Monday.
Now this just illustrates my above point. These skits from Monday were ratings death. The first did okay but by the third the viewing audience was one of the lowest in 15 years for RAW hovering around a 2.4. Why this unfunny and stupid vignette was left intact to be repeated on Friday Smackdown and they cut away from a fresh new tag match combination is beyond belief.
Match#6 - Ryback vs. Tensai
Lock-up to start and Tensai takes advantage of a rope break to cheap shot his opponent and works him over some more. Corner charge by Tensai as he continues the assault but Ryback suddenly blocks a blow, headbutt to the chest, belly-to-belly gets him on top. Tensai manages to turn a Ryback charge into a power bomb but only gets two. Ryback quickly gets back control with a clothesline and hits the Shell Shocked for the win.
Winner: Ryback via pinfall. Tensai was not only squashed but epically buried here. 1/4*
Randy Orton is walking to the ring and is blindsided by Alberto Del Rio who nails him with a road case. Randy is laid out holding his left arm as we go to break.
When we comes back The Big Show makes his entrance but new Orton when is music hits. Instead Alberto is out and says Randy can't now compete and he will be going on in his place. Out of the back charges Orton and he lays out Alberto and runs him into a WWE stage sign and the match is on!
Match #7 - #1 Contenders Match: The Big Show vs. Randy Orton
I'm going to quickly mention that Randy and his selling of the injury is super spotty. When he was attacked he was holding his left arm. When Orton came out to beat on ADR, he was holding his right arm to begin with, then he favored his left. By the time the match starts it now seems to have turned into a rib injury. Not sure what the deal was with that.
On with the match as we find The Big Show trying to corner Randy to nail him with a big blow but he escapes at the last minute and gets some quick licks in. This goes on for a while until Show gets annoyed and just headbutts Orton to take control. Show works over the ribcage and when Randy tries to fight back his punches barely register on the giant. They go out to the floor and the misery continues for Randy as he's flung into the barricade as we go to break...
...we're back from commercial with Big Sow still in control but when he goes to finish off Randy with a choke slam orton counter with a DDT but only gets a one count for that. Orton tries to keep control with some kicks and a knee drop but Big Show easily stops this and stays on offensive and continues to punish Randys busted ribs and yells at him to quit but to no avail. The both go outside again but Randy manages to slip behind Show and ram him into the ringpost and tries to get the IEDDT on the way back in but Big Show blocks, tries another choke slam but Orton nails the RKO out of nowhere but only gets a 2 count. He sets up Show for the big punt kick but Show blocks and finally nails the choke slam but that still only gets a two count. Show hauls him off the mat and hits one final choke slam and finally gets the pin and the shot at Sheamus at the Hell in a Cell PPV.
Winner: The Big Show via pinfall. Solid cat and mouse game match between the two. Some good hope spots from Orton had me thinking Show was done for when he got hit by the RKO but the cynic in me was kept at bay as Show quickly won the match. Rating *1/2
Overall: Besides the weird editing this show was passable. The woman's match was about as good as you will ever see a 5 minute woman's match and the main event was fun. The renewed focus on the tag division continues and Ryback really was hitting the mark with fans. Decent show this week if nothing knock out great.