Just when you thought Randy Orton couldnt get any better. Just when you thought Mark Henry couldnt get any better. Hell, just when you thought Smackdown couldnt get any better. May I present?
First off, ARGH RANDY ORTON VS CODY RHODES!
I’m seriously sat here in awe, trying to explain this. Let me lay it out for you. When this match was over half an hour had passed on this show. This match spanned three segments and was 25 minutes long. And it was a Street Fight that featured a grand total of ZERO weapons. Not even kidding. These guys literally went out there and worked a Street Fight for half an hour with no hardcore spots whatsoever. Zero.
And it was awesome.
Seriously awesome. These guys had an epic, brutal war of a match, and they did it with their own two hands. They just beat the crap out of each other. They brawled through the crowd, they brawled up the ramp, they brawled ringside, they brawled in the ring. The suplex on the stage looked nasty as hell. Best spot of all was when Cody was thrown into the timekeeper’s alcove, and then POPPED UP with a HUGE mask shot. Ah, OK, well I said zero weapons, there were three mask shots. One weapon. But that was it! And Cody uses the mask in normal matches anyway. Shut up.
Anyway, Orton was also bleeding on the top of his head by this point, which thankfully wasnt checked. I think if they’d tried Orton would have begun murdering everyone in sight. The figure four with the mask shot was cool as hell. Cody looked really good on offense. When it got to the point where they were 20 minutes in, on the outside, and still RAINING PUNCHES down on each other like men possessed I completely lost it. This was incredible. The stretch at the end was great too, Orton drills him with a huge MASK SHOT receipt (they broke the mask as it turns out) and goes into his comeback but BAM BEAUTIFUL DISASTER BITCHES! Orton SOLD this f*cking kick too, my God, even my father was buying it, and that was a wonderful nearfall. It took an Orton DDT off the barricade and an RKO to finish this guy off.
This match was amazing, so amazing it completely justified all the superlatives they were using afterwards, especially the ones about Cody putting up a fight and growing up in this match. He looked like a million bucks after this, and this match honestly sold me on him working a main event match with a guy like Orton for real. And Orton, well, there’s not much more to say about him at this point. He is mind-blowingly, flabbergastingly good right now.
I continue to love wrestling.
I liked the little idea of Striker announcing his interview in advance. Cynical Jim says it might be to stop people tuning out during Ted vs Tyson, but whatever, it was cool.
And thats no offense meant to Ted and Tyson, by any means. I enjoy both as workers of matches and they work well together. And hell, this was a super fun little 3 minute match. This finishing stretch was literally one of the best I’ve ever seen for a nothing match: it was this awesome three-part struggle for Ted to hit Dreamstreet fighting off a roll-through, then being backed into the corner, then a Sharpshooter attempt before he finally nailed it. Needs to be seen.
But wait, there’s more! How about a little MARK HENRY? In fact, how about a little Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan? Yeah. This was a fun conversation, Henry bullying the smallest guy around, just because, and Bryan being the stoic underdog babyface. The “…you can wait for the Second Coming, because YOU CANT BEAT ME!” bit was great. This was a great way to reintroduce Bryan’s MITB back into the title picture, and this match excites the hell out of me.
The way Alicia Fox is suddenly a top babyface weirds me out a little bit, but whatever because she brought it in this match. Nattie came out all pissed off and started throwing down, but Alicia really looked good and hit a couple of good kicks. Her finish – an enziguri and then a standing somersault leg drop (kind of like Eve’s somersault) was kind of nifty. I also want to point out that early on they screwed up the ‘drop toe hold into bottom turnbuckle’ spot but recovered so seamlessly you would never have noticed if I didnt point it out. Good work.
Show coming out and deconstructing the monster heel character was strange as hell. But he completely redeemed himself with “Momma Said Knock You Out” (an awesome song). I marked. The following bit with Christian was a fun little comedy spot, with the chin scratching fake out before the Chokeslam babyface swerve. Good times.
Plus I like the angle here, of Christian being legitimately attacked to give him an excuse to beg off the match. It was something different.
Besides, we get Sheamus vs Barrett! I really like these guys working together, they always just throw down and have good ol’ fashioned big man battles. I could watch these two hit their offense on each other all day. I really like how Barrett makes his mule kick look and sound so vicious, it becomes more than just a transition move, like a normal boot to the gut. And this ended well, you knew the entire time that Christian was waiting around to cost Sheamus the match, and cost him he did. Fun stuff.
And wahey backstage brawl! That was a nice touch, they dont do enough stuff backstage anymore. I like the slowly developing SD heel Survivor Series team nucleus in Christian, Barrett and Cody.
Epico randomly popping up on SD like this was a strange debut. He really, really looks like Primo. He also looked good in this match, another fun flippy Sin Cara match. With another evil Hunico finish, and a beatdown leading into an assisted powerbomb that looked nasty. The lucha way these guys move around made this come off as a little different to the average beatdown, and I can dig Hunico and Epico as Mexican America.
Bryan vs Henry! This was AWESOME fun. Bryan coming out and throwing all the kicks he could at Henry, Henry not budging and just tossing this guy like nothing. This is such a great big/little match up. I liked Bryan going for the guillotine early, and I enjoyed Show on the outside trying to make sure Bryan didnt get killed and eaten. This was already good and then BRYAN MADE A COMEBACK. He kicked the CRAP out of Henry, threw everything, finished off with an execution kick and people were going INSANE as he covered him. Henry, of course, threw him off and all the way out of the ring. A HELL of a nearfall. Then they did the ‘Henry wont let up’ to get Show in for the DQ, but whatever, this match ruled.
Show mentioning the briefcase before made sense now since he knocked Henry out, then revived Bryan and told him to cash in now while Henry was asleep. Bryan zombies back into the ring half-dead. People go nuts. Sadly for them though, Henry has woken up by this point and KILLS Bryan with the WSS, and also kills Show with it for good measure. Teddy comes out and makes The Rematch, and I flip out anticipating Show and Henry beating the sh*t out of each other in MSG. Epic, epic win all round.
I have to say, again, that Bryan/Henry rocked, and while I have zero faith in it ever actually happening, but if this could be the first step towards an eventual Henry/Bryan WM match, my God, that sh*t would just be incredible. The way people reacted when Bryan was about to beat him was amazing, and completely sold me on the viability of this match. I’m putting my prayers in already.