We open the show as we’re completing the ring entrances. Here come Primo and Epico! We welcome Antonio Cesaro to the commentary table, followed by Team Rhodes Scholars, Wade Barrett, Santino and The Great Khali. The audience is surprised that there is no Zack Ryder and no Brodus Clay (entrances, at least—they’re in the actual match).
Match One: Over-The-Top-Rope Battle Royal for a Unites States Championship Match
So battle royals are often the hardest match to follow, and a lot of the action is (dare I say) pointless. Not to say it’s not without reason, but it’s a lot of kicking and punching, with some shoving near the ropes.
We did get out first elimination at 0:07, as Khali dumps Yoshi Tatsu. Oh, how the mighty have fallen—Yoshi won the WrestleMania 26 pre-show Battle Royal back in 2010. During the first four minutes, we also saw the elimination of Primo and all four members of our tag-team match that’ll take place later in the show.
First segment eliminations
0:07 – Yoshi Tatsu
0:49 – Primo
4:08-4:12 – Drew McIntyre, Tyson Kidd, Jinder Mahal and Justin Gabriel (rapid fire eliminations)
Back from break and it doesn’t appear that we had any eliminations during our commercials. That’s good time management!
During the next three minutes we had five eliminations—bookended by each Uso. Santino narrowly escaped elimination, which he does several times during this Battle Royal. William Regal is eliminated during this segment, depriving us of what would be an awesome match for next week. And Brodus Clay had a surprising elimination—surprising because people cheered when it happened.
Second segment eliminations
7:44 – Jey Uso
8:23 – William Regal
9:20 – Epico
9:52 – Brodus Clay
11:05 – Jimmy Uso
Back for segment three of this match, as Khali is about to go on a tear. He eliminates four men—The Prime Time Players and Team Rhodes Scholars. Thus, most of the tag-team division are now officially eliminated. Seriously, 12 of our first 15 eliminations are tag-team wrestlers.
Your final four are Santino Marella, Zack Ryder, Wade Barrett and The Great Khali. Three of these guys could—at the very least—have an entertaining match with Antonio Cesaro next week, and each story could be built nicely—or Khali could win.
In the final four, Santino and Ryder got some offense in before Santino actually eliminated his partner from the match. First Cena, now Santino? Poor Zack can’t buy a break.
You know this win could do a lot for Wade Barrett. The two men battled to the ropes, and Barrett went over the top, but he held off elimination. This was a momentary condition, as Khali nailed a big chop that sent the former bare-knuckle fighter to the floor.
Third segment eliminations
15:59 – 16:07 – The Primetime Players and Team Rhodes Scholars
17:20 – 17:24 – Zack Ryder and Santino Marella
18:47 – Wade Barrett
Winner: The Great Khali in 18:47
Thus, we get Antonio Cesaro vs. The Great Khali for Cesaro’s United States Championship next week. Hopefully, this is merely an excuse to create another Neutralizer for Cesaro. Despite Khali being a former World Heavyweight Champion (and that was back in 2007), there’s not a ton of value in this match otherwise.
Post battle royal, Cesaro entered the ring and shook Khali’s hand, leaving without incident—yet.
Backstage Segment One
After commercial, we get a backstage interview with The Great Khali. Antonio Cesaro quickly attacks, but it doesn’t end well for the champ, as he takes a big chop to the chest. Khali wishes him a Happy New Year and promises to see him (and us, presumably) next week.
Video Package One
Next up we have a Raw Rebound, focusing on Alberto Del Rio’s feud with Santa Claus. Hey, Raw was basically a stand-alone show this week.
3MB makes their entrance in a match that was set up early in the Battle Royal. Well, at least the set-up was there, but the promotional aspect of it wasn’t. Heath Slater isn’t wrestling, by the way.
Video Package Two
We return from commercial with highlights of MizTV—not from Smackdown, mind you, but from Tribute To The Troops. No need to focus on storyline advancement when you can have Muppets!
Match Two: 3MB of Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre vs. Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel
Here we have a nice change of pace following the battle royal. A nice 15 minute tag-team match that saw some great psychology, especially when Tyson Kidd was playing Ricky Morton. I did see two production “huh” moments, as we spent several minutes building heat for Kidd’s hot tag, only to be in split-screen replay mode when he actually tags Gabriel.
Also, we were focused on Heath Slater on the outside when Gabriel jumped into a beautiful springboard moonsault. When we saw it, the springboard portion was already done.
The finish came when Gabriel and Kidd nailed a lifted blockbuster on Mahal, allowing Kidd to get the pin.
Winners: Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel in 15:10
Despite the quality of the Battle Royal, this still felt like a bigger deal than it would have on Raw or Smackdown, which is the point of WWE Main Event.
That said, it was one of the worse editions. You can’t blame them for trying—especially on a holiday week. I would have preferred some highlights of Battle Royals from the old days, including Andre’s WrestleMania 2 win. It would have been a nice parallel to The Great Khali’s win. Of course, that would make more people realize that Khali has been booked all wrong all along.
In total, we had 34 minutes of wrestling, and I can’t really complain about that!
Folllow Greg DeMarco on Twitter: @gregdemarcoshow
Watch for Greg's new site, Wrestling Smash, coming in early 2013!