“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.
They show a replay of Daniel Bryan giving Randy Orton a concussion a few weeks ago on Raw. This concussion took Orton out of the Elimination Chamber match. Randy Orton will be back from the injury tonight, and he’ll take on Daniel Bryan tonight.
The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with some fireworks. Josh Mathews, Michael Cole, and Booker T welcome us to the show.
Sheamus’ music hits, and the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship makes his way to the ring. Sheamus says all he can think about if WrestleMania since winning the Royal Rumble match. In front of 80,000 people and millions watching at home, he’s going to be in the main event of the greatest show on earth. He cannot wait to step into the ring against Daniel Bryan. Since Bryan became the World Champion, he’s become a changed man. Bryan is conceded and obsessed. Bryan reminds him of himself when he first won his WWE Championship. Sheamus believed he was the greatest thing in the world, and he got wrapped up in his own ego. Sheamus says he should have realized how lucky he was. He should have realized that the title was the greatest thing he could’ve earned at that point. Sheamus says he became what he despised: a bully. He needed someone to remind him where he came from and to set him straight. Sheamus says Bryan needs the same thing, and he’ll show him that on April 1 when he becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion.
EXCUSE ME! Vickie Guerrero comes out to the stage to massive heat. Dolph Ziggler is behind her. Vickie says Sheamus told a wonderful story, but her favorite part is when he finally stopped talking. Ziggler takes the microphone, and he says they don’t want to spoil the moment. Ziggler asks if Sheamus thinks anyone cares about the story. Ziggler says the people deserve to see him in the main event and not Sheamus. Ziggler says Sheamus’ hair is on fire. Sheamus says that joke is almost as old as his grandmother Vickie. Vickie says she is not old – she’s just experienced. Vickie says there’s all this talk about John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long running both shows. Vickie says they prefer Laurinaitis to that “bald nincompoop”. Vickie says she’s the only person without the last name of McMahon to be a dual General Manager.
Teddy Long’s music hits, and he says the only thing Vickie is going to run is Dolph Ziggler’s career into the ground. Long says he’s going to show her how he runs Smackdown, “baby girl”. Long tells Ziggler to say hello to his opponent for the night: Sheamus. That match will start right now.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero
We join the match in progress, and Ziggler is showing off to Sheamus. Sheamus quickly takes him down with a headlock takeover. Ziggler fights up, and he whips Sheamus off. Sheamus hits a shoulder block, they crisscross the ropes, and Ziggler dropkicks him down. Sheamus shakes it off, and they circle the ring. They lock up, and Ziggler applies a headlock. Sheamus whips him off and shoulder blocks him down. They go into the ropes, and Sheamus avoids a dropkick. Sheamus clotheslines him down. Sheamus punches him in the corner, and Ziggler crawls to the apron. Sheamus ties him up in the ropes and clubs away at his chest. Sheamus suplexes him back into the ring for a near fall. Ziggler rolls out of the ring to recover.
Sheamus gets tired of waiting for Sheamus to get back in, so he goes outside and throws him back into the ring. Ziggler knees him coming back into the ring, and he hits a neckbreaker off the ropes. Ziggler picks up a one count for that. Ziggler punches and kicks away at him in the corner. Ziggler brings him out and hits a neckbreaker for a quick two count. Ziggler elbows away at his head and drops a couple of elbows on him for a near fall. Ziggler applies a chin lock, but Sheamus fights out of it. Ziggler quickly knees him down, but misses a leg drop bulldog. Sheamus comes back with a pair of clotheslines.
Sheamus pushes him to the corner, clotheslines him, and hits a nice powerslam for a near fall. Ziggler ducks a short-arm clothesline, and he applies a sleeper hold. Sheamus drops to his knees, but he eventually fights up. Sheamus backs Ziggler into the corner, and he eventually throws Ziggler over the top rope. Ziggler goes to the top rope, and he jumps into an Irish Curse for a near fall. Vickie put Ziggler’s foot onto the bottom rope. Sheamus goes for the Celtic Cross, but Ziggler counters with a roll-up for a near fall. Sheamus misses a clothesline, but he catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near fall. Sheamus gets pumped up again, and he backs up. Vickie calls Jack Swagger down to the ring, and Sheamus knocks him off the apron with a Brogue Kick. Ziggler immediately hits a leg drop bulldog for a near fall. Ziggler sets up for his finisher, but Sheamus counters into the White Noise for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: **
They show a replay of last week’s main event between CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, which ended without a winner. The announcers talk about how Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis will be trading shows next week. Laurinaitis will run Smackdown, and Long will run Raw.
Teddy Long is walking backstage and talking to someone on his phone. Long walks into his office to find John Laurinaitis and David Otunga there. Laurinaitis is here to apologize. Long asks what he’s talking about. Laurinaitis says when Long viciously attacked him on Raw, he went to the hospital to find he has a lower lumbar strain. Otunga says they’re dropping the criminal assault charges, but a civil suit isn’t off the table. Laurinaitis says he’ll take his apology. Long says he liked pushing him on Raw. Laurinaitis says Long won’t be laughing when he shows the Board of Directors how Smackdown should be run. Long says he won’t be laughing when David Otunga faces The Great Khali on Raw. Long tells them to get out of his office. Laurinaitis suggests he try yoga to calm down.
Later on tonight we’ll see Big Show take on Mark Henry.
JOBBER ALERT: Heath Slater is in the ring with no TV entrance. He’ll be looking for retribution on Santino Marella for the Cobra spitting in his eyes.
Heath Slater vs. Santino Marella
Santino splits under a clothesline, and he punches Slater down. Santino back elbows him down, hits a hip toss, and Slater gets his knees up during the head-butt. Slater kicks and chokes him. Santino comes back with some punches, but Slater punches him down. Slater continues punching, but Santino comes back again. Slater hits a high kick for a near fall. Slater goes to the top rope, but Santino crotches him up there. Santino takes the Cobra out, and he strikes Slater with it. Santino picks up the win from there.
Winner by Pinfall: Santino Marella
Match Rating: N/A
Randy Orton returns to Smackdown tonight to take on Daniel Bryan in a non-title match.
They play a video to hype up the Undertaker vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania.
Eve Torres is looking at herself in a mirror when Natalya walks up. Natalya says they haven’t always seen eye to eye, but what Eve is doing to Zack Ryder is unacceptable. Eve says at least she’s honest to admit she was using Zack. While Zack may have been sweet and genuine, he really stinks. Natalya farts, and she says THAT stinks. Eve chokes on the stench of the fart.
Natalya vs. Eve Torres
They circle the ring and lock up. Natalya wrestles out, and she applies a side headlock. She takes Eve down and rolls her up for a two count. Eve applies a hammerlock, but Natalya quickly fights out of that. Eve takes her down with a single leg, and Natalya quickly takes her down as well. They hit stereo kip ups, and Eve slaps her. Natalya goes nuts and takes her down with some punches. Eve kicks her in the knee and applies a modified chin lock. Natalya rolls her up, but Eve rolls through for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Eve Torres
Match Rating: 1/4 *
Big Show and Mark Henry will take each other on later tonight. This is a rematch from last week’s Super Smackdown Live.
Cody Rhodes makes his way to the ring, and they show a replay of him costing the Big Show a match against CM Punk at WrestleMania. Rhodes says he reminded us all of how Big Show embarrassed himself against Akebono and Floyd Mayweather at past WrestleMania’s. Rhodes says he’s at the tippy top of Big Show’s “you know what” list for costing him a list at WrestleMania. Rhodes says he hopes it’s a “thank you” list because he saved him from another embarrassment at WrestleMania. Rhodes says he’s the Big Show, but at the “big show” he’s a choke artist. Rhodes says WWE has extensive archives, and the moments just keep on coming.
Big Show’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring. Rhodes immediately leaves the ring and goes through the crowd as Big Show gets in. Big Show says he’s out here to watch Rhodes’s next video. They can watch it together like friends. Big Show says if he doesn’t come back then he’ll have to go get him.
Teddy Long’s music hits, and he power walks to the ring. Long says this isn’t the running of the bulls. Long says they talked about it, and it’s a done deal. Big Show acts happy. Long says Rhodes will get a WrestleMania moment when he puts his Intercontinental Championship on the line against the Big Show! Long says Big Show has some other business to take care of right now against Mark Henry.
Big Show vs. Mark Henry
Henry quickly opens the match up with some punches, but Big Show comes right back. Big Show goes into the ropes, and Henry clotheslines him down. Henry punches him and clotheslines him out of the ring. Henry head-butts him and sends him into the barricade. Henry gets in the ring, and he’s looking for a count-out. Big Show gets on the apron at seven. Henry sends him into the ring post, and Big Show falls to the ground as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Henry kneeing Big Show in the face. Big Show rolls out of the ring to recover. Henry drives him into the ring post, and he grabs some steel steps. Henry throws them at Big Show, but he moves at the last moment. They both get back in the ring, and Henry punches him back to the turnbuckle. Rhodes is on commentary saying he wasn’t running from Big Show. Henry avalanches him in the corner and hits a Vader Bomb for a near fall. Henry tries to avalanche him again, but Big Show gets a boot up in his face. Big Show hits the ropes hard and spears him down.
Big Show gets to his feet, and he signals for his finisher. Henry punches his hand off him and hits the World’s Strongest Slam for a near fall! Henry cannot believe it, and he lets the referee know his frustrations. Meanwhile, Big Show gets up in the corner, and he catches Henry charging with a WMD! Henry goes down hard. Big Show takes some time holding his ribs, slowly turns Henry over, and he picks up the pin.
Winner by Pinfall: Big Show
Match Rating: * 1/4
Cody Rhodes stands up with his Intercontinental Championship at the commentary table, and Big Show clenches his fist at him in the ring. Big Show continues clutching his ribs as he gets out of the ring.
Teddy Long catches up with Drew McIntyre backstage. Long says he’s cut him a lot of slack. If McIntyre doesn’t start winning he’d have to let him go. Long says it’s do or die tonight. Either McIntyre wins tonight or he’s fired.
They show a replay of Daniel Bryan giving Randy Orton a concussion last month on Raw. Matt Striker is backstage with Randy Orton. Striker asks how he feels. Orton says he wasn’t feeling like himself for a while, but now he’s back to normal. By normal he means angry, cold blooded, and hell bent on getting revenge from Daniel Bryan. Orton says this goes beyond physical pain. Daniel Bryan cost him the opportunity to walk into WrestleMania as the World Heavyweight Champion. Bryan doesn’t fully appreciate how steep a price he’ll have to pay, and tonight he’s coming to collect.
JOBBER ALERT: Drew McIntyre is in the ring with no TV entrance.
Drew McIntyre vs. Justin Gabriel
Gabriel ducks a clothesline and punches away at McIntyre. McIntyre blocks a kick and clotheslines him down for a one count. McIntyre punches him down, and he sends him to the ropes. Gabriel flips over him, misses a roundhouse, and McIntyre takes him down with a big boot for a near fall. McIntyre pleads with the referee for a three count. McIntyre punches him in the corner, makes sure the referee doesn’t disqualify him, kicks him, and clotheslines him in the corner. Gabriel ducks a short-arm clothesline and counters into a spinning DDT. Gabriel goes to the top rope and hits the 450 Splash for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Justin Gabriel
Match Rating: 1/2 *
Teddy Long appears on the video screen, and he says he gave McIntyre a lot of chances, but he has to let him go. McIntyre falls to his knees and begins to whimper in the ring. The crowd sings him away.
The play the trailer for Edge’s “Bending The Rules” movie.
Tonight’s main event will have Randy Orton taking on Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. We’ll also see the return of The Rock to Monday Night Raw.
They play the Raw Rebound which features The Rock and John Cena having a verbal confrontation in the ring.
Matt Striker is backstage with Daniel Bryan and AJ. Bryan says he has no butterflies about Orton. Earlier tonight, his WrestleMania opponent, Sheamus, had the audacity to say that becoming the champion has changed him. He’s still the same down to earth guy from Aberdeen, Washington. That gets a nice reaction from the crowd. Of course, he moved to Vegas as soon as humanly possible. He’s still a vegan, so he’s healthier than everyone. He doesn’t own a TV, so he doesn’t spend hours in a mind-numbing trance. He’s still the love of AJ’s life. He’s still the one who defeated two giants in a steel cage and five men in the Elimination Chamber. He’s still the one who will beat Randy Orton tonight, and he’ll defy the odds by leaving WrestleMania as the champion.
Randy Orton’s music hits. He’ll be in action against Daniel Bryan next.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan w/ AJ
The bell rings, and the crowd is chanting for Daniel Bryan. Orton kicks him down, and he sends him hard into the corner a few times. Orton quickly throws him over the top rope, and he throws him into the barricade a few times. Orton clotheslines him down and throws him into the steel steps. Orton presses his face onto the steps and stomps on his head. Orton throws him back into the ring. Orton punches him down in the corner and puts him on the top rope. Bryan fights him off and head-butts him. Orton acts like he’s suffering from some post concussion symptoms. Bryan smiles and hits a running dropkick in the corner. Bryan hits an arm breaker for a near fall.
We come back from the break to see Bryan stretching Orton’s arm on the ropes. Bryan kicks away at him in the corner, hits another arm breaker, and he kicks away at the arm. Orton comes back with some punches, sends him to the ropes, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Orton gives him a back body drop to the apron, and Bryan quickly snaps him off the top rope. Bryan jumps off the top rope into a dropkick from Orton. Orton hits a pair of clotheslines and a powerslam for a near fall. Bryan kicks at Orton, but he quickly comes back with a hanging DDT. AJ sulks outside as Orton sets up for an RKO. Bryan counters into a LeBell Lock attempt, but Orton counters into another RKO attempt. Bryan gets out and leaves the ring.
Orton follows him to the outside and clubs away at him. Orton bounces him off the barricade, and he goes for a hanging DDT off the apron! Kane’s pyro all of a sudden hits, and Bryan pushes him into the ring post.
Winner by Count-Out: Daniel Bryan
Match Rating: * 1/2
Orton and Kane fight on the ramp, and Kane gives him a big boot. Kane throws him into the ring, and Bryan escapes, leaving AJ in the ring. Orton punches back at Kane and clotheslines him out of the ring. Kane lands on his feet and pulls Orton out. They continue fighting, and Kane bounces him off the announcer’s table. Orton comes back and bounces him off the table a few times. They get in the ring, and Kane sends Orton into the ring post shoulder first. Kane finishes Orton off with a Chokeslam. Kane grabs a microphone and says, “Welcome back, Randy. Welcome back.”
John Laurinaitis and David Otunga are watching backstage. Laurinaitis says that was destructive, but nothing compared to what he’ll do on Smackdown next week. Otunga asks what he has in mind. Laurinaitis says he’s thinking Kane will take on Teddy Long’s girlfriend, Aksana.
Quick Match Results
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler
Santino Marella def. Heath Slater
Eve Torres def. Natalya
Big Show def. Mark Henry
Justin Gabriel def. Drew McIntyre
Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton via CO (non-title)
Bump of the Night: Orton clotheslining Bryan on the outside
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler **
I liked the way they kicked the show off tonight. Sheamus came out and cut a very decent little promo about how the championship has consumed Daniel Bryan much like it consumed him two years ago. It was a well executed, by the numbers face promo. Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler interrupted soon after. No one gets a reaction like Vickie does. It’s been so consistent for four years now. I love it. They had some good banter with Sheamus, but I felt like they completely forced in the comments about Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis. That rivalry dominates the show. I don’t think they needed to shoehorn it into this segment. Nonetheless, it brought out Teddy Long, who shockingly has been growing on me (it must be my brand loyalty, even though wrestling is fake), and he booked a match between Sheamus and Ziggler. The match was very good. Sheamus is just awesome right now, and the crowd loves everything he does. It’s fun to watch and listen to. Ziggler, with the way he’s going right now, can make anyone look good. He did a great job for Sheamus tonight.
What followed that great first twenty minutes of the show were two utterly pointless matches. Though I must admit that I’m glad neither Ted DiBiase nor Hunico were involved in them. Santino Marella had a quick little match against Heath Slater. The diva’s had a match that was ok, but this Natalya farting thing is getting really silly now.
The Cody Rhodes promo was ok. It was so quick that there’s not much really to comment on. The only thing we got out of that is a new WrestleMania match. Big Show then had a short match against Mark Henry, and it actually ended cleanly. Big Show was really selling the ribs. I hope that isn’t going to be a standing injury that will carry into WrestleMania. I just know I’m going to get bored really quick if Rhodes attacks Big Show’s ribs for the next four weeks.
Well they finally fired Drew McIntyre. I’m sure it won’t stand next week when John Laurinaitis has control of the show, but it was pretty humorous to watch McIntyre whimper in the ring. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about the match.
The main event was ok. It was pretty quick. It started with about thirteen minutes left in the show and it had a commercial break in between. Much like their last match, I feel like they were holding back in this one. The Kane interference at the end was very random, but it seems like that’s where they’re going for Randy Orton at WrestleMania. I know a lot of people weren’t high on Kane’s work with John Cena, but a program with Randy Orton might be great. They’ve had a few good matches in the past, most recently this past summer on Smackdown in a fun main event. They definitely have chemistry.
Final Rating: ** 1/4
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