Zim’s 12/6 WWE Smackdown Review: Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan, C.M. Punk vs. Dean Ambrose, Rey Mysterio and Big Show vs. The Real Americans, Ryback and Axel vs. The Rhodes brothers, Big E Langston vs. Fandango, and more
By Zack Zimmerman
WWE Smackdown on Syfy
Taped December 3, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Michael Cole welcomed viewers and Randy Orton made his entrance. The commentators hyped the Title vs. Title match for TLC and said they'd hear from Triple H later. In the ring, Randy Orton spoke about the match and said he can overcome what happened Monday on Raw. A video package showed the brawl that closed out Raw and ended with Orton taking the AA through a table and Cena holding high both titles.
Orton said he was beaten up on the inside, but he's not out there whining and crying. He said in 10 days he'll prove to the world he is who he says he is: the greatest superstar of this or any generation. He said he didn't like anyone, nobody in the back, and certainly not John Cena. He said he does, however, revere the authority. He said they know whats best for business, regardless of the fact that he's taken some of those things for granted. He said he wanted to publicly apologize to The Authority.
Daniel Bryan's music hit and he made his way to the ring. The commentators talked about what a great year Bryan has had and a "Yes" chant broke out. Bryan said he think's Orton needs to apologize for impersonating a champion. He said out of all the title matches they've had, not once did Orton ever legitimately beat Orton. Bryan said that just because he's busy with The Wyatts, he's not done with Orton. He said whoever wins at TLC will see Daniel Bryan waiting at the frong of the line for a shot at the title.
He said that since he's looking into the face of the WWE, he feels like putting a knee in it. He challenged Orton to a match tonight, and the crowd wanted it bad. Orton said simply, "No." Bryan appealed to the fans and asked what they thought, which led to a loud "Yes" chant. Bryan's music hit and Orton slid out of the ring. The commentators said it'd be up to GM Vickie Guerrero… [C]
Zim Says: Where was that promo from Bryan the night after Hell in a Cell? I'd like to hope that there is some truth in what Bryan said about being at the front of the line after the TLC unification, but I'm not entirely confident. Otherwise a pretty standard opening segment.
A video hyped the Slammys for this Monday. Damien Sandow joined the commentary team as Fandango finished making his entrance. Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston was out next. A video package showed Sandow's win over Dolph Ziggler from Monday to earn a title match at TLC. Sandow was exceedingly confident on commentary. He said he would return that title to what it once was, and name dropped Steamboat and Austin.
1. Big E Langston vs. Fandango in a non-title match. Langston overpowered Fandango and drove his shoulder into Fandango in the corner. Fandango lured Langston in and took control at ringside, then continued his assault in the ring. Langston eventually created separation and fired up. He hit a belly-to-belly and a big splash, and then dropped the straps. He went to grab Fandango, but Fandango reversed with a high kick. He went to the top rope, but Langston tossed him off and crushed him in the corner. He delivered the Big Ending and scored the win.
Big E Langston beat Fandango in about 2:45.
Post-match, Sandow confronted Langston in the ring, but it didn’t get physical. The segment closed with Langston holding his title high and Sandow backing up the ramp… Michael Cole promoted WWE2K14 and a YouTube music video played… Michael Cole hyped C.M. Punk vs. one member of The Shield coming up later in the show… [C]
Zim Says: Same stuff we've been seeing from Langston and (unfortunately) same stuff we've been seeing from Fandango. Sandow did a good job of talking up the match and how important it'd be if he won, but he didn't show as much intimidation as you'd expect when he's facing someone as physically intimidating as Big E.
The commentators hyped Shawn Michaels as the presenter of the Superstar of the Year Slammy. They said voting would take place during Raw on Monday. The Rhodes Brothers made their entrance. Ryback and Curtis Axel were out next to Ryback's music. A video package showed Main Event from Wednesday where Axel interfered in Goldust's match with Ryback and Cody made the save.
2. Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel in a non-title match. The commentators questioned if they were Ry-Axel of Axelback. Funny. Cole ran through the nominees for Superstar of the year as the heels worked over Goldust. Ryback whipped Axel into a hard elbow strike to Goldust and the two stayed in control. Axel settled into a chinlock and Goldust fought out.
Goldust hit a snap powerslam and made the hot tag to Cody. Cody connested with a springboard dropkick, but missed the Disaster Kick. Rhodes got a nearfall with a rollup and then sent Axel into the ring-post. He followed up with a diving moonsault, but the fall was broken up by Ryback. Ryback took Goldust out to ringside, and Cody hit Ryback with a Disaster Kick off the announce table. Back in the ring, Axel scored the win with an inside cradle.
Ryback and Curtis Axel defeated Cody Rhodes and Goldust in about 4:15.
Michael Cole hyped Bryan vs. Orton in the main event… [C]
Zim Says: This was good. Ryback and Axel showed signs of good teamwork, so I'm not going to be negative about it. Goldust and Cody are really clicking right now, and I have yet to see a bad match from them since they began teaming.
The commentators hyped that Christian would present the "This is Awesome" Moment of the Year Slammy this Monday on Raw... A Bad News Barrett segment started. Oh boy. Barrett called the crowd cowardly gullible sheep who would all lead each other to slaughter. The #BadNewsBarrett graphic hit the screen….
Alberto Del Rio made his entrance. A video package showed Sin Cara's upset win over Del Rio from Raw on Monday. Kofi Kingston was out next, but when he hit the turnbuckles, Del Rio knocked him to ringside. Del Rio beat Kofi down viciously and the commentators put over that he was fuming after his loss Monday. He got Kofi in the ring and hit his superkick before applying the cross armbreaker. Referees broke it up and Del Rio made his way back up the ramp…
A video package showed The Shield's attack on C.M. Punk from Raw two weeks ago. The commentators discussed that Punk would be facing one of the Shield later in the night. The Shield appeared on-screen and Reigns said he wanted to face Punk and end it with a single spear. Rollins talked him down, but Reigns said it'd take a thoroughbred because Punk is the Best in the World. Ambrose interjected and said "So, that means me." The segment ended.
Zim Says: More dissension becoming apparent between the Shield. It's no secret that WWE sees Reigns as their potential next Rock, but I'm surprised to see them getting to it so quickly. I'm sure they'll hold off until after Wrestlemania, but the Shield seems like an act with the potential to last several years. Good aggressiveness shown by Del Rio, and I'm actually interested to see where they go with him and Sin Cara. As far as Bad News Barrett, Barrett's delivery isn't bad, but there is no good way to deliver bad material.
The commentators hyped that The Shield would be presenting the "Double Cross of the Year" Slammy award. Talk about a gimmick killer. C.M. Punk made his entrance, followed by Dean Ambrose who made is way through the crowd solo.
3. C.M. Punk vs. Dean Ambrose in a non title match. A "C.M. Punk" chant broke out as the bell rang. The two traded offense until Punk landed the first big shot with a hard boot to the face. Punk hit the ropes and dropped four consecutive legdrops, before Ambrose took control. Michael Cole ran through the nominees for "Double-Cross of the Year." Punk escaped a chinlock and hit a calf kick before looking to hit the GTS. Ambrose escaped and dropped to ringside as the show went to break. [C]
Back from break, Dean Ambrose was in control and the commentators said only people who used the app could see how it happened. Jerks. Ambrose hooked in a crossface chickenwing and got a two-count with a clothesline. Ambrose backed into the corner and slithered onto the apron. He went to the top rope and looked to hit a diving back senton, but Punk evaded.
Punk came back with a flying clothesline for two. He hit a high knee in the corner and followed up with a clothesline for another two-count. Punk went for the swinging neckbreaker, but Ambrose reversed into a high fujiwara armbar. Punk made it to his feet and went for the GTS, but ambrose hooked in a sleeper. Punk reversed into the Anaconda Vice for a good false finish, but he got his foot under the bottom rope and forced a break.
Punk went to the top rope, but was met up there by Ambrose, who connected with a great double-underhook superplex. Punk kicked out at two, but Ambrose went right back to the Fujiwara armbar. Punk teased tapping but made it to the rope. He got near-fall on a quick rollup, and another good near-fall off the high roundhouse kick. Punk signaled for his finish but Ambrose sent Punk into the ringpost and got a great near-fall with a rollup off that.
Ambrose brought Punk back to his feet looking for the headlock driver, but Punk hit another high kick and followed up with the GTS for the clean win.
C.M. Punk over Dean Ambrose in about 9:45.
The commentators talked about how Punk got through one membe, but questioned how he could get through all three. A replay aired before Punk celebrated but sold the effects of the match…
The commentators threw backstage to Renee Young who was standing by with Rey Mysterio. She asked what it would mean for someone to hold both Championships at the same time. Rey said to be known as the Champion of Champions would be the ultimate test of fortitude. Zeb Colter and the Real Americans interrupted and Zeb asked why Rey wore a mask. He said he's never seen Rey's paper's and questioned if Mysterio was his real name. Rey said he was a "Six-One-Niner," born in San Diego. He called Colter a hypocrites, and Colter challenged Rey to a tag match if he could find himself a partner…
Michael Cole again hyped the main event… [C]
Zim Says: Great match. Ten minutes of solid action and effective storytelling. That armbar would be a good second finish for Ambrose, as Punk really legitimized it by selling it so strongly. I suppose this continues the pattern of the second-tier title holders playing jobber to the stars, but Ambrose looked as good as one can in defeat with no interference and believable nearfalls.
The commentators hyped that Eve would be back for one night only this Monday on Raw to present the "Diva of the Year" Slammy award… Back in the arena, Tamina Snuka and AJ made their entrance. AJ joined the commentary team as Tamina was in action.
4. Natalya vs. Tamina Snuka. Natalya surprised Tamina with a hard clothesline, but Tamina came right back with a hard knee strike and rammed her into the ringpost from the apron. AJ discussed how if things weren't going her way in her upcoming title match, the fix was in thanks to her "machine;" presumably Tamina. Natalya made a comeback and hit a low running dropkick. AJ said Nattie was a bland and generic wrestler as Tamina regained control and hit a Samoan drop. She went up top, but missed the splash. Nattie made the cover and scored the win.
Natalya beat Tamina Snuka in about 2:55.
AJ continued to exude confidence on commentary and didn’t budge from the chair as Nattie shot her looks before leaving… The Funkadactyls were the salespersons of the week for WWEShop… The Real Americans were shown backstage and Cole questioned who Mysterio found as a partner, coming up next… [C]
Zim Says: Lame match from the ladies. I get spoiled by the ladies of NXT, and Paige vs. Natalya from this week's episode put this match to shame. AJ was pretty decent on commentary, and continued to "shoot" on Nattie as a cast member of Total Divas.
Back in the arena, The Real Americans were finishing their entrance before Rey Mysterio made his. He waited at the bottom of the ramp, and The Big Show was revealed to be his partner.
5. Rey Mysterio and Big Show vs. The Real Americans (Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger) w/ Zeb Colter. Rey's gear appears to be a tribute to Juventud Guerrera. Half joking. Rey hit some quick offense before Swagger overpowered and the Americans took control. They isolated Rey and Swagger sent him crashing to ringside. Cesaro went to work on Rey at ringside and the assault continued back in the ring. Rey eventually fought back with a tilt-a-whirl DDT and made the hot tag.
Big Show rolled through Cesaro and then sent Swagger crashing to ringside. Big Show hit a spear and then Rey hit a 619 on Swagger. Big Show planted Cesaro with a chokeslam before making the tag to Rey and walking to the middle of the ring with Rey standing on his shoulders. Rey hit a splash off Show and scored the pinfall.
Rey Mysterio and Big Show defeated The Real Americans in about 4:20
A replay showed Cesaro's hard bump on the chokeslam and the good looking finish. Colter was bummed at ringside as Show and Rey celebrated up the ramp… Michael Cole hyped Bryan vs. Orton in the main event… [C]
Zim Says: Not a long or particularly memorable match, but I don’t really want to see Big Show nor Rey Mysterio in the ring for too long (for differing reasons, of course). The Americans bumped well and made the babyfaces look good, I just feel like it's about time to make young stars in their prime like Cesaro and Swagger more of a focus rather than having them lose to aging-out stars in feel-good, mean-nothing matches.
The Wrangler Jeans moment of the week showed more highlights from the brawl that closed out Raw on Monday… Cole talked about the legacy of the WWE Championship before throwing to a video package that listed about twenty of the great champions of wrestling history. There was a lengthier focus on Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Bruno Sammartino, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, and Steve Austin (who actually said 'belt' on air) among others. Voice-over guy asked who would come out of TLC with both titles.
A clip from Triple H's interview with Michael Cole aired. He said that there will no longer be Champions, there will be one champion. A guy won’t be 'a' champion, he'll be 'the' champion. The segment closed with Triple H guaranteeing that "The King of Kings will crown a unified Champion at TLC."
Back in the arena, Bad News Barrett said that the man who wins at TLC will be the Champion of Champions, but the bad news is that he will have a target on his chest. He will be hunted by the wolves. He will be the envy of the locker room, and as such, is doomed to destruction. #BadNewsBarrett… Daniel Bryan made his entrance for the main event as the show went to its penultimate break. [C]
Zim Says: That was the best Bad News Barrett segment yet, because Barrett's material was halfway decent and he had something to attach his great delivery too. This is the single glimmer of hope I've seen from the character this far.
The commentators hyped that Bret Hart would be presenting the "Match of the Year" Slammy award. Randy Orton made his entrance for the main event.
6. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan in a non-title match. Bryan landed some of his trademark kicks within the opening minute and began to target the arm of Orton with alternating armbreakers and stiff kicks. Orton didn't take it a third time and reversed momentum briefly before Bryan continued to wear Orton down with kicks. Bryan hit a high dropkick that knocked Orton to ringside going into the final break of the show. [C]
The app showed Orton sending Bryan crashing into the ringsteps and he was still in control when the show came back from break. He got a two-count off a suplex and settled into the chinlock of doom. The commentators discussed the history of the WWE Championship and Cole clarified that Chris Jericho in 2001 was different because that unified the WWE and WCW Championships. Bryan fought out and hit his backflip comeback before firing up. He hit two running dropkicks in the corner and wore Orton out with kicks before delivering a Frankensteiner for a near-fall.
Bryan sent Orton to ringside and connected with the dive through the ropes. Back in the ring, Bryan hit a diving missile dropkick before hitting more kicks. Orton reversed one of them into a snap powerslam for a two-count, and he regained momentum. He hit the rope-hung DDT and posed to hit his finisher, but Bryan fought back. He went up top to deliver the headbutt, but the Wyatt clip aired and when the lights came back up, Harper and Rowan were at the bottom of the ramp. Bryan had gotten off the turnbuckles, but took an RKO from Orton for the loss.
Randy Orton pinned Daniel Bryan in about 8:45.
A replay aired as Orton backed up the ramp. The Wyatt clip played again and Bray Wyatt appeared on the tron. He said he doesn't mean to keep haunting Bryan like this. "Boo." He asked how many times Bryan was going to cross the burning bridge before realizing he didn’t need to do it alone. He said Bryan already knows what they are, and at TLC, Bryan will realize what he is. "Join us." Wyatt commanded, before the clip aired and cut away… [C]
Zim Says: Good close to a good show. Bryan was in control for most of the match and prevented it from falling to far into Orton's monotonous pace. Whatever people's feelings may be about the handicap matches, I will say that they leave me intrigued as to what route they'll take. Remember, intrigue is not necessarily optimism, but the build to this match is more enjoyable than a lot of what we've been seeing on WWE programming lately.
Overall, I'm coming away feeling pretty positive about this show. The wrestling quality was present and there wasn't anything that stands out in my mind as being a real bad miss. Even the Bad News Barrett segments were far better than what we got on Raw because the material was legitimate and not delivered to Vince McMahon's sense of humor. Something that stands out particularly positively is how much time went into talking about the importance and legacy of the Championships leading into the unification. Of course, doing the match on a month's notice isn't ideal, and faith in the product isn't high, but in a vacuum this show could've fooled me into thinking the match is a big deal. Good outing from the SmackDown team this week.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @InVasionZim or ZZimmerman22@yahoo.com; always happy to discuss.
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