Friday, November 11, 2011

WWE SmackDown! 11/11/11

WWE Friday Night SmackDown 11/11/11
November 11th, 2011
Echo Arena, Liverpool, England, UK
Attendance: 3,500*

Welcome once again to another edition of 411's Friday Night SmackDown! Report. I'd like to apologize for the slightly abridged version of the report last week, I was in a bit of a rush when I submitted the initial report. I forgot to include the W/L records yet again (I know, I brainfart sometimes guys, sorry) but I've since edited them into last week's SmackDown report and I've fixed my statsheet so if you want to see last week's standings just check out the TV report archive and click on last week's show, or just read ahead to see all the new, updated standings. Anyways, tonight Smackdown emanates from Liverpool, England so odds are we've got a pretty decent show on tap as the WWE usually likes to put on good shows whenever they hit the UK for TV tapings. We're only a little over a week away from Survivor Series, so the Smackdown portion of that card should really come into place tonight. Let's do this thing.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews

We open the show with the Viper, Randy Orton making his way out to the ring while we see a clip of the great street fight he had against Cody Rhodes on last week's show. The commentary team announce a 5 on 5 traditional Survivor Series match for the PPV that was just signed featuring a team led by Orton (along with Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Sin Cara, and Mason Ryan) against a team led by Wade Barrett (along with Christian, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, and Hunico), so Orton grabs a mic and says that despite his past history of "not playing well with others", he has no problem leading a team up against the likes of Christian and Cody Rhodes, but he doesn't know Hunico or care about Swagger and before he can comment on Barrett, the Englishman's theme music hits and the former Nexus leader makes his way out to the ring to interrupt Orton.

Barrett claims that Randy Orton should have a problem with him, because he has one with Orton. He references their brief feud in the past and then says that the one thing he hasn't accomplished yet in the WWE is winning a World title, and to do that he needs to prove he's Randy Orton's in-ring superior first. Suddenly Christian's music hits now and Barrett's Survivor Series teammate makes his way down to the ring with a neck-brace on and a microphone. Immediately he begins milking the injury he suffered from Sheamus last week and then claims that Barrett was able to beat Sheamus last week because Christian inspired him to succeed. Christian claims to have stepped aside last week when Teddy offered him the captain spot of the team for Survivor Series so that Barrett could step in because of how impressed he was with his victory over Sheamus last week. Before he can get any further however Orton slugs him with a right hand in the face, prompting Barrett and Christian to jump him. Sheamus' music hits however and the Irishman hits the ring to make the save for Orton.

After Christian and Barrett bail from the ring, Teddy Long's music hits and the GM comes out, seeing right through Christian's fake neck injury and informing him that he'll be facing Sheamus once again tonight, and that the main event tonight will be Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett. Pretty by-the-numbers intro for the show but it sets up the rest of the program nicely.

Sheamus (13-11-1) vs. Christian (17-12-1)

These two are starting to reach Christian vs. Orton levels of familiarity, but I'm not complaining. Sheamus tries a headlock to start but Christian shakes it off and slaps him in the face, igniting an angry stomp-down from Sheamus. Sheamus delivers a huge gorilla press slam and Christian bails out of the ring for a time-out. He suckers Sheamus out of the ring and is able to get a few cheap-shots before once again Sheamus tosses him out of the ring. He tries slamming Christian, but Captain Charisma slides out of his grip and sends him face-first into the steel post. Back inside Christian hits a missile dropkick from the top for a two count. Christian knocks Sheamus out to the floor and tries for a big pescado out onto him, but Sheamus catches him and tosses him over his head with a huge fallaway slam back into the guard barrier! What a crazy spot, and that leads us into our first commercial break. When we return Christian is working a chinlock on Sheamus back in the ring. He slams Sheamus' neck over the top rope and then flies off the top rope only to eat a right hand to his chest and get shot sternum-first into the opposite turnbuckle. Christian tries for a leapfrog from the second turnbuckle but Sheamus once again catches him and slams him with the Irish Curse backbreaker this time for a two count. Christian escapes a Celtic Cross attempt and tries again to jump off the top, but yet again Sheamus catches him and tosses him overhead with another fallaway slam. Christian responds with a big tornado DDT from the corner for his own near fall. Sheamus hits a shoulder-block and goes for the Brogue Kick, which Christian tries countering into the Killswitch, but Sheamus escapes that and nails him with the Celtic Cross to yet again defeat Christian at 10:14 (shown). This was about on par with the usual effort between these two men, which means it was a damn good, closely contested TV match. Another good outing from these two. ***

After a quick commercial break we cut backstage to see Daniel Bryan talking to the adorable AJ. They would make the perfect IWC power couple, eh? Kaitlyn, who reminds me almost of WWE's answer to Velvet Sky, walks up to interrupt them and asks Bryan what the deal was with his match against Mark Henry last week when it appeared that he was contemplating cashing in his MITB contract, when he's claimed ever since winning that he's saving his contract for Wrestlemania. Bryan claims he was out on his feet and didn't really know what was going on until he came to his senses. AJ gives him the biggest pair of flirty-eyes I've ever seen before cowering away under the shadow of an approaching Mark Henry. Mark asks Bryan if he thought it was going to be that easy to become champ when it took him 15 years to win it. He goes to poke Bryan in the chest but Daniel knocks his hand off and tells him "IF" he's still champion by Wrestlemania time, he's going to cash in on him and beat him. Henry says he likes Bryan's guts, and it's a shame he's going to have to spill them all over the ring tonight. So I guess they're wrestling again. I'd say the seeds are officially being planted for a Mark Henry-Daniel Bryan title match at Wrestlemania, which I'm all for.

We get a quick little video package giving us some background info on Ezekiel Jackson in case we had forgotten about him since we saw him...what, last week? Anyways, elsewhere backstage we see Teddy Long talking to the Little Nature Bay himself, referee Charles Robinson. Suddenly they're interrupted by Aksana, who somehow is still employed. She puts her usual moves on Teddy while the cheesy sax music plays in the background. Yawn, still don't give even the slightest fuck about this angle, and I doubt anyone else does. Alicia Fox, looking smoking hot with her new red pigtails, is introduced by Teddy as someone who's going to help "show Aksana the ropes" or something like that. Aksana, being Russian and oblivious, thinks Teddy has gotten her pop singer Rihanna. That's slightly amusing. Moving along now.

Ted DiBiase (4-10) vs. Jinder Mahal (4-3)

I might be upset by the squash it appears Jinder is about to suffer if I actually thought he was talented. Jinder gets a nice knee lift strike in for a quick near fall as the match starts, but it's not long before DiBiase is unloading on him and delivering the Dream Street/cobra clutch slam and picking up the easy pin on Jinder at a whopping 1:07. Squash city, but I've seen worse squashes. 1/4*

Mark Henry (10-8) vs. Daniel Bryan (10-11-1)

So it looks like we're going to have to see Henry squash Bryan a dozen times to set him up as the big underdog for 'Mania next year. I like it, assuming this is building to a Bryan title win, that should give him a good rub in front of the fans eyes. It's only a matter of seconds after the bell rings before Henry is manhandling Bryan in and out of the ring. Bryan eventually manages to get a few lucky shots in and he tries to apply the LeBell Lock but Henry's just too big and he rolls out of the hold, slamming Bryan to the mat like a ragdoll in the process. Bryan doesn't back down though and eggs Henry on until he gives him the World's Strongest Slam, and that's enough to give Henry the win at 3:49. Just another squash match basically but this one actually had a point to it and this should help continue the on-going angle between the two men, setting Bryan up as the ultimate babyface under-dog for when he eventually does cash in on Henry (which I think it's safe to say is where this is headed at the moment). 3/4*

After the match is over Mark Henry isn't done with Bryan though. He grabs his title and a steel chair from ringside, but Bryan manages to take the chair from him and slam it over Henry's back. Henry totally no-sells the chairshot though and slams him once again, following it up with a huge elbow-drop. Henry straps the steel chair around Bryan's leg and prepares to slam it when suddenly the Big Show's music hits and the big man makes his way out to make the save. Henry slams Bryan with another chair-shot and then goes to hit Show, but Show knocks the chair out of his hands with his deadly right hand and stares down Henry until he takes off in true cowardly heel fashion. Big Show grabs a mic and tells him to stick around and watch what happens next. Good little segment.

Handicap Match
Big Show (11-5) vs. 3 Nameless Jobbers

Well it's been awhile since we've seen Show squash a couple of no-name jobbers in a handicap match, I'll give them that. This was almost all Show used to wrestle back in his WCW days, in order to hide his inexperience as a worker. The jobbers get a small bit of offense in before Show choke-slams two of the men. The third man tries to run away, but Show drags him back in the ring and nails him with the deadly right hand for the pin at 1:20. Yet another squash match, this was just to give Show something to do to look impressive to give him a bit of momentum going forward with his feud against Henry. It's always fun to watch a giant destroy three guys at once though. After the match Henry tells Show that he's not impressed. 1/4*

Alicia Fox (5-4) vs. Tamina (4-3)

Fox is with Aksana, while Tamina is with Rosa Mendes. Natalya joins the commentary team as well. Tamina works a nice double-underhook submission hold while Nattie argues with Josh on commentary (it's about as thrilling as it sounds). Fox breaks the hold and hits a flurry of dropkicks before Tamina gives her a huge scoop slam. She tries a diving headbutt, but misses. Fox delivers her somersault-legdrop move that she's begun using as a finisher it seems, and that's enough to put Tamina away at 2:02. Meh, not bad as these are two of the better divas on Smackdown, but still just your standard two minute diva's affair (i.e., instantly forgettable). 1/2*

Backstage Sheamus is asked by Matt Striker about his temper, but Sheamus claims he doesn't have one and jokes about how he likes to have a good time, referencing his skit with Beaker from the Muppets on last week's RAW. He gives Matt the old stink-eye and then takes off.

Hunico, alongside Epico and Primo, are out next as Hunico has new chicano-rap music straight out of a bad 90s movie. So it would appear the rumors of a heel stable nicknamed the "Mexican Freebirds" comprising these three men have some truth to them. After a quick commercial break we return and we've apparently got a tag team match on our hands.

Hunico/Epico vs. The Usos (Jimmy Uso/Jey Uso)

I bet these four could have a great match if given a good 10 minutes or so. Good luck trying to tell these four apart though, the Uso's are identical and Hunico and Epico are nearly impossible to distinguish from one another as well without knowing exactly who's who. Okay, so apparently Epico starts us off with one of the Usos before Hunico tags in and the heels work over one of the Uso's in their corner utilizing traditional heel tag team tactics. Jimmy tags out to Jey moments later and nails Hunico with a big elbow for a near fall. Primo distracts one of the Uso's long enough for him to be taken out of the ring. Hunico slams the other Uso and then finishes him off with a beautiful Swanton Bomb that would make Jeff Hardy jealous to give the Mexican Freebirds their first win at 2:45. Another quick match, but again this one had a point as it gives us a nice introduction to this new heel stable. After the match they take out the other Uso with a pair of lung-blowers and another Swanton bomb just to be dicks. I'd actually quite like to see a feud develop between these teams, especially if the Freebirds are done feuding with Sin Cara. *1/4

Randy Orton (21-7-1) vs. Wade Barrett (7-24-1)

It's main event time now and we've got a pretty decent one tonight with Orton taking on his fellow Survivor Series team captain Wade Barrett. Barrett tries working a side headlock in the early going, but Orton slips out of it, dropkicks him, and slaps on one of his own. Barrett escapes and then gives Orton a big elbow-drop from the second rope for a two count. Orton lures Barrett out of the ring and slams him into the steel barricade. He tries to toss him into the steel steps, but Barrett leaps over the steps to avoid them and Orton eats them instead. Barrett gives him another strong toss into the steps just for good measure as we take our last commercial break of the evening. When we return Barrett is grinding Orton down with rest-holds while Cole puts over the importance of Survivor Series on commentary, doing his job well for once. Orton gets tied up in the ropes and Barrett gives him a huge big boot that sends Orton crumpling to the outside floor like a wet paper bag. Barrett tosses him back into the ring for a two count. Barrett goes back to the side headlock again but Randy shoots him off only to turn around and step right into a big swinging sidewalk slam from Barrett. Wade goes to the top rope, but Orton meets him there and superplexes him off the top for another close near fall. Orton starts hitting clotheslines left and right, followed by the snap powerslam and the second-rope DDT as Orton appears to have caught his second wind and is going into his Viper mode now. Orton sets up for the RKO, but Barrett shoves him into the ref and then nails Randy in the face with a right closed fist behind the ref's back and then rolls Orton up for the upset pin at 9:37 (shown). This was a solid main event and it's nice to see Barrett beat Orton as that should really help his recent resurgent push, but considering the quality of the opener on tonight's show, this was just ever so slightly below three stars. Your mileage may vary. **3/4

Bottom Line: Another solid edition of SmackDown this week as the brand seems to be kicking back into gear again in preparation for Survivor Series next week. We got yet another solid encounter between Sheamus and Christian (though hopefully that will be their last for a while) along with a solid main event that gives a nice rub to Wade Barrett (who as you can tell from his W/L record, badly needs these kind of credibility-boosting wins) makes this an easy one to recommend and give the Thumbs Up to.

Score: 7.5/10

*Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter via

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