WWE Smackdown Holiday Special
November 29, 2011
Charlotte, North Carolina
Report by: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.

They show a view of Charlotte with some digital snowflakes falling. “Joy To The World” is playing, and Mick Foley makes his way to the ring dressed as Santa Claus. The crowd chants his name as Josh Mathews welcome us to the show. Foley wishes the crowd a Merry Christmas, and he acknowledges that it’s still November. Foley says that he is a Christmas fanatic and he celebrates the holiday year round. What JR is to bar-b-q, Ultimate Warrior is to colorful arm tassels, he is to Christmas. Foley gets his cheap pop in for Charlotte, North Carolina, and they chant his name again.

Foley puts over tonight’s World Heavyweight Championship match between “Tiny Tim” Daniel Bryan and “The Ghost of Christmas Fear” Mark Henry. That will take place inside a Steel Cage, and they show it hanging above the ring. He’s not through, though. We’ve got a “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” and an Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal. The winner will get a wish from Santa. Foley says he promised on Raw that Michael Cole would not be here, but his team of lawyers says that he’s contractually obligated to be there. However there is nothing in his contract that says what he’s supposed to wear. Foley then introduces him, and Michael Cole comes out dressed as Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. Mathews is dressed as an elf.

Foley then introduces Booker T, who comes out dressed as Santa Claus. Booker T gets in the ring, and Foley says he owes him one. Foley says he wants this to be a very inclusive holiday special, so Foley wants him to help the Jewish folks out by “making like a dreidle” and giving us a Spinaroonie. They play the Dreidle song, and Booker T does his spinaroonie. Booker T says the holiday spirit is here, and he can dig that, sucka.

Cody Rhodes’s music hits, and he comes out to the stage. Rhodes says he would have allowed this farce to continue in the past, but he no longer is wearing a protective piece of plastic. Now he sees things more clearly. Now he sees a lowly announcer making a fool of him in the ring by indulging in childish antics. That takes away time from guys like him that still have the skills to compete. Booker says he doesn’t know what Rhodes’s problem is, but he has no beef with him. Booker warns him not to think that he can’t handle his business in the ring. Booker says that Rhodes can test him. Rhodes mocks him for calling him “son”. Rhodes says Booker T lies. Booker T does have a beef with him. It’s probably because he’ll never hold the Intercontinental Championship over his head again. He’ll never be able to call himself champion again.

Foley stops Rhodes, and he says that he’s talking about a legend, and a man he respects. He’s also a 5-time WCW Champion. Rhodes is directly affecting his ability to enjoy the holidays. Tonight, Christmas comes early for Rhodes. Cody Rhodes will take on Booker T in a match tonight. Rhodes smiles, and he says he’s looking forward to it. Foley says he’s got a party to get back to, and he says it’s time to kick things off with a Diva’s match. They make their way to the ring in holiday garb.

-Commercial Break-

Mick Foley says this is a “Mistletoe” Match. Whoever can climb up the pole and retrieve it will be able to cash it in on a very special prize before Christmas.

Mistletoe on a Pole Match
Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella vs. Tamina vs. Kaitlyn vs. Alicia Fox vs. AJ vs. Aksana vs. Natalya vs. Rosa Mendes

Chaos ensues as soon as the bell rings. The crowd is sitting on their hands for this one. Alicia Fox tries to get up the turnbuckle, but The Bella Twins pull her off. They then fight, and Brie Bella climbs up and grabs it.

Winner: Brie Bella
Match Rating: Terrible

Foley comes out and says that he made a mistake. The winner DOES NOT get a Diva’s Championship match. She gets to kiss whatever superstar she wants before Christmas. Dearest lard.

Mark Henry will defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Daniel Bryan in a Steel Cage Match.

-Commercial Break-

Justin Gabriel is in the ring with no TV entrance.

Justin Gabriel vs. Jinder Mahal

Mahal makes his way to the ring speaking in his native tongue. Then he says, in English, that what’s wrong with this country is that we buy gifts that we can’t afford for people we can’t stand. We all live a lie.

They circle the ring, and Gabriel quickly grabs Mahal’s arm. Mahal gets out, clubs him down, sends him to the rope, and turns him inside out with a knee to the midsection. Mahal hits a double under-hook suplex, and he kicks him in the ribs. Mahal front suplexes him onto the top rope, and he chokes him with his knee. Mahal sends him to the corner, and he drives a shoulder into his midsection.

Ted DiBiase’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring with a Santa sack. Mahal goes to put Gabriel in a Camel Clutch (how cliché), but he stops to yell at DiBiase. Gabriel kicks him in the jaw and hits a TKO. Gabriel goes to the top rope, and he hits the 450 Splash for the win.

Winner by Pinfall: Justin Gabriel
Match Rating: 1/2 *

Ted DiBiase laughs as he goes up the ramp. He continues to throw gifts out to the crowd. Jinder Mahal yells at him in the ring.

Mick Foley is celebrating with The Usos at his party. He then runs into “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. Hornswoggle pours some eggnog, and Dusty Rhodes walks up to him. Rhodes says some weird questions, and he turns around to see his son, Goldust. Rhodes simply walks away. Piper talks to Derrick Bateman, and he tells to put eyewash in someone’s drink that he doesn’t like. David Otunga walks up, and says that’s a violation of WWE’s rules. Otunga takes a sip of coffee, and says they should shut the party down. Foley says Otunga is “technically” a member of Smackdown for the evening. Foley says he’ll face Randy Orton tonight.

-Commercial Break-

They play an awesome vignette that signals Kane’s resurrection.

They show footage from two weeks ago when Rhodes threw water onto Booker T. I thought that was a week ago. The announcers then show footage of WWE ’12. The footage is of Cody Rhodes dominating Booker T.

Booker T is backstage with Matt Striker. Striker asks why Rhodes has such a problem with him. Booker begins to answer, but Cody Rhodes himself quickly attacks him from behind. Rhodes smashes his Intercontinental Championship off the shoulder of Booker T, who quickly screams in pain. Rhodes walks off, and a referee comes to check on him.

-Commercial Break-

JOBBER ALERT: Tyson Kidd is in the ring with no TV entrance.

Tyson Kidd vs. Kofi Kingston

They announce that Booker T will not take on Cody Rhodes after being injured in the previous segment.

Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official of this match. They circle the ring, and Kidd gets a quick waist lock. Kingston gets one of his own, so Kidd gets a wristlock applied. Kingston gets out and rolls him up for a two count. Kingston goes for a monkey flip, but Kidd doesn’t go down. Kidd quickly dropkicks him in the face for a two count. Kidd sends him to the ropes and hits a back elbow for a two count. Kidd applies a dragon sleeper, but Kingston fights up. Kidd sends him to the ropes, misses a back elbow, and they take each other out with a double clothesline.

Kingston hits some punches, some chops, a dropkick, and a superman punch. Kingston hits the Boom Drop, and he attempts to get the crowd into it. Kidd drops out of the ring before the Trouble in Paradise. Kingston follows, ducks a clotheslines, and Kingston dropkicks him down. Kingston, for no reason whatsoever, walks up to Michael Cole, and rips off his reindeer antlers and nose. Kingston turns around, and Kidd kicks him in the midsection. Kingston reverses a whip into the ring apron, and he throws Kidd into the ring. Kingston puts on Cole’s antlers and nose, goes to the top rope, and he hits a big cross-body block for the win.

Winner by Pinfall: Kofi Kingston
Match Rating: *

Hornswoggle is trying to put an ornament on the tree, but he can’t reach. Kaitlyn says he should ask Santa for some height this year. Sheamus asks Teddy Long what an “All I Want For Christmas” Battle Royal is. Long says he doesn’t know, but guarantees it’ll be worth it. Aksana walks up, and the cheesy saxophone music cues up. Aksana says they never had parties like this in Lithuania. Aksana holds mistletoe over his head, and asks what is. Long says she should “do what’s natural”. She then eats the mistletoe.

Randy Orton is walking backstage. He’ll face David Otunga in a “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” next.

-Commercial Break-

Miracle on 34th Street Fight
Randy Orton vs. David Otunga

They circle the ring and lock up. Orton gets a side headlock applied, but Otunga whips him off. Orton takes him down with a shoulder block before going back into the ropes. Otunga kicks him and sends him into the ropes. Otunga lowers his head and eats a kick. Orton then clotheslines him over the top rope. Orton bounces him off the apron and whips him into a Christmas tree. Orton uppercuts him, and he sends him into another Christmas tree. Otunga drives him into the ring apron a few times, and he begins punching him down. Orton blocks a move, and he bounces Otunga off the announce table. Orton grabs some Christmas cookers, and he smashes Otunga on the back twice with the pan. Orton puts a wreath around Otunga, laughs like Santa, and he throws Otunga into a Christmas tree and the steel steps. Orton poses, and he picks Otunga up. Otunga reverses a whip into the steps, and then he suplexes Orton on the ground!

Otunga looks under the ring, and he pulls out a candy cane kendo stick. Orton quickly takes him down, and he grabs the stick. Orton smashes Otunga on the back with it. Otunga runs away, so Orton takes him down by throwing a giant box at him. Orton points to the giant Christmas tree on the stage, and he throws Otunga into it. Orton poses as the crowd chants his name. Orton picks him up, and he punches him down the ramp. Otunga falls into the present on the way down. Orton sets Otunga up on the apron, and he hits a SICK draping DDT onto the floor! All of a sudden Wade Barrett runs down to the ring, and he sends Orton into the ring post. Barrett kicks him in the face, and he throws him into the ring. Barrett throws Otunga into the ring, and he covers Orton, but Orton kicks out.

Otunga stomps Orton in the corner. Otunga chokes him, and then he begins punching him down. Otunga drives some shoulders into his midsection. Orton blocks a whip, kicks him, and he clotheslines him down a pair of times. Orton hits a nice powerslam, and he begins to stalk Otunga. Orton drops him with an RKO, and he picks up the win!

Winner by Pinfall: Randy Orton
Match Rating: * 1/2

Mark Henry is in the trainer’s room getting his ankle wrapped. Teddy Long asks if he’s in a Christmas spirit. Henry says if it wasn’t for Long he wouldn’t be in this mess. Henry says he’ll take care of Big Show at TLC. Tonight he’ll send Daniel Bryan a message. Henry is in the spirit of giving. He’s going to give Daniel Bryan the worst whooping ever. His dream will be the Nightmare Before Christmas. If he was Long, he’d get out of his face.

They show footage of Big Show knocking out Mark Henry last week. Daniel Bryan then ran down and beat him after cashing in Money in the Bank. The decision was overturned because Henry wasn’t cleared to compete.

-Commercial Break-

“All I Want For Christmas” Battle Royal
Tyson Kidd vs. Heath Slater vs. Percy Watson vs. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Jey Uso vs. Jimmy Uso vs. Titus O’Neil vs. Tyler Reks vs. Johnny Curtis vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson vs. Ted DiBiase vs. JTG vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Darren Young vs. Curt Hawkins vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Hunico vs. Sheamus vs. Hornswoggle

Hornswoggle goes under the ring before the match begins. Chaos ensues, and Sheamus immediately eliminates Darren Young. Sheamus throws out one of the Usos, and he puts the other over the rope. Hunico crotches JTG on the top rope, and he eliminates him. DiBiase and Gabriel try to eliminate Hawkins, but he hangs on. Hawkins goes up to Ezekiel Jackson, and he hip tosses Hawkins over the top rope. Jackson and Sheamus brawl in the center of the ring, and they clear a spot for them. Sheamus clubs him down, and Jackson quickly clotheslines him down. Jackson backs up, and Sheamus back body drops him. Johnny Curtis tries to get Sheamus, but we know how that ends. Kingston eliminates the second Uso, and Tyson Kidd eliminates Kingston with a dropkick. Kidd follows up by eliminating Yoshi Tatsu. DiBiase tries to eliminate Kidd, but Kidd eliminates him by skinning the cat. Hornswoggle then comes out, and he pulls him off the rope. Hornswoggle quickly goes under the ring, and his butt is hanging out. I’m not kidding.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break to see seven superstars left. Mahal and Slater try to eliminate Gabriel. Gabriel hangs on, tries a springboard, and Mahal pushes him off to the outside. Titus O’Neil gets some momentum, and he takes Reks down with a spinebuster. O’Neil gets a nice reaction, and Sheamus clotheslines him over the top rope. Slater and Mahal beat Sheamus down to the mat. Sheamus quickly comes back, and he hits a trio of clotheslines on Hunico, Slater, and Mahal. Tyler Reks attacks Sheamus, Sheamus doesn’t sell it, and he takes Reks Down. Reks leaves the ring, and Sheamus chases him. Everyone leaves the ring, and they beat Sheamus down outside. They aren’t eliminated because it wasn’t over the top.

They get back into the ring without Sheamus, and Mahal tries to organize them. They surround the ring, and Mahal puts Hornswoggle in the ring. The bad guys surround him, and Hornswoggle looks scared. Mahal is bleeding from the mouth. They take turns throwing him down. Mahal and Reks go to catapult Hornswoggle over the top rope, but Sheamus quickly comes in for the save. Sheamus immediately eliminates Reks, Hunico, and Mahal. Sheamus then finishes Slater off with a Brogue Kick.

Sheamus turns around and finds himself in the ring with Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle gets a determined look on his face, and Sheamus smirks. Hornswoggle throws some shadow punches, and Sheamus simply motions for him to leave. Hornswoggle tells him to get out of the ring. Hornswoggle kicks him in the shins, and Sheamus calls him a lunatic. Sheamus grabs him, and he tries to throw him out, but Hornswoggle hands on to the top rope. Sheamus tries to shake him off, but Hornswoggle won’t go. Sheamus steps over the top rope, and tries to shake him off. Sheamus tries to reason with him, and Hornswoggle wants a hug. Hornswoggle fakes him, and he pushes him off the apron. Sheamus can’t believe it.

Winner: Hornswoggle
Match Rating: * 1/4

Sheamus quickly chases him into the ring, and then he raises Hornswoggle’s arm. Sheamus puts him on his shoulder, and they celebrate. Sheamus smiles as he leaves the ring. Hornswoggle is going nuts in the ring.

They show footage of Daniel Bryan winning the Fatal Four Way on last week’s Smackdown. Bryan will face Mark Henry for the title later tonight in a Steel Cage.

-Commercial Break-

The Bella Twins are talking with Ricardo Rodriguez. They ask him to get more eggnog. Roddy Piper is talking with Dusty Rhodes when Mick Foley walks up as Santa Claus. They go nuts thinking it’s really Santa. Foley asks Hornswoggle what he wants. Foley can’t understand what he’s saying. Sheamus says he wants the ability to talk. Foley hugs him, and Hornswoggle thanks him. Hornswoggle can talk now. He calls Vickie Guerrero a grandma. He then says “EXCUSE ME”. Mick Foley walks up as Cactus Jack and wonders how Hornswoggle is talking. They then show that the Santa chair is empty. Foley asks what he missed.

Daniel Bryan is backstage when AJ walks up to wish him luck. She gives him a kiss on the lips. Matt Striker says this could be the biggest night of his life. Bryan says he pinned Mark Henry last week, and he got to hold the title. It was only for a second, but it felt amazing. Bryan says he dream will become a reality tonight. Bryan says, “Everybody taps”.

The cage begins to lower. Mark Henry will defend his World Heavyweight Championship inside against Daniel Bryan next!

-Commercial Break-

Steel Cage Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan vs. Mark Henry (c)

Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is back for another match. The bell rings, and Bryan immediately tries to escape the cage, but Henry quickly pulls him down. Bryan tries it again, and Henry pulls him off again. Henry tries to corner him, but Bryan ducks him. Bryan begins to kick him, but Henry pushes him off. Bryan begins kicking the injured ankle, but Henry sends him into the cage. Henry then sandwiches him into the cage.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break to see Henry destroying Daniel Bryan. During the commercial, Henry used the ropes to slingshot him into the cage. Henry applies a nerve hold, and Bryan gets out with a pair of kicks to the head. Henry immediately clotheslines him down. Henry shouts, “Happy New Year!” Henry orders the door to be opened, and he goes to leave. Bryan stops him with a dropkick, and he begins clubbing away at him. Henry pushes him away, and he turns him inside out with a clothesline. Henry covers him for a near fall.

Henry goes to leave again, but Bryan hangs on to the ankle. Bryan begins to kick him in the ankle, and he uses the ropes to hurt it. Bryan goes to climb up the cage, but Henry crotches him on the top rope. Henry then clotheslines him off. Henry has them open the door, and he pushes Bryan off. Henry takes him down, and he nurses his injured ankle. Henry picks him up, but Bryan slides off, and he kicks Henry in the injured ankle. Bryan applies the LeBell Lock, and Henry screams in pain. Henry powers out, and he tries to pick him up, but Bryan gets out. Bryan takes him down and applies the ankle lock! Henry is able to power Bryan off!

Bryan goes to climb out of the cage, but Henry pulls him off. Henry goes to the second rope to climb out, but Bryan climbs over him. Henry grabs him, and he pulls him back in. Bryan punches him down, and he goes for a hurricanrana. Henry doesn’t go down. Bryan goes to get out of the cage, but Henry hangs on to him. Henry then KILLS him with a World’s Strongest Slam off the second rope for the win!

Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry
Match Rating: ***

Mark Henry gets to his feet and he raises the championship above his head. He’ll face the Big Show with the title on the line at TLC.

Quick Match Results

Brie Bella won a “Mistletoe on a Pole” Match
Justin Gabriel def. Jinder Mahal
Kofi Kingston def. Tyson Kidd
Randy Orton def. David Otunga in a “Miracle on 34th Street Fight”
Hornswoggle wins an “All I Want For Christmas” Battle Royal
Mark Henry def. Daniel Bryan to retain the World Heavyweight Title in a Steel Cage

Bump of the Night: David Otunga suplexing Orton on the outside.
Match of the Night: The Steel Cage Match ***

Mike’s Thoughts

If you’re looking for some Christmas spirit, you are not about to find it in this section of the recap. This was, save for the main event and the Orton match, a truly atrocious show. It was so bad that just a mere 20-minutes into it I was wishing that Jesus were never born so this holiday special would never have happened. I get that it’s a holiday show, and it’s supposed to be unapologetically festive, but this was complete overkill. Mick Foley came out dressed as Santa Claus, and I said to myself, “OK, let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. How long could this be?” A very long time I would come to find out. Foley put over his love of Christmas and announced some matches for the show. That was OK, but Foley’s jokes were really bad and they seemed to sail over a lot of the crowd. Then he marched Michael Cole out as Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and then Booker T came out as Santa Claus. Then it started to drag a lot. Finally Cody Rhodes came out to stop this nonsense. His back and forth with Booker T was well done, and Mick Foley set a match up between the two for later in the show. Foley capped off this long and boring segment by announcing that a diva’s match would be next. At that point I was livid.

The diva’s fought in a “Mistletoe on a Pole” match that was won by Brie Bella. I literally have no words for this. It made all women look bad.

By this point we were about twenty minutes in, and we’ve had two terrible segments. So what do they follow up with? Jinder Mahal taking on Justin Gabriel. Dear lord. This mini-feud with Mahal and Ted DiBiase is so bad. I don’t truly believe that anyone is buying into the DiBiase Posse, and I don’t think that having him feud with the “heat black hole” that is Jinder Mahal is the best course to go in attempting to get him over.

At this point we’re nearly a half hour into what has so far been a horrible show, and they have Cody Rhodes attack Booker T backstage, injuring him and effectively getting their match cancelled for the evening. This was a very well done segment and a great follow up to their banter earlier in the night. It also sets up a match for them down the line at WWE TLC. My one qualm about this is that the show had been so bad up to that point, I’m sure a “bait and switch” on the viewers turned off whatever casual viewers were still watching. It perhaps should have come a little later in the show.

Kofi Kingston beat Tyson Kidd in a nothing match after Kingston hit him with a cross-body while wearing the antlers and red nose Michael Cole was wearing. It was what it was.

Finally the show started to turn around a little bit in hour number two with the “Miracle on 34th Street Fight” between Randy Orton and David Otunga. This was just a lot of unapologetic holiday fun. All the weapons were Christmas themed, and their usage was hilarious. The image of David Otunga getting launched into Christmas tree after Christmas tree is making me smile even as I write this summary. The spot where Orton hit him with the cookie tray was great as well. The topper, though, was the Singapore cane wrapped up as a candy cane. The comedy didn’t stop. My one bugaboo about the match was right at the end. After Wade Barrett’s interference failed, Otunga went on a very long beat down of Orton that was largely unnecessary. Booking 101 says after the heel’s interference fails, the face quickly hits his finish and it’s over. I’m not sure why they threw the long beat down in, especially since Otunga had just been DDT’d on the floor mere second ago. Still, a fun match and a highlight for a show that was pretty devoid of highlights.

Hornswoggle won an “All I Want For Christmas” Battle Royal after he eliminated Sheamus. The right man won the match. However, he won a match that was largely unnecessary and way too long considering the result. The ultimate result capped off what was a series of unfunny Christmas party vignettes. Mick Foley, as Santa Claus, granted Hornswoggle one wish – to talk. And that ended the holiday portion of the show after an hour and thirty-five minutes (read: seemingly forever).

They at least ended this show with a HUGE bang. The build-up of Daniel Bryan into a true title contender and main eventer continued tonight. I said in last week’s thoughts that they needed to make Bryan look credible, but also keep him the underdog at the conclusion of this match. They succeeded on a scale I couldn’t have even imagined. This was the best title defense of Mark Henry’s reign thus far, and the best I’ve seen Daniel Bryan in the WWE yet. Everything was well executed, from the beat down of Bryan, to the comeback, to the spot where Bryan looked like he was going to get the submission, and the finish. You knew that Bryan wasn’t going to win, but you have to admit that you maybe started to have second thoughts when he had Henry in the ankle lock.

The finish with Mark Henry giving him the World’s Strongest Slam off the second rope scared the bejesus out of me. He was on the second rope, and I was thinking about how thin Smackdown’s roster is already. Henry, with a history of knee injuries, at 450-pounds was going to fly though the air and crash onto the mat on his knees. Those were ten of the scariest seconds I’ve had recapping all year. Thankfully he was fine, but that could have been bad. Bottom line, this match was awesome. It wasn’t enough to save the show, but it was awesome.

Final Rating: * 1/2

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