“Then. Now. Forever.” The WWE video leads us into the show.
The Smackdown video plays, and we’re treated to a fantastic pyrotechnics explosion. The stage does not catch fire as Josh Mathews and Michael Cole welcome us to the show.
Lilian Garcia asks the crowd to welcome the Chairman of the Board of WWE, Mr. Vince McMahon. Mr. McMahon makes his way to the ring to a tremendous reception. McMahon says selecting a General Manager for Smackdown has been an arduous task because it has to be someone that the crowd respects. It had to be someone with integrity, character, charisma, experience, and can be authoritative enough to make decisions and back it up. Here’s the new General Manager of Smackdown: Booker T!
Booker T makes his way to the ring to a great ovation. Michael Cole says his prayers have been answered. Booker shakes McMahon’s hand and poses for the crowd. The crowd chants his name as he thanks them. Booker T thanks Mr. McMahon and the WWE Board of Directors. He says Friday Night Smackdown is about to blow up and it’s time to kick it off right now.
Alberto Del Rio’s music hits, and the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship makes his way to the ring. Del Rio congratulates Booker T on becoming the new General Manager of Smackdown. Del Rio says he must be happy because he’s working with him. Booker T cuts him off and asks if he’s sucking up to the new General Manager. Booker tells him to at least not make it sound like a bunch of crap. Booker says he saw on Monday night that he had a few words to say about Sheamus. He said Sheamus was beneath me. Del Rio confirms that. Del Rio says he’s nothing but a peasant. He was a fat, redheaded hooligan. In his DNA, he has the blood of champions. He was bred for greatness.
Sheamus’ music hits, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion makes his way to the ring to a big ovation. Sheamus congratulates Booker T on becoming the General Manager, and they embrace. Sheamus says the first pint is on him to celebrate after work. As for Del Rio, he can mock how and where he grew up, but the fact is he’s proud of where he came from and who he is. Unlike Del Rio, he didn’t have someone brushing his teeth and wiping his arse every time he cried. Sheamus can promise that he won’t take three weeks off because he’s afraid of having his manicured nails get dirty. Sheamus asks if he’s really not going to compete until Summerslam. Del Rio says that’s right.
Booker T cuts them off, and he says they’re both having individual matches in the middle of this ring tonight. Del Rio says he doesn’t care if this is his first night or what. He doesn’t care who Booker T is. He will not compete until Summerslam. Booker T says Del Rio has all the money in the world, but money doesn’t make his hear better. He is the General Manager of Smackdown. He’s the boss, and he will compete tonight, sucka! His opponent will be none other than Randy Orton! Del Rio tells that sucka to get ready and get his heels clicking. Del Rio angrily leaves the ring. Booker T shakes Sheamus’ hand, but he tells him not to leave the ring because he’s up next in a knock down, toe-to-toe fisticuffs with this man: Tensai!
As Tensai makes his way to the ring, they show a pre-taped promo with Tensai speaking in Japanese. They’ll fight, next.
Sheamus vs. Tensai w/ Sakamoto
They lock up and quickly struggle for position. They tussle in the corner, and Sheamus applies a front face lock. Tensai whips him off, and they collide on a shoulder block. Neither goes down. Sheamus applies another side headlock before wrenching the arm. Tensai elbows him in the face, and they exchange punches. Tensai gets him in the corner and thrusts his shoulders in the midsection a few times. Sheamus comes back with some big right hands before shoving him to the corner. Tensai punches him back, and Sheamus takes him down with a double leg. Sheamus punches away at him on the mat and rubs his forearm in the face of Tensai. Sheamus applies a chin lock, but Tensai fights up and out of it. Tensai sends him into the ropes and takes him down with a shoulder. Sheamus has a lot of welts all over his back already.
Tensai punches away at him before putting him in the middle of the ring. Sheamus avoids an elbow drop, and he drives his knee into Tensai a few times. Sheamus hits a baseball slide that sends Tensai out of the ring. Sheamus follows, and Tensai throws Sakamoto into him. Sheamus pushes Sakamoto back, and Tensai throws him out of the way. Sheamus punches at Tensai before throwing him back into the ring. Tensai takes Sheamus down with some strikes before bouncing him in the corner. Tensai beats Sheamus down with some head-butts. Sheamus kicks back at him before pulling himself up to the top rope. Sheamus jumps over Tensai and goes for the Irish Curse, but Tensai beats him back. Tensai whips him into the ropes, but lowers his head and eats a kick. Sheamus then clotheslines him over the top rope. Sheamus gets on the apron and kicks Tensai in the head. Sheamus jumps into Tensai’s arms, but Tensai throws him spine first into the ring post.
We come back from the break to see a close up of Tensai’s discolored midsection cause by Sheamus’ assault. Tensai fights back, sends him to the corner, and hits an avalanche. Tensai climbs the ropes and hits a Vader Bomb for a near fall. Tensai picks him up and applies a bear hug. Sheamus tries to get out, but Tensai pushes him off and clubs him down. Tensai sends him into the ropes again, and Sheamus punches back at him. Sheamus goes for a slam, but his back gives out. Tensai takes him down with a kick to the skull for a near fall. Tensai head-butts at him again before kicking away at him. Tensai sets him up in the corner, but Sheamus grabs an ankle. Sheamus beats away at Tensai before going for an electric chair. Tensai punches him back, but Sheamus comes right back with a club, causing Tensai to fall off the turnbuckle and crash to the floor!
Tensai climbs to the apron, and Sheamus catches him with the clubbing blows to the chest. Tensai blocks it, but Sheamus quickly comes back and does it again. The welts and cuts on Tensai’s midsection are really nasty. Sheamus goes to suplex him back into the ring, but he can’t lift him. Tensai punches him back, gets in the ring, and Sheamus takes him down with an impressive powerslam for a near fall. Sheamus goes for White Noise, but he can’t lift him. Tensai sends him shoulder first into the ring post, rips him back into the ring, and hits a Chokebomb for a near fall. Tensai kicks Sheamus in the ribs before sending him to the corner. Sheamus avoids an avalanche, hits the ropes, and takes him out with the Brogue Kick for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: **
Eve Torres is in Booker T’s office, and she congratulates him on becoming Smackdown’s newest General Manager. She wanted to remind him about what a valuable asset she was to John Laurinaitis. She says if he needs any help or if there are any positions open in the administration, she thinks they could make a great team. Booker T checked his watch during her offer. He said he’d let her know. Teddy Long comes in, and they embrace. Long says if anybody has earned his way to the top, it’s Booker T. Booker says he did a great job on Smackdown, and he wants to offer him a job on his staff. Long says he has all the confidence in the world in him. Booker T asks if he wants to be Senior Advisor to the General Manager. Long says he’ll take it! Booker turns around and is surprised to see Eve still there. Booker says there aren’t any positions left, and he asks Long to show her out. She storms out of the office as they laugh.
Antonio Cesaro is in the ring with Aksana. Lilian Garcia announces that Cesaro would like to say hello to the crowd in five different languages. He says “hello” in English, French, Italian, Swiss, and German.
Antonio Cesaro w/ Aksana vs. Santino Marella
Santino ducks and punches Cesaro. Cesaro powers him to the corner and punches away at him. Cesaro whips him to the opposite corner, but Santino slingshots over. Cesaro catches him, but Santino turns it into a rollup for a near fall. Cesaro quickly takes him down with a European Uppercut before hitting a gutwrench suplex for a two count. Cesaro applies a chin lock, but Santino fights up. Santino gets a backslide pin for a one count. Santino splits under a clothesline, hits a hip toss, and finishes with a falling head-butt. Santino takes the Cobra out, but Cesaro hits him. Cesaro goes for his finisher, but Santino gets out. The Cobra strikes, but the referee can’t count the pin since Cesaro’s foot was under the rope. Santino follows him out of the ring, and Cesaro throws him into the barricade. Santino gets in the ring, and he hits The Neutralizer for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Antonio Cesaro
Match Rating: 3/4 *
Tonight, we’ll see Christian, Chris Jericho, and Kane take on Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and The Miz.
Matt Striker is backstage with Daniel Bryan, and he says Bryan has been through a lot these past few weeks. They then show a video of Bryan’s therapy session from this past Monday. Striker asks if he has any comment, and he says, “No.” Bryan says we’re going to hear him saying “no” a lot more often. They then show that he’s wearing a “No! No! No!” shirt. Bryan says he doesn’t want to hear anyone chanting “Yes” anymore. Bryan says that’s his catchphrase. Yes he can be the greatest of all time and yes he can be a World Champion. He can say “Yes”, not these people. The crowd chants “Yes”! Bryan says no you can’t chant “yes”, no you can’t steal his catchphrase, and no you can’t give him another psych evaluation from some quack doctor. Bryan screams “No” a whole bunch of times.
The lights go out, and Chris Jericho’s music hits. Christian and Kane follow him. They’ll be in action against Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and The Miz, next.
Chris Jericho, Christian, and Kane vs. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero, and Daniel Bryan
Christian will start it out against Daniel Bryan. Bryan kicks and punches him down to start the match. Bryan stomps away at him before applying a side headlock. Christian whips him off, they crisscross the ropes, and he hits a shoulder block. Christian goes for his catapult uppercut, but Bryan moves. Christian snaps him off the top rope and hits a missile dropkick for a two count. Kane is tagged in, and he takes Bryan down with a flying lariat for a two count. Kane bounces him off the turnbuckle and elbows him down. Kane sends him to the corner and clotheslines him. Kane sends him into the ropes and delivers a big boot for a near fall. Kane goes for a powerslam, but Bryan slides off and gives Kane a drop-toe-hold into the corner.
The Miz is tagged in, and Kane uppercuts him out of mid-air. Kane punches him in the corner before tagging in Chris Jericho. Jericho chops him down before sending him into the ropes for a back elbow. Jericho body slams him down and hits the ropes, but Ziggler slaps him in the back of the head. Miz quickly capitalizes with a big boot before tagging in Ziggler. Jericho takes Ziggler own and punches away at him. Jericho sends him to the corner and hits a clothesline. Jericho chops him before sending him to the ropes. Ziggler holds on and bails out of the ring. Jericho goes for a plancha, but Ziggler runs behind Vickie. Vickie talks some trash as we go to break.
We come back from the break to see Miz applying a chin lock to Christian. During the commercial, Miz pushes Christian off the top rope to the outside. Christian fights up and gets a sunset flip for a near fall. Miz viciously clotheslines him down for a near fall. Daniel Bryan is tagged in, and he kicks away at Christian while screaming “no”. Bryan covers for a near fall. Ziggler is tagged in, and he kicks Christian in the midsection. Ziggler beats him down before showing off and dropping an elbow for a two count. Ziggler taunts Jericho, and Christian punches back. Ziggler quickly takes him down with a picture perfect dropkick for a near fall. Miz is tagged back in, and he stomps Christian in the midsection. Miz hits the ropes and hits a running kick to the head for a near fall. Miz rips at Christian’s face and applies a chin lock. Christian fights up and out of it. Miz knees him in the midsection and sends him to the corner. Miz charges into a boot, and Christian hits a diving elbow. Both men are down.
Jericho and Bryan are tagged in. Jericho hits a pair of shoulder blocks, ducks a clothesline, and hits a springboard dropkick on Ziggler! Jericho kicks Bryan, hits a face buster, and connects with a Lionsault for a near fall broken up by Ziggler. Kane punches Ziggler out of the ring and goes to Chokeslam Bryan, but Miz chop blocks the knee. Miz throws him out of the ring, and Christian takes both himself and Miz out of the ring. Bryan goes for a roundhouse kick, but Jericho ducks and applies the Walls of Jericho! Vickie gets on the apron, and Jericho releases the hold to give Ziggler a Codebreaker! Bryan then quickly rolls Jericho up for the win!
Winners by Pinfall: The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and Daniel Bryan
Match Rating: * 3/4
Daniel Bryan screams “no” in a fan’s face to “celebrate” his win.
Matt Striker is backstage with Randy Orton for the first time after a two-month layoff. Striker asks how the layoff has affected him. Orton says the WWE is his life. Every moment away is like a breath sucked out of his lungs. He won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Alberto Del Rio is the number one contender, but that’s because he hasn’t faced him. Tonight he plans on celebrating his return to Smackdown by giving the WWE Universe something they haven’t seen in a while – a perfectly executed RKO.
Jinder Mahal is securing his headdress into a plastic case at ringside as we come back from the break.
Jinder Mahal vs. Ryback
They show a pre-taped promo with Ryback. He said in the jungle there is one law: eat or be eaten. It’s the only law he lives by. He’s in the WWE because everywhere he looks he sees food. “Welcome to the food chain. Feed me more.”
Ryback powers Mahal to the corner and hits some shoulder thrusts. Ryback slams him and kicks him in the ribs. Ryback slams his head off the mat before hitting a belly-to-belly overhead suplex. Mahal kicks him away and hits a flying knee. Mahal yells, but Ryback sidesteps him before hitting a spinebuster. Ryback goes for a lariat, but Mahal gets out of the ring. Ryback follows, and Mahal hits him in the face with a microphone. The referee throws the match out. Mahal quickly runs away from Ryback.
Winner by Disqualification: Ryback
Match Rating: N/A
Titus O’Neil and Darren Young are backstage dancing with AW in tow. They yell at the t-shirt guy to get some of their t-shirts.
R-Truth w/ Kofi Kingston vs. Darren Young w/ Titus O’Neil and AW
R-Truth kicks and punches away at Young to start the match. R-Truth beats him down, hits the ropes, and Young hits a scary powerslam for a one count. R-Truth punches back and sends him to the ropes, but Young holds on. R-Truth charges, but Young pulls the top rope down. AW distracts the referee as O’Neil kicks R-Truth. Kingston takes him out and AW challenges him to a fight. Kingston scares him off. Young throws R-Truth into the ring. R-Truth kicks and tries to suplex him back into the ring, but O’Neil clips the ankle. R-Truth rolls through and gets a near fall. O’Neil takes Kingston down, R-Truth dropkicks him down, and Young hits a sloppy version of his double knee gutbuster for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Darren Young
Match Rating: 1/4 *
We’ll take a look at CM Punk’s explanation for his attack on The Rock from this past Monday’s Raw, next.
They show a video of CM Punk interrupting John Cena vs. Big Show, which was supposed to determine who he would face at Summerslam. AJ Lee decided to make the Summerslam WWE Championship match a triple threat match after that.
They recap Booker T becoming the new General Manager earlier in the night. Booker T is shown on his cell phone when Layla walks in. They hug when she congratulates him. Cody Rhodes walks in, and he interrupts Booker T a few times. Rhodes congratulates him and says he’s glad a former superstar at his age can still contribute. Rhodes hopes the fact that he ended his career earlier in the year won’t affect their working relationship in the future. Booker T asks if that’s right, sucka. Rhodes tells him not to call him a sucker, and Booker T says he called him a sucka. Booker T says Rhodes will face one of his favorites next week. This man flies with the greatest of ease: Sin Cara. “Now can you dig that, sucka?” Rhodes leaves, and Booker says he likes this job.
Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. This will be his first match on Smackdown in two months. He’ll face Alberto Del Rio, next.
Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official for this match. Del Rio kicks and punches Orton to the corner. Del Rio wraps Orton’s arm around the top rope and pulls at it. Orton kicks back at him and punches. Orton has a whip reversed, but he comes back with a clothesline. Del Rio pushes him back, but Orton comes back with a trio of corner clotheslines. Orton goes to the second rope and hits ten punches. Del Rio rolls out of the ring to catch his breath. Del Rio gets back in and runs into a back body drop. Del Rio rolls to the apron, and Orton kicks him. Orton goes for the hanging DDT, but Del Rio gets out of it, putting Orton on the apron. Del Rio kicks him in the ribs and snaps him off the top rope, sending Orton to the floor.
Del Rio sends him into the barricade and kicks him in the chest. Del Rio chokes him with his boot as he “welcomes” him back. Del Rio throws him into the ring for a two count. Del Rio punches him in the ribs a few times before applying a chin lock. Orton fights up, but Del Rio head-butts him. Del Rio runs into the ropes, but Orton catches him with his trademark backbreaker. Orton stomps the midsection a few times before going for a knee drop that Del Rio avoids. Del Rio sends him into the corner and hits another kick to the kidneys for a near fall. Del Rio does Orton’s RKO taunt. Del Rio sends him hard into the corner, and he kicks him in the face. Del Rio sends him to the opposite corner, but Orton pulls himself up to avoid the charging Del Rio. Del Rio hits the ring post shoulder first. Orton rolls him up for a near fall.
Orton clotheslines Del Rio down a few times before hitting a powerslam. Orton puts him on the apron and hits the hanging DDT. The crowd is going crazy as Orton drops to the mat. Ricardo Rodriguez gets in the ring and hits Orton, causing the referee to throw the match out.
Winner by Disqualification: Randy Orton
Match Rating: * 1/4
Del Rio quickly takes Orton down with an arm breaker. Del Rio goes for the Cross Arm Breaker, but Orton pushes him off. Del Rio elbows him in the face and goes to the second rope, but Orton dropkicks him in the face, sending Del Rio out of the ring. The crowd chants for Orton as Del Rio and Rodriguez back up the ramp. All of a sudden, Sheamus runs down and throws Del Rio into the ring, where a waiting Randy Orton gives him an RKO! Sheamus smiles as Orton stands over Del Rio.
Quick Match Results
Sheamus def. Tensai (non-title)
Antonio Cesaro def. Santino Marella (non-title)
The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, and Daniel Bryan def. Chris Jericho, Christian, and Kane
Ryback def. Jinder Mahal via DQ
Darren Young def. R-Truth
Randy Orton def. Alberto Del Rio via DQ
Bump of the Night: The beat down between Sheamus and Tensai
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Tensai **
Smackdown kicked off very nicely with the introduction of Booker T as Smackdown’s new General Manager. I really like Booker T in this role. He was fun to listen to on commentary, but as anyone who has heard him knows, he could become a hot mess at times. The guy is still in great shape, the crowd likes him, and he can cut a promo. He’s better suited in a role like this. He’s not that far removed from an active role so it’ll be a lot more believable when he gets in a heel’s face rather than when Teddy Long would do it. Tonight he had some really good interactions with Alberto Del Rio in the ring. He went from having fun to getting real serious and tough real quick, and I thought it looked really good. I’m interested to see how this goes for him. It should be a fun ride.
That was a damn fine opening match between Sheamus and Tensai tonight. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a hard-hitting slugfest, and that’s what these two gave us. I knew it would be hard-hitting, but I didn’t know it would be that good. It was a really fun match, and Sheamus looked really strong coming out of it. For those thinking that Tensai was going to be punished for his racist comments this past week, he got a lot of offense in and didn’t embarrass himself. He looks just as strong coming out of it. This was a really good opener for Smackdown. Those welts on them were nasty!
Antonio Cesaro picked up another win over Santino Marella. That’s the second week in a row so that should make him the number one contender for the WWE United States Championship. Let’s get a title match set up already!
The six-man tag team match was a lot of fun tonight. The star of the match was Chris Jericho, who they’ve been talking about on commentary as possibly having lost his touch. Jericho was moving a really good speed and looked just as good as he ever has. I can’t wait to see his match against Dolph Ziggler, presumably at Summerslam. That should be a good one.
They’re doing a good job with Ryback’s first program against Jinder Mahal. I literally cannot wait to see him get his business handed to him by Ryback. There’s just something about that guy that makes me want to see him get pummeled. The same goes for Darren Young and Titus O’Neil. Young was awful in his match against R-Truth tonight. He looked wild and all over the place. He hit a dangerous looking powerslam and was sloppy with his finisher. The guy needs to slow down because he’s going to wind up hurting someone.
The main event was ok since it was really Randy Orton’s first actual match back in two months. It didn’t blow me away. You can’t have Alberto Del Rio lose as the number one contender, and Orton can’t lose because he’s just coming back, so they can’t really do much. It seems like Orton is going to get thrown into the title match at Summerslam. I don’t think that’s a bad idea. Throw Mysterio in there, too, and you could have a really good fatal four way at Summerslam. The thought of a second Sheamus vs. Del Rio title match just doesn’t get me excited at all.
Final Rating: ** 3/4
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