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
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.