WWE SmackDown opened with The Big Show arriving in his massive bus. He walked out of it, looking over his shoulder for Alberto Del Rio on his way into the arena. I’d be looking around for him too, especially after what happened on Raw.
Del Rio has the giant worried, which gives a lot of momentum to the champion. You don’t see The Big Show looking over his shoulder very often, so it’s good to see him getting bullied for a change.
The Big Show then made his way to the ring to whine and complain about his treatment. He thought it was wrong for the popular Del Rio to get away with attacking him in his hotel, even though he was suspended, and blamed everything on Booker T.
That brought out the general manager, who said he didn’t like bullies. Big Show wanted to know who gave Del Rio his hotel information, but Booker didn’t know. After The Big Show insulted him some more, Booker put him into a match against Kane.
The Big Show is really going back and forth with his character. On Raw, he was calm but had me convinced that he could snap at any moment. He was a giant out to hurt Del Rio, but only on his terms.
Here on SmackDown, he just complained the whole time about everything that has happened to him over the past month. I can’t tell if he’s trying to be a monster or a whiny heel. He did give a strong performance on the mic, so his promo was quite good. I’m just a little confused with what his character is supposed to be.
Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes
After hitting Cross Rhodes, Cody Rhodes picked up the win here over Kofi Kingston. Rhodes and Kingston had a good match that featured some solid action and a good pace.
It was great to see Rhodes actually win a match, but a bit disappointing that he wasn’t facing a top star again. No offense to Kingston, but he’s just going nowhere. He’s been going nowhere for a few years now.
Every time he would get a push, it was only because he was given a title, but it would be immediately stopped after he lost it. His pushes never lead anywhere, though I wish they would. He’s been with WWE for eight years now; He at least deserves a shot at something bigger.
Something bigger is exactly what Rhodes is heading towards. His storyline of wanting in on the Elimination Chamber match will no doubt lead to him making it to the main-event scene. I don’t think it’ll actually happen until after WrestleMania, but the seeds are being planted now for it to happen later.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan apologized to Kane for what he did on Raw. Kane accepted the apology and told him to go away. He didn’t, and instead forgave Kane for what he did on Main Event. Kane told him that he was seconds from annihilating Bryan if he didn’t shut up, which led to Kane eventually walking out.
The look on Bryan’s face while Kane was threatening him was just great. He looked like an innocent child being yelled at by a parent.
At this rate, Kane won’t be in the Chamber match, which changes my prediction of one pinning the other. If Kane doesn’t make it into the match, then the Big Red Monster will find a way to cost Bryan the match.
I’m thinking something like how Shawn Michaels hid under the structure to cost The Undertaker the match in 2010. Either way, the pay-per-view is going to be a major factor in their eventual breakup.
The Great Khali vs. Titus O’Neil
The Great Khali won after hitting the Brain Chop in a typical Khali match. Khali controlled the beginning, O’Neil took control of the middle and the Brain Chop came out of nowhere for the win.
I was impressed with O’Neil, though. He performed well in the ring with somebody bigger than him, which itself doesn’t happen too often since he’s a big guy himself.
The absence of “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young make me suspect that the Prime Time Players may be on their way out. Fans have never seen one without the other, so another team could very well be heading for a breakup.
Post-match, Mark Henry made his SmackDown return. He took out O’Neil on the outside, but was met with a fight with Khali. In the end, though, Khali was laid out with the World’s Strongest Slam.
More destruction from Henry, and even though I was never a big fan of his, I did kind of miss the Hall of Pain. He then got on the mic to declare that the Hall of Pain was back open, and he wanted an explanation as to why he wasn’t considered for the Chamber match despite being a former World champion.
Booker T then came out and didn’t really say why other than he’s been gone for a while. He booked Henry vs. Randy Orton in the main event, and if Henry can win, then he’d get a Chamber spot.
Being away for a while isn’t much of a reason. Rey Mysterio was missing for a few months as well and just returned himself. He may not have been gone as long as Henry, but he was still missing from action.
Anyway, Henry was strong on the mic here and gave a good promo. Overall, it’s definitely good to see him back. As for his match later, am I dreaming? Does Randy Orton really have an opponent not named Wade Barrett or Antonio Cesaro? I must be dreaming!
The Big Show vs. Kane
Before the match, The Big Show complained to his driver that the heat in his bus wasn’t right, his steak was cooked wrong and that the toilet was backed up. He then left, which gave Alberto Del Rio the chance to walk into view.
If my job was to clean up a toilet backed up by The Big Show, I think I’d quit. That’s got to be one nasty mess. The toilet may not be the only thing that’s a mess soon, though.
WWE has a history of Superstars messing with other’s vehicles, so something will certainly be happening here.
The Big Show than defeated Kane with the Knockout Punch in a decent match. It was the typical big-man match WWE usually puts on. Things started out hard and heavy, but then got slow and boring for me.
Big Show and Kane have had good matches before, so I know that they have chemistry with one another. I think this came down to time. The match lasted less than 10 minutes, so they didn’t really get much of a chance to do much anyway.
Post-match, Del Rio appeared on the Titantron with Big Show’s bus driver. He told Del Rio everything, and he made some changes to the bus as a result. Big Show then ran outside to see his back tires missing and the bus up on cinder blocks.
One bucket of orange paint later, and Del Rio rode off into the night on a tow truck.
This segment was pretty funny. Seeing a man of the Big Show’s size on the brink of tears over missing tires and some paint was humorous. The bully is getting bullied, which is a nice change of pace for storylines. It’ll be interesting to see how The Big Show reacts to this on Raw.
Jack Swagger vs. Justin Gabriel
After Justin Gabriel got in a short burst of offense, which included a few cool moves, Swagger locked in the Patriot Act for the win. With the exception of Gabriel’s bit of offense, Swagger dominated this match.
I don’t know what impresses Booker T, but taking out someone in the lower midcard wouldn’t exactly impress me enough to put him into a No. 1 contender’s match for the World title. Then again, WWE needs to show his dominance upon his return, so it’s understandable as to why he’s dismantling people who barely get television time.
He was impressive in terms of his intensity. Intensity is something Swagger has always missed, and it’s great to see him actually show some for a change. Swagger is good in the ring, but I don’t see him as a main-event level talent.
After the Elimination Chamber PPV, I think he’ll be put back into the midcard. I just hope he doesn’t get lost in the fold like last time.
From the Vault
As the vault opened, fans were treated to a match between The Bolsheviks and The Bushwhackers from January 1989. This is the first time I can remember WWE ever doing this, so it was great to see something from WWE’s history shown on one of the main shows.
While this match wasn’t exactly historic, it’s something that helps get younger fans familiar with the history of the company they’re watching. It would also be a great way to get the younger fans familiar with Hall of Fame inductees like Bob Backlund and Bruno Sammartino.
Back in their day, though, matches lasted up to an hour or longer, but seeing the last five minutes of the match would be just as good.
I’m really looking forward to see if WWE continues this. Seeing clips of matches from WWE’s early days would be a great addition to the shows!
Tensai vs. Drew McIntyre
After about a minute of action, Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal jumped Tensai to cause a disqualification. Brodus Clay soon made the save, and Tensai danced with him and the Funkadactyls to celebrate.
At least WWE is doing something with Tensai now. He may a comedy character, but that’s better than nothing. Tensai is a good in-ring talent, and as long as he saves the comedy for post-match celebrations, I think things will work out just fine.
A team with Brodus Clay would be very interesting. With the breakup of Team Rhodes Scholars and the looming breakups of Team Hell No and possibly the Prime Time Players, WWE is in need of some more teams. A team the size of Brodus and Tensai could be quite the force to be reckoned with.
Antonio Cesaro vs. Sin Cara
Despite that ridiculous light making its return, Antonio Cesaro defeated Sin Cara with the Neutralizer. Much like the Swagger/Gabriel match, the cruiserweight wrestler hit a few cool moves before getting taken out by the wrestler with the push.
I feel WWE made a mistake in hiring Sin Cara. He may be fun to watch in the ring, but he’s not going to go anywhere in the company unless the Cruiserweight or Light Heavyweight Championship is reinstated.
The sky is the limit for Cesaro, though. He can wrestle and he can talk; The man is the complete package. Once he loses the United States Championship and eventually makes his way to the main event, he’s going to be a huge star.
After the match backstage, Matt Striker was with The Miz. He said that he saw something lethal in Brock Lesnar’s eyes on Raw, and that brought in Cesaro to say that The Miz was a typical American since he was complaining after sticking his nose in someone else’s business. The Miz slugged him and they brawled before being separated by referees.
It’s good to see the Cesaro/Miz feud get back on track. After Cesaro kicked Miz in the face on Main Event last week, the feud took a backseat for a little over a week. The feud just stalled, but now it’s got some life back into it. I was wondering whether this feud was dropped in favor of Miz trying to challenge Lesnar, but thankfully it hasn’t.
Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton
Before the match, Striker was with Randy Orton. He said that Mark Henry returning to destroy was a good plan to get whatever he wanted, but that he’d be a roadblock for Henry’s mission to get inside the Chamber.
Orton gave a pretty good promo here, and I guess I’m not really dreaming. Looks like Orton really does have a different opponent for a change!
Henry would then get his spot inside the Elimination Chamber by defeating Orton with the World’s Strongest Slam. Henry and Orton put on a solid match here.
They played off their chemistry from 2011 when they feuded over the World Heavyweight Championship for a few months, and despite not working with one another since then, their past chemistry transitioned well in this contest.
I was impressed with Henry, who has been gone for about nine months. He didn’t show much ring rust in there with the Apex Predator. Orton sold for him very well, too, and he performed great in the ring with his much bigger opponent.
I wouldn’t mind if they picked their feud back up once once of them is champion again, but I would hope that they don’t wrestle each other over and over again after the feud is finished like Orton does with Wade Barrett. Now that I think about it, where was the Intercontinental champion during this show?
Overall, I thought this was a decent episode of WWE SmackDown. While there were a few good matches, there were more squash matches than usual. I expect better from SmackDown.
The Elimination Chamber event did get some good build, though. Between Alberto Del Rio bullying The Big Show and Mark Henry gaining a spot inside the Chamber, hype for the SmackDown side of things went pretty well.
Other than that, I really couldn’t get into this episode.
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