WWE SmackDown, Jan. 18: Tag Team Matches, Group Hugs, the Divas and More

Kyle SchadlerChief Writer IJanuary 19, 2013

WWE SmackDown opened with Fiesta Del Rio. With Mariachis, a dancer and balloons, new World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio made his way to the ring. Before he could really get started, though, Dolph Ziggler came out with AJ Lee and Big E. Langston.

He threatened to have Langston take Del Rio out so that he could cash in, but the Big Show came out before anything could happen. Sheamus soon made his way down to congratulate Del Rio on the win, and like clockwork, Booker T came out to make a tag team match and perform the Spin-a-roonie.

Sheamus also danced around a sombrero, which was pretty funny.

The opening segments of SmackDown have become very predictable. They start with one Superstar, and end with three other guys in the ring so Booker can make a tag match. The tag team main events tend to be good, but something different, like last week, would be nice once in a while.

As for the segment itself, it was a good way to start the show. The fiesta, though short, was a fun little part of the segment. Everyone gave strong performances on the mic while Big Show stood there looking like he was about to cry. I assume he was supposed to look angry, but he seriously looked like he was holding back tears.

With a babyface now as champion, you have to wonder if the time for Ziggler to cash in is on the horizon.


Antonio Cesaro vs. Kofi Kingston

The United States champion would pick up the victory here after catching Kingston midair and turning the move into the Neutralizer. This was an overall good match that saw a bit of back-and-forth action.

What made the match so good, though, was Antonio Cesaro. Cesaro is one of the best things going today in the WWE. The man is great in the ring, great on the mic, which gets him over very well as a heel, and his strength is incredibly impressive. That final move to end the match blew me away.

It has been a long time since I’ve seen someone who wasn’t the size of the Big Show catch someone like that! The best talents truly do come from the independent circuit! If WWE doesn’t have him in the main-event scene by the end of the year, then the creative team needs to be kicked to the curb.

As for Kingston, it’s a shame to see him fall so quickly after losing the Intercontinental Championship to Wade Barrett. I’ve noticed that happens all the time with him. As soon as he loses whatever title he’s holding, creative just has zero storylines for him.

It would be nice if Kingston, for once, had a storyline waiting for him after being taken out of a title picture. Maybe next time.

Backstage, Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes approached the Miz and used his “Really?” catchphrase on him. The Miz then made fun of them for this being the first time they’ve talked in two years, and not being able to tell them apart, before challenging one of them to a match.

While the jokes were pretty funny, it always bothers me when WWE has someone just bury their own talent like that. Primo and Epico are a great team, and very talented individually, but WWE made them look like a joke here.

I understand getting the Miz over as a babyface; I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of making other talent look like a joke.


The Great Khali vs. Tensai

After Tensai beat up Khali for a minute, Khali kicked Tensai in the face and hit the Brain Chop for the win. This really was a terrible match. It makes zero sense in terms of storylines and was about a minute and a half long.

Granted, neither Superstar really has a storyline right now, but WWE could have at least given us Khali vs. Big E. Langston. That way, it would look like Khali was trying to avenge what Langston did to Hornswoggle last week. That at least has a bit of story behind it. This match was definitely something just to fill time.


Team Hell No and Randy Orton vs. Team Rhodes Scholars and Wade Barrett

Before this match, Team Hell No were backstage talking about their therapy session on Monday. It soon evolved into them arguing over Bryan’s beard, and that brought in Randy Orton. Orton asked “Are two going to keep acting like second graders, or do you want to cause some pain?”

Kane responded with “Both,” while Bryan told him they were getting their anger under control and that there would be a group hug later on.

Kane and Daniel Bryan are pure gold together. They have developed a chemistry that some teams can only dream of having. They are great in the ring as a unit and are extremely entertaining on the mic, both in the ring and backstage. It’ll be a shame when they lose the titles since they will most likely be breaking up shortly after that.

The inclusion of Orton here was great as well. His reaction when Bryan told him about the group hug was priceless!

As for the match, they would defeat their rivals here after Orton hit the RKO on Damien Sandow. This was a fun match to watch. It was shorter than a six-man tag team match should be, but the six Superstars made the most of it.

I am intrigued by the Orton/Barrett feud. I’m wondering if it’s going to lead to the Viper going after the Intercontinental Championship for the first time in years, or if it’s just way to help elevate Barrett to the main event. My guess is that it’s to elevate the Barrett Barrage, but where is it going to lead for Orton?

Perhaps his heel turn, and it’s things like the post-match celebration that’s going to help it along. After Orton celebrated, Bryan held out his arms for a hug. Orton declined, but turned around to Kane, who slowly lifted his arms into the hug position.

The way Kane just slowly put his arms up was hysterical. Orton may have shrugged it off afterwards, but I think the group hug is one of the things that are going to push Orton over the edge to heel.


The Miz vs. Primo

The Miz picked up a win here after Primo taped out to the Figure Four Leglock. The Miz and Primo had a good match here. With some overall nice back-and-forth action, the two Superstars delivered in this contest.

I was worried that the Miz would end up squashing Primo, or Epico if he was chosen for the match, but I was pleasantly surprised when Primo was given the opportunity to perform. He showed the WWE Universe that he’s more than just a tag team wrestler, and that he was to be taken seriously.

I would love to see WWE put them back into the hunt for the Tag Team Championship, or possibly even let Primo go solo. Then again, there really isn’t much of a place for a cruiserweight singles wrestler in WWE nowadays, so let’s just stick to the tag team division for now.

As for the Miz, he continues to impress as a babyface. His possible paring with Ric Flair is gold in the making. Their MizTV segment was quite entertaining on Monday’s Raw, and they have a chemistry that I wouldn’t have thought that they would have.

If the Nature Boy ends up as the manager of the Miz, the career of the Awesome One is going to skyrocket.


Kaitlyn vs. Aksana

Before the match, we went backstage with the Divas champion, Alicia Fox and Layla. Alicia and Layla were congratulating Kaitlyn when Booker T and Teddy Long approached her to do the same.

What’s the deal with Alicia Fox? I never know what she is. One week she’s a heel, and then the following week she’s a babyface. It’s really confusing. What I found interesting, though, was the actions of Layla in this segment.

At one point she was holding the title and was just staring at it. Could a heel turn for her be coming? She was great as a heel with LayCool, but was that because of Michelle McCool? We could be finding out soon if she can hold her own as a heel without a partner.

Kaitlyn would then defeat Aksana with a spear in a decent match. The action was the typical Divas content, and I have to wonder why Aksana was in this match. I thought Kaitlyn already dealt with her when she found out that it was Aksana that attacked her.

While Aksana is improving, she still can’t really put on a good match. I would have liked to see Tamina Snuka here instead of her. Kaitlyn has progressed into an overall solid talent, and Tamina is the best on the Divas roster behind Natalya. I think they could have had a good match. Perhaps I’ll get my wish and see the match at the Royal Rumble.


Mick Foley and the Shield

Mick Foley’s Hall of Fame video then aired and it was a very well put together video package. I wish they aired it on Raw, too. The video brought back a lot of great moments of Foley’s WWE career and reminded me exactly why I’ve been a supporter of his for years.

The man has literally put his put his life on the line to entertain the audience, whether that was in WWF/E, WCW or ECW. This is an honor that he truly deserves! I’m proud to say that I’ve met him twice. He is a Superstar that really loves his fans, whether they’re 10 years old, 26 like me or in their 50s.

A video of The Shield was then shown. They declared that they targeted Foley due to his Hall of Fame career leaving a trail of broken bodies behind him. They talked a bit about Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus before proclaiming that we needed to believe in them.

Both Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were great here. Their parts of the promo were strong, but then there was Roman Reigns. He was like a deer in the headlights while he spoke. That is until the end when he just randomly screamed into the camera.

I’m glad The Shield finally spoke up. They’ve been silent for too long, and trying to attack Foley needed an explanation. I think Foley, more so than not, left his own broken body behind then somebody else’s, but at least their reason makes sense for the most part.

I’ve been wondering about something ever since Raw. That was whether the Hardcore Legend would join in on the fight. Not physically, though, just as a team leader to make sure Ryback, Orton and Sheamus work together.

After this video from Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns, I’m thinking that it’s certainly possible. It’s the perfect way to keep one of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees in storylines, which is something that rarely happens.


Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus vs. the Big Show and Dolph Ziggler

Before the match, Sheamus approached Orton about the Shield. Orton declared that he didn’t need help in fighting them, and that turned into Royal Rumble talk. The Viper said he was going to win while Sheamus said nothing.

I give it a few weeks after the Royal Rumble until Orton turns heel. I feel that the six-man tag team match is imminent, and that’s when Orton will turn on Sheamus. He definitely won’t be the leader of the Shield, but attacking one of WWE’s top babyfaces is a good way to get over as a bad guy.

Sheamus would then make his way to the ring for the main event, which saw him and Del Rio win the match by count out. Was Big Show or Dolph Ziggler knocked out enough to not answer the ten count? Not even close.

Del Rio just threw a bucket of water on Big Show, and that made him super mad. He wasn’t mad enough to get back into the ring, though, so he walked away.

That was a lame ending to an overall boring match. The tag team main event is like a tradition on Friday nights, and the majority of them deliver an enjoyable match. I just couldn’t get into this one. The action wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t exactly anything exciting, either.

The ending made things worse, too. A giant walks away after getting water thrown on him? It’s too bad David didn’t know that; his fight with Goliath would have been so much easier! This really was a disappointing end to SmackDown.


Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought this was a good episode of WWE SmackDown. The good matches and segments made up for the filler match between Khali and Tensai, the Divas match and the main event. WWE’s Friday night show continues to consistently have good shows, which is a great thing.

During the broadcast, John Bradshaw Layfield and Josh Mathews mentioned a few times that this episode was the 700th episode of the show. Even though Raw is way over that number, 700 episodes is still quite the milestone.

I’m surprised that WWE didn’t hype it at all on Raw and that it only got passing references on commentary during the show.

Whatever the reason is as to why they didn’t do anything special, it was still a good episode. That’s all I really care about at the end of the day!


Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to hit me up on Twitter, where I always follow back fellow wrestling fans and usually tweet during the shows! If your bio doesn’t say you’re a wrestling fan, please tweet me so I know.


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