Smackdown Thoughts & Review [December 16, 2011]

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Mark Henry is mean as shit. Rosa Mendes makes me cover my lap with a pillow. Sheamus is the new black, and the rest of the Boys in Blue make things interesting as we head into TLC.

Raleigh, NC

Josh Mathews in-ring interview with Booker T

  • Booker says he isn’t going to let Cody Rhodes use this match to make a name for himself and to legitimize himself. He also says he hasn’t thought about returning to the ring full time if he wins on Sunday.

~ And that’s how you rock a promo youngins. It’s sad that Booker T is already a top ten mic rocker after that promo.

Cody walks down and says he has a third match with Daniel Bryan and that if Booker interferes, he’s going to get Booker T suspended.

Cody Rhodes pins Daniel Bryan via Cross Rhodes

~ This match would have been so much better if I didn’t have to listen to TOOL on commentary. That being said, this was pretty good for the amount of time given. Bryan got a lot of offense in and seemed to dominate before Cody squeaked out the win. It’s a mystery on why they book Bryan this way but it’s better than not having Bryan on WWE television at all.

Alicia Fox pins Natalya via roll up

  • After the match, Natalya gets punked again and is then hit by Alicia’s finisher.

~ I understand that they have to constantly build new challengers to Beth’s title but should it be at the expense of Natalya? Natalya is way too skilled and has too much a pro wrestling pedigree to be booked as a Divas mid-card stepping stone. Am I the only person who feels a Natalya face turn would be a compelling storyline for the Diva’s title? I don’t mind Alicia Fox at all but she shouldn’t be defeating Natalya so cheaply.

They cut to Vicky Guerrero giving Jack Swagger a pep talk. Mark Henry butts in and encourages Jack Swagger to seriously injure the Big Show. Henry also offers Swagger a title shot if he’s successful. Swagger blows him off and says he’s going to win the title in the future.

~ Excellent stuff from Swagger here. I hope he shows more of this assertive side in the future.

Epico & Primo w/ Rosa Mendes defeat the Usos (via Primo’s Backstabber on Jey Uso)

~ God damn Rosa Mendes is a work of art. Whew! Anywhos, decent but short match. Usos got more double team moves in than they ever did in the past. I hope both of these teams compete again since they have a lot more to offer than what was shown.

Big Show pins Jack Swagger via WMD

  • Mark Henry watched from ringside.
  • After the match, Henry smacked Swagger and a random WWE cameraman with a steel chair.

~ It’s funny to me how the ankle lock is as weak as a figure four these days. Big Show powered out of it and now I can’t remember the last time somebody tapped to Swagger’s hold. Good match and Swagger put in some fast paced offense at the start. 

They cut to Randy Orton and Zack Ryder chatting in the locker room. Orton doesn’t give Ryder the time of day, nor a ‘Woo woo woo.’ No fun.

Ted DiBiase pins Heath Slater via Dream Street

~ It’s nice to see DiBiase show something new every week. This week he did an interesting roll up from the second rope. Cool stuff. It seems like they’re running out of easy opponents for DiBiase to build winning streak upon. I think it would be best if DiBiase is finally in a meaningful feud with someone with more star power and prominence.

After the match, Jinder Mahal comes out and gets DiBiase in a camel clutch. Teddy Long comes out and puts him in a match with Sheamus.

Sheamus pins Jinder Mahal with a Brogue Kick

~ It was what it was. Jinder actually got some offense in but it was quick and brutal like how you expect it to be. Huge pop for Sheamus, which makes me wonder if he’s going to get a mega-push early next year.

Randy Orton & Zack Ryder defeat U.S. champion Dolph Ziggler & Wade Barrett (via Orton RKO’ing Ziggler)

~ Good match that really picked up whenever Ryder and Ziggler were in the ring together. Really dope sequence where Ziggler tags Wade, then slides out of the ring after he misses a clothesline, Orton then turns around and is greeted by Wade’s huge boot. This match had solid tag team action throughout. I’d watch this match again just catch all of Ziggler’s idiosyncrasies that made this match so much better.

As much attention Zack Ryder is getting these days, the real rising stars of the WWE are Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes. Both men command so much attention on their own brands and are constantly putting forth some of the best matches on every show. I expect both of these wrestlers to get major pushes in the new year.

Tonight was what this week’s Raw should have been. Each match served its purpose in getting you to invest a little more in each Smackdown match on TLC. For our TLC predictions click here.

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