December 31, 2011
Smackdown: Auld acquaintances hardly forgot
By DAVE HILLHOUSE -- SLAM! Wrestling

As much as everyone is looking forward to ringing in 2012, the WWE’s New Year will actually be on April 2nd - the day after Wrestlemania. So, with nothing set to be resolved, feuds accelerate on the last show of the year.

In what is becoming something of a tradition, Booker T opens the show by making a pit stop in the ring on his way to the announcer’s table. He reminisces about the year he’s had until Cody Rhodes interrupts and, though he first congratulates Booker on his victory in their match on Monday, he berates Booker T and labels him a joke.

That’s too much for Dustin Rhodes, who comes out to Goldust’s music but wearing a suit without a trace of make-up. Dustin stands up for his former tag partner, and Cody eventually agrees to another match with Booker T for the Intercontinental Championship next week. Cody also has a kick to the head for his brother, leaving him knocked out in the ring.

Match #1 – Ted DiBiase vs. Jinder Mahal

With Mahal looking more and more like Great Tiger from Nintendo’s “Punch-Out” series, he lambastes people who make resolutions and break them. DiBiase delivers a nice spinebuster, but Mahal isn’t messing around and submits his opponent with a camel clutch.

Winner via submission: Jinder Mahal

Teddy Long is on the phone in his office when Aksana appears with a tiara and wand, but her flirtations are interrupted by a returning Drew McIntyre. Long welcomes him back, but warns him he’d better be impressive in his match tonight.

Match #2 – Alicia Fox & Kaitlyn vs. Natalya and Tamina

Natalya is back in full pink, and not tagging with Phoenix? Kaitlyn is doing well until Natalya cheap shots her from the apron. Natalya misses a leg drop, allowing Fox to enter and defeat her with a scissors-kick.

Winners via pinfall: Kaitlyn & Alicia Fox

Thus the Pin-Up Strong movement fizzles as Natalya is super-kicked and splashed by Tamina after the match. Backstage, Daniel Bryan is chatting with AJ, but Big Show wants a word with the champ alone. As they discuss strategy, Teddy Long informs them that their tag match against David Otunga and Mark Henry has been replaced by a singles return match with Big Show and Otunga.

Match #3 – Justin Gabriel vs. Hunico (w/ Camacho)

It’s good to see a somewhat sloppy, less orchestrated match, and Hunico finishes it by bringing Gabriel off the top rope with an armdrag, followed by a senton bomb from another corner.

Winner via pinfall: Hunico

Hunico and Camacho double-team Gabriel after the match before walking away without their low-ride bicycle.

Match #4 – Big Show vs. David Otunga (w/ Mark Henry)

Otunga suffers the requisite chops before Henry distracts Big Show, allowing a chop-block attack from behind. Daniel Bryan comes to ringside, getting Henry to chase him backstage with the championship belt, which opens the door for Big Show’s WMD on Otunga.

Winner via pinfall: Big Show

Match #5 – Ezekial Jackson vs. Drew McIntyre

Jackson is sporting some hair now, and with both wrestlers staggering like they’ve been in an iron man match, McIntyre escapes the torture rack and tries a pin with his feet on the ropes. The ref calls it off, and Jackson cradles McIntyre for the win, pulling the tights for leverage.

Winner via pinfall: Ezekial Jackson

After the break, McIntyre is pleading his case to Long, but the GM is not sympathetic at all. In the ring, Sheamus is promoting the Royal Rumble as a 30-wrestler event. Hornswoggle joins him, announcing his entry as well. Next up is Heath Slater, who picks a fight with Sheamus to be the number-one redhead on Smackdown, but Sheamus practises his elimination technique by tossing Slater to the floor.

Match #6 – Heath Slater vs. Sheamus

This became an official match during the break. Slater holds an advantage after a neckbreaker and knee-lift to the gut, but Sheamus powers back with forearms and a Brogue Kick.

Winner via pinfall: Sheamus

Daniel Bryan is in Long’s office, jubilantly talking about being Big Shows good-luck charm. Big Show enters all steamed up, telling Bryan that he’s starting to get annoying. Long informs them that they’re in a match for the world title next week, which puts Big Show in the jubilant mood.

Match #7 – Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton – Falls Count Anywhere

Little time is wasted in taking the match to the floor, with Barrett escaping an RKO and driving Orton into the ringpost. After the break, though, the match is back inside the ring, with Barrett dominating a weary-looking Orton. The fight goes outside for good this time, with the ref being knocked out on their way backstage.

Barrett drives Orton through a table of snacks, and Barrett tries to hide in an elevator full of bystanders. A security camera catches the fight in the moving elevator, and the fight moves into an office area and stairwell. The camera catches Orton rumbling down the stairs and laying prone at the landing. Barrett, without a ref to count a pinfall (and presumably scared of being charged with homicide) runs away from the scene, with Orton barely moving in agony.

Match result: No contest

Dave Hillhouse has no resolutions, so back off, Mahal.


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