The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with a big fireworks display. Josh Mathews, Michael Cole, and Booker T welcome us to the show. Tonight’s main event will feature Daniel Bryan taking on Randy Orton in a non-title match for the first time ever in singles competition.
Lillian Garcia asks the crowd to welcome the winner of the 2012 Royal Rumble, Sheamus. Sheamus comes out to a great reception. Sheamus gets in the ring, and he says he has won the right to be in the main event of WrestleMania. The next thing for him to do is decide whether he wants to go for the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship. We won’t know who the champions will be until after the Elimination Chamber PPV, and as history has shown, at least one title will change hands. After the show, he will decide which champion he will face. A lot of the WWE superstars are telling him to decide right now, but he doesn’t like being told what to do. As a kid, he was bullied, and he responded by fighting back. Sure he lost a few fights, but he continued to fight back. The more he fought, the better he got. He became so good at fighting that he made it to the WWE. When he got here, he started again. WWE superstars would tell him what to do, like stop spiking his hair and get a tan, but he refused to be bullied, and it led him to the main event of WrestleMania. He’s a pasty faced, red headed Irishman, and he’s damn proud of it.
Wade Barrett’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring. Barrett thanks Sheamus for the heartwarming story so early in the show. This might surprise everyone, but he does possess a smidgeon of respect for Sheamus. Right now, he’s going to tell him exactly what to do. Barrett tells him to go for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, because if he does go for the World Heavyweight Championship, he’s going to wind up fighting him. Barrett says he will win the World Heavyweight Championship at Elimination Chamber, and as Sheamus knows from bitter experience, he can and will beat Sheamus. If that were to happen at WrestleMania, then Sheamus would forever be remembered as a pasty faced, ginger Irish loser. Sheamus says he wasn’t listening to Barrett. He was too busy thinking of last week when Randy Orton kicked him all around the ring.
Cody Rhodes’s music hits, and he comes to the ring as well. Rhodes says what Barrett was saying was of little to no difference. Unlike the two of them, he knows what it’s like to have his hand raised in victory at WrestleMania. Unlike the two of them, he knows what it’s like to be a champion here and now. Unlike this audience, he doesn’t have the urge to cry every time he sees himself naked. Rhodes gets in the ring, and he says the Elimination Chamber is a tax on the mind, and no one’s mind is more formidable than his own. It’s his match to win, and Sheamus will go down in history as the man who lost to the very first dual World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion, Cody Rhodes.
Big Show’s music hits, and he comes out to the ring to a tremendous reception. Big Show says he respects Sheamus, and he’s not the type of fella that will tell anyone what to do. Big Show says he’ll do it for him. Big Show tells Cody Rhodes that if he doesn’t shut his mouth then he will slap the taste out of it. Big Show won’t make a bunch of promises like the other two. Big Show wants Sheamus to think about the two of them going for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. Big Show says that is a match and worth the main event of WrestleMania. Barrett says Big Show is a WrestleMania punch line. Snooki has a better WrestleMania record than him. Rhodes says apparently Giants can win the Super Bowl, but not matches at WrestleMania. Rhodes says he’s like a reverse Undertaker. Rhodes says maybe he’ll lose to a boxer or a sumo wrestler.
Big Show chops him down, and a fight erupts in the ring. Sheamus works on Barrett, and Big Show grabs Rhodes by the throat. Big Show throws Rhodes over the top rope, and Sheamus clotheslines Barrett out of the ring.
Tonight, Michael Cole will interview AJ about her recovery. The Great Khali is walking backstage. He’ll face Jinder Mahal next.
During the break, Teddy Long announced that Big Show and Sheamus would take on Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett tonight.
Jinder Mahal is putting his turban in a plastic case at ringside. They then show a pre-taped interview with him. Mahal talks in his native tongue, and then he says that after he beats Khali tonight, he will demand to be put in the Elimination Chamber match.
Jinder Mahal vs. The Great Khali
Mahal talks some trash to Khali, and Khali simply raises his arms. Mahal slaps him, and Khali punches him down. Khali puts him in the corner, and he chops the chest. Khali repeats the move, and Mahal is in pain. Mahal kicks away at Khali, and he hits a running knee to the face. Mahal brings him to his knees, and he chokes him on the ropes. Khali gives him a back elbow, and Mahal quickly comes back by kicking him in the knee. Mahal clubs away, and he applies a front face lock. Khali fights up and throws him off. Khali clotheslines him down a few times, and he gives him a Brain Chop. Khali finishes him off with the Punjabi Plunge for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: The Great Khali
Match Rating: N/A
They show footage of Teddy Long suspending Mark Henry last week. Henry’s suspension led to The Great Khali being put in the Elimination Chamber.
Teddy Long is talking with Aksana backstage in his office. Long says he has to take charge sometimes, and he did what he felt had to be done with Mark Henry last week. Aksana says she loves a man of action. She says he put Mark Henry in his place, and he should be rewarded. Aksana kisses him on the cheek, and he quivers. Daniel Bryan walks in, and he asks what the hell is going on. Bryan asks if it’s true, and Long has no idea what he’s talking about. Bryan asks about the bar-b-q he had earlier in the afternoon. Long says he’s sorry he forgot to invite Bryan. Bryan berates him, and Long says he’s sorry he isn’t a vegetarian. Bryan says he’s a vegan, and vegans don’t eat animal products of any kind. Long asks what he eats. Bryan says he’s sick to his stomach, and he can’t compete tonight. Long says he’s sick, too. He’s sick of Bryan preaching to him and the WWE Universe. If he’s going to use his vegan beliefs to get out of the match then he has another thing coming. Long says he should stop worrying about animals, and start worrying about himself. Long suggests he get ready for his match.
They promote that Sheamus and Big Show will take on Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes later tonight.
Beth Phoenix vs. Alicia Fox
The bell rings, and Beth holds the ropes open for Alicia to just leave her ring. Alicia, of course, refuses. Beth tries to throw her to the corner, but Alicia turned it on her. Alicia goes for a monkey flip, but Beth throws her off. Beth picks her up by the hair, and Alicia fights back. Beth counters a whip to the corner, and she catches Alicia trying for a springboard back elbow. Alicia flips out of a back suplex, bends under a clothesline, and Beth catches her with a running forearm. Beth hits the Glam Slam for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Beth Phoenix
Match Rating: N/A
Beth grabs Alicia, and she goes for a second Glam Slam. Tamina’s music hits, and Beth throws Alicia away. Tamina stares at her. Beth smiles back as she holds her championship. Beth leaves the ring as Tamina smirks.
Randy Orton is seen warming up backstage. He’ll be in action against Daniel Bryan later tonight.
They play a great video about The Rock, from his beginning to the present.
Natalya is telling Tyson Kidd that she just can’t help “it” when she gets nervous. Kidd says it’s natural – disgusting, but natural. Natalya asks why he said disgusting. She was saying she talks a lot when she gets nervous. She farts, and Kidd walks away. Hornswoggle walks up, and he passes out. Natalya says it was Tyson, and she runs off.
The Big Show makes his entrance. He’ll be in a tag team match with Sheamus to take on Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes.
Big Show and Sheamus vs. Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official of this match. Big Show will start it out against a reluctant Cody Rhodes. Big Show yells, and Rhodes quickly tags in Barrett. Big Show brings him in the hard way, and he chops the chest in the corner. Barrett quickly scurries over and tags in Rhodes. Rhodes reluctantly enters the ring and ducks a fist. Rhodes kicks away at Big Show, but he simply turns him in the corner and chops the chest. Big Show chops the chest again, and he gets Rhodes up in a military press. Big Show drops him, signals for the WMD, and Rhodes quickly retreats to his corner.
Sheamus tags in, and Barrett tags in as well. They circle the ring and lock up. Sheamus powers him to the corner, and they jockey for position. Sheamus punches away at Barrett, sends him to the corner, and clotheslines him down. Sheamus sends him to the ropes, but lowers his head and eats a kick. Barrett goes into the ropes, and he eats a clothesline. Sheamus ties him up in the ropes, and he clubs away at his chest. Sheamus rolls him up for a two count. Barrett quickly kicks him in the midsection, and Sheamus goes down to his knees. Rhodes is tagged in, and Sheamus quickly clotheslines him down. Sheamus throws him out of the ring as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Rhodes punching away at Sheamus. Sheamus comes back with a body slam and an elbow drop for a two count. Sheamus punches him back to the corner, and Rhodes counters a short-arm clothesline with a backslide attempt. Sheamus counters that with a fireman’s carry rolling slam for a two count. Big Show tags in, and he punches Rhodes in the ribs. Big Show grabs his short ribs and squeezes. Rhodes screams in pain. Big Show sends him to the corner, and he runs into Rhodes’s boots. Barrett is tagged in. Barrett and Rhodes combine for the Hi/Lo, and Barrett punches away at Big Show. Rhodes goes to the top rope, and he takes Show down with a missile dropkick for a two count. Rhodes kicks, and he applies a chin lock. Big Show breaks his grip and rips him off. Barrett is tagged in before Big Show can make the tag. Barrett kicks away and takes him down with a running boot for a two count. Barrett applies a chin lock. Big Show eventually fights up, and he slams Barrett in the corner. Rhodes is quickly tagged in, and he hits the Beautiful Disaster for a near fall. Rhodes applies a chin lock, and Big Show fights up again. Big Show grounds him with a sidewalk slam.
Sheamus and Barrett are tagged in. Sheamus takes Barrett down with some hammer throws. Sheamus clotheslines him in the corner, and he viciously beats him down. Sheamus hits a powerslam, and he gets pumped up. Big Show spears Rhodes down as he tries to interfere. Sheamus then catches Barrett with a Brogue Kick for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Big Show and Sheamus
Match Rating: * 3/4
Randy Orton will take on Daniel Bryan in a non-title match later tonight. Coming up next, Michael Cole will interview AJ about her recovery.
WrestleMania XXVIII is 51 days away.
Michael Cole interviews AJ on her recovery
Michael Cole is in the ring, and he introduces Daniel Bryan’s girlfriend, AJ. AJ comes out in a neck brace. Cole asks how she is feeling, and she says she’s feeling better. AJ says she still has some stiffness in her neck, but she’ll get the brace off next week. Hopefully she can compete in the spring. AJ thanks everyone for supporting her, and Cole says that no one knows who she is. Cole says he doesn’t believe that anyone would support her. Cole then says he’s just kidding around. Cole asks if she blames the Big Show. It almost happened again on Raw with Big Show almost running her over. Cole asks why she’s even at ringside. AJ says she was at ringside because Daniel asked her to, and she loves him. AJ says she never blamed the Big Show on what happened. AJ says it’s obvious that he’d never do anything like that on purpose.
AJ says she knows someone who has done more damage than Big Show, and it’s Michael Cole. Cole can’t believe it. AJ says he never believed in her boyfriend, and he’s done nothing but stir things up. AJ says he insulted Daniel, her, and the entire Diva’s division. AJ says Cole is a biased, obnoxious jerk. AJ grabs the microphone and says she wasn’t finished. AJ says the entire WWE would be a better place if Cole would just shut his mouth. Cole gets flared up, and he tells her to listen. Cole says he does his job. He gets paid for his insightful commentary and personality. Cole says people are saying Daniel Bryan set her up to get run over by Big Show. They’re also saying that she’s so blindly in love that she would throw herself in front of a bus for him. People are saying Daniel Bryan has no guts. Cole says people are saying that AJ has no self-respect. Cole says he’ll be in his glory at Elimination Chamber because at the end of the night, she and Daniel Bryan will be nothing more than footnotes in WWE history.
Daniel Bryan comes out, and he says if Cole says one more word to AJ he’ll break both his arms. Cole gives AJ the microphone and retreats from the ring. Bryan says AJ has been through enough, and she doesn’t need to be verbally harassed by Cole because he doesn’t like him. Bryan says he has news for everyone: he is more than just a footnote. He is a great wrestler. He is the World Heavyweight Champion, and he is a role model. Bryan says he took a nature walk this past Sunday while everyone else was watching the Super Bowl and consuming meat. Bryan asks while they were stuffing their faces with murdered animals if they recycled. Bryan wonders how many people were concerned with protecting the environment. Bryan says he recycles, and he cares about the environment and future generations. Bryan says he cares about AJ. Bryan kisses her on the head and hugs her. Because the people have been so inhospitable to her, he is leaving the arena and taking AJ home. She has been traumatized enough. Bryan says they are leaving the arena in a Prius to show how environmentally conscious they are. They leave the ring and go backstage.
Daniel Bryan and AJ are walking backstage. Teddy Long comes up, and Bryan says he needs a personal day. Long says he’d be more than happy to provide transportation for AJ if that’s what he wants. Long says if Bryan leaves the building then he loses his title.
Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico w/ Camacho
DiBiase is wrestling in a hard cast after breaking his wrist two weeks ago. Before the match, Hunico said he’d break DiBiase’s other wrist.
DiBiase shoves Hunico to the corner and kicks away at him. DiBiase clotheslines him over the top rope. DiBiase shoves Camacho, and he drives Hunico into the barricade. They get back in the ring, and DiBiase clubs him. Hunico takes him down with a hammerlock, and he throws DiBiase out of the ring. Hunico distracts the referee, and Camacho kicks DiBiase in the ribs. Hunico slams his broken wrist into the ring post a few times. Hunico puts him in the ring and kicks away at him. Hunico applies an arm bar. DiBiase refuses to submit. Hunico goes to the second rope, and DiBiase punches him in the midsection. DiBiase clotheslines him down. Hunico hits a bunch of arm breakers, and DiBiase rolls him up out of nowhere for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Ted DiBiase
Match Rating: 1/2 *
Daniel Bryan will take on Randy Orton in tonight’s main event. Bryan must compete in the match or he’ll lose his title.
They play a video hyping up the destruction the Elimination Chamber can cause.
Michael Cole talks about how happy he is that the WWE Board of Directors decided to retain John Laurinaitis. They talk to him live from Abu Dhabi. Laurinaitis says his job as Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim Raw General Manager is never dull. They’re in the middle of a very successful tour. Cole says he’s pleased that he’s still on board. Laurinaitis says he knows the WWE Universe is pleased, and the Board is filled with great people. Laurinaitis says this Monday’s Raw will be special. Mr. Excitement is back.
Randy Orton makes his entrance. He’ll be in action next against Daniel Bryan in a non-title match.
Big Show will be a special guest commentator for the main event.
Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
They circle the ring and lock up. Orton powers him to the corner, and he gives a clean break. Orton backs up, and they lock up again. Orton gets a side headlock applied. Bryan whips him off, and Orton shoulder blocks him down. Bryan quickly backs up to the ropes. They lock up again, and Bryan applies a hammerlock. Orton twists out and applies a side headlock. Bryan whips him off, and Orton shoulder blocks him down again. Bryan takes him down, and Orton kicks him away and hits a drop-toe-hold. Orton applies an arm bar. Bryan fights up and kicks out. Bryan kicks him to the corner. Orton reverses a whip to the corner, but Bryan back flips over, ducks a clothesline, and Orton catches him with a dropkick for a two count.
Orton kicks him in the ribs and stomps the hand. Orton goes into the ropes, and Bryan digs a knee into him midsection. Bryan drops a knee on Orton, and he rips at Orton’s face. Bryan kicks him in the ribs a few times, and Orton fights back. Bryan sends him to the ropes, but Orton hangs on. Bryan charges, and Orton gives him a back body drop over the top rope. Big Show stands up, and Orton tells him to settle down. Orton throws Bryan into the ring, and Bryan gives him a baseball slide. Bryan hits a flying knee off the apron.
We come back from the break to see Orton trapped in an overhead wristlock. Orton begins to fight up, but Bryan grounds him with an arm breaker. Bryan goes for it again, but Orton counters with his patented backbreaker. Bryan quickly recovers and kicks him in the arm. Orton kicks back and hits his trademark over the shoulder neckbreaker. Orton uppercuts him in the corner a few times, and he places him on the top rope. Orton shakes some feeling into his arm before attempting a superplex. Bryan fights and pushes him off. Bryan stands on the top rope and jumps, but Orton moves. Bryan crashes and burns on the mat.
Orton hits a pair of clotheslines, ducks, and hits a nice powerslam. Orton sets him up for the draping DDT, but Bryan fights out. Bryan kicks him in the head, and he goes to the top rope. Orton crotches him up there, punches him, and hits a picture perfect superplex for a near fall. Orton stomps away at his limbs, but he misses a knee drop. Bryan hits a running dropkick in the corner, and he viciously kicks him down in the corner. Orton counters Bryan charging with a roll up for a near fall. Bryan immediately goes for a LeBell Lock, but Orton gets out. Orton catapults him to the apron, and he hits the draping DDT. Orton gets pumped up for an RKO, but Bryan gets out of the ring. Orton grabs him, and Bryan snaps him off the top rope. Bryan grabs his championship, and he gets in Big Show’s face at the commentary table. Big Show throws him into the barricade and then back into the ring. Orton gives him an RKO, and the referee calls for the bell.
Winner by Disqualification: Daniel Bryan
Match Rating: * 1/2
Randy Orton gets in Big Show’s face for costing him the match. Big Show pushes him away, and they start to brawl at ringside. Daniel Bryan smiles as he watches his two Elimination Chamber opponents fight each other.
Quick Match Results
The Great Khali def. Jinder Mahal
Beth Phoenix def. Alicia Fox (non-title)
Big Show and Sheamus def. Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett
Ted DiBiase def. Hunico
Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton via DQ (non-title)
Bump of the Night: Orton giving Bryan a back body drop over the top rope
Match of the Night: Big Show and Sheamus vs. Rhodes and Barrett * 3/4
I think the best way I can describe the opening segment of the show is a lot happened. I thought Sheamus’s little speech about being bullied and persevering was nice. I’m sure it’ll hit home for some of the kids watching the show, and it’ll hopefully serve as some inspiration for them. Wade Barrett then came out, and my goodness do they need to change his theme song back. This new song is atrocious. Who in the WWE’s music department, which is usually spot on all the time, thought this song screamed “Wade Barrett”? Barrett gave the usual shtick that he would win at Elimination Chamber, and Cody Rhodes came out to do the exact same thing. Big Show finally came out, and it was only a matter of time before the brawl broke out. The only thing missing from this segment was Teddy Long coming out to make the tag team match. He did that during the break. It was just an ok opening segment. We’ve seen it a million times before.
The Great Khali came out for a quick little squash match against Jinder Mahal. There wasn’t much to this one other than trying to reestablish to the audience that Khali is a dominating force. That’s obvious. I didn’t mind this. Nothing makes me happier than seeing Jinder Mahal get squashed on Smackdown.
Beth Phoenix made short work of Alicia Fox in a quick little match that’s sole purpose was to set up another stare-down with Tamina. I’m looking forward to an eventual match with Beth Phoenix and Kharma. That seems to be the ultimate goal. Speaking of the divas, I wasn’t a fan of tonight’s “Natalya farts” segment. I think it’d be hard to top last week’s gag (pun intended!).
I enjoyed the tag match tonight with Sheamus and Big Show beating Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes. I thought it was interesting to see Big Show playing the face in peril. That’s certainly not a role he’s familiar with, but I thought he did a nice job at it. The match worked well, and it was a lot of fun. The hot tag to Sheamus was great, and the finishing sequence was fast paced. It was a fun little time filler for the show.
Is it just me or was AJ better on the microphone tonight than Daniel Bryan? The reports I saw about this segment said that she did awful, but I actually liked that. I don’t know if that’s just my bias for her leaking in, but for someone who doesn’t get the opportunity to talk a lot, I thought she did a good job. Then Daniel Bryan came out, and he continued on with his preaching of the vegan lifestyle. I’m sorry, but this part of his character simply isn’t working for me. This gimmick of preaching what you shouldn’t do worked for CM Punk, but that was a subject that people could get angry about. Meat eating isn’t something that ruffles my feathers. It’s just lame. The parts when he’s being creepy with AJ are way better, and I think they should feature that more and lay off the vegan stuff. When he kisses her on the head and controls her actions, I get chills. It’s just downright creepy. Go with that and stop making me want to fall asleep.
I’m not going to hate on the Ted DiBiase/Hunico match tonight. I thought it was a gutsy performance by Ted DiBiase, and I’m glad his recovery progressed enough for him to make a little comeback tonight. I’m just hoping that once he’s all healed up they can get him a newer opponent.
I enjoyed the main event with Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, but it definitely seemed like they were holding back on having a great match. It seemed like they were feeling the crowd out for a possible bigger match. It seemed like they had some nice chemistry, and I’d like to see more. We’ve seen this finish already a few weeks ago with Daniel Bryan intentionally getting disqualified. That was a disappointing end to a nice little match. Of course they’re not going to give away a winner here, but I was just hoping they could have been a little more creative with how Bryan got the match to end. Oh well.
Final Rating: **
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