by Joe Thunder - March 09, 2012
We open the show with a steel cage being lowered around John Laurinaitis and David Otunga. Otunga introduces us to JL. JL says Teddy Long never gave the fans a cage match to open Smackdown, but he is going to. Lillian Garcia announces that this match is for the US Championship. Santino is defending the title against Jack Swagger. Santino lays on the announce table during his march around the ring and plays the air trombone. I guess the comb-over is permanent for Swagger. Cole calls it stylish. Swagger starts the match out dominant. You can hear Vickie yell from the outside. Santino eats metal when Swagger runs and smashes him off the cage. Swagger taunts Santino until he fights back. The crowd is into this match! Santino pulls out the cobra sleeve and Ziggler jumps on the cage; Santino knocks him off with the cobra. Santino hits Swagger with the cobra when he tries a back suplex. The ref sends Ziggler to the locker room. Commercial break. Santino gets a one count after a rollup. Santino is able to kick out of a swagger bomb at the count of two. Swagger tries to climb out but Santino knocks him down onto the ropes. Santino tries to climb out but Swagger catches him. Santino with a ddt faceplant on Swagger and Santino crawls for the door. Swagger catches him but Santino kicks him off. Santino crawls again but Swagger applies the ankle lock as Santino climbs out. Vickie goes to slam the door on Santino but gets distracted by the ref and ends up slamming the door on Swagger’s head! Santino crawls out to victory and retains his title! Santino hugs Teddy Long at the top of the stage.
^Ok, so it wasn’t much in terms of a cage match, but what a fun way to open Friday Night Smackdown! The crowd was really hot for this match and it was a lot of fun from start to finish. Creative definitely booked the open for this show very well. Vickie is still great at being annoying. I don’t know what’s next for Swagger, but you can bet that each competitor will represent their respective GMs in the elimination match at WrestleMania.
Video promo for Alicia Fox. I have no clue what the point of this is.
Backstage segment with JL and Otunga. Otunga tells JL to calm down. Teddy Long comes in. JL says he gave his word for Kane and Aksana one on one tonight. Long asks JL if they can put their differences to the side. JL says he doesn’t think so. Long says he’s asking JL man to man to not put Aksana in harms way. JL toys with him and Long apologizes. JL says it isn’t good enough and they should settle it one on one tonight. JL tells Long if he wins, then Aksana will indeed face Kane again tonight.
^So this means JL wants Long to lay down for him and lose the match? Lame, but definitely a super heel Eric Bischoff sort of booking idea.
Drew McIntyre comes out next. McIntyre says last week Long fired him. He says he is here because of JL. He says JL has given him an opportunity to keep his job if he can defeat a mystery opponent. Out comes the Great Khali as his opponent. Otunga comes out and tells Khali to take a seat because he isn’t in the match. Otunga introduces Drew’s opponent, Hornswoggle. Drew squashes Hornswoggle after teasing the pinfall over and over and the referee stops the match, declaring McIntyre the winner. Khali delivers a huge blow to McIntyre’s head as he celebrates.
^So McIntyre keeps his job. It’s been nice to see him have a consistent storyline every week, but now it’s time to do more with this guy. You had to expect something like this with the heel in charge. At least Hornswoggle made it on tv. I think he should feud with Santino next over the US Title. Or, WWE should take Mike Lightning’s idea and create a TV Title(either one for Raw and one for Smackdown, or one for both) and give these guys something to go after and starts feuds with. I know McIntyre will probably feud with Khali now, but that will only go so far. You have to do more with a guy like Drew McIntyre. The guy was brought in to crush mid card guys just three years ago at house shows.
Aksana is shown backstage talking to Teddy Long about her concerns tonight. Long says JL is going to get his tonight.
^Finally, a non suggestive segment between these two! All it took was JL running the show.
Backstage segment with JL warming up for his match along with Otunga. JL asks Otunga if he’s seen Kane. JL says yeah, he’s one angry monster
^Foreshadowing for later on tonight with Kane? Should be interesting to see what one-liner he has for Orton tonight, if it goes that way.
Ezekial Jackson is up against Mark Henry in our next match. Mark Henry is put over for being inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame. Lots of praise for Henry here for his powerlifting and weightlifting skills. They battle back and forth and Henry misses a huge elbow drop. Ezekial dominates Henry in the corner. Henry counters and hits the WSS on Jackson for three count win.
^So after weeks of looking weak, now Henry squashes his opponent? Guess a big thanks should be given to that Hall of Fame for making WWE remember what a beast Henry is.
JL comes out for his match with Long. Teddy Long comes out with Aksana. JL is wearing spandex. JL gets on the mic and asks Long if he’s going to do this. He tells Long Kane is ready to come out. JL tells him to be a man and do the right thing. JL tells Long to lay down. Long says no. JL motions for Kane. Kane comes out. Orton comes down and hits an RKO on Kane. JL yells at Orton. Teddy rolls up JL with a school boy and gets the three count. Teddy and Aksana leave the building together. JL is pissed off in the ring. Orton stands over Kane as his music plays.
^Another feel good moment for the show. I hope that’s not all we see from Kane and Orton. I’m actually liking that rivalry. It’s something fresh for Orton. Apparently heel JL running things just isn’t going to work out for him tonight. Fun booking here so far.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth challenge Primo and Epico in a non title match. Solid tag team action in the match. Primo and Epico dominate the majority of the match. They manage a lot of double teams on Kofi. Kofi finally makes the tag and Truth dominates on offense. Truth goes for a pin but Epico makes the save. Kofi flips Epico out of the ring and Truth is able to pick up the pinfall on Primo with some help from Kofi.
^I love good tag team wrestling. I just wish there more tag teams like Primo and Epico in WWE. They have a great chemistry and bond that makes them feel like they belong as a team. This is something I’ll be discussing more next month in a top 25 tag teams column that I’m working on. I’m thinking Truth and Kofi should get their title shot soon, but it makes me wonder what will be done with Evan Bourne when his suspension is up on the 17th this month.
Michael Cole is in the ring to interview Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. He brings out Sheamus first, Bryan second. AJ is with Bryan. Cole asks Bryan how much he can attribute luck to his success so far in WWE. Bryan says it wasn’t luck when he cashed in his MITB briefcase to win the WHC. He says it wasn’t luck when he defeated Henry and Big Show at the Rumble. He also says it wasn’t luck when he defeated five SD stars at the Elimination Chamber to retain his World Title. He credits being vegan as keeping him mentally and physically fit. He says it’s his charisma and his undeniable sex appeal that contributes to all of his success. Cole says in Sheamus’ case, winning the Royal Rumble could be called the luck of the Irish. Sheamus says he’s lucky to be in the US, here in WWE, and lucky to be in front of this crowd tonight. He says you have to make your own luck. He says he’s fought his way to the top and doesn’t hide behind a 95 pound girl. AJ says from her point of view, but Bryan tells her to shut up. He says AJ has had little to do with his success. If anything, she’s gotten in his way. Sheamus says Bryan should be wearing a skirt, not AJ. Sheamus says he gets the impression that Bryan is a self delusional whiny little wimp. Sheamus says Bryan’s luck is going to run out at WrestleMania because he is going to beat him for the World Title. Cody Rhodes interrupts to start the six man tag main event.
^Solid promo delivered from these guys in a relatively quick period of time. I like the hype for the World Title Mania match BEFORE the main event of the night. This works better for me than closing the show with a promo.
It’s Miz, Daniel Bryan, and Cody Rhodes taking on Sheamus, Big Show, and Randy Orton. Show chases Rhodes to the back as the match nears it’s end. Orton works on Miz and Bryan in the ring. Sheamus takes Bryan to the outside and Orton hits the RKO on Miz for the win. Kane comes out of the crowd after the match and attacks Orton. They brawl around the ring and into the crowd. They are brawling in the crowd up the steps as the show goes off the air.
^Solid matchup in the main event of the night. Show and Rhodes have actually had a really good buildup for an IC Title match. It seems like the first time in quite awhile that I can remember an IC Title match at Mania having this much backstory. Sheamus and Bryan are going to deliver and I think really surprise some people at WrestleMania. Orton and Kane seems to be the big focus now too for Smackdown and it really impresses me that all three of these are solid rivalries so early in the month with Mania still three Smackdowns away. Poor Miz. I hope he gets booked into an actual Mania match and doesn’t end up interfering in one of the main events.
For a JL run show, I’d say it was damn good. I was definitely impressed with the matches and the promos, and the storyline push for Mania hype was really strong. Thumbs up completely to WWE for this Smackdown. Back with ROH in the morning. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!
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