WWE Friday Night SmackDown!
December 30th, 2011
Banker's Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Attendance: Unknown at this time
December 30th, 2011
Banker's Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Attendance: Unknown at this time
Welcome everyone to the last WWE show of the year 2011! It's been another crazy year in the wrestling business with all sorts of shocking returns and unfortunate demises, but something about the new year always gives me hope as a life-long fan that somehow, [i]this[/i] year will be better than the last. We'll have to wait and see how that plays out, but we've got a good show on tap tonight to close out 2011 it seems with Randy Orton and Wade Barrett clashing once again, this time in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Let's do this thing.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T, and Josh Matthews
We open the show with Booker T being introduced as seems to be the norm every week to start. Booker wants to thank the fans for a great year in the WWE, which has been a lot of fun outside of working with Michael Cole and this recent business with Cody Rhodes. Booker gets ready to do his "Sucka" catch phrase but is interrupted by Rhodes, of course. Cody walks down the ramp with a mic and gets some easy heat by taking a shot at the Colts. Rhodes talks about his great year, defeating Rey Mysterio at Wrestlemania and then winning the Intercontinental title. He enters the ring and Booker takes him to task for not showing any respect to the veterans. Cody, surprisingly, agrees to congratulate him on giving his best effort and he extends his hand, which Booker shakes. Booker gets ready to leave but Cody brings him back in by calling him a nostalgia act and then a semi-literate buffoon. Cody tells him to go home...and is suddenly interrupted by the theme song of Goldust! What the shit?
And indeed, here comes Dustin himself, minus the Goldust make-up, looking pretty good in a suit. I was wondering when they were going to pull out the Goldust card. He walks down to the ring with a mic and tells him that he's his brother and he loves him, but he's going about this the wrong way. Dustin tells him when he was at his worst, Booker took him under his wing, helped him get through it, and have the time of his life when they were tag team champions together many years ago. Cody, nonplussed, calls his brother a joke and says that the fans aren't even worth inspiring. Cody says he restored the Rhodes family name after Dustin "threw up all over it". Booker tells him "Goldie's more of a man than you'll ever be" and then challenges Cody to one more match, this time with the IC title on the line. Cody agrees and Booker takes off, leaving Dustin alone in the ring and open for the Beautiful Disaster knee-strike from his own brother! That's cold blooded man.
Ted DiBiase (8-10) vs. Jinder Mahal (4-6)
Jinder has a typically lame pre-taped promo before the match. When Ted DiBiase has the most personality of anyone in the ring, you know you have a problem. Credit to Ted though, he's been making big improvements in the ring as of late. Jinder hangs him up on the top rope and boots him for a two count. Nice butterfly suplex from Jinder gets another two count. Ted hits a few clotheslines and then a sitout spinebuster for a near fall. Ted seems to tweak his knee after coming off the top and Jinder takes advantage with a quick STO before locking on the Camel Clutch, which is apparently enough to make Ted tap at 2:53. Kind of surprised to see Ted squashed like that, I guess his renewed push is dead again. Not much of a match either obviously, a few basic moves and then they went home. *
Backstage Drew McIntyre walks in on Teddy Long and Aksana in the midst of some more lame flirting. Teddy says he resigned Drew to SmackDown and notes how Drew got lost in the shuffle over at RAW, so tonight apparently if Drew doesn't win his match, Teddy's going to have to start thinking about letting him go. Ted assures him he'll get the job done.
Alicia Fox/Kaitlyn vs. Natalya/Tamina
So these are some random tag teams. Booker is still creepily into Fox ten bucks says they're boning. Kaitlyn starts off with Tamina and like a typical blnode is immediately distracted by something outside the ring, allowed Tamina to jump her from behind and then tag Natalya to slam and stretch Kaitlyn out. That sounds hotter than it actually was. Alicia tags in and Nattie just sort of lets her hit the Booker T scissors kick onto her, which is enough for the win at 1:32. After the match Tamina turns on Nattie, hitting a superkick and then the Superfly splash. This division makes no sense because they're always pulling the rug out from under every person they decide to push. Wasn't Nattie just the Golden Girl along with Beth a few months back? Now Alicia is beating her every week in 90 seconds? It's not like Alicia is even over enough to warrant any kind of push to begin with. 1/4*
After the Raw Rebound video package we cut backstage to the World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan (I'm going to use that sentence as much as I can while I still can) talking with the somehow even more adorable than usual AJ Lee. Big Show interrupts them and asks if he can speak to Bryan alone, and AJ obliges. Show tells him that "giants don't need to be saved", and Bryan denies that, wishing to hype Show up for a tag match tonight with Bryan as his partner. Teddy Long walks up and tells them the match is off though because instead Show is going to face David Otunga, with Mark Henry in his corner. Bryan remarks "Maybe giants do need saving after-all" and walks off while Show does his best to remain calm.
Justin Gabriel (10-15) vs. Hunico (2-1)
Hunico comes out with yet another new member of his random Hispanic gang. A video package with Hunico introduces him as "Comacho" (I believe), someone from his barrio. Oh God I want to make so many Mexican Mafia jokes after watching American Me last night. Might as well just call their stable the Cholos or something equally as stereotypical. Justin quickly sends Hunico out to the floor but Hunico drags him out with him and then delivers a nice Asai moonsault from the apron to the floor. Back in the ring Justin misses a springboard but catches Hunico in a swinging sidewalk slam. He goes to the top rope, but Hunico slams him off with a super-armdrag. Hunico hits the Swanton bomb and that's enough for the pin at 1:47. After the match Comacho delivers a Samoan drop to Gabriel to add insult to injury. These two could probably tear the house down with ten minutes. Shame the only people that get that kind of time on TV anymore are the main eventers. They hit a few nice spots though. *1/2
Big Show (13-5) vs. David Otunga (2-1)
Show comes out solo while Henry is in Otunga's corner as promised. Show of course over-powers Otunga immediately at the bell with big open palm slaps and headbutts. Otunga bails to try to recruit Henry for help but Mark tells him to get back in the ring. Henry does provide a brief distraction, feigning entering the ring, which allows Otunga to hit a few chop blocks and then a big implant DDT. Show just hurls him off of him at the count of two however. Suddenly Daniel Bryan appears out of nowhere outside the ring and nails Henry in the back of the head with his title belt. In what might be the funniest moment I've seen on this show in awhile, Bryan is able to use his title belt as bait for the primal Mark Henry, even yelling out "Come and get it!" to him like he was a dog. And it works! Show tosses Otunga back in the ring and nails him with the WMD Right hand for the win at 3:25. Otunga atleast got a wee bit of offense in before Show squashed him, but Bryan luring Henry backstage like a dog was unintentionally hilarious. *1/4
Ezekiel Jackson (14-12) vs. Drew McIntyre (5-10)
I was wondering what had happened to Big Zeke. No, not really, he could have fallen off the face of the planet and I probably wouldn't have noticed to be honest. We're not two seconds into the match before Zeke is body-slamming Drew, which if you didn't know basically comprises 99% of his moveset. Drew hits a dropkick and gets a near fall. Zeke responds with a few elbows and a headlock that he has to break, allowing Drew to sneak a big boot in and then choke Zeke over the second rope. Jackson counters with a back body-drop and a few lariats in the corner. Sidewalk slam gets Zeke another two. Zeke looks for the torture rack but Drew escapes with a poke to the eye. He tries to pin Zeke with his feet on the ropes but the ref sees it and stops the count. While Drew is arguing with him Zeke sneaks up behind and then rolls Drew up, pulling the tights as well, for the win at 3:52. I'm guessing they had Zeke pull the tights to give Drew an excuse to stick around. Or maybe they're turning Zeke heel, who knows anymore what they're doing with these two guys, and frankly, who cares? *
After a Royal Rumble promo we cut backstage to see Drew McIntyre arguing with Teddy about the ref being biased. Teddy says he can't stand losers, especially ones that make excuses and Drew storms off. '
Sheamus makes his way out to the ring next and asks "What's the crack Indianpaolis?"...I think you meant "What's crackin" Sheamus. Or atleast I hope so, because that sentence made no sense whatsoever otherwise. Sheamus talks about the importance of the upcoming Royal Rumble match, promising to win the match. He's interrupted by...Hornswoggle? Oh God I forgot Hornswoggle gained the gift of speech from Santa Claus on RAW a week back. Sheamus asks him who's going to win the Rumble, and Hornswoggle responds with his own name, running around in a circle shouting it. Sheamus pulls out another Irish limerick and acts like he might turn on Swoggle, but they shake hands instead. Suddenly they're interrupted by Heath Slater, a man so bland that even Michael Cole has nothing good to say about him. Slater compares Hornswoggle to the Brooklyn Brawler and other joke entrants in the past that have promised to win the Rumble. Slater says he's the number one redhead on Smackdown, not Sheamus. That's right, he went there. Slater enters the ring and Sheamus says that he thinks that Slater thinks of himself like the band Journey (is that a good thing?), but he reminds him more of R. Kelly, because he "believes he can fly". And with that Sheamus sends Slater over the top rope and to the floor.
Sheamus (18-11-1) vs. Heath Slater (4-24)
We return from commercial and the match is already in progress between these two, with Sheamus working the hell out of Slater's arm. Sheamus tosses Slater around from one corner to the other before trying to toss him over the top rope again, but this time Slater lands on the apron. No problem, Sheamus will just lay forty fists of fury into your chest in-between the ring ropes bud. Slater is able to hit a big running neckbreaker on Sheamus in response and he follows it with a Russian leg sweep for a near fall. A Sheamus chant starts up while Slater starts picking Sheamus apart with concentrated dropkicks and elbows. Sheamus eventually starts his comeback, hitting big forearms and lariats in the corner. He hits the top-rope shoulder-block and then nails Slater with the Brogue Kick for the win at 4:49 (shown). This was pretty decent while it lasted, Slater is actually a pretty good worker he just has no personality or "spark" to him. These two worked well together given the brevity of the match though, Sheamus looks to be a serious candidate for potential Royal Rumble winner next month. **
Backstage Daniel Bryan is talking to Teddy Long about being Show's "Good luck charm" when Show approaches them. He says it was kind of cute at first but now Daniel's just annoying him. Bryan says he just wanted one "Thank You" and Show can't believe his ears. He tells Bryan that the title has gone to his head when Teddy interrupts to book a World title match between Bryan and Show on next week's SmackDown so they can keep up with RAW, where CM Punk will be defending his title against Dolph Ziggler next week. Show giggles like a little kid and tells Bryan his reign was good while it lasted, to which Daniel snaps back "Well, atleast my title reign was longer than 45 seconds". Homie don't play dat Bryan. I like how they're hinting at potential heel turns for both guys, it keeps the fans on edge.
Falls Count Anywhere Match
Randy Orton (25-9-1) vs. Wade Barrett (9-27-1)
These two have had a pretty good rivalry going the last month or so and have traded a few pins, some dirty, some clean, so this could be seen as the rubber match. They immediately begin to brawl to the floor, where Randy throws Wade into the steel steps for our first pin attempt outside the ring. Randy stomps on Wade's head on the steps as well in an American History X-like moment. Randy looks for the RKO early but Wade shoots him into the steel post and we take our last commercial break while they recover. When we return Wade is laying in closed fists on Orton on the mat. Barrett ties Orton up in-between the ropes and lays in a barrage of sick knees to the face before booting him right out of the ring for a two count on the floor. Barrett knocks Randy around the post a bit and then tosses him back into the ring for another near fall. Barrett hits another boot and then slaps a chinlock on. That doesn't do much so Barrett decides to hit a top rope elbow drop and then return to the chinlock again. Barrett tries a pumphandle slam, but Orton escapes and fires off a powerslam on Wade. He tries for the second rope DDT but Wade sees it coming so Orton tosses Wade out of the ring, over the announcer's table, and into the crowd! Both men take off and begin brawling into the crowd before making their way into the backstage area, where Barrett tosses Orton through a concession table. Orton counters with a toss into some lead pipes and we see some women scattering out of the way as Orton breaks a make-up chair. An elevator opens up in the hallway they're in and Barrett runs into it to seek shelther, but Orton just clears out the elevator and both men trade shots at the elevator door closes on them. Conveniently enough we get the security camera-viewpoint of Orton and Wade fighting in the elevator in black and white. Well I can safely say I've never seen this done before. The camera catches up with them on another floor now as Orton chases Barrett into a corridor, but before the camera can follow them down a set of stairs, Wade apparently tosses Orton down the stairs (though not really), and all we're left with is the image of Barrett at the top of a staircase looking down at an injured Orton at the bottom before Barrett just takes off as apparently that ends this match in a no contest at around the 10:00 minute mark. Apparently Randy was legitimately injured during this match so that explains the haphazard makeshift ending we got to that match. Before that it was going along nicely enough, but without any kind of finish I can't even rate this realistically. The work itself was in the ** star territory until the shit hit the fan and dragged the match down with it.
We close out the show with a shot of Orton at the bottom of the staircase, writhing in pain.
Bottom Line: As Larry used to put it, This was....a show. It wasn't really good or really bad, it was just kind of there. There's nothing match-wise that you need to see on this week's show by any means, but you might want to catch some of the angles being built in preparation for the Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show title match next week, but really, anything you miss you could catch up on with any of the other WWE shows. For a year end show this didn't do much, so I'm going to go with the slight Thumbs Down, just because the WWE usually tries to make an effort to have a good show with a long TV match when it's the last of the calender year, but not tonight I guess. Your mileage may vary. Happy New Years everyone!