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Smackdown - April 20, 2012

Date: April 20, 2012
Location: O2 Arena, London, England
Commentators: Michael Cole, Booker T, Josh Matthews

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're still in England this week for the last TV show of the tour. I don't remember anything being announced for tonight's show so I'm really not sure what to expect from it. We'll probably get more build to Bryan vs. Sheamus as well as hopefully a few more matches added to the thin card. Let's get to it.

Do you know your enemy? Mine is an annoying piece of malware at the moment.

There's a six man tag main event: Cody/Bryan/Henry vs. Orton/Sheamus/Khali.

Here's Bryan to open the show. He talks about how Sheamus didn't do anything better than him at Wrestlemania. Instead of facing him like a man, Sheamus took the coward's way out and jumped Bryan from behind like he's done to everyone. At Extreme Rules he won't get jumped or be distracted. So now it's back to Chicago where he shocked the world by winning the MITB case. He'll beat Sheamus twice in the two out of three falls match and get back his rightful title. Did Sheamus cheat at Wrestlemania? YES! Will Bryan win the title back at Extreme Rules? YES!

Cue AJ to a lot of booing. How can you boo someone that looks like that? Bryan tells her to turn around and go away but she says this is the only way she can talk to him. AJ asks if she can just talk to him about their problems but Bryan says he has no problems. He had one, but he got rid of her. Bryan regrets ever going out with her in the first place and he wishes that she was never even born. That finally gets the people to boo Bryan. He asks if there's any chance he'd ever take AJ back and answers with an emphatic NO before leaving.

AJ vs. Natalya

AJ starts off all stoic but suddenly explodes on Natalya, beating her into the corner. The referee pulls her off twice but AJ won't let up, drawing a DQ at 48 seconds.

Damien Sandow talks about something Benjamin Franklin said and runs down Dancing With The Stars and Hoarders. At least with Dancing it's about something that involves work and talent. Most of the other shows he criticizes I completely agree with him on.

Brodus Clay vs. Hunico

Brodus has something to say. He says cut the music and gets booed, prompting him to say it's coming, so don't worry. His little brother is supposed to be here so he sends the Funkadactyls (the girls) to go find him. And it's Horny. Cole's reaction is exactly what mind is. At least the Mama and the Bridge Club was something original. Brodus does his shaking and Horny gets in to do it as well. Hunico becomes my new hero by shoving him down. The squash commences and the splash ends it in 1:10, about 25 seconds of which was spent on the Hornswoggle part.

Horny hits the Tadpole Splash post match. I hope this isn't permanent.

Teddy is looking for Aksana but finds Titus and Young who are new to Smackdown. They laugh at him for not signing them and now being a gopher. Ace pops up and they all make fun of Teddy. Titus/Young leave so Ace puts one of those big black furry Queen's guard hats on Teddy who isn't allowed to talk or move for the rest of the night.

Orton is in the back with Striker and we get a video on the attack on Cowboy Bob last week. Orton, with his growing mutton chops, says that his dad will be fine. On the other hand, Kane isn't going to be fine. They have a match at Extreme Rules and it's falls count anywhere.

Usos vs. Titus O'Neal/Darren Young

NXT comes to Fridays. I forgot how annoying Titus' song was. Young starts with Jimmy who hits a spinning forearm for two. Off to Jey who hits some double chops before bringing Jimmy back in. Titus comes in and the fans do not care at all. He uses his power stuff and gets a small reaction off a European Uppercut. Back to Young who hits a neckbreaker for two. The fans are waking up a bit. A tag brings in Jimmy who gets the only solid reaction for the US shout to the crowd. Jey gets sent to the floor and a blind tag allows Young and Titus to hit a Hart Attack out of the corner for the pin.

Rating: D. It might be because I watched these teams fight so many times on NXT but I didn't care at all about this match. Titus is ok but Young is so uninteresting that it stuns me that he got a main roster spot. I guess having another tag team on the show is good but this match is nothing of note. Another loss for the Usos doesn't please me either.

The Raw ReBound is about Jericho vs. Punk.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show

Non-title. Del Rio drives an Aston Martin here which is very appropriate. Del Rio has officially been traded to the Smackdown roster with no compensation announced yet. Big Show blocks Del Rio's offense out of the corner and shoves him down. Show stands on his chest in the corner and chops it for good measure. An elbow follows for two. Show loads up the big punch but Del Rio kicks him in the knee to take him down.

More kicks to the arm by Del Rio follow and he hooks an armbar. Show shrugs it off but the chokeslam is broken up by a kick to the knee. The Codebreaker to the arm sets up the armbreaker but Show lifts him up with the bad arm into kind of an Angle Slam minus the spin. Show spears him down and calls for the chokeslam. Ricardo gets up on the apron and Cody comes in with the Disaster Kick, giving Del Rio the pin.

Rating: C-. Does any champion other than the world champions EVER get to pin someone? Oh right: Santino does. For the life of me I don't get the point of why they keep having the champs lose. Have Cody come in for a DQ or something when Show has the match won. One of the biggest reasons the titles mean nothing is the champions lose every time and it's frustrating because there are other ways to do the same story without having them lose like Show did here.

Cody runs away post match.

Drew McIntyre and Heath Slater are watching the following squash.

Danny Lerman vs. Ryback

Same deal as always but this time it's a British guy. Lerman hits him and is promptly mangled. Clothesline and MuscleBuster variation win in 1:11.

We get the Brock interview from Raw.

Teddy is still standing in the same place although he's now in a full uniform. Regal pops up for some jokes and leaves. Aksana's music hits and HOKEY SMOKE THAT'S CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI! He's playing the Antonio Cesaro character here, a European rugby player. Ace pops out of his office and invites them in. I'm not British so maybe I don't get it, but what's the point of guards that aren't allowed to move? Couldn't that create some security risks?

Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes/Mark Henry vs. Sheamus/Great Khali/Randy Orton

Main event time. Cody jumps Khali and hits him in the knee as Khali is getting in. Trainers come out and say Khali can't go. Big Show comes out to replace him.

Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes/Mark Henry vs. Sheamus/Big Show/Randy Orton

The match is joined in progress after a break with Randy pounding on Bryan in the corner. Tag to Sheamus so Bryan bails to the corner to tag in Cody. The champ knocks Cody around and hits the rolling fireman's carry slam for two. Cody's neckbreaker is countered and Sheamus throws him into position for the ten forearms. Cody reverses a suplex and sends Sheamus to the floor. A baseball slide by Cody sets up the knee off the apron from Bryan, which I think is the same thing that's happened to him for three or four weeks in a row.

Bryan comes in to stomp on Sheamus now with a YES for each connecting boot. Henry comes in for some choking and it's back to Rhodes. He works on the arm of the champ and then into a chinlock. Sheamus fights out of that as well and knocks Cody out of the air on the Disaster Kick attempt. Hot tag to Orton and it's powerslams for all normal sized heels. Cody gets in a shot though and it's time for a break.

Back with Henry holding Orton in a neck crank and it's back to Bryan. A running dropkick in the corner gets two. A top rope splash misses and Orton makes the tag to Big Show who faces Henry. Cody manages a knee to the back and Mark clotheslines Show down. The heels beat on him and Cody hooks a figure four that his daddy would be ashamed of. While the hold is still on, Cody makes a tag to Henry who splashes Show for two.

Bryan drops an elbow for two. Hot tag to Sheamus to meet Bryan and the beating is on. Irish Curse gets two with Cody making the save. Rhodes rolls to the floor and lands right in front of Show who knocks him out cold with the WMD. YES Lock is blocked by Sheamus but the Brogue Kick misses as well. Tag to Henry and Sheamus kicks his head off. Show adds the right hand and the RKO gets the pin at 13:20 shown of at least 16:50.

Rating: B. That's probably high but I was getting into this match at the end. First of all, the right guy got pinned. There would have been no reason to have Bryan or Cody lose before the PPV so Henry was the right choice. Second, they changed up the formula by having each good guy be in trouble which made the match more fleshed out and told a better story. Also the total destruction of Henry at the end was a nice touch.

Show was limping post match.

Overall Rating: B. This was a solid episode as everything moved pretty smoothly and a lot of people got on TV. We had a debut and a solid main event, plus a new match added to the PPV with Kane vs. Orton. The one thing I'm concerned about is we seem to only have five matches (Brock/Cena, Kane/Orton, Jericho/Punk, Sheamus/Bryan and presumably Cody/Show) and there's a week left. They'll need to add two or three matches in two shows which is possible but a bit rushed. Still though, good show tonight.

Natalya b. AJ via DQ when AJ wouldn't stop attacking Natalya in the corner
Brodus Clay b. Hunico – Big Splash
Titus O'Neal/Darren Young b. Usos – Hart Attack out of the corner
Alberto Del Rio b. Big Show – Pin after a Disaster Kick from Cody Rhodes
Ryback b. Danny Lerman – MuscleBuster
Big Show/Randy Orton/Sheamus b. Mark Henry/Daniel Bryan/Cody Rhodes – RKO to Henry

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  1. Does this make Brodus Clay Vince's son as well?

  2. If this somehow ends with AJ doing a heel turn at the PPV to help Bryan beat Sheamus I will forgive WWE for Wrestlemania.  Confused, crazy, manipulated heel AJ...just seems so right.

  3. A fucking rugby player? What year is this, 1995?

  4.  Or better yet, the issues between AJ and Bryan were all an act, leading to the reveal (via heel turn) at ER.

  5. Or better yet, the two words that will make this the greatest angle ever: "I'm pregnant!"

  6. I can't believe that Sheamus is still favored to retain his title.  Daniel Bryan has been feuding with AJ and Roddy Piper because Sheamus can't hold his own on the mic.  The Chicago crowd will bury Sheamus 6 feet under.

    But Bryan has been way too over the top to become a traditional face anytime soon, and what do you do with a heel champ that gets thunderous cheers?  You can't feed babyfaces to him and have them get booed out of the building.  Has a heel champ who always defends against other heels ever been done?

  7. I know most people aren't that big on Ryback so far, but frankly his squash matches are awesome, I think Skip Sheffield has that Goldbergesque charisma to pull off the gimmick. 

  8.  So long as it leads to the birth occuring on Smackdown (in-ring of course) to a chorus of Yes chants led by D-Bryan.

  9. Or better yet, let's put AJ on the crowd, visible. When Sheamus has Bryan almost defeated in the third fall, AJ run-ins with a chair and blast him, with Daniel pinning unaware. Then Bryan begins to freak out, and slowly understands that AJ has helped him, so they finally embrace while screaming YES YES YES.

    YES, let's make a heel re-enactment of the Savage-Liz Reunion at Wrestlemania VII

  10. Leading to Bryan knocking her down by mistake a few months down the line causing a miscarriage. AND STILL AJ doesn't leave him. The heel heat would be off the charts.

  11. This.  Ryback is already showing about a thousand times more potential than guys like Big Zeke and Mason Ryan.  He's quick, has good timing, and his moves look devistating.

    He just needs a clearly defined heel/face role and he's set.

  12. As long as they don't over-emphasize the rugby part it could work.  In FCW he's basically a toned down version of Claudio anyway.

  13. I became a BIG fan of Sheffield's during "NXT" and the original "Nexus" storyline - sure, he's a "hoss", but he's light on his feet and his moves are crisp. Plus, he definitely has the charisma, facial expressions, and mic-skills, not to mention that the guy is obviously dedicated after spending so many years in developmental and coming back from a nasty injury.

    Not sure about the whole "Ryback" name and T2-esque aesthetic, but I'm really glad he's back.

  14. Bryan's in such a weird position - sure, there have been plenty of evil bastards that have gotten cheered, but none of those evil bastards ever targeted women. How exactly do they move forward, other than to simply drop the "abusive boyfriend" routine completely?

    This will be very interesting to watch.

    (And before anybody mentions Austin giving Stacy Keibler the "Stunner", I mean when the character is still brand new, or abusing women on a consistent basis.)

  15. I don't think it'd be smart to make Daniel Bryan pregnant.

  16. He's been kind of positioned as a face but I'd kinda like to see him end up a heel. Like he's been squashing these non-entitities that no one is familiar with, so we don't really know which side of the coin he falls on. I'd love if he ends up coming out as Vickie Guerrero's secret weapon, or something. Of course I'm not sure the roster has room for another monster heel, but it'd be an interesting turn of the screw since we don't really know what his motivation is.

  17. If Sheamus is the one who causes it, it has to be emphasized that it wasn't his fault. 

  18.  Gene Snitsky: "OK, *this* time was my bad."

  19. I loved his heel personality in "Nexus", a remorseless redneck killer that also happened to be smarter than he appeared.

    That said, I can see them using him the opposite way, maybe as an "anti-bully" - a guy like Tensai goes around beating on little guys, with Ryback stepping up to provide real competition. Kind of like Sheamus' face-turn (when he got in Henry's face).

  20.  Well has Bryan really been that good a pure-HEEL, i mean it seems on Smackdown he is usually more in the heel side of things, but when on Raw and often on SD he fades into this tweener type act. The whole Yes-chant with the crowd, is kinda face-like


  22.  Do you guys want her to give birth to a hand, too? Gawd. Let's keep pregnancy angles for the real soap operas.


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