September 6, 2013
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)
SPECIAL NOTE: I’ve read that Smackdown’s rating has been going up since I’ve been writing these recaps. Coincidence? I can’t imagine. You’re welcome, WWE.
Immediately, we’re taken back to last week on Raw when Cody Rhodes ran off his mouth to the COOHHH telling him what’s good for business. Triple H returned the favor for his unwelcome opinion with a match against the WWE champion Randy Orton. If Cody loses, he’s fired. In case you missed it or even if you didn’t miss it, check out Scott’s EPIC Raw Recap for all the big happenings during this match. Long story short, Cody Rhodes lost and now he’s out of a job. This had to happen right before he gets married too! This guy just cannot catch a break!
Then we cut to the ring. We see COOHHH and the two General Managers. The Shield works security while a majority of the WWE roster stands on the stage. Triple H makes a point to say that he didn’t fire Cody, Cody fired Cody. Oh my, he really is the *new* Mr. McMahon. He wants to give the roster an open forum tonight in order to calm their fears that he’s become an evil tyrant who fires people for little to no reason. Damien Sandow is the first to approach the mic. He commends COOHHH for firing Cody and truly does believe that move was good for business. Triple H makes a point to say that this isn’t the time to suck up to him and to just be honest and tell him what is on their minds. Kofi Kingston tells COOHHH that he doesn’t see how scaring the locker room is good for business. That’s when Heath Slater interrupts and whines about the Big Show. HHH makes a joke at Slater’s expense saying that he’s not exactly too bright of a guy. Speaking of bright guys, Rob Van Dam approaches the mic and says HHH’s management style isn’t cool, dude. Triple H giggles over the fact RVD just called him “dude”. Hunter puts him over as a true superstar. Next, Ryback tells Triple H that he’s tired of everybody calling him a bully. Hunter makes that up to him by giving him another match with Dolph Ziggler tonight. COOHHH points out that Daniel Bryan is “conspicuous by his absence”. All he needs now is to master the Buddy Rogers strut turned up to 11 and he’s there. HHH thinks this is just typical with a guy like Daniel Bryan who now all of a sudden has such a huge ego to not stand by the rest of the roster. Helmsley says he wanted to tell Bryan to his face that he would be facing one of the Shield members of his choice tonight. In closing, COOHHH thinks this open forum has been really cathartic and rewards those who said something with matches. Kofi Kingston gets a non-title match with IC champ Curtis Axel while Rob Van Dam faces the WWE champ Randy Orton.
Your hosts are Michael Cole and JBL.
– Non-title match: WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)
Alberto Del Rio joins us for commentary. Nothing could possibly go wrong, could it? Early on, Orton counters Rolling Thunder with a powerslam to kill the spot that was once cool and rare to see. RVD misses the spinning heel kick off the apron onto the barricade, allowing Orton to work him over. Brief comeback by RVD, but then Orton hits the inverted backbreaker and the DDT through the ropes. RVD avoids the RKO and kicks Orton in the face before the rollup using his legs. Rolling Thunder hits, but not the Five Star Frog Splash. Even though he’s not really doing anything, Rodriguez gets posted by Del Rio. RVD prevents any further damage to Rodriguez by taking out Del Rio with a somersault plancha. Out comes Orton to throw RVD into the announce table and then an *evil* DDT on the floor. Orton brings Van Dam’s lifeless body back into the ring for an RKO and picks up the win in 10:48 shown. Pretty standard TV affair. Afterwards, Del Rio slaps the Cross Armbreaker onto RVD before holding his world title in the air. **½
In the back, Renee Young speaks with Daniel Bryan. He says management told him not to come out to the public forum because he wasn’t invited. If by ego problem COOHHH means that he wants to be WWE champion, then the answer is yes. Bryan decides to let the Shield decide who is going to get beat up tonight, because he knows he can beat any member of the Shield just like he knows he can beat Randy Orton for the WWE championship at Night of Champions.
Elsewhere, the Divas champ AJ Lee approaches Layla, Aksana, and Alicia Fox. She doesn’t think the talentless, one-dimensional, shameful ‘Total Divas’ stars should be getting all the title shots. She has an idea, but we don’t get to hear what it is. If it involves stripping down to your bra and panties for a tickle fight, make it happen.
– Dolph Ziggler vs. Ryback
They take us back to Raw this past week when Dean Ambrose assaulted Dolph Ziggler. Speaking of Ambrose, he appears out of nowhere and joins us for commentary. He makes Michael Cole feel as uncomfortable as possible. Apparently not knowing Ambrose was even there until Ziggler went out to the floor, Ambrose causes Ziggler to take his eyes off Ryback to bait him into a clothesline. I’m sorry, the dreaded MEAT HOOK. Back inside, Ryback delivers the Shellshock for the win in 4:32. Before returning back through the crowd, Ambrose sits on the barricade and shakes his head at Ziggler in disapproval . *½
– Non-title match: WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kofi Kingston
They show us a promo by CM Punk from last week on Raw. Heyman says Punk broke his heart, but Punk promises to break Heyman’s face. Before the match starts, Heyman appears to be pondering those words. Heck of a match here fueled by the great hometown crowd response. If this were any other town but Minneapolis, you’d almost think Curtis Axel was over. To totally sound like an old school fan, I liked the feeling out process that gets ignored most of the time nowadays unless it’s a long title match. Kofi sold big and made Curtis look pretty good here. Axel cuts off Kofi’s comeback, but gets nailed with the S.O.S. and Kofi scores the pinfall in 7:15 shown. They cut over to Heyman for his reaction. He drops the IC belt to the ground realizing that the only man that can keep him from going one-on-one with CM Punk may not have been the best choice. Easily the most I’ve been entertained so far by anything to do with Curtis Axel. Plus, Kingston showed a lot of motivation here that I enjoyed. ***
Video package for the Wyatt Family. He compares Kane’s demise to the Greek tale of Icarus and how his wings of wax melted when he got too close to the sun. Kane made his bed and now he’s burning in it. Just amazing.
Renee Young interrupts Paul Heyman while he’s on the phone. She asks him quite the hard-hitting question as to whether or not he’s concerned if the same fate that happened to Curtis Axel tonight happens at Night of Champions. Heyman blames himself for Curtis Axel’s loss tonight because he’s been so busy concerning himself with CM Punk. Heyman knows we will see CM Punk at his worst, but Heyman promises that his worst is a lot better than Punk’s. Renee continues on repeating back what Punk said about giving Heyman the beating of his life. That’s when Heyman throws his hands in the air and storms out of the building. The man continues to do wonderful things for what is essentially an old fashioned manager versus wrestler match.
– Naomi (w/Carmen) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella)
This goes on for about 90 seconds before AJ Lee and her crew come down to beat on the Bella twins and the Funkadactyls. So the Bellas are babyfaces now? ¼*
Los Matadores: COMING SOON!
– The Usos vs. Jack Swagger & Antonio Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter)
Jey gets worked over for the heat segment to set up the hot tag to Jimmy. Things get a little heated as Jimmy hits a no-hands plancha on Cesaro. Back inside, Swagger shoves Jimmy off the top into the European Uppercut from Cesaro for the pin at 3:38. Finally, a win for the Real Americans. *
In the back, COOHHH goes up to the Big Show and gives him a match with 3MB for disrespecting him earlier. Triple H tells him to treat them like human stress balls.
– Handicap match: The Big Show vs. 3MB
You can probably guess how this goes. Show throws these three goons around for a minute or so. He dishes out Chokeslams to Mahal and McIntyre, leaving Slater to get knocked out with the right hand at 2:35. ¼*
Before Big Show makes it back through the curtain, the Shield come out through the crowd for the main event. Show stops for a moment, but COOHHH appears and gets Show to follow him backstage.
– Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins (w/Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns)
Bryan gets in his bursts of offense that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in between beatings. At one point, Reigns hits Bryan with a big clothesline before Rollins throws Bryan into the steps. Back in, Rollins flies down into the Yes Lock, but Bryan has to break the hold to stop Reigns and Ambrose from interfering. Bryan takes out Reigns with a suicide dive and gives Ambrose a hiptoss. What?! Bryan stops a suicide dive attempt by Rollins with a forearm smash. With the other two Shield members down, Bryan rolls back inside and nails Rollins with the Busaiku Knee Kick for the win at 6:06. I couldn’t help but think back to the days when these two had their great series of twenty-minute matches back at the ROH on HDNet tapings in 2009, and how different this was compared to that. Not saying that this should have been a twenty-minute balls to the wall match, but it just shows how *different* things are now. **¼
The crowd joins Daniel Bryan in a YES chant until Randy Orton hits him from behind with the WWE championship to change their tune. Of course like heel champions will do, Orton stands over Daniel Bryan holding up his WWE title to close out the show.
Final Thoughts: The only thing that felt the least bit different was the Axel/Kingston match. I might be all alone in thinking it was worthy of three snowflakes, but I felt it had a good atmosphere around it, showed some fire from Kingston, and Heyman’s reaction at the end was fantastic to make the match mean something on another level. Otherwise, not a whole lot of new things happening here this week.
Matt’s Smackdown Top Five
1) Kofi Kingston (Kofi has heart. You can’t be a robotic wrestler out there.)
2) Daniel Bryan (Exciting as always as the most over guy in the company)
3) Paul Heyman (The man continues to create art every week on the mic)
4) Curtis Axel (Match of the night for me, but not exactly the star of the match)
5) Randy Orton (To be honest, I kind of added him here by default)