Matt’s Smackdown Recap 8/23/13

Wade Barrett tries once more to prove his worth by ridding the WWE
of Daniel Bryan inside a STEEL CAGE. (Photo courtesy of WWE)

WWE: Smackdown
August 23, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Rabobank Arena

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE Champion: Randy Orton (8/18/2013)
World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio (6/16/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Curtis Axel (6/16/2013)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dean Ambrose (5/19/2013)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The Shield (5/19/2013)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

Your hosts are Michael Cole and JBL.

Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero introduces the WWE Champion Randy Orton to the ring. He makes us a bunch of promises all that say he’ll be an outstanding role model. Randy thinks nobody saw it coming when he cashed in his briefcase on Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam. I beg to differ there, pal. I mean, you made it pretty obvious. He says he didn’t know Triple H was going to Pedigree Daniel Bryan, but what could he do? While he greatly appreciates all the support given to him by the McMahon family, he also asks for the support of the WWE Universe. After all, he’s not just the WWE champion, he’s the *face* of the WWE. Well, the crowd is not interested in doing that. That’s when Daniel Bryan interrupts. Before he addresses Randy Orton, he thanks John Cena for the SummerSlam match when Cena knew full well that he had a torn tricep. You may hate the John Cena character, but HOWWW can you hate the wrestler? As far as the face of the WWE goes, Bryan feels it’s time for that face to change. He understands why Triple H likes Randy though. Daniel harps on how pretty Randy Orton is. Bryan then gets personal and reminds us how Orton has been handed every opportunity in WWE because both his father and grandfather worked for WWE, and because he’s SOOO pretty! Hey Bakersfield, give it up for how pretty Randy is! Bryan says Orton is so pretty, it just makes him want to kick him in the face because of how hard Daniel Bryan has had to work to get to where he is today. To be honest, I’m getting a little tired of Bryan using his independent wrestler past and his so-called physical flaws to make you like him more. It feels bush league. You’re a main event guy now in WWE! People like you despite how tall you are or that you look like a goat. You don’t need to keep reminding them of these things. This leads to Daniel Bryan challenging Randy Orton to a WWE title rematch for tonight, but Orton says he’ll have to wait until Night of Champions. Randy tries to sneak in an RKO, but Bryan shoves him into the ropes and dropkicks him to the floor, leaving Randy’s WWE title behind in the ring as Bryan leads the audience in a YES chant.

Elsewhere, Vickie Guerrero talks to somebody on the phone about Daniel Bryan interrupting Randy Orton’s moment. She feels somebody needs to teach that troll a lesson. Cue Wade Barrett. He’s willing to make sure we don’t have to see Daniel Bryan anymore and asks Vickie for another match with him. It can’t just be a regular match though. She ponders a ‘No Holds Barred’ match, upgrades to an ‘Extreme Rules’ match, and then decides on a ‘STEEL CAGE’ match. There’s your main event, folks.

Non-title match: WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Cody Rhodes
Paul Heyman is wearing the arm sling from what happened to him at SummerSlam. They show CM Punk assaulting Curtis Axel last week on Raw. You can get a more in-depth report over at Scott’s Raw Recap. I thought they would have made this match a little more even, but Axel controls most of the match here. This felt like they were trying to show that Heyman is more serious about his client Curtis Axel now that the Punk-Lesnar match is behind him. As Rhodes makes his comeback, Heyman distracts and that allows Axel to hit the Hangman’s Facebuster finish in 4:30 shown. *½

Afterwards, Paul Heyman gets on the mic and tells the audience that they will choke on their cheers of CM Punk because the man he once guided is now a sad, pathetic loser. Since losing to Brock Lesnar, Punk has taken the loss very hard. He’s off the rails, on a downward spiral, and behaving like a mad man. The reason is because without Paul Heyman, CM Punk is lost. On the other hand, his client Curtis Axel has found confidence with Paul Heyman on his side and has mounted up a series of victories, which is why no one can defeat him for the IC championship. Curtis takes over and says he’ll finish the job Brock Lesnar started at SummerSlam by challenging Punk to a match LIVE next week on Monday Night Raw. I’m guessing it’s not a title match. Axel tells Punk that he’s got a better future than him, he’s more athletic than him, and he’s got Paul Heyman in his corner.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E Langston (w/AJ Lee)
They take us back to last week on Raw when Ziggler failed to defeat the Shield in a handicap match. Langston ambushes Ziggler before the match starts. He’s an uncontrollable monster! He dominates Ziggler throughout, but Ziggler slips out of the Big Ending and delivers the Zig Zag for the win in 2:00. Same finish as what we saw at SummerSlam. AJ Lee is obviously disappointed. ¾*

Non-title match: World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Why is this match happening again? The whole feud seemed pretty conclusive at SummerSlam. This was like their SummerSlam match, only a few minutes shorter. We see that Del Rio worked the arm more so during the break than what aired. Del Rio delivers a super cool flying armbar into the Cross Armbreaker for the win with 9:00 shown. These have been good matches, but I’ve had enough of these two. ***

After the bell, Alberto Del Rio tells the people that they cannot be him because they are just peasants. Don’t get mad though! You don’t have to stay a peasant. You can be something better. Just follow the great Alberto Del Rio. Out comes Ricardo Rodriguez. He thinks nobody wants to follow Del Rio to greatness. Rodriguez knows someone though who does exemplify greatness. That man is ROB VAN DAM. RVD proves to be just a smoke screen as Christian drills ADR with a missile dropkick. I thought he was long gone! RVD delivers Rolling Thunder to Del Rio. Looks like Del Rio clearly has a new opponent now. Once that happens, Del Rio escapes up the aisle and leaves the World title behind with the enemy just like Orton did earlier.

They show us a quick recap of the opening segment.

Handicap match: Mark Henry & Big Show vs. 3MB
Henry and Show are like the Andre the Giant of tag teams. They don’t need the tag belts because who could realistically beat them. Henry gets triple-teamed for a few moments, but fights back on Slater and hot tags Show. He destroys McIntyre and gives him the Chokeslam. It should be over, but Slater makes the save. Show goozles Slater and hands him over to Henry for the World’s Strongest Slam. Mahal proves no threat either. Now McIntyre is back up and staggers into the WMD for the win in 3:00. Moderately entertaining squash. ¾*

The Shield appear on the TitanTron to tell Big Show and Mark Henry that the clock is ticking on their careers. They refuse to give Show and Henry a WWE tag titles shot because we are now in a new era and these two giants have got to go. Believe in the Shield!

Darren Young (w/Titus O’Neil) vs. Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger)
Just to reiterate what Scott said on the Raw recap, Darren Young comes out and all of a sudden the PTP are getting a babyface push. Feuding with the Real Americans isn’t exactly a huge push, but it certainly beats jobbing to the Miz or whoever just when they need you. Gut Check by Young gets him the win in 2:30.

Time for an everyday person to get bullied by Ryback. He asks Ryback for an autograph for his son Billy. Ryback thinks that’s a stupid name. He signs the picture that has a bunch of WWE superstars on it and the guy asks Ryback which one is him. Ryback looks perturbed. The guy says he hasn’t watched in a long time, but his son never misses a show and he’s going to be really excited for the autograph. As Ryback rips up the picture, he calls the guy a scrawny pencil-neck fool.

Steel Cage Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Wade Barrett
Barrett is the first to use the cage here as he rams Bryan face first into the mesh. Winds of Change takes us into commercial. When we return, Bryan puts Barrett in between the ropes and the cage for a series of dropkicks. After the kicks to the chest, Barrett ducks the Buzzsaw Kick and throws Bryan into the cage. Barrett makes the most dramatic escape attempt of the match as he avoids a Super German Suplex and elbows Bryan back down. He makes it to the outer rim, but Bryan reaches him just in time. After a bunch of kicks and smashing his face off the cage, Bryan delivers a wicked sunset flip powerbomb to Barrett. That’s the beginning of the end as Barrett staggers up into the Busaiku Knee Kick to give Bryan the win with 9:30 shown. After the bell, Bryan leads a YES chant all around the ring. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t bad either. When things look their brightest, Randy Orton comes out from underneath the ring and drops Bryan with an RKO. After we get a replay, Orton stands over Bryan with the WWE title held high. **¾

Final Thoughts: We got another good Del Rio-Christian match, but we’ve seen that quite a bit lately. This was kind of a bleh show this week. It felt like everything was just setting us up for Raw instead of anything happening that felt important for tonight’s show. The cage match was okay, but they didn’t exactly tear the house down with only one or two big spots. I thought they could have cut some of these short squashes to make this match more definitive. Unless you want to see ADR and Christian again, feel free to skip tonight’s Smackdown on your DVR.

Matt’s Smackdown Top Five:
1) Alberto Del Rio
2) Christian
3) Daniel Bryan
4) Paul Heyman
5) Randy Orton