Date: September 28, 2012
Location: First Niagara Center, Buffalo, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Josh Matthews
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
After last week's tag team show, it's time to put some focus on the world title match at the upcoming PPV. By that I mean actually setting up a match there. The main event for tonight is Orton vs. Big Show which would be fine to make a #1 contenders match. Show returned from a brief absence on Monday and beat up various big men so I guess he's a heel again. Let's get to it.
We open with a recap of last week's events.
Do You Know Your Enemy? Mine is Garrett Bischoff. Why is he back on my TV screen now?
Here's Big Show to open the show. Show says he wants the world title because he lost the title in 45 seconds last time. Then the guy that beat him lost the title in 18 seconds. Show didn't get to be in the main event of Wrestlemania and he didn't get to be champion and that's not cool with him. He says he's the only person that can beat Sheamus, but here's Orton with a rebuttal.
Orton says that to deserve a shot at Sheamus, you have to go through him. That's perfect as tonight's match is for the #1 contendership. Show says tonight it's either going to be an RKO or a KO. Here's Alberto and please don't make this a triple threat. Please. Del Rio says the two of them need to go to the back of the line, and there's an RKO for him to end this segment. THANK GOODNESS.
US Title: Antonio Cesaro vs. Santino Marella
Cesaro pounds him down to start as Matthews talks about how Santino and the Cobra have made up. Some suplexes from the champ (Cesaro) and puts on a cravate before Santino makes his comeback. The gutwrench suplex is countered into a sunset flip but the European Uppercut puts Marella down. The second attempt at the suplex hits but Cesaro talks enough trash to let Santino hit a superkick of all things for two. Cesaro goes up but Santino makes the stop and backdrops Antonio off the top. Santino misses a top rope headbutt and the Neutralizer retains the title at 4:10.
Rating: C. This was by far the most competitive match these two have ever had but they're almost a month after the point where people buy Sanitno has having a chance at beating Cesaro. This is what I don't get about WWE's obsession with endless rematches: there's no one else they're willing to try out with a title shot? No one at all? I have trouble believing that.
We get the My Name Is Gerald bit from Raw. Kane is so awesome at these things.
Natalya vs. Beth Phoenix
Before the match, Eve Touts how serious she takes the attack on Kaitlyn. Feeling out process to start with both girls trying to get control. I believe this is their first ever match. Beth controls on the mat with a headlock but Natalya escapes a slam to tick Phoenix off. Natalya slaps her in the face and the fight is on.
Beth, the hometown girl, hits a Russian legsweep to take over and is put in the Sharpshooter two seconds later. She does the fastest crawl I've ever seen to make the rope and Natalya freaks out. Nattie charges at Beth and tries a rolling cradle, only to get caught in the Glam Slam....for two. Natalya grabs a fast rollup but Beth rolls forward into one of her own for the pin at 4:15.
Rating: C+. Best Divas match I can remember in a long time here. The hometown thing worked here with the fans being really into Beth. It's remarkable what you get when you have girls that can wrestle a match and look like they know what they're doing rather than looking like they're struggling to remember how to run ropes.
Post match here's Eve to say that Beth is suspended until the investigation into who attacked Kaitlyn is concluded. Natalya yells at Beth and says not to blame her.
Booker and Teddy talk about a tag team tournament to find #1 contenders for the titles at HIAC. Beth comes in to complain and apparently Booker isn't even watching the show. Eve pops in and says she has the authority to do that. Booker says Eve doesn't have that authority and reverses the decision. Eve sucks up as usual and Beth leaves. Booker isn't happy so Eve blames Teddy. Booker isn't sure who to trust.
Breast cancer stuff.
Zack Ryder vs. Wade Barrett
No entrance for Ryder and I think you know where this is going. Barrett immediately shoulders him down then kicks Ryder in the ribs. Pumphandle slam gets two as does a slingshot belly to back backbreaker. Off to a surfboard hold but Ryder fights up and hits a facejam and middle rope missile dropkick. Barrett avoids the Broski Boot and hits a clothesline to send Ryder to the floor. Back inside and the Souvenir ends Ryder at 3:15.
Rating: D+. This was your standard Barrett squash since he came back. The problem with that is these matches aren't really doing anything for him. He talked about being open for business a few weeks ago and then never mentioned it again. Barrett as a mercenary would work fine given how he always talked about how he was here for the money and not titles. Just squashing jobbers with an elbow to the head isn't getting him anywhere.
Diner skit #2.
Here's Miz for MizTV. The guest tonight is Sheamus who interrupts Miz's intro. Sheamus looks about 300% tougher in jeans when you can't see those white legs of his. He takes the mic from Miz and thinks Miz is suffering from memory loss after the beatdown from Ryback. Sheamus keeps asking Miz questions but won't let him answer. He runs down Miz and in a way the IC Title by saying the best Miz can do is host a C list talk show. Miz talks about how he's in a movie and a book now and you'll have to pay to see it. You can pay to hear him on Sirius Radio and you can pay to see him compete in the ring.
Miz talks about how Sheamus is going to get taken out by an RKO or a WMD at HIAC. I feel like I'm on Sesame Street. Sheamus says no one takes this championship more seriously than he does and while he likes to have fun and joke around, the title means more to him than anything. Since Sheamus is cutting a good promo, here's Vickie to interrupt him.
She introduces Ziggler and says that he's the real guy Sheamus needs to worry about at the PPV. Ziggler says the main event tonight as well as Sheamus' title reign is irrelevant because Ziggler is the next champion. Sheamus says Ziggler may get lucky with a cash-in...and that's all he says. Then he jumps Ziggler and Miz and launches them both to the floor.
This segment was going well until Ziggler came out and said the exact same thing he's been saying for four months. It's really hard to buy Ziggler as a real threat when Sheamus has beaten him so many times. Once he wins the title, it's going to take awhile to take him serious as a champion, but that's clearly his fault and not the company's for having him lose over and over again right?
We get the brackets for the tag team tournament:
Prime Time Players
We get the full Lawler interview from Raw. That's still awesome. One question though: is it still a Raw exclusive if it's shown in full on Smackdown as well?
Tag Team Tournament First Round: Usos vs. Rhodes Scholars
Sandow and Jimmy start us off. Sandow would be the Scholar and if I have to explain who Rhodes is, you're beyond my help. Damien controls to start but walks into a Samoan Drop and both guys tag out. Jey hits the running Umaga attack in the corner for two on Cody as things break down a bit. A superkick puts Cody down but Jimmy's splash hits knees. Cross Rhodes hits and we're done at 1:54.
Diner sequence #3.
Video on some global summit that WWE was involved in.
Ryback vs. Tensai
Another good reaction for Ryback. They fight over a lockup to start and Ryback sends him into the corner. Tensai gets in some headbutts and a splash in the corner but Ryback suplexes Tensai down. The clothesline is countered into a Baldo Bomb for a pair of two counts. Now the clothesline hits and Shell Shock keeps Ryback undefeated at 2:06. The finisher was impressive but I'm not sure this proves that Ryback is for real like Cole says. I mean, it's just Tensai.
Del Rio attacks Orton in the back on the way to the ring. He slams a case into Orton's knee as well.
Big Show vs. Randy Orton
There's no Orton due to the attack in the back so here's Del Rio instead. Del Rio talks for a bit before Orton jumps him and limps to the ring to have the match anyway. After a break we're ready to go and Orton is very tentative to mix it up for multiple reasons now. Show gets him into the corner but Orton comes out with right hands. Show gets a knee in though and Orton is down quickly.
A second attempt at the chops in the corner is blocked and Show takes him down with a single shot to the ribs. He stands on Randy's ribs and puts on a stomach claw, which is one of those usually lazy moves that works a bit better for Show. The Final Cut (Eye of the Hurricane) gets two but Orton barely has anything left. They head outside and Orton gets dropped onto the barricade as we take a break.
Back with Orton trying to make a comeback and countering the chokeslam into a DDT for a very delayed two. Orton can't follow up at all here because of the ribs. His knee seems to be fine after having a BIG FREAKING CASE slammed into it but you can win them all I guess. Show pounds on the ribs some more and beats on Randy in the corner. We head to the floor and Show gets rammed into the post to give Orton a breather.
As Show is getting back in, Orton tries for the Elevated DDT but he can't find a way around the powers of fat. Instead he hits an RKO out of nowhere but it only gets two. Orton loads up the Punt as a last resort but charges into a chokeslam....for two. A second chokeslam kills Orton dead for the pin at 9:32 shown of 13:02.
Rating: C+. I liked this match for a few reasons. First and foremost, Big Show is not Alberto Del Rio and he's getting the next title shot. Second, this match was more realistic than most you'll see anymore. Orton hit one big move the entire match and other than that it was pretty much a squash. Having Orton be competitive in this match after being attacked would have been absurd, so having Show dominate here made perfect sense. Also, since it deserves a second mention, Del Rio isn't getting another shot!
Show lays Orton out with the WMD post match and says he'll see Sheamus at the PPV.
Overall Rating: C+. This was another pretty good episode. Not having Kane and Bryan on the show was likely a good idea after last week. You don't want to run the risk of running the pairing into the ground and giving them a week off is probably the right idea. Ryback got another win over someone who at least looking intimidating and we have a bunch of tag matches coming up. This show built for the future and it did it in a good way. Good stuff tonight.
Antonio Cesaro b. Santino Marella – Neutralizer
Beth Phoenix b. Natalya – Rollup
Wade Barrett b. Zack Ryder – Souvenir
Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow b. Usos – Cross Rhodes to Jimmy Uso
Rybac b. Tensai – Shell Shock
Big Show b. Randy Orton – Chokeslam
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