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   October 25, 2014



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Smackdown in Philadelphia







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Smackdown: A fiesta before a rumble
By GREG OLIVER - Producer, SLAM! Wrestling


If you are going to have a fiesta to celebrate a new World heavyweight champion, it makes sense that it would be in a city with a significant Latino population, like San Antonio, Texas. The colourful start of Smackdown, with a mariachi band and dancing carried through a Smackdown show that gave some hints towards storylines for the fast-approaching Royal Rumble.

"Let's party San Antonio," Alberto Del Rio says to get things started, and he apologizes for not always seeing eye to eye with the fans, who are bathed in red, white and green lighting. One insult to The Big Show later and its ...

Dolph Ziggler and A.J., and Big E. Langston?

Nope, he's there to talk, not cash in his briefcase. And when it finally looks like Ziggler and Del Rio are about to dance, out comes The Big Show. Naturally, fella, Sheamus comes out to even the odds. (It's not just me, right, it is SO weird to hear Sheamus singing any praises of Del Rio? And it always seems like Sheamus is trying too hard.)

Booker T decides that all four men would be a fine bout to compliment the party, and then he joins the party and adds a spinarooni.

As for Sheamus' dancing, JBL cracks, "He'll never get back to Ireland. Ever."

Match #1 - Antonio Cesaro (champion) vs. Kofi Kingston - U.S. Heavyweight Championship

They recap Cesaro's conflict with The Miz and Ric Flair from Monday's 20th anniversary Raw, and get to the match. Kofi keeps it pretty even, but eventually Cesaro's strength takes over. (We also see The Miz watching from backstage.) They go through a series of roll-ups that almost results in a pinfall for Cesaro with the tights in his grasp. Cesaro catches Kofi in mid-air and turns him into a Neutralizer for the win.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro by pinfall

Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes confront The Miz and mock him. The Miz points out they haven't had any microphone time in three years. The name-calling results in a Miz vs. one of the Colons later, with Rosa apparently decided who will wrestle.

Match #2 - Tensai vs. The Great Khali (w/Natalya)

No entrance for Tensai. Josh Mathews and JBL drop a ton of dated references about big guys facing big guys, like Optimus Prime against Megatron. JBL brings up Tensai's Japanese stardom, but that it hasn't translated. Amen. One big chop and Tensai is toast. Remarkably quick, squash-like bout. Poor A-Train. "Does the Anvil now know that his daughter is now a Punjabi princess?" asks JBL. Even the announcers don't understand why Khali is dancing with Natalya.

Winner: The Great Khali

Team Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) talk backstage about facial hair, and apparently Kane isn't a fan of it, and Bryan thinks that Cody Rhodes looks ridiculous with his mustache. Randy Orton stops the second graders from bickering and suggests that they dish out some pain.

Match #3 - Randy Orton and Hell No (Kane & Daniel Bryan) vs. Wade Barrett and Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow)

Once we get through all the entrances for the heroes, the bout gets under way, with Kane working over Rhodes. Bryan concentrates on Rhodes' arm, and then when Sandow comes in, does the same thing. The Rhodes Scholars take a powder and we take a commerical break. The baddies keep Kane down for a while, but eventually Kane gets to Orton. He hits belly-to-belly slams to the Rhodes Scholars. Outside the ring, Bryan hits the knee to Barrett. Chaos in the ring. Orton RKOs Sandow and takes the bout. A group hug follows.

Winners: Randy Orton and Hell No

The entire Rock Concert from Monday is replayed, including the confrontation between Rock and CM Punk.

Match #4 - Primo vs. The Miz

Primo and Miz both get their little Ric Flair tributes / mockings in, and it is a decent little bout. Primo shows some aggression, like he is trying to prove he deserves the TV time. Epico tries the distraction, but it backfires, and The Miz gets Primo to tap out to the figure-four leglock. Apparently The Miz learned that in the bar after Raw on Monday from The Nature Boy.

Winner: The Miz by submission

Divas Layla and Alicia Fox admire Kaitlyn's new Divas title, and both Booker T and Teddy Long wish her well.

Match #5 - Aksana vs. Kaitlyn (champion) - WWE Divas Championship

After the introductions, but before the match starts, we get a recap of Kaitlyn's win and Eve Torres quitting the WWE after losing the title. My initial thought was the recap would be longer than the match, but not so. It's a little slow-paced, and even going outside the ring does little to liven things up. Aksana goes for the pin at the weirdest times, like just having pushed the champ down. Aksana gets pissed at the ref for forcing her out of the corner, where she had Kaitlyn beaten down. While she is arguing, she steps away for a moment and is speared by Kaitlyn and loses the match.

Winner: Kaitlyn

A great video on Mick Foley, 2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee, is aired. Worth seeing.

Back from the commercial break, we get some more recapping of The Shield's actions at Raw on Monday. From an "undisclosed location" The Shield addresses the WWE Universe and brag about stopping Foley's HOF announcement at Raw. Is it just me, or is Roman Reigns at his best when he is yelling? Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, on the other hand, are great and I want to hear more.

Sheamus and Randy Orton talk about what they just heard, and agree to disagree, and will meet in the Royal Rumble itself.

Match #6 - Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler and The Big Show

Ziggler and Del Rio start things off, and keep it pretty active (especially compared to the women's match we just sat through). Sheamus comes in and Ziggler continues his ping-ponging around the ring. Finally Big Shows gets in and punches away on Sheamus like a rag dog. When tossed out of the ring, Sheamus has to fight off Big E. Langston, and the ref tosses Langston from ringside. That sends A.J. into a rage and she too is sent to the proverbial showers as we go to a commercial. Back in the ring, Ziggler is in trouble until Big Show pushes Sheamus off the ropes to the floor behind the referee's back. Show and Sheamus slow things down until Show misses a drop from the corner. Del Rio is a house on fire and nearly gets three on Ziggler. The champ gets the cross armbreaker on Dolph, but Big Show breaks it up. That brings in Sheamus, who manages White Noise on Big Show -- wow, I know he's done it before, but it is always impressive. Big Show makes it outside the ring, and Del Rio kicks him and dumps water on him. Big Show opts to walk away. An anti-climatic ending, to say the least, but I suppose it builds towards the match between Big Show and Del Rio at the Rumble.

Winners: Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio by countout

The fiesta continues as we go off the air.

Greg Oliver doesn't usually recap TV shows, but is filling in tonight because Dave Hillhouse camping. In January.