Smackdown Report Card: March 16, 2012

Michael DesjardinsCorrespondent IIMarch 16, 2012

Smackdown Report Card: March 16, 2012

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    Introducting the Smackdown Report Card, an analysis of each of the matches and promos that go on throughout the entire card.

    We're just 16 days away from Wrestlemania XXVIII, and the WWE has just two weeks away to continue setting up the card.

    Let's take a look and see what tonight's edition of Smackdown had to offer.

    Warning: If you didn't watch tonight's Smackdown, there are spoilers.

Christian's "The Peep Show" with Special Guests John Laurinaitis and Teddy Long

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    We start off tonight's edition of Smackdown with the return of Christian.

    It's good to see "Captain Charisma" back. He's an entertaining and charismatic character, and puts off solid matches.

    He's here to host "The Peep Show" with special guest John Laurinaitis, the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and the Interim General Manager of RAW.

    First, he told the audience that there will be a 12-man tag team match, one side represented by Laurinaitis and the other by Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long. The winner of this match gets to be the general manager of both brands.

    He also let us know that Laurinaitis' captain of his team is David Otunga.

    Afterwards, Teddy Long cameout with Aksana by his side.

    Christian then said he's willing to put off personal differences aside and have the two of them convince him to be on either team.

    Long just looked at him. Christian let him know what he's done over the past year, got some cheap heat by berating the crowd and asked for one more World Heavyweight Championship title match.

    However, Long, told him that he won't give him such a thing, unless he earns it. Laurinaitis told him that if he become general manager of both brands, Christian will have one more opportunity to win the title. Thus, Christian joins him.

    He was going to put Christian into a match, but he's not medically cleared yet. As a result, he put David Otunga into a match against Kofi Kingston, the newest member of Team Teddy.

     

    Grade: B-

    An OK way to start off Smackdown. I would rather have seen Christian compete but it's a good starting buildoff to the 12-man tag team match.

    P.S. It's nice to see that despite no Money in the Bank match, plenty of the superstars will get to see time on television and a Wrestlemania paycheck, as a result.

David Otunga vs. Kofi Kingston

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    The impromptu match began, and the two went neck and neck, as Otunga fought in dress pants.

    Otunga showed some power, but Kofi turned the tables with some acrobatics. After a little bit of that, Otunga powered him in the corner and grounded him.

    We learn that Christian can't compete because of an ingrown toenail. I find that laughable.

    Otunga continued grounding Kofi, and then flexed his muscles.

    Kofi counterd but Otunga delivered a nice powerslam, then clotheslined him twice in the corner.

    Otunga continued to taunt, and it cost him, as Kofi flew off the turnbuckle.

    Kofi pinned but it's just a two-count, but he gave David some solid chops. He attempted the Boom Drop, but Christian tripped him, and he is thus ejected.

    Teddy and Christian argued for a bit, which caused Laurinaitis to start arguing with him.

    The ref was distracted by this, and Otunga was going to use the belt. Santino, who I finally realize is there, stopped him from using it. Kofi then capitalized and connected with the Trouble in Paradise.

    Kofi won.

     

    Grade: B

    I liked how this match went. Otunga, while he lost, looked strong throughout the course of the match. He doesn't look like the hapless jobber like he used to be. More importantly, the storyline played out very nicely.

Daniel Bryan and AJ Backstage

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    AJ was in a dress, but Daniel Bryan said it looked better on the mannequin.

    He then told her that the two of them are going to be the next power couple in WWE, like Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, and Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

    Bryan told her that she has a shot at earning a title matchup next and he'll be there in his corner, leading her the whole way.

    The two kiss, but Bryan wiped the taste out of his mouth.

     

    Grade: D+

Nikki Bella with Brie Bella vs. AJ with Daneil Bryan

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    Ugh, the Bella Twins. Anyone else sick of "Twin Magic"?

    AJ came out, followed by Daniel Bryan.

    The winner of this match earns an opportunity for the Divas Championship.

    Match started with a front dropkick straight to Nikki's face, but Nikki answered back with a couple shots of her own.

    Nikki steped on AJ's hair a couple times, then put her in a lock.

    AJ countered back, went to the top rope, and delivered an awkward-looking cross body.

    The Bellas attempted "Twin Magic," but failed, thanks to Bryan. AJ then pinned with her a crucifix and got the win.

     

    Grade: C

    Better than most Divas matches.

Cody Rhodes Interview

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    After learning that the Rock Concert is available on iTunes (seriously?) and John Cena will face Mark Henry Monday on RAW, we got a Cody Rhodes interview.

    He told Matt Striker once again how Big Show is a failure when it comes to Wrestlemania.

    He faced The Great Khali next.

     

    Grade: D

    Same thing that he's done for weeks. I like the storyline but it would have been nice if he said a little extra or provided yet another crappy Big Show Wrestlemania moment or something like that.

Cody Rhodes vs. The Great Khali

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    From one giant to another, except the one Cody Rhodes faced, can't wrestle his way out of a paper bag. Good news it, it looked like he had a bit more spring in his step, so maybe he can actually move around in the ring now?

    No, I was wrong. Still slow as molasses.

    Rhodes tried to slap him but failed and Khali chopped him.

    More chopped to Rhodes, this time in the corner.

    Khali raised his arms in the air, but took too long. Rhodes dropkicked him, then delivered an armbreaker, putting the big man down.

    Cody tried to submit but Khali powered him out. However, Cody came back and put pressure against the legs. Again, Khali powered him out, and put him in the corner.

    Cody went to the top rope and leaped, but Khali took him down and delivered some clotheslines.

    Khali attempted the chop to the head, but missed, and hotshot him. He delivered another dropkick to the legs and then connected with the Beautiful Disaster.

    Cody Rhodes won.

     

    Grade: C+

    It's a match with The Great Khali, you can't expect much. However, in the end, the job got done. The match made Cody Rhodes look strong, by defeating a 7'4" giant. It makes Cody Rhodes look like he can beat a guy like Big Show.

Randy Orton/Kane Promo

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    Before we cut to commercials, we got another commercial about how bullying should be stopped. It's nice and all, but isn't it a bit hypocritical when you have the heels and anti-heroes saying to stop doing that?

    Anyway, Randy Orton is here to cut a promo.

    He told us that when he usually doesn't have a problem, he hunts them down rather than talking about it, but instead he's being hunted by Kane.

    The two of them are coming to a head, but Orton wanted to know why Kane is going after him. Orton "embraces the hate" and it embraced him back, so he wanted to know why he's a target.

    After being called out, Kane came. Kane is after Orton due to a street fight match last summer. Orton RKOed him in that match. After which, the two shook hands.

    Kane said he watched that footage to remind himself of what he was and that man is no longer there. He is now someone with no remorse. However, he cannot become whole until he destroys Orton in a match.

    Orton then told him to come down and finish what he started, but Kane wants to end him at Wrestlemania.

     

    Grade: A-

    I still think this match is a bit rushed, and should have been saved for after Wrestlemania, but i guess the company needs to give them a reason to have them on the card.

    I definitely like the fact that they referenced something from the past, and gave them an actual reason for not only Kane's change in character but a reason for this match to occur.

    Good job by the writing team.

Drew McIntyre vs. Big Show

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    With Drew McIntyre reinstated on Smackdown, he's now forced to fight the Big Show.

    Michael Cole continued to annoy me with his heel commentary, but what else is new?

    Big Show started off wailing shots against Drew, including a huge slap against the ropes. Two scoop slams, and Show is looking very aggressive.

    Drew countered with a kick, and he tried to ground Show with some stomps.

    Big Show powered him, McIntyre bounced off the ropes, and he delivered a spear. He then chokeslamed him, and deliverd the WMD, knocking him out.

     

    Grade: B

    While I like to see McIntyre get pushed, it's not his time yet. The focus should be on Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes at Wrestlemania, and Show's aggressiveness and win is exactly what needed to be done.

    I'm liking the upcoming match between the two. The creative team has done a good job at making me care about the Intercontinental Championship, which is something we haven't seen in awhile.

Mark Henry vs. Yoshi Tatsu

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    I feel so bad about Yoshi Tatsu. I really like him; too bad the company used him as a jobber.

    We learn that Mark Henry will be a member on Team Johnny.

    Tatsu started off with some kicks and a slap, but that didn't work.

    Henry delivered the power and clutched him against the ropes.

    Delayed powerslam on Tatsu. Henry slapped him and pushed him, urging Tatsu to get up, and Henry delivered the World's Strongest Slam.

     

    Grade: D+

    Squash match. It did what it had to do, make Henry and Team Johnny look strong.

Zack Ryder Vignette

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    We see a vignette of Zack Ryder on YouTube, urging him to put him on Team Teddy.

    I, for one, would like to see that happen.

     

    Grade: No Grade

Chris Jericho vs. Sheamus

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    Before the match, we have Chris Jericho delivering a promo.

    He noted  what he said to CM Punk and about his father from Monday. He said he doesn't apologize and that he didn't push the line, because he told the truth.

    He also says that Punk's image and lifestyle is just a way to hide the fact that he has an alcoholic gene in him. Then, he said about he's the "best in the world" and that Punk is nothing more than a Jericho wannabe.

    Finally, he gets the crowd to chant CM Punk's name, to which he says quietly, "CM Drunk. CM Drunk."

    Commercial.

    The match started with Sheamus overpowering Jericho. We got some back-and-forth action, with Sheamus capping it with a shoulder block. Jericho gets out of harm's way, exits out of the ring, and Sheamus chases him.

    Jericho came back in, bounced off the ropes, but Sheamus delivered a flying shoulder block.

    Some more back-and-forth action. Jericho went after Sheamus in the corner but missed and flew out of the ring.

    Sheamus had him on the apron, and pounded against Jericho's chest, then vertical suplexed him; Excellent showing of power by Sheamus, great hangtime.

    We went back to more back-and-forth action. Sheamus went for a clothesline but missed and got dumped out of the ring.

    Daniel Bryan came out, making an apperance, as we cut to commercial.

    Smackdown came back, and Jericho slingshot Sheamus' head against the ropes.

    Jericho was in control, and wore him down. Sheamus got out, though, but Jericho was able to put him down. He then berated him while he was down, and then delivered a back suplex.

    Sheamus punched him a couple times, but Jericho connected with a front dropkick. 1-and-a-half count. Another headlock by Jericho, and Sheamus got out once again. He lifted Jericho up on his back and plants him against the corner.

    Jericho attempted a bulldog, but couldn't connect and flew into the corner, which allowed both of them time to recuperate.

    Clotheslines by Sheaums. Backbreaker attempt but Jericho countered it. However, he got caught in the Irish Curse backbreaker. Two count.

    Rolling fireman's carry by Sheamus, but only got two-and-a-half.

    Jericho gouged Sheamus' eyes and attempted a coderbreaker, but Sheamus countered. Sheamus attempted the Brogue kick but missed and is caught in the ropes. Springboard dropkick by Jericho, followed by a Lionsault, but another near-three.

    Sheamus kicked and went up to the top rope. Jericho pushed the ropes and Sheamus got caught up there. Jericho attempted a superplex but couldn't do it. Sheamus connected with the flying shoulder block, but another near-three.

    Sheamus pounded his chest and he was ready to use the Celtic Cross, but Jericho countered with the Walls of Jericho. He had him in the submission, but Sheamus was able to reach for the ropes.

    Another Celtic Cross attempt, but Jericho countered and went to the ropes. Sheamus saw this and sent him ringside with a clothesline.

    Sheamus threw Jericho and he almost goes into Bryan. Sheamus took his eyes off, gothit and flew into the announce table. The ref is distracted by Jericho and Bryan kicked him.

    Chris Jericho won by countout.

    Sheamus attempted going after him but Bryan ran away. Sheamus then delivered a Brogue kick to Jericho in anger.

     

    Grade: B

    Very solid match by both guys. Good back-and-forth match, very entertaining. In addition, after weeks of little hype for the Sheamus/Bryan match, fuel was added to the fire, and I like that the creative team is actually looking like they are caring about this match.

    My only complaint about this whole ordeal is Jericho's promo, and that's why there's a knock on the grade. I don't like having CM Punk's father thrown in this mix.

    Similar to last year with Jerry Lawler and his mother's death, I think it's WWE overstepping it a bit. There was no need to throw him into the mix, and using family as a way to tell a story isn't a great idea.

    It's a WWE Championship match, a match to prove who's truly the "Best in the World." Isn't that a good enough story?

Conclusion

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    Overall Grade: B

    A very solid Smackdown. All of the Smackdown storylines were played out, and each one is looking good so far.

    Though nothing truly spectacular, there was little to complain about tonight's edition.