Friday, September 23, 2011

WWE SmackDown 9/23/11

WWE SmackDown 9/23/11
September 23rd, 2011
Nutter Center, Dayton, Ohio
Attendance: Unknown at this time

Boy it feels like it's been awhile since I did one of these, huh? Anyways, we're a few days removed from the Night of Champions PPV where we saw two new World champions crowned, so tonight is the first official night in the title reign of one Mark Henry on Smackdown. Not much else has been advertised, so let's just jump right into the show, shall we?

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews

We open the show with Johnny "Ace" Laurinaitis in the middle of the ring, surrounded by all of the superstars from the Smackdown locker room. Plenty of heat for Johnny Ace to start with a big "You suck!" chant starting up quickly. He talks about how he respects Triple H's recent decisions and then he introduces the new World Heavyweight champion, Mark Henry. The newly crowned champ walks down to the ring and talks about how it took him fifteen years to win the big one here in the WWE and how no one believed him. He singles out Big Zeke and Teddy Long in the crowd as unbelievers but before he can get much further, Triple H's music hits and the COO makes his way out to a big pop. He walks down to the ring and tries to confront Henry, but Christian makes his way out of the crowd of people at ringside and hops into the ring with a mic of his own.

Christian sucks up to Triple H a bit, talking about how people in the locker room look up to him and how unmarketable Mark Henry will be as champion. He claims to deserve to be the face of Smackdown and of course, asks for...ONE...MORE...MATCH! Christian says after Henry chokes away the title at Hell in a Cell, he'll be around to pick up the pieces. Hunter feigns appreciation for Christian's confidence and then announces a lumberjack match as tonight's main event pitting Christian against Mark Henry for the World Heavyweight title, with the winner going on to face Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell. Just your standard opening segment to set up the show's main event, but Christian was fun to watch as always.

Sheamus vs. Heath Slater

By god it's the battle of the gingers! They lock up to start and Sheamus overpowers young Heath quickly of course. He ties Heath up in the ropes and lays in huge hammer-fists onto Slater's chest, following it up with a knee strike. Slater manages to get some offense in with a swinging neckbreaker, but he only gets a one count out of it. Slater tries working a chinlock for a bit but Sheamus breaks that up quickly only to walk into another great neckbreaker from Slater for a one count. This only serves to piss Sheamus off, as he cleans house on Slater back on his feet and just destroys him, finishing him off with the Brogue Kick at 4:31. Just a quick squash match for Sheamus but atleast they gave Slater a couple of spurts of nice offense. *1/4

Backstage we see Christian walk up to The Great Khali to try and convince him to help him out tonight in the main event lumberjack match.

Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel

Well looky here, we've got ourselves a battle of former Nexus and Corre members here and the only feud that anyone really wanted to see come out of those two mediocre stables. If only this were six months ago. Barrett lays in big closed-fist punches on Gabriel to start and then lays in knee strikes to his chest. He big boots Gabriel through the ropes and out of the ring, and Barrett quickly tosses him back inside for a near fall. Gabriel sends Barrett to the floor with a hurricanrana and then wipes him out moments later with a beautiful somersault senton over the top rope! Back in the ring Gabriel hits a huge springboard moonsault off the top rope, but Barrett manages to kick out at two. Gabriel lays in some stiff kicks and takes Barrett down with an STO takedown. He heads for the top rope but Barrett big boots him and then gives him the Waste Land for the win at 2:35. Another squash match, but this was a really fun one with Gabriel zipping and flying around the ring like a pinball. **

Backstage Randy Orton is accosted by Matt Striker, and he promises to bring the World Heavyweight title with him out of the Hell in a Cell in nine days. The lack of build to this next PPV just seems absurd, especially given the Hell in a Cell's reputation as a match to end blood feuds. Elsewhere backstage Christian tries to convince Ezekiel Jackson to help him out later tonight in the main event, but he's not having any of that of course.

Natalya/Beth Phoenix vs. AJ Lee/Kaitlyn

That's a lot of hot in one ring. Natalya starts off with Kaitlyn and eats a quick dropkick from her. She tags Beth in and they give her a big double suplex. AJ tags in and nails Beth with a nice Shining Wizard, but the pinfall is broken up quickly. Natalya and Kaitlyn fight to the floor while Beth grabs little AJ and delivers the Glam Slam to finish her off at 2:04. Sheesh, are we going to get anything but squash matches tonight? 1/4*

Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes

These two work well together, but we've seen them wrestle each other on what, like 3 or 4 consecutive weeks worth of shows now? Mix it up a bit guys. Orton tosses Cody out of the ring at the bell and slams him repeatedly into the guard barrier before tossing him back inside. On his way back into the ring Cody chop blocks him in the ankle and then starts going to work on that body part. He trips Randy up and then strips the turnbuckle pad off of one of the turnbuckles and while the ref is busy putting it back on, he nails Randy behind the ref's back with his protective mask. Orton still kicks out at two though. The ref and Cody argue momentarily about why his mask is off when Orton hops back to his feet, grabs the mask out of Cody's hand, and nails him with it right in front of the ref to get DQed at 3:18. Orton continues the assault after the bell, ramming the mask into Cody's face repeatedly. I thought I had read that Cody had been busted open legit during this segment, but if he was they never showed any of it on-camera. 1/2*

Backstage Christian walks up to Sheamus with a peace offering---a potato. You racist sonofabitch Christian. He promises Sheamus the first title shot if he wins the title tonight again, and Sheamus mockingly agrees to help him.

The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal

And the crowd goes mild. They seem unsure of who to cheer here, not that I blame them. Khali lays in a few huge open-palm slaps on Mahal's chest but Jinder gets a few kicks in and gives him a crappy DDT and a knee-drop for a two count. Khali just gets right back up though and gives Jinder a two-handed chokeslam before placing his boot on Mahal's chest for the cocky cover and win at 2:06. I don't like or see anything in Jinder Mahal, but still, what was the point of basically burying him here? And can we get a single match tonight that isn't a 2-3 minute squash? That would be super. DUD

Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan

No clue if this is "Evil" or "Good" Sin Cara here tonight, but I'm sure we'll find out soon enough. Bryan takes the upper hand in the early going with a tight side-headlock. He transitions out of a headscissors submission attempt and applies the old Mexican Surfboard to Cara briefly. Cara responds with a stiff kick and a springboard diving headbutt for a nearfall, then gets right back up and walks into a sick wheelbarrow suplex from Bryan for another near fall. Cara hits a sloppy springboard back elbow that sends Bryan to the floor and then he takes him out moments later with a running hurricanrana on Bryan off the ring apron. Cara tosses Bryan back into the ring and goes to the top rope while the ref checks on DB, when suddenly Sin Cara's doppelganger runs down to the ring and tosses him off the top rope to the floor below! He takes the other Cara's place and hits a beautiful Swanton bomb on Bryan to pin him at 3:07. The old twin switcheroo, a bit of a cliche at this point but it advances the angle well enough I suppose. Match itself was another short affair that never got a chance to even get on it's feet before it was over. 1/2*

Backstage Christian walks up to Zack Ryder to compliment him about his performance on RAW this week. He asks to be the broski of the week, but Ryder says it would be a conflict of interest. Ryder gets a phone call in the middle of their conversation though and walks off as we cut to commercial.

Air Boom (Kofi Kingston/Evan Bourne) vs. The Usos (Jey Uso/Jimmy Uso)

The Uso's Samoan dance is still pretty cool, even if the crowd doesn't really pop for it at all anymore. Bourne and Jey start us off with Evan laying in some big spinkicks. He tries for a springboard moonsault on both of the Usos but eats a unique spinning sidewalk slam from one of the brothers instead. The Usos go to work on Bourne in their corner, playing the quick-tag game. This lasts for about ten seconds though before Kofi's got the hot-ish tag and is hopping all over the place, taking out Samoans left and right with huge cross-bodies. Kofi sets up for Trouble in Paradise but one of the Usos distracts him while the other one takes his head off with a superkick for another near fall. Kofi tries a mid-air hurricanrana on one of the Usos but botches it pretty badly. Never fear as he nails the other Uso with the Trouble in Paradise and then tags Bourne in, who hits him with the Air Bourne for the win at 3:33. Botched 'rana aside, this was a fun little energetic sprint of a tag match. It's just too bad it was so short that they had no time to build any sort of comprehensible flow or structure to the match. *3/4

World Heavyweight Title Lumberjack Match
Mark Henry
© vs. Christian

We're left with less than ten minutes of TV time by the time the main event gets started, so don't expect much of a match here. Henry overpowers Christian with ease in the early going, tossing him into the turnbuckle and around the ring like a rag-doll. Christian gets tossed out of the ring first and Big Zeke gives him a few forearms before tossing him back into the ring. A huge press slam gets Henry a close two count, so he slaps on the dreaded nerve hold afterwards. When's the last time someone won a match with a freakin' nerve hold anyways? Texas in the 80s? Christian leaps right into Henry's arms accidentally and Henry tries squeezing the life out of him with a bear hug. Christian slips out of his grip and lays in some big right hands, but he can't take Henry down. Two huge missile dropkicks are enough to finally take Henry off his feet, but still it only nets Christian a two count. He tries for the Killswitch, but Henry blocks it with a big forearm. The fight ends up spilling out to the ringside floor, and of course the usual Pier 6 brawl breaks out with Mark Henry fighting off a crowd of people and then tossing Trent Barreta into them and wiping everyone out. Henry climbs back into the ring and Christian, seeing the destruction Henry's wreaked already, tries to run off. Sheamus walks up behind him though and tosses him into the ring where Henry immediately gives him the World's Strongest Slam to retain the title at 6:21. Match of the night here and still absolutely nothing above average to be honest. I thought they might hotshot the title back to Christian to set up the Hell in a Cell match with him against Orton, as that would obviously be the better match to book as it would certainly draw more buys and pique more people's interest than another Henry-Orton match would, but what do I know about booking? Average match to cap off a really below-average show tonight. **

After the match Randy Orton sprints down to the ring and attacks Mark Henry, trying for the RKO. Henry avoids it but gets knocked out of the ring with a dropkick as we go off the air with Orton in the ring, playing up to the crowd.

Bottom Line: What a crap show tonight. I don't think I've seen an episode of Smackdown this bad in many, many months, maybe even all year long. Nothing but short 2-3 minute squash matches, paint-by-numbers promo segments, and a decidedly average 6 minute main event that sets up a Hell in a Cell match that no one wants to actually see. Strange to see the WWE fall off their game so bad here after putting on a solid PPV this past Sunday, but man, this show just flat out sucked for the most part. You'd miss absolutely nothing if you decided to skip tonight's show, so it's an easy and somewhat rare Thumbs Down from me here.


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