Damien Sandow v Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler v Randy Orton, and Sin Cara v Alberto Del Rio were all above average for WWE television. The battle of the former CMLL employees was the masked man’s best outing since joining the sports entertainment group. While he and ADR have clashed in WWE before they have never set such a quick pace. It’s a shame we’ve had to wait a year and a half for a passable outing from Triple H’s star signing.
The appearances from John Cena and Ryback were welcome too. Cena, as the company’s leading man, lent the show some star power. I could have done without the continuation of his dreary relationship saga with AJ and Vickie but at least Ziggler is getting to work with the number one guy. Meanwhile ‘Big Hungry’s’ star will continue to rise thanks to the back to basics approach of having him squash a defenceless mid-carder.
The show’s central strength was the prep work done for various feuds. The Big Show and Sheamus programme rumbled on with the two men taunting each other after the World champ had won a handicap match. It was a strange booking decision. Being the tag team champions Team Hell No should not have been jobbed out to a singles competitor. The fact that they’re babyfaces meant the match had an odd dynamic (heels being disadvantaged never makes sense). It was a good match nonetheless and did at least keep the story of Bryan and Kane being dysfunctional alive.
R-Truth got a non-championship victory over US champ Antonio Cesaro, setting up a title match at some point in the future. Finally, Wade Barrett made it very clear he wants to take the Intercontinental gold from Kofi Kingston.
A great deal was packed into the ninety minutes and the majority of it made sense and entertained viewers. Again, this is what SmackDown should be every week.
Tweet 1: "Tonight, on SmackDown... Vickie Guerrero continues her crusade against AJ and John Cena's scandalous relationship." Yeah... STAY TUNED!!Tweet 2: I watch wrestling for storylines about scandalous affairs. It's what drives me. That and the uppercuts.
Tweet 3: Epic recaps are boring. Take note, WWE.
Miz TV, featuring John Cena, AJ Lee, Vickie Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler
Tweet 4: Miz TV opens ANOTHER SmackDown? Stuck for ideas much? How about opening with Kofi Kingston versus any athletic heel.Tweet 5: Wow. Cena's on SmackDown. This week's top of the ramp comment is "Miz TV: let's go!" Brilliant. That's why he shifts so much merch...
Tweet 6: I do like the fact that Cena's sitting on the couch. Nobody else does...
Tweet 7: Miz needs to sort his tenses out.
Tweet 8: Beautiful recap of Cena botching walking there.
Tweet 9: Wait... Cena and AJ Styles are having an affair?!
Tweet 10: This is how to get Miz over as a babyface: book him as a tweener. He can use all his catchphrases but isn't a heel. Good call.
Tweet 11: It sounds like AJ's music contains the line "Slut it up" over and over again.
Tweet 12: I wonder what Cena's ex-wife makes of all this.
Cena's expression says a lot about his feelings on this current storyline
Tweet 13: The way this is going AJ's going to be involved in WrestleMania XXIX's main event.
Tweet 14: Vickie Guerrero bragging about kissing Dolph Ziggler there. She won't be removed from her spot as RAW Managing Superviser though.
Tweet 15: Cena shakes Miz's hand, cementing 'The Awesome One's' face turn.
Ryback v Darren Young
Tweet 16: Ryback's on too? All the big names are on this week's show.Tweet 17: 'Mr No Days Off Except When He's Suspended' is the opponent. I hope Titus is on commentary again.
Tweet 18: Titus Alfonso.
Tweet 19: The new feud: Ryback versus the Prime Time Players.
Tweet 20: That feud didn't last long. Could've stretched for months. WWE blew it by having Titus go down to a single Muscle Buster.
Note the large kneepads on Darren Young
Antonio Cesaro v R-Truth
Tweet 21: Antonio Cesaro... Heeey!!Tweet 22: I agree with Cesaro's feelings on Thanksgiving.
Tweet 23: I'm surprised that Truth won that but it does follow the trend of Cesaro losing non-title matches.
Medical notes and a backstage meeting between Sheamus and Booker T
Tweet 24: On a side note I think I have a broken toe on my left foot. It's been tender for a while now and doesn't flex well.Tweet 25: I don't want to go to a doctor about it. My assumption is it well mend itself if it's broken.
Tweet 26: Anyway, Booker and Sheamus are chatting backstage. They are standing very close to one another.
Tweet 27: Chairs match at TLC. Predictable but still a good move. Also, I like the way Booker pronounces pint as "paint".
Sin Cara v Alberto Del Rio
Tweet 28: I like Sin Cara's new blue and red outfit. He should have introduced a wider variety of outfits far earlier.Tweet 29: Albertooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dellllllllllllllllllllllllllllll Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiioooooooooo!
Tweet 30: Sin Cara should enter wearing old style scuba diving gear. It would explain the bottom-of-the-ocean lighting his matches are subjected to.
Tweet 31: This is one of the best Sin Cara matches I've seen. Put him against Spanish speakers more often.
Tweet 32: Josh Mathews channeling Vince McMahon there. #whatamaneuver
Tweet 33: Handspring elbow. I honestly think Tajiri did that better than anyone.
Tweet 34: It slowed down a bit in the middle but I think that was the best Cara match I've seen. Very good.
A new outfit and his best WWE match. It was quite the night for Sin Cara
Kane and Daniel Bryan backstage
Tweet 35: Why has WWE started cutting to crowd shots during backstage segments?Tweet 36: Kane and Bryan spending Christmas together is a vignette waiting to happen. #goldJerrygold
Tweet 37: "Can I beat up Santa Claus?" – Kane
Team Hell No v Big Show
Tweet 38: How many times are they going to cut to Sheamus in the skybox during this match? Double figures shouldn't be a stretch.Tweet 39: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Tweet 40: Why is the heel at a disadvantage? Why is this match happening?
Tweet 41: Sheamus and Regal shot one. They're chatting amiably. I reckon they're talking about charcoal.
Tweet 42: "I'm not totally sure why Booker T did this" - JBL on the nonsensical match taking place in the ring
Tweet 43: Kane's getting the night off.
Tweet 44: It is firmly established that Kane can create and control fire. So why doesn't he just set his opponents on fire to win every match?
Tweet 45: Another shot of Sheamus looking simple.
Tweet 46: Bryan goes down to the rarely seen choke slam. Decent match but I still don't know why it happened.
Tweet 47: I'm warming to Big Show as a heel champion. He's grown in the role. In every sense. #gut
Tweet 48: Sheamus cutting a promo without a microphone. Forget fighting, he loves to shout.
Intercontinental championship – Kofi Kingston (c) v Damien Sandow
Tweet 49: Fans of Wade Barrett's ring coat will be disappointed again.Tweet 50: This match could and should have been the opener. Kofi is popular. Sandow is hated. They'll have a good match. It would have made sense.
Tweet 51: "I'm a real man" - Wade Barrett
Tweet 52: I had a dream last night that Kofi Kingston turned heel.
Tweet 53: There's something a bit David Brent about Barrett on commentary.
Tweet 54: All this talk of eye gouging makes me think they're building towards Wade and Kofi in Eye Poking's Legal match at TLC.
Tweet 55: Kingston wins an enjoyable match. Meanwhile Wade takes off the headset and stands on a desk.
Tweet 56: Booking a feud between two guys who want the Intercontinental title is a good idea. Why has it taken so long to do?
Randy Orton v Dolph Ziggler
Tweet 57: Ziggler v Orton would normally be guaranteed to be the best bout on SmackDown but it has some competition tonight. It's been a good episode.Tweet 58: Who is Orton feuding with? And why?
Tweet 59: There's a fat guy with an embarrassing beard wearing a Ziggler T-shirt in the front row. His presence is inappropriate.
Tweet 60: An update on my toe: I clicked it and it feels better. For now...
Tweet 61: "He's a viper!" - Josh Mathews (sounding aroused) on Randy Orton
Tweet 62: That was a high superplex. Nicely done.
Tweet 63: Ziggler defeats Orton clean on a roll-up! That was tremendous.
Tweet 64: Less tremendous is a post-match run-in from Ricardo Rodriguez. ADR is now on the apron. The boring rivalry continues.
Tweet 65: Meanwhile Cena has attacked Ziggler from behind and applied the STF. Isn't he meant to be the good guy?