Matt’s Smackdown Recap 12/27/13

In the main event on the final Smackdown of 2013, John Cena and Seth Rollins take each other to the limit. Will Cena be able to overcome the threat from the Shield or is tonight the night Rollins breaks through the glass ceiling? You gotta read and find out! [Photo courtesy of WWE.com]
In the main event on the final Smackdown of 2013, John Cena and Seth Rollins take each other to the limit. Will Cena be able to overcome this threat from the Shield or is tonight the night Rollins breaks through the glass ceiling? You’ll have to read on to find out! [Photo courtesy of WWE.com]
WWE: Smackdown
December 27, 2013
Corpus Christi, TX
American Bank Center

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton (12/15/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E Langston (11/18/2013)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dean Ambrose (5/19/2013)
WWE Tag Team Champions: Cody Rhodes & Goldust (10/14/2013)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

Side note: HAPPY NEW YEAR, YA’LL.

Your hosts are Michael Cole and JBL.

Time for John Cena to appear. He gets the crowd pumped for being a part of the final Smackdown of 2013. This gives him an opportunity to make lame jokes about New Year’s resolutions. Just to name a few: he wants to have a rap battle with Great Khali, draft his XFL fantasy team, and gain weight. In fact, he wants to gain about 40 pounds, and he can gain all 40 of those pounds here tonight if the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton has the guts to put the gold on the line. I think he starts quoting ‘Ernest Saves Christmas‘ when Ernest is trying to explain to Harmony Star how Santa Claus can reach every kid in the world in one night when Cena tries to explain the probability that Randy Orton might actually be listening to his challenge. Maybe not. It all sounds like scientific nonsense though. We do not get any Randy Orton, because here comes the Shield. This is bad news bears for Cena, but Mark Henry makes a save. Believe it or not, the numbers prove too much for the WORLD’S STRONGEST MAN. That brings out Big E Langston to officially even the odds and clean house on the Shield boys. I was definitely expecting a shrieking Vickie Guerrero to appear, but it’s DOC Kane. He splits up singles matches for everybody tonight. Big E v. Ambrose, Henry v. Reigns, and Cena v. Rollins.

Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (w/Bray Wyatt) vs. The Usos

Crap, this was short. The Usos clear out the Wyatt family as one of them planchas onto Rowan. Back in the ring, Harper and the other Uso go back and forth with each other. This Uso even busts out a corkscrew moonsault onto Harper. After Harper takes out the Uso who did the plancha with a big boot, Rowan stuns the other Uso with a forearm on the apron into the Discus Clothesline by Harper. Rowan splashes this Uso for the win. (1:00) Not enough to rate here. I can’t tell the Usos apart when they’re wearing t-shirts when my only way to distinguish the two is a chest tattoo. Either the Usos have fallen or there are big plans ahead for these Wyatt boys. After the bell, Bray Wyatt gives one of the Usos the Sister Abigail finisher. Follow the buzzards, ya’ll.

BATISTA RETURNS JANUARY 20. I knew he’d be back.

Backstage, Renee Young is with the WWE World Heavyweight champion Randy Orton. What’s your New Year’s resolution for 2014? He wants to win the Royal Rumble, go to WrestleMania 30 and watch the show from a luxury skybox, retire as champion the next night on Raw, and then induct himself in the WWE Hall of Fame. Well, here comes Dolph Ziggler. His New Year’s resolution is to be the guy to shut up Randy Orton. Sounds like somebody wants an RKO. DOC Kane appears out of nowhere to make a match for these two. Do they just not have anything planned for these shows? Half the card tonight has just been made in the last half hour.

Cody Rhodes (w/Goldust) vs. Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger)

Colter is carrying a picket sign with him that says “Press 1 for English, press 2 for INS”. This match is happening because Antonio Cesaro got involved in the Goldust v. Swagger contest on Main Event and got himself stomped pretty heavily by Cody Rhodes. Not that these two guys need a reason to hook up, mind you. Hammerlocks are traded a ton to start. Cesaro gets dumped on the floor thanks to Cody running while in a hammerlock. Bret Hart used to do it all the time. Goldust gets up in Cesaro’s face to creep him out. Back in, Cesaro controls and hits a suplex for two while Cole talks how “unbelievable” Cesaro’s workouts are by saying he works out with “gallon jugs”. You really need to chill with the hyperboles, Michael. That was not even that unbelievable or interesting. Time for the Cody comeback. Front suplex and the Marufuji clothesline connects. Swagger distracts, allowing Cesaro to pull a pearl harbor job and roll up Cody for the win. (4:00) Hardly got out of first gear. I expected better. *

The Prime Time Players vs. Curtis Axel & Ryback

Ryback gets controlled by the PTP boys. Mostly punch and kick offense. Axel buries a knee from the apron into O’Neil to turn the tide. More of the same as they isolate O’Neil. Hot tag to Young, but who cares. Match breaks down and Ryback receives a double clothesline out to the floor. Rollup by Axel gets countered as Young scores the upset on the former IC champ. (5:00) Kind of boring and given more time than it should have been given. ¾*

Non-title match: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler

JBL points out the pink streak in Dolph’s hair. He either really likes it or really hates it. Can’t tell. Orton tries to quell the fight that Ziggler has started. Ziggler keeps coming back with punches and lands the jumping elbow drop for two. He catches Orton with a dropkick to send him bailing to take us into commercial. When we return, Dolph narrowly beats a ten-count back into the ring. During the break, he got ran into the ringpost and landed on the steps. OUCH. Orton stomps and drops a knee on Ziggler before grabbing a chinlock. Ziggler manages to break loose with a desperation jawbreaker. Crossbody block by Dolph and a series of punches. Orton retreats to the corner and takes a Stinger Splash. More punches and Ziggler delivers a reverse neckbreaker. Another jumping elbow drop gets two. Orton avoids the Famouser and sets up for the powerslam. However, Ziggler puts on the brakes and hits a jumping DDT for 1-2-NO! Orton stops Ziggler up top and tries a superplex, but Ziggler hangs tough and headbutts him down for a missile dropkick. Cover, 1-2-NO! Now Ziggler runs Orton’s shoulder into the corner for payback. As Orton turns back around, he receives the Famouser for 1-2-NO! Over to the corner, Ziggler won’t stop punching on Orton until ref Mike Chioda has to physically pull him off Orton. That’s just enough time for Orton to sneak in a thumb to the eye and drill Ziggler with the RKO for the win. (10:00 shown) Ziggler throws everything at Orton but the Zig Zag, and Orton gets the cheap win. Sounds about right. After the bell, Orton gets sadistic and beats up Ziggler all around ringside before dropping him with a DDT from the barricade. ***¼

The Shield are backstage talking to us. Nothing will change for them in 2014 because they will continue to wreak havoc on WWE just like they did in 2013. Ambrose feels Big E Langston is biting off more than he can chew, Reigns feels he gives pain a whole meaning for Mark Henry, and Rollins believes there is nothing more important in his life right now than stomping John Cena’s face through the mat. Believe in the Shield.

Daniel Bryan vs. Damien Sandow

Just in case you were wondering, Mark Henry pinned the “Bad Santa” Damien Sandow with the World’s Strongest Slam last week on Raw. Sandow has to beat up Bryan out on the floor to take control. Back inside, he hits the Elbow of Disdain for two. Bryan fights out of a neck wrench and starts his comeback. Back flip, duck under, clothesline, dropkick in the corner, hurracanrana, YES kicks. Sandow avoids the knockout blow and rolls up Bryan for two. He eats the knockout kick anyways. Busaiku Knee Kick ends Sandow for the win. (4:00) Harmless little exhibition. The Wyatt family interrupt the celebration from the aisleway. Bray Wyatt tells Daniel Bryan that there is someone who controls the inferno of his popularity. It seems that Bray Wyatt believes he is a god. *½

Non-title match: WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston (w/Mark Henry & John Cena) vs. WWE U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose (w/Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns)

Ambrose controls to start and dominates Big E. He applies a chinlock and Big E fights out, but runs into a knee. Ambrose heads up top and gets slammed down. Clotheslines and the belly to belly suplex are followed by the big splash. Ambrose dumps out Big E causing a standoff between the two sides. Back in, Big E pops up with another clothesline and delivers the Big Ending for the win. (3:00) Surprisingly short match here. ¾*

Mark Henry (w/Big E Langston & John Cena) vs. Roman Reigns (w/Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins)

Power match, for sure. Henry falls for the test of strength trick and Reigns starts punching away on him. Henry just shoves him back over the top rope to the floor. Back in, Henry looks to make short work of Reigns, but gets his neck snapped on the top rope. Jumping clothesline on Henry gets two. Henry fights up to his feet during a chinlock and throws away Reigns. He clotheslines Reigns down and headbutts him on all fours to pay tribute to the Junkyard Dog. Avalanche by Henry, but Reigns slips out of the World’s Strongest Slam and delivers a Samoan drop. Superman punch knocks Henry silly for the Spear to give Reigns the victory. (4:00) Hey, fun little power match. Look out for Roman Reigns in 2014. *½

John Cena (w/Mark Henry & Big E Langston) vs. Seth Rollins

In 2009 at his peak of popularity in ROH, did anybody ever think they would see Tyler Black wrestling John Cena in WWE? Also, just found out that Seth Rollins and I were born on the exact same day. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE? Ahem. Anyways, hammerlocks and headlocks to start. Rollins bails after taking a hiptoss. Meanwhile, Henry is still licking his wounds after the spear from Reigns. Back in, they slow the pace down exchanging blows. Cena fails on the face slam and stands back up into a clothesline for two. Rollins grabs a chinlock and jumps on Cena’s back to try and keep him down, but it doesn’t work. Cena backs him into the corner, but then charges into a boot. Reverse neckbreaker and a nearfall by Rollins takes us into commercial. When we return, Rollins is “dictating the pace” all over Cena’s face. Cena counters a corner whip though and sends Rollins in for the Ray Stevens bump. Shoulderblocks are there, but the Protobomb misses. Rollins slips out and drives Cena’s face into the middle buckle. It could be the knockout blow, but Rollins only scores a two-count. Rollins does the “you can’t see me” hand sign. Shades of his final ROH match, but now certainly with a different meaning. Cena pops up with the Protobomb and follows up with the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He looks for the AA, but Rollins lands on his feet and nails Cena with an elbow as he charges him in the corner. Buff Blockbuster connects! Cover, 1-2-NO!

Rollins lands one forearm smash in the corner, but misses the second one. Cena delivers the half nelson into a neckbreaker for two. Loads of tension on these nearfalls. Cena gets violently knocked off the top rope. Rollins connects with the Skywalker for 1-2-NO! Nice spot as Cena blocks a charging punch and grabs Rollins for a Batista Bomb. Funny that Cole and JBL didn’t mention it. That gets two. Another shot at the AA fails. Rollins is picked up off the mat, but he’s setting Cena up for a jumping enziguri kick. He crawls into the cover for two. Flying Knee Strike by Rollins! Another nearfall! He looks for the Blackout, but Cena catches a foot and locks in the STF. Awesome. Ambrose jumps into the ring to try and interfere, but Langston cuts him off. Match continues! Out on the floor, Big E throws Ambrose over the announce table. Reigns nails him with a jumping clothesline, but here comes Henry to toss Reigns into Ambrose! I believe that’s called TCBing. Meanwhile back in the ring, Rollins comes off the top onto Cena, but he’s caught as Cena rolls through and hoists Rollins up on his shoulders to finally deliver the AA for the win. (14:30 shown) Great way to end Smackdown in 2013. Cena may have won, but he definitely made Seth Rollins look like a challenge here. ***¾

Final Thoughts: Mark my words: Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Big E Langston are guys to pay attention to in 2014. Fantastic show tonight with two really solid matches. Hope everyone has a safe and happy new year! I’ll see you in 2014.

Author: Matt Peddycord

Matt is a lifelong wrestling fan and has been writing reviews since 2004. He first partnered with Scott and Justin of the 'Place to Be Podcast' back in 2008! Matt has his own site (PDRwrestling.net), has also been featured on 411mania.com, and thehistoryofWWE.com, and is regularly used as a point of reference on the 'Where the Big Boys Play Podcast'.