Looking back at Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

Looking Back at: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Hi everyone! Now that I can post on here as much as I like, here’s a cheap plug for a look back at Payback 2013 and seeing if the Ziggler/ADR feud was as good as I remember.

If you don’t want to click the link, the answer’s ”yes.”

Smackdown – August 16, 2016

Smackdown
Date: August 16, 2016
Location: Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, John Bradshaw Layfield

It’s the final show before Summerslam and it’s time to see what the blue show has to offer. Odds are we’ll be seeing a big build towards AJ Styles vs. John Cena II to go along with Smackdown World Champion Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler as guests on MizTV. We’ll also have another chance to see Eva Marie’s in ring debut. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – August 16, 2016

Smackdown – August 9, 2016

Smackdown
Date: August 9, 2016
Location: Rabobank Arena, Bakersfield, California
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, John Bradshaw Layfield, David Otunga

Summerslam is coming up but tonight is going to be another light show as a bunch of the roster is off on a tour of Australia. Tonight is again going to be focused on Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler and their upcoming WWE World Title match, though there’s the chance that the Wyatts will be involved as well. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – August 9, 2016

Smackdown – June 30, 2016

Smackdown
Date: June 30, 2016
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, Byron Saxton

We’re running out of Smackdowns on Thursday nights as we only have two more weeks before heading over to the live world for a major change. It’s also interesting to see how things go without Roman Reigns around, though the more interesting thing will be seeing how he is when he comes back. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – June 30, 2016

Smackdown – June 23, 2016

Smackdown
Date: June 23, 2016
Location: Tucson Arena, Tucson, Arizona
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga

It’s an interesting time in WWE as we’re less than a month away from the new era really taking hold as the Draft takes place and separates the two shows into different entities. On top of that though, Roman Reigns has been suspended for thirty days, meaning the build towards the triple threat match at Battleground could be interesting. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – June 23, 2016

Smackdown – June 16, 2016

Smackdown
Date: June 16, 2016
Location: Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, Mississippi
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

It’s the final show before Money in the Bank so just set up the big six man main event already. This week’s Raw had some strong story building moments for the coming pay per view but the go home Smackdowns can be all over the place quality wise. Hopefully they don’t just bore us with nothing matches that don’t fire up the fans for Sunday. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – June 16, 2016

Smackdown – June 9, 2016

Smackdown
Date: June 9, 2016
Location: Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, Kansas
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton

We’re pretty much at business as usual here as Money in the Bank is a week from Sunday and most of the big stories are starting to round into form. AJ Styles is going after John Cena, the Tag Team Titles are in a big mess of a match and we’ll see yet another combination of the six Money in the Bank participants tonight because just having them be announced over time isn’t an option for whatever reason. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – June 9, 2016

Smackdown – June 2, 2016

Smackdown
Date: June 2, 2016
Location: BMO Harris Bank Center, Rockford, Illinois
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton

Things are rapidly changing around here as we have the new Brand Split in less than two months. More importantly for now however is the freshly heel AJ Styles who has set his sights on the returning John Cena, likely setting up a huge showdown at Money in the Bank. This show will likely focus on the build towards the ladder match so let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – June 2, 2016

Smackdown – May 26, 2016

Smackdown
Date: May 26, 2016
Location: Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton, Mauro Ranallo

It’s actually a big night here as we have two title matches on a single show. First of all we have Miz defending the Intercontinental Title against Cesaro after the champion lost a non-title match this past Monday on Raw. The second title match will see the new US Champion Rusev defending against Kalisto in the masked man’s rematch. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – May 26, 2016

Smackdown – April 14, 2016

Smackdown
Date: April 13, 2016
Location: Valley View Casino, San Diego, California
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

It’s going to be an interesting week as most of the roster is off on the international tour. However we have some fresh names tonight in the Vaudevillains who debuted last week and the even fresher team of Enzo and Big Cass, both of whom will be in the tag team tournament tonight. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – April 14, 2016

Smackdown – February 4, 2016

Smackdown
Date: February 4, 2016
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Monday really didn’t offer us much to see this week as the main event didn’t change a lot. The big story continues to be Brock Lesnar, who isn’t likely to show up on this show. Other than that we’ve got Miz vs. AJ Styles scheduled for tonight which could be good if Miz is allowed to control for a bit. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – February 4, 2016

Smackdown – January 14, 2016

Smackdown
Date: January 14, 2016
Location: CajunDome, Lafayette, Louisiana
Commentators: Byron Saxton, Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler

We’re getting closer to the Royal Rumble and now it’s clear that Brock Lesnar is going to be in the match itself, making it even harder for Roman Reigns to hold on to the WWE World Title. As for tonight though, we have Alberto Del Rio getting his rematch for the US Title after losing the title to Kalisto earlier in the week. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – January 14, 2016

Smackdown – January 7, 2016

Smackdown
Date: January 7, 2016
Location: Laredo Energy Arena, Laredo, Texas
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler

This is a big night as Smackdown is now on the USA Network after sixteen and a half years bouncing around various other networks. Therefore tonight is going to be a major show with two title matches and an appearance from the now injured John Cena. We’re now in full build towards the Royal Rumble where Roman Reigns will be defending the WWE World Title against 29 other men. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – January 7, 2016

Smackdown – December 22, 2015

Smackdown
Date: December 22, 2015
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T., Jerry Lawler

This is the special live show that follows the age of rule of “don’t have a show on Christmas Eve”. It’s also a stacked show as WWE tries to get some more attention on Smackdown before the move to the live broadcast just after the new year. Therefore we have two title matches as Dean Ambrose and the New Day defend their titles. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – December 22, 2015

Smackdown – December 17, 2015

Smackdown
Date: December 17, 2015
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Booker T., Rich Brennan

It’s kind of amazing to see how fast things have gone from boring to a lot more entertaining in the span of a few days. Going into Sunday’s pay per view, things were ice cold and had nowhere to go but up. Now things are hot again with a new World Champion in Roman Reigns as we’ve hit the road to the Royal Rumble running. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – December 17, 2015

Smackdown – November 26, 2015

Smackdown
Date: November 26, 2015
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Booker T., Rich Brennan, Jerry Lawler

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving. We’re in a strange period at the moment as we’re waiting on TLC and the fans don’t seem to be thrilled. Sheamus is World Champion again as Roman Reigns somehow managed to get screwed out of the title again. Those five minutes he held the title were the only five minutes a true good guy had held the title since Summerslam 2014. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – November 26, 2015

Smackdown – November 19, 2015

Smackdown
Date: November 19, 2015
Location: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee
Commentators: Booker T., Jerry Lawler, Rich Brennan

It’s the final show before Survivor Series and the big draw tonight is the four semifinalists in the WWE World Title tournament appearing on MizTV. For some reason I have a feeling this winds up in a tag match, even though the heels should walk out on it immediately to prevent too much damage before this Sunday. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – November 19, 2015

Smackdown – November 12, 2015

Smackdown
Date: November 12, 2015
Location: Manchester Arena, Manchester, England
Commentators: Booker T., Jerry Lawler, Rich Brennan

For the first time in a long time, there’s actual important stuff going on tonight. We’re getting the final three first round matchups in the WWE World Title tournament, which hopefully is the start of a shift back to making Smackdown mean ANYTHING. Then again it could just be laying the groundwork for the move to USA in January so they can pretend it means something and then drop it back to reality. I’ll take what I can get though so let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – November 12, 2015

Smackdown – November 5, 2015

Smackdown
Date: November 5, 2015
Location: World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Rich Brennan, Booker T.

As inconsequential as Smackdown is most of the time, this show is even moreso than usual. Last night at a house show in Ireland, Seth Rollins ripped his knee to shreds and is out until next summer. The title has been vacated for a tournament at Survivor Series but this show was already taped in advance so most of this isn’t going to matter. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – November 5, 2015

The Kyle Report: Wrestlemania 29 Review

Wrestlemania 29 was the 29th annual “Grand Daddy of Them All”,
held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey on April 7th, 2013. It
drew 80,676 fans according to WWE, becoming the second highest attended WWE
event ever, and about 1,048,000 ordered it worldwide. 

The initial video package
talked about Hurricane Sandy, and it focused on the strong people that assisted
those affected by it. Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, narrated
the entire thing and then welcomed us to WrestleMania 29.
The wide-shot camera
angles showed the jammed-packed crowd in attendance. An enthused Michael Cole
said there were over 80,000 people there, and the event was sold out. Then, a
video package was shown of some of the classic moments in WrestleMania’s history
and slides of the wrestlers involved in this show.
Your Hosts Are Michael
Cole, Jerry Lawler, and John Bradshaw Layfield.
Opening
Match: Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins,  Roman Reigns, and Dean Abmrose)
As usual, the Shield arrived
through the crowd while Big Show, Sheamus and Randy Orton entered separately.
Their entrances foreshadowed the story of the match. The Shield worked
together as a cohesive team, while Big Show, Sheamus, and Randy Orton were
fragmented. The Shield went to hit the three-man powerbomb on Sheamus, but the Big
Show saved Sheamus by spearing Reigns. The problems between Team Sheamus started to happen
when Sheamus tried to tag in The Big Show, but Orton selfishly tagged himself
to be the legal man. Orton cleaned house, while the camera showed Big Show
visibly pissed off. Orton set up for the RKO on Dean Ambrose, but wound up
RKO’ing Rollins, who jumped off the turnbuckle, in mid-air. Out of nowhere,
Reigns speared Orton, allowing Ambrose to pick up the win by pinning Orton. JBL
speculated that the Shield might be the greatest team ever. After the match,
Big Show ended up punching both Sheamus and Orton in the face and then walked away in disgust.
Winners:
The Shield in 10:37
Thoughts: An adequate, inoffensive opening tag
match. The story of the match was that the Shield worked as a cohesive unit,
while team Sheamus, Big Show, and Randy Orton could not put their differences aside.
People speculated whether or not Randy Orton would finally turn heel, but WWE ended
up not pull the trigger on the turn. Like I said, it was solid, but the Shield
have had much better matches on free TV. ** 1/2
A video package was
shown hyping up the John Cena vs The Rock match
Ryback
vs. Mark Henry
Henry took control early
on by delivering a powerslam and then a clothesline. Ryback went for Shell
Shock, but Henry pushed him into the turnbuckle. Henry then applied a bear hug. The
crowd then started to chant “Sexual Chocolate”, illustrating how little the
crowd cared about this match. Henry applied another bear hug, only for Ryback to drive
Henry into the corner where he delivered a couple of clotheslines. The crowd
came alive when Ryback executed the “Feed Me More” clothesline. The crowd then popped
huge when Ryback got Henry up for Shell Shock, but Henry countered by grabbing
the ropes and landing on Ryback’s back. Henry proceeded to pick up the win by
pinning him in a very anti-climactic finish. After the match, Ryback hit Shell
Shock, which made Henry’s win rather pointless.
Winner:
Mark Henry in 8:20
Thoughts: The match was tedious, and the crowd only popped
for the big spots, but it was not as bad as it could have been. They did not try to do more than they could, so neither Henry nor Ryback were exposed
for being less than stellar workers. I still do not understand why Ryback lost
this match because he ended up becoming the number one contender the next
night. I also wonder if WWE has a long-term plan for Ryback losing every big
match on PPV in his WWE career. * 1/4
Tag
Team Championship: Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan) © vs. Dolph Ziggler and
Big E Langston w/AJ Lee
AJ kissed Ziggler at the
start of the match. Ziggler turned around only to be kicked in the head by
Daniel Bryan (in what was a convincing near-fall that played off how Bryan lost
to Sheamus last year). Ziggler tagged in Langston and Bryan tagged in Kane. Boo!.
Langston delivered Kane three backbreakers in a row, and then hit a running
body attack. He’s pretty strong, to be honest. The heels made some quick tags and worked over Kane, but Kane fought
back by hitting a sick-looking DDT on Langston. Ziggler pulled Bryan off the
apron, but Kane ended up hitting a sidewalk slam on Ziggler. The pace is really picking up. Kane went for a
top-rope clothesline, but Ziggler moved
out of the way. Ziggler botched a Fameasser and got a two count out of it. Afterwards,
Kane tossed Langston outside the ring, and Bryan nailed Langston in the head
with a stiff knee. Ziggler nailed the Zig Zag and got a close near-fall out of
it. AJ Lee preoccupied the ref, as Kane dodged a briefcase shot and then gave
Ziggler a Chokelsam. Kane tagged in Bryan, and he hit the Flying Headbutt on
Ziggler. It was good enough to pick up the win.
Winners:
Team Hell No in 8:22
Analysis: The de ja vu spot was a nice play off of last
year’s Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan match, and it was actually very believable
near-fall. All four men worked hard, and thus got the rather silent crowd
engaged into it. Overall, it was a rock-solid, energetic match, with all four
men playing their specific roles well. I just wish they had more time and that Bryan
and Ziggler wrestled together longer. ** ¾
John Cena discussed Make-A-Wish and told us that we can donate $10 by texting 80088.

Chris
Jericho vs. Fandango
Fan-dan-go! started by
doing a little dancing, only to get suplexed by Jericho. Bret Hart thought his dancing was more entertaining than a HHH match. Out of
nowhere, Jericho Codebreaker. (By the way, every time I say out of nowhere, Don West screaming on top of his lungs comes to my mind. God, I miss that guy.) Fan-dan-go! fell out of the ring, though.
Jericho then followed up by giving him a dropkick. Back in the ring, Fan-dan-go! started to control the match, but Jericho came back by hitting a double
axehandle and then a Thesz Press. Bah, gawd. Jericho then nailed a cross body block to
pick up a two count. Fandango, however, threw Jericho shoulder first into the ring
post. Fan-dan-go! hit a neckbreaker, and then proceeded to hit his unique Leg Drop
off the top rope, getting a close near-fall. Jericho attempted the Walls of
Jericho, but Fan-dan-go! reversed it and then executed a clothesline. Fan-dan-go! went to the top again, but it was Jericho grabbed the top rope. Jericho went for a
superplex, but Fan-dan-go! countered by hitting a headbutt. Fan-dan-go! went for his top-leg drop, but Jericho moved out of the way. Things got messy when it appeared
Jericho was supposed to hit the Liontamer, but Fan-dan-go! was too close to the
ropes. Jericho tried to cover the botch up by going for the Walls of Jericho,
but Fan-dan-go! countered with a sloppy inside cradle to pick up the win.
Winner:
Fan….dan….go! in 9:11
Thoughts:  I forgot to breathe in the A’s, I think. Anyway, another decent match. There was a good amount of
back-and-forth action and counter-for-counter wrestling exchanges. Jericho’s
mission was to make Fandango look good, and he did a good job of doing so. Aside
from the sloppy finish, Fandango appeared to have some wrestling ability.
Jericho is so good at being able to adapt with anyone and have a watchable match
with them, though. 

The next night, Fandango received a huge babyface reaction,
but the WWE failed to capitalize on it. The thing is the character never really
pissed people off and people never took him seriously. It was just a whacky,
cheesy, goofy, but rather entertaining character. The fans told WWE this, but they did not want to listen. Now, he is receiving
little-to-no reaction at all. ** ½

Diddy performed, which made me hit
the fast-forward button. I like it when they use a music performer to sing
someone’s theme, but to give them their own mini-concert would be equal to
Diddy allowing wrestlers to wrestle at his concerts. I mean people order WM to see
wrestling, not an eight-minute concert. The time wasted here should have been used for the mid-carders that were short-changed.
World
Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio w/Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Jack Swagger
w/Zeb Colter
Zeb Colter cut a promo
on just about every nationality to get cheap heat. Del Rio started aggressively
at the start until Zeb Colter sidetracked him, which allowed Swagger get the
upper hand by throwing Rio into the post. Del Rio got a hope spot in by rolling
up Swagger for a two count but then got a big boot to the face from Swagger. Del
Rio made his comeback by using clotheslines, a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and
then a side kick for a two count. Swagger came back with a shoulder block to the
knee of Del Rio. Del Rio attempted an enziguiri, but Swagger ducked it. Swagger went
for the Swagger Bomb, but Del Rio countered and then hit a Backstabber for a
two. Del Rio tried to end it, but Swagger reversed it with a Gutwrench
Powerbomb for two. The work is solid but the crowd does not care. Swagger locked in the Patriot Lock, but Del Rio reversed it with
his Cross Armbreaker submission. Swagger countered back with the Patriot Lock. We Da People! Del
Rio managed to break the hold by kicking Swagger in the head. Colter put Swagger’s leg on the ropes
while Del Rio was pinning him. Rodriguez chased after Colter on his crutches, but Colter
ended kicking one of his crutches, which made Rodriguez fall to the ground. Honestly, I think Rodriguez and Cotler wrestling would have created more heat than this match. Del Rio was looking at what was going on outside the ring, which
allowed Swagger to attack him from behind. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Del Rio put in the
Cross Armbreaker, which made Swagger tap.
 Winner: Alberto Del Rio in 10:23
Analysis: Solid work, but
nothing remarkable. They had a rather decent scientific match that displayed some
quality mat-work, but the issue was that it just lacked emotion and intensity.
It  honestly felt like they were having an ordinary match, as it just lacked a sense of urgency and desperation and had no heat whatsoever. That could have been because the
feud was too complex for the fans to understand what it was all about. Or, because Del Rio and Jack Swagger’s characters are uninteresting. Or, because they
lacked a great deal of charisma in their particular roles. ** ½
 The
Undertaker vs. CM Punk w/Paul Heyman
Living Colour played Cult
of Personality” and received a big pop from the crowd. The Undertaker’s
entrance was somewhat weird. These goblins were trying to grab his feet but could not. Punk bitch slapped Undertaker in the face early on, only for Undertaker
to come back with a huge boot to the face. Outside the ring, Undertaker tossed
Punk into the security wall. He then threw Punk’s head right onto the announce
table and then into ring post. Undertaker executed a leg drop on the apron on
Punk’s throat. After, Punk took Taker down with an arm drag when Taker went for
Old School. Punk then hit the Old School Clothesline, and Punk dodged the Undertaker’s big boot, sending him knee first into the top turnbuckle. With Taker outside, Punk nailed a
double axehandle off the top to the floor and then inside the ring, he hit a
neckbreaker to get a two count. Undertaker attempted to mount a comeback via
punches, but Punk countered with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Punk went for
the top-rope Old School clothesline, but he was crotched on the top rope. Undertaker
punched Punk in the face, knocking him outside the ring. Undertaker tried
to dive outside the ring, but Heyman got on the apron, which allowed Punk to
attack with a top-rope clothesline.
Later, Punk went to the
top rope and hit the Flying Elbow, although the table did not break. Taker sneaked
into the ring before being counted out. Taker locked in the Hell’s Gate
submission, but Punk answered by rolling him up for two count. Punk locked in the
Anaconda Vice submission Undertaker, which led to a great visual when Undertaker
looked Punk sadistically into his eyes. Punk got out of the way of a Chokeslam
and hit the GTS. Undertaker bounced off the ropes and then hit a Tombstone,
only for two. Great spot. Punk hit a running knee in the corner, but  Undertaker caught him and went  for the Last Ride. Heyman gave Punk the urn,
and Punk nailed Taker in the back of the head. Punk only got a two, though.
Just an awesome exchange there. Punk went for the GTS, Undertaker countered and
hit the Tombstone Piledriver to for win. After the match, Taker walked off the urn that held Paul Bearer’s ashes.
Winner:
The Undertaker in 22:30
Thoughts:
This match was a perfect example of “it is not what you do, it is when and
why you do it”. Everything they did fit the context of the story they were
telling. Both men also had great body language, facial expressions, and
mannerisms, which helped elevate the match’s  drama and also helped transition the match to each different stage. They
also built the match off the audience’s reactions, had them in the palms of
their hands and sent them on a roller coaster ride.
Basically, CM Punk tried to defeat the Undertaker by using a
well-developed strategic plan. He did certain tactics to attempt to play mind games with the Undertaker (which is something that few little people have been able to pull off). Even though it
worked for a good portion of the match, it was not enough to defeat the
immortal Undertaker. 
Also, despite CM Punk going into the match with not a lot of momentum due to him losing four out of the five previous matches, both the Undertaker and CM Punk were able to fool a lot of people by making them believe that Punk had several chances of ending the streak. Just a terrific match. **** ½
No
Holds Barred: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman vs. Triple H w/Shawn Michaels
They brawled right off
the bat, as HHH threw Lesnar into the security wall and then slammed him into the announce table. After, Lesnar
went after Triple H on the floor, but Hunter drilled Lesnar with a stiff
clothesline, which literally knocked Lesnar out. Lesnar had a chair in his
hands, but Triple H drilled him in the face with a knee. Outside, Lesnar drilled
a belly-to-belly suplex, and then Lesnar hit vertical suplex into a slam that
broke the Spanish announce table. After that, a lot of boring stuff happened. Brock Lesnar dominated Triple H forever. HBK tried to save his friend, but Brock Lesnar was having none of that, so he F-5’d HBK. Later
on, Lesnar drove HHH into the steps that were in the ring,but HHH applied the
Kimura Lock. He picked up HHH again and drilled him into steps. This time, Triple
H hung onto his head and drilled his head into the steps. Hunter hit Lesnar with a sledgehammer and then a Pedrigree onto the steps, picking up the win.
Winner: Triple H in 23:30 minutes
Thoughts:
They worked hard. They really did. The problem was nobody cared. The reason the fans did not care was because: (A) Not many people care about Triple H anymore. (B) They never believed he had a chance of losing. Or (C), the Undertaker and CM Punk match
burnt them out. Whatever the case may have been, the match just lacked that
“career on the line” atmosphere. The match also failed to top their brawl on
Raw, which was way more of a intense and bloody back-and-forth brawl, and most of all, I didn’t know who was going get the upper hand.
In my opinion, though, the biggest problem
with the match were the dynamics. Ass-kicker vs ass-kicker matches are
difficult to pull off, especially with WWE’s violence restrictions. I mean Lesnar is a good big man worker, but it is obvious that his
matches with bigger guys aren’t that impressive. His best matches come with
people who can bump like a fish in the water and take a beating (or at
least give off the illusion that they are taking a bad one). Triple H has been known to
take a good beating in the past, but due how fragile his body has become, he can hardly bump
anymore. So, basically, he was not the right size, character, and he could not take enough sick bumps in order to mesh with Lesnar. ** 3/4
A commercial for The
Rock’s next movie, Pain & Gain, is shown. There were clips from the Hall of
Fame ceremony too. Then Hall of Famers were on the stage.
.
WWE
Championship: The Rock vs. John Cena
Rock avoided a  Five Knuckle Shuffle and then hit a DDT. The Rock went for a Rock Bottom, but Cena countered with a Crossface. Rock countered it with a pinfall
attempt but only got two. Cena hits the spinning slam and then the Five Knuckle
Shuffle. Rock wiggled his way out of the Attitude Adjustment and then delivered a
Spinebuster. Cena locked in a the STF, but the Rock got out of it. Rock then hit a
Rock Bottom in for two. Then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment for a count. Selling, no? Okay.
Cena went to the top
rope but missed a leg drop. The Rock connected with  Spinebuster and then the People’s
Elbow for a two count. Cena caught Rock in his arms and then went for the
Attitude Adjustment, but Rock hit the Rock Bottom for another two count. Again, really? Rock
wanted another People’s Elbow, but Cena reversed it with an Attitude Adjustment
for two. This is becoming stupid. They exchanged punches, and then Cena hit a Rock Bottom for a two
count. This is like a Davery Richards match on crack. Cena went for the People’s elbow; you
know, the same move that made him lose their previous match. Nice psychology….not. He then went
for the Attitude Adjustment, but Rock countered into Rock Bottom for two. Do they even have finishers anymore? Jesus. They
exchanged finishing move attempts again a few times, but neither guy could hit.
Rock hit a DDT. Rock went for a Rock Bottom, Cena slipped out, and hit the Attitude
Adjustment, which was enough to win the WWE Championship. It’s finally over! After the match,
they shook hands. Respect is earned! 
Winner
and new WWE Champion: John Cena in 20:23 minutes
Thoughts:
This match lacked psychology, any sort of strategy by either man, a story to follow, and rarely did either John Cena or the Rock played off their previous match at all. There
was no transitional period that elevated the match into the finisher galore stage of the match either. During the beginning, they should have worked over a body part or told some
sort of story. Instead, they used a cheap method to get the fans invested into the match. Trading finisher after finisher just devalued the credibility of their finishers, and it was a very lazy way to put together the supposed biggest match of the year. And, unlike CM Punk and Undertaker, Cena’s victory was never in doubt. I might get some heat for this rating, but I do not care. I
did not enjoy this match at all. * ½
Final
Thoughts:
The mid-carders on the show were evidently held down, so their matches would not
overshadow the main events. That would have been fine had the main events
delivered. However, a show should never rely on one or two matches, because this is what could happen. 

In addition, the crowd
was ready to go home after Undertaker’s epic match yet again. I’ve always believed that a title match should go on last, but I think the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania matches have become an exception to the rule. If Taker loses, the streak is
over, whereas wrestlers lose and then win back the title all the time.

Thumbs
in the middle, leaning down.

Smackdown – April 10, 2012 (Live Tuesday Show)

Smackdown
Date: April 10, 2012
Location: Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, Virginia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, Booker T

This is another special live show with a theme of Blast From The Past. That means that we have the legends coming out again for their semi-annual appearances which don’t mean much other than us getting to say “hey, I know you.” It still should be fun though as most of these shows are. Also we might even get some fallout from last week with Sheamus. Let’s get to it.

Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine is the Indians’ bullpen. How can it be this bad?

We get a quick clip of Bryan breaking up with AJ last week. Bryan is in Piper’s Pit tonight.

Here’s Mean Gene for an interview in the ring with Sheamus. Ok so by interview it means introducing him and standing in the corner. Sheamus talks about there being a code of honor as champion and he didn’t follow it last week. There was a Daniel Bryan chant as he started talking but it wasn’t a huge one. He publicly apologizes to all referees including Chad Patton. Everyone makes mistakes and he always learns the hard way from them.

Ace’s new trumpet music cuts him off. He shows us the clip of the ending of last week’s main event and the Brogue Kick after the match. Ace wants to know who Sheamus thinks he is and demands a public apology. Sheamus says he just did that and Ace says he didn’t hear it so do it again. He does it again and Ace wants an apology to all of the other referees and we get the same exchange with the same result. Now Ace wants an apology to the world which brings a smirk to Sheamus’ face.

Ace says apologize now which Sheamus does, almost laughing at the same time. That’s not good enough apparently and Sheamus is on permanent probation, meaning that if he touches a referee by accident or on purpose, he’s fired. Also he’s being fined $500,000. Also tonight it’s Del Rio/Bryan vs. Sheamus/Okerlund. As long as we don’t see him in trunks again I’m ok. This was an attempt at making us care about Sheamus and while it’s nothing new at all, it’s certainly better than nothing.

Bob Orton wishes his son good luck in his upcoming match.

Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry

Henry misses a charge and Orton pounds away with right hands. He tries to climb the corner to punch even harder but gets slammed out for two. Bob is watching in the back as we take a break, 80 seconds into the match. Back with Orton fighting out of a neck crank. We see a clip from the break of Orton avoiding a charging Henry to send him into the stairs. Back to the neck crank and then a slam sets up a splash for two. Orton gets his feet up to stop a charging Henry and hits him clotheslines which don’t work.

A low DDT like Miz uses gets two. RKO is countered with Henry throwing Orton to the floor. Orton comes back and rams him into the post twice and slides in when Kane’s pyro goes off. Kane pops up on the screen and says by beating him at Mania, he became a monster again. Last week Orton proved he can be just as evil as Kane is. Kane says it shouldn’t end now, so we pan back to see Bob Orton laid out in front of him. The match just stops at about 11:00.

Rating: C-. This was watchable but not much more. I have no idea why it was a no contest instead of the logical countout win for Henry. Henry has a world title match on Monday so you need to keep him strong, but at the same time you don’t want Orton to look weak. The perfect solution? Countout loss, but for some reason that’s not what we get because WWE has no idea what they’re doing for the most part with basic things like that anymore.

Randy runs to the back and finds his dad but Kane drills him with a pipe and says he’s a sucker for family reunions.

Back and we recap what we saw four minutes ago.

DiBiase and Atlas are watching from the back. Atlas says this is going to be a squash match.

Ryback vs. Benny Camer

Patterson and Hillbilly Jim are watching in the back as well. Ryback KILLS HIM with a clothesline right after the bell and then puts him in a torture rack position and falls backwards for the pin at 35 seconds. WAY better than both Lord Tensai matches so far as Ryback looked like a killer.

Heath Slater is trying to talk Tyson Kidd into teaming with him tonight. Slater even has a Hall of Fame manager for them that says Slater could be the next Honky Tonk Man. It’s Jimmy Hart, who looks exactly the same as he did 20 years ago. Take that for what you will.

Mick Foley comes out to do commentary.

Heath Slater/Tyson Kidd vs. Usos

Cole actually references Countdown to Lockdown (not by name) when talking about Foley’s commentary history. We get the Megaphone which never goes out of style. Jimmy starts with Tyson in this NXT special. They exchange cradles and Slater tags himself in. Off to a chinlock and Jimmy says that he’s had more tag champions than anyone in the history of the WWE. I think Captain Lou might have something to say about that. The Usos make the hot tag and clean house, hitting their toss into the Samoan Drop. Mick gets tired of Jimmy and chases him off with Socko, allowing the Superfly Splash to end this mess at 2:40.

Jimmy takes Socko post match. These legends bits aren’t working at all for the most part.

Time for the Pit with Bryan as the guest. He looks pretty good. Old but good. He’s not as big as a house if nothing else. Piper says he misses being here and says Bryan is the guest tonight, getting a somewhat mixed reaction. We see the breakup clip for the fourth time tonight and here’s Bryan. There’s a brief but solid YES chant but it dies quickly. Piper says Bryan looks happy for someone that lost the title in 18 seconds. Bryan says he’s been granted his rematch and the fans chant 18 seconds. The match is at Extreme Rules and it’s 2/3 falls. AJ will be nowhere to be found.

Piper isn’t sure about that but he does know that AJ is here tonight. He likes AJ and since this is his show, AJ, COME ON DOWN! AJ comes out and is very excited to be in the Pit. She says hi to Daniel and Piper is surprised. AJ defends Bryan and says that deep down, he’s a good person. Piper says in the Pit you don’t have to be politically correct. AJ insists it was her fault and begs forgiveness. She wants to talk to Bryan and Piper tries to talk her out of it. Bryan cuts them off and says if AJ loves him, she’ll leave right now. Piper says she doesn’t need to listen to Bryan but AJ leaves anyway, getting a reaction out of it too.

Bryan goes to leave but Piper goes into Hot Rod mode and talks about Bryan’s YES YES YES shirt. Piper says he has a lot of children including four girls, four ladies. Piper says you don’t tell a lady to shut up. That’s a No. You don’t yell at a lady. That’s a No. You don’t use a lady as a human shield, because that’s a coward, and that’s Bryan, also a No. Piper says he’s looking forward to seeing Sheamus kick Bryan’s head off twice. Bryan slaps Piper and runs away. Piper was on here and it worked well.

Drew McIntyre/Bella Twins vs. Great Khali/Natalya/Beth Phoenix

Men vs. men and women vs. women. The men start but Drew gets chopped and tags out. He says he doesn’t need this and walks out. Alicia hits a northern lights suples on Brie for the pin at 56 seconds. What was the point in this match existing?

Mae Young comes out and kisses Khali. I guess that’s why the match existed.

Damien Sandow explains how sophisticated he is. He doesn’t like social media because it furthers the moral decay of society. Preach it brother.

Another clip of Kane and the Ortons earlier.

Raw ReBound.

Gene thinks Sheamus has a plan for tonight. Sheamus says they’re probably going to lose tonight but he’s not going to let Ace have the satisfaction of seeing Sheamus sweat. If they survive, the first pint is on Sheamus. They’ll either drink to remember or drink to forget.

Jim Duggan vs. Hunico

Duggan knocks him to the floor where Camacho is waiting. Duggan calls out Sarge and I think we have a tag match on our hands. Well it is Smackdown after all. Or maybe Sarge throws Duggan the 2×4 and it’s a DQ at 1:00. Hunico takes the Cobra Clutch post match.

Here’s Cody to complain about life in general. He’s looking forward to a future where he’s the champion again and where these legends don’t hog the spotlight. This brings out Dusty for what could be interesting. Dusty says that he’d do anything for his son, but he doesn’t quite get what Cody has been doing lately. Cody has been poking a grizzly bear lately in Big Show. Dusty gets cut off as Cody says Dusty is embarrassing him and they can talk in the back.

Cody goes to leave but here’s Big Show. He does the required Dusty impression and says he’ll show the real Cody Rhodes. It’s one of the Dashing Tips videos, this one being him putting on lip gloss. Cody looks stunned and Dusty looks…..uh…….I think the right word is disappointed. Show says that was embarrassing and leaves. Dusty doesn’t say anything but does get to dance to his music. I still stand by my theory that Dusty’s kids are the biggest ribs in the history of pro wrestling.

Alberto Del Rio/Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus/Gene Okerlund

The Fink does Gene/Sheamus’ entrance, making it instantly better. Sheamus starts with Del Rio but the heels double team him down quickly. Gene is in a Sheamus t-shirt and pants thankfully. Del Rio puts on a facelock but gets backdropped quickly. Sheamus throws both of them around but the Brogue Kick misses. Bryan dropkicks him to the floor and Del Rio kicks his head off.

Gene gets in for some reason and is surrounded. Ricardo is in there too. The Legends Army comes out to distract Bryan, allowing Sheamus to kick his head off for the pin at 3:23. I’m not going to rate it as most of that was Gene getting trapped and the Legends coming in, but the match was nothing at all of note anyway.

The legends all beat up Ricardo and celebrate to end the show. We’re not done yet though as Cole gets in the ring and says he knows they have to get back to the retirement home so let’s get a quick photo. They surround him and Patterson gives him a weak right hand to knock him to the floor. Atlas has some GUNS on him.

Overall Rating: C+. This is a hard one to grade. First of all, if you’re looking for the Smackdown version of Old School Raw, you didn’t get it here. This was more like a regular episode of Smackdown with some legends thrown in rather than the other way around. Now that being said it still worked okish, with the Pit being a highlight. The Sheamus vs. Ace stuff is decent as it gives Sheamus what he needs more than anything else: something people can relate to.

Since he turned face back in August, all he’s really done is beat people up and tell the occasional funny Irish story. That’s only going to get him so far and I think we reached that back in January. This is something a little different and while it’s something we’ve seen before, I liked how Sheamus handled it. It’s something I want to see continue and that’s a really good sign. This was a good show overall, but it’s not a great one.

Results
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry went to a no contest
Ryback b. Benny Camer – Torture Rack Drop
Usos b. Tyson Kidd/Heath Slater – Superfly Splash to Slater
Great Khali/Natalya/Alicia Fox b. Bella Twins/Drew McIntyre – Northern lights suplex to Brie
Hunico b. Jim Duggan via DQ when Duggan hit Hunico with the 2×4
Sheamus/Gene Okerlund b. Alberto Del Rio/Daniel Bryan – Brogue Kick to Bryan

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The SmarKdown Rant–04.06.12

  The SmarKdown Rant – 04.06.12 Taped from Orlando, Florida. Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T & Josh Matthews Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of Smackdown Johnny Ace joins us to start the era of People Power on the shows. He brings out Teddy Long, who cuts a goodbye promo and goes to leave. Ace cuts him off and offers him a job, but Long refuses. So Johnny goes the evil lawyer route, and threatens to cut off his grandchildren’s WWE college fund. I’m pretty sure a real lawyer would have something to say about that. So Long is forced to accept a job and kiss Johnny’s ass. R-Truth v. Mark Henry & David Otunga This would be Truth’s punishment for losing at Wrestlemania. He gets a leg lariat on Otunga for two and a spinning elbow for two, but Otunga tags out to Mark Henry. Henry pounds away while Abraham Washington looks on in the back. World’s Strongest Slam and Otunga tags in for the pin at 2:00. It was what it was. ½* Randy Orton v. Kane This is NO DISQUALIFICATION, so both guys can embrace the hate fully without fear of repercussions. Normally you’d have to break on five while embracing the hate. NOT HERE. They brawl outside and Orton gets sent into the table and introduced to the stairs, and they fight up the ramp and over to the entrance. Orton tries the RKO and gets foiled, and both guys hit the ramp as we take a break. Back with them in the ring, and Kane gets two. Seated dropkick gets two. Kane goes up and gets crotched by Orton, and he gets the dropkick and makes the comeback. Powerslam and Kane bails to the apron, which of course sets up the DDT, but Kane blocks with a necksnap and they fight on the floor again. Orton clotheslines him into the timekeeper’s cubicle , but Kane boots him down again and loads up the plunder in the ring. However, he makes the rookie mistake of tossing Orton in first, resulting in the draping DDT for two. He sets up for the RKO, but Kane EMBRACES THE HATE and beats him down with a chair for two. Orton escapes the chokeslam and it’s RKO and goodbye at 12:18. Gotta love 50/50 booking. This was much better than Wrestlemania. *** Barry Stevens v. Ryback Stevens is just cannon fodder for the repackaged Skip Sheffield. Ryback tosses him around and hits a press slam into powerslam, then finishes with a muscle buster at 1:00. I don’t know that “Ryback” is any better of a name, but the booking is more important anyway. I approve of more squash matches like this. Daniel Bryan joins us for a promo. You’d think the social media-obsessed WWE would make sure to take note of Bryan’s grassroots explosion online or the random crowds at sporting events who are unknowingly supporting a WWE Superstar with their “YES” chants and maybe play it up to make it seem like the cool thing to do, but no. As usual, they ignore it because they don’t know how to deal with it. Anyway, he’s dejected, but AJ tries to cheer him up while the fans do the “YES” chants despite the production crew’s best efforts to mute it. Bryan thinks that the fans are mocking him, and blames AJ for distracting him with the kiss at Wrestlemania. And they’re DONE. He’s gonna get his rematch and win it by himself. And she can take her cheeseburgers that she loves so much and hit the road in her SUV! Uh, I don’t think AJ has eaten many cheeseburgers lately. The fans don’t seem terribly concerned with her departure from Bryan’s life. Big Show v. Heath Slater Show pounds away and puts Slater down with a chop from his knees, then finishes with the spear and chokeslam at 1:08. He chases Cody Rhodes away afterwards, so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. Really? Because Show won it pretty decisively at Wrestlemania, I’d say. Meanwhile, Big Johnny pitches the concept of People Power to Sheamus. So because of Sheamus’ sneak-attacks, he’s expecting that Sheamus will be held to a higher standard as champion. Beth Phoenix v. Nikki Bella Kelly Kelly joins us, so I guess we’re going around with Beth v. Kelly AGAIN. Beth chokes away on the ropes to start and pounds Nikki in the corner, but a blind charge misses due to Kelly’s distraction, and Nikki gets a carpet muncher for the upset pin at 1:00. Wait, are we supposed to be cheering for Nikki? Damian Sandow is here to educate us and make us better people. Let us take you back to RAW, where Brock beats up John Cena and KICKS HIS HAT in a demonstration of hatred and brutality unseen on the show since many years ago. And next week, THE THREE STOOGES. God I hate this company sometimes. Next Week: OLD SCHOOL SMACKDOWN! I’m so there. Sheamus v. Alberto Del Rio Sheamus overpowers him and blocks a blind charge, then hits the Regal roll for two. ADR goes to the arm to take over, but can’t get the armbar and he bails as we take a break. Back with Sheamus pounding away with the forearms on the apron, but Del Rio puts him on the floor with the enzuigiri. Back in, ADR works on the arm for a while, until it’s the pre-approved time for Sheamus to make the comeback and ignore all the pointless working of the arm. He stops to beat up Ricardo, but grabs an errant steel chair and gets DQ’d at 10:40. What a pointless main event. Del Rio didn’t even get an attempt at the armbar, they just kind of wrestled back and forth and went nowhere and then had a random DQ finish. So now ADR is apparently the #1 contender after that awesome effort. *1/2 The Pulse This was basically the anti-RAW. No excitement from the crowd, a bunch of meaningless and forgettable matches, and nothing to build on the momentum from Monday. It was fine to watch, but absolutely nothing you need to watch. Next week’s “blast from the past” live show should be pretty awesome, though.

Smackdown – April 6, 2012

Smackdown
Date: April 6, 2012
Location: Orlando Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews

It’s the first show of the new year on Fridays and we have a new boss. Tonight we have Sheamus vs. Del Rio where if Del Rio wins he gets a title match at some later date. It should be interesting to see where Bryan goes after this as he’ll certainly get a rematch somewhere. It’s always interesting to see where things go immediately after Mania, so let’s get to it.

We open with Otunga introducing Johnny Ace to trumpet fanfare. David is wearing what can only be described as a suit jacket over his shoulders that would be big on Viscera. Ace talks about how he’s going to bring charisma and leadership to this show as it’s never been done before. This is a new era of people power. Ace hopes Teddy will be professional during this transition. He asks Teddy to come out and is almost immediately cut off in his smug speech. Teddy says he can tell Ace what he really thinks of him now that he’s out of a job.

He was told it would be crazy to come to Smackdown tonight but he couldn’t just leave the job without thanking the fans. He’s had a great job being the GM and he’d like a holla holla holla before he leaves. Teddy goes to leave but Ace says hang on a second. He offers Teddy a job in the new administration but Teddy turns it down.

Ace reminds him of his grandchildren who need to go to college. Otunga points out that somehow Ace controls the college fund the company set up for Long’s grandchildren, so Teddy reluctantly takes the job of Ace’s lackey. Oh wait first he also have to say that Ace is better than him or it doesn’t happen. Teddy says it but Ace wants to hear it once more, with feeling. No word on what the job is yet but it likely won’t be good for him. Teddy leaves and Ace announces Kane vs. Orton in a No DQ match, but first we have this.

Mark Henry/David Otunga vs. R-Truth

Apparently Booker has to be in Connecticut for a closed door meeting next week with the WWE bosses. Otunga starts and is quickly taken down by a clothesline for two. Lie Detector gets two. Henry comes in who kicks Truth down with a big boot. Abraham Washington is watching in the back. Truth avoids a charge in the corner and hits a side kick, but the World’s Strongest Slam kills him so that Otunga can get the pin at 2:03.

With all three of them still in the ring, here’s Kane. I guess they’re just cutting down the time between matches because he doesn’t do anything to any of them.

Kane vs. Randy Orton

This is a No DQ match. Kane knocks him to the floor very quickly but Orton rams him into the barricade. Kane sees Orton’s barricade and raises him a table to take over. Orton throws him over the table and then into the steps. This is a total brawl so far. Kane punches him up the ramp and they slug it out on the stage. Orton almost knocks Kane off the stage but Kane grabs him by the throat. Randy fights out of that and tries the RKO but Kane DDTs him as we take a break.

Back with them in the ring and Kane taking off the turnbuckle pad. Clothesline gets two for Kane. Orton breaks up the top rope clothesline and dropkicks Kane down. Powerslam looks to set up the RKO but Kane bails to the floor. He pulls Randy to the floor and they slug it out even more. Kane gets dropped on the barricade and a clothesline knocks him over into the time keeper’s area.

Orton tries the elevated DDT on the floor but Kane fights out of it and big boots Orton down. Kane goes under the ring and throws five chairs into the ring. As he comes back in though Orton kicks him in the face and pops him with the chair a few times. The Elevated DDT onto the chair gets two. Kane picks up the chair and goes off on Randy with it but can only get two. Here comes the chokeslam but Orton shoves him into the exposed buckle and the RKO finishes at 10:20 shown of 13:50.

Rating: B-. I liked the match but I think the one at Mania was better. Orton evening the score here is good as he’s been jobbing a lot lately, but I’m not sure I get the idea of having this rematch five days after Mania. This wasn’t the best No DQ match on Smackdown that I’ve ever seen but it did its job well enough.

We get a package of stills from Bryan vs. Sheamus. You know, to make sure no one sees the full version of it.

We get a clip from Raw with Del Rio and Sheamus.

Jobber Barry Stevens gets to talk while the lower card watches in the back for some reason. He thinks the people in Orlando are rude.

Ryback vs. Barry Stevens

Ryback is more famous as Skip Sheffield and is acknowledged as being on the first season of NXT but his name isn’t given. I’m assuming the roster was watching for Ryback. Total squash with a kind of delayed fisherman’s brainbuster getting the pin at 1:08. It looked kind of like a MuscleBuster but more like a suplex than dropping him on the back of his head.

Here are Bryan and AJ to talk about Sunday. Bryan says he’s had a chance to think since Sunday…and he tails off. AJ takes the mic and says that Bryan is a great wrestler and a great person. She’s not the only one that thinks that, drawing a loud YES chant. She talks about the YES signs and chants at Mania and Raw, even when Bryan wasn’t in the ring, which causes a Daniel Bryan chant. Everyone is here to support him.

Bryan doesn’t think that it’s support, but rather mocking. Fans: “NO! NO! NO!” These people are sheep and they don’t make it any better, because AJ cost him the title. He screams at her about how he beat giants in the cage and how he won the Chamber but AJ just had to have her kiss and cost him the title. It was really the kiss of death.

AJ tries to defend herself but Bryan says she won’t make him the bad guy because it’s her fault. It was her clinginess and selfishness that cost Bryan everything. That’ll never happen again because they’re through. He tells her to go sit in her SUV and eat a cheeseburger. Dang those are some serious words. She begs him to talk about this but he dumps her anyway and throws her out of his ring. The fans give her the Goodbye Song.

Big Show vs. Heath Slater

Cody is on commentary. Before the match Show airs the same video from Raw with Cody getting knocked out. Show chops him a lot and throws him around as Cody says he isn’t sure what went wrong on Sunday. Show tackles him and the chokeslam ends this at 1:14.

Cody almost goes in to fight Big Show but changes his mind. Show knocks out Slater with the WMD.

We get the Punk/Jericho segment from Raw with the alcohol.

The Bellas are in the back with Ace when Sheamus comes in. This is his first appearance as champion: a backstage segment. The referee has been told to bring Alberto and Sheamus face to face tonight so Sheamus can’t kick him in the face. Sheamus says ok and only those that deserve it will get a surprise kick. He talks about his cousin who was a bully and how he was in charge until the people rebelled against him. Subtle.

Beth Phoenix vs. Nikki Bella

Kelly comes out for no apparent reason. Total dominance until Kelly comes to the apron for no apparent reason. She distracts Beth who then charges shoulder first into the post, letting Nikki hit an X Factor for the pin at 59 seconds. This enhanced the show so much for me.

Video on Chief Jay Strongbow who passed away earlier this week.

We get a video on newcomer Damien Sandow, who talks about how real entertainment is a lost art. Instead of listening to Mozart or reading Shakespeare, we now watch Jersey Shore and Real Housewives. He doesn’t blame the people for it, but he will save you from it. Sandow is Idol Stevens from OVW and went by Sandow in FCW.

We get some videos of Cena before Mania, talking about how he has to win. This is followed up by Lesnar’s return and the F5. Once again Cole screws up the return as he sounds like he’s calling a Superstars comeback.

The Three Stooges cast will be guest starring on Raw. I really hope that doesn’t hurt the hot streak WWE has been on.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus

If Alberto wins, he gets a future title shot. We have about 15 minutes of airtime left and this is the first live appearance of Sheamus. That goes a long way in telling you where he stands in the company’s eyes. There’s a break between the entrances and Tuesday will be a live Blast From The Past Smackdown. That should be fun. Josh talks about a WWE Magazine article about what Del Rio’s trunks signify. Booker: “They mean he has money. Don’t overcomplicate things.”

Del Rio tries to go after the arm but Sheamus comes back with the Finlay fireman’s carry roll which I can’t think of the name of. Josh says this is for the title and that isn’t disputed by either other commentator, but I’m pretty sure it’s not on the line here. Alberto works on the arm but the Armbreaker is broken up and Sheamus tries a Brogue Kick which is ducked. Del Rio heads to the floor and we take a break.

Back with Sheamus getting two off the slingshot shoulder. Sheamus hits the ten forearms to the chest but Del Rio escapes and a running enziguri puts Sheamus on the floor. He rams Sheamus’ shoulder into the steps and hooks an arm hold back inside. Sheamus tries a neckbreaker but Del Rio escapes and goes back to the arm.

Alberto charges into the Irish Curse and both guys are down. Sheamus destroys him with power moves and calls for the Brogue Kick but Ricardo pops up for a distraction. Del Rio brings in a chair but Sheamus takes it away. The referee sees him holding it and calls for a DQ at 7:39 shown of 11:09. Sheamus didn’t use the chair.

Rating: C. I wasn’t into this match at all and it really wasn’t a good way to start off Sheamus’ reign. At the end of the day, Del Rio is boring. There’s NOTHING to his character besides he’s rich, he’s Mexican, and he uses a cross armbreaker. That’s it. He was showing some signs of being very evil and sinister when he injured Christian and stood over him with that evil smile, but now that’s all gone. There’s nothing to him but he stays in the title picture non-stop. I don’t get it.

Sheamus kicks the referee to end the show. Nice guy.

Overall Rating: C-. I really wasn’t into this show. They did a really bad job of showcasing the new champion, as he popped up halfway through the show for a pointless backstage segment, had a weak match which he lost, and was treated like a second act. This show was about Laurinitis who is most well known for being boring. That’s not exactly something that makes me want to watch Smackdown, but hopefully things get better next week.

Results
David Otunga/Mark Henry b. R-Truth – Otunga pinned R-Truth after a World’s Strongest Slam
Randy Orton b. Kane – RKO
Ryback b. Barry Stevens – Delayed Fisherman’s Brainbuster
Big Show b. Heath Slater – Chokeslam
Nikki Bella b. Beth Phoenix – Facejam
Alberto Del Rio b. Sheamus via DQ when Sheamus was seen holding a chair

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Wrestlemania Countdown: 27

The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania 27
(2012 Scott sez: Oh, wait, this is 2012 Scott. Never mind.)
Live from Atlanta, GA.
Your host is THE ROCK. Plus Josh Matthews & Jerry Lawler & Michael Cole, who is trapped in a GLASS CASE OF EMOTION.
Smackdown World title: Edge v. Alberto Del Rio
Edge has Christian with him, and ADR has pre-Funkasaurus Brodus Clay, which is kind of a weird role to see him in now. They slug it out to start and Del Rio goes to the arm right away, but Edge dumps him. He charges and runs into the railing, allowing Alberto to further beat on the arm, and back in for two. Del Rio chokes away on the ropes and pounds the arm again for two. To the armbar, but he misses a blind charge and hits the floor, allowing Edge to follow with a flip dive. That had to be killing him. Back in, Del Rio brings him in with a top rope armdrag for two. Edge comes back with a leg lariat as this thing is not clicking in the least. Edge with the flapjack for two, but Del Rio goes back to the arm and tries the cross-armbreaker, but Edge counters into the Edge-O-Matic for two. They trade rollup attempts and Del Rio rolls into the armbreaker, but Edge makes the ropes. Edge to the top, but Del Rio brings him down with an enzuigiri for two. Christian brawls with Brodus to kick off a feud that went nowhere, and Edge cradles for two. Impaler sets up the spear, but it misses and Del Rio gets the armbreaker, which should have been the finish. Edge fights through and cradles for two, however, and gets his Cloverleaf thing. Spear finishes at 11:14. Pretty blah opener, especially for a World title match, although obviously we now know the circumstances behind it. **1/2 Clearly the finish should have been Del Rio tapping him out to the armbar and then going on to drop the belt to Randy Orton after Extreme Rules, because this way Del Rio never got any momentum behind his main event push. And really, Edge’s offense is much more suited to a big stadium atmosphere than Del Rio’s arm work was, which also caused the match to suffer. Edge and Christian, sore winners, get revenge for winning by wrecking ADR’s car with crowbars. What did he do to warrant that? There’s offbeat shenanigans and then there’s outright vandalism!
Cody Rhodes v. Rey Mysterio
It’s Captain America for Rey this year. And of course this is the blowoff for Cody’s Dr. Doom gimmick, which lasted a surprising amount of time and did very well for him. Rey gets a rana from the top right away, but Cody puts him down and pounds him in the corner. Disaster kick gets two back before it was a finish for him. Rey with a flying headscissor attempt, but Cody reverses into the Alabama Slam for two. He chokes Rey out and goes to a nerve pinch, and they head to the top for a rare delayed superplex from Rhodes. That’s something you don’t see every day. He goes for Crossroads to finish, but Rey dumps him to give us TWO Michael Cole-isms at once: “Building momentum” and “Creating separation”. Back in, Rey with a pinning combo for two. Rey tries the Rube Goldberg bulldog, but Cody counters into a suplex for two. Rey sets up for the 619, but Cody catches him and gets the catapult for two. He pulls Rey’s knee brace off, but that allows Rey to recover with a moonsault for two. Rey removes Cody’s mask in response, and hits the 619 to the NAKED FACE, but the flying splash hits knee. Rey puts on the evil mask himself (although judging by his past problems with masks at WM, this might be a mistake) and gets a diving headbutt for two. The Atlanta crowd now gets behind Cody, who retrieves Rey’s kneebrace in a nice tit-for-tat moment, waffles him with it, and finishes with Crossroads at 12:00. That was a clever finish that was actually explained well by the announcers for once. I heartily endorse this event or product! ***1/4
Meanwhile, Teddy Long and Snoop Dogg audition various doofuses, leading to Roddy Piper laying out Zack Ryder while singing “Friday” and Hornswoggle rapping. Well this was certainly a use of time.
Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Ezekial Jackson & Wade Barrett v. Big Show, Kane, Santino & Kofi Kingston
AKA the “Get a bunch of people a payday match”. Amazingly, Slater & Gabriel were the tag champions just a year ago, and Barrett was the IC champion. The guys trade finishers to start and Show punches out Slater for the pin at 1:33. And that’s that. That kind of goes against Cody Rhodes’ argument about Show not winning at Wrestlemania. ½*
Meanwhile, The Rock runs into Mae Young, Eve Torres and Steve Austin.
Randy Orton v. CM Punk
Punk cost Orton the WWE title at Royal Rumble, due to Orton punting Punk TWO YEARS BEFOREHAND. Now that’s a grudge! And they say chicks don’t let things go easily. They quickly brawl to the floor and Punk boots the stairs into Orton’s knee, then comes in with a flying bodypress for two. Punk works on the knee, but Orton comes back with a neckbreaker. Punk catches a high kick and does a sort of jawbreaker onto Orton’s knee, and that gets two. Orton is kinda way overselling the knee for 3 minutes into a match. Punk with the running knee for two, and he sets up for the GTS, but Orton fights out and tries the RKO. Punk manages to counter that with a high kick for two. Punk to the top again, but Orton brings him down via the crotch and sets up for a superplex, giving us a great look at a “Randy Orton Orange-O-Meter” sign. That man really is quite orange. Punk survives the superplex and rolls out, wrapping Orton’s knee around the post and getting a ringpost figure-four in the process. Back in, he goes back to the knee and here’s where the announcers should have been like “Orton is in pain with every offensive move he makes!” instead of 5 minutes ago. Punk controls with a leglock, but Orton fights out and gets the powerslam. Backdrop suplex gets two. Punk boots him down and snaps on the Anaconda Vice, but Orton rolls him into the ropes to break. From there it’s the draping DDT and he sets up for the RKO, but Punk is down for a while so he changes his mind and opts for the punt instead. The knee gives way on the run-up, however, which is an interesting twist, but he was just suckering Punk in. RKO is blocked by Punk and he slides out of the ring in a nice bit of wordless acting from both guys. Punk comes in with a flying clothesline, but that’s reversed into the RKO at 14:49. Would have worked better if he had punted Punk to end the feud, but this was a pretty great finish as is. ***1/2 I know this one didn’t get much love at the time, but I think removed a bit from the disappointment surrounding the show it was a really good match where they delivered the best they could. And really, Orton did some good goldbricking at the end there and Punk’s facials were tremendous. Of course, both guys would end up as World champions later in the year, too.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene meets with the Rock and introduces him to John Cena’s #1 fan, Pee Wee Herman. About as hilarious as it sounds, maybe even less.
Michael Cole v. Jerry Lawler
Steve Austin is of course the referee here as they cram in every overbooking trick they can. Cole hides out in the Cole Mine while Lawler beats up Jack Swagger and then runs Cole’s face into the plexiglass. Lawler kicks Cole’s ass for a while in the box and they head in to start the match for real, but Swagger attacks Lawler from behind. An anklelock allows Cole to take control right away and work on the ankle. Cole goes up for a Swaggerbomb, but then opts for one off the first rope instead, and that gets two. Cole looks ridiculous out there, but I guess that’s partly intentional. Although this is insanely long already for this kind of match. The crowd starts a “boring” chant as Cole pulls down a strap and applies an anklelock, but Lawler fights that off without breaking a sweat. Lawler stomps a mudhole, prompting Swagger to throw in the towel, but Austin wants none of that. Swagger DEMANDS that the match be stopped, and that earns him a stunner. Cole pleads with Steve for his life, but Lawler makes his comeback and beats on him as this thing just keeps GOING. Lawler busts out the dropkick in honor of his Wrestlemania debut and goes up with the fistdrop for two. And he applies his own anklelock for the submission at 13:51. They gave this FIFTEEN MINUTES?!? Should have been 3 minutes, tops, with Cole getting his offense and Lawler laughing it off and beating the crap out of him to finish. Booker T leaves his announce position and gets a stunner afterwards, just because. BUT WAIT. It’s the Dusty Finish, as the Anonymous GM chimes in and reverses the decision to really kill this thing dead. -***
HHH v. Undertaker
I was listening to the year-end awards show on the Observer site, and Dave and Bryan were talking this up as even better than the Punk-Cena ***** classic from Chicago. HHH’s extended “For Whom The Bell Tolls” intro is pretty awesome, as is the Undertaker’s Johnny Cash theme. Probably cost a ton of money just for the entrances alone, though. HHH slugs away in the corner to start, but gets tossed and they brawl outside. Taker clears a table right away, but HHH spears him into the Cole Mine (now there’s a concept that thankfully died a quick death) and heads back in. They exchange fisticuffs again and Taker gets the flying clothesline, but HHH blocks the old school ropewalk and sends him to the floor. Into the railing, as the upside of only working once a year becomes evident. Hey, if you’ve got the financial security to be able to afford only match per year, you might as well leave it all on the table so to speak. HHH is already trying a Pedigree on the table, but Undertaker backdrops him to the floor instead. JR is worried about his internal organs, so you know it’s painful. The replays show that, yeah, HHH just took a flat-back bump off the table and onto the mat. Ouch.
HHH is standing, so Undertaker hits the annual Wrestlemania tope suicida, thankfully not killing himself this year. He sets up the stairs but can’t hit anything as we get more and more teases and setups, but he charges instead and HHH counters with a spinebuster through the Spanish table! Holy shit, they’re just letting it all hang out. Back in, Taker catches him with a chokeslam for two as JR is really talking up the end of the streak. UT wants the Last Ride, but HHH slugs out of it and then pounds him in the corner. Oh, that’s not smart, Cerebral Assassin. Taker indeed tries the powerbomb, but HHH escapes and sets up for the Pedigree, which Undertaker escapes, but HHH gets another spinebuster for two. That was a great sequence of two guys knowing each other. He grabs a chair, but Taker kicks it back in his face and then just UNLOADS with it. Safely on the back, I should note. However, he pauses for dramatic effect, and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE for two. HHH sets up for a superplex, but this time Taker does hit the Last Ride, and that gets two. Tombstone time, but even with the pose it only gets two. The chair is still around, so Taker picks up HHH and tries again, but this time it’s reversed into a DDT on the chair and both guys are out. They both pull themselves up on the ropes in a cool visual of two guys fighting through it to continue beating each other up, and HHH recovers first with the Pedigree for two. Kicking out of two Pedigrees? Is this guy CM Punk or something? And it’s a THIRD one for two. Holy cow.
HHH grabs the chair and goes all Steve Austin-at-WM17 on him, but Taker is old and stubborn and won’t stay down. So it’s a VICIOUS chair to the face, and UT got his hands up so fast that it looked unprotected. The crowd’s kinda freaking out a bit now because Taker is getting the BEATS put on him, and he can’t even do the zombie situp. HHH suggests, gently, that Undertaker stay down again, but Taker keeps fighting, so HHH resignedly gives him the famous tombstone…for two. If I was watching this live, I would have bet money that it was going to be the finish and the streak was over. So with all rational options exhausted, HHH gets the trusty sledgehammer to end it for good. However, HHH gets sucked into the gogoplata while trying to bash Taker’s head in. I hate it when that happens. HHH is equally stubborn and won’t tap, instead grabbing his hammer and threatening one last skull-bashing before finally dropping it and then tapping out at 28:54. It definitely wasn’t as good as Punk-Cena (one of the greatest matches of all-time), but it certainly wasn’t “two guys hitting finishers and then laying around” like others have accused. They were two guys who wanted to let it all hang out at Wrestlemania, with Undertaker stubbornly refusing to die (great choice of song to reflect that, even!) and HHH hitting everything he had and then letting his temper force himself into the one mistake that allowed the beaten Undertaker to win. I also the minimalist approach to it, as it gets portrayed as a brawl with a bunch of shortcuts, but it was really only one chair and one table and the rest was the in-ring finishers doing all the damage. Not something I’d want to watch over and over, but it was definitely something that deserved the viewing at least once. Not the Match of the Year by any means, but I’d call it a solid second place. ****1/2 The pace was slow, however, because Undertaker really is an aging and beat up old guy. So it’s obviously a very effective role for him to play during a match.
Dolph Ziggler, Layla & Michelle McCool v. John Morrison, Trish Stratus & Snooki
Man, Laycool just disappeared off the face of the earth, didn’t they? McCool, who looks about 90 pounds here, slugs it out with Trish to start and then counters the Matrix with a stomp to the gut. Trish reverses the Styles Clash into a facebuster, and tries the headstand headscissors, but ends up tumbling to the floor with Michelle instead. She keeps coming with a double clothesline onto Laycool and a rollup of McCool for two, then lays her out with the chick kick for two. Dolph brawls with JoMo, which leads to a Starship Pain on the floor, and Snooki comes in with a handspring elbow on McCool and a splash to finish at 3:48. Just time filler in a show that didn’t need any more filler, but nothing offensive. * Of course, this match ended up helping to seal Morrison’s fate, as he bitched on Twitter about how Melina should have been in Trish’s spot here and pretty much earned himself a pink slip.
WWE title: The Miz v. John Cena
You know, lost in the Miz’s fall from grace is the equally tragic plummeting of Alex Riley from main event manager of the WWE champion to modern day Superstars job guy. John Cena’s Wrestlemania entrance has now progressed to a full gospel choir. Test of strength to start and Cena goes to a headlock, but Miz stomps him down in the corner. Cena gets a gutwrench for two and MAN is this crowd dead now. Taker-HHH must have destroyed them. Miz with a DDT for two. Miz misses a charge and Cena goes up with the guillotine legdrop for two. But he misses his own charge and Miz takes over again with a boot for two. Another big boot gets two. Miz puts him on the apron and gets a kneelift for two as Cena is off on another world, which I believe turned out to be Cena knocking himself silly at some point early on. Cena comes back with the five knuckle shuffle, but Miz reverses the FU into a DDT for two. Miz undoes a turnbuckle, but Cena cradles for two and hooks the STFU. Miz quickly makes the ropes, but A-Ry runs Cena into the EXPOSED STEEL and Miz gets the Skull Crushing Finale for two. They sell it like a big near-fall, but the crowd just gives it a sarcastic “TWO!”. Another try, and now the ref is bumped, because that’s EXACTLY what this boring match needed. Riley lays out Cena with the briefcase and Miz gets two. Miz charges with the case and accidentally hits Riley, but Cena’s FU only gets two. That would have been a really flat finish anyway. They head outside and Cena clotheslines Miz into the crowd, then follows with a spear over the railing where he CRACKS his head on the floor. Oh man, that was scary. Both guys are out and it’s a double countout at 14:48. Well that’s just an awful finish. *1/2 However, The Rock is OUTRAGED at this bullshit and comes out to restart the match himself. So Cena tosses Miz back in, but Rock turns on him with a Rock Bottom and leaves, allowing Miz to get the pin and retain the title. I am just astonished at how badly this entire show was booked at times. And then Rock beats the crap out of Miz, too. And that’s Wrestlemania, ladies and gentlemen!
The Pulse
Holy crap, minus Undertaker-HHH that’s a pretty dire PPV, Wrestlemania or not. Traditionally one awesome match influences my rating upwards, but we’re in the digital age now and that awesome match is already on a “Best of 2011” DVD, so fuck this show. Strong recommendation to avoid and I’d put this one solidly in the bottom third of Wrestlemanias.