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Smackdown - February 17, 2012

Date: February 17, 2012
Location: Save Mart Center, Fresno, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Josh Matthews, Booker T

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

This is the final show before the Elimination Chamber. By the time you read this you'll know that Orton is out of the Chamber so tonight it's all about finding a replacement. Other than that, I wouldn't expect a ton of stuff to be talked about. I mean it's not like there needs to be stories for a show like this. Why should the writers need to waste time on character development or plots when they can just throw everyone in a cage and put their feet up for three weeks? Let's get to it.

The opening video is about the Show vs. Orton match from Raw. That Super DDT was kind of cool. Bryan hit Orton twice with the belt which gave him a concussion. I've heard conflicting reports about whether that's a legit injury or if he was injured somewhere else and that's their story for taking him out.

Orton is in Teddy's office and Teddy says its out of both of their hands. Teddy can't let him compete because he's not medically cleared. Security is going to escort him out of the building because Teddy is concerned about his health. We're officially told that Orton is out of the Chamber.

Do you know your enemy? Mine is procrastination.

Big Show/Great Khali vs. Wade Barrett/Cody Rhodes

Now Barrett and Rhodes lost last week, so the logical move would be to have them win here to get their heat back going into the Chamber. Barrett starts with Khali. Wade tries to kick him in the side but Khali shoves him down. Khali chops him in the corner so Barrett tags out. Cody has even less luck and tags out also.

Before he leaves though he kicks Khali in the knee which lets Barrett kick him in the head to knock him down. Cody hooks a quick chinlock but Khali shrugs him off and tags in Big Show. He cleans house and spears Barrett down. Cody gets knocked out of the air and the chokeslam pins Wade clean at 3:32.

Rating: D. This was a squash. The guy that didn't lose a match all of the end of last year and the Intercontinental Champion just got squashed by Big Show and Great Khali. This is what people mean when they talk about pushes starting nice and strong and then getting dropped. Barrett has gone from the top choice to be a breakout star to a guy getting squashed by Big Show in the span of 6 weeks. That's pathetic and a big reason why there are practically no new stars being made. Also, why in the world would I buy them as having a chance in the Chamber now?

Big Show knocks Khali out post match.

Teddy is on the phone and says he doesn't know what he's going to do about the empty spot. Henry shows up and says he wants the spot. Teddy looks like he's thinking about it. Big Show comes in before Teddy answers and says he wants Daniel Bryan tonight. Henry says wait your turn. Show knocks him out too. He tells Teddy to give him what he wants and then destroys Teddy's office.

Video on the UAE tour.

Teddy tells security to wait for Big Show to calm down and then escort him out of the building. One of the guards says no way so Teddy says he'll call for backup.

Ted DiBiase vs. Hunico

Ted's cast is smaller this week. Hopefully this is the end of the dull feud. Hunico beats him into the corner to start but Teddy counters and beats him down as well. Big boot gets two for DiBiase. Hunico works on Ted's bad arm/wrist but DiBiase slams him to the mat. DiBiase dropkicks him out of the air but Camacho hits DiBiase, allowing Hunico to roll him up and grab the tights for the pin at 1:45. Now GET THEM SOMETHING NEW TO DO!

Short version of the Shawn/HHH/Undertaker segment from Raw.

Usos vs. Epico/Primo

Great. ANOTHER match we've seen twice already. Primo and Jey start us off. The Usos double team to get control but Jimmy goes to the corner and Primo slams him off. He gets double teamed in the champions' corner as Booker and Cole get into it again. Cole was doing well about staying on focus to start too.

Primo hooks a chinlock but misses a corner dropkick, tying him up in the Tree of Woe. There's the tag to Jay as well as Epico. The crowd is into the Usos, as usual. The Umaga running corner shot misses but a Samoan Drop gets two. Backstabber by Primo misses and there's the superkick. Jey's Superfly Splash hits knees and the Backstabber gets the pin at 4:45.

Rating: D+. I'd be fine with Primo and Epico as champions if they weren't so boring. That's the problem I have with them: there's nothing interesting about them at all. Rosa is interesting because she's fun to watch shaking her hips but other than that, there's nothing about this team that makes me want to watch them. With the Usos at least you get the Siva Tao which catches your attention. Epico and Primo will probably hold the belts for months too.

Big Show has left the arena willingly.

Bryan is here.

Video on the Chamber.

Here's Bryan in the arena. Bryan says on Monday he got two for one. We see a clip of Bryan hitting Orton and Show with the title on Raw. He says that if either of them had any guts, they'd be out here facing him right now. However they're both afraid. Everyone is afraid of Daniel Bryan. Everyone is afraid of tapping out because he just keeps winning. He's proven all of us wrong and he'll do it again on Sunday. He would have won tonight and he'll win on Sunday. Orton isn't here but he wants Lillian to announce him as the winner via forfeit. She does and Bryan does the huge celebration to his music.

Here's Teddy to say hold on a minute playa. He says Bryan hasn't competed yet, which is what everyone wants to see. It won't be Orton, but there's a volunteer to take his place.

Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan

Sheamus takes him down with a headlock and works on the arm to open up. Bryan comes back with some kicks but Sheamus punches him in the ribs. There are the ten forearms in the rope and thankfully they stopped calling it whatever that Irish word they had given it. Bryan tries to walk out but Sheamus runs him over. Bryan gets up on the apron and hits the running knee to the head. Back in and Bryan hits a dropkick to the ribs.

Sheamus fires back with right hands but Bryan picks the ankle to stop him. A running low dropkick in the corner gives the champion control again. This is the most offense anyone has gotten in on Sheamus in months. He blocks the kicks and makes his comeback, hitting a powerslam for two.

Irish Curse is countered into a LeBell Lock attempt. Sheamus rolls out of it but Bryan escapes the Celtic Cross. Sheamus goes after him in the corner and Bryan slaps him. The referee pulls him back and I think Bryan spits on him (the camera cut away) and that's enough for Sheamus to throw the referee down for the DQ at 6:45.

Rating: C. This was fairly dull but it was obvious they weren't going to give us a full on Bryan vs. Sheamus match. They would have been stupid to do that anyway as that's a potential Mania title match. Granted that's never stopped them before but you get the idea. The ending was a good choice as it plays up Bryan's heel character while keeping Sheamus looking like he needs adjustments before he can go for the big one.

Barrett wants to know who Orton's replacement is. Cody wants to know also. Teddy says there's a battle royal tonight with anyone in WWE, from Raw to Smackdown to Superstars to NXT.

The Rock is a movie star! This is much shorter than the one on Raw, thank goodness.

Jinder Mahal vs. Ezekiel Jackson

Mahal hits a bunch of knees to the ribs as Cole suggests Johnny Curtis could head to the Chamber. Jackson runs him over in the corner and hits a side slam. The Rack is countered and Mahal hits a DDT. He hooks the camel clutch but Zeke gets out of it. A Downward Spiral sets up another camel clutch (how does that hurt the back any more?) which gets the tap at 2:06. Zeke is done. I mean he's just DONE.

Tamina Snuka/Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix/Natalya

Beth grabs Alicia to start and Fox dropkicks her down. Off to Natalya and we get a nice gymnastics demonstration from them. Natalya slides to the floor and comes back in to drop Fox for two. Beth adds in a kick to keep Fox in trouble. Natalya hooks the Sharpshooter... and the referee doesn't see the tap because Natalya's stupid gimmick makes him need a breath of fresh air. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? It allows Tamina to come in and hit the Samoan Drop and Superfly Splash for the pin at 2:52. I hate the Divas because of stupid stuff like this. Seriously, if this is the best they can come up with for them, drop the division.

Tamina knocks Beth out post match but she avoids the splash.

Ace and Otunga come to see Teddy. Ace says the Chamber is about charisma and star power. He suggests just putting Otunga in the Chamber instead of having the battle royal. Teddy says Otunga has the stink of a lawyer. What's with the smell nonsense on this show lately?

Recap of the Cena/Kane/Ryder stuff from Monday.

Battle Royal

I'm not going to try to list off everyone in it. Imagine every non-main event guy and he's probably in this. Otunga gets his own entrance. The NXT guys are in there. Bateman is the first out and it's a standard battle royal: everyone is fighting and there's no point in talking about anything other than eliminations until we get down to about five people. Watson is gone. Titus and an Uso follow him. Drew gorilla presses Kidd out.

DiBiase low bridges Darren Young and they both hang on to the rope to avoid elimination. DiBiase kicks him in the stomach and Young is gone. The ring is clearing out a bit but there are still too many people to count. Hunico throws Tatsu out. DiBiase knocks Camacho out as does Gabriel to McGillicutty. We take a break and come back with not much having changed.

There are about twelve people left. Make that about eleven as Hawkins is out. Riley tries the TKO on either Epico or Primo for some reason but he gets double teamed and tossed. The champs try to do the same to Reks but decide that's not good enough, so they throw Curtis at Reks to get rid of both of them. They throw the other Uso out as well, then Primo dumps Epico.

Ok it's down to manageable now. Hunico dumps DiBiase but DiBiase pulls him out too to keep their feud going. Gabriel and Primo throw each other to the apron but both save themselves. The camera won't stay on a wide shot long enough for me to list off everyone in still. The both go to the apron twice more until Gabriel finally knocks Primo to the floor. Jackson knocks Gabriel out too.

It's Otunga, Jackson, Mahal (elimianted as I type that), McIntyre and Santino. Santino loads up the Cobra but Otunga and McIntyre jump him. Drew is running over everyone with big boots....and then Santino dumps him. Otunga tries to throw out Santino but Jackson saves him. The fans are all chanting for Santino and he ducks under Jackson to put him out.

It's Santino vs. Otunga. Santino Italianadians up and hits the Cobra but Otunga gets in a right hand to stop the momentum. A horrible neckbreaker takes Marella down. He goes to throw Santino out but is reversed and eliminated to give Santino the win at 13:12 shown of 16:42. Cole: “WE REPLACED A VIPER WITH A COBRA???”

Rating: D. To get it out of the way, the battle royal was your classic bad battle royal which I'm sure you've all seen dozens of. Now let's get to the big issue here: Santino Marella is going to be in a major match for the world title on a pay per view. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I like it. Now before I get into why, I completely accept the counter argument of “IT'S SANTINO.” That's perfectly fine and I won't put up much of a defense against that.

However, think of some of the major criticisms of the company as of late: no new names in the main event, no surprises, no listening to the fans. Santino addresses all of those and even if he's a comedy guy, he's not going to win the title. He'll be in there maybe three minutes and Big Show will knock him out or something like that. Kids are now excited for him and he'll add some comic relief to the match (which isn't really needed but it's there). Also, there's a very good chance someone will take him out and get his spot anyway.

Santino celebrates to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. The show wasn't bad this week but it's clear they've had no new ideas or thoughts since the Chamber was announced. Everything since then has been about gaining momentum going into the PPV, but the problem is that it doesn't mean anything. It's just winning matches against other people in the match which has no bearing on the Chamber match itself. Tonight was about adding someone new and they did that, but it's a questionable choice to put it mildly. Not a very entertaining show and they booked themselves into that corner.

Big Show/Great Khali b. Wade Barrett/Cody Rhodes – Chokeslam to Barrett
Hunico b. Ted DiBiase – Rollup
Primo/Epico b. The Usos – Backstabber to Jey Uso
Daniel Bryan b. Sheamus via DQ when Sheamus shoved the referee
Jinder Mahal b. Ezekiel Jackson – Camel Clutch
Tamina Snuka/Alicia Fox b. Beth Phoenix/Natalya – Superfly Splash to Natalya
Santino Marella won a battle royal last eliminating David Otunga

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