WWE Smackdown - May 25, 2012
What better way to open Smackdown than a recap of story lines that take place primarily on Raw? Well, dozens, but you work with what you got, right? A long winded package on the Cena/Ace/Big Show saga. This, of course, takes precedence over both the WWE Title and World Heavyweight Title pictures. Even the mention of the World Heavyweight champ relates to his bump into Big Johnny on Monday.
To start the show itself, Eve heads to the ring. She sings Johnny's praises and announces that she has been placed in charge for the night. Alberto del Rio is quick to interrupt and butter up Eve, but is quickly interrupted by Randy Orton. After introducing himself to Eve, he suggests that the people decide who should be the number one contender, in the spirit of "People Power". Before the vote can take place, Kane enters and says that Sheamus, a ghost, should have to face the Devil's Favorite Demon. Also, this is Smackdown episode 666 and people cheer for this fact. Weird crowd. Eve does the only sensible thing and makes a triple threat match for the main event. We're all supposed to hate Eve and Johnny, but they at least continue to make logical matches...that aren't always tag matches.
We get a recap of Christian's return at Over the Limit which segues into his entrance.
Match 1 - Christian (Intercontinental Champion) vs Hunico, non-title
Winner: Christian via pinfall
Pretty straight forward match. They're still in the 'reintroducing' stage of Christian's return and he seems to have settled on a Killswitch -> Frog Splash finishing combination. Cole still thinks the Frog Splash is new, because he apparently doesn't pay attention to anything that has happened more than a year ago. Hunico is a great option for a match like this, because he's a heel who people are happy to hate and see get beat up and he's more than solid in the ring, which serves as a good compliment to Christian's varied offense.
Cody Rhodes comes out and says that after all the prestige he worked to restore to the IC title, Christian ruined it in one night. Rhodes vows to recapture the title and re-restore the prestige to it; this should be a good rivalry both on the mic and in the ring. Rhodes has improved in both facets substantially in the last year and Christian is just smarmy enough where he can say everything with a smirk and people love him. I'm more than happy to see a few more matches between them.
Match 2 - Jimmy and Jey Uso vs Titus O'Neil and Darren Young
Winners: Young and O'Neil via pinfall
O'Neil and Young have indeed settled on the backbreaker/elbow drop combo like I predicted; it's the safest of the double team moves they've tried out and a variant on the classic Sidewinder. The match was a bit short, but both teams hit hard and fast.
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The crowd loves to chant along with the Usos, and after the backstage segment they prefaced the match with, that's ok; both teams were great for a laugh. Not every wrestler needs to be super serious; both teams can do the silly, entertaining promo given the chance and they should get that chance more often than they do. Good stuff all around.
Sin Cara returns next week. If I had to guess, a two minute match against Hunico or Tyson Kidd just to reintroduce his offense.
Match 3 - Brian Edwards and Kevin Bendl vs Ryback, tornado rules
Winner: Ryback via pinfall
Ryback has two bursts of pyro in his entrance, and they show neither on camera; silly. Ryback enters with a nasty black eye and busted capillaries; must have taken a bad kick at a house show or something. The usual Ryback beatdown, including a spinebuster into a deadlift powerbomb that looked like a combo out of Tekken. To finish, Ryback performs his Fisherman Buster on both men stacked up, which was pretty damn impressive.
|No seriously; both at the same time.|
Ryback still wants to be 'fed more', but after two months, I'd like to know what he means; they've provided absolutely no information on this men, which is enough to start him down the path to being boring. Feed us more...information.
Match 4 - Santino Marella (United States Champion) vs Ricardo Rodriguez, non-title
Winner: Santino Marella via pinfall
Ricardo does his own introduction and it would have been a travesty had he not. Normally I'd complain about this being a 'waste' of time, but a comedy match isn't necessarily a bad thing; and this was a damn good one. A few minutes of sillyness, followed by a Cobra and a three count. The more time Ricardo gets on television, the better. Very fun.
Sheamus comes out for his 'apology' to Big Johnny, which of course ends up with him calling Ace an arse. Sheamus says that if he had his choice, he'd face Orton for the title at No Way Out. Vickie comes out to introduce Swagger to face the champion, and the crowd gives her the business worse than usual. Get that heat, lady!
Match 5 - Jack Swagger vs Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion), non-title
Winner: Sheamus via pinfall
This match is the beginning of the obviousness that Sheamus is being groomed to be the 'next John Cena'. Sheamus fights through outside interference and a hurt ankle (against a guy that uses an ankle lock) to finish the match with the Brogue Kick. Which is a kick. Which uses that hurt ankle. The guy has two other viable finishers in the Celtic Cross and White Noise, but they elect to have him use the move that focuses on his hurt ankle. The comebacks aren't quite at the Cena level yet and he's a bit more believable in the back and forth action, but continuing down this path is going to turn the same sect of fans that boo Cena against Sheamus. On the positive side, this was just a poorly thought out end to an otherwise good match and Swagger was allowed to take the World Heavyweight champion to the limit. He and Ziggler need to be on their own as singles wrestlers; Ziggler can talk a good game and is a hell of an athlete and Swagger is just the kind of guy to always be in contention for the IC or US title. Either that or feed the tag titles to them while they're still together.
Match 6 - Yoshi Tatsu vs Damien Sandow
Winner: Damien Sandow via pinfall
Sandow says he's going to impart a lesson upon Tatsu physically and that it is for the good of both Tatsu and the crowd. Sandow proceeds to squash Tatsu, delivering knees to the head, a smooth russian leg sweep and the same Cross Arm Neckbreaker he employed last week. No name for it yet, but that will come...maybe.
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Sandow does a cartwheel to celebrate and heads on his merry way. Sandow had good banter with the ref in the ring; it's a little detail, but an important one for a pompous ass of a heel.
We are treated to a Raw Rewind, which amounts to this:
Big Show heads out to the ring to have a chat with the crowd. As he is now a heel, he wears slacks, a shirt and a tie. Because that's what heels do in 2012. Big Show loves what he does; he loves to dominate people. He says that he didn't sell out; instead, he made a deal. Over the Limit was a ruse that he and Big Johnny perpetrated and at No Way Out, he'll KO Cena again. He finishes by telling the crowd that he doesn't care about any of them and as he heads up the ramp, Kane begins his entrance for the main event. Odd that Kane entered as Show left; they have a bit of a staredown, then Show leaves and Kane enters. Then Daniel Bryan enters, chair in hand and proceeds to bash the bejeezus out of Kane's arm. Repeated shots leads to Kane hurt in the corner as the other two men make their entrances.
Match 7 - Kane vs Randy Orton vs Alberto del Rio
Winner: Alberto del Rio via pinfall
The usual triple threat shenanigans, with one man out of the ring for most of the match to allow a singles match type of focus. Bryan enters the fray late in the match to distract Kane, which allows Orton to hit an RKO, but del Rio tosses him aside and steals the pinfall. Sheamus vs Alberto del Rio at No Way Out is your World Heavyweight Championship match.
As ADR celebrates up on the stage, Sheamus comes out and bashes him one in the back of the head. That's your good guy champion; a back fighter. That's also the end of your Friday night wrestling fix.
So Bryan continues the mini rivalry he's had with Kane, which hopefully doesn't go too far beyond tonight, as he needs to focus on CM Punk. Perhaps at NWO, Kane somehow costs Bryan his title win, allowing the rivalry between he and Punk to continue inching closer to a blow-off at Summerslam. At least this way, there's no need to hot potato the WWE title around for a bunch of short reigns. Kane shared that odd stare-down with Big Show during his entrance, which was oddly placed. Seems to be for a reason, which we'll hopefully see play out. Sheamus cracked del Rio from behind to end the show, so that should generate a quick rivalry for them. Hopefully next week, Ricardo gets to try again against Santino; I'm always happy for a laugh. Seems like AJ's action has shifted to Raw; hopefully that's a good sign, as they don't tend to shift folks from Smackdown to Raw without at least some purpose.