WWE SmackDown opened with the general manager, Booker T. He would make Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton, remind everyone that The Rock would be appearing on the show for the first time in 10 years and then made the Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio match a Last Man Standing match with the title on the line.
That brought out the Big Show, who complained that Booker had a personal vendetta against him. Big Show then grabbed Booker, but Del Rio ran out for the save.
I thought this was a good way to open the show. I like Booker a lot more as general manager then any other person in the role. He doesn’t really get too involved in storylines, which I think is great. Booker usually shows up, books matches and then leaves.
Vickie Guerrero on Raw and Hulk Hogan on Impact Wrestling get way too involved and tend to have their own storylines. Booker just does his job!
Big Show gave a typical heel promo, but it was a good one while Del Rio coming out for the save was a nice move. Completing his face turn in a city with a big Latino community is a good move as the crowd will go nuts for him, and that will get people at home to cheer as well.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro
Before the match began, a video of Antonio Cesaro was shown of him talking about entering the Royal Rumble and taking advantage of what America gives him. I loved that promo! Very condescending as well, but that’s what made it so great!
As for the match, Randy Orton would pick up the win by disqualification when The Shield attacked him. The match itself was a good one. Both Orton and Cesaro performed very well here with one another, as they gave fans some nice back-and-forth action.
Cesaro is really looking like a star these days. He competed in the main event last week on SmackDown and now against the Apex Predator of the WWE, and he has shined both times. Whether Cesaro is facing a nine-time world champion like Orton, or lifting up the massive Great Khali, the Superstar from Switzerland is one of the best things going today in WWE.
As for The Shield attacking Orton, well, I’m waiting for some locker room unity when it comes to the group. If Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns keep on attacking people, then why not band together to try to eliminate them?
Backstage, Matt Striker was with 3MB. Slater said that his mom told him that they have a 10 percent chance at winning the Royal Rumble. They then declared that they would beat Sheamus. His mom said? Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal are great together. They’re also good in the ring, so I hope WWE gives them the chance to show that in their match.
Earlier Friday, CM Punk and Paul Heyman were at Sunlife Stadium. Punk then put on The Rock college football jersey and told him that his glory days were gone.
Punk gave a great promo here, which is no surprise. The WWE champion was in the zone on Monday’s Raw, and he’ll be in that zone all the way to WrestleMania. It’s going to be hard to top Punk on the mic for the next couple of months.
Backstage, Matt Striker approached Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez. Del Rio called the Big Show insecure and said he’d get what la familia meant later.
Del Rio gave a good promo here. He was strong on the mic and his face turn is really progressing nicely. Will it work in the long run? Time will tell, but I hope it does as being a heel just didn’t work out.
Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee vs. the Great Khali and Natalya
Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee picked up the win after AJ hit Sliced Bread on Natalya. Post-match, Big E Langston and Ziggler took out Khali and Hornswoggle.
This match was nothing special. It saw Khali beat up Ziggler, AJ bite Natalya a few times and hit her finisher for the win. I was happy to finally see AJ get into the ring, but her character apparently only allows her to skip around and bite.
She is a very talented wrestler, so it would be good to see her actually get the chance to do something more.
Earlier Friday, Punk and Heyman were still at the stadium. The people didn’t deserve to be saved and that he was better than The Rock. Heyman then spoke up and put over the WWE champion before Punk took off the jersey and dropped it on the field.
This was another solid promo from Punk, while Heyman really added to the segment. That man is pure gold when he talks, and his pairing with Punk is truly a great team.
The Rock then made his return to SmackDown for the first time in 10 years. Everything he had ever accomplished in life started in Miami. Home for him was the Royal Rumble, though, when he kicks Punk’s “Cookiepuss ass” and takes the title.
The Rock was then interrupted by Team Rhodes Scholars. They were out there to correct The Rock. He didn’t deserve the time he had, but they did. Sandow did his three questions thing with The Rock asking the third. It all ended with a Rock Bottom for Sandow and the People’s Elbow for Rhodes.
I thought this was a great segment! The Rock was solid on the mic and delivered a good, serious promo at the beginning. The comedy didn’t begin until Rhodes Scholars entered the ring. He had me laughing hysterically, though, with jokes about Rhodes’ mustache, calling Sandow the spawn of Abraham Lincoln and a Gremlin and vowing to protect Lillian Garcia from the creepy looking Rhodes.
Even though they got made fun of and taken out, Rhodes Scholars got a major rub here. They just shared the ring with one of the biggest superstars in WWE history. They were also great on the mic, which added to the overall flow of the segment.
All three of them had very good chemistry as well. I would love to see either Sandow or Rhodes have a match with The Rock.
Sheamus vs. 3MB: 3-on-1 Handicap Match
3MB ran off when the bell rang, and then Heath Slater ran back in to give a Brogue Kick to end the match. I don’t really know what to say here. The match lasted probably 30 seconds, so I guess this was WWE’s way of squeezing Sheamus onto the show while giving the Last Man Standing match plenty of time in the main event.
It’s a shame to see Slater, McIntyre and Mahal treated as comedy jobbers. All three are very good in-ring talents, and people would see that if they’ve ever watched any of their matches on Superstars or NXT. I hope they at least enter the tag team division soon.
Team Hell No vs. the Prime Time Players
The tag team champions picked up the victory here after Kane chokeslammed Darren Young. The match saw Young and Titus O’Neil target Bryan’s knee until Kane entered the match for the finish. Much like the Sheamus/3MB match, I think this was so short due to the main event.
I can’t wait for Team Hell No’s therapy session on Raw with Dr. Shelby. The ones in the past were very entertaining, and I have faith that the new one on Monday will be as well.
It’s a shame that WWE seemed to give up on the Prime Time Players. They went from serious title contenders to getting beaten very quickly by the tag team champions. I’d like to see them get back to being a threat to the champions.
The Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio: Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Alberto Del Rio finally fulfilled his destiny of winning the World Heavyweight Championship after the Big Show couldn’t answer the 10 count.
This was a very good match right here. The action was great with the use of tables, chairs and the ring steps, and Del Rio looked like a true star! Seeing him get up after going through a table, being chokeslammed and taking the Knockout Punch were great moments.
I liked how Del Rio saved himself one of those times by rolling out of the ring and landing on his feet. I’ve never seen anyone do that before in a Last Man Standing match, or at least not in recent memory.
The reactions from the crowd and John Bradshaw Layfield’s commentary really added to the match as well. The Miami crowd was hot for Del Rio and popped big time when he won the title while JBL’s reactions to some of the action were pure gold.
Even though WWE spoiled this result themselves, seeing Del Rio hold that title up high was a great moment!
Overall, I thought this was a very enjoyable episode of SmackDown. While most of the matches weren’t anything special, the opening contest between Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro, the segment with The Rock and Rhodes Scholars and Alberto Del Rio’s title victory made for a good night.
WWE is certainly on a roll with the Road to WrestleMania nearing its start. Raw was good, Main Event was also good and SmackDown capped off a great week for the WWE. I can’t wait for next week!
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