Every week here on Bleacher Report, I will take an in-depth look at SmackDown, recapping all of the action, offering analysis and grading the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show, as well as provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.
This week featured a few Thanksgiving segments, which has become a tradition on SmackDown.
The show featured seven matches. Four of them took place in the first hour of the show, and the final hour was devoted to a tag match that turned into a six-man tag match that turned into a 12-man tag match.
The show was split between four subpar matches and three great matches, so it's hard to judge as a whole. You can judge for yourself.
Let's get right into the show with the opening segment featuring an interview with Randy Orton.
The show opened with Randy Orton coming to the ring for an interview with Renee Young. Young implies that Orton would have lost the title at Survivor Series, but Orton says he was never knocked out and he was just playing possum.
Orton ended up leaving the ring without answering the final question. JBL said he didn't like the line of questioning either.
This segment didn't do much to sell the feud anymore than a video package would have.
Some notes from the segment:
- WWE is using Renee Young a lot lately, which is a good thing. She is a solid backstage talent who will probably be around for a long time.
- One of the photos they showed of Orton being hit by Big Show was hilarious. Orton's face almost looked cartoonish.
Mark Henry defeated Curtis Axel in a quick squash that would normally get a terrible grade and review, but one small factor kept this from being a total wash.
WWE had Big E Langston accompany Henry to the ring to even the odds as Ryback accompanied Axel to the ring. The two men outside the ring did not get involved save for an encounter with each other, but the pairing of Henry and Langston has promise.
These two men might not end up as a tag team, but Langston and Henry being a partnership for the time being is a way to bring Henry back into the fold and up Langston's visibility.
Some notes from the match:
- I still think Henry and Langston should call themselves The New Men on a Mission.
- Henry should have shaved his head a long time ago. The new look is great.
This match was short, but it featured a few entertaining spots, which saved it from being completely boring. El Torito finally got some ring time, and he looked pretty good.
One spot which involved Fernando and Diego clotheslining Heath Slater while dropkicking Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal at the same time was cool, and the three suicide dives that followed looked great.
The match is not everyone's cup of tea, but it appeals to the kids and it gives six people TV time. These are the matches that make WWE "entertainment" and not just "wrestling."
Los Matadores picked up the win after they hit their finisher on D-Mac to pick up the pin.
Some notes from the match:
- I really like the idea of 3MB changing their band's name every week. I just hope they start getting creative with the names for some laughs.
- The only thing 3MB added to their attires were some cheap pilgrim hats. They could have at least worn the belt buckles or something.
- Either JBL is great at acting or he really, really likes watching El Torito.
This match came about after a backstage confrontation between Clay and Woods over the use of Clay's music on Monday.
Clay picked up the win with a pin on Woods after hitting a splash from the middle rope. Tensai looked like he had to stop Clay from attacking Woods after the match, but the whole thing still ended with a dance party in the ring.
This was another really short match, but it might lead to a real feud and heel turn in the future, so it might not have been for nothing.
Some notes from the match:
- JBL made a 2 Live Crew reference. I didn't think I could like JBL anymore than I already do, but then he goes and pulls out a reference to a '90s hip hop group.
- Also, happy birthday JBL.
- If Brodus Clay drops the dancing part of his gimmick when he turns heel, then he might have a decent shot at a good push.
This match was just for the sake of attempted entertainment and not for the purpose of having a good match.
Titus ended up puking in JBL's hat and on Zeb Colter's head. It was kind of gross and really didn't make this a special Thanksgiving episode of SmackDown.
Cesaro picked up a DQ win after Darren Young came in to save his partner from the Cesaro Swing.
Some notes from the match:
- I think I have learned to read lips from watching WWE. I could clearly see Cesaro mouth the words "Are you ready for this?" with a smile on his face before the bell rang.
- Titus actually looked a few pounds heavier during the match.
- Why did WWE need to censor the puking? It was obvious it was censoring nothing most of the time.
Brodus Clay walked into the locker room where R-Truth and Xavier Woods were talking, and he acted upset that Woods used his music and dancers on Monday.
Two things happened that were a little strange; Clay acted like a heel, and he called himself a "main event player."
Sweet T came in and said he would talk to Clay for Truth to see what the deal was. This segment was really short, but the possibility of Clay turning heel makes me very happy.
Clay should have been allowed to try his dominant gimmick in the beginning of his run, but later is better than never.
Two backstage segments about a food eating contest between Titus O'Neil and Khali aired about 20 minutes apart.
Titus won the contest, but he was unhappy to hear that his prize was a match with Antonio Cesaro. With a stomach full of food and a man who likes to swing people around dozens of times, you could see where WWE was heading with this.
AJ and Tamina showed up for a few seconds before leaving. Nothing really spectacular happened, but it served to set up a match.
WWE stumbled into something special with this feud. Every match The Shield and The Rhodes have been in has been really good, and this was no exception.
Dean Ambrose was on commentary for the match, which was a nice addition. Ambrose is great on the mic and he played off of Cole and JBL really well.
The pace was kept at a manageable speed for a good portion of the match, but things really picked up when Cody got the hot tag from Goldust.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust retained the titles after Ambrose came in and caused a DQ finish. CM Punk came out to even the odds and get revenge for the attack he suffered at the hands of The Shield on Monday.
Vickie came on the Titantron and made this into a six-man tag match. The addition of Ambrose and Punk kept things fresh, and this match was as entertaining as the first.
The Wyatt Family came out to ringside during the match, but they waited until Punk tried to tag out to make their move and attack the tag champs on the apron, causing a second disqualification.
The Usos and Rey Mysterio came out to make the save, and Vickie pulled the biggest "Teddy Long" of them all and turned this into a 12-man tag match.
The Wyatts, The Usos and Mysterio kept up the pace and the excitement of the previous two matches, and they helped cap off the night with a great series.
All 12 men got a little ring time, and the ending featured a great exchange of various moves and finishers from almost everyone. Punk picked up the win with a big GTS to Erick Rowan.
The first entrance for all of this happened with almost exactly one hour left in the show. That means The Shield, Cody and Goldust were all out there for the entire final hour of the show.
This was actually a great way to fill the last half of the show. We saw some great wrestling, several feuds were addressed and WWE sent the crowd home happy with a babyface victory featuring The Usos, The Rhodes, Punk and Mysterio.
Some notes from the matches:
- Goldust must have hit his face on the floor because half his paint came off on the padding around the ring.
- Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins always seem to have the most chemistry in the ring. I hope they get to have some singles matches in the future.
- I am happy WWE did something different and devoted a whole hour to this, but cramming four matches in the first hour made things feel rushed.
The Thanksgiving episode of SmackDown was average as a whole, but the second hour was something special. Having four of the men involved in the three consecutive matches wrestling for almost an hour was a nice change from the usual booking.
The rest of the matches were all poor to average, but the possible heel turn for Brodus Clay shows some promise. If they book him right, Clay could be a great heel in WWE with his athleticism and look.
The whole puking segment with Titus O'Neil missed the mark, and for once the show felt lacking without a Divas match, but the build for some of the Survivor Series feuds is getting interesting.
- TLC will feature one final tag title match between The Shield and The Rhodes Brothers either with ladders or tables involved.
- Dean Ambrose will lose the U.S. title at TLC.
- Mark Henry will either be involved in the chairs or tables match at TLC.
- Bryan will return and feud with CM Punk as part of the Wyatt Family. I don't want it to happen, but I think it will.
What did you enjoy from Friday's show?
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter @BR_Doctor.