WWE Friday Night SmackDown!
January 13th, 2012
Laredo Energy Arena, Laredo, Texas
Attendance: Unknown at this time
Laredo Energy Arena, Laredo, Texas
Attendance: Unknown at this time
Welcome back to another edition of 411's SmackDown report. We're only a few weeks away from the Royal Rumble so we can expect lots of hype and build for that on tonight's show, emanating from Texas. The main event tonight is a rematch between Daniel Bryan and Big Show for the World Heavyweight title, this time in a No DQ, no count-out match. On with the show, which is sponsored tonight by Joey B's diner and their special "Jason is Dead 2 for 1 Burger Sale"!
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with the World champ Daniel Bryan coming out to the ring to a decent amount of heat. He grabs a mic and says that he lives for defending the World title before gloating about his "successful title defense" against the Big Show last week. Bryan takes a pot-shot at Show for his short title reign, saying he deserved that rematch for such a shoddy title reign. Bryan claims to be sickened by the DQ finish to last week's match and a big "You suck!" chant starts up. Bryan manages to sneak a Paul Heyman reference into the promo before hyping the crowd up for his no DQ match later tonight with Show. Bryan starts to run down Mark Henry for getting involved in last week's match when the World's Strongest Man's music hits and Sexual Chocolate himself strolls on down to the ring. Henry blames Bryan for last week's incident and says he's been banned from ringside for the title match tonight. Henry will be facing the winner of tonight's match on next week's show for the title however. Bryan seems okay with that and Henry takes off to wrap up our opening segment. There were small hints at the fun, egotistical heel that Bryan can be in this promo but it's like they're still holding him back just a tiny bit from going fully heel, still having him try to play the role of champion who takes on all challengers. The crowd really had no clue who to cheer for by the end of this segment, but it sets up a few intriguing potential scenarios.
Justin Gabriel (10-16) vs. Heath Slater (4-26)
I'm probably one of the few people happy to see this seemingly never-ending feud continuing, these guys work really well together. The usual quick armdrag and rope-running sequences to start us off from these two before Gabriel hits a flying headscissors and then jumps right into an inverted atomic drop from Slater. Neckbreaker from Slater gets him a two count and he follows up with a chinlock. A spinebuster gets Heath another two count when suddenly Hornswoggle's music hits and the little guy pops into the ring briefly to distract Slater long enough for Gabriel to knock him down and hit him with the 450 splash for the win at 2:48. Well that was way too short to amount to anything worthwhile, and not that I'm Heath Slater's number one fan or anything but having Hornswoggle get the best of him two weeks in a row probably isn't going to help him in any conceivable way down the line. *1/4
Backstage AJ Lee is with the champ Daniel Bryan, and she drops the "I love you" bomb on him. If this doesn't lead to Bryan dumping her and crushing her heart in the most mean-spirited heel fashion I'm going to be sorely disappointed, because otherwise this angle just further muddles up Bryan identity as a heel/face. Not that I'm complaining about any TV time AJ gets.
Cody Rhodes comes out to the rampway with a mic to greet the Texas crowd with an "Hola". He goes right for the semi-racist heel shtick with INS references and feels the urge to remind us all that he's been the Intercontinental champion for cinco months. Cody claims to have outshined legends like Pedro Morales, Tito Santana, and Booker T among others (he also throws his brother Dustin in there). Cody says he's going to "pull an Ultimate Warrior". He's going to become a coked out juiced up psychopath? Oh, no, he's going to win the World title while still holding onto the IC title, that makes more sense. Cody let's out a few "Ariba!"'s before we head into our next match.
Cody Rhodes (17-17) vs. Ezekiel Jackson (14-12)
Zeke tries to over-power Cody to start but eats a DDT for an early pin attempt. Zeke counters everything Cody throws at him and lays clubbing forearms into him in the corner. Rhodes looks for the Beautiful Disaster knee strike but misses it. Never fear, he hits it anyways two seconds later and then follows with the Cross Rhodes to put Zeke away like a jobber at 2:15. Another far too short match. At this point they should just send Zeke back to Florida or cut him from the roster because the dude brings nothing to the table. 1/2*
We get another video package for Edge being announced as the first entrant into the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame class. I was a bit shocked they put him in so quickly, but it certainly makes sense and you can't say the guy doesn't deserve it.
Backstage Santino Marella wants to run a few new match ideas by Teddy Long. First up, some sort of twisted Russian doll cage-within-a-cage-within-a-cage match. Next, Santino wants to reverse the ruling made by former WWF President Jack Tunney all those years ago that banned reptiles from ringside after Jake Roberts' snake bit the Macho Man. Teddy ain't into reptiles though playa. David Otunga interrupts them to inform Teddy that he's been sent by John Laurinaitis to help him come up with the Smackdown entrants for the Royal Rumble, so Teddy books him into a match with Santino. Santino and Otunga take off and Drew McIntyre walks in, but before he can say anything Teddy tells him to go to the ring because his match is up next.
Ted DiBiase (8-12) vs. Drew McIntyre (5-10)
Hunico rides down to the ring on the back of his homey's low rider to watch the match and join the commentary table. Drew immediately looks for the win with a boot and a cover, but he only gets a two count. Drew gets sent to the floor and Ted comes flying out after him with a tope suicida right in-front of the announcer's table. Hunico and Comacho mumble a bit in Spanish and then challenge DiBiase to try and throw one of his tailgate parties in Hunico's barrio. Back in the ring Drew kicks the second rope into Ted's throat and then grabs a loose armbar. Ted hits a lariat and goes to the top rope, but Drew catches him with a lariat of his own on his way down while Hunico tries to convince Booker to pawn one of his gold rings. Ted finishes up with the Dream Street slam and pins Drew at 3:45. So Drew should probably be fired now, right? This was a nothing match, the cameras were more interested in Hunico at the commentary table than the match itself. *
Sheamus (19-11-1) vs. Jinder Mahal (5-6)
Mahal claims that he's the most dangerous when he's the least expected, so he's glad that nobody thinks he's going to win the Rumble. That's looking at the glass half-full Jinder. Sheamus starts off brawling with Mahal and looks for the Celtic Cross powerbomb early, but Jinder bails out of the ring to avoid it. Sheamus brings him back in with a sling-shot shoulderblock for a near fall. Jinder manages to sneak some knee-strikes in and hit a neck breaker for a near fall of his own before slapping on a chinlock. Sheamus breaks it up with the clubbing forearms and then finishes Jinder off with the Brogue Kick at 3:56. Oh look, Sheamus squashing Jinder Mahal again. This was about as exciting as it sounds. Sheamus looks strong going into the Rumble though. 3/4*
Backstage AJ wants to talk to the Big Show about his match with Bryan tonight. She says that she knows Bryan is a good guy deep down and she doesn't want him to get hurt tonight when Daniel walks up to confront them. He accuses Show of trying to steal his girl and then tells him to walk off. Show tells him he's changed since becoming champion, but he won't have that problem after tonight when he takes it from him. Show walks off and Bryan asks AJ if Show was giving her a any trouble, calling himself her "knight in shining armor" before taking the creepiness level all the way up to a 10 by asking AJ just how much she loves him before walking off with her to go some place quiet. This feels like the start to an after-school special about date rape.
Santino Marella (3-3) vs. David Otunga (2-2)
Otunga doesn't seem amused by Santino's goofy aloofness and makes him pay for it with some nasty elbows off the ropes. Santino comes back with some punches and a hip-toss, followed by a diving headbutt. That sets up The Cobra, but Otunga grabs Santino and slams him in a sort of Samoan Drop for the pin at 2:01. Typical Santino match, quick and minorly amusing. 1/4*
Funkasaurus Rex AKA Brodus Clay (0-4) vs. Tyson Kidd (0-9)
Somebody call my mama! No reaction whatsoever to Clay's entrance, which makes it that much funnier. You can tell Clay is having the time of his life doing a combination of Flash Funk and Dusty Rhodes. Clay literally just splashes Kidd off the ropes within five seconds and wins the match at a whopping 0:14 seconds. I can't rate this anything other than FUNKY.
Backstage Teddy Long is busy getting down and singing "Somebody Call My Mama" until Aksana interrupts with the cheesy saxophones of doom for some more painful and creepy flirting. Teddy you are such a man-whore.
Tamina (5-5) vs. Natalya (6-10)
For a second I literally thought they were just re-playing the match these two had last week, but alas, it was in fact a different match. Nattie is pissed to start and delivers a sick suplex for a near fall. Tamina leap-frogs Nattie and gives her a Samoan Drop in response. That sets up the Superfly Splash giving Tamina the win at 0:58. This was a carbon copy of last week's match. and shockingly enough it wasn't any more entertaining the second go-round. 1/4*
Wade Barrett comes out next looking rather dapper with a single rose in the front-pocket of his overcoat. He claims to not be impressed by the performance by Sheamus earlier in the evening against Jinder Mahal. Barrett promises to win the Royal Rumble and then announces that he's going to wrestle Sheamus on next week's show in Las Vegas before exiting with a "God Save the Queen!".
World Heavyweight Title No DQ/No Count-Out Match
Daniel Bryan © (13-15-1) vs. Big Show (14-6)
AJ comes to ringside to cheer Bryan on tonight. Daniel tries to shake Show's hand at the bell, but Show just picks him up and press slams him instead. Total domination this week once again by Show as he tosses Bryan around like a rag-doll, shaking off his kicks with ease. Show spears Bryan in mid-air coming off the top rope and Bryan bails out of the ring to catch his breath again while we take a commercial break. When we return Show is tosses Bryan on top of the commentary table. Bryan grabs a steel chair from near-by and starts waffling Show with it over and over again, showing a renewed mean streak. Show just tosses the chair aside though as Bryan retreats back to the ring. Bryan cuts Show off on his way into the ring with a few kicks but Show over-powers him yet again. Bryan gets a few more kicks in and then DDTs Show onto the steel chair, but the giant kicks out at two anyways! Bryan grabs the chair to try and mount some more offense, but Show knocks it out of his hands with a big right fist. Show strips the commentary table at ringside but Bryan hits him low before he can choke-slam him through it. Bryan follows up with a few more chair-shots, but gets caught running off the apron with another huge right hand from Show. Didn't steel chairs knock Show out enough for Bryan to pin him at the TLC PPV? And now they have no effect whatsoever on him? Show winds up chasing Bryan around the ring and accidentally knocking down AJ, who seems pretty much dead. Show checks on her first and actually appears to start crying before Bryan comes over to check on her along with an EMT. Well, it looks like we've got ourselves the old Sports Entertainment finish at around the 7:00 (shown) mark. This was going along okay until the booking kicked in, but the finish does allow Bryan to keep the title without Show having to lose. So I guess this furthers their feud along, and I'm guessing they'll throw Mark Henry into the mix for a three-way at the Rumble. The crowd doesn't buy any of this though and is chanting "She's okay!" loudly while AJ is being stretchered out next to a sobbing Big Show. There are so many things wrong with this image, I don't know where to start. Match was decent, in the **-ish star range before the finish, but without one I can't properly rate it. [N/R]
We go off the air with Bryan screaming at Show up the rampway while AJ is being stretchered out, asking him how he could be so wreckless. He shoves his finger in Show's chest and calls him a bastard, and we fade to black with Show's snot and tear covered lips quivering. Scary sight to go off on.
Bottom Line: Man, I don't know what has happened to this show. There was a point in time where I looked forward to Smackdown every week for atleast one if not two lengthy, competitive matches. Now we're lucky if even the main event breaks into the 10 minute mark. Nothing but short throwaway matches all night long and the main event was more about the angle than the title or wrestling. If you're interested in seeing where this Bryan/Show angle is headed you'll probably enjoy portions of this show, but otherwise, this was a flat out stinker this week. Thumbs Down.