The Smackdown video plays, and we’re brought into the arena with some pyrotechnics. Josh Mathews and Michael Cole welcome us to the show. Our main event will see the Big Show take on Randy Orton.
Big Show’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring to a chorus of boos. They show a replay from this past Monday’s Raw when Big Show viciously assaulted Brodus Clay and Tensai with some WMDs. Big Show says the most dominant and destructive force in WWE history is back, and he wants the World Heavyweight Championship. His last title reign lasted 45 seconds. Big Show repeats that, and he asks if the crowd knows what that does to the psyche of a guy like him. Do they know how embarrassed he was? He then had to watch the guy who beat him for the title go to the main event of WrestleMania and get beat by Sheamus in 18 seconds. That was a turning point in his career. He wasn’t in the main event of WrestleMania. He was in a match where he was subject to ridicule and being made fun of. No one is making fun of him anymore, and no one will make fun of him when he is the World Champion. These are big and lofty goals, but he is the one man on this roster that can defeat the current World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus.
Randy Orton’s music hits before Big Show can explain how he’s going to do that. Orton makes his way to the ring to a nice reception. Orton says he finds it funny that Big Show is out here talking about how he’s going to take care of Sheamus when in reality he hasn’t even gone through the most sadistic, dominant individual on this show – himself. He just heard backstage that their match is for the number one contendership. Whoever wins will go on to face Sheamus for the title at Hell in a Cell. He’s a nine-time World Champion, and if Big Show thinks he’s going to stand in his way of number ten, then he won’t be standing for much longer. Big Show says it looks like either someone is going to get hit with an RKO or get hit by a KO.
Alberto Del Rio’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring to loud jeers from the fans. Ricardo Rodriguez is at his side. Del Rio says they can’t toss him aside so easily. Booker T cheated him when he reinstated the Brogue Kick at Night of Champions. He’s also better than both Randy Orton and Big Show combined. Del Rio tells them to go to the back of the line. Del Rio gets in the ring, and Orton gives him an RKO! Orton immediately turns to Big Show before leaving the ring.
Miz TV will be on Smackdown tonight, and his guest will be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. Coming up next, we’ll see if Santino Marella can beat Antonio Cesaro twice in a row, this time for the WWE United States Championship.
WWE United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. Santino Marella
They lock up, and Cesaro quickly pushes him against the ropes before kicking him in the midsection. Cesaro punches him down before whipping him to the corner. Santino slingshots over him, splits under a clothesline, and goes for a hip toss, but Cesaro blocks it and clotheslines him down. Cesaro punches away at Santino in the corner before the referee backs him up. Cesaro hits a picture perfect suplex and floats over for a two count. Cesaro double stomps the chest before taunting the crowd. Cesaro applies a neck vice, but Santino gets a burst of adrenaline. Santino fights up and gets out with a back suplex.
Santino punches away at him before hitting a body slam. Santino takes the Cobra out, but Cesaro punches him in the midsection. Cesaro goes for a gutwrench suplex, but Santino counters into a rollup for a two count. Santino looks for the Cobra, which flew out of the ring, and that allows Cesaro to uppercut him. Cesaro hits a gutwrench suplex, and he picks up a near fall. Cesaro talks a little trash, and Santino surprises him with a roundhouse kick for a near fall. Cesaro quickly shoulders Santino before making his way to the top rope. Santino cuts him off, and he attempts a superplex, but Cesaro punches him down. Cesaro goes for a Neutralizer off the second rope, but Santino counters with a back body drop. Santino goes for a falling head-butt from the second rope, but Cesaro moves. Cesaro quickly follows up with the Neutralizer for the win.
Winner and still WWE United States Champion: Antonio Cesaro
Match Rating: * 1/4
Tonight’s main event will see Randy Orton take on the Big Show with the winner becoming the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
They show a replay of Dr. Shelby’s radical therapy for Daniel Bryan and Kane which involved them being at a diner
Beth Phoenix vs. Natalya
They shake hands before circling the ring. They lock up, and Phoenix wrenches the arm. Natalya twists out, hits a fireman’s carry takeover, and Phoenix gets her in a head-scissor. Natalya kips up, but Phoenix takes her down with a drop-toe-hold. Phoenix applies a front face-lock, but Natalya counters into a hammerlock. Phoenix takes her down again, but Natalya fights up. Natalya applies a hammerlock, but Phoenix backs her to the corner. Phoenix applies a side headlock and hits a takeover. Natalya fights up and out, whips her off, and attempts a leapfrog, but Phoenix catches her. Natalya gets out and pushes her. Phoenix isn’t happy about that.
Phoenix pushes her with a finger, and Natalya slaps her in the face. Phoenix takes her down, and the hometown crowd gives a nice cheer. Natalya struggles to get to the ropes. Phoenix hits a side leg sweep, yells for Buffalo to get into it, goes to the second rope, and jumps into a slam by Natalya. Natalya immediately applies the Sharpshooter. Phoenix tries to get to the ropes, but Natalya pulls her away. Phoenix perseveres and eventually claws to the ropes. Phoenix rolls her up and attempts a Glam Slam, but Natalya elbows her in the face. Natalya goes for a wheelbarrow bulldog, but Phoenix counters into a Glam Slam for a near fall! Phoenix can’t believe it! Natalya pushes her to the corner, but Phoenix is able to kick her in the face. Beth goes for a victory roll, but Natalya sits on the shoulders. Phoenix powers through and rolls her up for the victory!
Winner by Pinfall: Beth Phoenix
Match Rating: * 1/2
Beth Phoenix looks like she’s going to cry. Eve Torres’ music hits, and she stands at the top of the stage. She apologizes for acting in the heat of the moment on Raw. Until we know exactly who attacked Kaitlyn at Night of Champions, we have to act rationally. All we know is that the assailant was a blonde. Until we know who attacked Kaitlyn, Beth Phoenix will be indefinitely suspended. Beth can’t believe it. Beth tries to blame it on Natalya, and she yells back at her before crying.
We’ll take a look at John Cena’s challenge to CM Punk from this past Monday’s Raw, next.
Booker T is backstage in his office with Teddy Long. Long says the tag team division is looking really strong. Booker T says he proposed an eight-team single elimination tournament. The winner will face Daniel Bryan and Kane at Hell in a Cell. Beth Phoenix walks in and asks why she’s been suspended. Booker doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Eve comes in saying she has the authority, but Booker says she doesn’t, and he reverses the decision to suspend Beth. Eve says she was only acting on Booker’s best interests, and she apologizes to the two of them. Beth leaves, and Eve tries to say that Teddy Long put her up to it because he’s jealous of Booker T. She leaves, and Booker T seems like he believes her. Booker asks Long to give him time to think.
They talk about WWE’s partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and then they air the Raw Rebound.
They show The Miz having makeup applied to him. Miz TV will debut on Smackdown tonight with Sheamus as the special guest.
Zack Ryder is in the ring with no TV entrance.
Zack Ryder vs. Wade Barrett
They circle the ring, and Barrett immediately knees away at him. Barrett takes him down with a shoulder block, hits the ropes, and kicks Ryder in the midsection. Barrett hits a pump-handle slam for a near fall. Barrett punches away at him in the corner before using the ropes to slam Ryder into a backbreaker for a near fall. Barrett applies a modified surfboard stretch, but Ryder fights up. Barrett sends him into the ropes, and Ryder hits a face-buster. Barrett runs into the knees, and Ryder takes him down with a missile dropkick. Ryder hits a forearm in the corner and goes for the Broski Boot, but Barrett gets out of the ring. Ryder catches him with a kick to the face from inside the ring anyway. Ryder throws him into the ring, hits the ropes, and Barrett promptly clotheslines him out of the ring. Barrett quickly throws him back in, rips at the face, and hits the Souvenir Elbow for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Wade Barrett
Match Rating: 1/2 *
They show another one of the diner segments from Raw with Daniel Bryan and Kane. They reenacted the scene from “When Harry Met Sally” and it was complete with a Mae Young sighting.
Sheamus is walking backstage. He’ll be a guest on Miz TV, which makes its Smackdown debut, next.
The Miz TV set is up in the ring, and The Miz is standing in the ring. Miz welcomes the crowd to the most must see talk show in the history of WWE. This show is extraordinary and revolutionary.
Miz doesn’t get to continue because Sheamus’ music hits to cut him off. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion makes his way to the ring. Sheamus throws out one of the chairs from the set and poses for the crowd. Miz doesn’t look overly thrilled about what’s going on. Miz goes to ask him a question, but Sheamus rips the microphone out of his hand. Sheamus says he didn’t want to wait for his introduction because he was worried he would forget. Sheamus reminds him that Ryback kicked Miz’ arse from pillar to post and launched a couch at his head. Sheamus sarcastically says, “What a great start for Miz TV!” Sheamus asks how he’s going to top it. Sheamus doesn’t let him answer, and he says he’ll top it by having the World Champion on his show. Sheamus asks how it feels to have him on the show, but he doesn’t let him answer. Sheamus says Miz is lucky to have a show at all. He’s useless in the ring, and the only thing he can hope for is a second career at a crappy, C-list talk show. Sheamus says he should wait to come out at the end of the show so the people don’t have to listen to him talk about himself for an hour and a half.
Miz takes a second microphone, and he says the last time he checked he was still the WWE Intercontinental Champion. Miz says the people will have to pay to see his movie and in a book. You can also pay to listen to his radio show on Sirius XM. They can also pay to see him in this ring. If they did pay to see him excel at Night of Champions then they saw him retain his title against three contenders. Tonight, these people have paid to see him on Miz TV. Sheamus says nobody wants to pay to see him. Miz says he finds it amazing that Sheamus isn’t serious. Tonight, there is a main event match to determine the number one contender for his championship. Miz asks why Sheamus isn’t worried about facing Randy Orton or the Big Show at Hell in a Cell. Miz says Sheamus would lose to either of the two.
Sheamus does take on a more serious look here. Sheamus asks if Miz thinks that he won the championship at WrestleMania to throw up his feet and have a few pints. Sheamus calls Miz a “Hollywood wannabe” and says that no one takes the championship more seriously than him. He gets up and trains every morning knowing that one mistake could cost him his title. Sheamus loves to have fun, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t take it seriously. This title is a privilege, honor, and a blessing. If Randy Orton wins then that’s great. He’s told Orton before that it would be an honor to face him. If Big Show win then that’s great, too, because he’s never faced Big Show before. If Miz thinks he’s going to let him stand there and question his integrity, the people will really get what they paid for.
EXCUSE ME! Vickie Guerrero makes her way to the ring to a chorus of boos, and Dolph Ziggler soon follows her. Vickie doesn’t understand why Sheamus is so concerned about Randy Orton and Big Show when the man he needs to worry about at Hell in a Cell… but Ziggler takes the microphone from her. He says he can speak for himself. Ziggler says it doesn’t matter who he faces at Hell in a Cell because at the end he’ll be a mess, and that’ll be when the briefcase is all that matters. Tonight’s main event, just like Sheamus’ title reign, is completely irrelevant. When Hell in a Cell comes to a close, he guarantees that he will be the World Heavyweight Champion.
Miz likes what he’s hearing. Sheamus says he has no idea what sort of shape he’ll be in after Hell in a Cell, but if he does win, and Ziggler feels like cashing in the contract, Ziggler may get lucky. Sheamus turns to see Miz rooting Ziggler on. He pushes Miz out of his chair, takes Ziggler down, and punches away. Sheamus throws Miz over a couch, but Ziggler takes him down. Miz attacks again, but Sheamus throws him out of the ring. Sheamus then throws Ziggler out on top of Miz. Sheamus poses to end the show.
Later tonight, we’ll see Randy Orton and Big Show compete to determine who will face Sheamus at Hell in a Cell. They then show the brackets for the Tag Team Championship tournament. The Uso Brothers will take on Rhodes Scholars in a first round match, next.
Tag Team Tournament Quarterfinal
Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. Rhodes Scholars
Damien Sandow will start it out against Jimmy Uso. Jimmy blocks a kick and rolls up Sandow for a no count. Jimmy punches away and whips him to the corner, but he runs into the boots. Sandow kicks away at him before dropping an elbow for a one count. Sandow sends him to the ropes, but Jimmy is able to rebound with a Samoan Drop.
Jey and Cody Rhodes are tagged in. Jey hits some running forearms, a kick to the midsection, and an uppercut. Jey hits a spinning forearm, gets the crowd into it, and hits a running butt bump to the face, but Sandow breaks up the pin. Sandow is taken out of the ring, and Jey tags in Jimmy. Jimmy goes to the top rope, but Sandow pulling his brother out of the ring and attacking him distracts Jimmy. Jimmy goes to splash Rhodes, but Rhodes gets his knees up. Rhodes hits the Cross Rhodes for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: Rhodes Scholars
Match Rating: 1/2 *
They are now going on to the semi-finals of the tournament. They will face the winner of the Santino and Ryder vs. Gabriel and Kidd match.
They replay the final segment at the diner with Daniel Bryan and Kane. It culminated with Bryan throwing up on Dr. Shelby and Kane asking for the check.
Tensai vs. Ryback
They lock up, and Ryback pushes Tensai to the corner. Tensai uppercuts him and bounces him in the corner. Tensai head-butts away at him, pushes him to the corner, and hits an avalanche. Tensai punches away at him, but Ryback comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex. Ryback gears up for a lariat, but Tensai counters with a two-handed choke-bomb for a near fall. Tensai punches at him, hits the ropes, and Ryback hits the lariat. Ryback signals for the end, and he marches around with Tensai on his shoulders before slamming him down for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Ryback
Match Rating: 1/4 *
Randy Orton is seen walking backstage. Alberto Del Rio attacks him from behind and throws him into the wall. Del Rio takes one of the heavy crates and pushes it into Orton. A referee runs in to help, and he tells Del Rio to go away. Orton is seen writhing in pain as the commercial hits.
Big Show makes his way to the ring for the main event. Randy Orton’s music hits, but Alberto Del Rio walks out. Del Rio says it looks like Orton won’t be able to compete, but the people will be happy to know that he’s taking Orton’s place in the match. Randy Orton then attacks Del Rio from behind. Orton throws him into the WWE sign on stage. Orton clutches at his ribs before slowly making his way down to the ring. He will compete against the Big Show, next!
#1 Contender’s Match
Big Show vs. Randy Orton
Big Show is smiling at what appears to be a broken Orton standing in the ring. The bell sounds, and the match begins. Orton backs to the corner and ducks a swing from Big Show. Big Show tries to stalk him, but Orton punches back at him. Big Show quickly comes back with a head-butt, and Orton is down on the canvas clutching his ribs. Big Show shushes the crowd, but Orton comes back with more right hands. Big Show again takes him down and grabs at the ribs, causing Orton to scream in pain. Big Show punches him in the ribs and talks some trash to the crowd. Big Show stands on Orton’s ribs, and he’s screaming in agony. Big Show smiles as he grabs at the ribs. Big Show drops an elbow for a near fall. Orton rolls out of the ring to recover.
Orton kicks at Big Show, but he quickly punches him in the injured ribs. Big Show press slams him into the barricade. Big Show gets in the ring, and Orton is down at ringside, gasping for air.
We come back from the break to see Orton struggling to get to his feet. Big Show is talking some trash before whipping him across the ring. Big Show runs into a boot, and Orton punches back at him. Big Show goes for a Chokeslam, but Orton counters into a DDT! Orton covers for a one count. Big Show powered Orton to his feet with the kick out. Orton stomps away at Big Show’s limbs before dropping a knee. Big Show quickly comes back with a couple of right hands to the ribs. Big Show screams that he wants Orton to quit. Orton pushes him away, and Big Show punches him in the ribs again. Big Show squeezes the ribs while screaming at him to quit. Big Show steps on him. Big Show gives him another direct shot to the ribs, and Orton rolls out of the ring.
Big Show follows him outside, and he goes to lawn dart him into the ring post, but Orton slides off, sending him face first into the post. Orton gets into the ring, and he kicks Big Show when he gets on the apron. Orton tries for the hanging DDT, but Big Show uses the ropes to hurt the ribs. Big Show signals for the end, and he picks Orton up by the throat. Orton then counters with an RKO out of nowhere for a near fall! Orton backs up for the punt kick, but Big Show counters into a Chokeslam for a near fall! Big Show hits a second, delayed Chokeslam for the victory!
Winner by Pinfall: Big Show
Match Rating: * 3/4
Big Show will face Sheamus for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. Big Show marches back into the ring, and he balls up his fist. Orton struggles to get to his feet, and Big Show hits him with the WMD, knocking him out! Big Show takes a microphone, looks directly at the camera, and says, “Sheamus, I guess I’ll be seeing you at Hell in a Cell.” Big Show’s music hits, and he walks to the back.
Quick Match Results
Antonio Cesaro def. Santino Marella to retain the WWE United States Championship
Beth Phoenix def. Natalya
Wade Barrett def. Zack Ryder
Rhodes Scholars def. Jimmy and Jey Uso
Ryback def. Tensai
Big Show def. Randy Orton in a #1 Contender’s Match
Bump of the Night: Ryback slamming Tensai with his finisher!
Match of the Night: Big Show vs. Randy Orton * 3/4
This was easily one of the better episodes of Smackdown in recent weeks. The show had some focus that was more than just a night of entertainment. The show had a point, something the show has been kind of lacking recently. It opened up with a straightforward promo from Big Show and Randy Orton. Big Show was basically reintroducing himself to the WWE Universe, and Randy Orton was reminding everyone that he is still relevant. Alberto Del Rio then came out to set the groundwork for what would happen later in the evening. This was solid work from all involved.
I’m sincerely hoping that this is the last we see of the Antonio Cesaro/Santino Marella matchup. This has officially been done to death. This wasn’t a bad match so they should just quit while they’re ahead. Interesting that other than a few words on commentary, there wasn’t really any follow up to the Aksana breakup. I figured she’d make an appearance during or after the match, but she didn’t. I still can’t get over how random that was.
Remember this date, people. I’d like to preface this by saying I am not being coerced into writing the next line. I thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s offering from the Divas tonight. This is probably one of the top Divas matches I’ve seen in the past year or more. They were into it and the crowd was into it, so it got me into it, a feeling that never comes over me while watching these types of matches. Kudos to the two of them. Beth Phoenix seemed to be wrestling with a lot of intensity. I’m not sure if it was because they were in her hometown or if the rumors of her asking for her release are really true. She was suspended after the match, but it was then reversed by Booker T a segment after, so I don’t know what to think of that. Natalya’s acting and crying after the match was a little lame, but I can certainly overlook that after what they put out. An excellent Divas match – wow!
Wade Barrett wrestled a quick little match against Zack Ryder. The elbow to the face, or the Souvenir as it’s now known, looks much better than when he debuted it on Yoshi Tatsu a few weeks back. There is still no sign of any type of direction other than a vague promise of a Barrett Barrage and him being open for business. Business seems to be a little slow at the moment for him.
I enjoyed the Miz TV segment tonight. Obviously it’s a great way to utilize The Miz in a supporting role, so not much more needs to be said on that. It was good to see Sheamus shine through here tonight. For too long it’s been Mr. Jokes with Sheamus, but tonight he was able to get a little serious. Miz called him out on not being serious, and Sheamus got serious real quick. He did get a little too goody-goody, but I still thought what he said was strong. Then Dolph Ziggler came out, and the obligatory fight and destruction of the set ensued.
Well for the people who have been clamoring for years for WWE to get serious with their tag team division, tonight must have felt like a wet dream for them. A tag team tournament? Oh boy, mom, they’re really doing it! All kidding aside, I do think this is a great idea. Kane and Daniel Bryan are two of the best things going in WWE right now, and this will keep them fresh and a reason to stay united. Obviously it’s going to be against Rhodes Scholars, but I appreciate the efforts.
Ryback looked impressive tonight. On the random scale, his appearance at the end of Raw ranked at ten for me, but he looked really good here tonight. Tensai is a big dude. You don’t have to be an expert to know that. To see Ryback lift him up like he’s one of the local jobbers and slam him down was damn impressive.
The main event was well done. Randy Orton sold the attack by Del Rio really well, and Big Show looked as dominating as ever. It’s nice to know we’re going to have some fresh blood in the title picture for Sheamus. I think this match could be a real hit. These are two guys who will go out there and beat the crap out of one another. To my knowledge it hasn’t been done before in a singles match so I’m anxious to see what they can do. It’s weird that they didn’t air Del Rio’s subsequent attack on Orton after the match. I guess they wanted to leave viewers with the image of the Big Show and at the same time drive up the hits on their website. Still, it’s kind of important, since it seems like they’re writing Orton off for a little while. This should be good. Since he came back from the suspension, he’s kind of just been there. Now he’ll go away again and hopefully come back with more direction. He already has a ready-made program with Del Rio waiting for him. Hopefully Orton can get back on track when he returns.
Final Rating: *** 1/2
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