And the show began with Randy Orton in the center of the ring. Never mind!
I kid, I kid. Randy Orton blah blahed about something that only he cares about. Thankfully, Christian came out to tell Orton he has no one to blame but himself, those "voices" cost Randy Orton the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton called Christian a "coward" for hiding behind a team of lawyers... the same Randy Orton who threatened to file an injunction against WWE and shut down WrestleMania to avoid punishment for punting Vince McMahon in the skull.
Orton wanted his rematch, but he was already scheduled to take on Kane in
Christian vs. Big Zeke was our opening contest and these two had great chemistry in the dying days of ECW, and I was glad to see they didn't lose it here. It certainly wasn't anywhere near as good as their match at the 2010 Royal Rumble, but a really fun TV match. Oddly, Christian pretty much dominated the latter half of the match and took advantage of Zeke going shoulder first into the turnbuckle to hit the Killswitch and pick up a decisive victory over the Intercontinental Champion. The Champ is back!
Michael Cole was in the ring next for an interview with the 2011 Money in the Bank winner, Daniel Bryan! I love a good in-ring interview, they don't do those nearly enough anymore. Bryan told Cole that he's buried him from day one and doesn't care one bit about his opinion, but that certainly doesn't stop Cole from giving it anyway. Cole accused Bryan of being two-faced, and his Mr. Nice Guy act will disappear when opportunity strikes and he can steal the World Championship, just like everyone else that has cashed in Money in the Bank. Bryan gave us a brief history lesson, then told Cole he doesn't operate like that. Bryan's going achieve his dream and cash in MITB in the main event of WrestleMania 28! Love it and I'm so glad they're going this route with Bryan, it should make for an interesting build as well. They've got eight months to really sell Bryan as a legit top guy and it should be a fun ride on Friday nights. I think I picked just the right time to jump back into Smackdown.
Unfortunately, Heath Slater decided to crash the party. And I'm still recovering from the fact that he had a microphone. Slater delivered an abysmal promo, courtesy of the "WUH MAH RAWK BAHN!" Ugh.
Daniel Bryan vs. Heath Slater was a good match though. For all the shit Slater deserves (and believe me, it's plenty), he is capable of entertaining matches with the right opponent. Luckily for Slater, Bryan's the right opponent for just about everybody. He's just so crisp in the ring, it's why I've taken to calling him the modern day Excellence of Execution. That flying knee off the apron? Beautiful. Bryan forced Slater to tap out to a guillotine choke and sent him packing to Sweet Home Alabama.
Wade Barrett vs. Sheamus was next in a battle of who has the most awesome theme music in WWE today. Interesting match-up, even though it was two bad guys, it was fun to watch to European badasses just kick the shit out of each other. That's exactly what they did, an even back and forth match with these guys both getting counted out. Sheamus stood tall at the end with a Brogue Kick, but I doubt it ends here. Looks like these two have some deeper issues, but this particular blogger hopes it ends with them realizing they could do more damage together than against each other. Sheamus & Barrett could be the most fun tag team since JeriShow.
Main Event time! Randy Orton vs. Kane in a street fight and my heart fell into my feet when I saw on my DVR that it was starting at 90 minutes in. Surely Kane and Randy Orton weren't going to have a 30 minute match were they? WWE's been so awesome lately, they wouldn't be this cruel, would they?! Eh, cruel enough to go 22 minutes! Honestly, the match wasn't bad, it fit their respective styles well. Orton bores me to tears in standard matches, but I always feel like when you give him props to work with, he can make something happen. And even though I'm totally over the character, Kane is a true veteran and anytime you put him in a situation where a good match is possible, he more than delivers. Good match, and Randy Orton slipping on the announce table and falling flat on his face is almost as good as Christian spitting in his mouth. I need a .gif of that!
Supposedly Kane's hurt as well and is going to be out for a few months? I suppose that's why Mark Henry came to the ring after the match and destroyed the Big Red Machine? Obviously a tough break for Kane and maybe the time off could freshen up the character... but I feel like I say that every time Kane disappears for a little while. Hope he recovers quick though, you never want to see anyone go down with injury.
Good show. Nothing game-changing, but a rock solid wrestling show that was a good way to ease back into Smackdown. Christian's the World Champion, Daniel Bryan is Mr. Money in the Bank, Mark Henry's being awesome, and Randy Orton fell on his face, I'd call that a winning show.