Friday, March 30, 2012

WWE Friday Night SmackDown 3/30/12

WWE Friday Night SmackDown
March 30th, 2012
Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia/Wrestlemania Axxess Tour, Miami, Florida
Attendance: Unknown at this time

Well we've got a special Road to Wrestlemania edition of Friday Night Smackdown this week as we're only two days away from one of the biggest Wrestlemania's ever in Miami and because of this tonight's show will mix in a few taped matches from Atlanta, Georgia this past week alongside some live footage from the annual Wrestlemania AXXess tour in Miami, so lets jump right into things.

Your hosts are Josh Matthews and Matt Striker

Zack Ryder (7-1) vs. Drew McIntyre (6-16)
We open the show tonight with a match right from the start, just how I like it. Drew and Ryder do the traditional lock-up to start but then Ryder delivers a quick Japanese armdrag to Drew before rolling him up in a quick pin attempt. Ryder hits a dropkick and then pancakes Drew on the mat after a nifty leapfrog sequence. Ryder lays in some punches in the corner but Drew catches hm with a knee and quickly fires off a snap suplex for a two count. Drew catches Ryder off the ropes in a big gutbuster for another two count before stomping away at him in the corner with his boot. Big "Let's go Ryder (Woo Woo Woo!)" chant rings out as Drew nails a charging Ryder with a boot in the corner. Ryder fires up and hits a few forearms on Drew in the corner before hitting him with the Broski Boot facewash for a hot near fall. Drew responds with a big boot out of nowhere for his own two near fall. Ryder escapes a gutwrench attempt and counters a charge in the corner with a pair of knees before lining Drew up for the Rough Ryder leg lariat for the win at 6:01. Nice choice for a hot, quick little opener to start the show off, these two seem to have good chemistry together and Ryder came out of this looking great. **1/2

We return from the commercial break with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler standing by at the Wrestlemania AXxess tour, showing us some of the things the WWE has set up for the fans to do like being able to make your own wrestling entrance complete with Triple H's music and all, we even get a random fan doing his best Haitch impersonation. We take a look at a prop "graveyard" the WWE has set up with tombstones for every opponent the Undertaker has defeated in his previous 19 victories. We shift into a Triple H/Undertaker hype promo from here.

When we return from the break Cole and Lawler are pimping out WWE merchandise and hyping the return of the Wrestlemania pre-show this year, which airs this Sunday at 6:30 EST on YouTube. From here we go to clips of Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, and Beth Phoenix on the popular gossip show Extra with Maria Menounos, setting up the Wrestlemania tag team match between Maria and Kelly taking on Eve and Beth.

After another break we return to some footage of CM Punk and WWE Hall of Famer Edge (with a buzzcut!) signing autographs for the fans. This segues us right into the video package higlighting the CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho feud thus far.

From here Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler go right into Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny shtick, with each man waving their respective goofy flags literally in front of some fans at the Axxess tour. We get highlights from this past Monday's RAW next with a few quick video packages for the David Otunga vs. Santino Marella, Christian vs. CM Punk, and Mark Henry vs. Great Khali matches.

We're back in Atlanta now as the Big Show makes his way out to the ring next for a promo. Show talks about being very fortunate to have had the career he has, and to have competed against some of the best (including a reference to his debut match and title win over Hulk Hogan in WCW way back in 1995). Show moves onto Cody Rhodes and acknowledges he has formulated a brilliant plan, but this Sunday he'll have to step in the ring with the Big Show, and not with his history. Show says he knows he's made these promises before but this year he really feels it in his heart and this year Codys going to get choke-slammed and have his career broken. Show promises that this Sunday he'll have "his" Wrestlemania moment, wrapping up a decent promo. .

When we return we get some footage of some fans singing/rapping along to John Cena's old Thuganomics music in a booth, and of course Michael Cole has to throw in his own half-hearted attempt at rapping. This somehow segues us into a highlight package of the Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus feud for the World Heavyweight title, which has basically consisted of Sheamus showing up each week and saying "You have title. I want title." to Bryan before teasing us with our main event tonight, Chris Jericho vs. Kofi Kingston.

Cole and Lawler talk briefly about the Four Horsemen being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, before we go into another Triple H/Undertaker promo. Cole asks the King why this match is being dubbed the "End of an Era", and Lawler responds by detailing how both men are icons of an era past. More Jericho/Kofi hype.

Chris Jericho (1-0) vs. Kofi Kingston (15-14)
Very cool of the WWE to give us a pretty solid looking match like this with only 48 hours to go before Wrestlemania. Jericho and Kofi trade wristlocks to start us off, feeling each other out. Jericho nails Kofi off the ropes but then gets met with a leg lariat after a leapfrog from Kofi. Jericho gets dumped to the floor and Kofi gives him a baseball slide. On his way back into the ring Kofi tries for a springboard, but Jericho trips him up as we take a commercial break. When we return two minutes later Jericho is dumping Kofi out to the floor with a baseball slide dropkick, soaking up the massive heat this huge Atlanta crowd gives off in the process in glorious heel fashion. Jericho sends Kofi face first into the ringside barrier before tossing him back into the ring. Jericho slaps on a chinlock, but Kofi breaks it off and rolls Jericho up for a near fall. Jericho responds with a stiff enziguri for his own near fall. Jericho eats a clothesline from Kofi, who seems to be fired up. Kofi hits the S.O.S., but Jericho kicks out at two. Kofi connects with the Boom Drop but misses the Trouble in Paradise kick as Jericho attempts the Walls of Jericho briefly before Kofi is able to escape. Kofi hits a big flying cross-body off the top rope for another close two count, but Jericho gets back to his feet and elbows him. Jericho tries the Lionsault but Kofi blocks with his knees. Kofi tries for the Trouble in Paradise again but Jericho blocks it and rolls into the Walls of Jericho, leaving Kingston no choice but to tap out at 7:18 (shown). Really good little match to put Jericho over before his title match this Sunday, some nice counter sequences with the finishers and a really hot crowd made this one just fly by. Perfect teaser match. **3/4

Finally we get the entire Rock/Cena closing segment from RAW this past week to close out our show tonight.

Bottom Line: The Smackdown before Wrestlemania usually means a total filler highlights show, but this year we actually got some new matches that were pretty damn solid to go alongside the endless promo packages and Wrestlemania Axxess tour footage, so I really can't give this a thumbs down because it's probably one of the better go-home highlights shows you'll see, so Thumbs Up here tonight and I will see you and the rest of the wrestling universe in Miami this Sunday!

Score: 6.0/10

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