ThunderStruck: Smackdown! Analysis 12/16/11

We open the show tonight with Josh Matthews introducing Booker T for an interview. Matthews asks Booker if he’s ready to face Cody this Sunday. Booker asks if he looks ready. Booker says he was happy and content moving on as a commentator with Josh Matthews and to hell with Michael Cole. He says this is about Cody Rhodes trying to make a name for himself and trying to become legitimate. Booker says he’ll be damned if Cody legitimizes himself off the former five time WCW Champion and soon to be Intercontinental Champion. Matthews asks if Booker wins the IC Title if he will return to the ring full time. Booker says we’ll cross that bridge when they get there. He says Cody will get the beatdown of his life. He is then interrupted by Cody. Cody says Booker will get a great nostalgic fan response this Sunday but that he will be defeated by Cody because this won’t be a feel good movie ending. Rhodes asks what is going to happen when reality sets in and dictates that Booker is old and will fall to Rhodes? Booker wants to fight right now. Rhodes tells Booker this is the third time he will be facing Daniel Bryan(thanks for reminding us of the repeat matches) and that Teddy Long will cancel the match on Sunday if Booker interferes again. Rhodes tells him to get out of the ring. These two guys have really worked hard to make this rivalry legit and I’m thinking it will be one of the better matches on the card this Sunday.



Out comes Daniel Bryan. Not sure why Rhodes holds up his belt before the match when I’m pretty sure this thing is non-title. These two guys gave us yet another solid performance with Bryan selling the rib injury. The match was a bit overshadowed by the back and forth arguing between Cole and Booker T, but the action in the managed to shine through as these two didn’t slow down one bit. Rhodes was able nail cross-rhodes on Bryan after pulling him out of a rollup attempt. Good match for both of these guys and I don’t mind Bryan losing because the rib injury is the sell. Bryan is great at putting guys over and Rhodes is just well on his way up the ladder in WWE.

Alicia Fox took on Natalya next. The ladies gave us a short match where Fox won with a rollup in just a few minutes. Fox actually pulled out a hair extension of Natalya’s and cut a promo on her getting out-“Foxed.” Natalya jumped back into the ring and got knocked down and hit with a botched standing legdrop by Fox that looks like it nailed her right in the eye. Well, despite my dislike for the divas division, at least this was something different that showed some personality from Fox. They kept it short and sweet, which is really all you can ask for with the divas division.

We are shown a repeat of the pipe bomb of the year award nominees from Raw. We then have a backstage segment where Mark Henry asks Jack Swagger to hurt the Big Show tonight and then Henry will give him a title shot. Swagger says he will hurt Show tonight but not for Henry, but because he is going to become World Champion once again. Interesting to see Swagger try to build his own hype when the guy is used so much as a filler more than anything else week in and week out.

Primo and Epico take on the Usos in our next match. My colleague, Mike Lightning, and I just had a discussion about the lack of tag teams in WWE when we were asked when Air Boom should lose the titles. After Primo and Epico defeated Air Boom already, I would say now that these two guys are probably next in line to hold the titles. Do I think the WWE needs more tag teams? Yes. Do I think we’re going to have a division as big as what we used to see? Absolutely not. WWE hasn’t properly utilized a full tag team division in ages, and whenever they have in the last ten years it hasn’t lasted all that long. Primo and Epico pick up the victory in this match when one of the Usos is distracted by Rosa and falls on the ropes. Primo is able to hit the backstabber to pick up the victory. This wasn’t anything standout but it was certainly a well worked tag team match that we would come to expect from two experienced teams. I wonder how long it will be before the Usos hold tag team gold. Hopefully there will either be a dark match or an impromptu match for the tag titles at TLC this Sunday.

The Big Show destroys Jack Swagger with Mark Henry sitting at ringside looking on. Swagger had a few moments in the match where he looked like he might have some momentum, but the Big Show has been built as one of the top indestructible faces of Smackdown and he gets the victory with the WMD. Henry hits Swagger with a chair after the match as well as the cameraman. I’m not sure what the point of hitting the cameraman was, but WWE will do what they do. Show and Henry have a staredown before the commercial break. Their match this Sunday will be another brawl that will most likely result in one of them being sidelines with a storyline injury. Good heat here and I like the way they make Henry almost seem afraid of the Big Show. It’s funny though, because after seeing both of these guys in person, I can’t imagine either one legitimately being afraid of the other.

We come back from commercial with a segment between Zack Ryder and Randy Orton. Ryder asks Orton if they are on the same page for their tag team match tonight. Orton says no. Ryder asks if they are in the same book. Orton says maybe and this prompts Ryder to give the WWWYKI and walk away. Orton shakes his head. I love Randy Orton’s serious character that they’ve given him. The guy is top notch when it comes to his character and his in ring ability, no matter what way WWE chooses to feature him on the show.

Ted Dibiase takes on Heath Slater next. These guys go back and forth for another short match and Dibiase picks up the victory with Dream Street. The Dibiase posse parties are again emphasized and Jinder Mahal attacks Dibiase after the match. Teddy Long comes out and announces that Mahal will now face Sheamus. I like the continuation of this tv feud between Mahal and Dibiase. It’s good to see these guys being relevant despite their presence in any title picture on the show.

Sheamus and Mahal also wrestle a quick match where Sheamus’ “pop up out the blue temper” gets him angry enough to bounce back from an attack and pick up the win with his patented brogue kick. Irish Hulking up anybody? This is now twice in one week where Sheamus has squashed Mahal. WWE, can’t you find something better to do with a guy that has become head and shoulders above most of the guys that you’re having him squash week in and week out? Just a suggestion. Also, if Mahal keeps losing left and right, how are we supposed to look at him as a dominant and aggressive heel and not just a foreign version of Heath Slater?

Orton and Ryder take on Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler in our main event tag team match. This was definitely the match of the night with nonstop action from these four guys. Great showing from all involved and the hype for this Sunday with the two scheduled matches is at a good point. Orton was able to score the pinfall on Ziggler after hitting an RKO after some fast paced action. Barrett and Orton probably won’t get enough time to showcase what they can do with all the other matches on the card Sunday, but these two guys are certainly primed for the World Title picture going into 2012.

As far as Smackdown goes, it wasn’t the best we’ve seen all year, but it definitely wasn’t a bad show. They were able to add fuel to the fire for the TLC card, and once again we weren’t forced to see too much of the divas. The wrestling aspect of the show saw several matches booked and minimal backstage segments. All in all, it was a good show. TLC predictions will be up soon along with part two of my Know Your Role article. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!

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