“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.
The Smackdown video plays, and we’re treated to a fireworks show inside the arena in Baltimore, Maryland. Josh Mathews, Booker T, and Michael Cole welcome us to the show. Tonight, we’ll see Daniel Bryan take on Kane as revenge for leaving him during their tag team match on Raw. Sheamus will also take on Dolph Ziggler in a No Way Out rematch.
Teddy Long’s music hits, and he comes out to the stage dancing. Long says it is his pleasure to inform the crowd that the former Vice President of Talent Relations and the former General Manager of Raw and Smackdown, John Laurinaitis, has been fired. The crowd erupts at that statement. The General Manager for tonight will be the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley.
Big Show’s music hits, and he slowly makes his way to the ring to a chorus of boos. Big Show says he could care less that John Laurinaitis got fired. He didn’t care about Laurinaitis. He doesn’t care about anyone in the WWE Universe. The only person he cares about is himself. Not him the “businessman,” not him the “corporate puppet,” not him the “Ok, I’ll do whatever you want boss” – the real him. He congratulates John Cena. It is true that John Cena was able to escape the steel cage with the help of five of his cronies to win the match. In a one on one fair fight, he would crush John Cena. Big Show says the reason the crowd boos is because they know he’s telling the truth. He’s behind that, and he doesn’t care about John Cena anymore. Big Show says he’s going to throw his hat into the Money in the Bank match, and there aren’t five men that can stop him from winning. When he cashes in the contract, there is no man or champion that can stop him. When he becomes WWE Champion, he will be a champion for as long as he wants to be. He won’t win for the guys in the locker room, not for WWE, or for the WWE Universe. He’s winning the title for himself, and that championship is all his.
Brodus Clay’s music hits, and he angrily makes his way to the ring with the Funkadactyls. Clay orders the girls to go somewhere safe, and he charges the ring. Big Show immediately plants some knees in his face as he tries to enter. Clay reverses an Irish whip, and he takes Big Show down with a running head-butt. Clay punches away at him in the corner until David Otunga runs in from behind with a chop block. Otunga laughs from the outside as Big Show takes his ski cap off. Clay clutches his knee on the mat, and Big Show goes to work on the injured limb. Big Show kicks him in the ribs and stalks Clay as the fans chant, “You can’t wrestle.” Big Show kicks him in the knee, listens to more cheers, grabs Clay by the Mohawk, and delivers a WMD that knocks him out. Big Show taunts the fans as they boo what just happened.
As Big Show heads to the back, David Otunga gets in the ring with the microphone and stands over Clay. Otunga says it looks like someone better call Clay’s momma. Otunga says when he gets to the locker room, he’ll call her himself. Otunga tells Clay to get up, but of course he’s knocked out. Otunga wants the Funkadactyls to get in the ring so he can show them how it’s done. They don’t get in the ring, and he calls for the music. Clay’s music plays, and Otunga dances ridiculously in the ring. He finishes it off by flexing as the crowd boos.
Ryback will be in action, next.
JOBBER ALERTS: Local wrestlers Frank Venezia and Jared Wachtler are in the ring with no TV entrance. They say it’s summer time, and their opponent is beginning to sweat. Just like the temperature, they’re on the rise. This will be the summer to remember.
Frank Venezia and Jared Wachtler vs. Ryback
They try to surround him, and he scares one of them off. Ryback knocks Jared down and throws him into his partner. Ryback throws Frank into the corer and powerbombs Jared into the corner. Ryback big boots Frank and stomps him. Ryback then takes Jared down with a spinebuster before powerbombing him onto Frank. Ryback finishes them off with a double fisherman’s suplex bomb for the win. The crowd was apparently doing the new cheer where they don’t move an inch but they make a lot of noise.
Winner by Pinfall: Ryback
Match Rating: N/A
Mick Foley is backstage with Yoshi Tatsu. Vickie Guerrero excuses herself into the conversation and tells Yoshi to go eat some sushi. Yoshi calls her old and ugly. Vickie says the WWE Board of Directors notified her that she would be running both Raw and Smackdown next week. If he doesn’t behave then she’ll make him her assistant next week. Foley acts happy, and she tells him that he’s not supposed to be happy. Foley then brings in his assistant – The Great Khali. Foley and Khali dance as Vickie runs off.
Alberto Del Rio will take on Christian in a non-title match, next.
Ricardo Rodriguez introduces Alberto Del Rio to the ring as he drives into the arena in a nice Mercedes.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
They lock up, and Del Rio powers Christian to the corner. Christian backs him out, and Del Rio punches away at him. Del Rio applies a side headlock, but Christian whips him off and takes him down with a forearm smash. Christian hits a springboard sunset flip for a near fall. Del Rio kicks him in the arm and shoves him to the corner. Del Rio quickly kicks him in the head and drops a few knees. Del Rio smothers him in the corner before backing up and charging. Christian quickly gives him a back body drop to the outside of the ring. Christian perches himself on the top rope and takes him out with a plancha.
We come back from the break to see Christian trapped in an arm bar/chin lock variation. Christian fights up, but Del Rio punches him back down. During the commercial, Del Rio sidestepped Christian and threw him into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Del Rio has another arm bar applied. Christian fights up and punches out. Christian goes for a sunset flip, but Del Rio doesn’t go down. Del Rio drops an elbow on the arm for a two count. Del Rio drops another elbow on the arm for a near fall. Del Rio wraps the arm around the bottom rope and stretches it out. Del Rio wrenches the arm and punches away at it for another near fall. Del Rio goes to the top rope, but Christian cuts him off. Christian climbs up and hits a scary hurricanrana for a near fall.
Christian punches and takes him down with a forearm shiver. Christian puts him on the second rope, catapults over the top rope, and hits an uppercut. Christian goes to the top rope for a cross-body, but Del Rio moves. Del Rio goes for a step-up enzuigiri, but Christian ducks it. Christian hits a tornado DDT for a near fall. Del Rio quickly pops up with some punches and an arm breaker. Christian catches him charging with some boots and hits a missile dropkick for another near fall. Christian gets the crowd into it as he shakes feeling into his arm. Christian goes for the Kill Switch, but Del Rio gets out. Christian flips out of a back suplex, and Del Rio hits a sit-out arm breaker for a near fall of his own. Del Rio cannot believe it. Del Rio stomps at the arm before going to the second rope. Christian avoids a diving senton splash, and he sets up for the spear. Del Rio counters with a superkick and goes for the Cross Arm Breaker, but Christian counters into a Kill Switch attempt. Del Rio pushes him to the corner, but Christian catches him with a pendulum kick. Ricardo Rodriguez distracts Christian as he goes to the top rope. Del Rio catches him with a step up enzuigiri before applying the Cross Arm Breaker for the submission victory!
Winner by Submission: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: ** 1/4
Cody Rhodes runs down to the ring and waits for Christian to get up. Rhodes clotheslines him from behind and stomps away at him. Rhodes applies the Fujiwara Arm Bar, but Christian powers out of it. Rhodes knees him in the midsection and throws him shoulder first into the ring post. Rhodes screamed that Christian is stealing his time. Rhodes says that he is Smackdown.
Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler in a rematch from No Way Out in tonight’s main event.
They play a video highlighting the situation between CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Kane. AJ is involved in the love triangle with all three men. Kane makes his entrance to the arena. He’ll face off against Daniel Bryan, next.
AJ is announced as the special guest timekeeper. She makes her way to the ring looking as perky as ever. Kane looks confused as she sits at ringside.
Kane vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan ducks a clothesline and kicks away at Kane. Bryan ducks another clothesline and continues kicking away at the legs. Bryan goes into the ropes, but Kane catches him and hits a body slam. Kane drops an elbow and uppercuts him. Kane sends him into the ropes, but Bryan holds on. Bryan elbows him in the face and holds the top rope down as he charges, sending Kane outside the ring. Bryan goes for a baseball slide, but Kane moves. Kane quickly clotheslines him on the floor. Kane goes to throw him into the ring post, but Bryan slides off and dropkicks him into it. Bryan gets on the apron, but Kane gets in the ring. Bryan quickly hits him with a running dropkick for a one count.
Bryan kicks at him and applies a side headlock, but Kane whips him off. Kane catches him with a knee to the midsection and a low dropkick to the face for a near fall. Kane whips him to the corner and quickly follows up with a clothesline. Kane tries to repeat the move, but Bryan gets a boot up. Bryan goes for the Yes! Lock, but Kane counters with a sidewalk slam for a two count. Kane goes for a diving lariat, but Bryan dropkicks him out of midair. Bryan gets pumped up as he kicks away at Kane’s chest. Kane eventually blocks a kick and shoves him away. Kane charges into a drop-toe-hold into the turnbuckle. Bryan kicks the arm before going to the top rope. Bryan slips as he comes off the top, so Kane throws him to the corner again. Kane goes for a superplex, but Bryan pushes him away. Bryan hits the missile dropkick he was supposed to hit originally for a near fall.
Kane grabs Bryan and unloads with punches in the corner. Kane sends him across the ring, but Bryan backflips over him. Bryan hits the ropes, and Kane takes him out with a big boot. Kane signals for the Chokeslam, but Bryan comes back with a dropkick to the knee. Bryan hits a big kick to the skull for a near fall. Bryan goes to the top rope and taunts the fans before going for a diving head-butt. Kane get the hand up for a Chokeslam, and Bryan tries to go for the Yes! Lock. Kane shoves him off and goes for the Chokeslam, but Bryan quickly locks on a guillotine choke! Kane slams him to the corner, but he can’t get Bryan off. Kane tries to fight it, so Bryan goes for a sunset flip and picks up a near fall. Bryan quickly follows up with a Yes! Lock! Kane claws to the bottom rope, but he can’t reach it. The bell rings, but Kane never tapped out!
Bryan celebrates like he just won, but the referee tells him that Kane never tapped out. Bryan tries to catch Kane napping with a running dropkick, but Kane moves out of the way. Kane hits the Chokeslam, and he picks up the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Kane
Match Rating: **
AJ looks mischievous as she rings the bell. She then gives Kane a look and skips away from the ring.
Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler in the main event in a rematch from No Way Out. Mick Foley will be out in the ring, next.
Mick Foley, the Special Guest General Manager of Raw and Smackdown, makes his way to the ring to a nice ovation. They chant his name, and he thanks him for the nice reaction. Foley thanks John Laurinaitis for being so lame as General Manager that he’s been fired, giving him one night to come back and have some fun, “Right here, in Baltimore, Maryland.” Foley gets his cheap pop.
Heath Slater’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring looking none too happy. Slater says he’s here for a little protest. Last Monday, Cyndi Lauper and Roddy Piper embarrassed him, and he wants Foley to do something about it. Foley says Cyndi Lauper is a very formidable competitor, so he has nothing to be embarrassed about. Tonight, his opponent may give him something to be embarrassed about. His opponent is Zack Ryder!
Heath Slater vs. Zack Ryder
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official for this match. They circle the ring and lock up. Ryder applies a side headlock, but Slater quickly whips him off. Ryder takes him down with a shoulder block. They go into the ropes, Ryder ducks a clothesline, and he hits a flying forearm. Ryder quickly follows up with a flapjack for a one count. Slater puts himself through the ropes to keep Ryder away. Slater gets a cheap shot in as the referee backs Ryder up. Slater stomps away at him before hitting a neckbreaker for a near fall. Slater argues the call with the referee before running into Ryder’s knees. Ryder then hits the Rough Ryder for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Zack Ryder
Match Rating: N/A
They show a picture of Mr. McMahon firing John Laurinaitis this past Sunday at No Way Out. Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler in tonight’s main event.
Mick Foley is walking backstage with Zack Ryder when they bump into Damien Sandow. Sandow says, “Deplorable, contemptible, and abhorrent.” Foley thinks Sandow is talking about his body odor, but Sandow says he was referring to that poor excuse for entertainment they just displayed. Ryder says that Foley is a legend. Sandow says Ryder is the world’s leading miscreant. For years, his drivel has led the WWE Universe into the doldrums of ignorance. Sandow says, “No more,” and walks off. Sandow returns to say, “You’re welcome,” and Foley tells him to have a nice day.
They show some footage from the four way tag team match from this past Sunday at No Way Out that saw the Prime Time Players come out on top.
AW introduces the Prime Time Players as the future WWE Tag Team Champions.
Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. The Prime Time Players w/ AW
Darren Young will start out against Jey Uso. Young elbows him in the head, hits a running shoulder tackle, hits the ropes again, and Jey takes him down with a forearm. Jimmy is tagged in, and they hit a double back elbow/elbow drop combo. Titus O’Neil gets in the ring, but they scare him off. Jimmy chops the chest and tags Jey back in. Jey hits a forearm shiver in the corner and chops the chest again. Jimmy is tagged back in, and Jey whips Young into a punch for a one count. Young comes back with a jawbreaker, and he tags in O’Neil. O’Neil quickly takes him down with a back leg trip. O’Neil applies a chin lock and clubs away at the chest. O’Neil talks some trash, but Jimmy fights up. Jimmy avoids O’Neil and hits a nice back body drop. Jimmy quickly follows up with a running butt bump to the face, but Young breaks the pinfall up. Jey takes Young out with a big clothesline, and Jimmy forearms O’Neil in the face. Jimmy hits a Samoan Drop before going to the top rope. AW gets on the apron to distract the referee, and Young crotches Jimmy on the top rope. O’Neil hits a sit-out spinebuster for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: The Prime Time Players
Match Rating: 3/4 *
They air a trailer for the 1989 movie “No Holds Barred” starring Hulk Hogan. It’s been remastered and is coming out on DVD.
Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler in a No Way Out rematch in tonight’s main event.
AW and the Prime Time Players are walking backstage singing when Primo punches him right in the face! A big brawl breaks out between the two teams as Rosa Mendes screams.
Santino Marella’s music hits, and the United States Champion makes his way to the ring. Santino says it’s his pleasure to celebrate the creativity of the people who came tonight and made signs. Santino asks the cameras to find the best signs. They pick out a sign that says, “I Love Santino.” It seems to be a middle aged woman in Santino gear. She comes into the ring and is excited as can be. She screams before simply saying, “Cobra.” Santino has their Cobras kiss, and the woman grabs Santino’s face before laying a huge kiss on him. Santino passes out with lipstick smeared all over his mouth.
Sheamus will take on Dolph Ziggler in a No Way Out rematch, next.
They show footage of CM Punk on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Dolph Ziggler w/ Vickie Guerrero vs. Sheamus
They circle the ring, and Ziggler applies a waistlock to Sheamus. Sheamus quickly breaks the hold, applies a waistlock of his own, and Ziggler rolls him up for a no count. Ziggler does some sit-ups in the corner to show off. Ziggler applies a side headlock, but Sheamus simply throws him off. Sheamus taunts him, so Ziggler charges into a headlock takeover. Ziggler fights up to his feet and whips Sheamus off. Sheamus runs him over with a shoulder block, hits the ropes, and throws him off as he attempts a dropkick. Sheamus hits a rolling fireman’s carry for a one count. Sheamus wrenches the arm, but Ziggler kicks him in the knee a few times to break it. Ziggler punches him down, but has a whip reversed on him. Sheamus lowers his head and eats a kick. Sheamus angrily charges him, but Ziggler pulls the top rope down. Ziggler dropkicks him off the apron and attempts a cross-body to the outside, but Sheamus catches him and hits a fall-away slam into the barricade!
We come back from the break to see Ziggler applying a chin lock to Sheamus. Sheamus fights out and delivers a back body drop over the top rope to a charging Ziggler. Sheamus bounces him off the steel steps, and Vickie screams at him. Sheamus turns his attention to her, and Ziggler catches him with a leg drop bulldog off the top of the steps! Ziggler rolls him into the ring and hits a neckbreaker for a near fall. Ziggler punches away at Sheamus before hitting a leaping elbow drop for a one count. Ziggler tries to go for the sleeper hold, but Sheamus holds it off. Sheamus punches him back and charges, but Ziggler hits him with a drop-toe-hold into the ropes. Ziggler gets on the apron and dropkicks him in the face for a near fall! Ziggler hits a neckbreaker for a two count. Ziggler tries to apply a sleeper hold, but Sheamus blocks it and throws Ziggler off.
Sheamus takes Ziggler down with some hammer throws and a running knee to the face. Ziggler gets out of a powerslam attempt and counters a White Noise attempt with a rollup for a two count. Ziggler quickly kicks him in the knee and hits a nasty DDT for a near fall. Sheamus rolls to the apron and fights Ziggler off. Sheamus goes to the top rope and punches Ziggler trying to attack out of midair. Sheamus jumps off the top with a battering ram shoulder block for a near fall. Sheamus smiles as he catches Ziggler in the ropes for his clubbing blows to the chest. Ziggler elbows him in the face, but that only angers Sheamus. Sheamus rips him into the ring for an Irish Curse, but Ziggler fights out of it. Ziggler catches Sheamus charging with a boot. Ziggler kicks him in the knee, and Sheamus stumbles away from him. Ziggler charges, and Sheamus MURDERS him with a Brogue Kick out of nowhere!
Winner by Pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: ***
Quick Match Results
Ryback def. Frank Venezia and Jared Wachtler
Alberto Del Rio def. Christian via Submission (non-title)
Kane def. Daniel Bryan
Zack Ryder def. Heath Slater
The Prime Time Players def. Jimmy and Jey Uso
Sheamus def. Dolph Ziggler (non-title)
Bump of the Night: Ziggler hitting the leg drop bulldog at ringside from off the steps!
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler ***
I don’t know why (maybe I’m a masochist), but I really missed Teddy Long and it was good to see him back to dancing and kicking off the show. Bizarre, I know, especially since I was highly critical of him for years. This feeling might not last forever, but I can’t deny that I experienced it. Big Show soon followed, and he cut a pretty paint-by-numbers heel promo. I don’t like you; I only care about myself, yada-yada. About the only thing of note that he said was he was going to put himself into the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Then they brought out Brodus Clay who can finally confront Big Show now that John Laurinaitis is gone. I think I could get into a Big Show vs. Brodus Clay feud. It’s definitely building toward that, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do. Oh yeah, David Otunga was involved, too. If that guy isn’t in a bowtie drinking coffee from a thermos, then I just don’t care. He just isn’t good when it comes to physicality in the ring. He has a good look, but he doesn’t look believable when he’s working. That’s my opinion, of course.
Either the crowd was so enthralled with Ryback that they couldn’t move, only cheer, or they piped in a ton of crowd for this guy. It’s always strange to hear people coming unglued, yet visually they’re sitting on their hands. They zoomed in real close to Ryback as the crowd “chanted” his line, “Feed me more.” It’s sad to watch. I just don’t see anything in Ryback. He’s a big guy. How many of those have we seen through the years? The gimmick is so weird and forced upon the crowd that I almost think they paid that girl to hold up a Ryback sign directly in front of the camera. I was there on Sunday when they were chanting “Goldberg” at him. You don’t need me to tell you that he’s not interesting to any fan of WWE. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon so I guess we’ll have to continue suffering through this.
The show bounced back with the first of three killer matches that they put on tonight. In terms of match quality, this episode featured the best in the past few weeks. Christian and Alberto Del Rio started it out with a nice match. Del Rio has needed an edge, and he got it in his match with Christian tonight. He looked vicious and aggressive in the match. Christian is so awesome in the mid-card. He knows how to work a decent little match to accentuate the strengths of his opponent and look good in defeat. Del Rio is a limited guy in the ring as he focuses only on the arm most of the time, and Christian made him look good. Del Rio needed this performance. Very good stuff.
Daniel Bryan and Kane followed it up with a very good match that had AJ at ringside to add to it. Kane has been doing some great work lately, and Bryan was very good in this as well. They even managed to work through a bit of a botch when Bryan slipped off the top rope while attempting a missile dropkick. Anyway, AJ has been on fire lately. She is probably the most intriguing character they have going in the company. By far she is my favorite diva in WWE and of the last few years. My friend had the opportunity to interview her over the last weekend. You can check out his interview here.
After those two good matches, it was time for some filler. First they marched out Mick Foley, who was the General Manager for the night even though he didn’t really play any type of important role on the show. Foley did his cheap pop shtick, and then Heath Slater was out for his weekly embarrassment. Zack Ryder easily defeated him. At least we had a Damien Sandow segment come out of this. Perhaps we’ll see Sandow feud with Ryder?
The Prime Time Players handled the Usos’ pretty well tonight in a quick little match. Nothing really of note in that. The good stuff came backstage with the quick brawl involving Epico and Primo. I still have no clue why AW would turn on them since he never really managed them in the first place, but whatever. I guess they want Epico and Primo to be faces now.
So that Santino Marella segment actually happened. Good god. Was this just a random thing or is that lady going to be his Sapphire? Why did that have to happen?
Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler closed the show out with another strong showing. I was really impressed with their match at No Way Out, and tonight’s offering was equally impressive. I know it’s been said before, but Ziggler is ready for a larger role. A permanent role on Friday nights could be just what the doctor ordered for him. On Raw I have a feeling he’ll be eventually lost once again in the show whereas he’d be highlighted on Smackdown. Sheamus did a really good job in this match as well. When he can just work a straightforward match (i.e. not having to worry about selling limb injuries) he can be excellent. Why accentuate your champion’s weaknesses? Eventually he’ll have to face Alberto Del Rio, but maybe this time they won’t work in an arm injury that he’ll have to sell for weeks. Keep it simple, because he’s capable of having good matches like this with a lot of guys.
Final Rating: *** 1/4
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