Friday, February 17, 2012

WWE Friday Night SmackDown! 2/17/12

WWE Friday Night SmackDown!
February 17th, 2012
Save Mart Center, Fresno, California
Attendance: Unknown at this time

Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411's WWE SmackDown coverage. We're only two days away from the Elimination Chamber PPV so let's see what the Smackdown brand has in store for us for the go-home show. Should be interesting considering we've got a live Smackdown two days after the PPV as well.

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

We open the show tonight with a brief video recap of what went down on the show last week with Daniel Bryan once again escaping with his World title despite Randy Orton and the Big Show's best efforts. We cut backstage to Orton sitting beside Teddy Long, who tells the Viper he's sorry and that "it's out of his hands" and that he can't let Orton compete tonight because of his apparent concussion. Teddy has security on hand to escort him out of the arena because he knows Orton won't like this, and Teddy announces that Orton not only can't compete tonight but he's out of the Elimination Chamber match as well apparently.

Big Show/Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes/Wade Barrett
All four of these guys are in the Chamber match this Sunday. Wade starts off with Khali but after eating a big chop tags Cody in. Cody doesn't fare much better and it's not until Wade gets a cheap shot in on the giant that the heels are able to gain any momentum. They work over Khali for a bit before Khali is able to get the hot tag to Show, who cleans house on both of the heels with total ease before choke slamming Wade Barrett for the win at a measly 3:55. After the match Show knocks out Khali with the WMD fist just to be a dick. That was quick and inoffensive but certainly did no favors for Rhodes or Barrett when you think they'd want to build them up a bit for the Chamber match. *

Backstage Mark Henry confronts Teddy Long about the vacant spot in the Chamber match, demanding to be put into it in place of Orton. Show walks in to interrupt them and demand a match with Bryan and when Henry tries to get in his face, he knocks him out with the WMD fist too before destroying Teddy's office in a rage. I'm guessing he's going to get his match.

We get some highlights from the recent WWE live tour in the United Arab Emirates.

Hunico (5-3) vs. Ted DiBiase (11-13)

Hunico accuses DiBiase of stealing a win from him last week and promises revenge. Ted is still sporting a cast on his wrist as both men exchange hands at the bell. Flying headscissors from Hunico, but Ted responds with a big boot for a pin attempt. Hunico hits an armbreaker on Ted's bad arm and then locks it into an armbar. Hunico tries coming off the top but Ted nails him with a dropkick in mid-air. While the ref checks on Hunico though Comacho gets a cheap shot in on DiBiase behind his back, allowing Hunico to roll Ted up for the win at 1:48. Pretty hard to give a shit about this feud when these two wrestle the same two minute match each week with the same finish every time. 1/2*

Primo/Epico vs. The Uso's (Jimmy Uso/Jey Uso)
This is a non-title match of course. Good luck telling who's who here too. The Uso's hit some nice double-team move on Primo but a distraction from Rosa Mendes allows Primo to get some offense in on one of the Uso's. Primo suplexes his own partner into the ring on top of Jimmy Uso for a two count and the heels begin to work the brother over in their corner, trading quick tags. Primo slaps a chinlock onto Jimmy but can't follow up with a pair of running knees in the corner, allowing Jey to get the lukewarm tag and clean house briefly on the heels with some right hands and a corkscrew elbow. He misses the Rikishi ass slam but hits a big Samoan drop for a close two count on Epico. Primo tags back in and misses a Backstabber attempt before eating a superkick from Jey. Jimmy misses the Superfly Splash though and Primo finishes him off with the Backstabber at 4:48. Not bad at all, these two could probably have a pretty good match if they ever got ten minutes on a PPV, but that's unlikely to ever happen. **

Daniel Bryan is out next after the break for some promo time. An amusing sign in the crowd points out that Bryan's belt is made of leather, which I'm guessing isn't very vegan. Good heat for Bryan as he gloats about interfering in Randy Orton and Big Show's match on RAW this week and Cole blames Bryan's belt-shot on Orton as the cause of his concussion. Both Orton and Big Show have been escorted out of the building, so of course Bryan feels safe to talk all kinds of trash about them, calling them both cowards. Bryan demands that Lillian Garcia announce him the winner of his proposed match with Randy Orton tonight by forfeit, so she does and Bryan celebrates with glee again. It's not long though before Teddy Long comes out to interrupt him and inform him that someone has volunteered to take Orton's place against Bryan tonight, and that someone is the 2012 Royal Rumble winner, Sheamus! That match is next.

Daniel Bryan (14-15-1) vs. Sheamus (23-12-1)
Funny to think these two got bumped off of the Wrestlemania card one year ago and now they look to be on the path to being the Smackdown main event at the show this year. Nice leapfrog counter sequence by both men to start with Sheamus getting the best of Bryan with a big lariat. Bryan gets caught up in the ropes and Sheamus lays in the hammer fists on him. Bryan grabs his belt from ringside and tries to walk out on the match, but Sheamus isn't having any of that obviously and cuts him off with another lariat. Bryan manages to strike Sheamus in the head with a stiff knee though and the Irishman is nearly counted out. Back in the ring Bryan hits another stiff running dropkick and Sheamus looks almost dead. Never fear though, Sheamus builds up some steam a few moments later with a few right hands and a powerslam. Bryan blocks an STO attempt and tries for the LeBell lock, but Sheamus fights it off. He tries for the Celtic Cross powerbomb but Bryan escapes and slaps Sheamus in the face twice. This incenses Sheamus so much that he eventually shoves the ref aside to get at Bryan in the corner, getting himself DQed in the process at 6:45. The finish works because it keeps the heat in place for both guys without having one go over the other cleanly. The match itself was going along nicely enough until the DQ, but it wasn't anything particularly special. **

Backstage Wade Barrett is trying to figure out who the last entrant in the Elimination Chamber is going to be by asking Teddy Long when Cody Rhodes interrupts them to ask the same thing. Teddy says he's going to give anyone in the building tonight a shot to get in the match by having a wildcard battle royal tonight with the winner going onto the Chamber match this Sunday.

Jinder Mahal (5-8) vs. Ezekiel Jackson (14-13)
Jinder tries some petty offense to start but Zeke overpowers him early with some clubbing forearms. Zeke hits a sideslam but Mahal responds with a quick DDT and then locks him into the Camel Clutch. Zeke tries to break the hold but Mahal hits him with a reverse STO and then puts him back into the Clutch, which is apparently enough to make Zeke tap out at 2:08. There was a time when WWE brass apparently saw something in Jackson, but I guess that time has passed. Basic Jinder Mahal squash match, which looks a bit weird against a guy as big as Zeke. 1/4*

Tamina/Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix/Natalya
No idea why Tamina is getting the token push of the month, but here we are. Beth starts with Alicia but Natalya quickly tags in to show off with some countering. Awful leapfrog/monkey-flip sequence by the two ladies leads to a big DDT from Nattie for a two count. Fox counters an armdrag and manages to botch another leapfrog that Nattie takes advantage of by putting her into the sharpshooter. The ref walks away in disgust as apparently Nattie let another fart go in the ring to continue that atrocious angle, and Tamina takes advantage of the distraction and finishes Nattie off with the Superfly Splash at 2:53. Tamina tries to hit the splash on Beth after the match but she escapes at the last moment. This was bad enough with Fox botching the same move twice, throw in the ridiculous finish with the fart angle and yep, this was a steaming pile of shit. DUD

Backstage the RAW GM and VP of talent relations John Laurinaitis alongside David Otunga are here to talk to Teddy Long about the battle royal tonight. John enters Otunga into the match and Teddy grimaces at the "stank" of Otunga's cologne.

We get some highlights of that WrestleCrap Hall of Fame worthy Kane/Cena/Ryder angle on RAW this week. I still can't keep a straight face every time they show the clip of the camera slowly panning to Ryder in his wheelchair after Eve kisses Cena, his facial reaction is just so over-the-top it's hilarious.

Elimination Chamber Qualifying Battle Royal Match
(Featuring David Otunga, Santino Marella, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Percy Watson, Heath Slater, Ezekiel Jackson, Jinder Mahal, Curt Hawkins, Tyler Reks, Michael McGillicutty, Titus O'Neil, Primo, Epico, Hunico, Comacho, Derrick Bateman, Justin Gabriel, Ted DiBiase, Drew McIntyre, Darren Young, Alex Riley, Johnny Curtis, Yoshi Tatsu, and Tyson Kidd)

Boy, look at all that main event caliber talent in the ring. Total clusterfuck to start like most battle royals, Derrick Bateman is the first man eliminated by Otunga. Hey look, Comacho's in this thing I think this is the first time we've seen him actually in a match. Percy Watson is tossed out by Justin Gabriel next. Titus O'Neil gets tossed out by Ezekiel Jackson while Drew McIntyre eliminates one of the Uso brothers. Drew press slams Tyson Kidd right out of the ring on top of the eliminated Uso in a nice spot. Slater is casually eliminated by a boot from Mahal while Darren Young and Ted DiBiase both try to skin the cat at the same time until Ted kicks Young out to eliminate him. Hunico tosses Tatsu out while Comacho is eliminated off the apron by DiBiase. Santino keeps sort of walking around, avoiding any actual contact with anyone, which works until Reks and Hawkins spot him. McGillicutty is eliminated as we take our last commercial break. When we return Gabriel has eliminated Curt Hawkins out of the corner. The Colons toss Alex Riley out next and then throw Johnny Curtis into Reks, eliminating both of them as well. The remaining Uso brother is tossed out by Epico, but then his own partner Primo eliminates him from behind. Every man for himself I guess. Hunico eliminates DiBiase but DiBiase drags him out with him. Gabriel and Primo do a great little sequence teasing several elimination attempts on the apron and that alone has to be the highlight of the match and show so far. Finally Gabriel knocks Primo off the apron with a spinkick, but Ezekiel Jackson clotheslines him out from behind anyways seconds later. Zeke dumps Jinder Mahal out and we're down to the final four with Big Zeke, Santino, Otunga, and McIntyre. The heels gang up on Santino but Zeke breaks it up. Drew hands out a few big boots but then gets dumped out by Santino from behind while he's busy gloating. Crowd is chanting for Santino as he low bridges Zeke, eliminating the big man and bringing it down to Otunga and Santino. Santino does his own mini Hulk up routine and hits Otunga with a hip toss, but misses the follow up diving headbutt. Sloppy neckbreaker from Otunga. Otunga tries to toss Santino, but Marella counters and tosses Otunga out to win the battle royal and earn a place in the Elimination Chamber for a big pop from the crowd at 12:10 (shown). Well, that's certainly an odd pick for a spot in a PPV World title match, but you can't say the crowd didn't like him winning. With the recent rash of injuries on Smackdown the fact that Santino is in the Chamber now really just highlights though how badly the blue brand needs some depth and established talent. Battle royal was your average stuff, but Gabriel and Primo had an awesome little group of sequence about midway through and the finish was hot. **1/4

We close out the show with Santino celebrating his unlikely win in the ring.

Bottom Line: Well, I can't exactly blame them for not tossing out an A-show with their busy schedule this weekend, but I can't exactly excuse it either. This show was flat out bad most of the way through, with the only redeemable parts being Bryan's promo and a marginally entertaining battle royal main event. All in all though, just nothing of note here and really a total filler show you can feel free to skip. Thumbs Down.

Score: 4.0/10

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