The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12
Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.
Taped from Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.
Christian returns with the Peep Show to start. He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown. The goal here: Convince Christian to join their team. His terms: Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title. Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious. Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.
Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga
We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes. Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes. On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet. Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser. Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up. Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me. The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45. Just more nonsense to further the GM angle. *1/2
Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her. So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin. So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.
AJ v. Nikki Bella
Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support. I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus. Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds. AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch. This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30. Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside. Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.
The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes
Cody’s non-defense of the title continues. When was the last time that thing was actually at stake? Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down. Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12. This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali. He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible. **
Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane. He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby. So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred: Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago. Really? That’s the best they got?
Drew McIntyre v. Big Show
In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51. It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot. Blame the UFC I guess. ½*
Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu
I’m sensing another squash here. Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes. Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35. I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins. That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!
Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.
Chris Jericho v. Sheamus
Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party. Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron. Delayed suplex back in gets two. Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside. We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock. Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner. Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two. Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two. Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex. Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two. Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure. Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there. Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00. These two have some great chemistry together. ***1/2 The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.
Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes. As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.