The opening match was a non-title bout pitting World Heavyweight champion Big Show against tag team champion Daniel Bryan. They were programmed against one another at the end of last year and the beginning of this year in a three way feud that also involved Mark ‘The Shark’ Henry. As ever Bryan was utterly believable despite facing a man three times his size. It was a solid match that flattered both men. If only more guys could work this well with the blubbery world champ.
Later on in the show was a bout pitting Randy Orton against Wade Barrett. As the (alleged) former bare knuckle boxing champion happily pointed out before the match he and ‘The Viper’ had a heated rivalry twelve months ago. The Brit also reminded us that he chucked Orton down a flight of stairs, one of the most ridiculous sights in the history of SmackDown.
As with Show versus Bryan it was a very engaging match. The finish saw Kofi Kingston distract Barrett, allowing ‘The Apex Predator’ to sneak in an RKO for the victory. It was a nice way to advance the IC title programme, although it did highlight (at least to me) the fact that Orton seems to be without a regular opponent right now.
The final high profile rematch saw Sheamus face with Alberto Del Rio. Yes, WWE revived their most irritating, tiresome and uninspiring feud of 2012 for us! I thought this was easily one of their better outings. Had they had more matches like this over the summer I wouldn’t have complained so much.
Interspersed between these three big name matches was the usual blue brand filler. A six man tag match pitting the Three Man Band against Brodus Clay and the Uso brothers was never going to set the world on fire but it did at least have the right result (the heels went over). At this point the popularity of the ‘Funkasaurus’ character seems like ancient history. That’s a shame. WWE could have had something special had they stuck with it.
The rivalry between R-Truth and Antonio Cesaro was advanced with an in-ring promo. Truth had to resort to pro-America posturing to entice a reaction from fans. ‘The Swiss Superman’ did a better job, digging at the crowd with some classic anti-American heel statements. Even better was the inclusion of his ridiculous bag. Only JBL referenced to it. I liked that. There was no need for it to be there. I hope it becomes an Antonio signature.
The standout performance of the week once again came from Damien Sandow. His interaction with the planted member of the audience was brilliant. A perfect example of why ‘The Intellectual Saviour’ has etched out a regular spot on both RAW and SmackDown.
Finally I feel I should mention the programme ending groin bump. There’s no better way to close a wrestling show. Lou Thesz swore by ‘em.
Tweet 1: Smackdoooooooown. Yes?Tweet 2: When Rollins was the ROH champion he secretly dreamed of working with The Miz on RAW.
Tweet 3: Vince isn't even bothering to turn up on TV when re-booking everything now.
Big Show and Sheamus contract signing, featuring Booker T
Tweet 4: Is this a contract signing? Great way to start a wrestling show!Tweet 5: Love that supermarket line from Booker.
Tweet 6: If Sheamus was a real man he'd have blasted Show a with the steel chair 459 times.
Tweet 7: Careful how you pronounce contract, Booker.
Tweet 8: The fella's wearing a new T-shirt. Looks like a poor imitation of Punk's old design.
Tweet 9: Sheamus pretending he can read there.
Tweet 10: I hate Sheamus and his smug promos. I hope he regains the belt and then Ziggler cashes in on him.
Tweet 11: Sheamus went to WWE for a fight. Much like Finlay. #racialstereotyping
Tweet 12: Sheamus v Del Rio? How fresh...
Big Show v Daniel Bryan
Tweet 13: No.... No... No... No... No...Tweet 14: Big Show's flying bump off the dropkick to the knee was ridiculous.
Tweet 15: Big Show versus Grizzly Redwood has been enjoyable so far.
Tweet 16: The Shield make their not at all anticipated SmackDown debut.
Tweet 17: The crowd are chanting "Feed me more!" If that doesn't show how over Ryback is I don't know what does.
Damien Sandow searches for an apprentice
Tweet 18: #SandowpopTweet 19: "Silence the music. I am about to speak" - Damien Sandow
Tweet 20: Heat for Obama there.
Tweet 21: Is Miz going to be Sandow's apprentice?
The Usos and Brodus Clay v Three Man Band
Tweet 22: Brodus sighting. I wouldn't describe him as over anymore. I don't think anyone would. I hope he does his creepy dance with kids after this.Tweet 23: Drew McIntyre seems VERY keen on himself.
Tweet 24: The Funkasaurus character needs to stay the same for at least two more years and then Brodus should turn heel.
Tweet 25: It would be akin to Hogan's nWo heel turn.
Tweet 26: Women and children would cry. Grown men would ask how they could have been so trusting.
Tweet 27: 3MB won by the way.
Anyone else thinking King of Trios 2013?
Randy Orton v Wade Barrett
Tweet 28: I think water could trickle down that ramp quicker than Orton.Tweet 29: BARRETT RING COAT ALERT!!
Tweet 30: Barrett and Orton have good matches with one another. Most guys have good matches with 'The Viper'. He's one of WWE's best.
Tweet 31: Barrett has clearly been watching some Chris Hero ROH outings lately.
Tweet 32: Orton's pre-RKO taunt is pretty camp.
Hornswoggle and The Great Khali v Epico and Primo
Tweet 33: Khali and Natalya together backstage. I wonder how Tyson feels about that.Tweet 34: KHALI CAN'T EVEN WALK CONVINCINGLY!!
Tweet 35: This has to be one of the worst matches of the year. Who have Epico and Primo annoyed to get lumbered with Khali?
Antonio Cesaro promo
Tweet 36: Antonio Cesaro... Heeeey!Tweet 37: Cesaro is not a fan of 'The American Dream'.
Tweet 38: You want to know what's up, Truth? That weird headgear of yours.
Tweet 39: The way this is going I think Cesaro's going to cheat to win at TLC. A clean victory seems unlikely.
Tweet 40: Why is Cesaro wearing a satchel? What's in it? A sixth language perhaps?
Tweet 41: "When you kick my dog, I'm going to kick your cat" - R-Truth, unveiling another random line that's sure to catch on
Alberto Del Rio v Sheamus
Tweet 42: The highlight of this main event will be Ricardo. I've seen them wrestle each other too often this year to care anymore.Tweet 43: Albertooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Dellllllllllll Riiiiiiiiiiiiiooooooooooooooo!!
Tweet 44: I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CAR!
Tweet 45: Sheamus used the chair "over 31 times" did he, Josh? 32? 33?
Tweet 46: Josh just explaining the no contact clause there. Nobody cares.
Tweet 47: Nice moonsault from ADR.
Tweet 48: This is one of the better matches these two have had. It's still only average though. Yes, I'd actually rather watch Big Show wrestle...
Tweet 49: Are we supposed to believe Sheamus has only just seen Show? The lump's been stood on the stage for at least five minutes.
Tweet 50: #groinbump