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Smackdown - March 23, 2012

Date: March 23, 2012
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're closing in on Wrestlemania even more now and the main event tonight is, you guessed it, another tag match. For some reason Miz is in this match instead of Jericho, teaming with Bryan to face Punk/Sheamus. I don't get that: why not have all four of them in the same match? Either way, having Sheamus and Bryan in the same ring is a good thing as they need all the help they can get at this point. Let's get to it.

Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine is the Indiana Hoosiers. They need to be eliminated.

Here are AJ and Bryan to open the show. Good heat on the champ here. Bryan celebrates before saying anything else. AJ is asked what's so great about being Bryan's girlfriend. He has soft lips, he caresses her and sometimes they spoon. She calls him Danny and gets corrected before going into a list of his better traits. Being a vegan is a good thing. She isn't as thrilled about this batch of them. Most importantly AJ feels safe. Bryan whispers something to her to say and she says it's a little personal. He says say it, so AJ says he's a great lover. Oh and he'll keep the title at Wrestlemania.

Bryan starts a cheer for himself but here's Sheamus. They've at least been having these two interact a bit which has been a plus. Sheamus says he threw up in his mouth a bit back there listening to this. He makes fun of the soft lips stuff and says he doesn't want to go there, but he does want to go to Wrestlemania. Sheamus calls him Danny which is corrected and also starts a chant. He calls Bryan Danny Boy which doesn't sit well with the champ either. “If you don't like that, you'll hate being called the former World Heavyweight Champion.” Sheamus says he'll kick Bryan's teeth down his throat. I liked this a lot.

R-Truth vs. Mark Henry

Truth hammers away which works about as well as any other attacks by average sized men on monsters. Truth gets knocked down by a headbutt and is sent to the floor. Henry crushes Truth's head against the steps and they go back inside. Henry misses an elbow drop and Truth hits a seated dropkick and a low DDT for one. Truth goes up and jumps into the World's Strongest Slam for the pin at 2:59. Total squash. Team Johnny wins again. I know they're winning at the PPV but at least make it look possible. Please?

Big Show vs. Kane again tonight.

We get what might be a first: the debut of a Hall of Fame announcement on Smackdown. It's Yokozuna. No issues with that. Mil Mascaras is mentioned as going in with this class, which I believe is the first time that's been mentioned on WWE TV.

We get a clip from Raw of Ryder's rally and cut to Team Teddy in Long's office. Teddy says he needs more convincing so Horny comes in with a Team Teddy flag. He's the official mascot of the team now. Khali comes in wearing Ryder gear and says Woo Woo Woo You Know It. Ryder and Khali are on the team now. Well it's better than no appearance at all. His stuff with Kane and Cena is never going to be mentioned again is it?

AJ vs. Brie Bella

AJ is the home state girl being from Jersey. An inset interview from the Bellas has them talking about how Brie doesn't want Nikki's advice because Nikki lost last week. Booker apologizes for one of his statements about AJ recently. Which statement that is he doesn't list but whatever. Brie controls to start and stomps away at AJ. Bryan's advice: do better. Off to a chinlock which is pretty quickly broken. AJ hooks a Fujiwara Armbar and a decent one. Nikki gets up on the apron to distract AJ but Brie rams into Nikki and is rolled up for the pin at 2:48.

Post match we find out that Brie is Team Teddy and Nikki is Team Johnny. Brie leads a T-E-D-D-Y cheer. That's just what this feud needed: THE BELLAS!

Jack Swagger vs. Zack Ryder

Apparently Lillian legitimately screwed up the entrance and called Ryder “The Long Island Iced Z, Jack Swagger.” The fans are WAY into Ryder. They better be careful or he'll get sent down to NXT. He controls to start and hammers on Swagger but Jack moves out of the way in the corner. Swagger uses almost a judo throw to take Ryder down and throws on a top wristlock.

Ryder gets his knees up in the corner and starts his comeback. He slams Swagger's face into the mat and hits the Broski Boot for two. Rough Ryder is countered into a buckle bomb followed by it's Vader cousin for two. Horny chases Vickie onto the apron and the distraction allows the Rough Ryder to get the pin at 4:30.

Rating: C-. I'm glad to see Ryder get his win back but it's negated by the general annoyance factor brought on by Hornswoggle being out there. That guy gets annoying fast. Anyway, decent match and it's good to see Ryder back and winning matches (mostly) clean. Him getting on Mania will be good too, even though he'll be on the losing team.

We get a clip from Monday of Cody attacking Big Show.

Earlier today, Cody says he's been enjoying embarrassing Big Show lately. The biggest embarrassment is going to be at Mania though. Knucklehead 2 perhaps? Cody leaves, saying he has a plane to catch. Then why did you come to the arena?

Big Show vs. Kane

Show starts off fast and runs over Kane. He hammers away and Kane bails to the floor. Kane sends Show into the post and hits the low dropkick back in the ring. Kane hooks a chinlock but Show gets up and they clothesline each other. Show gets up and starts pounding on Kane but the big fried freak comes back with a DDT for two. Kane goes up but jumps into a chokeslam. Cody runs in for the DQ at 3:45.

Rating: D. This continues to be nothing. These two never have clicked at all so keeping it short like this was probably the best idea. Cody running in was pretty obvious as he did the same thing on Monday. I guess they were out of stuff to do in this feud so they're just having Cody cost Show matches, even though he gave him a win here.

Show chases Rhodes into the crowd. Orton comes in and RKOs Kane.

Same anti-bullying video from Raw.

Brodus Clay vs. Heath Slater

Brodus is in green tonight. Notice that the announcers have stopped seeming to have a blast when he comes out. It's like they've been told to cool it or something. Slater dropkicks the knee out and hits an enziguri, perhaps becoming the first person to ever cover Brodus. Brodus comes back with his usual and the splash ends this in 1:24. This guy needs a feud in the worst way. Throw him on Team Teddy if nothing else.

Ryder runs into Eve in the back and they say they're both going to Wrestlemania. Zack says she's beautiful and smart, which Eve takes as an insult because she thinks Ryder sounds like it was a recent development. She storms off, saying their dinner is off. This is going to go on for a long time isn't it?

Raw ReBound is about the three way talking session that didn't say anything new from the end of Raw.

Great Khali vs. Dolph Ziggler

Christian is on commentary. Cole again points out how one sided the team situation is and how serious one side is while how goofy the other is. Christian gets a text from Johnny, who is all of 8 feet from him. Khali throws Ziggler around and chops him down. Ziggler gets in a shot and hammers away as Booker argues with Booker. Christian wants Cole to be Team Johnny's mascot. Khali comes back with his array of clotheslines but the chop misses. Sleeper goes on and Ace rings the bell at 2:42, Montreal style. Yep, that just happened.

Teddy says hang on a minute and restarts it. Ziggler is given to ten to get back in and doesn't get back in. Santino and Kofi throw him in anyway and Khali chops him down. I'm already sick of this feud because there are SO many people in it and there are still two more to be added.

CM Punk/Sheamus vs. The Miz/Daniel Bryan

Is there any logical reason for Jericho not to be in this? Sheamus and Bryan start but Bryan immediately tags out. Sheamus takes over with a headlock and clothesline and it's time for Punk. The slingshot shoulder brings Sheamus back in and gets two. Irish Curse gets two. Sheamus pulls Bryan in but the distraction lets Miz knock him to the floor and Bryan adds a knee to the head as we take a break.

Back with Miz kicking Sheamus in the head and putting on a chinlock. A backdrop gets Sheamus out of trouble and he makes the tag to Punk. The champ comes in with a springboard clothesline and the running knee/bulldog combo takes Miz down. He loads up the Macho Elbow but Bryan distracts him down. Miz hits the low DDT for two and it's time for champion vs. champion.

Bryan chokes Punk out and we get a Danny Boy chant. Booker says Miz has been surpassed by his former pupil. Miz gets in a shot to the back to keep Punk from getting momentum and then adds a kneelift for two. Punk takes Miz down and there's the tag, resulting in Bryan running for his life. Sheamus cleans house and hits the forearms to the chest of Bryan. The Brogue Kick kills Miz at 6:43 shown of 10:13.

Rating: C-. I wasn't really into this one because the ending could be seen coming a mile away. Bryan running from Sheamus is kind of interesting I guess because it's the story of his title reign, but I'm hoping at Mania that he finally gets caught. Other than that, nothing to see here because Punk has no reason to want to fight either of his opponents here.

Overall Rating: C. This was an ok show and that's about it. They're in full on Mania push mode at this point and that can become a problem. Much like Raw, there's not much to see on these shows because the PPV has been set for weeks now. Not a bad show or anything, but other than Ryder and Khali being added to Team Teddy, there's nothing here that's new material.

Mark Henry b. R-Truth – World's Strongest Slam
AJ b. Brie Bella – Rollup
Zack Ryder b. Jack Swagger – Rough Ryder
Big Show b. Kane via DQ when Cody Rhodes interfered
Brodus Clay b. Heath Slater – Big Splash
Great Khali b. Dolph Ziggler via countout
CM Punk/Sheamus b. The Miz/Daniel Bryan – Brogue Kick to Miz

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