Smackdown opens telling us that the main event is Sheamus and Randy Orton vs Alberto del Rio and Dolph Ziggler. Another tag team main event with two rivalries combined...so lazy.
Edge is introduced; SyFy has a new episode of Haven on right after the show and he's part of it. I'm sure there's something wrestling related behind the appearance as well.
Edge plugs his show but eventually wraps around to calling out how odd the Kane/Daniel Bryan dynamic is. Edge begins to mention being a 12-time Tag Champion and Daniel Bryan interrupts. Bryan says that "they" did not become Tag Team Champions; he did. Bryan declares himself the Tag Team Champions and Edge settles him down and asks how he pulled it off. Daniel Bryan says he's in control; an anchor; a rock. Edge calls Bryan out on being "in control" and says "excuse me" which leads to Bryan calling HIM out on being married to Vickie Guerrero. Lots of challenge coming out of Bryan, culminating in him telling Edge to go back to acting and retirement. They end up in a YES/NO argument, prompting Kane to come out and put a stop to it.
Bryan and Kane argue over who is the Tag Team Champions. Edge hastily breaks it up and the Tag Champs say he seems angry and want him to do some of Dr. Shelby's relaxation exercises. Edge gets Bryan being at one with himself, but Kane? He can't understand that. Edge reminds Kane of their checkered past and Kane seems upset, wanting to rectify the situation now. Kane spreads his arms and agrees with the crowd - They should hug it out. And they do! Bryan goes into a NO fit and Edge and Kane invite him in for a hug. Before he can join, Damien Sandow comes out to stop the silliness. Bryan sells an amazing look of sadness/being distraught that he didn't get his hug.
Sandow mocks and chastises the hugs as an abomination. Edge interrupts the interruption, telling him to shut up. Edge tells Sandow that he should fight one of the Tag Champs and he declines. Edge puts it to the crowd, the Tag Champs fight it out while Edge discusses with the crowd and Sandow throws a fit, leading to a commercial.
Wildly entertaining, but twenty minutes into Smackdown and no matches annoys me at a principle level. Sandow is a good addition to this mix.
Match 1: Damien Sandow vs Kane
Winner: Damien Sandow via pinfall
I guess they decided on Kane. Sandow gets shouldered down and runs around the ring, trying to drop an elbow as Kane reenters, but misses. Kane keeps control and rolls back in the ring. Sandow elbows out of a corner, but runs into a big boot. Sandow kicks Kane, who takes exception to it. Sandow rolls to the floor and comes face to face with Bryan who reminds him who the Tag Team Champions is (that is grammatically correct here!) and he runs back in. Sandow manages a headlock, but Kane delivers a belly to back suplex to escape, then a clothesline in the corner. Sandow takes a side slam out of the opposite corner for two. Kane heads to the top and hits the diving clothesline. Kane wants a Chokeslam, but Bryan stands up and screams he is the Tag Team Champions, which distracts Kane. Kane wants the belts, but Sandow attacks from behind with the Straitjacket Neckbreaker and picks up the win.
The result is far more focused on the Bryan/Kane dynamic, instead of Sandow, but it's still a good sign for him that they let him beat Kane on TV. And not via a roll up, mind you - He hit his finisher and pinned Kane. Sandow just needs to expand the matches we see him again and he can begin a real build moving forward.
Kane is in the back and livid, throwing furniture around, looking for Bryan. He finds Dr. Shelby instead. Bryan literally pops out of a box behind Doc after Kane threatens to tear the beard off of his goat face. They argue and Dr. Shelby says it's time for a trust exercise. Kane agrees to not rip Bryan's beard off his face, which Bryan is happy about, and gives Kane his belt back. Shelby will have Booker T book DB in a match tonight to make things right. Kane whispers to Bryan that he is the Tag Team Champions and leaves as Dr. Shelby stops Bryan from responding.
You just can't appreciate the entertainment in this gimmick if you're not actually watching it. So if you're not watching it, shame on you.
Alberto del Rio is in Booker T's office because it's time to confront him about reinstating the Brogue Kick. Booker agrees that reinstating it right before the match may not have been fair, but ADR doesn't get another title shot without earning it.
Divas Champoion Eve Torres heads to ring side to join the commentary team for Layla's match.
Match 2: Layla vs Natalya
Winner: Layla via pinfall
Layla immediately pays more attention to Eve, but aggressively attacks Nattie. Layla looks outside again and takes a discus lariat and a few boots for a two count. Natalya puts Layla in an abdominal stretch. Nattie yells "nobody cares about you" as the camera repeatedly focuses on Eve, so that's kind of funny. Layla rolls Natalya up, who reverses and wants the Sharpshooter, but Layla kicks her off then counters a dragon screw attempt into the Layout; guess she's done with the Bombshell kick already.
A minute of action to push the Layla/Eve issue while continuing to make a joke out of Natalya, which is a damn atrocity. Nothing of note at all here.
Match 3: Alberto del Rio and Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) and Randy Orton
Winners: Sheamus and Randy Orton via pinfall
ADR and Sheamus start out with ADR being aggressive in the corner. Sheamus immediately kicks out and hits a neckbreaker for one. Orton tags in and dropkicks ADR as Sheamus holds him wide open for another one count. Sheamus tags back in and ADR takes over in the corner and kicks away at the leg of the World Champion. Into the opposite corner, Sheamus runs into an elbow but still hits a rolling fireman's carry. Sheamus gets distracted by Ricardo and Vickie and Ziggler attacks from behind. ADR hits a low dropkick and Ziggler tags in to drop his big elbow and lock in a chinlock. Sheamus stands up with Ziggler on his back, but Ziggler keeps the hold. ADR tags back in with a big kick to the back and a rear chinlock. Sheamus stands up and throws ADR to the ropes - On the first try, ADR kicks him, on the second, he gets powerslammed. Tag to Orton for a pair of clotheslines and a powerslam. Orton hits the spike DDT and coils. Ziggler attacks from behind but gets caught in a powerslam. Orton wants a spike DDT on him as well, but ADR manages a Backstabber for a close two.
Ziggler tags back in to keep the pressure on the Viper, but he kicks out of a corner, only to run into an elbow and take Ziggler's jumping clothesline. Another near fall and a chinlock from Dolph. Orton stands up right away and hits a belly to back suplex to break it, leaving both men down. Ziggler makes the tag first and ADR stops Orton from making his. Big back kick from ADR and an elbow, then hopping to the middle rope, but Orton dropkicks him to the floor, leading to tags on both sides. Sheamus with hammers on Ziggler, but he misses the knee lift. Ziggler wants the Sleeper but gets tossed off, then misses the Namedropper and runs into the Irish Curse. ADR runs in to help but ends up taking an RKO. Ziggler grabs the MITB briefcase with bad intentions, but Sheamus Brogue Kicks him to put a stop to the shenanigans and the match.
Good match between four guys we've seen a lot of lately, but a bit of change up on Smackdown is needed. We see some permutation of this on a weekly basis.
Match 4: Daniel Bryan vs Cody Rhodes
Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall
Bryan with European uppercuts to open, taking Rhodes down early, then jawing with the crowd. That's enough distraction for Cody to hotshot Bryan on the top rope and stomp him. Up now for a gourdbuster. Bryan turns it around in the corner and kicks away at the midsection of Rhodes, who fights out, but Bryan flips over him in the corner and hits a running forearm, then the corner dropkick. Bryan is about to get Rhodes in the Nolock, but Kane's pyro hits and he steps out on the stage, then sets off the corner pyro. Bryan stands up to jaw at Kane and when he does, Rhodes gets up and hits Crossrhodes to beat half of the Tag Team Champions.
By all rights, that should have been a long, entertaining match. It continues things with the Bryan/Kane storyline, which is fine, because it's the single most entertaining thing on the show right now. Just a tad disappointed that we didn't get more out of these two - Hopefully in the future!
Bryan is livid and looking for Kane, who he finds laughing. Kane says to consider them even. Bryan says Kane is jealous of Bryan's ability as a singles competitor. Some jokes about basements and petting zoos go back and forth and the Tag Champs notice Sandow and Rhodes off to the side. The champs take exception to tonight's opponents and challenge them. Rhodes and Sandow walk away and now the Tag Champs argue over who they're scared of. It keeps getting better and it just needs to keep going.
Match 5: Brodus Clay vs Heath Slater
Winner: Brodus Clay via disqualification
Before this one even starts, it's enough. Do we really need to see Clay squash Slater this much? We start with a dance off, then a big scoop slam for Slater. A right fist to the gut and a knee lift from Brodus to keep it going, then Slater tries a crossbody, but ends up taking an exploder. Before Clay can continue, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre attack from behind and end up delivering a double suplex, followed by a sliding lariat from Slater. McIntyre picks Brodus up for the first Future Shock DDT on TV in a damn long time, and to put an exclamation point on the attack, Mahal slaps on the Camel Clutch.
Well that was unexpected. If this would have happened a few weeks ago, Sandow would have been involved which would have been good for him. And we all know you aren't allowed to be involved in two storylines at the same time, so the tag match takes precedence tonight. A gaggle of self-proclaimed "under appreciated" superstars teaming up could serve as a good introduction point for Dean Ambrose, who isn't on the new iteration of NXT and has been traveling around for dark matches with the WWE crew.
Match 6: Santino Marella vs Antonio Cesaro (United States Champion), non-title
Winner: Santino Marella via pinfall
Santino tries a drop toe hold, but Cesaro doesn't budge, then delivers a European uppercut and a deadlift salto suplex. Cesaro now with a cravat that Santino fights out of, landing jabs and a forearm, then the split and hip toss, followed by the saluting headbutt. Santino reaches for the Cobra, which is distracted by Aksana yet again, leading to shenanigans with Cesaro throwing the Cobra away. Aksana reaches for the Cobra as Cesaro is thrown to the ropes and takes a tumble in, hurting her leg. Cesaro hits the pop up European uppercut/Swiss Death on Santino and pins him, but the ref is attending to Aksana. Cesaro tells Aksana to get out of the ring and Santino cradles him from behind for the win.
Cesaro is pissed and grabs a mic, telling Aksana (in five languages, of course), that they are finished. Maybe this will give him the opportunity to not be reliant on her distractions for certain wins and be able to showcase his strength and skill in longer matches that he wins via wrestling and not Aksana-related cheating. I think this will be for the greater good.
Match 7: Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes vs Daniel Bryan and Kane (Tag Team Champions), non-title
All the tag teams in WWE surround the ring for this one. A focus on the tag division, instead of four "main eventers" to end the show is a hugely welcome change of pace here.
Rhodes and Kane start it out and Rhodes gets caught in the corner, allowing Kane to strike away at him. Rhodes quickly makes a tag to Sandow, who gets thrown into the ring by his hair. Kane attacks aggressively, wanting to avenge tonight's loss. Kane with a snapmare and low dropkick. Bryan tags himself in and the champs argue about who will fight Sandow - It doesn't matter, as Rhodes tags in. Bryan hits a drop toe hold and kicks to the chest, then a low dropkick for two. Bryan teases a tag to Kane, but says No, leading to an argument, which Rhodes takes advantage of - He shoves Bryan into Kane who ends up on the floor as Rhodes hits a Disaster kick for two. Sandow attacks Kane on the floor then tags back in to lay in huge elbows on Bryan in the corner. Sandow tags Rhodes back in who keeps the pressure on, then puts Bryan in a hammerlock. Elbows to escape, then a double crossbody in the middle of the ring.
Tags on both sides lead to Kane bludgeoning Sandow in the corner, but he kicks his way out, only to get DDT'd. Kane wants a Chokeslam, but Sandow elbows out of it, then runs back into it off the ropes. Rhodes gets in the ring and whacks Kane in the back. Bryan grabs the chair before Rhodes can hit him again and Kane KO's Rhodes. Bryan readies to hit Rhodes with the chair, but hands the chair to a smiling Kane, who hits Rhodes in the gut and back. Bryan grabs himself a chair from the floor and he and Kane measure up for Sandow and take turns on his spine. The production time tries to time the chair shots with camera angle changes, but dear god is it distracting and disrupting. Don't ever do that again, WWE.
Kane throws some of the other tag team members on the floor into the ring and Bryan delivers chair shots to all of them, then Kane joins in. Great way for the Tag Team Champions to make nice with one another. Kane grabs the tag title belts and hands one to Bryan and they pose in the ring together. They still argue about who is the Tag Team Champions, but that's fine by me.
That may very well be the best ending to a Smackdown in years. Pretty good episode on the whole - Sandow gets a rub, we get some interesting development with Bryan and Kane (and the tag division on the whole, really), and even the Divas division gets some attention. We need more Smackdowns like this!