SmackDown Report Card: April 10, 2012
Hey, Bleacher Report readers. It's time for another edition of the SmackDown Report Card.
Tonight, we get a special edition of SmackDown for three reasons.
One, it's on Tuesday, rather than the normal Friday. Two, this SmackDown showing is live. And third, it's a "Blast From the Past," as legends of the WWE will make appearances throughout tonight's card.
What will happen on the special SmackDown? What will we viewers get to see? What kind of impact will the legends make?
Let's take a look and analyze each segment.
It's nice to see "Mean" Gene Okerlund back in a WWE ring. I miss his awesome voice.
He introduces the World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus, and the two share a handshake.
He talks about how he must endear to a code of honor as champion but says he did wrong by what he did on Friday's SmackDown. He says there's no excuse and apologizes to the referee for delivering that Brogue Kick and to the fans for what he did.
Sheamus says he will learn from his mistakes.
Oops, here comes John Laurinaitis to interrupt him!
Big Johnny shows what he did in that match.
Johnny is pissed, although you could hardly tell with his voice. He wants him to apologize again, even though Sheamus already did. He does so. Now, he wants him to apologize to ALL the referees again, because Laurinaits "didn't hear it."
Sheamus does so again. Johnny wants him to apologize to the world, and Sheamus does it once more, and the crowd is happy.
However, Laurinaitis doesn't think that was good enough, fines him $500,000 and puts him on probation. He also scheduled a tag team match—Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus and..."Mean" Gene Okerlund! Wait, what?!
I generally liked the overall segment, and I found it humorous how Sheamus apologized. Laurinaitis showing how great of a heel he is, although the whole $500,000 fine is rather ridiculous.
The only thing that hurts this grade is the fact that they're putting Okerlund in a match. As much as I like him, I would rather have him doing interviews, not partake in matches.
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
Now, we get our first match of the evening, Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry.
Last Friday, Orton beat Kane in a No Disqualification match. How will he fare against the "World Strongest Man" Mark Henry?
Speaking of which, he's been busy over the past couple of weeks, and he's done a very good job in the ring. We get an announcement that Henry will fight CM Punk this Monday for the WWE Championship. It will be no disqualification and no countout.
We start off with Henry throwing him into the turnbuckle, but we get some good back-and-forth action. However, Henry stops him with a headbutt.
Some more throwing against the turnbuckle, but Orton dodges.
Randy Orton goes for the 10-count punch and gets in a couple shots, but Henry stops hm and slams him to the mat.
We see Randy's father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton watching the match on a television backstage, as we cut to commercial.
The show is back on as Orton powers out of a submission applies by Mark Henry. I spy a sign that says "Raven is the worst."
Henry applies yet another submission onto Orton, and he punches out. Headbutt and a scoop slam by the "World's Strongest Slam." And now a splash. Henry goes for the cover but only gets two.
Mark Henry puts him into the turnbuckles, gives him a couple shoulder thrusts and follows that up with a big clothesline. He then hits Orton with a second clothesline, and he falls to the mat.
Mark Henry goes for another splash, but Randy Orton gets out of the way. Orton, now trying to clothesline him, stomps him on his foot. Mark Henry falls to one knee, and Orton gives him a DDT.
Henry, now on the apron, gives him kicks, but he gets out of it.
Mark Henry, about to deliver a World Strongest Slam, but Randy Orton counters it. Orton's now going to give him a RKO, but Henry pushes him out of it, and he falls out of the ring. They brawl a little, and Orton hits Henry against the steel post.
Randy Orton climbs back into the ring, and it looks like he's about to win by countout. But the pyro goes off at the ramp, and you know what that means! Kane is here! The question is, where?
We find Kane on the TitanTron. He tells him how he beat him at WrestleMania but also how Orton can be a savage, as he showed on Friday. Kane says he's having too much fun to let their feud stop, and we find that he took out Randy's father.
Orton goes backstage, looking for his father. He eventually finds him, but Kane hits him with a pipe, once to the gut and then once to the bank. For whatever reasons, Orton holds his head.
This was a short but a decent match. Though not near the quality he put against Punk, Mark Henry did a decent job in the ring.
What's more is that the Orton/Kane feud lives on. What I thought what a quick, garbage feud, is actually developing pretty nicely. It will be interesting to see what happens as we get closer to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.
Benny Camer vs. Ryback
Who's Benny Camer? He gets the mic, but he doesn't get to say much.
Here comes Ryback aka Skip Sheffield.
A few of the legends, including Tony Atlas and Ted DiBiase, come out. Atlas bets that this will be a squash match (no, seriously, he actually said that).
Ryback already delivering the punishment right from the get go. He picks Camer up from the ground and slams him to the ground.
The legends laugh as the match ends.
I get the intention of making Ryback look strong, and it worked, but it would have been nice to see him deliver more offense.
Tyson Kidd/Heath Slater Segment
With Justin Gabriel injured, Heath Slater tells Kidd that they'll be a great team. He says he even got a Hall of Fame manager to come along with them for their match.
He says that this manager deemed him as the next "Honky Tonk Man" and makes annoying guitar riff sounds. Kidd questions him taking that as a compliment.
It turns out that this manager is none other than "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart. Hart and Slater are excited, and I'm a bit too.
At first, this grade was going to be lower, as Heath Slater was just being really annoying, and I wanted to grab earplugs. But Jimmy Hart came out, who has made a history of being an annoyance (but doing it right... for the most part, anyway), and I get why this is happening.
The Usos vs. Heath Slater and Tyson Kidd (with Jimmy Hart)
We hear the car crash, and that means only one thing. It's Mick Foley! He's here to do commentary. Hooray!
We have tag team action as Tyson Kidd and Heath Slater take on the Usos.
Tyson Kidd and Jimmy Uso start this match. We get some good back-and-forth action between the two. A couple of pin reversals go on.
Jimmy Hart is shouting at Foley, excited, no doubt.
Slater in now, keeping Jimmy on the ground, but Jimmy gets out and tags in his partner.
Jey now in, and he kicks Slater down.
I get distracted by Jimmy Hart, as he apparently cannot shut up. I think twice about having Hart in this match.
Wait, what's going on? Jimmy on the mic is keeping me from paying attention the match.
Oh, we have some double-team action by the Usos, taking Kidd out.
Foley has had enough, and he gets Mr. Socko out. Jimmy Hart gets scared and runs across the ring, allowing the Usos to take advantage of the situation.
Jey Uso goes for the diving headbutt, and gets the pin.
Hart comes back in the ring, but Foley finally applies Mr. Socko and gives him the Mandible Claw.
The match was nothing special, and I was often distracted by Jimmy Hart's antics to even bother paying attention to the match. Thanks a lot, Jimmy Hart!
Piper's Pit (with Daniel Bryan and AJ)
It's Piper's Pit—the first time in six years on SmackDown. Good to see Roddy Piper doing well, he's looking great and doesn't have as much of a gut as he used to.
We get a recap of what has happened to Bryan in the past couple of weeks, including the loss at WrestleMania 28 and the subsequent breakup between him and AJ.
Daniel Bryan comes out, with his new "Yes! Yes! Yes!" shirt on, which I find awesome by the way.
The crowd chants "Yes!" too.
Piper questions as to why Daniel Bryan is happy, considering how he lost his World Heavyweight Championship so quickly, but the reason why he's so happy is because John Laurinaitis granted him a rematch for Extreme Rules.
It turns out that his match is going to be a two out of three falls match. I like that!
Bryan says he will win that match because AJ won't be there to distract him.
Roddy Piper then introduces AJ to the ring.
AJ says that deep down, he's actually a good person, but Piper says that this is his show, and you throw out all the political correctness. He questions why she says he's a good person, after everything that has happened, but AJ says that it was her fault and apologizes for the kiss at WrestleMania.
She wants to talk it out, possibly make up for what she did. Again, Piper continues to question her. He says how she's strong, smart and beautiful and how she doesn't need to do anything to her.
Daniel Bryan has had enough of what the two of them have to say and tells AJ to get out of the ring. However, Piper says she doesn't have to.
Both pressure her into making a decision. She decides to leave the ring.
Bryan is about to leave himself, but the segment isn't over!
Daniel Bryan's shirt says "Yes! Yes! Yes!" However, Piper tells him a few no's. You don't yell at a lady, you don't tell her what to do and you don't use her as a human shield.
He then tells Bryan that he looks forward to Sheamus kicking his head twice. Bryan then tells him that this match will be a slap to the face to everyone and proceeds to do so against Piper.
Piper is pissed, and the segment ends.
I loved how this segment went. It was a bit slow-paced at first, but I liked how how the whole thing went down. Great job by everyone involved, and it will be interesting to see if AJ makes some sort of impact at Extreme Rules. If so, what will happen?
Mixed Six-Person Tag Team Match
It's a mixed six-person tag team match. It's The Great Khali, Alicia Fox and Natalya vs. Drew McIntyre and the Bella Twins.
Ugh, The Great Khali. Well, here we go.
We start off with Khali overpowering him, and Drew McIntyre quickly tagging in one of the Bella twins. He leaves, saying that he's better than this.
Alicia Fox give her a double-wrist suplex in and gets the pin. Wait, that's it? The match is over? But Natalya didn't even come in, and she's one of the Divas that can actually wrestle!
Ah, whatever. Khali and the girls dance and celebrate. And now, here comes Mae Young! Oh goodness, please tell me she's not going to do what I think she's going to do...
She kicks Khali on the knee, bringing him down, and then gives him a kiss. I don't know whether to laugh or barf at the sight of this.
It was the quickest six-person tag match I have ever seen, which considering the competitors in this match, I guess is a good thing? Would be nice to see some actual wrestling. At least, The Great Khali was in for about five seconds...
Damien Sandow Vignette
Damien talks about sophistication. He talks about how social media takes over our brains and how we don't focus on reading enough literature in our daily lives.
He then tells us he is the light, and he will shine for us for years to come.
An interesting vignette and character to say the least. I just hope he doesn't become the next Dean Douglas.
Other than that, all I can say is that his beard reminds me of Mike Knox. By the way, whatever happened to him?
Sheamus/Gene Okerlund Segment
We see "Mean" Gene Okerlund dressed in a "Great White" shirt, clearly worried about what will happen in their match.
Sheamus is smiling and doesn't think he will win either. But he says he's not going to give Laurinaitis the satisfaction he's looking for. He then tells Okerlund that if they survive, the first pint is on him. Drink to remember or drink to forget.
"Mean" Gene's facial expression is priceless.
Again, while I'm not a big fan of seeing Okerlund in a match, I did like the interaction between him and Sheamus.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Hunico
Hey, it's "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan! Last time we saw him, it was on the SmackDown after the Royal Rumble.
He's about to square off against Hunico, who says that no one cares about the past. I still can't take him too seriously with that lowrider bicycle of his.
Anyway, the match starts, with Duggan delivering several shots to the head, and Hunico falls to the floor.
Here comes Sergeant Slaughter to make sure that Camacho doesn't interfere in this match. He gives Duggan the 2x4 and whacks Hunico and Camacho with it. Hunico wins by disqualification, but this isn't over. Sergeant Slaughter then applies the cobra clutch, as the fans shout "USA!"
Not really a match, so I can't give this a grade. Good to see Duggan and Slaughter again, but I wish an actual match happened and then have Slaughter come out.
Cody Rhodes/Dusty Rhodes Segment
We come back to commercial, and we have Cody Rhodes out.
He's clearly unhappy after the way things have been going the past couple of weeks.
Cody talks about how the whole "Blast from a Past" is a waste and how we should focus on the future. A future where he will be Intercontinental Champion once again.
However, out comes his father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.
Dusty says about how he came into this show as a natural gifted athlete, but he goes about how he had to "poke the bear" that is The Big Show. Cody is embarrassed and attempts to leave.
The Big Show comes out, mocks Dusty's accent and says he won't show any WrestleMania moment. Instead, he shows a vignette awhile back, showcasing his "Dashing" gimmick.
Talk about your awkward moments. Dusty then finishes off the segment by dancing.
Well, it was nice to see a different embarrassing moment featuring Cody Rhodes. The whole "Dashing" gimmick was rather silly back then, wasn't it? Also, I love the awkwardness at the end. Definitely gave me a good laugh. This is how a comedy in the WWE is done right, personally.
Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus and "Mean" Gene Okerlund
Well, our main event is here. The submission specialists, Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio take on the powerhouse Sheamus and the legendary "Mean" Gene Okerlund.
And hey, Howard Finkel comes out to announce "Mean" Gene Okerlund and Sheamus. How nice. I always like how Howard Finkel addresses the wrestlers. I think he does a much better job than Justin Roberts and Lilian Garcia.
We start off with Sheamus and Del Rio. Del Rio gets some kicks in, but Sheamus delivers a clothesline. Del Rio tags in Bryan, though, and he delivers some kicks of his own. Against the ropes, against the turnbuckle, standing up.
Bryan tags Del Rio back in and applies a submission. However, Sheamus powers out and back body drops him.
Sheamus is hurt, though, so Del Rio is able to tag Daniel Bryan back in.
Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick and misses, and Bryan kicks him out of the ring. Del Rio gives him a kick outside, and it seems he's knocked out.
Okerlund is all alone now. Del Rio, Ricardo Rodriguez and Daniel Bryan back him into a corner.
Here comes all the legends though. Piper, Atlas, Pat Patterson, Sergeant Slaughter, more and more of the legends come out.
Bryan is distracted. Sheamus comes back in and delivers the Brogue Kick and picks up the win.
All the legends beat up on Ricardo Rodriguez and celebrate, as the show comes to a close.
A rather quick main event to say the least. It served its purpose, however. Bryan loses through a distraction, not cleanly. The legends come out, and we now have a true reason as to why they're all here. I just wish we had a longer match.
Overall Grade: C+
The non-wrestling segments were very good, and I enjoyed them for the most part.
The problem was there wasn't enough wrestling, and what little wrestling there was wasn't great. Orton/Henry, which also was rather short, was the only decent match that occurred.
I also think that the legends were too much of a distraction. I enjoyed Piper's Pit a lot, and that segment was done very nicely, but only him and Okerlund seemed to fit in the whole program. As for all of the other legends, there were just...there. Heck, even Mick Foley was merely a placeholder.
Oh well, maybe the next edition of SmackDown will be better.