[TV Recap] WWE Friday Night Smackdown – 1/11/2013

WWE-Friday-Night-Smackdown (Small)

With a Friday off and the potential for an actual eventful Smackdown, I’ve decided to give the show a shot this week. The main event tonight is The Big Show Vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing match. WWE has already spoiled who wins, but I won’t be doing the same because of reasons. Also The Rock will be in attendance. That’s a thing.

Click “read more” for a full recap of the show as it happens.

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Quick Match Results:

  1. Randy Orton defeated *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro by DQ when The Shield interfered in 9:39.
  2. Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee defeated The Great Khali & Natalya in 2:44.
  3. Sheamus defeated 3MB (Slater/Mahal/McIntyrein a Handicap match in 0:46.
  4. *WWE World Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No defeated The Prime Time Players in 2:19.
  5. Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show (c) in a “Last Man Standing” Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship in 17:53.

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*****

Tonight on Smackdown: The Rock returns to Smackdown (and Miami), The Big Show defends the World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio (complete with his old heel quips).

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Opening Segment

We go “live” to the arena in Miami, FL. Lillian Garcia (so that’s where she’s been) introduces GM Booker T to the ring. Josh Matthews welcomes the home audience and discusses Booker’s potential “big” announcement with broadcast partner JBL. Booker welcomes everyone to Smackdown. Cue the canned applause. Booker says Monday’s show was epic and anything Raw can do, Smackdown can do better. Booker says Raw gave the WWE Universe Cena/Ziggler, so Smackdown will get Randy Orton Vs. Antonio Cesaro. Nice. Booker then hypes up the return of The Rock to the B-show after a 10 year absence later tonight. We cut to a graphic of Show Vs. Del Rio as Booker announces it’s a Last Man Standing match (obviously done in post-production).

The Big Show makes his way to the ring sans music, angry as usual. Show gets in the ring and gets in Booker’s face about how horrible his Last Man Standing idea is. Show says it’s “complete crap” then grabs a mic from ringside. Show asks Booker why he has a problem with him as World Heavyweight Champion, and says Booker wants the Latino population in Miami to embrace Alberto Del Rio. Show says Del Rio is beneath him and you can’t give “people like this” a hero. Show says there are no Latino heroes…then covers that racism up by saying there are also no “Viper” heroes. Show tells Booker that giving the people a hero is a bad idea and advises him to make a “good decision” by changing his mind. Show grabs Booker and pushes him in the corner. Del Rio runs to the ring and saves Booker from an attack. Dropkick into the corner followed by the enziguri in the corner. Del Rio dropkicks Show out to the floor as Booker tries to calm Del Rio. A “Del Rio!” chant supposedly breaks out as he starts walking to the back. Ricardo Rodriguez joins Del Rio on the entrance stage and sarcastically waves at Show who is still at ringside.

  • Segment Thoughts: This started off well, with Booker playing a game of trying to one up Raw with blockbuster matches of his own for his brand (beating the A-show should be a main goal of his) but once Show came out this quickly lost steam with horrible post-production (piped in cheering, the Last Man Standing announcement) and Show desperately playing the race card to try to get Del Rio over. Awkward all around.

—–

A Rock Smackdown Flashback (2001): Shawn Stasiak runs to the ring and demands a title shot against The Rock. The Rock immediately drops him with the Rock Bottom and beats him, effectively giving Stasiak his title shot.

  • Thoughts: I miss Shawn Stasiak. Seriously. No joke. Don’t look at me like that, you’re not my Dad.

—–

-Commercial Break-

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“Voices” plays, bringing out Randy Orton for the opening contest. The piped in cheers are deafening. Matthews and JBL talk about Orton’s plan to win the Royal Rumble and list other entrants (Cena, 3MB, Sheamus, etc.). Orton’s opponent, U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro, makes his way out second waving the American flag. We get a picture in picture promo from Cesaro, who formally announces his entrance into the Royal Rumble match while also making fun of Americans. A sarcastic “USA!” chant from him ends the promo.

—–

Match #1: Randy Orton Vs. *WWE U.S. Champion* Antonio Cesaro

Armbar from Cesaro into a wristlock to start the contest. Cesaro transitions into a hammerlock, but Orton reverses into a side headlock. Orton is whipped into the ropes and he drops Cesaro with a shoulderblock. Cesaro retreats to the corner to regroup. They go to lock up and Cesaro uppercuts him repeatedly instead. Orton kicks him out of nowhere and throws Cesaro out to the floor. Orton bails to the outside and drops Cesaro with a clothesline. Orton gets back into the ring as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

Cesaro has Orton in a reverse chinlock as we come back from break. We see a clip of Cesaro dropping Orton during the break. Orton fights out and delivers an uppercut of his own. Orton hits the ropes for momentum but Cesaro responds with a clothesline for 2. Cesaro deadlifts Orton off the mat and connects with a gutwrench suplex for 2. Cesaro sends Orton into the corner and repeatedly strikes him until the ref forces him off. Snap mare into a seated cobra clutch from Cesaro. Orton quickly fights to his feet and punches his way out but Cesaro drives a knee into the midsection. Orton side steps a corner splash and rolls Cesaro up for 2. Orton tries to continue the momentum but runs into a Cesaro body slam for 2.

Cesaro whips Orton into the corner again but Orton immediately comes rushing out a clothesline. Another clothesline followed by a powerslam from Orton. Running kick to the midsection from Orton but Cesaro catches him with the Swiss Death out of nowhere for 2. Standing front chancery from Cesaro. Orton reverses an Irish whip into the corner but runs into the boots of Cesaro. Orton rebounds though and hits an over the back backbreaker (I don’t know what it’s called). Orton follows it up with the hanging DDT then signals for the RKO. The Shield come out of nowhere to attack Orton, ending the match.

Winner [via DQ]: Randy Orton (9:39)

  • Match Thoughts: A decent match but they seemed to be holding back a little bit (also Orton’s selling of the Swiss Death was the worst I’ve seen). I expect it to be much more competitive on Wednesday when they go at it once again on Main Event. The Shield’s continued assault on Orton makes me happy for many reasons.

—–

Post-Match: Roman Reigns does his war cry as Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins put Orton on his shoulders. The Triple Powerbomb follows, and The Shield pose over Orton’s fallen body.

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-Commercial Break-

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We see a replay of The Shield‘s attack on Randy Orton from like four minutes ago then head to the announce table where Matthews and JBL discuss The Shield. JBL gets heated like usual. They then hype the Show/Del Rio main event for the World Heavyweight Championship.

—–

Matt Striker is backstage with 3MB. Striker asks them about entering the Royal Rumble. Drew McIntyre says the Royal Rumble is now added to the 3MB World Tour. Jinder Mahal says it’s going to rock and roll in Phoenix. Heath Slater says that his mom says this has a 10% chance of winning the Rumble and headlining Wrestlemania. McIntyre says they have a certain “Irish tenor” to attend to. Mahal says what Sheamus did on Monday was “out of tune” then Slater says they are going to beat him like an Irish drum before they head out.

Back to the announce table JBL doubts their chances at winning the Rumble, then they hype the CM Punk Vs. The Rock main event that will happen on that show.

—–

CM Punk and Paul Heyman Visit the SunLife Stadium

CM Punk is at the SunLife Stadium in Miami, the site of Wrestlemania 28. Punk says people assume he’s gonna ruin The Rock‘s homecoming due to what happened Monday but he says that further than the truth. Punk says he’s a huge fan of Rock’s, especially his college football career. Punk puts on a Dwayne Johnson Miami Hurricanes jersey as Paul Heyman smiles. Punk says Rock never played football at the SunLife Stadium, he played at the Orange Bowl. Punk says that they tore down the Orange Bowl (Heyman saying “laid the smackdown on the Orange Bowl!”) and says that it must be something for Rock’s old place to be torn down. Punk says that’s appropriate because the WWE is no longer his home either. Punk says the WWE is trumpeting The Rock’s return to Smackdown and he has no doubt Rock is going to his whole “Finally!” thing. Punk tells Rock that he can “never go home”. Zoom in on Punk’s face to end the pre-taped segment.

  • Segment Thoughts: I did a horrible job of recapping this, let me just say that right off the bat. As far as the quality of this…I enjoyed it. More of Punk being serious and almost dismissive of Rock’s return to the company. His “you can never go home” line to cap it off was great as well and in some ways I agree with that sentiment, especially since The Rock has a bigger career in another industry now.

—–

Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee make their way out for the next match, a mixed tag team contest. Big E Langston accompanies them to the ring. We see Ziggler’s loss to John Cena on Monday despite Langston’s interference. They pose some more as we go to commercial.

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-Commercial Break-

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Matt Striker interrupts Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez backstage in the locker room. Del Rio gets on The Big Show for his negative words about the Latino community. He says he will show Show what “La Familia” means and the last man standing tonight will be a Latino.

  • Thoughts: Jesus WWE is laying it in thick tonight.

—–

Match #2: The Great Khali & Natalya (w/ Hornswoggle) Vs. Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee (w/ Big E Langston)

Ziggler and Khali start off. Ziggler tries to use his speed but Khali throws him into the ropes and drops him with a forearm/clothesline/something. Khali backs Ziggler in the corner and delivers a loud chop to the chest. Ziggler bails to the opposite corner and Khali chops him once again. Ziggler avoids Khali as best he can and tags Lee in. Lee skips around Khali, who turns around to tag Natalya. Lee jumps on his back and Natalya rips him off. She repeatedly slams the back of Lee’s head onto the mat then hits a discus clothesline. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter but Lee bites Natalya’s knee to break the hold. Incensed Natalya attacks Lee in the corner, and Lee cowers in the ropes to force a break. Natalya goes back to her, and Lee bites the side of her face. She hits the Sliced Bread #2 out of nowhere for the 1…2…3.

Winners [via Pinfall]: Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee (2:44)

  • Match Thoughts: Well that was pretty terrible. Why didn’t Khali try to break up the count? Also how did Lee get the Sliced Bread #2 out of nowhere since all she did was bite for her offense? Wow.

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Post-Match: Big E Langston hits the ring and runs over Khali with a clothesline/pounce. Ziggler then hits the Fameasser which Khali horribly sells. Hornswoggle tries to escape the ring but Langston grabs him and prevents it from happening. Langston picks Hornswoggle up and drops him with the Big End.

  • Thoughts: Why didn’t Langston hit the Big End on Khali? Actually there’s probably a good strength-related reason for that. Also he probably doesn’t want to break his arm.

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CM Punk and Paul Heyman at the SunLife Stadium, Part 2

CM Punk says The Rock has actually convinced himself that he can beat Punk, that he’s a superhero who can save the people from him. Punk says the people deserve to “rot in hell”. Punk says he’s the Best in the World and better than the people…and The Rock. Paul Heyman asks Rock if it bothers him that Punk is better than him. Heyman says he understands the people’s vision that The Rock is the conquering hero who’ll dethrone Punk, but Heyman says Punk has made a career out of stomping on people’s dreams. Heyman says Punk does not share the people’s vision, and in the CM Punk Era “it doesn’t matter what your vision is”. Punk takes the Miami Hurricanes jersey off and drops it on the field. The camera zooms in on it as Punk and Heyman exit.

  • Thoughts: Nice. I really hope Punk retains at the Royal Rumble.

—–

A Rock Smackdown Flashback (1999): The Rock & Sock Connection hijinks between him and Mankind.

—–

-Commercial Break-

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The Rock Returns to Smackdown

“IF YOU SMELLLLLLLLLLLLL…WHAT THE ROCK…IS COOKING!”

The Rock makes his way out to the arena as the Miami fans cheer their heads off. Unlike some of the other cheering tonight it actually sounds genuine. Lillian Garcia introduces him for no reason. The Rock does his usual posing schtick, throwing in the Miami Hurricanes hand gesture for good measure. The music dies down and the “Rocky!” chant starts. The Rock has the camera zoom in on his goosebumps before launching into “Finally…The Rock has come back…*dramatic pause/eyebrow*…HOME!”. The Miami crowd completely eats it up as you would expect.

The Rock calls this a very special show and a special night. He points out Flo Rida in the audience, who responds with the Miami Hurricanes hand gesture. Some boos are very audible. The Rock says he’s back on his show, the one named after him. Rock says he wanted to continue beating up CM Punk after Monday and brings up his disappointment that Punk isn’t in attendance tonight. A “Cookiepuss” chant breaks out because I hate WWE fans. Rock says it all started right here in Miami, on the football field. He namechecks Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis then talks about how awesome the Hurricanes were. Rock says everything he’s accomplished in his life started in Miami, resulting in another pop. Rock says that home for him is Royal Rumble when he kicks Punk’s “Cookiepuss” ass and becomes WWE Champion. What? Rock says Punk didn’t want to show up and have one, he’s going to have some fun of his own.

“HAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLELUJAH!”

Out come The Rhodes Scholars to interrupt The Rock’s homecoming. Damien Sandow introduces himself and Cody Rhodes to The Rock. Sandow says they’re out here not only to help Rock, but to correct him. Rhodes says that Rock is not to become champion, they are. Rhodes says they will defeat Team Hell No for the WWE Tag Team Championship and tells Rock he doesn’t deserve this time. Rhodes suggests that Rock leave the ring before he doesn’t have a choice. Rock calls Rhodes’ mustache a “dead caterpillar” and Sandow immediately says that wasn’t funny. Rock asks Rhodes what is seriously on his face. Rhodes says he’s an adult; if he wants to grow a mustache, he’ll grow a mustache! Sandow says he’s been on a futile quest to find an apprentice and challenges The Rock to answer three questions. If he gets them correct he can stay; if he doesn’t, he has to leave. The Rock tells Sandow to “JUST BRING IT!”.

Sandow asks the first question: “Who was the 19th President of the United States?”. Rock answers with “Rutherford B. Haaaaaaayes…BITCH!”. Sandow says that’s not what the B in his name stands for, but he’s correct. Rock says he knows his 19th century, and says Sandow looks like Abe Lincoln crossed with a Gremlin. Rhodes asks the second question: “What film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993?”. Rock answers with Schindler’s List. Rock then mocks Rhodes for looking creepy until Sandow yells “SILENCE!”.

Sandow goes to the ask the final question, but Rock interrupts. Rock offers to ask them “one final question”. The question: “what happens when you combine geographical elements with its lowest form?”. Sandow answers with “Rock bottom”. The Rock says “exactly” then delivers a Rock Bottom to Sandow. Rock stares Rhodes down. Rhodes takes off his entrance gear and charges The Rock, but runs right into a spinebuster. The Rock follows it up with the People’s Elbow. Rock concludes the segment with a good ol’ “If you smelllllllllllll….” before posing on the turnbuckles.

  • Segment Thoughts: A B-level segment for the B-level show, but it was still very damn entertaining. The Rhodes Scholars were great and even The Rock’s goofy humor was on point. It makes sense for him to be jokey here and call Sandow and Rhodes names, so it worked rather than hindered. Plus The Rhodes Scholars got a hell of a rub from being in the ring with him and I’m all for that.

—–

-Commercial Break-

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3MB are rocking out in the ring as we come back from commercial. Their opponent Sheamus makes his way out next.

—–

Match #3: Sheamus Vs. 3MB (Heath Slater/Jinder Mahal/Drew McIntyre) in a Handicap Match

Slater starts off against Sheamus for his team. Sheamus charges at him and Slater immediately rolls out of the ring to regroup with his partners. Slater charges the ring while Sheamus is talking with the ref and runs right into a Brogue Kick. Sheamus pins Slater while he stares at the other two members of 3MB for the 1…2…3.

Winner [via Pinfall]: Sheamus (0:46)

  • Match Thoughts: That was it? Aw. Damn. I was hoping they’d at least put up a small fight.

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

The Prime Time Players are already in the ring as we come back from break. Their opponents, WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No, make their way out to Kane‘s theme music. We see Daniel Bryan tweaking his knee on Monday’s show allowing The Rhodes Scholars to beat them and earn a title shot.

—–

Match #4: *WWE Tag Team Champions* Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan & Kane) Vs. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil)

Bryan and Young start the match off. Young goes right for the knee then repeatedly strikes Bryan in the face while in the corner. The ref forces him off and he goes running into a Bryan elbow. Bryan sits on the top turnbuckle and Young immediately pulls him off. O’Neil tags in and slams Bryan to the mat. O’Neil whips Bryan into the corner but runs into a pair boots during a splash attempt. Kane gets the hot tag and he has his with The Prime Time Players. Splashes in the corner from Kane onto Young (who’s now the legal man) into a side slam for 2. Young rolls to the apron and drops Kane throat-first on the top rope. Young scales to the top but runs into an uppercut from Kane. Kane goes for a chokeslam on both members of the PTP but they kick him in the gut. Kane ducks, allowing Bryan to hit them  with a double flying knee from the top. Kane drops Young with a chokeslam for real this time for the 1…2…3.

Winners [via Pinfall]: Team Hell No (2:19)

  • Match Thoughts: A total squash, which sucks since PTP are actually awesome. But Team Hell No certainly had some good teamwork moments and I like that the announcers are really pushing Bryan’s desire to be called The Dazzler in 2013. That’s going to be a thing. I can’t wait.

—–

-Commercial Break-

—–

Matthews announces that Eve Torres will defend her Divas Championship against Kaitlyn this Monday on Raw. We then see Alberto Del Rio and The Big Show‘s confrontation from the beginning of the show.

—–

Lillian Garcia lays down the rules for the Last Standing match. World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show makes his way out to the ring. He poses with the belt as we go to commercial.

—–

-Commercial Break-

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Alberto Del Rio makes his entrance via flashy car. The crowd is super loud (TOTALLY NOT POST-PRODUCTION, SHUT UP). Ricardo Rodriguez handles his introduction after he gets into the ring, while Garcia does the introduction for The Big Show.

—–

Main Event: The Big Show (c) Vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez) for the World Heavyweight Championship in a “Last Man Standing” Match

Del Rio goes right at Show but gets dropped with a headbutt. Show places Del Rio against the ropes and chops him down. Del Rio tries to fight back but Slow clubs him with a forearm, then slams him to the mat. Del Rio gets up and hits Show with a savate kick. Del Rio goes for the legs but once again drops Del Rio with a headbutt. Another chop against the ropes from Show, and out he goes to the floor. He grabs a table from under the ring and sets it up on the outside. Show brings Del Rio out and slams him right through the table. The ref starts the count as Rodriguez yells encouragement at him. Del Rio gets up at 6. Show grabs him and headbutts him back down. Show shoos away a stage hand and grabs a chair. Show rolls Del Rio back in and brings the chair into the ring with him. Show goes to hit him with the chair but Del Rio kicks him in the gut. Del Rio picks up the chair and smashes it over Show’s back. He then drives the chair into the ribs before delivering another back shot. Show falls to one knee. Del Rio hits him another couple of times with a chair and now Show is on all fours. Del Rio goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Show picks him up mid-spin. Show goes to throw him out but Del Rio counters and applies the armbar over the top rope while hanging. Show manages to pick Del Rio up, slamming him on the apron to break the hold. Del Rio gets up at the count of 7. Show circles around the ring and heads for Del Rio as we go to commercial.

-Commercial Break-

The fight continues on the outside as we come back from break. Del Rio throws Show arm-first into the ring post but gets floored with a kick. Show rolls Del Rio back into the ring then searches for more plunder under the ring. Show pulls out a second table and brings it into the ring. Del Rio attacks Show from behind after he sets up the table in the corner. Del Rio dropkicks Show into the table, and he crashes through. Show gets up at the count of 6. Del Rio jumps on Show’s back, applying a sleeperhold. Del Rio holds on for a bit but eventually Show flings him off. Del Rio responds with a superkick and a series of rights in the midsection. Del Rio repeatedly tries to knock Show off his feet with running clotheslines to no avail. Del Rio comes off the second rope and lands right into Show’s hand. Show delivers a mean-looking Chokeslam and the ref begins the count. Del Rio back to his feet at 8. Show is in disbelief.

Headbutt from Show knocks Del Rio through the ropes and onto the floor. Show follows him out and smiles as he stalks his prey. Show spears Del Rio through the barricade in WWE ’13 fashion. The ref counts again. Del Rio makes it up to his feet at 9 and Show once again can’t believe it. Del Rio rolls into the ring and Show follows him in, Del Rio still struggling to get to his feet. Show measures Del Rio and clocks him with the K.O. Punch. The count begins. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…Del Rio rolls to the outside…8…the ref breaks his count due to Del Rio being kept up by the apron. Del Rio instantly collapses onto the floor and the ref doesn’t count for whatever reason. Rodriguez tries to wake his friend up as Show rips off the top half of the ring steps. Show runs at Del Rio with the steps but Del Rio sidesteps and he runs into the ring post instead.

Del Rio grabs the ring steps and smashes Show in the head. Del Rio picks the steps back up and throws it into Show’s bad shoulder once again. Del Rio goes for a third as the crowd is revved up by Rodriguez. The third ring step shot knocks Show to the floor behind the announce table. Del Rio then pushes the announce table onto The Big Show! The ref counts. 1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…9…10! We have a new champion!

Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio (17:53)

  • Match Thoughts: A decent TV main event but nothing spectacular save for the last few minutes (Del Rio using the announce table as an assist was smart as hell). Del Rio comes off looking a bit like a fluke-y champion since a technicality saved him from defeat and Show maintains his strength due to having to be constrained by a giant table in order to lose. The babyface Del Rio still has a mountain to climb on the path to acceptance but I’m definitely interested to see what he does as champ…for the few weeks he is champ before losing to Dolph Ziggler that is.

—–

Post-Match: Rodriguez excitedly announce Del Rio as the victor and Del Rio celebrates with the championship in the ring as the canned cheers overwhelm. We see clips of Del Rio winning, then cut to Del Rio celebrating in the crowd as we conclude this program.

*****

Overall Show Thoughts:

  • Outside of The Rock‘s segment and the main event, it was an uneventful Smackdown plagued by technical issues and awkward post-production decisions. Although it has the WWE budget behind them, something just felt so undeniably bush league about the proceedings; it’s obvious that WWE takes the whole “B-show” designation seriously. Del Rio becoming champion might open up some interesting doors though. I’ll keep an eye out but I probably won’t bother recapping it again.
  • Favorite Match: Alberto Del Rio Vs. The Big Show
  • Least Favorite Match: The Great Khali & Natalya Vs. Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee
  • Favorite Segment: The Rock jaws with The Rhodes Scholars.
  • Least Favorite Segment: The opening exchange between Booker and Show. Awful attempts at playing the race card to put a guy over.

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