“Then. Now. Forever.” The WWE video leads us into the show.
The Miz is in the center of the ring with the Miz TV set. Miz welcomes us to the most must-see talk show in WWE history. Miz talks about how he gets the biggest stars and asks the toughest questions. Miz has a lot of questions for his next guest, and that man is John Cena.
John Cena comes out to a huge reception, and he has his left knee heavily taped. Cena takes a seat on the couch. Miz says Cena is usually known for things in the ring, like headlining WrestleMania with him, but now his life is like a TMZ story. It’s tabloid tales of him, AJ, Vickie Guerrero, and Dolph Ziggler. It’s “he said, she said.” Last Monday, he had enough, and Miz rolls the footage of Cena passionately kissing AJ on Raw. Cena turned to talk to Vickie, but AJ turned him and kissed him even more passionately. Miz asks Cena how the kiss was, and Cena stands up. Miz asks how the knee is, and he tells him not to say nothing is wrong. Miz then rolls the footage of Cena tweaking his knee on Raw.
Cena says that Miz TV is supposed to have tough questions. Cena says he posted on his Twitter that he had an MRI, and he has an issue with lateral movement in his knee. Cena says he’s fine, and he can still compete in WWE. Cena asks for a tough question. Miz says that Cena isn’t telling the whole truth. Miz has it on good authority that he IS telling the truth about AJ while she was General Manager, but how about now? Are they more than just friends? Cena says he just got tired of people making a giant issue out of everything. Every week, Vickie and Dolph had all these videos and messages, and he just gave them what they wanted. Cena admits that he did like it, and AJ is a darn good kisser. Miz does his “really” shtick, and he says it’s fantastic. Obviously she liked it, too, since she wanted a whole lot more. Miz asks if the stress of this scandal has brought them together. If Cena is telling the truth about the past then how about now? Are they more than just friends?
AJ’s music hits, and the former General Manager of Raw skips down to the knee. AJ says Cena doesn’t have to answer that. Miz says this is Miz TV and tough questions come with the territory. She says Cena is just doing this to prove a point to Vickie Guerrero. Cena says he was, and Miz asks if they’re in love. Miz asks the crowd if they think they’re in love. Cena says that Miz is an idiot.
Dolph Ziggler’s music hits, and he comes out to the stage. Ziggler says it’s obvious to the entire world that Cena has feelings for AJ. Ziggler says he heard Cena is a great guy, but AJ is a bad egg. If she hadn’t kissed him, it wouldn’t have been so easy to set Cena up. If AJ hadn’t come into the men’s locker room, he might not have hurt his knee. Ziggler says if he were John Cena, he would have feelings for AJ. He’d HATE her guts. Ziggler then rolls footage of AJ coming into the locker room and confronting Ziggler on Raw. Ziggler says she’s a dime a dozen. She came from nothing, and she is nothing. Ziggler calls her desperate and trash, and she started punching away at him. Cena tried to break it up, and Ziggler gave him a cheap shot before tackling him through the bathroom stall and kicking him in the knee.
Ziggler says that’s giving the WWE Universe something to talk about. EXCUSE ME! Vickie Guerrero, the managing supervisor of Raw, comes out to a chorus of boos. Vickie says Cena’s girlfriend needs to control her impulses. She also thinks Dolph is right about what he said on Raw about AJ. AJ is a pitiful, sad, and weak woman. Ziggler knows how to kiss someone who is authoritative, confident, decisive, and passionate. Cena calls her a liar because Ziggler kissed her, and they can’t medically prove that she’s a woman. Vickie says she’s all woman, and she wasn’t talking about herself. Their relationship is strictly professional. Ziggler said if he did kiss AJ, it would bring out the real woman in her, but that would never happen. Cena and AJ deserve each other. They’re two weak losers. Cena says Dolph and Vickie deserve each other because they’re the exact opposite. One of them enjoys eating a lot of nuts, and the other is still looking to find his!
Tonight, we’ll see Kofi Kingston defend his Intercontinental Championship against Damien Sandow. Coming up next, Ryback will be in action.
Ryback vs. Darren Young w/ Titus O’Neil
My favorite referee of all time, Charles Robinson, is the official for this match. Young gets a quick couple of punches in, but it doesn’t hurt Ryback. Ryback throws him to the corner, but Young ducks a punch. Ryback blocks the punch and throws him by the arm. Ryback runs into a back elbow, Young goes into the ropes, and he eats a big boot from Ryback. Ryback picks him up by the head, and he slams him down on his face. Young rolls out of the ring to recover, and O’Neil blows his whistle at Ryback. Ryback takes Young down with a vicious back elbow, and he throws him back into the ring after saying, “I hit hard” to O’Neil. Ryback gives him a clothesline in the corner and follows up with a back elbow. Ryback hits a spinebuster before going to the corner to set up for the lariat. Ryback hits the meat-hook clothesline, and he connects with Shell Shocked for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Ryback
Match Rating: N/A
Titus O’Neil orders them to stop the music. O’Neil says Young is worth millions of dollars. O’Neil gets in the ring and blows his whistle. Ryback then kicks him and hits him with Shell Shocked! Ryback gets pumped up, and the crowd responds positively.
Tonight’s main event will see Randy Orton take on Dolph Ziggler. Coming up next, we’ll see R-Truth face Antonio Cesaro.
R-Truth vs. Antonio Cesaro
This is a rematch from Survivor Series. Before the match begins, Cesaro says he can tell by the crowds’ fat faces that they enjoyed Thanksgiving. It’s another US holiday that encourages gorging yourself and laziness. Luckily for them, they have Antonio Cesaro as their United States Champion.
Cesaro immediately knees R-Truth in the midsection, and he hits a nice gutwrench suplex. Cesaro body slams him down before stomping on him. Cesaro applies a grounded waistlock. R-Truth fights up and out of it. R-Truth has a whip reversed, but he comes back with a forearm. R-Truth hits a jumping calf kick. R-Truth goes for a modified stunner, but Cesaro counters into a Neutralizer attempt. R-Truth gets out and hits the Little Jimmy for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: R-Truth
Match Rating: N/A
Sheamus is walking backstage when Booker T stops him. Booker says he’s not going to the locker room. Things broke down at Survivor Series, and he hit Big Show with about thirty chair shots. Booker also mentions the parking lot brawl. Booker says that Sheamus isn’t going to compete tonight. However, Big Show got intentionally disqualified at Survivor Series, and he is due a rematch. At TLC, the rematch will be in a chairs match. Booker tells Sheamus to watch the show from his private suite. Big Show will compete in a handicap match against Team Hell No tonight.
Sin Cara is seen walking backstage. He’ll face Alberto Del Rio, next.
Damien Sandow will try to capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship from Kofi Kingston later tonight.
Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio quickly kicks him down, hits a snapmare, and kicks him in the back. Del Rio hits the ropes, but Cara sidesteps him, causing him to fly out of the ring. Cara then hits a plancha on both Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. Cara throws him back into the ring for a one count. Del Rio ducks a kick and hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a one count. Del Rio goes for a hip toss, but Cara counters into an arm drag. Del Rio kicks him in the midsection and sends him shoulder first into the ring post. Cara falls to the outside.
We come back from the break to see Del Rio applying a chin lock to Sin Cara. Cara fights to his feet and elbows out. Cara rolls him up for a two count. Del Rio quickly punches him down. Del Rio throws him to the corner, and he kicks away at his lower back. Del Rio backs up, and he hits a step-up kick to the lower back for a near fall. Del Rio digs his elbow in there before applying another chin lock. Cara fights up and out, ducks a clothesline, and hits a nice hurricanrana with a cradle for a near fall. Del Rio quickly kicks him in the midsection and hits a running kick to the side of the head. Del Rio hits a suplex and covers for a near fall. Cara avoids a splash in the corner, but Del Rio comes back with a spinebuster for a near fall.
Del Rio argues with the referee before going back to the lower back of Sin Cara. Del Rio tries to rip the mask off, but Cara doesn’t let it happen. Del Rio applies the chin lock, but Cara fights out. Del Rio head-butts him down, but Cara comes back with a kick and an arm drag. Del Rio drops him to the apron, but Cara kicks him in the face. Cara hits a springboard cross-body for a near fall. Del Rio misses a clothesline and eats a handspring back elbow. Cara goes to the top rope, but Del Rio cuts him off with a top rope arm drag. Del Rio applies the Cross Arm Breaker, and Cara immediately taps out.
Winner by Submission: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: *
Team Hell No is backstage. Daniel Bryan tells Kane to stay out of his way. Bryan says long before he teamed with Kane, he beat Big Show for the title in 45 seconds. Kane asks if that’s going to happen again, and Bryan says, “Yes!” Kane reminds him that years ago he was a Tag Team Champion with Big Show and even back then he was a whiny, oversized baby. Big Show and Bryan have a lot in common. They should team and call themselves “Team No Show.” Bryan asks if this is because he didn’t invite Kane over for Thanksgiving, and Kane puts his head down before saying, “Yes.” Bryan says he wouldn’t have liked it since he had vegan turkey. Bryan says if they win then he’ll have him over for Christmas. Kane asks if he can beat up Santa Claus.
Big Show makes his entrance. He’ll face Team Hell No in a handicap match, next.
Big Show vs. Team Hell No
Daniel Bryan will start it out against Big Show. Bryan ducks a clothesline and kicks him in the thigh. Bryan does this a few more times, but Big Show quickly fires back before chopping the chest. Sheamus is seen watching the match with William Regal in Booker T’s suite. Bryan fights back and hits the ropes, but Big Show takes him down with a sidekick. Big Show puts him in a hammerlock and throws him into the turnbuckle. Big Show works on the arm, grabs him by the throat, lifts him up and slams him down. Big Show uses his body weight to hurt the arm, and he stands over Bryan. Bryan kicks back at him, but Big Show takes him down with a head-butt. Big Show stretches the arm on the ropes. Big Show viciously wrenches the arm, and Bryan face plants. Big Show drops a knee on the shoulder, and he looks at Kane. Big Show hits a body slam, goes to the second rope, and Bryan avoids a diving elbow drop!
Bryan heads over to tag in Kane, but then he screams “NO!” before kicking away at Big Show and taking him down for a near fall. Bryan runs into a Chokeslam attempt, but he counters into a guillotine choke. Big Show rips him off, and he runs into Bryan’s boots. Bryan jumps off the second rope, but Big Show catches him. Bryan applies another guillotine choke. Big Show begins to fade away, but eventually he falls back with all his weight on top of Bryan.
Kane is tagged in, and he clotheslines Big Show in the corner. Kane backs up, and he does it again. Kane hits the ropes, hits a low dropkick to the knee, and then a low dropkick to the head for a near fall. Kane goes to the top rope, and he hits a flying lariat. Kane signals for a Chokeslam, but Big Show fights out of it. Big Show sends him to the ropes, but he lowers his head, and Kane gives him a DDT. Bryan blind tags in, and he applies the No! Lock. Kane isn’t happy, and he walks to the back. Big Show powers out of the No! Lock, and he drops Bryan with a Chokeslam for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Big Show
Match Rating: 3/4 *
Sheamus doesn’t look happy watching from the suite. Kane runs back into the ring, ducks the Knockout Punch, and goes for a Chokeslam. Big Show fights out of it, and Bryan kicks him in the knees. Kane hits a big boot, and they get Big Show out of the ring. Big Show grabs his championship and walks to the top of the stage. Big Show grabs a microphone, and he asks if Sheamus is paying attention. Big Show congratulates him on the Chair Match at TLC. Big Show asks if Sheamus ever thought that the giant would have a chair in his hands this time, fella.
Kofi Kingston will defend his Intercontinental Championship match against Damien Sandow, next.
Wade Barrett makes his way to ringside. He’ll be on commentary for this match. Whoever wins will face him at some point down the line.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Damien Sandow
They circle the ring and lock up. Sandow knees him in the midsection, and he head-butts him in the corner. Sandow hits a nice suplex for a no count. Sandow clubs the back, but Kingston counters a back suplex and clotheslines him out of the ring. Kingston talks trash to Barrett. Kingston redirects himself as he went for a plancha, and he lands of the apron. Sandow had already gotten back in the ring, and he sends Kingston into the ring post.
We come back from the break to see Kingston trapped in a chin lock. Kingston fights up and punches out, but Sandow quickly kicks him. Sandow runs into the boots, and Kingston gets turned inside out with a knee to the midsection. Sandow knees him in the ribs a few times before hitting a side sweep. Sandow hits the Cubito Aequet for a near fall. Sandow rubs his face in the mat, and Kingston punches back at him. Sandow takes him down, again, and chokes him on the ropes before hitting an avalanche for a near fall. Sandow applies a rear chin lock, but Kingston fights back. Sandow punches him back, pulls him to the apron, and elbows him in the throat. Sandow walks around, and Kingston surprises him with a baseball slide. Sandow quickly drives him into the side of the ring, puts him in the ring, and stomps away at him. Sandow goes to knock him into the ring post, but Kingston turns it on him.
Kingston hits a big cross-body block for a near fall. Sandow rolls to the apron, and he kicks Kingston in the knees. Sandow rolls him up for a near fall. Kingston comes back with the SOS, but it’s only a near fall. Kingston chops at the chest and hits a dropkick. Kingston hits a leaping clothesline, and the crowd barely gets into the Boom Drop. Kingston sets up in the corner, and he connects with Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Winner and still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Kofi Kingston
Match Rating: *
Wade Barrett congratulates him on getting through by the skin of his teeth. However, Kingston’s best isn’t going to be enough as he falls to the Barrett Barrage. Kingston invites him into the ring, but Barrett ignores the invitation.
Tonight’s main event will see Randy Orton take on Dolph Ziggler. Coming up next, we’ll take a look at CM Punk’s year long reign as WWE Champion.
They air the Raw Rebound highlighting the final segment of Raw with CM Punk and Ryback. They then announce that Michael Cole will interview Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns this Monday on Raw.
Dolph Ziggler makes his way to the ring. He’ll be in action against Randy Orton, next.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton
They circle the ring, and Orton knees him in the midsection before clubbing him down. Orton puts him in the corner and punches him down. The referee backs him up, and Ziggler goes through the ropes to keep Orton away. Orton tries to get him, but the referee keeps him back. Ziggler grabs the leg, but Orton gets out of it. Orton kicks the ankle, but Ziggler blocks a throw to the corner. Ziggler kicks and punches him, but Orton pushes him back. Ziggler beats him down in the corner, but Orton comes back with a kick. Orton hits a nice dropkick for a near fall. Ziggler rolls to the apron, and Orton grabs him by the hair. Orton then hits a slingshot suplex back into the ring for a near fall. Ziggler quickly kicks him and hits a spinning neckbreaker. Orton punches back at him, and he throws Ziggler out of the ring. Orton follows him out, and he clotheslines him over the barricade.
We come back from the break to see Ziggler trapped in a chin lock. Ziggler punches out, but Orton quickly catches him with a back suplex for a near fall. Orton stomps the leg and chokes him with his boot. Orton stomps the face and hits a guillotine slingshot into the bottom rope. Ziggler falls out of the ring. Orton goes outside to get him, and Ziggler throws him into the announcer table. Ziggler then hits a picture perfect dropkick on the outside, and he wants a count-out. Orton gets in before the ten count. Ziggler quickly begins to punch away at him before dropping a big elbow for a near fall. Ziggler applies a chin lock, but Orton fights out of it. Ziggler reverses a whip to the corner, but Orton catches him with a rollup for a near fall.
Ziggler hits a sitting clothesline, but Orton kicks out. Ziggler goes back to the chin lock, but Orton fights up. Orton ducks a punch and hits his patented backbreaker for a near fall. Ziggler surprises Orton with a big DDT for a near fall. Ziggler goes to the top rope, and Orton cuts him off. Orton punches at him and hits a picture-perfect superplex for a near fall. Orton gets the crowd into it, and he hits his pair of clotheslines and a powerslam. Orton hits the hanging DDT, and he drops to the mat to set up for the RKO. Ziggler gets up, and he manages to counter the RKO into a rollup with a handful of tights for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Match Rating: **
Randy Orton can’t believe it. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Ricardo Rodriguez run into the ring, and he RKOs him on instinct. Alberto Del Rio stops on the apron and backs away. At the top of the stage, John Cena takes Dolph Ziggler down and applies the STF! Referees run out to try to break him off Ziggler as the show ends!
Quick Match Results
Ryback def. Darren Young
R-Truth def. Antonio Cesaro (non-title)
Alberto Del Rio def. Sin Cara via Submission
Big Show def. Team Hell No
Kofi Kingston def. Damien Sandow to retain the WWE Intercontinental Title
Dolph Ziggler def. Randy Orton
Bump of the Night: Ryback knocking Young down at ringside
Match of the Night: Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton **
I liked the way Smackdown opened up tonight. It’s not everyday that John Cena appears on this show, so it felt a little more special than your usual run of the mill opener. I’m not a huge fan of this John Cena/AJ storyline, but I thought they did some interesting dialogue. It wound up boiling down to a recap of the whole storyline up to this point, but they got some good stuff in there and some good back and forth. Cena’s line at the end cracked me up for some reason.
Ryback’s been left broken at the end of the last two big shows WWE has done, so it’s only natural that he comes to Smackdown to pick up a win and regain some of his dominance that he may have lost over the past five days. This was a fun squash match. Titus O’Neil and Darren Young are so laughably stupid that it makes it fun to watch.
I’m not sure what is accomplished with having R-Truth beating Antonio Cesaro. This reminds me of when Justin Gabriel beat him a few weeks ago. It just leaves you wondering “why?” I think I’m just ready to move on from this rivalry already after R-Truth’s disastrous commentary and promo on Smackdown last week.
Alberto Del Rio and Sin Cara didn’t have a bad match tonight. I just had a hard time getting into it. I know it’s been talked about to death, but Sin Cara’s mood lighting really makes me sleepy. I hate it. I’ve seen him wrestle a few times since coming to WWE, and I know just being in the crowd how it takes you out of the match. It’s too dark. Del Rio, just like Ryback, needed this win tonight to save face for the week.
No surprise that the World Heavyweight Championship match at TLC is going to be a Chairs Match after watching Survivor Series. I’ve loved all the efforts that Sheamus and Big Show have submitted on PPV thus far, so I can definitely go for a third helping of this feud. I have no problem with him going over Team Hell No here. They’re two goof who can live through this. This loss isn’t going to affect them at all. I’m writing these thoughts as the show goes, and I have to say that WWE is doing a top-notch job with the flow of the show and keeping you interested in between commercials. Thus far, they’ve let you know every match that’s coming up next, as well as promoting the main event like they always do. Normally they promote the main event and the Raw Rebound only.
This show has been pretty wrestling heavy, but so far none of the matches have delivered, and this Intercontinental Championship match continued the trend. They tried hard, but this never really got going for me. There’s been nothing bad on this show – it’s just that nothing has been really great either.
OK, now that main event is what I’m talking about. I don’t know if Darryl from “Storage Wars” would file it under the “WOW factor,” but this was a damn good match. Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler took it to the extra level that the other matches were missing (granted some of them were squash matches). It was well wrestled, and the post-match stuff was a lot of fun, too. I’m not huge on the Orton/Del Rio feud continuing, but John Cena attacking Ziggler at the top of the ramp was a cool visual. I have to give credit where it’s due. JBL did a great job of driving that STF home. As the show is ending, he’s yelling, “This is Smackdown! This is what we’re about!” Ok, that’s not word for word, but if you were a person flipping channels and you caught the tail end of this show, I’d be pretty interested to see the next one.
Final Rating: ** 1/2
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