Matt’s Smackdown Recap 11/8/13

John Cena faces a monster of a challenge in Ryback. [Photo Courtesy of WWE]
John Cena faces a monster of a challenge in Ryback. [Photo Courtesy of WWE]
WWE: Smackdown
November 8, 2013
Charlotte, NC
TWC Arena

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE Champion: Randy Orton (10/27/2013)
World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena (10/27/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Curtis Axel (6/16/2013)
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)

Your hosts are Michael Cole and JBL.

So glad the pink ropes are gone. CM Punk kicks off the show and throws out an open challenge to the Wyatt family. That’s when Curtis Axel interrupts and wants to take care of their unfinished business. Ugh, I don’t like his voice. This guy seriously needs to hire an acting coach. At the very least, minimize his speaking down to nothing until they bring Heyman back.

Non-title match: WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel vs. CM Punk

Back and forth beat-em-up to start. Punk kicks Axel’s legs out from under him to take his daddy’s bump all over the ring as he flips backwards while holding onto the top rope. Commercials! When we come back, Axel slips out of a Go To Sleep. Out to the floor, Axel shows some cunning here as he suckers Punk for a ride into the barricade. Back inside, Axel punishes Punk’s back and generally keeps him grounded. Punk whiffs on a crossbody out of the corner and eats a running clothesline for a nearfall. Punk fights out of a chinlock with a back suplex to trigger his comeback. As he heads up for the Macho Elbow, we get a Wyatt family interruption on the TitanTron, and the lights go out. Punk hops down to ready himself for an attack, but the lights come back on and Axel runs him over from behind with another running clothesline. I know he’s not Canadian, but I’ll probably just call it the Northern Lariat from now on. Perfectplex to Punk! He kicks out! Go To Sleep! Axel doesn’t kick out! Punk wins! (8:20 shown) Kudos to Punk making Axel look pretty good in there. We get another interruption by the Wyatt family on the TitanTron. It’s just Bray staring at Punk until he blows out the lamp. **½

The Usos & R-Truth vs. 3MB

These might be my three least favorite entrances and here they are done consecutively. 3MB are obnoxious, the Usos entrance is embarrassing (although I like what they do bell to bell!), and I could not care less for R-Truth. Never have and probably never will. Jimmy gets sideswiped by a running knee by Mahal and becomes *your* face in peril for a brief period. He nearly kicks Slater’s head off in a nice moment. Bubba Bomb to Mahal leads to a hot tag to R-Truth. The match breaks down as the Usos plancha onto Slater and McIntyre while Truth puts away Mahal with the Little Jimmy or What’s Up or whatever he calls his finisher now for the win. (4:00) The Usos are always good for a short fun match. *

AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka vs. The Funkadactyls

On the split-screen, AJ hypes and hates on the return of the ‘Total Divas’ show in the same breath. Hilarious. Naomi and Cameron get the better of Tamina to start as they dump her on the floor. Tamina makes Naomi pay by pulling her out to the floor and drilling her with a clothesline. She’s like Chyna, but way more qualified to do what she’s doing. Back in, AJ tags in and grabs a guillotine choke. Naomi escapes and hits AJ with an enziguri to hot tag Cameron. She delivers a wheelbarrow bulldog to Tamina like she’s Rey Mysterio or something. Cameron tries a hurracanrana too, but Tamina taps the brakes on that and powerbombs her down. Naomi makes the save and throws an elbow in AJ’s face, but turns around into a big boot by Tamina. Good night. Tamina headbutts Cameron and then tags AJ so she can apply the Black Widow for the win. (4:30) Book Tamina vs. Naomi. I would watch that. Also, book me and AJ in an ironman match. I don’t care if you watch that or not. *½

Alberto Del Rio comes out to the ring. First he insults the people and then calls John Cena a thief for keeping the World Heavyweight title that doesn’t belong to him. The reason he lost is because he was really sick at the time and had all these different injuries. When he gets a rematch, then he can once again say that “the champ is here”. Typical heel excuses that we’ve heard a million times. Here comes John Cena to ‘yuk it up’ for the kids and the dumbest adults. Both agree to a world title rematch here tonight, but Vickie Guerrero interrupts with other plans. She announces the World title rematch for Survivor Series. When both Cena and Del Rio run their mouths off at the GM, she gives each of them matches for tonight. Cena will face Ryback, but Del Rio faces a different monster right now: the Great Khali.

Alberto Del Rio vs. The Great Khali

Khali wrestles the same match he always does with the chops and elbows and such as Cole tries to stress how pissed Khali is after his match with Ryback this past week on Raw. Del Rio concentrates on the arm and capitalizes on opportunities to set up for the Cross Armbreaker, which he does and eventually gets the tapout. (5:00) Moving on. ¾*

Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper (w/Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan)

This is all Harper to start as he throws Bryan around and then does that Gator Roll move on the mat. Despite having his shoulder taped, Bryan still manages to fight back with the suicide dive. Harper throws Bryan violently into the barricade to take us into commercial. When we return, Harper is still in control tossing Bryan around onto his shoulder. He grabs a chinlock, which is normally a big mistake. Bryan escapes and abuses Harper with kicks. Leg whips by Bryan sets up an Indian deathlock in order to isolate Harper and punish him with elbows. Then we see the signature comeback by Bryan starting with the back flip out of the corner. The fatal blow of his series of kicks is interrupted with a powerbomb. That gets two. Harper can’t capitalize though as he’s pulled down into the YES Lock. Before Harper can tap out, in comes Rowan to ambush Bryan for the DQ. (6:30 shown) As you can imagine, here comes CM Punk to prevent any further damage as the Wyatt family retreat to the back laughing like crazy people do. Follow the buzzards, ya’ll. *½

Time for the Raw Rebound. This week deals with anything and everything involving the Big Show. For more details in case you missed it, check out Scott’s Raw Recap. He’s always got you covered.

In a “no longer” exclusive interview, Michael Cole sits down with the COOHHH. Essentially, what’s the deal with Kane? Without getting too bogged down in the wrestling melodrama, HHH trusts Kane and he is *his* to unleash.

Non-title match: World Heavyweight Champion John Cena vs. Ryback

Cole mentions that John Cena delivered a WWE title to David Ortiz due to the Red Sox winning the World Series. Still plenty of time left in the show. Cena spends much of the early going fighting off a headlock. Ryback channels the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior with the guerilla press slam. He misses a corner charge and runs his shoulder into the post as we go to commercial. When we return, Ryback fends off an STF and starts whipping Cena from corner to corner. He applies a bearhug, but Cena breaks free and busts out the shoulderblocks. Protobomb connects, but Ryback stops the Five Knuckle Shuffle with a spinebuster. I love it when guys don’t fall prey to the routine. Cena counters the Shell Shock with a DDT and both men are down. The AA gets countered to a Jackhammer to further the Goldberg comparison. Meat Hook clothesline is reversed to an STF, but Ryback reaches the ropes. Spear gets two on Cena. Ryback calls for the powerbomb, but Cena slides off his shoulders and delivers a full nelson slam into a neckbreaker. WHAT. It only gets two. Ryback levels Cena with a running powerslam ala British Bulldog for two. Is Ryback turning into Eugene? Are we going to see a Stone Cold Stunner out of Ryback tonight? Ryback lands the Meat Hook after all and calls for the Shell Shock, but Cena slips away and catches Ryback with the AA for the win. (12:00 shown) Really good TV match starting slow and building up to a fun ending. I understand the hate for the Cena character, but you just can’t hate the wrestler. Alberto Del Rio jumps Cena at the bell and posts the arm, but Cena manages to fight him off using his good arm and sends him retreating. ***¼

Final Thoughts: They really are doing this show a service by making it a WRESTLING show with minimal angles and longer matches. It’s fine showing what happened on Raw, but leave the Helmsley-McMahon saga there.

Matt’s Smackdown Top Five:
1) John Cena (Top overall performer of the night)
2) CM Punk (Good on the mic and made Curtis Axel look decent.)
3) Ryback (Match of the night. Mixed it up just fine with Cena.)
4) Daniel Bryan (I liked the selling of the shoulder, but would have liked to have seen more.)
5) Alberto Del Rio (Decent mic work, but a step down this week for the hardest working man on the show. Cena might be taking over that spot.)