Smackdown Thoughts & Review [January 6, 2012]

by

Big Show and Daniel Bryan wrestle for the World Heavyweight Title as Mark Henry spits nice on the mic. Also, Hunico does the best pin attempt of 2012.

Little Rock, AR

They open with a highlight package of Randy Orton getting injured down the stairs.

Cody Rhodes pins Booker T via Beautiful Disaster Kick

~ Pretty good match with a lot of solid offense from both wrestlers. Cody Rhodes surprised us all with a moonsault off the top turnbuckle on a standing Booker T. Dope! Cody also kicked out of Book’s Scissor Kick finisher. I liked the moment after the match with the crowd showing their appreciation for Booker T and him thanking the crowd.

This should have been built up a lot better. To put this match on first without any pre-match interviews or video packages made this match have less significance. There was that brief encounter on RAW but it’s hard to remember something like that when Chris Jericho returns. I mean Cody Rhodes is beating a legend for crying out loud. I feel this is a major milestone in Cody’s career and it should be treated as such.

Dustin Rhodes is congratulating Cody on beating Booker T in the back. Cody starts talking shit and says that he’s more of a success than Goldust and he’s probably going to surpass their father.

Teddy Long, Zack Ryder, Drew McIntyre and Santino are in Teddy’s office. Santino wants to be Teddy’s assistant. Teddy makes a match between Santino and Drew. If Santino wins, he can be Teddy’s assistant and if Drew wins, Teddy will consider not firing him. Aksana shows up and starts flirting with Teddy.

Daniel Bryan interrupts AJ speaking with Alicia Fox. Fox says that Bryan will probably lose against the Big Show. Bryan wonders why AJ is actually friends with her. Bryan says they can ‘celebrate’ after he beats the Big Show. Bryan kisses her on the forehead then leaves.

Hornswoggle defeats Heath Slater in an over the top rope challenge

After the match Slater jumps ‘Swoggle but Justin Gabriel plays Captain Save-a-Swoggle and hits Slater with a 450.

~ What a joke. Wait. I forgot that the WWE still has to make 9 year olds in the audience happy. I get it now. Gabriel hit a nice STO before the 450. Maybe this is the start of a meaningful push for the South African.

Hunico w/ Camacho pins Ted DiBiase via Shoulder Lock Pin

~ Interesting match with a very cool finish. The odd shoulder lock sub-pin combo was a beauty to look at. A story was told and Hunico and DiBiase delivered it well.

This is another example of the WWE putting forth matches without any buildup. I like both of them and it would have been more interesting with just a little pre-match interview or video package. If we’re not emotionally invested why should we really care about this match? The WWE has abandoned the idea of promoting the quality of their in-ring product a long time ago. They might as well give me a little story to go with their wrestling. If the UFC can produce hype-videos for their early preliminary matches between lesser-known fighters then so can the WWE.

Wade Barrett comes out and brags about what he did to Orton. He says that Orton won’t be able to compete at the Royal Rumble due to a herniated disc. Wade says that Orton is finished and that Wade himself is going to win the Royal Rumble in Orton’s hometown, St. Louis. Sheamus comes out to disagree. Jinder follows and all three wrestlers start brawling. Wade and Jinder gain the upper hand and Jinder gets Sheamus in a Camel Clutch.

They show a Tale of the Tape for Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan. Show has a 12-inch reach advantage and outweighs Bryan by 231 pounds. I wish they would do this more often. At least for every title match.

Santino Marella pins Drew McIntyre via The Cobra

~ Okay match. Drew has shown no signs of improving his connection with the crowd. He never fails to leave me with no reaction towards him whatsoever. I think Santino Marella vs. Colt Cabana would be a dream comedy match. Santino’s comedic timing is so excellent and it shined at the start.

They cut to Drew McIntyre begging Teddy Long for his job. Teddy says that loss is strike two. Drew whines in anguish. Santino comes in and starts blowing his air vuvuzela.

Non-Title Tag Team Championship Match

Epico & Primo w/ Rosa Mendes defeat Air Boom (via pinfall on Bourne after a missed Shooting Star Press)

~ God bless Rosa Mendes. Shuckie Duckie Quack Quack!

Decent match and Epico and Primo are the closest thing to a prototypical tag team that I’ve seen in years. I wouldn’t mind if they were world champions sooner than later. Evan Bourne looked great in his few minutes in the ring. It’s a shame that he supposedly has backstage heat with Triple H and the powers that be. I have a feeling he’ll be F.E.’d if the rumors are true.

Big Show is being interviewed but is interrupted by Daniel Bryan. Bryan says that he wouldn’t have had to work hard for nine years to become World Heavyweight Champion if was born an athletic freak like Big Show was. Show puts tells Bryan to quit being a tough guy and places his hand on his shoulder. Bryan sternly demands Show to take his hand off.

~ Holy shit. This was as good as a segment as it gets. A lot of malice was built without any overtop insults or promos. Less is more, WWE, less is more. This was more of a Scorsese-like moment of tension than the overdone Michael Bay-ish encounters that you see on Raw.

Tamina pin Natalya via Superfly Splash

~ Good but short match. This is a really interesting match since both women are 2nd generation wrestlers. I think with the right kind of build up (there’s that word again) more of the audience would be into this feud. I’m looking forward to a Tamina vs. Beth Phoenix match up.

Mark Henry comes down for commentary.

Mark Henry called Daniel Bryan “a great talent in the midget division.”

Daniel Bryan retains the title against Big Show via Mark Henry’s interference

  • After the match, Bryan celebrated like he just beat Ric Flair at Starrcade 87 Chi-Town heat.

~ Loved that Mark Henry dissed TOOL after an ignorant question. Definitely one of the highlights of the night.

Good match, which is what you can expect if Daniel Bryan is involved. The David & Goliath storyline was played out perfectly. Most of Bryan’s offense was high risk and most of his moves were either off the top turnbuckle or the ring apron. Bryan’s flying knee off the apron to Show’s head was sick. Bryan’s transition from the Guillotine to the Lebell Lock was also a thing of beauty. Show’s offense looked just as impressive, especially the spear and the kneeling chop across Bryan’s chest.

I want to see more of Mark Henry announcing. He was still in character and called the match perfectly. He was able to get himself over and was able to do the same for the Big Show and Daniel Bryan.

Daniel Bryan was finally able to get the majority of the crowd to boo him at the end of the episode. Seeing him celebrate like a madman after the DQ finish made the fans turn on him. It will be interesting to see how the Raw audience treats him on Mondays.

This Michael Cole shit has to stop. It’s not good heat at all. Good heat is Laurinaitis, Cena and Vicky Guerrero. This is just straight up, 100 percent X-Pac heat. I now find his commentary distracting. He doesn’t come off like a guy that loves the business like Jim Ross or Josh Mathews do. TOOL sounds like a puppet without any signs of character. I might have to learn Spanish for the Spanish broadcast.

On a positive note, this was an entertaining episode of Smackdown. This is one of the rare cases where I enjoyed the backstage segments more than the wrestling. Fast forward to Cody’s conversation with Dustin and the Daniel Bryan-Big Show segment. I think Hunico’s fascinating roll up is worth a look as well as the main event. Happy New Year, everybody!

*Picture courtesy of wwe.com

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