WWE Smackdown
December 16, 2011
Raleigh, 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.

The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with a big fireworks display. Michael Cole welcomes us to the show. Tonight, we’ll see Big Show take on Jack Swagger. We’ll also see Randy Orton and Zack Ryder team up to take on Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler in the main event.

Josh Mathews is in the ring, and he introduces Booker T to the ring. Booker T will be returning to the ring this Sunday to take on Cody Rhodes for the Intercontinental Championship. As Booker T comes to the ring, they show footage of Cody Rhodes attacking him at the start of last week’s show. Then, later in the night, Booker T attacked Cody Rhodes during his match against Daniel Bryan.

Mathews asks Booker T if it’s safe to say he’s ready to face Cody Rhodes at TLC. Booker T asks the crowd if he looks ready, and they respond positively. Booker T says he didn’t want to fight Rhodes. He was happy and content moving on to the next stage of his career in the commentary booth with Josh Mathews. Booker T says, “To hell with Michael Cole.” Booker T says this about Cody Rhodes and his ego. This is about Rhodes needing a legitimizing. He’ll be damned if Cody Rhodes legitimizes himself off him, the five-time WCW Champion, and the soon to be new Intercontinental Champion. Mathews asks if he would return to action full-time upon winning the championship. Booker T says he hasn’t thought about that, and they’ll cross that bridge if it comes. Booker T says he hasn’t felt like this in a long time, but he assures everybody that Cody Rhodes will get the beat down of his life. NOW CAN YOU DIG THAT, SUCKA?

Cody Rhodes’s music hits, and the Intercontinental Champion makes his way to the stage. Rhodes says that Booker T has a lovely fantasy, but he’ll tell him exactly what will happen this Sunday. Booker T’s music is going to hit, the crowd will go crazy, and his presence in the ring will trigger feelings of nostalgia and better days, though they probably weren’t. He’ll be psyched and energized, and he’ll probably have people saying, “Booker T is back!” If this were a movie, Booker T would win the match, take his title, and he’d walk away from the ring embarrassed and defeated. Rhodes reminds him that this isn’t a movie. Rhodes asks what will happen when reality sets in. Reality dictates that Booker T will fall to him.

Booker T asks about the reality of him going up to Rhodes and whooping his behind all around the arena. Rhodes laughs at that statement. This is the actual reality. Rhodes says he’s faced Daniel Bryan twice, and both times Booker T has interfered. Rhodes pled to Teddy Long to make it right. Teddy Long said that he is going to face Daniel Bryan for a third time, and if Booker T interferes, their match at TLC, Booker T’s opportunity, is off. Rhodes will then file a motion to have Booker T suspended. Rhodes gets in the ring, and he suggests Booker T get out of his ring right now so he can show him just how “legitimate” he already is, SUCKA! Rhodes laughs evilly, and Booker T leaves the ring to join commentary.

Cody Rhodes vs. Daniel Bryan

They circle the ring and lock up. They tussle around the ring for position until Rhodes finally shoves him to the corner. Rhodes pushes him, and Bryan pushes back. Bryan blocks a right hand, and he floors Rhodes with one of his own. Bryan applies a side headlock. Rhodes tries to get out of it with a back suplex, but Bryan counters, landing on his feet. Bryan immediately goes for the LeBell Lock, but Rhodes quickly rolls out of the ring.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break to see Rhodes trapped in a side headlock. Rhodes punches out and pushes Bryan into the ropes. Rhodes tries to leapfrog him, but Bryan counters by dropkicking him out of mid-air. Bryan tries to apply a Mexican Surfboard, but Rhodes struggles to give him his arms. Bryan then simply stomps on his knees. Rhodes rolls to the apron, and Bryan tries to suplex him back into the ring, but Rhodes blocks it. Rhodes blocks it a second time, and he suplexes Bryan out of the ring! Rhodes throws him back into the ring, stomps the already injured ribs, and he hits a front suplex. Rhodes stares at Booker T before covering Bryan for a near fall. Rhodes knees him in the midsection before applying a modified body scissor. Bryan fights out, and he begins to viciously kick him, but Rhodes blocks one and takes him down. Rhodes stomps and knees him in the injured ribs. Rhodes hits a short-arm clothesline for a near fall. Rhodes smiles at Booker T before taunting the crowd.

Bryan kicks Rhodes away and gets a backslide pin for a one count. Bryan takes him down with a drop-toe-hold, and he catches him with La Magistral for a near fall. Bryan punches him, but he has a whip to the corner reversed. Rhodes charges into Bryan’s boots, and Bryan hits a nice missile dropkick for a near fall. Bryan kicks him to the corner, backs up, and runs into Rhodes’s boot. Rhodes goes to the top rope for a moonsault press, but Bryan sweeps the feet. Bryan goes for a super back suplex, but Rhodes turns mid-air into a cross-body block! Rhodes covers for a near fall! Bryan ducks the Beautiful Disaster and rolls him up, but Rhodes rolls through, and he catches Bryan with the Cross Rhodes for the win!

Winner by Pinfall: Cody Rhodes
Match Rating: **

Cody Rhodes stares smirks at Booker T. Booker T stares right back, and Rhodes begins to celebrate in the ring.

Alicia Fox is walking (or, rather, strutting) backstage. She’ll be in action against Natalya, next.

-Commercial Break-

Alicia Fox vs. Natalya

Charles Robinson, my favorite referee in the world, is the official for this match. Natalya has a tissue, and she uses it to dry some non-existent tears on Alicia’s face. Alicia slaps her hand away and applies a side headlock. Natalya elbows her before pushing her to the corner. Natalya charges into a roll-up attempt, which she counters by kicking her in the midsection. Natalya kicks her before applying an abdominal stretch. Alicia tries to get out, but Natalya takes her down by the hair. Natalya rolls her up for a near fall. Alicia then catches her with an inside cradle for the win.

Winner by Pinfall: Alicia Fox
Match Rating: N/A

Alicia Fox holds up one of Natalya’s extensions that fell out during the pinfall. Alicia gets on the microphone, and she says, “Natalya, you’re so synthetic it’s pathetic, baby. So why don’t you do everybody a favor, and go gallop to the back and have yourself a good crybaby cry. Because, girl, you just got out-foxed, right?!” Natalya gets in the ring to sneak attack her, but Alicia blocks a kick and knocks her down. Alicia then hits a flipping leg drop that the camera clearly shows she missed.

Later tonight we’ll see Randy Orton and Zack Ryder take on Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler.

-Commercial Break-

The announcers talk about “Tribute To The Troops”, and then they show the video for “Pipe Bomb of the Year”.

Jack Swagger is talking with Vickie Guerrero backstage. Mark Henry walks up, and he asks Swagger to do him a favor. Last time Swagger fought Big Show he hurt his ankle. Henry wants him to do the same thing tonight. Henry wants him to hurt Big Show the way he hurt him: with malice and disrespect. If Swagger does that, he’ll be the first in line for a World Title shot. Swagger says he says his future and Henry isn’t in it. Swagger says he’ll hurt Big Show, but not for Henry. He’ll do it for himself because he’s already beaten the Big Show, and Henry hasn’t. The future, the way he see it, is Jack Swagger as the World Heavyweight Champion.

-Commercial Break-

Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. Epico and Primo w/ Rosa Mendes

Epico starts the match off against Jimmy Uso. Jimmy slaps him to his corner, and he tags in his brother Jey. They hit a double-team move that results in Jey hitting Epico with a back elbow for a one count. Jimmy is tagged back in, and they hit a double-team back elbow/elbow drop combo. Jimmy charges into Epico’s boots, and Epico gets Jey fired up on the apron. Primo snaps Jimmy off the rope while the referee is distracted. Epico hits a clothesline for a one count. Epico stomps him down in the corner before tagging in his cousin, Primo. Primo continues kicking Jimmy down, and he tags Epico back in. Epico kicks away at Jimmy, and he taunts the crowd. Primo is tagged in, and Epico whips Jimmy into a Primo dropkick. Primo picks up a two count. Primo applies a chin lock, but Jimmy fights up. Primo puts him in his corner, and Jimmy fights both him and Epico off. Jimmy ducks a clothesline, and he tags in Jey. Primo is also tagged in.

Jey hits some forearms, a sidekick to the midsection, and an uppercut. Jey finishes him off with a spinning forearm. Jey gets the crowd into it before hitting a running butt bump to the corner. Epico breaks up the pinfall. Jimmy runs in, and he clotheslines Epico out of the ring. Jimmy turns around, and Primo clotheslines him out of the ring. Jey then takes Primo out with a superkick. Jey goes to the top rope, and Rosa quickly yells at him to distract him. Primo hangs him up on the top rope. Primo then hits a Backstabber off the ropes for the win!

Winners by Pinfall: Epico and Primo
Match Rating: *

They show footage from the July 9, 2010 edition of Smackdown when Jack Swagger injured Big Show’s ankle by DDTing it on the stage. Big Show makes his way to the ring. He’ll be in action against Jack Swagger next.

-Commercial Break-

Big Show vs. Jack Swagger w/ Vickie Guerrero

Mark Henry comes out with a chair as the match begins, and he takes a seat at the bottom of the ramp. Swagger tries to sneak attack Big Show, but Big Show cuts him off. Big Show viciously punches him down in the corner. Big Show sends him into the ropes, but Swagger takes him out with a diving shoulder to the knee. Swagger gets him on his back with a shoulder tackle, and Big Show presses out at two. Big Show levels him with a shoulder block, and Swagger rolls out of the ring. Big Show throws Swagger back into the ring. Swagger tries to kick him, but Big Show blocks it, and he chops him down. Big Show chops him in the corner, and he hits a big body slam. Big Show stares at Henry before taking Swagger down. Big Show hits another body slam, and he stares at Henry again. Big Show chokes Swagger on the ropes, and then he backs Swagger to the corner for a pair of chops. Big Show talks some trash to Henry, and he whips Swagger hard into the corner. Big Show misses a butt bump, Swagger blocks a kick, and Swagger attempts to hyperextend the knee.

Swagger hits a pair of Swagger Bombs, and he covers for a two count. Big Show pressed out of that again. Big Show chops him down, hits a pair of viciously clotheslines, and he sends him hard to the corner for a butt bump. Big Show finally levels him with a shoulder tackle, and he signals for the Chokeslam. Big Show stares at Henry before attempting the Chokeslam. Swagger counters into an Ankle Lock! Big Show screams in pain, and he tries to crawl to the bottom rope. Big Show kicks Swagger off, and he kills Swagger with the WMD for the win! Henry is sitting and watching this with his mouth open!

Winner by Pinfall: Big Show
Match Rating: 1/2 *

Big Show grabs Swagger by the throat, and he pushes him over the top rope. Swagger lands in front of Henry. Henry takes his chair, and he smashes it off Swagger’s back! Big Show stares at him, and Henry kills a cameraman with the chair as well! Mark Henry walks away as Big Show calls him a coward. Big Show checks on the status of the cameraman as Henry yells, “Expect the unexpected!”

Later tonight we’ll see Randy Orton team with Zack Ryder to take on Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler.

-Commercial Break-

Randy Orton is backstage when Zack Ryder walks up to him. Ryder wants to know if they’re on the same page. Orton says, “No.” Ryder asks if they’re in the same book, and Orton says, “Maybe.” Ryder says that’s sick, and he does his “Woo, woo, woo” thing. Orton looks at him like he has two heads.

JOBBER ALERT: Heath Slater is in the ring with no TV entrance.

Heath Slater vs. Ted DiBiase

They finally show some footage of Ted DiBiase interacting with the fans in the parking lot. They’re his so-called “DiBiase Posse”. Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official for this match. DiBiase gets a quick schoolboy for a one count. DiBiase quickly gets a side headlock applied, and Slater backs him to the corner. DiBiase backs up, and he ducks a Slater clothesline. DiBiase does a nice roll-up, but Slater tries to turn the pin on him. DiBiase tries to pin him a few more times, but Slater kicks out. Slater slaps him in the face, and DiBiase takes him down. DiBiase throws him out of the ring, and he throws him into the barricade. DiBiase slaps hands with the troops at ringside before clotheslining Slater down.

DiBiase puts him in the ring, and Slater whips him hard into the corner. Slater stomps him down in the corner. Slater goes out of the ring, and he stretches DiBiase out on the ring post. Slater goes to the top rope, and he hits a flying forearm for a two count. Slater knees him in the back, and he applies a chin lock. Slater takes him down with a Russian Leg Sweep for a near fall. Slater goes to the second rope, and he jumps into an inverted atomic drop. DiBiase takes him out with a flying elbow, a clothesline, and the Dream Street for the win.

Winner by Pinfall: Ted DiBiase
Match Rating: 1/2 *

Jinder Mahal immediately takes out DiBiase from behind. Mahal applies the Camel Clutch, and Teddy Long’s music hits. Long says if Mahal wants to fight so badly then he has someone who he can take his aggression out on. Mahal has unfinished business with him from Monday. He’ll face this guy in a match right now. His opponent is Sheamus.

-Commercial Break-

Jinder Mahal vs. Sheamus

They lock up, and Sheamus backs him to the corner. They lock up again, and Sheamus wrenches the arm. Sheamus takes him down hard, and he drops a knee on the shoulder for a one count. Sheamus wrenches the arm, and Mahal tries to fight back. Sheamus quickly clubs him back, sends him to the ropes, and he hits a back elbow. Sheamus ties him up in the ropes for the clubs, but Mahal elbows him in the face. Sheamus’s expression changes, and Mahal runs away. Sheamus chases him, and eventually he catches him in the ropes for the ten clubs to the chest. Sheamus slingshots into the ring with a shoulder tackle for a near fall. Sheamus stomps the hand, and he punches him to the corner. Mahal comes back with some knees, and he backs him to the corner. Sheamus sends him to the corner, but he misses a shoulder block. Mahal kicks him in the knee and hits a neckbreaker for a one count.

Mahal applies a chin lock, and he rips Sheamus down. Mahal clubs Sheamus’s chest, and he doesn’t look happy about that fact. Sheamus powers him off, and shoves him to the corner for a vicious beat down. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse, and he smiles at the crowd. Sheamus gets the crowd into it, and he kills Mahal with the Brogue Kick for the win!

Winner by Pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: N/A

Coming up next we’ll see Randy Orton team with Zack Ryder to take on Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler.

-Commercial Break-

The Raw Rebound is shown. They then show footage of Mark Henry vs. Big Show in WWE ’12.

Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. He’ll team with Zack Ryder to take on Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler next.

-Commercial Break-

Randy Orton and Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler and Wade Barrett w/ Vickie Guerrero

Zack Ryder starts off against Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler kicks and elbows him down. Ziggler takes him down with a headlock, and he keeps him grounded. Ryder fights up, and he whips Ziggler off. Ziggler takes him down with a shoulder block. They go into the ropes, and Ryder hits him with a flapjack for a one count. Randy Orton is tagged in, and he kicks Ziggler in the ribs. Orton clubs him in the chest and stomps the face. Orton stares at Wade Barrett as he stomps Ziggler in the midsection. Orton hits a nice suplex for a two count. Ryder is tagged back in, and he hits Ziggler a few times. Ziggler comes back with some clubs, and he tags in Wade Barrett. Barrett kicks Ryder down, and he punches him in the corner. Barrett picks up a two count.

Ryder kicks Barrett away, and he forearms him in the face. Orton is tagged in, and Barrett immediately tags in Ziggler. Barrett wants no part of Orton. Ziggler kicks and punches Orton down. Ziggler sends him to the corner, and Orton quickly comes back with a clothesline. Orton then punches Barrett off the apron. Ziggler blindsides him, and he kicks Orton down in the corner. Orton reverses a whip into a backbreaker attempt, but Ziggler gets out. Ryder quickly gets in the ring and dropkicks Ziggler out.

-Commercial Break-

We come back from the break to see Orton punching Ziggler in the corner. Orton takes him out with an uppercut, and he drops a knee for good measure. Orton picks up a near fall. Ziggler kicks Orton in the face, and Barrett blind tags in. Ziggler distracts Orton, and Barrett takes him out with a big boot. Barrett punches away at Orton, and he hits a nice twisting neckbreaker for a near fall. Barrett applies a chin lock, and Orton punches out. Orton goes into the ropes, and Barrett knees him in the midsection. Ziggler is tagged in, and he kicks Orton in the midsection. Ziggler drops an elbow (taunting Ryder in the process) for a two count. Orton comes back, and Ziggler quickly dropkicks him down for a near fall. Barrett is tagged in, and he punches away at Orton. The crowd is chanting, “We Want Ryder”. Orton hits Barrett with a back suplex, and he tags in Ryder.

Ryder hits a flying forearm, a clothesline, and he knees Barrett in the face. Ryder hits the Broski Boot, and he goes for the Rough Ryder, but Barrett counters it. Ziggler immediately punches Ryder down. Barrett tags in Ziggler, and he punches away at Ryder. Ryder rolls him up out of nowhere for a near fall. Ziggler immediately counters into a single leg crab. Ziggler drops an elbow, and he tags in Barrett. Barrett hits a suplex, and he picks up a near fall. Barrett applies a chin lock. The crowd gets into it, and Ryder begins to fight up. Ryder elbows out, and Barrett prevents him from tagging in Orton. Barrett goes for the Wasteland, but Ryder counters into a DDT!

Orton and Ziggler are tagged in. Orton hits a pair of clotheslines, and he hits a beautiful powerslam. Ziggler elbows him, and Orton hits his old school trademark neckbreaker. Barrett breaks up the pin, and Ryder clotheslines him out of the ring. Ryder goes to whip him into the barricade, but Barrett reverses it. Ziggler tries to roll Orton up, and he grabs the tights, but Orton kicks out. Orton avoids a leg drop bulldog, and he hits the RKO for the win! Orton stares at Barrett the entire time the pinfall is counted.

Winners by Pinfall: Randy Orton and Zack Ryder
Match Rating: ** 1/4

Quick Match Results

Cody Rhodes def. Daniel Bryan (non-title)
Alicia Fox def. Natalya
Epico and Primo def. Jimmy and Jey Uso
Big Show def. Jack Swagger
Ted DiBiase def. Heath Slater
Sheamus def. Jinder Mahal
Randy Orton and Zack Ryder def. Dolph Ziggler and Wade Barrett

Bump of the Night: Rhodes suplexing Bryan out of the ring!
Match of the Night: Orton and Ryder vs. Ziggler and Barrett ** 1/4

Mike’s Thoughts

The show opened up with Josh Mathews interviewing Booker T. Booker T cut a decent promo about beating Cody Rhodes at TLC, and that brought out Cody Rhodes. Rhodes did a good job of running down Booker T and talking about the actual reality that he was living in. I’ve really been enjoying the revamped Cody Rhodes the last few weeks, and I thought he did a really nice job with his promo tonight. The only thing that needs to go is that evil laugh. It just doesn’t feel authentic; not that wrestling is real, but you’d like to be able to suspend your disbelief. Anyway, Rhodes went on to face Daniel Bryan, and they had a very good match that featured a clean finish. I would have liked to see a little more follow up with Michael Cole and Daniel Bryan, but I guess that’s going to come somewhere further down the line. It’s only been a year and a half.

The divas had a match for no reason whatsoever, and Alicia Fox went on to cut one of the stupidest promos I’ve heard in quite some time. I wrote it out verbatim so you could see for yourself. I just don’t see the appeal of Alicia Fox. She’s not attractive and she can’t work. Good lord. This was just the first of a couple of filler matches tonight.

Epico and Primo fought The Usos in a decent match. I suppose they’re trying to legitimize these two to eventually face Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne for the titles. I’m not totally sold on these two, but they did look good tonight. I thought when they brought in Epico he was with Hunico. What happened to Hunico?

Big Show pretty much killed Jack Swagger in a quick match. The real focus was with Big Show and Mark Henry, who was at ringside. Mark Henry was great during this match. His reactions to all of Big Show’s destruction were great. Big Show was chopping Swagger’s chest, and Henry was shaking his head in disbelief. The Chokeslam spot happened, and Henry’s mouth was agape. That was simply awesome. Big Show was great in this as well. His intensity was great as he was executing his moves, and he did a good job with the trash talking. After the match, Henry cracked Swagger with the chair, and then he got a cameraman for good measure. Nothing makes me happier than seeing Mark Henry attack the production crew. This feud between Big Show and Mark Henry has been good, in my opinion, and this was a really good final segment to head into the PPV.

The following was the other two filler matches of the night. Ted DiBiase quickly took care of Heath Slater, and then Jinder Mahal attacked him. Teddy Long ran out, and something about the way he said Jinder Mahal’s name made me laugh. That’s the first time I’ve been remotely entertained by Long in quite some time. Sheamus then fought Mahal, and he pretty much killed him. The only thing I took out of this block of matches was I was happy they finally showed footage of the mystery DiBiase Posse parties.

The main event was a lot of fun. It promoted two TLC matches so it killed two birds with one stone. The match was given some time, and it was the best match on the show. I really don’t have that much more to say about it.

Final Rating: ** 1/2

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Thanks for reading! Enjoy TLC 2011!