Friday, March 2, 2012

WWE Friday Night Smackdown! 3/2/12

WWE Friday Night Smackdown
March 2nd, 2012
Key Arena, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: Unknown at this time

Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411's Friday Night Smackdown coverage, a mere 30 days away from Wrestlemania 28 and the huge Cena/Rock showdown. Let's see what the blue brand has in store for us and Seattle tonight, eh?

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

We open up tonight's show with the 2012 Royal Rumble winner Sheamus making his way out to the ring to cut a promo. He hypes his Wrestlemania title match against Daniel Bryan and then proceeds to explain how when he first won the world title he was just as arrogant and big if a bully as Bryan currently is. Sheamus says he'll be glad to be the one to put Bryan in his place come Wrestlemania time, when suddenly he's interrupted by Vickie Guerrero and her trademark "Excuse Me!" Vickie and Dolph Ziggler come out to the ramp and Dolph claims that he deserves to be in the main event of Wrestlemania, not Sheamus. Vickie starts to run down the Smackdown GM Teddy Long and makes the dubious (and incorrect) claim to have been the only person without the last name McMahon to be the GM of Raw or Smackdown...before she's promptly interrupted by Teddy Long, the GM of Smackdown and unless I've been kept out of the loop definitely not a McMahon. Teddy books a match between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler, and that match is next!

Sheamus (24-13-1) vs. Dolph Ziggler (4-14)
We return from commercial with our opening match already under way. Ziggler leapfrogs Sheamus and then nails him with a dropkick, showing off a bit before locking up with the Celtic Warrior again. Sheamus lays in the clubbing forearms on Dolph in-between the ropes and then suplexes Dolph back in from the apron for a two count. Dolph bails out of the ring for a breather and manages to lure Sheamus out to the apron, where he drops him with a vicious neckbreaker in between the ropes. Ziggler lays in some elbow shots and then applies a chinlock, but Sheamus quickly breaks it up. Sheamus blocks a Fameasser attempt and hits a big running powerslam for another near fall. Ziggler jumps on Sheamus' back and applies the sleeper, but the big man is able to toss Ziggler off over the top rope and to the floor. Ziggler jumps off the top rope back into the ring but jumps right into a huge Irish Curse backbreaker from Sheamus! That should do it, but Vickie puts Ziggler's foot on the bottom rope at the last second. Ziggler counters the Celtic Cross into a close near-fall but Sheamus fires back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Jack Swagger tries to run down and interfere, but he's met on the apron with the Brogue Kick. This distracts Sheamus long enough though for Dolph to hit what starts off looking like a Zig Zag attempt but turns into a Fameasser in mid-air, and somehow Sheamus still kicks out! Huge pop for that near fall. Dolph tries to hop on his back once again but Sheamus catches him and shifts him into Finlay's old Celtic Cross position before dropping him with it, a move that Cole dubs as being called "White Noise" to finally give it a name and Sheamus the victory at 8:23 (shown). Outstanding little opening match here tonight, I was expecting a solid encounter but these two went a step above and managed to fit some very cool counters and spots into a very short time-frame. Finish was great too, good way to start the show tonight. ***

We recap Teddy Long and John Laurinaitis getting into it these last few weeks before cutting backstage to Long walking into his office while talking to Aksana on his cell phone. Laurinaitis and David Otunga are in his office to meet him. Ace says he injured a lumbar when Teddy attacked him and Otunga chips in, saying they still might pursue civil action even if criminal charges haven't been filed, but all they really want is an apology. Teddy refuses and then books Otunga into a match against the Great Khali later and kicks them out.

Santino Marella (5-5) vs. Heath Slater (4-27)
I suppose this is to follow up Heath interrupting Santino's "training session" last week. Santino hits a series of right hands and a hip-toss to start, but Slater blocks the follow up splash attempt with his knees. Heath gets some shots of his own in and hits a leg lariat for a two count. Santino crotches Heath on the top rope and then nails him with The Cobra to pick up the win at 1:56. Just your usual Santino squash here. *

Backstage Eve Torres is busy examining herself in a mirror when Natalya interrupts to tell her what she did to Ryder is inexcusable. Eve says Zack may appear sweet and genuine but he actually stinks, and that's our cue for the Natalya fart gag of the week. Oh sweet God all mighty they're actually turning the fart gag into a full on gimmick, complete with a "No, THAT stinks" catchphrase. This angle has Vince McMahon's sophomoric fingerprints all over it.

Eve Torres (1-1) vs. Natalya (7-13)
Minor "Hoeski" chants for Eve at the bell. Sweet head and wristlock combo from Nattie to start followed by a roll-through for a one count. Both ladies kip up in a somewhat cool spot and Eve slaps the taste out of Natalya's mouth, setting her off in a rage. Eve applies the old straight-jacket choke as a "We want Ryder!" chant starts up just as Eve manages to get a victory roll on Natalya for the pin at 1:42. Slightly better than your average two minute Diva's match. *

Cody Rhodes is out next to poke fun at some more of Big Show's past Wrestlemania losses and embarrassments. He calls Show a choke artist at the "big show" Wrestlemania and is about to introduce another embarrassing clip when he's interrupted by the Big Show himself. Cody takes off as soon as Show hits the ring though and exits through the crowd. Show tries to convince Cody to come back to the ring so they can watch his clip together, and just as Show is about to enter the crowd to haul him back to the ring he's interrupted by Teddy Long. Long walks down and announces that Cody will be defending his Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania against the Big Show. Show celebrates as we segue directly into our next match-up.

Big Show (17-6) vs. Mark Henry (12-9)
Slugfest to start as Henry clotheslines Show out of the ring and then whips him into the barricade by the timekeeper's table. Show barely makes it back into the ring before the ten count, but Henry slams him face first into the steel ringpost as we take a commercial break. When we return Cody Rhodes has joined the commentary table as Henry slams Show's back into the steel ringpost outside the ring again and then nearly decapitates him by tossing the steel steps into the post, narrowly missing Show's head. Back in the ring Henry hits a big Vader Bomb on Show for a close two count. Show fires off a big spear on Henry and then tries for the chokeslam, but Henry counters into the World's Strongest Slam, which Show still manages to kick out of! Henry charges into the corner and Show nails him perfectly with the WMD fist out of nowhere to pick up the win at 5:20 (shown). Actually a pretty decent little power match, but I'm never a fan of a match where one guy dominates the entire thing only to lose off of one move in the end. Henry's stock seems to have fallen. *3/4

Backstage Teddy Long tells Drew McIntyre for the millionth time that if he loses tonight, he's fired. And this time he really, really, super serial means it!

Elsewhere backstage Randy Orton is with Matt Striker, making what seems like his 3rd or 4th "return to Smackdown" in the last few months. Orton says he's back and badder than ever, and he's looking for revenge on Daniel Bryan.

Justin Gabriel (11-18) vs. Drew McIntyre (5-14)
Drew hits a quick clothesline to start for a near fall and then ducks a spinkick from Gabriel before nailing him with a big boot. McIntyre stomps away at Gabriel in the corner but then eats a big tornado DDT from Gabriel. Justin hits the 450 splash to pick up the win at 1:44. And this time, Drew really is fired apparently as Teddy appears on the titan tron to wish him well in his future endeavors. Well atleast the drawn-out angle is over for the time being, match itself was basically nothing but a few moves stringed together. 3/4*

After a commercial break we get the entire Rock/Cena promo from RAW this past week again. Well that was a waste of a good 15 minutes of TV time. Afterwards we cut to the World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan backstage with AJ. Bryan goes for the cheap pop by bringing up his birth place of Aberdeen, Washington, but then follows it up by saying he moved to Las Vegas as soon as possible. Bryan claims to still be a role model and promises to continue to defy expectations by winning at Wrestlemania.

Daniel Bryan (15-15-2) vs. Randy Orton (26-10-1)
Dueling chants for Bryan to start off as this is his home state. Orton is red hot to start, tossing Bryan out of the ring and beating the hell out of him at ringside before curb-stomping Bryan's head against the steel steps! Back inside they fight to the top rope, where Bryan headbutts Orton off. Bryan hits a running dropkick on him in the corner and then begins to target Orton's arm with another dropkick and a big armbreaker as we take our last commercial break of the night. When we return Bryan is still working over Randy's arm, but Orton starts to fight back with his good arm. Orton back drops Bryan to the apron, but Bryan lands on his feet and snaps Orton's neck over the top rope. Bryan takes too long to get to the top rope and Orton nails him in mid-air with a dropkick on his way back into the ring. Orton hits the snap powerslam and then follows it with the second-rope DDT. Orton tries for the RKO and Bryan tries to block it into the LeBell Lock, but Bryan manages to avoid anotther RKO attempt and bail out of the ring. Orton follows him out and is about to DDT Bryan off of the apron when suddenly the lights go out and flames erupt as Kane is here to randomly interrupt our main event. The ref doesn't even wait for Kane to start his attack before calling for the bell to give us an apparent no contest at 6:25 (shown). This was going along quite nicely up until the random and somewhat annoying ending. I mean I know you can't really expect a clean finish with these two here, but Kane? Is this who the WWE has lined up for Orton potentially for Wrestlemania? Meh. **1/2

Kane and Orton brawl in the aisle after the bell sounds as Daniel Bryan takes off without AJ, leaving her in the ring with Kane and Orton. Kane isn't interested in her though, instead going after Orton's shoulder before laying him out and grabbing a mic to tell him "Welcome back".

Backstage John Laurinaitis and Otunga seem impressed by Kane, and Laurinaitis says maybe when he's the GM of Smackdown next week he'll book Kane into a match against Teddy's girlfriend, Aksana as we go off the air.

Bottom Line: Pretty good show tonight despite the unnecessary inclusion of the entire Rock/Cena promo again, we got a great opening match out of Sheamus and Ziggler that really surprised me pleasantly, and a pretty decent main event until the shitty finish and appearance of Kane. Not much else here, but I'll take what I can get these days from the depleted and injury-ridden Smackdown roster. Thumbs Up.

Score: 7.0/10

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