WWE Smackdown
January 6, 2012
Little Rock, Arkansas
Report by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.

They show footage from last week’s main event. That match saw Randy Orton take on Wade Barrett in a Falls Count Anywhere Match. The two men fought all over the arena, and they eventually wound up by a concrete stairwell. Wade Barrett then threw Randy Orton down the stairs, and then he ran off. Orton was last seen lying in a heap at the foot of the stairs.

The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with a big fireworks display. Josh Mathews and Michael Cole welcome us to the first Smackdown of 2012. They will reveal exclusive medical information on Randy Orton later tonight. We’ll also see Daniel Bryan have his first World Heavyweight Championship defense against Big Show. Right now, we’ll see our first title defense.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Booker T vs. Cody Rhodes (c)

The crowd is chanting for Booker T, and they circle the ring. They lock up, and Booker immediately works the arm. Booker goes to a side headlock, gets whipped off, and he shoulder blocks Rhodes down. Rhodes quickly retreats to the corner. They circle the ring a few times, and they lock up. Booker knees him in the midsection a few times, and he clubs him down in the corner. Booker sends him to the ropes, hits a back elbow, and picks up a one count. Booker wrenches the arm, and Rhodes backs him to the corner. Rhodes knees him in the midsection and punches him a few times. Rhodes hits some jabs, and he kicks him in the midsection. Rhodes sends him to the corner hard, and Booker goes down. Rhodes kicks him in the face, and he wrenches the arm. Rhodes tugs at the arm, and he applies a hammerlock. Booker elbows out, and he chops the chest a few times. Booker sends him to the ropes, and he hits a big back body drop. Booker twists the arm, and he delivers a high back kick to the face for a one count.

Booker gets the crowd into it, and he chops the chest a few times. Booker throws him over the top rope, but Rhodes hangs on and skins the cat. Booker is waiting for him, and he clotheslines him over the top rope. Booker follows him outside, and Rhodes kicks him. Rhodes drops him onto the barricade, backs up, and hits a big running kick.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break to see Rhodes bounce Booker off the turnbuckle. Rhodes sends him to the ropes, Booker blocks a hip toss, and applies a backslide pin for a two count. Booker ducks a clothesline, and he catches Rhodes on the rebound with a superkick for a near fall. Booker sets him up in the corner, and he chops away at his chest. Booker sends him to the opposite corner, and he runs into a back elbow. Rhodes nearly misses a moonsault press, and he picks up a near fall. Rhodes may have tweaked his knee with that move. Rhodes takes a moment to get up and test the knee. Rhodes then begins to viciously stomp away at him. Rhodes taunts the crowd, and he punches Booker in the face. Rhodes hits a snapmare, and he applies a submission move. Booker fights up, and he punches away. Rhodes sends him to the ropes, but Booker ducks a clothesline. Booker hits a pair of clotheslines and a sidewalk slam for a near fall.

Booker reverses a whip, and he plants Rhodes with a nice spinebuster for a near fall. Booker gets the crowd into it, and Booker kicks him in the midsection. Rhodes avoids a Scissors Kick, and he elbows out of a Book End. Booker ducks a Beautiful Disaster, and he hits the Scissors Kick for a near fall! Booker is in shock! Booker avalanches him in the corner. Rhodes reverses a whip to the corner. Booker blocks a punch, and he kicks Rhodes in the midsection. Rhodes avoids another Scissors Kick, and he kicks him in the midsection. Booker reverses a whip, and Rhodes ducks a roundhouse kick. Rhodes immediately follows up with a Beautiful Disaster for the win!

Winner and still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Cody Rhodes
Match Rating: ** 1/4

Cody Rhodes screams at Booker T, “I told you so!” Booker T sits in the ring, and he gets to his feet to receive a great ovation from the crowd. They chant his name, and he acknowledges the crowd.

We’ll hear a medical update on Randy Orton later tonight.

-Commercial Break-

Cody Rhodes is walking backstage with his Intercontinental Championship when he runs into his older brother Dustin Rhodes. Dustin congratulates him on beating one of the all-time greats. Cody asks if he is trying to flatter him. Cody says there is a reason that they no longer speak; Dustin has had nothing of use to say to him last week, and he has nothing of use to say now. It’s no secret that he’s more of a success than Dustin, and he may be more of a success than their father. If Dustin is considering putting on that ridiculous gold paint and trying one more run, he needs to remember that he’s joke, but not a laughing stock. That can change real quickly. Just ask Booker T. Cody laughs, and he walks off.

Zack Ryder is backstage with Teddy Long. Ryder thanks him for letting him be the Assistant General Manager of Smackdown. Long corrects him and says he was the Assistant TO the General Manager. Ryder says he said that. Ryder says it’s time to move on since he’s the United States Champion. Ryder says he’ll find Long a suitable replacement. Drew McIntyre walks in, and Long thinks Ryder chose him to be his assistant. Ryder says he didn’t pick McIntyre; he chose Santino Marella. Marella walks in, and he says he can do many things. He can update his calendar, synch his iPod, fix paper jams, and give useful information. Marella asks if Long remembers he’d consider firing Drew McIntyre if he lost last week. Long does, and Marella says he lost. McIntyre threatens Marella, and he calls him a “little pasta fagioli”. Long says that if McIntyre doesn’t win, he’ll be on very thin ice. Tonight, he’ll take on Santino Marella. If Marella wins, then he’ll become Long’s assistant. If McIntyre wins, he will consider not firing him. The cheesy saxophone music hits, and Aksana walks in. Long asks Marella to excuse them.

Tonight’s main event will see Daniel Bryan’s first World Heavyweight Championship defense against the Big Show.

-Commercial Break-

They have a classic Royal Rumble flashback. They show the end of the 2008 Royal Rumble. John Cena returned in the number thirty spot to win the Rumble. Cena was injured at the time, and he wasn’t supposed to be back for months. The reaction at Madison Square Garden was electric.

AJ is talking with Alicia Fox about their New Year. AJ says she’s a little worried about Daniel Bryan’s match against Big Show tonight. Alicia hopes his ego can handle a loss. Daniel Bryan walks in, and he reminds Alicia that he beat the Big Show to win the World Heavyweight Championship. Alicia says she’ll leave them alone. Bryan says he can’t believe AJ is friends with her. AJ says she’s just concerned, and so is she. Bryan asks if she thinks he can’t beat the Big Show. AJ says she’s just a little worried. Bryan says that’s great. After he wins, they can celebrate. Bryan kisses her on the head, and he walks off.

Over The Top Rope Challenge Match
Hornswoggle vs. Heath Slater

Hornswoggle points to the ceiling a few times, and Slater looks up. Hornswoggle stomps on his foot, and he slaps him in the face. Hornswoggle bites him on the backside. Hornswoggle kicks him in the knee, and then hits a running kick to the head. Slater throws him down, and he chokes him in the corner with his foot. Slater puts him on the top rope, and Hornswoggle punches him away. Slater catches him attempting a cross-body block, and he puts him over the top rope. Hornswoggle lands on the apron, and he grabs Slater’s hair. Hornswoggle pulls him over the top rope by his hair, and Slater hits the floor.

Winner: Hornswoggle
Match Rating: N/A

Hornswoggle gets in the ring, and he celebrates big time. Slater kicks him down, and Justin Gabriel runs down for the save. Gabriel hits a running shoulder block, and he takes him down with a TKO. Gabriel hits a beautiful 450 Splash, and he checks on Hornswoggle. Gabriel raises his arm, and Hornswoggle hugs him.

We’ll hear a medical update on Randy Orton later tonight. Michael Cole says the prognosis is not good.

-Commercial Break-

Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico w/ Camacho

Before the match begins, Hunico says he heard DiBiase likes to have a good time with the posse in the parking lot. Hunico says they’ve never been invited to the party. Camacho asks if they’re not good enough to party with his posse. Hunico says they’ll just have to crash the party.

They circle the ring and lock up. DiBiase quickly hits a headlock takeover. DiBiase hits a pair of arm drags, and he applies an arm bar. Hunico fights up, and he backs DiBiase to the corner. DiBiase turns him around, and Hunico slaps him in the face. DiBiase punches away at him, sends him to the ropes, Hunico ducks a clothesline, and DiBiase counters a head-scissor takeover with a sit-out face-buster for a near fall. DiBiase bounces him in the corner, and sends him to the opposite side. DiBiase runs into a boot. Hunico counters DiBiase by driving him face first into the turnbuckle. Hunico tries to hyperextend his elbow, and he applies an arm bar. DiBiase fights up, and he punches away. Hunico quickly takes him down with another arm bar. Hunico applies a hammerlock, and DiBiase takes him down with a Samoan Drop.

DiBiase sidesteps Hunico, and he hits a dropkick. DiBiase gets an inverted atomic drop and another dropkick. DiBiase catches him with a rebound clothesline for a near fall. Hunico counters the Dream Street with a jawbreaker. Hunico applies another arm bar. Hunico then applies some arm bar type submission/pin combination for the win.

Winner by Pinfall: Hunico
Match Rating: 3/4 *

Wade Barrett is talking to the WWE trainers backstage. We’ll hear a medical update on Randy Orton next.

-Commercial Break-

Wade Barrett provides a medical update on Randy Orton

Wade Barrett makes his way to the ring. Barrett says he told the doctors not to come to the ring since he can handle the medical updates himself. Barrett says we should watch the replay again to see how Randy Orton injured himself. They show footage of them fighting in the elevator, and then Orton taking a tumble down the concrete stairs. Barrett says Orton’s injury was just a byproduct of a Falls Count Anywhere Match. As for the medical update, Orton has a herniated disc in his lower back. As for his career, Barrett says it’s all over for him. Orton may try to come back one day, but he won’t be the same psychologically. The Viper is extinct, and he’s just another victim of the Barrett Barrage. Ironically, the Royal Rumble will take place in Orton’s hometown of St. Louis. The reason for the irony is rather than watching the hometown hero eliminate twenty-nine other men to win the match, he’ll have to sit with the fans as he watches Barrett win it. Barrett says now that Orton is out of the way there isn’t a single superstar that can stop him from winning.

Sheamus says for a second Barrett reminded him of his Great Uncle Wilfred. Uncle Wilfred was exactly like Barrett. He loved the sound of his own voice and talking about all his fights back in the day. The thing about Uncle Wilfred was that he was a simple sheepherder, and all of his stories were just fantasies. That’s like Barrett saying he’s going to win the Royal Rumble without any problems. Sheamus says Barrett is going to have a few problems, and he’s going to be the biggest one. His poor Uncle Wilfred was kicked in the head by a wild bull when he was eight years old. All told, he wasn’t the most mentally competent sheepherder. That was his excuse for all of his fantasy stories. Sheamus asks Barrett what his excuse is for acting like a horses arse.

Jinder Mahal’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring. Barrett goes to the outside. Mahal walks up to Sheamus, and he slaps him in the face. Sheamus wildly clubs away at Mahal. Barrett runs in, and he double-teams Sheamus with Mahal. Sheamus fights them off, and he powerslams the two of them. Sheamus gets the crowd into it, and he goes for the Celtic Cross on Barrett. Mahal puts a stop to that, and Sheamus takes him down with a clothesline. Barrett catches Sheamus with the Winds of Change, and he stands over Sheamus. Barrett goes to the back, and Mahal gets back in the ring. Mahal puts Sheamus in the Camel Clutch, and he taunts the crowd before leaving the ring.

They show footage of Daniel Bryan beating the Big Show for the championship last month at TLC. They then show the Tale of the Tape for the two men.

-Commercial Break-

Santino Marella vs. Drew McIntyre

If Santino Marella wins this match, he’ll become Teddy Long’s assistant. If McIntyre wins, Teddy Long will consider not firing him.

They lock up, and McIntyre pushes Santino down. McIntyre shoves him down a second time, and Santino walks right into him. Santino splits under a clothesline, and McIntyre blocks a hip toss. Santino punches, but he has a whip reversed on him to the corner. Santino tries to slingshot over him, and McIntyre kicks him in the ribs. McIntyre gets a two count. McIntyre punches away at him, and he stomps the head. McIntyre sends him to the corner, and he hits a running forearm. McIntyre hits a snap suplex for a two count. McIntyre chokes him on the second rope. McIntyre goes for the Future Shock DDT, but Santino counters with a jackknife pin for a two count. McIntyre clotheslines him down. McIntyre puts him in the corner, and he punches him down. McIntyre puts him on the top rope, and he goes for a superplex. Santino jumps to the outside, and the force brought McIntyre’s face into the steel turnbuckle. Marella gets in the ring, sets up, and the Cobra strikes for the win!

Winner by Pinfall: Santino Marella
Match Rating: 1/2 *

Santino Marella celebrates becoming the new Assistant to the General Manager by breaking out some air trombones. Drew McIntyre cannot believe that he lost once again.

They show footage of Michael Cole facing Daniel Bryan in WWE ’12. Cole dominates Bryan in the game to become the new World Heavyweight Championship. In reality, Daniel Bryan will defend his championship against the Big Show in tonight’s main event.

-Commercial Break-

Drew McIntyre is backstage looking defeated. Teddy Long walks up to him, and McIntyre opines that Santino must have greased up the ropes because he would never mess up like that. He would never actually lose to Santino Marella. Long says that all he saw was another loss, and now McIntyre is at strike two. If he loses next week then he’ll be at strike three, and he very well may be out. McIntyre walks away disgusted. Santino Marella runs up to Long, and he says that they’ll make beautiful music together. Santino then runs around Long while doing the air trombone.

Epico and Primo are in the ring with Rosa Mendes. They air a pre-taped promo with Rosa Mendes. Rosa says some stuff in Spanish that translates to Primo and Epico becoming great when they paired up with her. Tonight they’ll beat Air Boom.

Epico and Primo w/ Rosa Mendes vs. Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne)

Epico locks up with Evan Bourne, and he rolls Epico up for a one count. Epico quickly kicks him in the midsection and punches him down. Bourne counters a snapmare, and he kicks Epico a few times. Kofi Kingston is tagged in, and they send Epico into the ropes. They double leapfrog him, and Kingston hits a nice dropkick for a one count. Epico quickly gets him on the ropes and chokes him. Primo kicks Kingston in the head as the referee admonishes Epico. Epico kicks Kingston down, and he tags in his cousin, Primo. Primo kicks away at Kingston, and he tags Epico in. Epico continues kicking away at Kingston. Epico picks up a near fall. Epico hits a low dropkick to the face, and he picks up another near fall. Epico applies a chin lock, but Kingston fights up. Epico stops him, and he whips him to the corner. Epico runs into a back elbow, and Kingston follows up with a cross-body block. Both men are down now.

Primo and Evan Bourne are tagged in. Bourne hits a slingshot dropkick and a high running knee to the face. Bourne hits a running hurricanrana, another high knee, knocks Epico off the apron, and kicks Primo down. Primo attempts a back suplex, but Bourne flips through and superkicks him. Bourne goes to the top rope, and he comes off with knees flying at Primo for a near fall. Epico broke up that pinfall. Kingston takes him down, and he goes for a plancha but Rosa Mendes jumps in front of him. Epico then rips Kingston out of the ring for a nasty bump. Bourne knees Primo in the face, and he goes for Air Bourne, but Epico pulled Primo out of the way! Primo pins Bourne for the win!

Winners by Pinfall: Epico and Primo
Match Rating: * 1/2

Matt Striker is backstage with the Big Show. Striker asks where his confidence level is. Show says he never underestimates any opponent, but his confidence level is very high. When Daniel Bryan cashed in Money in the Bank, he was unconscious. Obviously he’s regained consciousness, so tonight he’s looking forward to regaining the World Heavyweight Championship. Not to take anything away from Daniel Bryan, he’s a good wrestler. Daniel Bryan walks in, and he says he is a very good wrestler. One day he’ll be a great wrestler, but Big Show throws it away like it’s nothing. Show talks about it like he didn’t have to work his entire life to get this way. He’s not a genetic freak; Big Show came out of the womb as the World’s Largest Athlete. If he had Big Show’s size and his skill, it wouldn’t have been nine years between championships. He also wouldn’t have the shortest reign in history. Big Show puts his hand on Bryan’s shoulder, and he tells Bryan to not make him have to hurt him tonight. Bryan says, “Get your damn hand off my shoulder.” Big Show asks if he’s a tough guy, and Bryan responds, “Get it off.” Big Show removes his hand, and he walks away.

-Commercial Break-

Next week we’ll see Sheamus take on Jinder Mahal to seek revenge from tonight’s beat down.

Natalya is already in the ring. They show footage of her father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, in action. As Tamina comes to the ring, they show footage of her father, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, in action. They show his iconic cage dive onto Don Muraco.

Natalya vs. Tamina

Natalya immediately takes Tamina down, and she punches away at her. Natalya stomps her, and she punches her some more. Natalya screams, “You mess with me, and you mess with my family.” Natalya slaps and stomps her. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Tamina kicks her away. They go into the ropes and take each other out with a pair of cross-body blocks. The referee begins to count them down. Natalya grabs her by the hair, and Tamina takes her down with a Samoan Drop. Tamina sets her up, and she slowly goes to the top rope. Tamina signals to the crowd, and she comes off the top rope with a Superfly Splash for the win.

Winner by Pinfall: Tamina
Match Rating: 1/4 *

They show footage from the end of Raw. Kane tried to drag Zack Ryder to the depths of hell, but John Cena saved him.

Daniel Bryan is walking backstage. He’ll defend his World Heavyweight Championship next. They also show his challenger, the Big Show, walking backstage.

-Commercial Break-

They show footage from the first Royal Rumble in 1988. Hacksaw Jim Duggan was the first ever winner of the Royal Rumble.

Mark Henry’s music hits, and he walks down to the ring. He’ll be on commentary for the next match. Henry talks some trash to a fan as he walks down, and he tells him to jump over the rail so he can beat the brains out of him.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (c)

The bell rings, and Bryan runs away from Big Show. Big Show tries to grab him, but Bryan gets away. Big Show eventually catches him, and he punches and chops him in the corner. Big Show lifts him up by his head, head-butts him a few times, and he slams him down. Bryan rolls out of the ring, and he has a stunned look on his face as he looks up at Big Show.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break to see Bryan kicking Big Show in the leg. Big Show simply pushes him away, and Bryan flies out of the ring. Henry screams at him to get back into the ring. Bryan gets in as Big Show gets out. Bryan hits a baseball slide, and he attempts a plancha, but Big Show catches him. Bryan slides off, and he throws Big Show into the stairs. Bryan gets on the apron, and he takes Big Show down with a running knee to the face. Henry says he can’t believe this, and he screams at Big Show to get up. The referee begins counting Big Show out. Big Show gets back in at eight.

Big Show blocks a kick, and he chops him down from one knee. Big Show sends him into the ropes, and Bryan dropkicks him in the knee. Bryan viciously kicks him down a few times, and he picks up a near fall. Big Show pressed him off. Big Show shoves him to the corner, and he runs into Bryan’s boots. Bryan hits a missile dropkick, and Big Show presses him off and out of the ring at two and a half. Henry screams at him to get back into the ring. Big Show pulls Bryan up to the apron by his head, but Bryan is able to snap him off the top rope. Bryan jumps off the top rope into a chop. Big Show clotheslines him down a pair of times, and he sends him to the corner. Bryan sidesteps him, ducks a clothesline, and Big Show catches him with a spear. Big Show covers for a near fall. Mark Henry was on his feet for that, and he says that for Bryan to kick out of that means he’s got something in him.

Big Show signals for the Chokeslam, but Bryan counters with a guillotine choke. Big Show drops down to a knee, and Bryan is bleeding from his mouth. Bryan turns it to his LeBell Lock, but Big Show uses his power to break the hold. Big Show goes for the WMD, but Bryan runs out of the ring. Henry screams at him to get back in the ring. Bryan looks at Henry and then Big Show. Bryan then gets in Henry’s face, and Henry shoves him down. Bryan pleads with the referee that this shouldn’t have happened, and the referee reluctantly calls for the bell.

Winner by Disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Match Rating: * 1/2

Upon Lillian Garcia’s announcement that he won the match, Bryan celebrates with the championship like he actually pinned the Big Show. Big Show looks like he can’t believe what is going on. Big Show yells at Mark Henry as Bryan celebrates at the top of the ramp.


Quick Match Results

Cody Rhodes def. Booker T to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Hornswoggle def. Heath Slater in an Over The Top Rope Challenge
Hunico def. Ted DiBiase
Santino Marella def. Drew McIntyre
Epico and Primo def. Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne) (non-title)
Tamina def. Natalya
Daniel Bryan def. Big Show via DQ to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Bump of the Night: Epico ripping Kofi Kingston out of the ring
Match of the Night: The Intercontinental Championship Match ** 1/4

Mike’s Thoughts

This was a very good episode of Smackdown to kick off 2012. The show kicked off in a nice way with a very good Intercontinental Championship match. I thought this was the best of the three matches these two have had with each other. It had some good intensity, and they paced themselves really well. It’s not a classic, but it was very good. The only thing was I thought they kind of lost the crowd as it progressed towards the end, but they ended it strong with a Beautiful Disaster out of nowhere. It’s a nice win for Cody Rhodes, and Booker T left the match looking good as well. I don’t know if they’re going to give him another run or if he’ll be going back to the commentary table. After the match, Cody had a tremendous interaction backstage with his brother Dustin. Cody looked comfortable and intense. I’d love to see a match between these two. It just screams “awesome” at me.

OK, I understand that this is going to sound unmanly of me, but Hornswoggle may be the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. He may be the most sympathetic wrestler WWE has had in their ring in years. All Heath Slater did was push him down, something that happens in every professional wrestling contest, but because he did it to a midget dressed as a leprechaun that everyone treats as a child, he gets instant heat. This was just good, clean fun, and Hornswoggle winning was just hilarious. After the match, Slater attacked him, and Justin Gabriel made the save. I could do without seeing that rivalry on Smackdown. I think Justin Gabriel has thus far been a bust, and I don’t see this being entertaining in the slightest. I must say that the camera angle that WWE got for the 450 Splash was pretty cool. As Jim Ross used to say, Justin Gabriel just came right into your living room.

Hunico’s character is, simply put, horrible. Everything from the bizarre low rider bicycle to the lame stereotypical Mexican gimmick stinks to high heaven. The worst is his bodyguard Camacho. What is the deal with that guy? He sounds like a teenage girl, and their reason for disliking Ted DiBiase was pretty much something a teenage girl would be mad at. All that being said, their match tonight wasn’t horrible. I’m at least glad that they’re putting a little promotion behind the “DiBiase Posse”. They changed his tights, which is phase one of a bunch of phases that need to be done in order for DiBiase to be moderately successful in my opinion. However, losing to Jinder Mahal last week and Hunico this week erases phase one.

I thought the promo that Wade Barrett cut on Randy Orton was very good tonight. Barrett did a good job of making Orton’s situation seem hopeless and establishing himself as a threat in the Royal Rumble, which takes place in Orton’s hometown. That immediately got me thinking that Randy Orton would be coming back at the Royal Rumble as a surprise entrant. I’m probably wrong, but that’d be an awesome moment, comparable to John Cena’s surprise return in 2008. Sheamus then came out, and he told another one of those wild Irish family stories. I don’t mind them. They’re usually pretty quirky and funny. Then, out of nowhere, Jinder Mahal’s music hits. Yes, Jinder Mahal, the man who hasn’t been taken seriously in months, comes out in a segment that’s shown at the top of the hour, usually one of their “big deal” segments, and he’s involved in an angle with Wade Barrett and Sheamus. The same Jinder Mahal who hasn’t shown any discernable talent in the ring or been involved in anything close to good. He attacks Sheamus along with Barrett, and the last image we see of this is Mahal walking away after having Sheamus in the Camel Clutch. I just don’t get that one. To top it all off, they’ll have a match next week. I know Smackdown needs stars, but I didn’t realize they were desperate here.

I kind of like this Drew McIntyre on thin ice angle they’ve got going on. It’s only in its second week, but it’s been pretty entertaining thus far, aside from the confusion stemming from the match against Ezekiel Jackson last week. His interactions with Teddy Long backstage have been pretty funny. I’m happy to see Santino Marella get involved on Smackdown. He’s legitimately funny, and I’m sure he’ll provide some entertaining television alongside Teddy Long who, aside from these interactions with Drew McIntyre, is largely stale and unfunny.

I enjoyed the tag team match tonight. Even though we’ve seen these four compete against each other a whole bunch of times over the last few weeks, they find ways to make the match entertaining. This was a fun match. What else can be said?

No, 2012 has not brought about a change in me, nor have I been abducted. Let’s just get that out of the way. I liked the diva’s match tonight. They actually had some sort of direction in their match, and they did a nice job of setting up their backgrounds by showing footage of their fathers in action before the match. It was really short, but this could be the start of some good stuff between these two. They actually looked like they had some chemistry together in the ring. I would actually watch another match between these two, and that’s not something I can truly say about any of the other divas.

Finally, this brings me to the main event. Where do I begin? I was totally wrong when I said a few weeks ago that a Big Show heel turn was the only way this would work. It looks like the Daniel Bryan heel turn would be much better. Who would have thought that? They’ve been subtly hinting at it for over a week, and tonight they took a big step toward that outcome. Bryan has been acting much differently backstage than he has in the past. The segment with AJ was just straight up creepy. The creepy, kind of possessive talk, and the kiss on the forehead was cringe worthy, and not in a bad way. Then he had that promo with Big Show backstage, and he flipped out when Big Show put his hand on his shoulder. That was great, and the line he gave Big Show had me flashing back to that scene from “Back to the Future” when George McFly threatens Biff. Then there’s the actual match. That was very interesting. Big Show essentially dominated Bryan for most of the match with very few comebacks from Bryan. Finally Bryan, sensing hopelessness, riled up Mark Henry, and he called for the referee to let him win by disqualification. Then he celebrated big time with the championship. That was a very interesting way to end that match and set up a future rematch with Big Show. They didn’t give much away in this match, so this match definitely didn’t hurt a future PPV match, if they go that route. This was very good stuff.

I also need to mention Mark Henry in this. It may have only been for ten minutes, but Mark Henry was definitely WWE’s best commentator. He was absolutely tremendous. His lines to Michael Cole were flat out awesome. Cole asking him a stupid question, and Mark Henry asking what the relevancy is of that question to him not having the World Heavyweight Title was great. Then he said he’d slap the taste out of his mouth. He also silenced Josh Mathews a few times. He also did a tremendous job of putting over Big Show and Daniel Bryan. That was great work, and he’s without a doubt the best guest commentator they’ve had on in years.

Final Rating: ***

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E-Mail – MikeTedesco@wrestleview.com

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Thanks for reading!