The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with a big fireworks display. Lillian Garcia asks the crowd to welcome Christian back to Smackdown. Christian comes out to a nice reception from the crowd. This is his first time back on the show since November. Michael Cole, Josh Mathews, and Booker T welcome us to the show.
Christian hosts “The Peep Show” with guests John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long
Christian welcomes the crowd to “The Peep Show,” and the crowd is excited. Christian is excited for this show, and he talks about the big twelve-man tag team match featuring representatives of Team John Laurinaitis and Team Teddy Long. The winner’s team will become the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown. Christian then welcomes John Laurinaitis as his guest, and he makes his way to the ring with his assistant, David Otunga. John Laurinaitis welcomes Christian back to WWE. Laurinaitis says it’s an honor for himself and Otunga to be on “The Peep Show.” Christian says it’s an honor to have Mr. Excitement on his show. Christian says his next guest has no honor. He is the General Manager of Smackdown, Teddy Long. Long makes his way to the ring with Aksana.
Christian says the stakes couldn’t be higher at WrestleMania. When it’s all said and done, one of them will have complete control of both Raw and Smackdown. Christian says he’s going to do something unheard of. He’s going to put both his personal and business feelings to the side and give them the opportunity to convince him of why he should be on their team at WrestleMania. Christian says Teddy Long can go first. Long gives him a look, and Christian says that he’s a two-time World Heavyweight Champion. Long might not like him, but even he has to admit that he’s good. Christian says he carried Smackdown on his back, and whichever team he’s on at WrestleMania will win. Christian says he should get to explain why he should be on his team, and he better make it worth his while.
Teddy Long asks what he’s talking about. Christian tells him to give him what he deserves. Long goes to talk, but Christian cuts him off. Christian says that Big Johnny knows what he deserves. Even Columbus can figure it out. Christian deserves one more match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Long says he already got what he deserved. Long says he respects everything he’s ever accomplished in the ring, but he’s not going to beg Christian to be on his team. At WrestleMania, when Team Teddy wins and he controls both shows, any superstar who wants an opportunity will have to earn it. They won’t get an opportunity if they annoy him or disrespect him.
Laurinaitis asks what Long knows about respect. He says he respects Christian’s talents. Laurinaitis says when his team wins, he’ll give him his word, which is as good as gold, and he will have one more match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Christian says when that opportunity comes, he will not fail. Unlike him, Long fails in everything he does. He just failed again tonight. Christian says tonight will be remembered as the night the scales tipped and he joined Team Johnny! Laurinaitis has Christian’s t-shirt, and he holds it up. Long says since Christian is here, the time for talking is over. Christian is going to be in action tonight. Laurinaitis says that won’t happen since Christian isn’t medically cleared to wrestle yet. Long says since Christian is unable, or unwilling, to compete tonight, he’s going to put David Otunga in a match right now. David Otunga says he’ll face the newest member of Team Long, Kofi Kingston!
David Otunga vs. Kofi Kingston w/ Santino Marella
We come back from the break to see Otunga, wrestling in his pants, driving Kingston into the mat. Santino Marella, the captain of Team Teddy Long, is at ringside for Kingston. Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis are on commentary. Kingston comes back and punches away at Otunga. Kingston kicks him in the ribs and applies a side headlock. Otunga whips him off and shoulder blocks him down. They go into the ropes, Kingston leapfrogs him a pair of times, and he takes him down with a back elbow. Otunga counters a monkey flip by throwing him off. Otunga punches away at him and drops some elbows. Michael Cole criticizes Long for not knowing Christian wasn’t medically cleared to compete. Long says he was, and Laurinaitis says he has an ingrown toenail.
Otunga clubs away at Kingston’s chest, and he covers for a near fall. Otunga clubs away at him, and he poses for the crowd. Otunga applies a rear chin lock. Kingston fights up. Otunga whips him off, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Otunga quickly comes back with a scary powerslam for a near fall. Otunga’s pants are split in the back. Otunga clotheslines him in the corner, whips him across the ring, and repeats the move. Otunga sends him across the ring again, and he runs into Kingston’s boots. Kingston hits a big springboard cross-body for a near fall. Kingston chops the chest and hits a dropkick. Kingston hits the superman punch, and he gets the crowd into it. Christian trips him as he attempts the Boom Drop. Otunga quickly clotheslines him down. The referee wonders what happened, and Teddy Long tells him that Christian tripped Kingston. The referee throws Christian out of the ringside area. Laurinaitis gets up, and he gets in Long’s face. They argue a bit. Otunga goes to hit Kingston with his belt while the referee is distracted, but Santino Marella stops him. Kingston quickly follows up with the Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Match Rating: *
Daniel Bryan is outside the Diva’s locker room. AJ comes out, and she’s in a dress that’s pretty tight. AJ says as much, and Bryan makes her turn around. Bryan says the dress looked better on the mannequin. AJ looks sad at that statement. Bryan says they’ll be the new power couple in WWE. She needs to look the part. He brings up Macho Man and Elizabeth as an example. Bryan is a champion, and he wants her to be a champion as well. That’s why he pulled some strings and she has a match that could lead to a future Diva’s Championship match if she wins. That’s why he’s here. Just like in life, tonight he’ll be in her corner. All she has to do is listen to him. AJ thanks him, and she passionately kisses him. Bryan says her match is next so she better get ready. She goes in the locker room, and he wipes her kiss off his lips.
Nikki Bella w/ Brie Bella vs. AJ w/ Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan made his entrance separately from AJ’s. He comes out screaming, “Yes,” and he yells for her to do what he tells her to do. Nikki is on her knees to make fun of AJ’s height, and AJ dropkicks her in the face. Nikki quickly bounces her off the turnbuckle, and she hits a snapmare. Nikki hits a rolling neck snapper for a near fall. Nikki stands on AJ’s hair and pulls up. Nikki slams her a bit before applying a submission hold. AJ eventually fights up, but Nikki quickly takes her down. AJ slides through the legs, and she hits a roundhouse kick. AJ hits a crazy cross-body block. Nikki gets to the ropes, and the referee backs AJ off. Bryan informs the referee that the twins are attempting to switch. Brie slams AJ down. Nikki grabs her, but AJ twists into a rollup for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: AJ
Match Rating: 1/2 *
Daniel Bryan celebrates on the turnbuckle like he won the match himself. Bryan congratulates her, and then tells her that if she had listened to him the entire time then the match would have gone much more smoothly.
Tonight’s main event will see Sheamus take on Chris Jericho. The two number one contenders for the World Titles at WrestleMania will go one-on-one!
They play the Raw Rebound that highlights John Cena’s rap and The Rock’s concert. Coming up on Raw this week, John Cena will take on Mark Henry.
Matt Striker is backstage with Cody Rhodes. Striker says Rhodes has been highlighting Big Show’s embarrassing WrestleMania moments. Striker asks how he can defend his title against an angry giant at WrestleMania. Rhodes says this is chess, not checkers. The magic word is WrestleMania. 364 days out of the year, Big Show is a destroyer. On that one day, WrestleMania, Big Show is a choke artist. Big Show has never won a one-on-one match at WrestleMania. How can he beat a giant? Just watch. Striker says that Rhodes will face The Great Khali next.
WrestleMania XXVIII is 16 days away!
The Great Khali vs. Cody Rhodes
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee of all time, is the official for this match. Rhodes circles the ring and hits a few kicks on Khali. Khali blocks one and shoves him down. Rhodes ducks a clothesline, and he slaps Khali in the face. Khali punches him down and puts him in the corner. Khali chops the chest, and he knocks Rhodes down with a clothesline. Khali chops the chest again, and he taunts the crowd. Rhodes quickly dropkicks him in the knee, and he takes him down with an arm breaker. Rhodes punches away at Khali before applying an arm bar. Khali powers out, and Rhodes quickly goes to the leg. Rhodes drops some elbows on the knee, and he applies a leg bar. Khali fights him off, and Rhodes goes into the turnbuckle. Rhodes goes to the top rope, and Khali chops him out of mid-air. Khali hits some clotheslines, and he signals for the Brain Chop. Rhodes gets away and snaps him off the top rope. Rhodes kicks him before taking him down with a missile dropkick. Rhodes hits the Beautiful Disaster for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Match Rating: 3/4 *
Randy Orton is heading to the ring. He’ll address his situation with Kane, next.
Randy Orton calls out Kane
Randy Orton comes out to a nice reaction. Orton seems hesitant about doing his turnbuckle taunt after what happened on Monday Night Raw. Orton says his name, and he says when he has a problem with somebody, he doesn’t come out and talk about it. He usually hunts them down. Over the past few weeks he’s felt like Kane has hunted him. They’re both going down a path that leads to what’s destroying one another, and that’s fine by him. Before that happens, he needs to know why Kane chose him. He’s not John Cena. Orton embraces the hate, and in turn, hate embraces him. Orton says you can call it morbid curiosity, but he’s calling Kane out. He wants Kane to explain himself so when the time comes to put him down, he wants to know why he had to do it.
Kane’s pyro explodes on the stage. When the smoke clears, Kane is standing on the stage. Kane asks if demanding an explanation makes Orton uncomfortable since he’s living in the unknown. Normally, he’d enjoy watching Orton twist in the wind unsure of why or where he’d strike next. Since he asked so politely, he’ll clue Orton in. It’s obvious that Orton forgot about this, even though it’s something that he obsesses over. They show footage from a Street Fight between Randy Orton and Kane last summer. Orton defeated him with an RKO, and Kane shook his hand after the match.
Kane says that was July 22, 2011. Kane says he watches that footage every day to remind himself of what he had become. He had become a wretched, mangled wretch of humanity. The person who shook Orton’s hand is gone. Someone who doesn’t have a single vestige of humanity left inside has replaced him. He’s been replaced by the monster he always should have been. The journey is not yet complete, though. The WWE isn’t big enough for the both of them. Kane needs closure. He will not become whole again until he has utterly and completely decimated Orton.
Orton says that was very enlightening, and he sarcastically thanks Kane. Orton says now he can shut his mouth, get in the ring, and see if Kane can finish what he started. Kane starts to walk down the ramp, but he stops. Kane says slaughtering Orton now would not satiate his craving for his suffering. When he ends Orton, he wants it to be on the biggest stage possible. Kane wants Orton’s demise to happen at WrestleMania! Kane makes the ring posts explode, and Orton stares a hole through Kane.
Later on tonight, we’ll see Sheamus take on Chris Jericho in the main event.
A commercial plays for The Law Offices of David Otunga.
Drew McIntyre makes his way to the ring. Teddy Long appears on the titantron, and he says he’s excited Drew McIntyre is back. Last week, McIntyre signed a one-year deal while John Laurinaitis was in charge. Long says he’s excited since he can put McIntyre in a match against this man: the Big Show!
Drew McIntyre vs. Big Show
Big Show quickly shoves him to the corner, and he punches him in the midsection. Big Show bounces him off another turnbuckle, and he punches him again. Big Show chops the chest, and McIntyre’s expression is priceless. Big Show body slams him a few times, and he asks if he’s having fun. Big Show shoves him in the corner, and the referee backs him up. Big Show runs into a boot, and McIntyre quickly takes him down with a chop block. McIntyre kicks away at him, and he goes for the Future Shock DDT. Big Show shoves him off, and he spears him down. Big Show hits the Chokeslam, but he’s not done yet! Big Show balls up his fist, yells that this is for Hornswoggle, and he levels McIntyre with the WMD! The referee checks on McIntyre, and he calls the match off!
Winner by TKO: Big Show
Match Rating: N/A
Cody Rhodes is seen watching the Big Show on a backstage monitor. Big Show celebrates in the ring, and he says the match was for Hornswoggle.
JOBBER ALERT: Yoshi Tatsu is in the ring with no TV entrance.
Yoshi Tatsu vs. Mark Henry
Tatsu immediately dropkicks Henry, but he doesn’t go down. Henry absorbs some kicks before head-butting Tatsu down. Henry stretches him out on the ropes, and he kicks Tatsu in the ribs. Henry shoves him to the corner, and he punches Tatsu down. Henry scoops him up, and he hits a nice powerslam. Henry slaps him in the face, waits for him to get up, and he hits the World’s Strongest Slam for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Mark Henry
Match Rating: N/A
They show a video of Zack Ryder lobbying to be a part of Team Teddy Long at WrestleMania. Ryder will hold a rally on Monday to force Long’s hand.
Chris Jericho is seen walking backstage. He’ll face Sheamus, next.
Chris Jericho makes his way to the ring for tonight’s main event against Sheamus. Jericho takes a microphone. Jericho says before he dismantles Sheamus, he wants to address the comments that he made about CM Punk and his father on Raw. Jericho can tell from the thousands of hateful tweets and e-mails that a lot of people are upset and want him to apologize. Jericho says he won’t do that. Some people think he was over the line, but you can never go over the line when you’re telling the truth. Jericho says Punk is a fraud. He’s the typical product of an alcoholic father and a broken home. Punk has a bunch of tattoos on his body to hide the fact that he has an alcoholic gene running through his veins. He wears an “X” on his hand to hide who he really is. Jericho has figured out who the real CM Punk is, and he knows Punk better than he knows himself.
Jericho says that Punk stayed up at night crying because of what his father was doing to him. Every time Punk unleashes a “pipe bomb,” he wishes he was saying those things to his family. Jericho knows that every time Punk comes to the ring and the crowd is chanting his name, he’s wishing the demons in his head would just go away, but they won’t. CM Punk wishes that he was the best in the world at what he does, but he is not. Jericho is the best in the world at everything he does, while CM Punk only pretends to be. Punk wishes he was Jericho. He’s a Chris Jericho wannabe, just like everyone in the crowd tonight. They will never be what he is because he proves night in and night out that everything he says is true. He’ll prove it tonight by beating Sheamus. Then he’ll beat CM Punk at WrestleMania and become the new WWE Champion. Jericho will have a nice cocktail at the WrestleMania after-party, and he’ll toast himself as well as CM Punk and his pathetic father. Jericho tells the crowd to chant for their anti-hero, CM Punk. The crowd chants for CM Punk, and Jericho calls him, “CM Drunk.” Jericho says, “Pipe bomb,” and he drops the microphone.
Chris Jericho vs. Sheamus
Sheamus has a nasty welt on his back from the match against Dolph Ziggler on Monday Night Raw. They circle the ring, lock up, and Sheamus shoves him off. Sheamus smiles at Jericho confidently. Jericho punches, but Sheamus quickly comes back. Sheamus sends him into the ropes and hits a nice back elbow. Sheamus punches him and puts him in the corner. Sheamus knees him. Sheamus sends him into the ropes. Jericho ducks a clothesline, holds on to the ropes, and gets out of the ring. Sheamus goes outside and chases him. Jericho quickly gets in the ring, goes to knock Sheamus off the apron, but he gets caught with a slingshot shoulder block from Sheamus for a two count. Sheamus puts him in the corner, and he twists Jericho’s arm around the top rope. Jericho turns him in the corner and chops the chest. Jericho sends him into the corner and dives, but Sheamus moves. Jericho falls out of the ring.
Sheamus pulls Jericho up to the apron, ties him up in the ropes, and he viciously clubs away at his chest. Sheamus hits a delayed vertical suplex for a near fall. Sheamus has a whip reversed, but he kicks Jericho in the face. Sheamus charges, and Jericho pulls the top rope down, sending Sheamus out of the ring. Jericho hits a quick baseball slide that sends Sheamus into the barricade. Daniel Bryan and AJ make their way to the ring for a closer look at the action.
We come back from the break to see Jericho catapult Sheamus throat first into the bottom rope. Jericho taunts the crowd as he chokes Sheamus on the second rope. Jericho punches away at him, and they show Daniel Bryan smiling at how the match is going. Jericho hits a snapmare and applies a modified chin lock. Sheamus fights up, and he punches out. Sheamus goes into the ropes, and Jericho quickly knees him in the midsection. Jericho dropkicks him in the back and talks a little trash. Jericho hits a picture perfect back suplex for a one count. Sheamus punches away at him, but Jericho quickly stops his momentum with a dropkick for another one count. Jericho goes back to the chin lock. Sheamus fights up with Jericho on his back, and he backs him to the corner. Jericho kicks him and goes for a bulldog, but Sheamus shoves him into the turnbuckle. They’re both down now.
Jericho is the first one to his feet, and Sheamus takes him down with some hammers to the face. Sheamus clotheslines him in the corner and goes for a powerslam, but Jericho slides off. Sheamus quickly catches him with the Irish Curse for a near fall. Sheamus punches, and he catches Jericho attempting a slingshot with a rolling fireman’s carry for a near fall. Jericho pulls the referee between them, and he thumbs Sheamus in the eyes. Jericho goes for a Codebreaker, but Sheamus shoves him off. Jericho quickly ducks a Brogue Kick, and he gets his foot hung up on the top rope. Jericho quickly follows up with a springboard dropkick. Jericho hits the Lionsault for a near fall!
Sheamus kicks Jericho away from him, and he lifts himself up to the top rope. Jericho sweeps the feet, and Sheamus is hung up precariously on the top rope. Jericho chops away at him, and he goes for a superplex. Sheamus fights him off with a head-butt, and he quickly follows up with a diving shoulder block for a near fall. Sheamus is still rubbing his eye. Sheamus signals for the Celtic Cross, but Jericho counters into the Walls of Jericho! Sheamus fights the pain, and he powers out of it. Sheamus gets to the ropes for good measure. Jericho runs into a boot, and Sheamus goes for the Celtic Cross. Jericho slides off again, and Sheamus clotheslines him out of the ring.
Sheamus bounces him off the apron, and he throws him into the barricade near where Daniel Bryan and AJ were. Sheamus puts him in the ring, and he stares at Bryan while on the apron. The referee backs Jericho up, and Bryan dropkicks Sheamus down at ringside during the distraction. The referee counts to ten, and Sheamus gets counted out!
Winner by Count-Out: Chris Jericho
Match Rating: ***
Sheamus angrily chases after Daniel Bryan, but he’s already up the ramp with AJ. Chris Jericho is celebrating on the turnbuckle. When he gets off, Sheamus levels him with a Brogue Kick. Bryan grins at Sheamus after that. Sheamus’ music plays as the show ends.
Quick Match Results
Kofi Kingston def. David Otunga
AJ def. Nikki Bella
Cody Rhodes def. The Great Khali (non-title)
Big Show def. Drew McIntyre via TKO
Mark Henry def. Yoshi Tatsu
Chris Jericho def. Sheamus via CO
Bump of the Night: Big Show’s beat down on Drew McIntyre
Match of the Night: Chris Jericho vs. Sheamus ***
It was nice to finally have Christian back on Smackdown tonight. I thought they had forgotten about his return at Elimination Chamber because he and Alberto Del Rio weren’t seen basically at all since then. I enjoyed Christian turning the crowd on him after reestablishing what he’s all about. I also enjoyed when John Laurinaitis was vying for his services. The guy is so awkward on the microphone that he’s hilarious and entertaining. It’s bizarre. I’m still rooting for Teddy Long, though. It’s the mark in me. I have to root for Smackdown. Another thing that’s bizarre is this General Manager angle is one of my favorite angles they have heading into WrestleMania. It’s a twelve-man tag team match that will probably be a horrible cluster-you-know-what, but I’m psyched to see it anyway. This angle shouldn’t be this good.
That first segment led us to the first match of the evening, which featured David Otunga wrestling in his street clothes against Kofi Kingston. This was a decent match. Otunga was wrestling with split pants, which I found to be funny. Laurinaitis was fun on commentary. The ingrown toenail excuse for why Christian couldn’t wrestle got a chuckle out of me. Even though I’m rooting for him, I have to admit that when Teddy Long doesn’t have scripted lines can’t really talk. Long kind of fell short for me on commentary. His comebacks were lame, and he didn’t really offer much. For a guy that used to be a manager, I’d think he would have better chops on the microphone when asked to improvise.
Daniel Bryan’s creepy boyfriend character was a lot of fun tonight. That segment backstage where he cut down AJ’s looks and said she needed to look the part of a power couple was disturbing. This is the aspect of his character that works best with me. This angle with AJ is a lot of fun, but it has been put over more than his actual match with his WrestleMania opponent, Sheamus. It’s kind of peculiar. They found a way to shoehorn Daniel Bryan into being involved in a divas match, but they can’t find a way to create any type of story for his WrestleMania match.
Cody Rhodes took care of The Great Khali in a surprisingly good little match considering how it went down. Khali did a good job for Rhodes, and Rhodes looks pretty convincing heading into WrestleMania against the Big Show.
Well, it’s finally official: Randy Orton will take on Kane at WrestleMania. I was kind of wondering what type of story they’d give this, and I have to admit that I liked this one. Yes, I thought it was a little hokey when Kane claimed that he watched that footage of him shaking Orton’s hand everyday, but at least they have some type of story. I like that they went back to that Street Fight, because that’s the example I think of as to why I think their match at WrestleMania will be the sleeper hit of the night. These two actually work well in the ring together. I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in Miami.
They followed that up with two quick squash matches. Big Show beat Drew McIntyre by knockout in a match he dedicated to Hornswoggle. McIntyre’s selling of the beat down was pretty funny. Then Mark Henry took care of Yoshi Tatsu in quick fashion.
Before the main event started, Chris Jericho cut a little promo about how CM Punk is really just living out what he wishes he could have done to his alcoholic father, or something like that. I’m not a big fan of this aspect of their build-up. This is just a story for the sake of touching a raw nerve with certain people. I’ve always thought that wrestling was a form of entertainment where you could get away from life for a little while. If alcoholism affects your life, I doubt you want to turn on the TV and listen to it be involved in a storyline. It’s cheap, and I don’t think this match needed this.
That being said, I thought the main event was awesome tonight. Sheamus and Chris Jericho really worked well together, and I’d like to see this match again in the future. This was a lot of fun. It was a back and forth brawl, and I really enjoyed it. They even worked Daniel Bryan into the ending, but it was just a simple attack. That’s all well and good if this was the build for a regular PPV match, but since this is a WrestleMania World Heavyweight Championship match I think it’s a little lacking. So far, all we’ve got is “good guy” versus “bad guy,” but what can they do now? They’ve got one more actual Smackdown to build things up (which I’ll be at), and then the next week it’ll be the Fan Axxess atrocity of a show that I’ve come to truly loathe.
Final Rating: ***
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