Date: January 11, 2013
Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Josh Matthews, John Bradshaw Layfield
We’ll begin with a little history here: twenty years ago today, a show called Monday Night Raw premiered. To celebrate, tonight the main event is a last man standing match with Big Show facing Alberto Del Rio as his major face push continues, near Santa killing aside. Also, for the first time in longer than I can remember, Rock is on Smackdown tonight. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is all about the Rock which is the right decision. Oh and we’re in his hometown too. Show vs. Del Rio gets a bit of time at the end.
Here’s Booker to open the show. He doesn’t like being one upped by Raw with Ziggler vs. Cena, so tonight it’s Orton vs. Cesaro. Rock is here too, and we go to a screen shot of Del Rio vs. Show as Booker does what is clearly a voiceover saying it’ll be a last man standing match for the title. I wonder what they changed there.
Anyway Big Show comes out sans music to yell at Booker for his decision. He goes to the floor to get a mic (Show to the guys at ringside: “Somebody get me a mic. There are ten of you over there. What do you all do?” That’s a really good question actually.) and accuses Booker of playing up to the Latino population here in Miami.
Show says Del Rio is beneath him and people like the ones here in Miami don’t deserve heroes. Show: “There are no Latino heroes.” I’m not touching that one. He says an Irishman couldn’t stop him, a Latino can’t stop him and a viper can’t stop him. Show gets back in the ring and grabs Booker by the throat but here’s Del Rio for the save. He dropkicks Show into the corner and hits the running enziguri to send Show to the floor.
We get a classic Rock on Smackdown moment from the post 9/11 Smackdown with Rock hitting Stasiak with a Rock Bottom to beat him in three seconds.
Randy Orton vs. Antonio Cesaro
Not bad for an opener. As he comes to the ring, Cesaro says in an inset interview that he’ll be in the Rumble. Cesaro pounds away to start and hits some European uppercuts before being sent to the floor. Orton clotheslines him down on the floor and we take a break. Back with Cesaro holding Randy in a chinlock before getting two off a clothesline. There’s the gutwrench suplex for two more and Cesaro punches away in the corner.
We get another quick chinlock but Orton fights out and gets two off his rollup out of the corner. A Michinoku Driver of all things gets two for Antonio as JBL gets on Josh’s case for mentioning the word complacent when talking about Cesaro. Orton snaps off his powerslam but gets tossed into the air for the uppercut for two. Randy escapes a whip into the corner and hits his backbreaker followed by the Elevated DDT. He loads up the RKO and here’s the Shield for the DQ at 5:48 shown of 9:18.
Rating: C. I like both of these guys and it’s a good sign to see Cesaro kept strong again. It seems like we’re heading for Sheamus/Orton/Ryback vs. Shield at the Rumble which would work out fine. If nothing else, Shield getting to rub elbows with these guys makes them look like big deals. The match here was fine and I wouldn’t object to seeing a longer version of this.
The TripleBomb takes Orton down and the Shield stands tall.
3MB talks about being in the Rumble. Slater called his mom and was told that they have a ten percent chance of winning. Apparently they’re dealing with Sheamus tonight.
Punk and Heyman are at Sun Life Stadium, home of Wrestlemania 28 and the Miami Hurricanes football team. Punk talks about how big a fan he is of Rock and his football career. He pulls out a Johnson jersey #94 (Rock’s old jersey) and says he’s a big college football aficionado.
He wanted to come to where Rock played back in the day, but that was in the Orange Bowl which is demolished and gone. That’s like WWE now, because this isn’t Rock’s WWE anymore. It’s Punk’s WWE now and Rock has no place in it. Punk says Rock can come back to Miami, but he can never go home again. Good stuff here and it’s always nice to see them outside of the arena.
Del Rio says Big Show has no idea what the Latino people are like and says he’ll win the title tonight.
Dolph Ziggler/AJ vs. Natalya/Great Khali
The guys start things off with Ziggler quickly getting chopped a few times. Off to the girls and AJ jumps on Khali’s back. Natalya takes her down and rams AJ’s head into the mat a few times. Nattie loads up the Sharpshooter but AJ bites her finger. They head to the corner where AJ bites Natalya’s ear before hitting a Sliced Bread #2 for the pin at 2:43. Nothing here but AJ craziness.
Post match Langston runs over Khali and hits the Big Ending on Hornswoggle. Freaking sweet.
Punk is still at the stadium and talks about how Rock sounds like a superhero returning to save the people. The people don’t deserve to be saved though. Rather they deserve to rot, because Punk is better than the people. Heyman says that’s Rock’s vision, but in CM Punk’s WWE, it doesn’t matter what Rock’s vision is. Punk takes off the jersey and drops it on the ground before walking away. Still awesome stuff here.
Another classic Rock moment shows us Rock N Sock Connection hijinks.
Here’s Rocky to an eruption. He shows us his arm and the goosebumps on it before saying FINALLY. Rock says Flo Rida is here and says this is a very special show. He talks about Raw and hitting the Rock Bottom on Punk but tonight the champ isn’t here. Rock talks about being in school in Miami and football practice at a field that the local fans recognize the name of. Rock says that it feels good to be home, but the real home he’s going to is the Royal Rumble where he’ll win the title again.
He asks the people if they want to have fun tonight and here are the Rhodes Scholars to interrupt. Sandow introduces himself and Cody to the crowd and Cody says they they don’t think Rock should be here. They’re the ones that are going to be champions soon, so it should be their time. Rock talks about how the Scholars came down here (WHAT) to the People’s ring (WHAT) on the Rock’s show (WHAT) dressed like that (you get the drill) with a dead caterpillar on Cody’s lip. Rock goes to say something but has to ask what in the name of sweet tap dancing Jesus is on Cody’s face.
Sandow wants to ask Rock three questions, and if Rock gets them right, he can stay. If he gets them wrong, he has to leave. Rock says bring those questions but Cody says there’s no point since Rock went to Miami (one of the best academic schools in the country). The first question is who was the 19th President of the United States, which Rock correctly identifies as Rutherford B. Hayes. Sandow: “That is correct.” Rock: “The Rock knows his 19th century.”
Cody asks what movie won Best Picture in 1993. Rock says it wasn’t Tooth Fairy but rather Schindler’s List. Sandow is about to ask the third question but Rock has one for Damien instead. If Sandow gets it right, he gets a prize from Rock and Miami. The question is what happens when you combine a geological aggregate of minerals with its lowest form. That would be a Rock Bottom says Damien. Rock says exactly, and there’s his Rock Bottom. Cody and Rock have a staredown and Cody is ready to fight, so here’s a spinebuster and the People’s Elbow for him. Incredibly entertaining segment here with Rock giving two guys a rub.
Sheamus vs. 3MB
Good old fashioned handicap match here. The Band does have to tag though. Slater starts but immediately bails to the floor where his teammates join him. They try to charge in at once but only Slater goes in, catching a Brogue Kick for the pin at 45 seconds.
HELL NO vs. Prime Time Players
Darren and Daniel start things off and slug it out in the corner. Off to Titus for a release slam but he charges into a pair of boots from Bryan in the corner. Kane comes in and cleans house, getting two off a sidewalk slam. The Players break up a double chokeslam attempt but a single one gets the pin on Darren at 2:22. Just a squash.
Eve vs. Kaitlyn is confirmed for Raw. Again.
We recap the opening segment.
Smackdown World Title: Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio
Last man standing and Show is defending. Show starts with a hard chop and a slam to put Del Rio down for a short count. Del Rio comes back with a superkick to the stomach but gets chopped right back down again. Show pulls out a table but sets it up between the announcers’ table and the ring instead of putting it inside. Rather than saving it for later Show pulls Del Rio to the floor and casually slams him through the table for a six count.
Back in and Del Rio kicks Show in the ribs to knock a chair out of his hands. Del Rio GOES OFF on Show with some chair shots, showing more emotion in a ten second stretch than he’s shown in the last two years combined. He goes for the cross armbreaker but Show picks him up and carries him to the ropes. Show tries to throw him to the floor but Del Rio hooks the armbreaker over the ropes for a few moments before finally dropping him.
The fall from the apron gets a seven count on Del Rio as Show rests his arm. We take a break and come back with Alberto hitting a running kick to Show’s arm on the floor. Show gets in a shot to break the momentum and slides in another table. Del Rio fires off more kicks to the ribs and dropkicks Show through the table to a big reaction. I’ll give Alberto this: he isn’t backing down.
That only gets a seven as well so Del Rio jumps on Show’s back. After about thirty seconds Show flips Del Rio over but Alberto fires off whatever strikes he can get off to stagger the big man, including a pair of boots in the corner. Del Rio charges into a chokeslam though, drawing an eight count. A headbutt puts Del Rio on the floor and there’s the spear through the barricade as Show is known to do.
Alberto gets up AGAIN at nine this time so Show sends him into the ring again. The WMD connects clean…..but Del Rio gets up at eight AGAIN. The crowd is losing it in a hurry. Del Rio is down at nine but he was up enough to stop the count. Show picks up the steps but misses a charge into the post and drives the steps into his own head.
Alberto blasts Show with the steps and then hits him with them again in the bad shoulder. A THIRD shot finally puts Show down behind the announce table and in a brilliant move, Del Rio turns the announce table over on top of Show. Show can’t escape and Del Rio wins the title at 14:08 shown of 17:38. Ricardo can barely even make the announcement from being so excited.
Rating: B. This wasn’t much of a match, but man alive did they put Del Rio over STRONG here. I don’t think he’ll make it to Mania or even through Elimination Chamber with the title, but this was a great moment and the place legitimately seemed thrilled that Del Rio won the title. To say they’re pushing him as a big deal is an understatement. One thing though: JBL said Alberto survived two KO punches and I read the same in a spoiler, but I only saw one here. Not that it matters much but that was curious.
Overall Rating: B. Smackdown is BACK. You can always tell when WWE is trying and when they’re just killing time until the next major show and this was an episode where they were trying. We had Rocky out there doing his thing, matches being set up, angle advancement, and a big time main event with a surprise ending. Enjoy it while it lasts though, because the summer will be here before you know it. Really good show here.
Randy Orton b. Antonio Cesaro via DQ when Shield interfered
AJ/Dolph Ziggler b. Natalya/Great Khali – Sliced Bread #2 to Natalya
Sheamus b. 3MB – Brogue Kick to Slater
HELL NO b. Prime Time Players – Chokeslam to Young
Alberto Del Rio b. Big Show – Big Show couldn’t answer the ten count
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews