We open Smackdown with a recap of Raw 1000 - expected, but one more reminder of Smackdown being the B-Show, especially with a revamp to Raw's look. Tonight, we determine the number one contender to Sheamus' title in a fatal four way match.
The show proper opens with your new Intercontinental Champion, The Miz and a recap of his victory on Raw 1000. New haircut and some scruff has done wonders for this man to change his look. Miz thanks Christian's peeps for voting for him to defend on Raw. Miz readies his catchphrase and Christian heads out to put a stop to it. Christian mocks Miz's "Awesome" catchphrase and says he wants his rematch tonight.
Match 1: The Miz (c) vs Christian, Intercontinental Championship
Winner: Miz via pinfall
Miz with the early headlock and shoulder block. Miz puts Christian in the corner and hammers on him, but Christian turns it around and lands a back body drop. Miz is thrown over the top but lands on the apron and shoulders Christian in the midsection. Miz wants a suplex to the floor, but Christian slides out and drops him face first on the apron. Christian with a low dropkick to the outside. Back in the ring, Miz counters a tornado DDT attempt and knees Christian in the gut then stomps away. Big right hand puts Christian on his back, but he fights back with rights. Miz whips him to the corner and lands his leaping clothesline, then an axe handle from the top for two. Miz settles into a chinlock. Christian fights out, but Miz hits the ropes, then runs into a flapjack. Miz rolls to the apron and backdrops Christian over the top to the floor, leading to a commercial.
Back, Miz is stomping Christian then lands a running boot to the face for a close two. Christian fights up from another chinlock and lands rights, then a sunset flip for two. Miz hits the backbreaker/neckbreaker combo and gets a two on his side. Miz chokes Christian in the ropes, then rushes him in the corner, but runs into Christian's feet, and then he heads to the top rope. Miz puts a stop to it and clubs away, then climbs up wanting a superplex. Christian punches Miz off then tries the Frog Splash, but lands on Miz's knees, who quickly hooks the leg for two, then again to wear the challenger down. Christian hits a right and a second rope missile drop kick from out of nowhere, leaving both men on the mat. Christian hits a forearm, then a drop toe hold onto the middle rope, then the big jumping-to-the-floor slap. Christian climbs up top for a cross body, getting a two count. Miz rushes him in the opposite corner, but Christian dodges and hits the diving reverse DDT for two. Miz throws Christian into the corner, but Christian hits the springboard sunset flip - Miz rolls through and they exchange nearfalls back and forth. Christian lands a diving back elbow and starts clapping, wanting the Killswitch. Miz counters and Christian backflips out of a suplex attempt, but Miz kicks the knee and hits a snap DDT for two. Miz hops to the second rope, but Christian grabs his foot and slams him down. Christian heads to the opposite corner, wanting a Spear this time. Miz bails to the floor, then baits Christian back in, who runs into a boot. Christian counters the Skull Crushing Finale into a Killswitch attempt, which Miz counters and then thumbs the eye while the ref is in the fray. Miz schoolboys Christian and holds the tights for the win.
Fun match - Much like other guys who have been gone for a month or two, he looks crisp and fresh after having some time out of the ring. It gives people time to miss him (or miss hating him) and gives him a chance to regroup and gather himself. Good showing from both men and a great way to open Smackdown.
Match 2: Jinder Mahal vs Ryback
Winner: Ryback via count out
So Ryback has fully moved on to WWE Superstars from local goofs. I guess that's good. And I'm all for Jinder Mahal getting wrecked. Ryback says it's "feeding time" before the bell. Mahal ties up with Ryback and gets driven to a corner and called stupid. Mahal hits a knee lift and clubs to the back, but runs into the boot to the mat. Ryback then lands a fallaway slam. Mahal rolls to the apron, but thumbs Ryback in the eye, then shoulders him in the gut and kicks his head. Mahal hits a knee lift to the head for a quick pin attempt. Mahal now drops a knee, but gets tossed outside. Quickly back in, Mahal hits a boot to the head for one. More knee drops and an elbow drop and now Mahal wants the Camel Clutch. Ryback immediately lifts him, calls him stupid and hits a backpack chinbreaker. Ryback says it's his turn and slams Mahal into the mat, then hits a spinebuster. He warms up the arm, but Mahal ducks the lariat and bails from the ring. Ryback wants him back in the ring, but Mahal runs the clock out.
A squash match with no squash? That's new. Of all the people to put into a feud with Ryback, Jinder Mahal is a weird choice, but any kind of growth or change is good, so I'm all for it. Maybe Mahal uses his wealth and hires people to fight Ryback?
Recap of Punk attacking Rock on Raw 1000 and then hitting the GTS. Punk seemed apprehensive before and after, even though he was willing to mimic Rock's usual set up position for a big move. Not exactly sure how this plays out, but I'm sure it will play into the "overshadowed" angle that they've mentioned on TV. Then we get Tout responses to the action.
Daniel Bryan is looking pensive in the back and Sheamus walks in and says he knows Bryan has had a rough week. Left at the altar, his now-ex is his new boss, taking a Rock Bottom and Charlie Sheen trash talking him. Bryan says Rock won't be back for six months and nobody cares about Sheen. Sheamus presents Bryan with a gift: "How to Last More Than 18 Seconds". Nice wedding gift, Sheamus.
Match 3: Sheamus (World Heavyweight Champion) vs Cody Rhodes, non-title
Winner: Sheamus via pinfall
Not quite sure why the champion faces somebody in a non-title in the middle of the show. But Cody Rhodes matches are always welcome. Sheamus opens up with power and puts Rhodes in the corner. Rhodes goes behind, but gets elbowed to the mat, then bails to the floor. Rhodes jaws at the ref, thinking the elbow was a cheap shot. Back in, Rhodes kicks Sheamus in the gut, but ends up shouldered to the mat for one. Sheamus wrenches the arm and Cody reverses, focusing on Sheamus' arm. The champion lands a tilt a whirl backbreaker for two. Rhodes fights back again, but gets elbowed to the apron. Sheamus wants the forearms to the chest, but Rhodes elbows out and takes a lap around the ring. This time, Sheamus stands on the apron and hammers on Rhodes' chest while he's in the ring. Sheamus reaches down and picks Rhodes up, wanting a suplex to the floor. Rhodes lands on the apron and shoves Sheamus into the ring post shoulder first. Sheamus is on the floor outside and Rhodes is standing tall in the ring while the ref count. At 9, Sheamus rolls back in. Rhodes stomps Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler's music hits. He slowly makes his way to the ring; so people are allowed to cash in during a match? Wouldn't it be smarter to wait for the end? Let's see what happens...after the commercial.
Back to action, Ziggler is poised at the ready to cash in. Rhodes is still in control, but Sheamus turns the tide with an axe handle, then takes a dropkick right in the mush for two. Rhodes lands a knee to the skull of Sheamus, sitting on the mat - He gets another nearfall. Rhodes continues to wear down Sheamus on the mat. Rhodes drops to the floor and lays into Sheamus, laying on the apron. Rhodes rolls in for a pin, but Sheamus is out in one. Rhodes wants a full nelson on the mat and cinches it in, but Sheamus immediately fights up and out, then throws Rhodes. Rhodes with a kick to the knee and a right hand, but Sheamus hits a back body drop. Sheamus continues the assault, but gets kicked in the knee. Sheamus fights back with a tilt a whirl slam for two. Sheamus misses a short arm clothesline and runs into a back elbow and a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Rhodes climbs up top and Sheamus is way out of position for a moonsault, so h runs awkwardly under it to dodge; that could have ended REALLY badly. Sheamus hits the Irish Curse and gets a near fall, then lifts Rhodes into a fireman's carry. Rhodes elbows out and shoves Sheamus to the floor. Sheamus lands one big shot and climbs to the top rope, but Cody throws him off. Rhodes lands a Beautiful Disaster, but Sheamus kicks out in two. Rhodes wants another, but gets caught on Sheamus' shoulders and takes White Noise. Sheamus heads to a corner, wanting the Brough Kick. He lands it and wins.
There's that HHH booking - The guy that is deemed infallible will always fight back, land a finisher and win clean. I like a clean finish, but once in a while, there has to be something different. Ziggler is teasing a cash in, but thinks better of it, waiting for a more opportune time. Chris Jericho runs to ringside in a Dolph Ziggler shirt and throws Ziggler into the ring, leaving him prone for a Brough Kick. Jericho smirks, happy with the result. A program with Jericho can only be a good thing for Ziggler. Jericho casually enters the ring as Ziggler rises and hits a Codebreaker. Ziggler, being Ziggler, sells it like a shotgun blast, which looks amazing. I look so forward to this program.
Match 4: Antonio Cesaro vs Santino Marella (United States Champion), non-title
Winner: Antonio Cesaro via pinfall
Cesaro gets the "back from commercial" entrance treatment and still has his ludicrous upbeat music to boot. WWE is so damn slow to pull the trigger on positive changes, it's painful. Cesaro out wrestles Marella to start, but a slap to the back of the head makes the US Champ mad. He lands a shoulder throw and Cesaro offers a handshake. Instead, he gives a shot to the head and then traps Santino's arms to deliver Al Snow-style headbutts. Cesaro deadlifts Santino for a gutwrench suplex and settles into a chinlock, but Santino counters with a saito suplex. Santino hits jabs and followes with the headbutt. Santino gets out the Cobra, but Aksana hops on the apron to run interference. Santino hits the hip toss, but Cesaro dodges the cobra and hotshots him on the top rope. Cesaro follows with the Neutralizer and wins.
Ok, Cesaro just pinned a champion, so I guess that's a good thing. Now get him new music and a proper match and I think we're all set! Cesaro is definitely the type that WWE is always happy to push, so here's hoping for him.
A replay of Damien Sandow getting beat up by DX on Raw 1000; he's in action next.
Match 5: Yoshi Tatsu vs Damien Sandow
Winner: Damien Sandow
So we're going to have two matches in a row with a new guy beating someone in 2-4 minutes. Not how you book a show. Sandow opens aggressively and throws Tatsu to the floor, then into the barricade multiple times. Sandow rolls Tatsu back into the ring, then lands a russian leg sweep, rolling up to his feet, followed by his "elbow of disdain". Next he locks up Tatsu and delivers knees to the midsection and finishes with the Cross Arm Neckbreaker.
Dominant as hell, which is great, but we're over a month into these types of matches; now we need more. We know the character, we know the mannerisms, we know the bit. Now give us real matches so we can see what he can really do.
Sandow grabs a mic and addresses the crowd, calling them many mean things - He says that for everyone who enjoyed his beating at the hands of DX, he is their martyr. You're welcome.
A recap video of the confrontation between HHH and Paul Heyman, featuring Stephanie McMahon and even Brock Lesnar! Fair warning, if you have epilepsy, this video could set a seizure off. Lots of flashing from color to black and white at the end.
Another session of Touts about Raw 1000. I thought this was just going to be on three hour Raws...now it's on Smackdown. Ugh.
Match 6: Rey Mysterio vs Kane vs Daniel Bryan vs Alberto del Rio, Number One Contender's Match
Winner: Alberto del Rio via pinfall
Big action to open, with Bryan hitting a dive on Kane and Rey hitting a senton to the floor on Alberto del Rio. Mysterio and Bryan are in the ring and Mysterio hits another senton, but runs into a running forearm from Bryan. Del Rio takes out Kane on the floor and Bryan gets run into ADR, allowing Mysterio to roll him up for a nearfall. Bryan lays into Mysterio with kicks then wants a powerbomb, but Rey lands on his feet and dropkicks Bryan low. ADR stops the 619 with a clothesline and Bryan hits a leg lariat on ADR, then walks into an uppercut from Kane. Kane hits a side slam on Bryan for two. Kane heads to the top and hits the diving clothesline on Bryan. Kane grabs Bryan by the throat and kicks ADR away, then Bryan and Mysterio try a double suplex - Kane reverses, suplexing both men, sending us to commercial.
Kane is still in charge as we return, but Alberto del Rio attacks from behind. Bryan kicks Kane and ADR breaks up the pin. He now lays into Bryan in the corner, who reverses a whip to the opposite corner and lands kicks into del Rio. Bryan goes to the opposite corner, but comes up empty on the running dropkick. Del Rio hits an enzuigiri and then rolls into the Cross Armbreaker. Bryan is fighting it and Mysterio heads to the top rope, dropping a guillotine leg drop on ADR for two. Mysterio follows with a low dropkick to a prone ADR in the corner and Kane reenters the picture, hitting Mysterio and sending del Rio over the top to the floor. Kane whips Rey to the corner with authority and gets a two count. Kane follows with his low dropkick and gets another two. Rey fights out of a chinlock then kicks Kane in the face from the corner twice. Mysterio tries to go over Kane, but he catches him - Rey spins out to a big DDT, but everyone is down and out. Rey heads to the middle rope and tries a diving hurricanrana. Kane catches him, leaving him hanging upside down, which allows ADR to dropkick him in the face, then attack Kane. Kane wants a Chokeslam, but del Rio enzuigiri's his way out, then lands a Backstabber. Bryan breaks up the pin and kicks ADR in the chest on the mat, but misses the headshot and ADR schoolboys him. Bryan rolls this through into a Yeslock and ADR is about to tap; Kane grabs the hand so that he can't and then slaps the hell out of Bryan and clotheslines him over the top.
ADR puts both knees into the arm of Kane and wants the Cross Armbreaker, but Kane stands his ground and hits a Chokeslam - Rey is in to stop the count with a dropkick. Bryan lands a knee off the apron, sending Kane over the barricade into the timekeeper's area. Back in the ring, Rey lands a huge kick to the head of del Rio, but he just barely kicks out. Mysterio wants the 619, but Bryan runs interference. Rey ends up hitting 619 on both men, then climbs up top and hits the splash on Bryan. Ricardo Rodriguez drags Mysterio out of the ring and ADR hops on Bryan, picking up the win.
Your number one contender is Alberto del Rio. We've seen Sheamus and ADR many-a-time now; I'm about ready for something else. The build will be towards who Dolph Ziggler cashes in on; there's no way he doesn't successfully cash in, what with Cena failing to do so. I'm liking the current bit of Ziggler always being at the ready to cash in but something going wrong to foil his plan. Six matches, but aside from the number one contender match, kind of a nothing show. Cesaro and Sandow continue to win quickly, which stunts their growth as on screen characters - Even Ryback seems to be showing more growth. Moving forward, Raw 1001 needs to be a strong episode, or the three hour show experiment could become a failure.