WWE Friday Night SmackDown!
December 9th, 2011
Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Attendance: Unknown at this time
December 9th, 2011
Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida
Attendance: Unknown at this time
Welcome back once again to another edition of 411mania's SmackDown coverage! You may have noticed a brief absence from yours truly over the last two weeks, I was sick with the flu for quite a bit and then Smackdown went live on a Tuesday last week and just aired a re-run on Friday, so this is my first show back. I'd like to thank Steve Cook and Tony Acero for filling in for me while I was battling that damn bug. Anyways, back to the important stuff, the wrestling. We're only a little over a week away from the Tables, Ladders, & Chairs PPV and while most of the card is already in place, we can expect some more bumps in the road, possibly starting tonight as SmackDown rolls into Jacksonville, Florida.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with a somber Josh Matthews welcoming us as the camera reveals a disheveled Booker T on the concrete floor, having apparently been attacked by Cody Rhodes again during his entrance moments before we came onto the air. Booker is helped off backstage while Tony Chimel introduces the return of longtime ring announcer Lillian Garcia to do the show tonight. I'm not sure if this is a one-time thing or if she's back for good, but either way it's always nice to see her again. She thanks the fans but before she can get very far Rhodes has grabbed a mic and interrupts her. He tells her that no one cares that she's back nor did they even notice her absence, but he can appreciate the arrival of one announcer as another one (Booker) exits. Rhodes of course decides to take the empty seat at ringside as we roll on to our first match of the evening.
Beat the Clock Challenge Match
Wade Barrett (8-26-1) vs. Ezekiel Jackson (14-11)
Both Barrett and Randy Orton are booked in Beat the Clock matches tonight, and whoever wins with the best time gets to choose what kind of stipulation their match at TLC will have. Barrett tries to end it quickly with a few unsuccessful cover attempts before bailing out of the ring when it doesn't work. Back inside Zeke feeds him a forearm and then clotheslines him back out of the ring. Barrett chop-blocks Zeke's knee from under him and then rolls him up for a two count. Barrett delivers a big pumphandle slam but again Zeke kicks out as we take our first commercial break. When we return Barrett is working a chinlock on the big man to little success. Zeke hits a sidewalk slam for a near fall of his own and then delivers a pair of body-slams. He looks for the torture rack, but Barrett counters and looks for the Waste Land. Zeke evades that but walks right into a towering spinning sidewalk slam from Barrett, which is enough to give the Englishman the win at 4:58 (shown; 7:53 total on the clock). Pretty much exactly what you'd expect from Barrett and the cumbersome Jackson, this just existed to further the Barrett/Orton angle. Moving along, nothing to see here. *1/4
After the match Barrett gets on the mic to brag about his victory and talk a bit of trash towards Randy Orton. He tells Orton that he's the only voice in his head, and that his time is up on SmackDown. Time for Orton to beat: 7 minutes and 53 seconds.
Backstage David Otunga is talking to Teddy Long about how unfair it was for him to wrestle Randy Orton on last week's special Smackdown. He wants the loss expunged from his record, but Long decides to book him into a match against Sheamus later tonight just to be a dick. He's crafty that Teddy.
Josh Matthews introduces Mr. Money in the Bank, Daniel Bryan, next. Cole immediately goes into his usual over-the-top heel bullshit, immediately sending me reeling for the mute button. We see a clip of his loss to Mark Henry in a steel cage last week on the Titan Tron. Bryan expresses his disappointment over his loss last week to Henry, but before he can continue Michael Cole erupts from the announcer's table at ringside and begins screaming "Enough!" like a temperamental child. What follows is such an absurdly over-the-top heel shtick performance from Cole that I struggle to make it through without muting or fast forwarding the show. Anyways, Bryan and Cole go into a shouting match about why Cole doesn't respect him. Cole tells him he should just go away so Bryan heads towards Cole to get physical when Cody jumps up from beside Cole and attacks Bryan while Cole talks trash next to him. Cole's shtick is way, way, WAY too over the top to take seriously. A good actor or performer doesn't completely take you our of reality and the show like Cole often does.
Zack Ryder (3-1) vs. Heath Slater (4-22)
Poor Heath doesn't even get a ring entrance anymore. Ryder is hot to start with forearms but Slater quickly gains the upper hand and lays a deep kick into Ryder's stomach before stomping away at the Long Island Iced Z in the corner. Ryder hits a pair of knees on Slater and then hits the Broski Boot in the corner before finishing Slater off with the Rough Ryder at 1:27. Don't blink or you might have missed this entire match. Squash-city. 1/4*
Ted DiBiase (7-10) vs. Jinder Mahal (4-5)
These two are wrestling because DiBiase cost Mahal a match last week by coming down to the ring in a Santa hat and handing out toys to people at ringside. The harder they try to get the fans to care about Ted DiBiase, the more miserably they fail. Here's a hint: in a country suffering from it's worst economic depression in decades, maybe the affluent son of a billionaire isn't exactly the most relatable of babyface characters, hmm? DiBiase is quickly attacked by Mahal at the bell, having his legs taken out from under him in the corner for a two count. Cole continues to whine and cry like an angry child and I officially press the mute button to escape the pain while Mahal goes to town on DiBiase with a series of nice butterfly suplexes and a neck cravat. DiBiase just rolls Mahal up moments later though and picks up the three count at 2:54. A boring match made worse by excruciating commentary. 1/2*
After a quick commercial break we return to see the Big Show entering the ring. He grabs a mic and says that it was nine years ago that he defeated Brock Lesnar to become the WWE champion. He brags about how he did the impossible that night. Um, the only reason you won that match was because of Paul Heyman and a steel chair, so I'm not sure what you're bragging about here man. Show says it's going to get mean and nasty when he wrestles Henry at TLC, and that appears to be Henry's cue to interrupt and walk down to ringside. Henry says he isn't afraid of Show, but he's not looking for a fight. He wants to say something to Show's face, but only if he promises not to put his hands on him. Show refuses initially, but then agrees. Henry promises he'll be 100% in two weeks and that they'll have a fight that people will talk about for decades. Henry wants to let bygones be bygones and shake Show's hand, and Show obliges him. Henry of course gives him a sucker punch seconds later, and Show fires back, targeting Henry's injured leg. Show grabs a chair and slams it over Henry's back once before slamming it onto his injured leg. Show takes off while trainers rush to Henry's aide. Nice little segment to further the issue between these two.
Hornswoggle is introduced after a brief commercial break as the guest ring announcer for our next match. You see, because he won the battle royal on last week's show and was granted the power of speech by Santa Claus. I cannot believe I actually just had to write that sentence. Moving along.
Sheamus (16-11-1) vs. David Otunga (2-1)
Otunga tries some basic holds to start but Sheamus' power easily allows him to escape. He lays in a series of ten forearms onto Otunga's chest on the aisle and then suplexes him back into the ring for a two count. Otunga hits a clothesline and follows up with an elbow drop, but Sheamus easily kicks out. Moments later Sheamus hits him with the Brogue Kick, and that's enough to put away Mr. Harvard at 2:57. Just another glorified squash, but Sheamus managed to make it moderately amusing. 3/4*
In between commercial breaks we get another mysterious promo video talking about "the return of the prophet" on January 2nd, 2012. I'm sure most people have already read who it is that will be returning on that date, but for those who haven't, we'll keep it a mystery for now.
Daniel Bryan (11-13-1) vs. Cody Rhodes (14-16)
Now here we go, finally a match that might get some actual time to develop. Bryan goes right into a flurry of kicks on Rhodes at the bell, but Cody gets a cheap shot in and begins to target the bandaged abs of Bryan. Rhodes headbutts his mid-section and then shoots Bryan sternum-first into the corner turnbuckle, continuing the assault on the injured mid-section. Don't expect anything resembling "commentary" during this match either, as instead it's just the usual Michael Cole bitchfest with the ever annoying manchild Josh Matthews screeching his disapproval into our ears. Rhodes sends Bryan out of the ring and he falls nastily onto his ribs again as we take a quick commercial break. When we return Rhodes is working an abdominal stretch on Bryan back in the ring. Rhodes hits a stiff lariat for a two count and then slams his foot over Bryan's throat. Bryan back-drops Rhodes over the top and out of the ring and then moments later he takes out Rhodes with the big tope suicida on the floor! Back in the ring Bryan lays in more stiff kicks and a big running dropkick. He heads to the top rope for the diving headbutt, but Rhodes moves out of the way at the last second when suddenly Booker T's music hits on the Titan Tron, and the former 5 time WCW champ runs down to the ring, hops in, and attacks Cody Rhodes, bringing forth the DQ to give Cody the win at 5:53 (shown). This was going along quite nicely until the DQ finish, it's just a shame Booker couldn't have come in a few minutes later to allow them a wee bit more time to flesh this out. Definitely a step above everything else tonight so far though. **1/4
After a commercial break we return to see an angry Cody Rhodes storm backstage to talk to Teddy Long. He demands a match with Booker T, and Teddy has no problem booking one between the two men at the TLC PPV, with Cody's Intercontinental title on the line! Sheesh, Triple H, Kevin Nash, and now Booker T all wrestling at TLC? That's a whole lot of old. Elsewhere backstage we see Matt Striker with Randy Orton. Orton tells Ziggler that it's his lucky night, because he's going to make his suffering short tonight in order to win the beat the clock challenge, all in his usual monotone, excitement-less voice.
Beat the Clock Challenge Match
Randy Orton (23-9-1) vs. Dolph Ziggler (3-11)
Boy that new theme music for Ziggler sucks, and sucks bad. The time for Orton to beat here is 7:53. Orton nails Ziggler in the chin with a big standing dropkick right at the bell and tries to quickly pin Dolph, but he kicks out. Orton lays in some stiff European uppercuts and a lariat for another near fall. Ziggler gets some shots of his own in on the Viper in the corner, but he can't put much of anything together before Orton is firing off shots at him again. Ziggler manages another forearm and then hits the Fameasser for a two count of his own on Randy. Ziggler tries to apply the sleeper hold to try and kill more time on the clock, but Orton won't have any of it so Dolph gives him a big DDT instead for another near fall. Again he tries for a sleeper but again Orton evades, so he nails him with a neckbreaker. Ziggler heads to the top rope, but Orton quickly meets him up there and delivers a huge superplex that Ziggler still somehow manages to kick out of as the clock starts winding down towards the two minute mark. The crowd is red hot as Orton starts going into his go-home series of moves. Ziggler tries for the Zig Zag but Orton counters and delivers the second-rope DDT that again Ziggler manages to kick out of as we're down to only a minute now. Ziggler bails out of the ring and Orton gives chase, but before he can return to the ring suddenly Wade Barrett appears out of nowhere from behind and attacks Orton behind the refs back! The ref starts counting him out but somehow Orton is able to return to the ring at the count of nine, deliver the RKO to Ziggler immediately, and pin the US champ to pick up the win with only 2 seconds to spare on the clock at 7:51! So wait...what was the point of Barrett interfering? Who knows, but this was a pretty fun little match while it lasted and the crowd was practically frothing at the mouth when Orton started his go-home sequence. Match of the night, but nothing that you need to really go out of your way to check out. **1/2
After the match Barrett hits the ring and gives Orton a spinning sidewalk slam. He congratulates him on his victory and tries to slam Orton through a table set up at ringside, but Orton gets the better of him again and Barrett runs off as Orton powerbombs Ziggler through the table. Really now, we couldn't allow Wade Barrett the luxury of even a post-match heel beatdown? How on Earth is anyone supposed to take him seriously in a feud against Randy Orton if he can't even gain the upper hand on the guy through typical heel tactics? Poor Wade. Anywho, we close the show with Orton staring down Barrett in the aisle way.
Bottom Line: Not exactly a home-run show to welcome me back into the Smackdown report tonight, but I've seen much worse in my time watching and reviewing this show too. This was pretty much your typical filler show, the only thing of importance to really come out of the whole night was the booking of a Cody Rhodes/Booker T match for TLC, besides that, you could probably skip this show and be perfectly fine, having missed nothing of real note or substance. Bryan/Rhodes and the main event were both moderately fun, but not up to the usual snuff of Smackdown matches. We're going to have to go with the dreaded, non-decisive thumbs in the middle for tonight's show, perhaps even leaning slightly down. Just nothing of real note here.