SmackDown opened with the news that CM Punk had been injured by Ryback at the end of Raw and wouldn't be defending his title at TLC—instead Ryback and Team Hell No would be facing The Shield in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match.
One that would be decided by pinfall or submission. Which means it's not a TLC match at all, really. Can't they just hang a piece of card with "WINNER" written on it above the ring?
Booker T then announced a contract signing between The Big Show and Sheamus and that there'd be an utterly pointless "no contact" rule between them until the match. It's not going to be the Stone Cold vs. Triple H Three Stages of Hell match, and nor does anyone expect it to be.
We've seen them brawl, but I just don't get the impression that these are two men who hate each other so deeply that they can't keep their hands off each other. The stipulation just seems silly and unnecessary.
Big Show's manic laughter, dancing and provocation were quite brilliant though.
Daniel Bryan had a fairly close-seeming match with the Big Show in at least the second match between them in recent times (and I'm fairly sure it's the third). Bryan, shockingly, got distracted by The Shield and lost.
The Shield have been distracting matches and giving people powerbombs multiple times per episode over the past fortnight, and not once has it been interesting (excepting perhaps the joy of seeing it happen to Orton).
Damien Sandow again did exactly the same segment as the previous week's SmackDown, and this time it was The Miz rather than Santino who came out. The Miz is a natural heel, and I personally don't think it'll be easy or desirable to turn him face, but we'll see how things pan out.
3MB defeated The Usos and Brodus Clay in very quick time. It wasn't so long ago that a squash involving Brodus Clay and Heath Slater would work the opposite way around.
Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett was awful on multiple levels.
They must have had over a dozen matches since Wade Barrett led The Nexus, and they're incapable of putting on an entertaining contest. Compounding that was Kofi Kingston on commentary, who has no aptitude for it whatsoever. But the finish was the worst part, in which Wade Barrett supposedly was surprised by the RKO despite having his eyes fixed on Randy for about five seconds beforehand.
R-Truth and Antonio Cesaro had a weird and very awkward promo on the nature of the American citizenry. Insulting the locals is the oldest trick in the heel's book, but having a lunatic with an imaginary friend talking about hard-working people in tough times was slightly surreal.
There's a simple way of doing a feud like this: having serious Cesaro irritated by Truth's clowning and cheerful psychopathy. Or better yet, let's not carry on a feud that's already had a clean title match.
Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio was the World Heavyweight Championship match for three straight pay-per-views, so it ought to be a pretty big deal.
Except, that was the worst and most painfully extended feud in recent memory, and—much as with Orton and Barrett—I could happily go the rest of my life without seeing them share a ring again. Shockingly, Sheamus won, though Del Rio briefly made it worth watching with a moonsault and roll.
As with Raw, SmackDown was very average, and perhaps even a little worse. Last week the WWE's output was great, simply because it had quite a few great matches. This week, SmackDown had none.