“Then. Now. Forever.” The WWE video leads us into the show.
They show some footage of The Shield attacking Randy Orton last month on Raw. Tonight, Randy Orton returns to exact some revenge. We also see footage of Big Show knocking out Ricardo Rodriguez on last week’s Smackdown. They then show the footage of Alberto Del Rio exacting his revenge on Big Show for his friend.
Josh Mathews and John “Bradshaw” Layfield bid a happy new year to the viewers as Randy Orton’s music hits. Orton makes his way to the ring to a great reception. Orton says since tonight is the first Smackdown of 2013 and declaring New Year’s resolutions is the “in” thing to do, he’s going to make his short and sweet: he wants to be the World Heavyweight Champion. Not too long ago, Smackdown was his show, but lately that doesn’t seem to be the case. He has a way to fix that because tonight he’s announcing that he’s entering the 2013 Royal Rumble.
Sheamus’ music hits, and he makes his way to the ring to a great reception. Sheamus apologizes for interrupting him. He’s not here to steal Orton’s thunder. He was planning on doing the same thing Orton was. 2013 is a new year, and he wants to be the World Heavyweight Champion as well. He wants to declare to the world that he too will be in the 2013 Royal Rumble match. He also wanted to personally thank him for helping him with The Shield on Raw. Orton says he wasn’t there to save Sheamus. A month ago, they attacked him and tried to put him out. He did that for himself, not Sheamus. He’s not sure if Sheamus is aware or not, but its every man for himself in the Rumble, and it’ll be about him, not Sheamus. Sheamus knows what its about as he won it last year. Orton says he remembers, and that’s why it’ll be extra special when he eliminates the former Rumble winner. Sheamus says that is cute. He is sketchy since it’s been a year, but if he Brogue Kicked his small head over the top rope and his body stays in the ring, does that count as an elimination?
Big Show’s music hits, and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion comes out to the stage. Big Show says he’s been listening them go back and forth about winning the Rumble. Big Show says the only shot they’ll get by winning the Rumble is a shot at his fist. Sheamus’ 2013 will end up like his 2012, and that’s with him knocking him out. As for Randy Orton, take a shot, and he’ll be happy to step on the snake. Whether they like to admit it or not, he is the World’s Largest Athlete, and he is the most dominate World Heavyweight Champion the WWE has ever seen. He’s a giant!
Antonio Cesaro’s music hits, and the WWE United States Champion comes out to the stage. Cesaro says this is typical American stuff with them talking about who will beat up who. Sheamus reminds him that he’s Irish. Cesaro says that’s even worse. Where he comes from (Switzerland), they don’t just talk – they take action. That’s why for months he’s been talking about soft, lazy, fat – no, grotesquely obese Americans. These are things they should just realize by looking in the mirror, but they don’t. The truth is the truth. Big Show has a quizzical look on his face. Orton says, “How about this fat, soft, lazy American comes up there and RKO’s the both of you right now?”
Booker T’s music hits, and he steps between Cesaro and Big Show. He says before things get out of hand, it’s obvious that the four of them don’t like each other. Tonight, they’ll have to find a way to get along. The deal is this: The World Heavyweight Champion Big Show will team with United States Champion Antonio Cesaro to take on Sheamus and Randy Orton. Tonight, they’re going to kick this year off with a bang, now CAN YOU DIG THAT, SUCKA? Cesaro and Big Show talk with one another as Orton looks over at Sheamus.
Tonight, we’ll see a rematch from Monday Night Raw. The new WWE Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett will defend against Kofi Kingston.
The Miz vs. Heath Slater w/ 3MB
Before the match begins, they show footage of 3MB announcing their intentions to perform at the Slammy Awards at the TLC PPV. The Miz promptly made fun of them and embarrassed them.
They circle the ring and lock up. Slater gets a quick waistlock applied, but Miz counters into a hammerlock. Slater elbows him in the face, hits the ropes, and Miz takes him down with a dropkick. Miz hits a headlock takeover, but Slater soon fights up. Slater whips him off, but Miz hits a shoulder block. Miz catches him with another headlock takeover. Slater fights up and backs him to the corner. Slater punches him in the ribs, but Miz quickly comes back with some punches. Miz sends him to the ropes and hits a hip toss. Miz follows up with another headlock takeover. Slater twists out and applies a headlock of his own. Miz takes him down by the hair, and Jinder Mahal gets on the apron to argue. Miz taunts him with some air guitar before poking Slater in the eye. Miz then hits another headlock takeover. Slater fights out and whips him off, but Miz hits another shoulder block. Miz goes into the ropes, blocks a hip toss, and drops Slater with another hip toss.
Miz hits a million-dollar knee lift, and Drew McIntyre sweeps the feet. Miz quickly dropkicks him down and knocks Mahal down for good measure. Slater then takes him down with a forearm. The referee then ejects McIntyre and Mahal from ringside. They throw a temper tantrum as Miz rolls Slater up for a near fall. Slater escapes the ring to regroup as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Slater punching Miz down in the corner. The referee back Slater away, and Miz quickly takes him down. Miz clotheslines him down, sends him to the ropes, and Slater escapes the ring. Miz chases him out and clotheslines him down at ringside. The crowd is going wild, and Miz points to them. Miz drops Slater on the barricade, points to the crowd, and throws him into the ring. Slater hangs onto the ropes, and the referee backs Miz away. Slater quickly kicks him in the knee and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post. Slater drops some knees on his shoulder blade. Miz tries to fight back, but Slater quickly stops him by twisting the injured limb around the top rope. Slater applies a hammerlock and grounds him. Miz fights up and elbows out. Slater counters a whip with an arm wrench takedown for a near fall. Slater applies an overhead wristlock. The crowd chants for Miz as he fights up and punches out. Slater sends him to the ropes, and Miz catches him with a sunset flip for a near fall. Slater immediately comes back with a roundhouse kick for a near fall.
Slater catches Miz on the apron, and he snaps the arm off the top rope. Slater wraps the arm around the rope again, but Miz comes back with a rollup for a near fall. Slater quickly hits a diving elbow for a near fall. Slater looks stunned that he keeps kicking out. Slater does a little air guitar before wrenching the arm. Miz reverses a whip and hits a knee to the midsection. Miz hits a running boot to the face for a near fall. Slater quickly pulls him shoulder first into the corner and follows up by choking him with the knee. Slater goes outside and stretches his arm out against the ring post. Slater gets in the ring and applies the overhead wristlock again. Miz fights up and counters with a back suplex.
The referee counts them down, but they both get up. They trade punches with Miz coming out on top. Miz sends him to the ropes, but Slater kicks him in the face. Miz comes back with a back elbow and a clothesline. Miz hits a back body drop, points to the crowd, and goes for the Reality Check, but Slater counters out. Slater hits a neckbreaker for a near fall. Miz sidesteps him charging, and he follows up with his patented corner clothesline. Miz gets on the top rope, gets the crowd to scream “Awesome,” and he hits Slater with a double axe handle. Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: The Miz
Match Rating: * ½
Tonight’s main event will see Randy Orton and Sheamus take on Big Show and Antonio Cesaro. We’ll also see Wade Barrett defend his WWE Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston.
They show footage of Wade Barrett defeating Kofi Kingston for the WWE Intercontinental Championship on this past Monday’s Raw.
Matt Striker is backstage with the new Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett. Striker wants to talk about WWE Main Event, but Barrett says the story is simple. He is the Intercontinental Champion, but that isn’t good enough for the media types. They need some scandal to tear him down like everyone else. You want scandal? Take a look at the real Kofi Kingston, who attacked him from behind on Main Event after he defeated three other Superstars. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work tonight because he assures Striker that he will beat Kingston. After that, he’ll be out of options, chances, and luck. He will remain the Intercontinental Champion.
The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya make their way to the ring. They show footage of Mae Young giving birth this past Monday to Hornswoggle as the New Year baby. No words… They’ll be in action, next.
The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya vs. Primo, Epico, and Rosa Mendes
Natalya will start against Rosa Mendes. Rosa pushes the face, and Natalya quickly takes her down. Natalya bounces her off the mat a few times before hitting a snapmare. Natalya quickly follows up with a dropkick to the back of the head for a near fall. Natalya goes for a Sharpshooter, but Mendes slaps her in the face and tags in Epico. Khali is tagged in as well. Epico blind tags Primo and leaves the ring. Khali brings him into the ring the hard way and clotheslines him down. Khali bounces him off the turnbuckle and chops the chest. Hornswoggle is tagged in, and he chops Primo’s chest. Primo gets up, and Hornswoggle kicks him in the shin. Hornswoggle catches him with a stunner, and he catches Epico with one as well. Primo quickly takes him down and talks some trash. Epico is tagged in, and he dropkicks Hornswoggle down. Epico taunts him, and Hornswoggle head-butts him in the midsection.
Khali is tagged in, and he pushes Epico away. Khali clotheslines him and chops the chest a few times. Khali hits a back elbow and sidesteps Primo, who accidentally splashes Epico. Khali pushes him over the top rope and doesn’t go down to Epico’s backstabber attempt. Khali hits the Brain Chop for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya
Match Rating: ¼ *
Matt Striker is backstage with Kofi Kingston. Striker mentions that he lost the Intercontinental Title on Raw, but he defeated Barrett in a Gauntlet Match on WWE Main Event. Striker asks if he feels that momentum can carry him to a victory tonight. Kingston says this has nothing to do with momentum. He knew he was going to challenge him before he beat him. It was the second that he stood in the middle of the ring with his title raised in the air. He got the best of him, and it cost him the title. This may be his last shot. His back is against the wall, but that’s no different from how it’s been his whole life. He always comes up fighting, and tonight will be no different as he fights for the title one more time. Barrett will be running into Trouble in Paradise.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Kofi Kingston vs. Wade Barrett (c)
They circle the ring and lock up. Kingston powers him to the corner and gives a clean break. Kingston applies a waistlock, but Barrett takes him down. Kingston quickly grapevines the neck, but Barrett gets out. Barrett goes for a test of strength, and he quickly kicks him in the midsection. Kingston quickly comes back with some kicks and punches. Kingston wrenches the arm and kicks him down for a one count. Kingston has the arm bar applied, but Barrett fights up. Barrett takes him down with a shoulder block. Barrett goes into the ropes, Kingston leapfrogs him twice, and he eats a back elbow. Kingston quickly follows up with a dropkick, and Barrett gets out of the ring to recover. Kingston follows him out and pushes him into the steel steps. Kingston throws him into the ring and follows up with a springboard punch for a near fall.
Kingston applies a chin lock, but Barrett fights up. Barrett punches out, but Kingston quickly comes back. Barrett reverses a whip and sends him into the corner hard. Barrett punches him in the ribs a few times before hitting a short-arm clothesline for a one count. Barrett applies a chin lock, but Kingston fights up. Kingston punches out and gets a backslide pin for a near fall. Kingston gets a sunset flip, but he only gets a one count. Kingston then follows up with an inside cradle for a two count. Barrett quickly catches him with a sidekick to the midsection. Barrett charges, but Kingston pulls the top rope down. Kingston then follows up with a plancha to the outside. Kingston picks him up, but Barrett drives him into the apron. Barrett puts him in the ring, and he says he’s going to go for the intentional count-out. Kingston gets out of the ring and gets him back in at nine. Kingston quickly rolls him up for a near fall. Kingston taunts Barrett as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Barrett clothesline Kingston down. Barrett applies a chin lock, and he smiles at the crowd. Kingston fights out and punches away. Kingston hits the ropes, but Barrett follows and turns him inside out with a knee to the midsection. Barrett goes to the second rope and drops a nice elbow for a two count. Barrett ties him in the ropes and knees away at him. Barrett then knocks him to the floor with a big boot. Barrett then taunts the crowd.
Kingston gets back in the ring at the referee’s count of nine. Barrett quickly kicks and punches away at him as soon as he gets in. Barrett puts him in the corner and gives him a front suplex to the top rope. Barrett goes for a superplex, but Kingston punches him off. Kingston hits a nice diving cross-body block for a near fall. They trade punches, but Barrett comes out on top. Barrett puts him in the corner, but Kingston catches him with a pendulum kick. Barrett ducks a springboard, but Kingston counters his sidekick. Kingston hits the SOS for a near fall. Kingston can’t believe it. Kingston kicks him in the head and begins to get pumped up. Kingston hits the Boom Drop and signals for the end. Barrett ducks the Trouble in Paradise and goes for the Winds of Change, but Kingston counters into a rollup for a near fall. Barrett comes back with a pin of his own for a near fall. Barrett then floors him with the Winds of Change for a near fall!
Barrett gets to his feet and picks Kingston up. Kingston catches him with Trouble in Paradise, but it knocks Barrett out of the ring. Kingston quickly gets outside, but Barrett is out. Kingston deadlifts him into the ring and covers, but Barrett grabs the bottom rope. Barrett pulls himself up, and Kingston runs into his boots. Barrett signals for his finish, but Kingston ducks the Bull Hammer. Kingston jumps off the second rope, but Barrett lays him out with the Bull Hammer for the win!
Winner and still WWE Intercontinental Champion: Wade Barrett
Match Rating: ** ¼
Wade Barrett celebrates with the WWE Intercontinental Championship as he stands over Kofi Kingston.
We’ll take a look at Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee’s New Year’s Eve toast from Raw. We’ll also see Big Show and Antonio Cesaro team up to take on Randy Orton and Sheamus.
Layla vs. Tamina Snuka
They lock up, and Tamina powers her into the ropes. Tamina looks at her with disgust as she releases. Tamina knocks her out of the ring before slamming her into the barricade. Tamina throws her into the ring. Layla catches her with an inside cradle for a one count. Tamina quickly comes back with a clothesline for a near fall. Tamina applies a chin lock, punches at her, and picks up a two count. Layla kicks her in the face and kicks away at her. Layla dropkicks her in the ribs and takes her down by the hair. Layla hits a spin kick and goes for the LOL, but Tamina counters with a Samoan Drop. Tamina goes to the top rope and hits the Superfly Splash for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Tamina Snuka
Match Rating: ¼ *
Up next, they’ll show the Raw Rebound.
The Raw Rebound airs, and it features Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee toasting to 2013 being a banner year for him. John Cena then came out and embarrassed the two of them. Cena then announced that he would enter the Royal Rumble match. Cena then dumped some fecal matter on them from the ceiling.
The announcers run down the lineup for the first Raw of 2013. CM Punk will defend his WWE Championship against Ryback in a TLC match. The Rock will also make an appearance on the show.
Big Show makes his way to the ring. It’s main event time, next.
Big Show and Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton and Sheamus
Sheamus will start the match out against Antonio Cesaro. They lock up, and Cesaro applies a side headlock. Sheamus whips him off, and Cesaro takes him down with a shoulder block. Sheamus gets to his feet, and they lock up. Sheamus quickly applies a side headlock. Cesaro whips him off, and Sheamus drops him with a shoulder block. Sheamus hits a second shoulder block, wrenches the arm, and tags in Randy Orton. Orton kicks Cesaro in the midsection and uppercuts him. Orton hits a picture perfect suplex for a one count. Orton rakes the eyes with his boots. Cesaro turns him in the corner and kicks him down. Orton has a whip to the corner reversed, but he quickly comes back with a clothesline. Sheamus is tagged in, and he kicks Cesaro. Sheamus clubs away at him in the corner. Sheamus sends him to the opposite corner and charges into a back elbow. Cesaro hits a clothesline before powering him back to the corner. Sheamus comes back with some punches. Cesaro reverses a whip, but Sheamus comes out with a shoulder block.
Orton is tagged back in, and he punches Cesaro before doing the 10 punches situation. Orton uppercuts him down before tagging Sheamus back in. Cesaro blocks a suplex and knees him down. Big Show tags in, and he punches Sheamus in the midsection. Big Show head-butts him and punches him in the corner. Big Show drops him with a head-butt a few times. Big Show tries to catch Orton with a punch, but he gets away. Sheamus catches the distracted champion with a million-dollar knee lift. Orton and Sheamus then clothesline Big Show over the top rope!
We come back from the break to see Sheamus back drop Cesaro to the apron. Sheamus ties him up and clubs away at his chest. Sheamus suplexes him back into the ring for a near fall. Cesaro hits a jawbreaker, but Sheamus reverses a whip. Big Show blind tags in as Cesaro kicks Sheamus in the face. Sheamus takes Cesaro down with a shoulder block, and he turns into a spear from the Big Show. Big Show stares at Randy Orton before whipping Sheamus hard into the corner. Big Show stands on Sheamus before head-butting him down. Big Show hits a nice body slam before dropping an elbow for a near fall. Big Show head-butts him down before punching away at him in the corner. Sheamus fights back, but Big Show sends him to the corner. Sheamus sidesteps a splash and kicks at him. Sheamus hits the ropes and runs into a Chokeslam for a near fall! Big Show can’t believe it. Big Show signals for the Knock Out Punch, but Sheamus ducks it and hits the Brogue Kick!
Orton and Cesaro are tagged in. Orton clotheslines him down a few times before hitting a beautiful powerslam. Orton goes for the hanging DDT, but Cesaro counters by giving him a back body drop to the apron. Orton snaps him off the top rope. Sheamus blind tags in and clotheslines away at Cesaro. Sheamus hits a knee lift before hitting White Noise. Orton gets off the apron and does not look happy that Sheamus tagged himself in. Sheamus signals for the Brogue Kick. Orton quickly gets in the ring and drops Cesaro with an RKO! Sheamus stares at Orton before slowly walking over to Cesaro and pinning him for the win. Sheamus stares at Orton the entire time.
Winners by Pinfall: Randy Orton and Sheamus
Match Rating: **
Sheamus smiles at Randy Orton as he turns his back and swiftly walks to the back. Orton stops at the top of the stage to stare at Sheamus.
Quick Match Results
The Miz def. Heath Slater
The Great Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya def. Primo, Epico, and Rosa Mendes
Wade Barrett def. Kofi Kingston to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Tamina Snuka def. Layla
Randy Orton and Sheamus def. Big Show and Antonio Cesaro
Bump of the Night: The Miz clotheslining Heath Slater on the outside
Match of the Night: Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston ** ¼
Happy New Year, everyone! The first Smackdown of 2013 kicked off with Randy Orton cutting a lackluster promo about entering the Royal Rumble. Those promos are never really groundbreaking or awesome. They’re just something to kill some time until the actual match. Sheamus then came out, and they tried to create some tension between the two men. This is certainly the one big match that Smackdown could produce for WrestleMania this year, so I’m glad they’re getting a head start on it. Now it’s time to wait for the Orton heel turn, which he desperately needs. Orton has never been really great on the promo side of things, but his face promos are just brutal. It’s time for a change. Big Show stumbled out of the gate on his promo, but he recovered nicely. The big surprise of the night for me was Antonio Cesaro coming out to cut a promo on fat, lazy Americans in the middle of all this. I thought Big Show’s expression was great. Booker T then came out to make the tag team match to put an end to a pretty underwhelming opening segment.
Underwhelming is really the key word when describing this Smackdown. There was nothing inherently bad about it. Three of the matches were given a significant amount of TV time, but nothing really brought the wow factor. I’d bet they’re saving the better stuff for next week. Raw’s first episode is really the kickoff for WWE in 2013, so the Smackdown that follows will probably feature some better segments and matches to make it seem like a completely awesome week for WWE programming. I don’t think they wanted to give too much away tonight.
The Miz took on Heath Slater in a long match that wasn’t half bad. Miz spent a good deal of the match getting the better of Slater, as he should. Miz is the former champion, and Slater has been a joke for the better portion of his career. Still, they had a good match. Slater hung in there, and I was impressed with it all the way around.
I can’t claim to be impressed with the six-person mixed tag team match that followed. I’m still recovering from the image of Mae Young birthing Hornswoggle on Raw. Some things just don’t need to be brought back, and Mae Young with her legs in the air and a white sheet covering her supposedly exposed genitalia giving birth is one of them.
Wade Barrett and Kofi Kingston had a great match that featured Barrett decisively beating him. They said a few times that this was Kingston’s final shot at the championship for now. I think it’s time for both men to get involved with something new. They match up well together, but we’ve seen it way too many times now. This was a good sendoff if it really is a sendoff.
Well I suppose it’s that time of the year for Tamina Snuka to be the badass of the Divas’ division. She handily beat Layla while giving her the stare of death and looking all angry and such. It was all very intimidating, I assure you.
The main event was a lot of fun. Its always fun when you throw four guys in the ring who don’t like each other and force them to coexist in teams. Antonio Cesaro really shone in this match. He’s had a couple of moments in the past month or so where he’s really shined and looked like he belongs, particularly in his matches with Sheamus. He continued to look good in the main event tonight. 2013 could be a really good year for him if he keeps it up. They continued to tease the tension with Orton and Sheamus at the end of the match. That’ll be a great match when it finally happens.
Final Rating: **
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