The SmarKdown Rant–05.18.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 05.18.12 Taped from Hershey, PA Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T & Josh Matthews Big Johnny is out to complain about UNFAIR TREATMENT from the board of directors. Even for someone “approaching 40” he’s still pretty flexible, but how can he be expected to compete against a top-level athlete like John Cena? That 40 line made me laugh, I’ll give him that. But before we can say a prayer on his behalf, CM Punk interrupts. It’s gonna be a party next week when Johnny gets fired, and he’s standing up for everyone bullied and harassed by Big Johnny. So he ends up booked against Kane tonight as a result. No need to punish us, too, John. Finally he flips out and blames everything on the audience, individually, and they can all go to hell. R-Truth & Kofi Kingston v. Darren Young & Titus O’Neil Why would you throw the NXT guys in with the tag champs already? Truth works Young over in the corner and Kofi comes in with the springboard bodypress for two, but he goes to the apron and Young drops him onto it with an atomic drop. OUCH. Back in, the NXTers control in their corner, but Kofi gets what I guess is the hot tag 2:00 in, and Truth runs wild on Young with the spinning elbow for two. Titus gets dumped and Truth finishes with the downward spiral at 3:00. Just a squash, although that was a nasty bump that Kofi took on the apron. * I like the NXT team, they have matching tights and everything. Speaking of tag teams, on the “new” NXT there’s an FCW team called The Ascension, and damned if that isn’t one of the best team names I’ve ever heard. Clearly this is a team that means business and is on the rise, because it says so right in their name. The best comparison I can make is Demolition, because you hear that name and you know shit’s ON. People named Demolition who dress in black leather spikes and have heavy metal music are generally there to kick your ass. So the Ascension already has one advantage over the other geeks in the tag division right off the bat. Damien Sandow v. Yoshi Tatsu Sandow once again is vexed by the unworthiness of his opponent, so once again he can’t lower himself to engaging in a wrestling contest with him. Tatsu, however, thinks that Sandow might be chicken, so we get the match after all. Sandow attacks from behind and hits a neckbreaker, but there’s no actual match. Guess we’re not worthy after all. Loving the Rick Martel color scheme on Sandow, though. Recap, recap, recap, and we get an interview with Sheamus and Randy Orton that I’m pretty sure is new material, although one can never tell anymore these days. Daniel Bryan v. Zack Ryder Bryan puts him down with forearms and gets two, and the dropkick into the corner gets two. Ryder comes back with the Broski Boot, but it misses and Bryan kicks his head off and finishes with the Yes Lock at 2:28. I don’t see Ryder’s pre-show match with Kane going well for him. * CM Punk v. Kane Kane bullies Punk in the corner, but gets clotheslined to the floor as a result. And we take a break. Back with Punk working on the leg with a figure-four of all things, only to have Kane casually punch out of it. He dumps Punk and uses the post to work on the arm, and into a lengthy chinlock on the mat, but Punk makes the comeback. Kane shrugs off the knee in the corner, but Punk gets a middle rope bulldog instead for two. Springboard clothesline gets two. Kane puts him down with a big boot for two and they head up, but Kane goes down and Punk follows with the flying elbow for two. Kane escapes the Vice with a sideslam, and goes up with a flying clothesline. Chokeslam is blocked by the high kick, and Kane ends up on the floor off that, so Punk follows with a tope suicida. Color commentator Daniel Bryan attacks Kane with a chair for the DQ at 12:00, which makes Kane think that Punk did it, and Kane does Bryan’s dirty work for him and decimates Punk. Finally an angle for this feud! Surprisingly entertaining match, too. **3/4 Cody Rhodes v. Santino Marella This was started by a TWITTER WAR. It’s going to get worse, sadly. Rhodes stomps him down and blocks a charge with an elbow, but a moonsault misses. Santino readies the Cobra, but Cody dropkicks him to stop it. Santino comes back with the Cobra out of nowhere for the pin at 1:56, however. What an epic champion v. champion match that was. ½* Recap, recap, recap. Thank god for DVRs. Randy Orton v. Patrick McPatrick They do the epic lockup battle to start and Sheamus works on the arm, but things get CATTY and they have a shoving match that turns into a slugfest. Orton takes him down with an STO and gives him the Garvin Stomp, but misses the kneedrop. Sheamus slugs away in the corner, but Orton fires back and follows with a clothesline to put him on the floor. They keep brawling out there and Orton meets the stairs, but Sheamus misses a Brogue kick and hits the post instead. Orton works the arm and we take a break. Back with Orton holding a chinlock and being all EVIL about it, but Sheamus slugs back again. Orton whips him into the corner, shoulder-first, for two, and keeps on the arm, but Sheamus tosses him. Back to the apron and Sheamus uses the forearms, and we take ANOTHER break. Back with Sheamus dropping knees for two and holding his own chinlock, but Orton fights out and walks into a knee. Orton makes the comeback, however, with the clotheslines and powerslam, and a BELLY TO BELLY?! Sheamus fights off the draping DDT, and slingshots in with the shoulderblock to make his own comeback. That’s a neat dynamic, with both babyfaces getting the comeback spots. Powerslam gets two for Sheamus. Orton fights out of the backbreaker, but a second attempt gets two. Sheamus to the top, but Orton brings him down with a slick superplex for two. They slug it out again and Sheamus bulls him into the corner, but misses the Brogue kick and puts himself on the apron. This allows Orton to finally get the draping DDT and set up for the finish. RKO is blocked, and Sheamus rolls him up with a schoolboy for the pin at 26:30. Wow, 30 minutes on free TV with a clean pinfall finish? Orton offers the handshake and then lays him out with the RKO anyway. I have no beef with this, and actually wish it would have been on PPV instead of the four-way. **** The Pulse: Thank god Smackdown isn’t going to three hours as well, because I don’t think they could do it without resorting to showing reruns of Duckman or something to kill time. Total nothing show, but a HELL of a main event because I guess they couldn’t find enough RAW recaps and website plugs to fill two hours and they needed to resort to wrestling instead. Strangely absent tonight: Del Rio, Jericho, Ryback, Cesaro, and of course anything to make me want to buy this PPV. Not that it matters because I’m out of town all weekend anyway, so WWE isn’t getting my $60 even if I was suddenly possessed by a desire to order this crappy looking show.

The SmarKdown Rant–05.04.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 05.04.12 Taped from Toledo, OH Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews. Sheamus v. Daniel Bryan Sheamus clarifies in his pre-match promo that he likes to fight. Good to know. Bryan’s graphic is now getting weird, as it uses the Smackdown graphic but with RAW’s red background. I guess that’s what passes for a trade now. Sheamus puts him down with a shoulderblock, and he’s still selling the arm from Sunday in a nice touch. Bryan goes right to the arm and stomps on it in the corner before dropping knees on it in impressive fashion. Sheamus fights up, but Bryan throws kicks to the arm again, prompting Sheamus to get pissed and unleash the CLUBBING FOREARMS in the corner. ADR and Roberto run in for the DQ at 2:50, however, and ADR applies the armbar to really do some damage to the arm. No decision is announced, but logically it’s a DQ win for Sheamus. Nothing to the match. * R-Truth & Kofi Kingston v. Hunico & Camacho Hunico attacks Little Jimmy to start, which earns him a beatdown from the champs. I should point out that Josh Matthews called Hunico & Camacho “a formidable tag team” at the start of the match, and then later clarified that they’ve never actually teamed up before. WWE, ladies and gentlemen. The Barrios work Kofi over in the corner and Camacho drops a leg for two. Hunico slingshots in with a mule kick in the corner, which Booker clarifies as “two feet to the mush.” Booker T, ladies and gentlemen. The heels cut off the ring, but Kofi monkey-flips Hunico and makes the hot tag to Truth. Truth throws Kofi at Hunico for the rana, and finishes Camacho with the downward spiral at 4:04. AW and his new clients watch from the ramp, but take no action yet. That’s what PPV pre-shows on YouTube are for! ** Brodus Clay v. Jack Swagger The overdubbed crowd noise is really noticeable and obnoxious tonight. Brodus with a belly to belly, but he chases Ziggler and Swagger gets a cheapshot to take over. Ziggler comes off the stairs and takes the headbutt bump in a match he’s not even wrestling in, which is probably why he’s gonna have a short career, sadly. Back in the ring, Brodus wants the big splash, but Swagger rolls away and takes the countout at 1:40. If this was the re-taped version I’d hate to see the original. DUD Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio DEMAND to Eve that one of them deserves another shot at Sheamus tonight. Damien Sandow v. Derrick Bateman Sandow is using the Hallelujah Chorus as his theme music, marking a much welcome return to classical music for an entrance. Sadly, Sandow CANNOT and WILL NOT engage a miscreant. We just wouldn’t get any benefit out of it. But Bateman wants a MATCH, dammit. Bad move. Ryback v. Derrick Bateman You know how this one goes. Lariat and muscle buster at 1:10. Moving up to in-house jobbers now, I see. Kane & Cody Rhodes v. Big Show & Randy Orton One guess who jobs here. Orton blocks a Cody hiptoss with a clothesline for two, and it’s over to Show. He pounds on Cody in the corner, and Orton drops the knee for two. Dropkick gets two. Kane comes in and slugs it out with Orton, which I guess means we’re getting this AGAIN at the next PPV, and probably Cody v. Show as well. Orton quickly tags out to Show, who spears Kane and tosses Cody. Kane comes back with a DDT and we take a break. Back with Cody beating on Show, and Kane comes in for the headlock (EMBRACE THE HEAD!), but Show escapes with a backdrop suplex and it’s hot tag Orton. Kane breaks up the draping DDT, but ends up taking it himself. EMBRACE THE IRONY! Kane and Orton fight outside, and Kane gets a big boot on the floor. Back in, that gets two. Cody takes over with a dropkick for two. Kane pounds him in the corner, but Orton gets the backbreaker, and Cody sneaks in and gets two on him. This feels like the world’s longest heat segment. Orton finally gets the hot tag to Show, and it’s RKO for Kane and knockout punch to finish Cody at 15:00. Nothing was said about the PPV, so I don’t really know what the point of this was. ** Layla v. Natalya So is Natalya a heel again now? They trade holds on the mat, but Nattie gets a spinning lariat for two. She goes to the EVIL ABDOMINAL STRETCH, but Layla rolls her up for one. Neckbreaker finishes clean at 1:54. ½* Meanwhile, Aksana and Antonio are doing a photoshoot backstage, and Antonio just isn’t oiled up enough for Eve’s tastes. So Eve orders Teddy to do it. Meanwhile, AJ and Kaitlyn get into another confrontation. Sheamus v. Daniel Bryan Bryan attacks the heavily-taped arm of course, but walks into a backbreaker. Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick and bumps to the floor, and we take a break. Back with Bryan working on the arm some more and getting a diving headbutt onto the shoulder, but Sheamus fights him off and sends him into the post. Sheamus with the forearms to come back, and a suplex into the ring gets two. Blind charge hits knee, but Sheamus gets the backbreaker for two. Bryan goes back to the arm again and goes up with the missile dropkick for two. Bryan pounds the shoulder again, but walks into an axehandle, which draws ADR into the match again. The heels collide and Bryan goes up again, but he lands in a Brogue Kick at 12:00. Yeah, this still doesn’t make me want to pay money to see Sheamus v. Del Rio, but it’s not like they care anyway. **1/2 Not sure why we needed two matches when they could have made the same point with one. The Pulse A throwaway show, as usual. I got nothing else, really.

The SmarKdown Rant–04.27.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 04.27.12 Taped from Grand Rapids, MI Your hosts are Michael Cole & Booker T. Josh Matthews is out thanks to making a stupid comment to Brock Lesnar, thus marking the first person in about 10 years to sell an injury past the end of the show. Daniel Bryan (with ridiculous overdubbed boos on his entrance) comes out to talk about finally getting rid of AJ. The crowd apparently hates him despite tons of “Yes” signs on camera and everyone holding up their arms in time with him. Bryan wants the 18 second loss STRICKEN from his record and put onto AJ’s record, because it wasn’t his fault. He called the match on Monday right down the middle, and offers totally fair and undoctored footage to prove it. He leads the crowd in a YES chant, but Alberto Del Rio interrupts. Ricardo cheerleads with “SI!” chants because he’s awesome, but ADR doesn’t get to make his point because Big Show interrupts now. And he’s unclear on the whole “Yes/Si” thing but chokeslams Ricardo just because. Big Show v. Alberto Del Rio Show chases Del Rio out of the ring, but ADR goes to the arm to take over. He quickly goes for the armbar, but Show throws out of it. Show makes the comeback with the spear, but Cody Rhodes runs in for the DQ at 1:50. Show beats the crap out of him and whips him, which is an awesome way to make him seem like a threat before he regains the title. ½* Meanwhile, Eve thinks that all the random crew members backstage should wear nametags. Big Johnny puts Eve in charge of Teddy Long, and his first job is to go get a nametag. Damien Sandow talks about more smart person stuff. Next week, he wrestles. Nikki Bella v. Alicia Fox Nikki stomps Fox down for two and adds a necksnap for two. Fox makes the comeback with dropkicks and gets an ugly back elbow out of the corner, but the twins do the switch and Brie finishes with the carpet muncher at 1:45. Michael Cole speaks the truth: “It was actually Brie who won the match, but it doesn’t really matter.” Indeed. Booker adds his wisdom: “Shucky ducky, quack quack.” They PAY this man to do this job. Meanwhile, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young harass Yoshi Tatsu, but Ezekial Jackson saves him and the fake crowd pops like they know who he is. Titus was pretty awesome here, cutting a sarcastic promo and showing personality. That’s half the battle, at least. Meanwhile, Teddy Long is now in a maid uniform, just when Aksana pops in with Big Johnny. Tonight, Antonio Cesaro debuts, and Teddy gets to do commentary with Big Johnny in his headset. Titus O’Neil & Darren Young v. Ezekial Jackson & Yoshi Tatsu Apparently Young and Titus are from some show called NXT. Never heard of it. Tatsu pounds on Young, but walks into a stungun while we get the Teddy and Cole alleged comedy hour at ringside on commentary. They double-team Tatsu and Young drops an elbow for two, and they finish with a Doomsday Device variation at 1:49. Just a squash. ½* They look like a couple of generic black guys in black tights now that Darren Young cut his hair off. I’m sure they’ll get the tag belts in a couple of weeks because they’ve already gone through the Usos and Yoshi Tatsu, so really there’s no one else left to beat. Randy Orton is out to talk about Kane and their impending falls count anywhere match. By the way, we’re two months into this feud and they still have no particular reason for even fighting. Blah blah blah unleashing hell, pain and suffering. And then here’s a random one for you, as Jinder Mahal interrupts. I don’t see this working out well for him. Jinder actually gets promo time, promising to pick up the pieces after Kane is finished with him. Orton gives him an RKO. What the fuck was the point of that? I think Orton’s promos are actually getting worse as he goes along, or maybe he’s just as bored by this feud as everyone else is. Antonio Cesaro v. Tyson Kidd CLAUDIO~! He is now apparently a former rugby player who was fired for being too violent. Hey, that’s a better backstory than most of these geeks get, so I’m down with it. Antonio headbutts Kidd down and adds a gutwrench suplex, which has Booker feeling nostalgic. Cradle flapjack finishes at 1:00 as he squashes the shit out of Kidd. Actually I think if he’s a rugby player, he should use Orton’s punt as a finisher. Claudio is money, hopefully they don’t fuck it up. The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes Cody takes him down by the knee and goes to work on it, and adds a missile dropkick for two. Khali comes back and finishes him clean with the tree slam at 1:56. Well of course. ½* Meanwhile, AW gives advice to the tag champs and gives them until Monday to decide if they’re with him or not. Ryback v. Jacob Kaye The jobber gets to cut a promo, as they continue to find the geekiest geeks who ever geeked for Ryback to squash. And this guy doesn’t fare any better than the others, as Ryback finishes with the lariat and muscle buster at 1:00. I’m fine with this career trajectory for him. Meanwhile, AJ is still upset over getting dumped, but another chick attempts to cheer her up but gets slapped. I do not know this second person and they made no effort to introduce her, but she’s apparently AJ’s best friend. Sheamus v. Mark Henry The REMATCH. I’m a little sad that Henry’s role has exclusively become “guy with nothing else going on for bigger stars to beat”. Henry pounds away in the corner and dumps Sheamus, but he fights back to the apron and slingshots in with a shoulderblock for two. And we take a break. Back with Henry missing a splash and Sheamus uses the forearms on the apron, but Henry levels him with an elbow to take over again. He tosses Sheamus into the railing for a nice ragdoll bump, and back in for two. Sheamus comes back with a DDT for two and keeps trying to get “Brogue!” over as a thing, but runs into a clothesline for two. Henry charges and hits boot, and then the Brogue Kick finishes clean at 10:18. These two have good chemistry together. **1/2 Bryan comes out to applaud, but Sheamus asks if he’s going to kick Bryan’s head off and retain the title? The answer of course is “Yes!” The Pulse The wrestling was all brisk to say the least, but it sure makes for an easier show to watch than RAW most weeks. I still don’t think Bryan has a hope in hell of getting the belt back, but I’ll be happy if they get a chance to do a good long match this time. See you Sunday for the PPV rant.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.16.12

Better a 2 day late Smackdown rant than a brand new TNA PPV rant, sez I.

Taped from Columbus, OH

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews.

Christian returns with the Peep Show to start.  He brings out Big Johnny and David Otunga to represent RAW, and Teddy Long to rep for Smackdown.  The goal here:  Convince Christian to join their team.  His terms:  Give him ONE MORE MATCH for the title.  Teddy Long takes the high road and says he’ll have to earn a title shot, but Mr. Excitement immediately caves and grants him the shot if he’s victorious.  Teddy tries to book him for a match tonight, but Johnny points out that Christian isn’t medically cleared yet (nice bit of continuity with the Zack Ryder storyline, even if it’s not intentional), so instead Otunga takes the bullet.

Kofi Kingston v. David Otunga

We take a break and join things with Kofi holding a headlock on Otunga, who is still in street clothes.  Otunga blocks a monkeyflip attempt with a spinebuster and chokes him out on the ropes.  On commentary, Johnny clarifies that Christian is suffering from an ingrown toenail and so can’t compete yet.  Otunga with a powerslam for two and a corner clothesline as Teddy Long is just brutal on commentary, sounding like a total loser.  Kofi comes back with a crossbody for two as Booker makes the first WBF reference in 15 years, but Christian trips him up.  Teddy stooges Christian out to the ref and gets him ejected as a result, and that seems like shady officiating to me.  The GMs continue to argue as Otunga goes after Santino, but the wacky kick finishes him at 4:45.  Just more nonsense to further the GM angle.  *1/2

Meanwhile, AJ is concerned about the dress that Daniel Bryan gave her.  So is Daniel, because it looked better on the mannequin.  So much awesome from Bryan as the manipulative jerk boyfriend.

AJ v. Nikki Bella

Daniel, in AJ’s corner, gets his own entrance as he lends moral support.  I will be very sad when he loses the title to Sheamus.  Nikki attacks and gets a necksnap for two, then goes to a neck vice as we’re already at a marathon 60 seconds.  AJ comes back with a spinkick and a god-awful crossbody, but the Bellas try the switch.  This prompts Bryan to yell THEY’RE TRYING THE TWIN SWITCH at the ref, and AJ rolls up Nikki for the pin at 2:30.  Bryan carried the entire thing on his back from ringside.  Bryan is just killing it with the post-match celebrations and comic timing.

The Great Khali v. Cody Rhodes

Cody’s non-defense of the title continues.  When was the last time that thing was actually at stake?  Khali pounds him down, but Cody comes back with the armbar takedown and then switches to the leg, but goes up and gets chopped coming down.  Khali misses the big chop and Cody chops him down with a dropkick to the knee and disaster kick for the pin at 3:12.  This was probably about as good as he was gonna get out of Khali.  He’s still doing the job at Wrestlemania, obviously, but at least it won’t be too terrible.  **

Randy Orton joins us to talk about his issues with Kane.  He’s got no problem embracing hate, he’s embracing it right now, baby.  So he calls Kane out, and we finally get the explanation for their hatred:  Kane is pissed off about a match they had on a random Smackdown a year ago.  Really?  That’s the best they got?

Drew McIntyre v. Big Show

In honor of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Drew’s winning streak ends at one, as he gets token offense before Show spears him and chokeslams him back to Scotland before finishing with the punch at 1:51.  It still bothers me as an 80s wrestling fan that closed fist punches are now apparently legal and finishers to boot.  Blame the UFC I guess.  ½*

Mark Henry v. Yoshi Tatsu

I’m sensing another squash here.  Tatsu tries some kicks and gets nowhere, and Henry pounds him down and chokes him out on the ropes.  Davey Boy powerslam and World’s Strongest Slam finish at 1:35.  I have no problem using NXT geeks and cannon fodder like Tatsu on these shows to get guys wins.  That’s how it USED to be done, consarnit!

Meanwhile, on YouTube, Zack Ryder offers his services to Team Teddy, which at least is better than wrestling Eve.

Chris Jericho v. Sheamus

Jericho cuts a lengthy pre-match promo about how CM Punk is trying to prove something to his father when he hides behind his sarcastic pipe bombs, and talks about winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania and then going to get a nice big alcoholic beverage at the after-party.  Sheamus dominates and hits the slingshot shoulderblock for two, and dodges a charging Jericho to set up the forearms on the apron.  Delayed suplex back in gets two.  Sheamus misses a charge and hits the floor, allowing Jericho to get the baseball slide as Daniel and AJ join us at ringside.  We take a break and return with Jericho choking away in the corner and going to a chinlock.  Backdrop suplex gets two and he goes to the chinlock again, but Sheamus hurls him off into the corner.  Sheamus comes back with the backbreaker for two, and the Regal Roll for two.  Jericho goes to the eyes and tries the Codebreaker, but Sheamus blocks it, so Jericho follows with the Lionsault for two.  Sheamus fights him off and does an impressive pull-up to the top rope, but Jericho brings him down and they fight for a superplex.  Sheamus puts him down and hits the battering ram for two.  Jericho reverses the Celtic Cross into the Walls, but Sheamus powers out and then makes the ropes for good measure.  Celtic Cross is evaded again, so Sheamus clotheslines him to the floor and they brawl out there.  Back in, Jericho sends Sheamus into the table from the apron, and Bryan adds a cheapshot to give Jericho the countout win at 15:00.  These two have some great chemistry together.  ***1/2  The cheap finish worked here, as you wouldn’t want one guy doing a clean job going into Wrestlemania anyway.

The Pulse

Decent stuff, with a good long main event to redeem all the crappy squashes.  As usual it did nothing to make me more interested in the PPV, but it’s still a hell of a lot easier to watch than RAW.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.09.12

Taped from Uncasville, CT

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T and Josh Matthews

Johnny Ace and David Otunga start us off in a cage, because they’re running the show tonight.

US title, cage match:  Santino Marella v. Jack Swagger

And they wonder why no one cares about stips and gimmicks any longer.  Swagger pounds away in the corner and gets a powerslam for two.  Santino meets the cage and a short clothesline gets two for Swagger.  Santino makes an escape attempt, but Swagger yanks him down and slaps him around. Santino comes back with a headbutt for two and it’s Cobra time, but he stops to go after Ziggler (you’re in a CAGE, moron!) and Swagger gives him a backdrop suplex to take over as we take a break.  Back with Swagger throwing the sock out of the cage, but Santino gets a rollup for two. Sunset flip gets two.  Swaggerbomb gets two.  He tries to climb out, but Santino pulls him down for two.  Santino gets to the top of the cage before Swagger pulls him down again, but Santino hits him with a DDT and crawls for the door.  He gets REAL close to making it out, but Swagger pulls him back in with an anklelock…only for Vickie to accidentally slam the door on Swagger’s head, giving Santino the win.  That’s a pretty clever finish.  Much better match than the clusterfuck on Monday, although the cage stip was unnecessary for this feud.  **1/2

Meanwhile, Johnny and Otunga are LIVID.  Teddy Long comes in to gloat, but John books Aksana v. Kane and makes Teddy beg for him to call it off.  That’s not good enough for Ace, and he books himself against Teddy tonight in the ring, and if Teddy wins, then it’s still Aksana v. Kane.   I don’t really get what’s going on here.

Drew Mcintyre joins us, SHOCKINGLY not actually fired after all. So tonight, Big Johnny has given Drew one last chance to win his job back against a mystery opponent.

Drew McIntyre v. The Great Khali

BUT WAIT!  David Otunga immediately boots Khali out of the match and rebooks it.

Drew McIntyre v. Hornswoggle

Drew quickly dispatches the midget with a series of slams to win his job back, but Great Khali lays him out  to make the save.  This was all very stupid, mainly because Drew wasn’t even gone a week.

Ezekial Jackson v. Mark Henry

They do a good slugfest to start, and Henry of course wins that one handily.  Henry misses an elbow and Zeke comes back, but Henry absolutely steamrolls him out of the corner and finishes with the World’s Strongest Slam.  It’s such a shitty deal for Henry that they took the belt off him after he finally figured himself out in the ring.  **

Teddy Long v. Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night RAW John Laurinaitis

Johnny Ace in tights and sneakers is awesome.  He demands that Teddy lay down to prevent Aksana from facing Kane, but Teddy refuses and so Kane joins us.  However, so does Randy Orton, and he hits Kane with an RKO to make it a moot point, allowing Teddy to get the rollup and pin.  What exactly is the issue between Orton and Kane, anyway?

Kofi Kingston & R-Truth v. Epico & Primo

Wait, I’ve got it:  LITTLE JAMAICA!  Epico pounds on Kofi, but the faces hit a double hiptoss and Truth gets a legdrop for two.  Another double-team gets two for Kofi.  Sadly, Primo pulls down the ropes and Kofi splats on the floor to allow the champs to take over.  Epico with a double arm suplex for two.  He goes to an abdominal stretch (complete with Gorilla-approved foot placement), and the champs get a double-team dropkick for two.  Primo goes to the chinlock, but Kofi fights out and makes the hot tag.  It’s BONZO GONZO and Truth gets his downward spiral for the pin on Primo.  Do Primo and Epico ever win matches or what?  **1/2

Daniel Bryan and Sheamus have a verbal confrontation to try to establish an issue of some kind, and the topic is whether Bryan is lucky or not.  He claims it’s skill, and tells AJ to shut up when she tries to interject her opinion.  You know, if John Morrison did that more often, he’d still have a job.  Just saying.  And from there, we lead right into the main event.

Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes & The Miz v. Big Show, Sheamus & Randy Orton

Gosh, I wonder who does the job here?  Cody gets worked over in the babyface corner to start and Orton stomps him down for two, but Cody gets a dropkick to escape.  Over to D-Bry, who hits the dropkick in the corner for two on Orton.  Over to Big Show, and that prompts Bryan to tag out to Miz.  He gets nowhere and brings Cody back in, but Cody immediately tags back to Miz again.  We take a break and return with Sheamus hitting the clothesline for two, but Miz pounds him down in the corner.  Sheamus fights off the heels and pounds Cody with the forearms, but Bryan hits a vicious flying knee off the apron.  Back in, Bryan drops knees and Miz adds a running low kick for two.  Bryan adds the kicks to the chest, punctuating each one with “YES!” because he’s tremendous.  Miz with a DDT for two and Cody gets a back elbow for two. Legsweep gets two.  Sheamus fights back with the backbreaker and it’s hot tag Orton.  The Wrestlemania opponents pair off and run away, leaving Orton and Miz.  And you know how that one goes.  RKO, goodbye.  ***  Kane attacks and they brawl into the crowd to end the show.

The Pulse

Didn’t read very good on paper, but aside from the GM-related nonsense this was a thoroughly entertaining two hours that breezed by.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.02.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.02.12

Live from Seattle, WA

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T & Josh Matthews

Sheamus joins us to start, reminiscing about what a douche he turned into after winning his first big title and how the same thing is happening to Daniel Bryan, and he once again spreads the fallacy that the title match is the main event of Wrestlemania.  He hates bullies, you see.  Dolph Ziggler interrupts and then Teddy Long makes the match NEXT.  See, now why do we need the GM character for this stuff?  Back in the good old days you’d just get the two guys going “I’m better” “Then prove it” and boom, they fight.  The GM trope just makes everyone look ineffective.

Sheamus v. Dolph Ziggler

We’re JIP as Sheamus takes him down with a headlock, but Dolph comes back with the dropkick.  Another one misses and Sheamus pounds him in the corner and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS OF DOOM on the apron, and a suplex back in for two.  Dolph bails and catches Sheamus coming back in with a neckbreaker for two.  Standing neckbreaker gets two.  Zig with elbows for two and we hit the chinlock.  Dolph pounds away, but Sheamus overpowers him and comes back with the forearms and a powerslam for two.  Ziggler jumps on him with the sleeper and hangs on through a trip to the turnbuckles, but Sheamus finally dumps him out of the ring to break.  Back in, Sheamus with the backbreaker for two, but Vickie puts the foot on the ropes to save.  Sheamus goes for the Celtic Cross, but Ziggler reverses to a sunset flip for two.  Sheamus hits him with another backbreaker for two.  He sets up to finish, but now Jack Swagger runs in, distracting him long enough for Ziggler to hit the fameasser for two.  Dolph tries the Zig Zag, but Sheamus catches him and finishes with the newly named White Noise slam at 8:23.   Good name.  Good match too, they have some mad chemistry and could do something together after Wrestlemania.  Sheamus keeps beating dudes leading to the title match, and that’s OK with me.  ***1/4

Meanwhile, it’s another confrontation between Teddy Long and Johnny Ace, which ends up with David Otunga v. Great Khali booked for tonight.  I’m very over this feud already.

Heath Slater v. Santino

Thank god, a payoff from last week’s angle.  I was losing sleep.  Santino slugs away to start, but a splash hits knee.  Slater pounds him, but Santino makes the comeback before running into a leg lariat that gets two.  Heath goes up and gets crotched, allowing Santino to get a TOP ROPE COBRA to finish at 1:54. Basic house show match.  *

Meanwhile, Natalya thinks that Eve Torres is mean to Zack Ryder.  And we get the farting payoff.

Natalya v. Eve Torres

So I guess that’s the face turn for Natalya.  Natalya gets a pair of rollups, but Eve takes her down and we get dueling kip-ups. Eve dropkicks the knee and uses a straightjacket hold, then rolls Nat up for the pin at 1:55.  I don’t really get the endgame with this Eve thing.  *

Cody Rhodes joins us for another Big Show Wrestlemania Moment, but Big Show interrupts before he can reveal it.  Cody runs into the audience, but Show wants to make peace and watch it together.  So Teddy Long comes out and makes Cody v. Show for Wrestlemania.

Big Show v. Mark Henry

I never thought I’d feel bad for Mark Henry, but given his treatment following the injury I really hope he just leaves and finds something more productive to do with his life than risking further injury by working every week with a torn groin.  Henry overpowers Show and tosses him, giving him a beating outside and then running him into an exposed turnbuckle on the way back in.  And we take a break.  Back with Henry chucking the STEEL stairs at Show’s head, but it misses and they head back in.  Henry with an avalanche and a pump splash for two, but Show comes back with a big boot and spear.  Henry comes back with the World’s Strongest Slam for two, but Show knocks him out for the pin at 7:09.  Another day, another job for Mark.  Good, non-bullshit power match here.  **1/2  Show gives us our first WRESTLEMANIA POINT of the night, and this Show v. Rhodes feud does nothing for me.   Especially if it leads to Show getting the IC title that he wouldn’t need or want.

Drew McIntyre v. Justin Gabriel

Drew must win or get FIRED.  Uh huh.  Drew clotheslines him for two and gets a big boot for two.  Even Michael Cole, a guy with zero credibility, is pointing out the logical gap that has seen Drew lose for TWO MONTHS and still not leave the show.  Gabriel puts him down with a spinkick and flying splash for the pin at 1:41 to fire Drew for REAL this time.  Although given they were talking about how Big Johnny gave Drew his big break at 21 years old, it seems obvious that Drew will resurface on RAW as one of Ace’s minions.  *

I haven’t commented on the numerous plugs for Bending The Rules yet, and we’ll keep it that way.  OK, I will note that they desperately need someone to come up with better names for their movies.

Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton

Daniel’s attempt to draw a cheap face pop in the pre-match interview was tremendous.  Orton tosses Bryan and runs him into the boards, then gives him the old “head stomp on the stairs”.  Back in, he continues kicking Bryan’s ass in the corner to set up a superplex, which Bryan blocks.  Orton retreats to the corner and Bryan hits him with a running dropkick and single arm DDT, for two.  We take a break and return with Bryan working the arm with some nice kicks.  Orton slugs back and dumps Bryan to the apron, but D-Bry necksnaps him and goes up.  Orton catches him with a dropkick on the way down and makes the comeback with the powerslam for two.  AJ totally has that Summer Glau thing going on here and I’m digging it.  Draping DDT and he stops to eye up AJ before going for the RKO.  Bryan escapes and takes a walk, but Orton catches him and beats on him outside.  Orton tries a draping DDT off the apron, but Kane interrupts at 6:33 for the DQ.  Why is he so upset at Orton?  Randy’s all about embracing the hate!  He’s the Apex Predator™!  So they brawl to end the show and Wrestlemania has another midcard match.  Fun match before the weak ending.  **3/4

The Pulse:

Another hell of a show this week.  Given that I skip all the video packages and assorted crap on the DVR, this one flew by and I really enjoyed it.  Hopefully they can keep this up until Wrestlemania.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.02.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.02.12

Live from Seattle, WA

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T & Josh Matthews

Sheamus joins us to start, reminiscing about what a douche he turned into after winning his first big title and how the same thing is happening to Daniel Bryan, and he once again spreads the fallacy that the title match is the main event of Wrestlemania.  He hates bullies, you see.  Dolph Ziggler interrupts and then Teddy Long makes the match NEXT.  See, now why do we need the GM character for this stuff?  Back in the good old days you’d just get the two guys going “I’m better” “Then prove it” and boom, they fight.  The GM trope just makes everyone look ineffective.

Sheamus v. Dolph Ziggler

We’re JIP as Sheamus takes him down with a headlock, but Dolph comes back with the dropkick.  Another one misses and Sheamus pounds him in the corner and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS OF DOOM on the apron, and a suplex back in for two.  Dolph bails and catches Sheamus coming back in with a neckbreaker for two.  Standing neckbreaker gets two.  Zig with elbows for two and we hit the chinlock.  Dolph pounds away, but Sheamus overpowers him and comes back with the forearms and a powerslam for two.  Ziggler jumps on him with the sleeper and hangs on through a trip to the turnbuckles, but Sheamus finally dumps him out of the ring to break.  Back in, Sheamus with the backbreaker for two, but Vickie puts the foot on the ropes to save.  Sheamus goes for the Celtic Cross, but Ziggler reverses to a sunset flip for two.  Sheamus hits him with another backbreaker for two.  He sets up to finish, but now Jack Swagger runs in, distracting him long enough for Ziggler to hit the fameasser for two.  Dolph tries the Zig Zag, but Sheamus catches him and finishes with the newly named White Noise slam at 8:23.   Good name.  Good match too, they have some mad chemistry and could do something together after Wrestlemania.  Sheamus keeps beating dudes leading to the title match, and that’s OK with me.  ***1/4

Meanwhile, it’s another confrontation between Teddy Long and Johnny Ace, which ends up with David Otunga v. Great Khali booked for tonight.  I’m very over this feud already.

Heath Slater v. Santino

Thank god, a payoff from last week’s angle.  I was losing sleep.  Santino slugs away to start, but a splash hits knee.  Slater pounds him, but Santino makes the comeback before running into a leg lariat that gets two.  Heath goes up and gets crotched, allowing Santino to get a TOP ROPE COBRA to finish at 1:54. Basic house show match.  *

Meanwhile, Natalya thinks that Eve Torres is mean to Zack Ryder.  And we get the farting payoff.

Natalya v. Eve Torres

So I guess that’s the face turn for Natalya.  Natalya gets a pair of rollups, but Eve takes her down and we get dueling kip-ups. Eve dropkicks the knee and uses a straightjacket hold, then rolls Nat up for the pin at 1:55.  I don’t really get the endgame with this Eve thing.  *

Cody Rhodes joins us for another Big Show Wrestlemania Moment, but Big Show interrupts before he can reveal it.  Cody runs into the audience, but Show wants to make peace and watch it together.  So Teddy Long comes out and makes Cody v. Show for Wrestlemania.

Big Show v. Mark Henry

I never thought I’d feel bad for Mark Henry, but given his treatment following the injury I really hope he just leaves and finds something more productive to do with his life than risking further injury by working every week with a torn groin.  Henry overpowers Show and tosses him, giving him a beating outside and then running him into an exposed turnbuckle on the way back in.  And we take a break.  Back with Henry chucking the STEEL stairs at Show’s head, but it misses and they head back in.  Henry with an avalanche and a pump splash for two, but Show comes back with a big boot and spear.  Henry comes back with the World’s Strongest Slam for two, but Show knocks him out for the pin at 7:09.  Another day, another job for Mark.  Good, non-bullshit power match here.  **1/2  Show gives us our first WRESTLEMANIA POINT of the night, and this Show v. Rhodes feud does nothing for me.   Especially if it leads to Show getting the IC title that he wouldn’t need or want.

Drew McIntyre v. Justin Gabriel

Drew must win or get FIRED.  Uh huh.  Drew clotheslines him for two and gets a big boot for two.  Even Michael Cole, a guy with zero credibility, is pointing out the logical gap that has seen Drew lose for TWO MONTHS and still not leave the show.  Gabriel puts him down with a spinkick and flying splash for the pin at 1:41 to fire Drew for REAL this time.  Although given they were talking about how Big Johnny gave Drew his big break at 21 years old, it seems obvious that Drew will resurface on RAW as one of Ace’s minions.  *

I haven’t commented on the numerous plugs for Bending The Rules yet, and we’ll keep it that way.  OK, I will note that they desperately need someone to come up with better names for their movies.

Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton

Daniel’s attempt to draw a cheap face pop in the pre-match interview was tremendous.  Orton tosses Bryan and runs him into the boards, then gives him the old “head stomp on the stairs”.  Back in, he continues kicking Bryan’s ass in the corner to set up a superplex, which Bryan blocks.  Orton retreats to the corner and Bryan hits him with a running dropkick and single arm DDT, for two.  We take a break and return with Bryan working the arm with some nice kicks.  Orton slugs back and dumps Bryan to the apron, but D-Bry necksnaps him and goes up.  Orton catches him with a dropkick on the way down and makes the comeback with the powerslam for two.  AJ totally has that Summer Glau thing going on here and I’m digging it.  Draping DDT and he stops to eye up AJ before going for the RKO.  Bryan escapes and takes a walk, but Orton catches him and beats on him outside.  Orton tries a draping DDT off the apron, but Kane interrupts at 6:33 for the DQ.  Why is he so upset at Orton?  Randy’s all about embracing the hate!  He’s the Apex Predator™!  So they brawl to end the show and Wrestlemania has another midcard match.  Fun match before the weak ending.  **3/4

The Pulse:

Another hell of a show this week.  Given that I skip all the video packages and assorted crap on the DVR, this one flew by and I really enjoyed it.  Hopefully they can keep this up until Wrestlemania.

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.02.12

The SmarKdown Rant – 03.02.12

Live from Seattle, WA

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Booker T & Josh Matthews

Sheamus joins us to start, reminiscing about what a douche he turned into after winning his first big title and how the same thing is happening to Daniel Bryan, and he once again spreads the fallacy that the title match is the main event of Wrestlemania.  He hates bullies, you see.  Dolph Ziggler interrupts and then Teddy Long makes the match NEXT.  See, now why do we need the GM character for this stuff?  Back in the good old days you’d just get the two guys going “I’m better” “Then prove it” and boom, they fight.  The GM trope just makes everyone look ineffective.

Sheamus v. Dolph Ziggler

We’re JIP as Sheamus takes him down with a headlock, but Dolph comes back with the dropkick.  Another one misses and Sheamus pounds him in the corner and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS OF DOOM on the apron, and a suplex back in for two.  Dolph bails and catches Sheamus coming back in with a neckbreaker for two.  Standing neckbreaker gets two.  Zig with elbows for two and we hit the chinlock.  Dolph pounds away, but Sheamus overpowers him and comes back with the forearms and a powerslam for two.  Ziggler jumps on him with the sleeper and hangs on through a trip to the turnbuckles, but Sheamus finally dumps him out of the ring to break.  Back in, Sheamus with the backbreaker for two, but Vickie puts the foot on the ropes to save.  Sheamus goes for the Celtic Cross, but Ziggler reverses to a sunset flip for two.  Sheamus hits him with another backbreaker for two.  He sets up to finish, but now Jack Swagger runs in, distracting him long enough for Ziggler to hit the fameasser for two.  Dolph tries the Zig Zag, but Sheamus catches him and finishes with the newly named White Noise slam at 8:23.   Good name.  Good match too, they have some mad chemistry and could do something together after Wrestlemania.  Sheamus keeps beating dudes leading to the title match, and that’s OK with me.  ***1/4

Meanwhile, it’s another confrontation between Teddy Long and Johnny Ace, which ends up with David Otunga v. Great Khali booked for tonight.  I’m very over this feud already.

Heath Slater v. Santino

Thank god, a payoff from last week’s angle.  I was losing sleep.  Santino slugs away to start, but a splash hits knee.  Slater pounds him, but Santino makes the comeback before running into a leg lariat that gets two.  Heath goes up and gets crotched, allowing Santino to get a TOP ROPE COBRA to finish at 1:54. Basic house show match.  *

Meanwhile, Natalya thinks that Eve Torres is mean to Zack Ryder.  And we get the farting payoff.

Natalya v. Eve Torres

So I guess that’s the face turn for Natalya.  Natalya gets a pair of rollups, but Eve takes her down and we get dueling kip-ups. Eve dropkicks the knee and uses a straightjacket hold, then rolls Nat up for the pin at 1:55.  I don’t really get the endgame with this Eve thing.  *

Cody Rhodes joins us for another Big Show Wrestlemania Moment, but Big Show interrupts before he can reveal it.  Cody runs into the audience, but Show wants to make peace and watch it together.  So Teddy Long comes out and makes Cody v. Show for Wrestlemania.

Big Show v. Mark Henry

I never thought I’d feel bad for Mark Henry, but given his treatment following the injury I really hope he just leaves and finds something more productive to do with his life than risking further injury by working every week with a torn groin.  Henry overpowers Show and tosses him, giving him a beating outside and then running him into an exposed turnbuckle on the way back in.  And we take a break.  Back with Henry chucking the STEEL stairs at Show’s head, but it misses and they head back in.  Henry with an avalanche and a pump splash for two, but Show comes back with a big boot and spear.  Henry comes back with the World’s Strongest Slam for two, but Show knocks him out for the pin at 7:09.  Another day, another job for Mark.  Good, non-bullshit power match here.  **1/2  Show gives us our first WRESTLEMANIA POINT of the night, and this Show v. Rhodes feud does nothing for me.   Especially if it leads to Show getting the IC title that he wouldn’t need or want.

Drew McIntyre v. Justin Gabriel

Drew must win or get FIRED.  Uh huh.  Drew clotheslines him for two and gets a big boot for two.  Even Michael Cole, a guy with zero credibility, is pointing out the logical gap that has seen Drew lose for TWO MONTHS and still not leave the show.  Gabriel puts him down with a spinkick and flying splash for the pin at 1:41 to fire Drew for REAL this time.  Although given they were talking about how Big Johnny gave Drew his big break at 21 years old, it seems obvious that Drew will resurface on RAW as one of Ace’s minions.  *

I haven’t commented on the numerous plugs for Bending The Rules yet, and we’ll keep it that way.  OK, I will note that they desperately need someone to come up with better names for their movies.

Daniel Bryan v. Randy Orton

Daniel’s attempt to draw a cheap face pop in the pre-match interview was tremendous.  Orton tosses Bryan and runs him into the boards, then gives him the old “head stomp on the stairs”.  Back in, he continues kicking Bryan’s ass in the corner to set up a superplex, which Bryan blocks.  Orton retreats to the corner and Bryan hits him with a running dropkick and single arm DDT, for two.  We take a break and return with Bryan working the arm with some nice kicks.  Orton slugs back and dumps Bryan to the apron, but D-Bry necksnaps him and goes up.  Orton catches him with a dropkick on the way down and makes the comeback with the powerslam for two.  AJ totally has that Summer Glau thing going on here and I’m digging it.  Draping DDT and he stops to eye up AJ before going for the RKO.  Bryan escapes and takes a walk, but Orton catches him and beats on him outside.  Orton tries a draping DDT off the apron, but Kane interrupts at 6:33 for the DQ.  Why is he so upset at Orton?  Randy’s all about embracing the hate!  He’s the Apex Predator™!  So they brawl to end the show and Wrestlemania has another midcard match.  Fun match before the weak ending.  **3/4

The Pulse:

Another hell of a show this week.  Given that I skip all the video packages and assorted crap on the DVR, this one flew by and I really enjoyed it.  Hopefully they can keep this up until Wrestlemania.