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Following Monday’s somewhat lackluster RAW this Smackdown is back on the right tracks with more interesting matches throughout. Non that anyone will really remember, they were all just more entertaining and less predictable than what we were given at the beginning of the week.

The show kicks off with Miz TV. Consisting of Miz ranting about his loss to Kofi Kingston on Main Event and subsequently revealing he will invoke his rematch clause at Hell In A Cell. Bryan and Kane then join the show shortly followed by Big Show after a little mic time. Then finally Ziggler shows up. Que tag team match main event announcement… what do you know, after no time Booker T comes out and sure enough we get the tag match. However I did enjoy Miz’s little rant preempting the decision by Booker T just as he was about to say it. Whether it was scripted or not, it felt spur of the moment and powerful which was refreshing, because you know he was right. So Booker announces Team Hell No vs Ziggler + Big Show and Orton vs Miz, a nice, less obvious choice and one I didn’t see coming.

Miz vs Orton (w)

Fairly easy to predict that Orton was going to win this, just like ADR’s match again Clay on Monday. Both are momentum filler for the participants of the Hell In A Cell match, luckily this match was much more interesting to watch than ADR vs Clay. My biggest gripe was it started during an ad break! This is really annoying that WWE keep kicking matches off during ad breaks.
The match comes in with Orton beating on Miz; who is on top for almost the entirety of the open quarter of the match. First big move of the match is a back suplex from Orton. Miz then gets the upper hand with suplex of his own, hanging Orton up on the ropes, this is swiftly followed by a shoulder charge knocking Orton to the floor outside. Neck breaker combo from Miz is the next notable move but this moves into the worst part of the match.
WWE then decide it would be more interesting to interview ADR (who’s in a sky box) in the middle of the match. Fortunately we didn’t actually miss anything because you could see down to the ring where Miz just kept Orton in a headlock the whole time. I can’t help but think this would have been incredibly boring to watch if you were in the arena.
When the match regains the focus Orton takes control after receiving Miz’s signature corner clothesline. Que Orton’s ‘second wind’. We now get all the “vintage Orton” moves starting with the superplex, the power slam and almost the 2nd rope DDT all in a row, thankfully Miz escapes the DDT breaking up the monotony of the sequence. He is instead caught by a dropkick after getting back into the ring. Miz then counters Orton’s next move into a DDT of his own. Orton lies back to dodge a running kick to the chest, gets up, sets up and hits Miz with the 2nd rope DDT. This starts the final end match sequence. Orton goes for the RKO which is reversed into Miz setting up for the skull crushing finale, this is then re-countered (if that’s a word) allowing Orton to hit the RKO, pin, win.

Backstage: Sheamus wants ANOTHER match with Wade Barrett.
This is getting a little old now, the first match between the two was really good… until the interruption at the end. The second match wasn’t as good; I did enjoy the finishing sequence of moves though, until Big Show ruined it. So a third match, I’m very skeptical about how they can keep this match interesting.

Oh bloody video from the vault. CONTENT FILLER!

Bolsheviks vs  Bushwhackers (w)

Rhode Scholars (w) vs Gabriel + Kidd

I enjoyed this match, it was well worked and kept up a good tempo throughout. Not overly surprising as it consisted some of the better superstars on the WWE roster (in my eyes). Kidd and Gabriel started on top with the first ‘big’ move being a suicide dive by Gabriel onto Sandow, who just pulled Rhodes out the ring. Rhodes then takes control shortly after. Sandow then guillotines Gabriel who is resting on the second rope, there is an elbow of disdain then a tag to Rhodes. He applies a headlock then goes for a back suplex which is reversed followed by a kick from Gabriel. Tag is made to Kidd. Dropkick off the top rope, pin. After a lovely move; while leaning on the ropes he kicks Sandow and uses the momentum to roll over the top rope,  he does a sunset flip to set up the sharpshooter. Unbeknown to Kidd, Sandow has made the tag, Rhodes then disaster kicks Kidd as he’s still got Sandow in the sharpshooter, pin, win. Sandow trips Gabriel to keep him off the pin.

Backstage: Continuing the ‘Eve’s a bitch’ storyline, she steals the idea for the main event. After seeing her lingering about after Teddy Long speaks to Sheamus earlier, she claims she “had the idea since last week” when Teddy suggests the match to Booker T.

Team Hello No (w) vs Ziggler + Big Show

Another good tag team match and one I felt the result could go either way. Ultimately however, I thought Kane and Bryan would get the win in this one. Big Show has a singles win over Bryan and if I were a betting man, I’d put money on him beating Kane on RAW. So to even the odds and because this is a tag match, the tag champs where my hot favourites to win.
Bryan and Ziggler start the match but after exchanging a few moves Ziggler tags in Show. Bryan then immediately tags in Kane. Both big men also exchange punches and uppercuts with Show slightly on top. Kane then tips the balance with a low dropkick sending Show into the top turnbuckle. The tag is made to Bryan who continues to knock down Show and deliver a round of kick. Unfortunately for him, his last kick is blocked and Show sends him over the top rope with a gorilla press. After being thrown around for a bit Bryan eventually reverses a chokeslam into a DDT buying him some time. Ziggler then tags himself back in, delivers a neckbreaker followed by a barrage of elbows. Big Show is tagged back in and wraps his huge hand onto the side of Bryan in a vise like grip, Bryan’s attempted fight back only results in him receiving a big sideslam. Bryan then gets something of a second wind and goes mad in the corner hitting Ziggler and Show;who’s on the apron. Ziggler then misses with a forearms smash to the corner, this allows the tag to be made to Kane. A flying clothesline, two corner clotheslines and an attempted side slam later, Kane clocks Ziggler with a big boot.  After kicking out of a pin Ziggler then receives the sideslam he avoided earlier. Kane then sets up for the chokeslam but Bryan tags himself back in. one flying clothesline and one corner dropkick later, Bryan is up top but distracted by Big Show. He jumps from the top rope towards Big Show; who has moved along the apron, but is caught in a chokeslam position. Kane then comes in and delivers a big boot to big show, sending him to the outside. Ziggler jumps on the back of Kane, who quickly throws him of and Bryan then applies the No Lock to win the match.

Then after the match the tag champs are attacked by Rhode Scholars.

Antonio Cesaro (w) vs Ted Debiase

A blank crowd sign would be more interesting than Antonio Cesaro’s current character, which is a shame because he’s actually one of the more interesting superstars to watch in the ring. The outcome is also obvious. Debiase has been out for a while with an injury and before that he was hardly doing anything noticeable. A Cesaro win was on the card here, unless WWE were going to give Debiase a new push for the US title … na didn’t think so. Not yet anyway.

Headlock by Cesaro starts the match, Debiase then gets him with a drop kick. He is then launched over the top rope rather spectacularly, followed up with a drop onto apron by Cesaro. We get a gutwrench suplex, pin, kick out combination. Debiase then gets his mid match advantage reversing a power slam and hitting Cesaro with a lovely sit-out spin buster. However Debiase’s upper hand is short-lived, Cesaro hits him with the uppercut followed by the neutralizer and the match is over, pin. win.

Extremely dramatic RAW rebound.

Heather Slater (w) vs Brodus Clay

My initial notes just before I saw this match were “going for a Slater win here, not sure myself, this could be the beginning of the streak for 3MB, there will be some help for the other ‘band’ members of course.”. Not a bad guess, logic would suggest a Slater win. Having just recently formed what I think is the worst stable in recent WWE memory, it would seem counter productive to have the ringleader lose in his first match after forming the group. The match itself was short and boring, Clay did the only two moves he seems to posses, a headbutt and a exploder suplex. 3MB then distracted Clay allowing Slater to hit him with possibly a new finisher, a snapmare driver, pin, win.

Layla (w) vs Natalya

This matched didn’t even last 2 minutes, 111 seconds. I was initially unsure whether Layla would get the win, thinking of a possible interference from Eve in commentary. However, with the diva division SO desperately thin Layla had to win to reclaim some momentum, keeping herself in the title picture. The WWE only really has her and Kaitlyn in that current position. You can’t really do a lot in 111 second, wrestling wise, so it’s no surprise this match pretty much sucked. A semi botched rolling pin combination, an abdominal stretch, which admittedly Natalya executed well, raising Layla’s leg to make the move a bit different. Then what I think was a superkick by Layla ended the match, the move was hard to see as the cameras were focusing on Eve at commentary at the time.

Backstage: Teddy has Eve’s iPad and shows it to Kaitlyn, further adding weight to the ‘Eve’s a bitch’ storyline.

Sheamus (w) vs Wade Barrett

Threes a charm? Hopefully? Maybe? please? OK, not quite. I said I was skeptical about this match and I was right to be. Lumberjack matches just don’t seem to do anything for me, so that variant couldn’t mask the fact I’d seen this match twice already. The result was also so predictable, of course super Sheamus was going to win, when was the last time he lost? Despite all that the match was OK but nothing more.

The first half of the match was good and the opening was great, it had an air of intensity and a good flow. Both men going back and forth exchanging blows, Barrett gets a slight upper hand with a pumphandle slam and a signature big boot with Sheamus coiled around the top rope. The lumberjacks throw Sheamus back in the ring where Barrett continues his assault, ending the sequence with a short clothesline having receiving only a few punches from Sheamus. Who after this comes back with a few clubbing blow but Barrett counters with an irish whip sending Sheamus sternum first into the corner.
Now this is where it all goes tits up, we get an ad break. When we return Sheamus is rolling with his forearm smashes and the mood feels like we’re heading for the end of the match. I’m sat at home thinking “but wait a minute, the match was just getting going when we left, it surely can’t be coming to a conclusion”, it felt like reading the first and last chapters of a book. I’ve been cheated out of the story.
Sure enough, Sheamus hits the rolling senton followed by his slap with the opponent on the apron and then white noise. unsurprisingly he then sets up for the brogue kick. However Barrett is pulled from the ring, so Sheamus goes to the apron and launches into a cluster of lumberjacks; my favourite part after the break. Both men then go tit-for-tat on a few moves resulting in Barrett outside the ring where he instigates a mass brawl by hitting Tyson Kidd. Who would have thought it, a lumberjack match ending in a mass brawl… Back in the ring Sheamus gives Barrett an Irish curse backbreaker. It’s at this point Kane’s pyro goes off and Bryan and Kane come running to the ring. I now couldn’t give a shit about what happens in the ring, I just want to watch Bryan and Kane destroy everyone. What does happen though is a brogue kick to Barrett, pin, win.

Meanwhile Kane and Bryan chase Rhode Scholars out the arena. Now what did prick my ears up was Zigglers zigzag on Sheamus after the match. It was unexpected and for once Ziggler was getting the upperhand, helping to add weight to his chances of successfully cashing in his MiTB. However it would have been SO much better if they left it at that. Oh no, couldn’t do that, he then had to try an cash in his MiTB only to be clobbered by Big Shows knock out punch. Once again making Ziggler look like a complete douche. If WWE are going to have him cash in his contract at HIAC it would be nice to give him at least a slither of momentum.
Here’s hoping for the forthcoming shows.