If you want my Cliff’s Notes version of SmackDown, scroll to the end of the article. If you want to find the questions I hope you’ll answer for me, SKIM THE ARTICLE FOR ANYTHING IN ALL CAPS. If you want to skip to my predictions, look for the ***.
A recap of the events from Raw that led to the World Heavyweight Championship being defended in a Fatal Four-Way at Over the Limit is shown, in the event that you watch SmackDown and not Raw or that you’ve managed to forget the details in four days.
For the second week in a row, Sheamus is the first man out from the back, and we're starting the show with a tag team rematch from Raw, Sheamus and Randy Orton vs. Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio. By the time the recap is finished, all four men get their full-ring introductions, and the match officially starts, we are over six minutes into the show.
Considering SmackDown isn’t a “supershow” and this match involves three of the biggest stars on the show, you’ve got to believe this match won’t end cleanly, and something else will happen with these
During the match, Michael Cole continues to emphasize the odds against Sheamus at Over the Limit, claiming that his 25 percent chance of winning means the odds are “practically impossible” that Sheamus will do so, which I can only assume means he will definitely win.
The match is a No Contest when all four men get in the ring and refuse to leave. We go to a commercial break as the ring is flooded with referees and the wrestlers are separated. ARE THEY SETTING UP SHEAMUS TO OVERCOME THE ODDS OR TO LOSE HIS TITLE WITHOUT A FALL AGAINST HIM?
When we return from the commercial break, Cole informs us that Eve has just tweeted that later in the show, Sheamus will face Chris Jericho, and Randy Orton will face Alberto Del Rio.
The resident “crazy ex-girlfriend” makes her way to the ring for a match against her former BFF Kaitlyn, whom she slapped last week when confronted about her unstable mental condition since being dumped by Daniel Bryan. Total squash match, as AJ wins in less than 30 seconds and then attacks Kaitlyn after the match. AJ doesn’t stop until Daniel Bryan’s music hits, and he makes his way to the ring.
There’s a weak “yes!” chant in the background as Daniel Bryan comes out to confess his new appreciation for, and implicit attraction to, AJ’s crazy side. But just when AJ believes she may have another chance with Bryan, he admits that he wants to hook up with Kaitlyn after he defeats Punk at Over the Limit. AJ’s facial expression is hard to interpret (is she pissed? Sad? Horny?) as she storms off.
The crowd really doesn’t like Bryan. We find out he’ll face off against The Big Show after the commercial break. When we return, a weak “no” chant can be heard. After only a couple of minutes, Bryan puts the Yes Lock on The Big Show, and John Lauranaitis immediately calls for the bell and announces Bryan wins by submission, a la The Montreal Screwjob.
It looks like The Big Show’s new feud will be with Johnny Ace. I have to assume they’re building up an army of wrestlers that hates the GM, as The Big Show joins CM Punk and John Cena as wrestlers who now have personal issues with management. Johnny Ace reminds everyone that he plans on destroying Cena at OTL.
Heath Slater, my favorite jobber, is set to face Bill “Ryback” Goldberg. The match lasts a total of 76 seconds. The “Goldberg” chants are barely audible; this is not a very hot crowd. HOW LONG BEFORE WWE PULLS THE PLUG ON RYBACK?
When we come back from commercial break, Teddy Long is in the ring as a special ring announcer for Alex Riley vs. Antonio Cesaro, who is accompanied by Aksana. Teddy is forced to read an incredibly long introduction that praised Cesaro like he’s the greatest thing in wrestling. I don’t feel bad for Teddy; I’m just tired of seeing him in this role. Let him be someone’s manager or something, this is boring.
The announce team plays up Cesaro’s physique and old-school, smash-mouth wrestling style. After the match, Aksana grabs the mic to tell Teddy that she considers Teddy just a friend, while Antonio is
her new lover. Then, the foreigners make out in front of Teddy. The scripting of this is horrible. Hire some good Hollywood writers, Vince. ***I predict Teddy will team up with another up-and-coming superstar who will be Cesaro's first feud and will launch Teddy into the role of manager, eventually feuding with Vicki and/or AW.
We see a brief segment highlighting an article John Cena wrote for USA Today about all of the wishes he’s granted for Make-A-Wish. Love or hate the character, you gotta respect the man for this work. Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio is next.
We get a good match for a few minutes until Orton sets up for the RKO. Ricardo tries to hit Orton from the top rope but takes an RKO instead. This serves enough of a distraction to allow ADR to attack
Orton and do some damage to his shoulder.
***This serving as Ricardo’s second top-rope attack recently, I predict we’ll see him as a regular in-ring competitor before SummerSlam. I also predict he won’t get over much more than Virgil did in the early 90’s after leaving Ted DiBiase, unless he has absolutely phenomenal in-ring skills.
To build some heat for their Tag Team Title Match at OTL, R-Truth is facing off against Jack Swagger. This could be considered a follow-up to Raw’s match that saw Dolph Ziggler pin Kofi Kingston. Just as he did on Raw, AW is watching the match backstage with his posse that includes Epico, Primo, Rosa and Mason Ryan. WHEN WILL AW DEMAND A REMATCH FOR HIS NEW CLIENTS? I’m not sure whose apple juice Swagger pissed in, but he loses yet again.
We are shown highlights of Cena’s satellite interview from Raw and Johnny Ace’s response from earlier tonight, after his squabble with The Big Show.
Santino Marella and Zack Ryder are teaming up to face off against Darren Young and Titus O’Neal. A pre-recorded promo is shown in which Marella and Ryder argue whether their team name is CoBro or MaRyder. I wonder if this is a one-off or if they’re trying to build them as a legitimate team.
***Either way, I predict Marella will lose the US Championship soon, as he hasn't had a memorable program over the belt since he won it. Although the face characters got in some good offense, Young and O’Neal won the match and looked really good doing so. After winning, they make Lillian Garcia announce their victory again, and then, O’Neal tells her to “put some stank on it next time" (my vote for line of the night). I hope it becomes a permanent catchphrase for him.
Backstage, Matt Striker is interviewing Damien Sandow about the match he bailed on last week after so much build-up as “the intellectual savior of the masses.” He dodges the question, but his reference to “false prophets” makes me think his character really could be based on Thom Stark.
The Funkasauras is up next. After defeating the Miz on Raw, he has taken a big step back in what we can all assume will be a squash over Hunico. Camacho helps Hunico attack Brodus before the match starts, but all it does is piss the Funkasauras off. The match is over in less than a minute, for what we can call at least the third squash of the evening. Standard post-match dancing with the delicious pair of Cameron and Naomi.
We get another Raw Rebound (or whatever the segment is called, I’m not paying attention to it) showing us Lesnar’s attack on Triple H and Heyman’s spot from Monday.
Chris Jericho is introduced, and we’re ready for the main event. This match makes me hope we see a bonafide program between these two. They have the potential for some really great matches, and you know Jericho's mic work on Sheamus would be priceless. The match ends when ADR comes to the ring to throw Jericho into the steal steps and do more damage to the shoulder of Sheamus. Obviously, this brings out Orton, and eventually, ADR eats a Codebreaker, RKO and Brogue Kick before SmackDown goes off the air.
Cliff's Notes: The Fatal Four-Way is being built as insurmountable for Sheamus, but there's no clear favorite for victor among his three opponents. The Big Show joins CM Punk and John Cena as a wrestler whose main beef is currently with John Lauranaitis (and by association, Eve).
Daniel Bryan continues to mess with AJ's head, which seems to make her a better in-ring performer. Ryback, The Funkasauras and Damien Sandow continue to play the roles they have been playing every week, while Heath Slater and Hunico reaffirm their respective roles as jobbers.
The Tag Team Division continues to improve, as we see a total of five respectable duos, including Kofi/R-Truth, Ziggler/Swagger, Young/O'Neal, Epico/Primo, and now, Marella/Ryder.
Over the Limit is looking better and better with each show WWE puts on, but with only one week to go, they still have a lot of work to do.