Friday, March 9, 2012

WWE Friday Night Smackdown! 3/9/12

WWE Friday Night Smackdown
March 9th, 2012
Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
Attendance: Unknown at this time

Welcome back everyone to another edition of 411's WWE Friday Night Smackdown coverage, emanating from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. We're inching ever so closer to Wrestlemania and tonight we've got John Laurinaitis as our guest GM for the evening, so lets see what's in store for us tonight.

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

We open up the show with a steel cage being lowered to the ring as David Otunga introduces John Laurinaitis in the ring next to him. John thanks the board of directors for giving him a shot at running Smackdown tonight, so he's going to make the best of it by starting off tonight's show with a championship steel cage match, which he claims Teddy has never done though I'm pretty sure that's false.

Steel Cage US Title Match
Santino Marella
© (5-5) vs. Jack Swagger (9-8)
Santino as US champion? Well I guess it could be worse. Strange match to go with for the opening cage match here. Swagger dominates to start, easily overpowering Santino. Santino ducks a lariat and tries to leap up the cage, but Swagger won't let him climb so he leaps off onto Swagger, who just catches him and slams him aside like a ragdoll. Santino recovers and tries to set up the Cobra until Swagger grabs him for a back suplex, but Santino hits the Cobra on him anyways on his way to the mat. Dolph Ziggler winds up getting tossed from ringside by a ref outside the ring as we take a commercial break. When we return Swagger is back in control. He tosses the Cobra puppet outside of the ring in disgust but winds up getting rolled up for a few close near-falls by Marella. Swagger hits the Swagger Bomb for a two count and then tries to scale the cage, but Santino jerks him down and begins to climb the cage himself. He gets half of his torso over the top before Swagger yanks him back down to the top turnbuckle. Santino hits a huge tornado DDT on Swagger out of the corner and tries to crawl out the door, but Swagger pulls him back in with an ankle lock. Vickie starts arguing with the ref and then winds up accidentally slamming the cage door into Swagger's face, giving Santino enough time to scurry out to retain the title at 7:30 (shown). I don't mind having cage matches just for the sake of having a cage match, but usually it's best to stick guys in there who will give you a solid match in that scenario, and unfortunately Santino and Swagger definitely aren't those guys. Nothing special. **

Teddy Long comes out to celebrate with Santino on the ramp after the match. Cole announces a big interview segment later with Daniel Bryan and Sheamus before we cut backstage to Laurinaitis and Otunga again. Teddy Long walks in and John threatens again to put his girlfriend Aksana into a match against Kane tonight. Teddy tries to convince him not to and Laurinaitis makes him say please and then apologize. Laurinaitis instead challenges Teddy to a match one-on-one here tonight, and if Teddy wins the match Aksana has to face Kane. Well that's a new spin on a familiar angle.

Drew McIntyre, who was fired last week, comes out next. You know it's kind of hard to buy the whole "he's fired" angle when he comes out still with his entrance theme and everything. Drew grabs a mic though and explains that Laurinaitis has agreed to let him get his job back if he can beat a mystery opponent...who turns out to be the Great Khali. Or, wait, no it doesn't, because David Otunga comes out moments later to tell Khali to beat it, because Drew's real opponent is Hornswoggle.

Drew McIntyre (5-15) vs. Hornswoggle (2-0)
Drew squashes the poor leprechaun obviously, slamming him a few times and then pulling him up before the three count to make him suffer more with a few backbreakers. The ref calls for the bell and awards the match to Drew at 1:25. About as good as you can expect from a squash between these two. After the match Khali attacks Drew while he celebrates, explaining his presence. DUD

Backstage Aksana begs Teddy not to fight Laurinaitis tonight, but he tells her he has to. After a quick commercial break we return to see Laurinaitis warming up backstage. He asks Otunga if he's seen Kane, and Otunga tells him yes and that he's one angry monster.

Mark Henry (12-10) vs. Ezekiel Jackson (14-15)
Oh God this looks bad. Lazy brawling to start between the two behemoths. Henry slams Zeke but misses a follow up elbow drop and Zeke takes it to him in the corner. Henry bursts out of the corner and hits Zeke with the World's Strongest Slam to pick up the win at 1:42. Just another squash match, but Henry could use a quick win like this given his recent struggles. 1/4*

John Laurinaitis (0-0) vs. Teddy Long (0-0)
No awesome neon green baseball cap or old school skateboard for Johnny tonight unfortunately. Laurinaitis grabs a mic at the bell and tries to convince Teddy to lay down, but he refuses so John calls out Kane. Kane makes his way down to ringside but suddenly Randy Orton pops up out of nowhere and RKO's Kane outside the ring, giving Teddy long enough of a distraction to roll Laurinaitis up for the win at 2:28. So shouldn't Aksana have to face Kane now? Match was two minutes of talking and a roll-up, so not exactly Steamboat/Savage here. Teddy and Aksana take off backstage while Orton mugs for the camera at ringside. DUD

Kofi Kingston/R-Truth vs. Primo/Epico
Boy they just love sticking Kofi into random tag teams, don't they? Epico starts off with Kofi, who gives him a quick monkey flip and then tags R-Truth in for a bit of double teaming. Truth hits a spinning leg drop and tags Kofi back in, who gets tossed outside the ring by Epico on the apron. Epico tags in and hits a big exploder suplex on Kofi before applying an abdominal stretch. Primo tags back in and slaps a chinlock onto Kofi as the crowd tries to rally behind him. Kofi gets the hot tag to Truth, who hits the corkscrew elbow on Primo. Kofi tosses Epico out of the ring and Truth hits the What's Up on Primo to pick up the win on the tag champs in this non-title match at 5:12. Pretty good little short tag match here, but shifting Kofi from one tag team to another with little to no explanation to the crowd just seems lazy to me. These two teams could have a solid match with another five minutes though. **

We get another video package hyping the Cena/Rock feud, but fortunately this time it's only highlights and not an entire fifteen minute promo like last week.

Sheamus and Daniel Bryan are both out next to have an in-ring interview with Michael Cole. AJ is at Bryan's side, looking adorable as ever. Cole asks Bryan how much he can contribute luck to his success in the WWE, and Bryan claims to not have any luck at all, because you don't need luck when you're as good as he is. He credits his scientific wrestling skills and his vegan lifestyle for his success, and throws in his charisma and "undeniable sex appeal" as well. Good heat for Bryan here and he seems very comfy working these heel promos now. Cole asks basically the same question to Sheamus, who responds with the usual babyface "I'm lucky to be in the United States, performing for these great fans" shtick. Sheamus says he may be lucky but atleast he doesn't hide behind a 95 pound "little girl who looks like she should be wearing a Catholic school girl's uniform". I'm definitely not going to turn that image down, and judging from the hoots and hollers from the men in the crowd, I don't think anyone else would either. AJ starts to respond to Sheamus, starting with "Well in my point of view" before Bryan abruptly cuts her off and tells her to shut up. Oh that was heeltastic. Sheamus says maybe Bryan should be the one wearing the skirt before promising to beat Bryan for the World title at Wrestlemania. With that the segment is over apparently as Cody Rhodes is introduced for our six man main event, up next.

Randy Orton/Sheamus/Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes/The Miz
No clue why The Miz has been randomly inserted into this match when he's a RAW wrestler. Just kidding, we all know the brand split has been dead for years. Orton and Rhodes start us off and trade a few shots and basic hold attempts before Bryan is quickly tagged in. Bryan hits the running dropkick on Orton in the corner for a two count and then tags the Miz in as Orton tags out to Big Show. Huge palm slap from Show sends the Miz retreating to his corner to tag in Cody Rhodes, who of course wants none of Show and just stalls for a minute until tagging Miz back in as we take our last commercial break of the night. When we return Sheamus is stomping away at Miz in the corner. Sheamus delivers the Finlay Roll to Miz and then lays in some clubbing forearms onto Cody Rhodes on the ring apron. Miz dropkicks Sheamus out of the ring and Bryan takes him out with a flying knee off the apron and then officially tags in to stomp away at Sheamus on the mat, driving his knee into Sheamus' throat repeatedly before tagging the Miz back in, who hits a running knee on Sheamus for a near fall. All three men trade quick tags in their corner, isolating Sheamus in a strong "face in peril" segment. Miz plants Sheamus with a DDT but only gets two. Rhodes tags back in and applies a full nelson to Sheamus briefly until Sheamus breaks it off and tries for the Celtic Cross powerbomb, which Cody reverses into a nice Russian legsweep. Sheamus counters with the Irish Curse backbreaker and he gets the hot tag to Randy Orton, who cleans house on the heels with ease. Big Show tosses Cody out of the ring and chases him all the way to the back while Orton nails Miz with the second rope DDT. He tries the same move on Bryan, but Bryan counters only for Sheamus to toss him out anyways and brawl with him all the way into the timekeeper's section. Meanwhile in the ring Orton hits Miz with the RKO and picks up the win for his team at 10:37 (shown). Really solid six man match here to cap off the show tonight, the heels all looked great working over Sheamus for the bulk of the match and the finish was hot stuff. Good way to close out the show. **3/4

After the match Kane makes his way down to the ring and he and Orton brawl all the way into the crowd and we go off the air with both men trading punches in the aisle-way.

Bottom Line: Pretty solid show here tonight, it's always nice to see a cage match on free TV even if this one wasn't particularly exciting or anything, and the six man tag was really good stuff for the time it got and helped advance atleast four different angles at once, no real complaints here tonight other than a bit of the usual silliness in the middle of the show, so we'll go with a slight Thumbs Up tonight.

Score: 6.0/10

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