The Smackdown video plays and we’re brought into the arena to see the Smackdown roster at ringside. In the ring is WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis. In Triple H’s absence, he has assembled the Smackdown roster to discuss the accusations that Triple H, as COO, has lost control of WWE. That chaos engulfed Raw and culminated in the dismissal of two premiere superstars – R-Truth and The Miz. Laurinaitis says he has changed his mind and believes that Triple H has control of the situation. Some superstars and fans may not agree, but on Monday night, when he looked into Triple H’s eyes, he saw resolve and determination. When Triple H gets here tonight, he hopes we see that in him, too.
Now, without further adieu, he’d like to announce the new World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry. Henry makes his way to the ring to a chorus of boos with his World Heavyweight Championship on his shoulder. The WWE superstars at ringside clear a path for him. Henry gets in the ring and shakes hands with Laurinaitis. Henry says it’s taken him fifteen years to earn this title, and it’ll take fifteen more before somebody takes it away from him. There is no man here that’s going to take what he has. Henry specifically calls out Ezekiel Jackson, saying he didn’t believe in Henry. Henry says Teddy Long didn’t believe. Now they believe.
Triple H’s music hits, and WWE’s COO makes his way to the ring. Triple H gets in the ring and offers his hand to Henry, but Henry won’t shake it. Triple H continues to hold it out. Henry just hands him the microphone.
Before Triple H can get a word out, Christian says, “Hold on,” and enters the ring. Christian says that on behalf of himself, for the roster and the entire world, he wants to say that Triple H is doing a great job as the COO of WWE. Christian says that Triple H’s treatment of the superstars on Smackdown has been exemplary, and he appreciates it. Triple H’s credo has been to “lead by example,” and as a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion, that’s Christian’s credo as well. Christian points to the roster at ringside and says they all look to him as a leader. Christian says he’s kind of a big deal. Even though “you know who” is the champion, Christian asks if Triple H can see Henry’s face on a billboard. Henry takes exception, but Triple H calms him down. Christian says that he’s the face of Smackdown, and for him to be the leader that he knows he can be, he kind of needs to be the World Heavyweight Champion. Christian says he deserves one more match to become the champion. Christian says after Hell in a Cell, when “you know who” chokes in his match, he’ll be the guy that will pick up the rings and lead Smackdown. He’ll embarrass and beat Randy Orton to become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion.
Triple H thanks the superstars for coming out, and assures them all that he is in complete control of Raw, Smackdown, and all of WWE. Triple H appreciates Christian stepping up as a leader. Triple H does lead by example, and he’ll give Christian that opportunity to do so in front of all these WWE superstars. Triple H means that literally as they’ll surround the ring in a lumberjack match. In that match, their leader will go one-on-one for the World Heavyweight Championship against “you know who,” Mark Henry. The winner of that match will face Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell. Christian does not look happy and turns around to go face-to-face with Mark Henry. Christian quickly gets out of the ring and stares at all the WWE superstars looking at him.
Sheamus is backstage putting his gear on. He’ll be in action next.
JOBBER ALERT: Heath Slater is in the ring with no TV entrance.
Heath Slater vs. Sheamus
Michael Cole calls this “Ronald McDonald vs. The Wendy’s girl”. They lock up and Sheamus powers him to the corner. Sheamus gives a clean break and Slater circles him. Slater gets a side headlock applied, but Sheamus whips him off and shoulder blocks him down. Slater talks a little trash and shoves Sheamus. Sheamus responds by clotheslining him down. Sheamus clubs him and stretches him out through the ropes. Sheamus viciously hammers away at the chest, gets on the apron, and hits a running knee to the face. Sheamus bounces him in the corner and beats him down. Slater elbows and kicks him before dropping him with a neckbreaker for a one count. Slater clubs away at him and applies a chin lock. Slater fights up and punches out. Sheamus goes for a powerslam, but Slater gets out. Slater hits another neckbreaker for a one count. Slater covers again for the same result.
Sheamus looks really fired up as he gets to his feet. Sheamus clotheslines him down twice and whips him to the corner. Sheamus runs into a boot, but is able to catch Slater charging with a powerslam. Sheamus splashes Slater against the ropes and hits a running knee to the face. Sheamus goes to the top rope and hits a diving shoulder block. Sheamus gets the crowd pumped up and kills Slater with a Brogue Kick for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: N/A
The Great Khali is backstage and Christian walks up to him. Christian says he has a World Heavyweight Title match tonight and says that one day Khali will have one as well. Christian asks if Khali would want to face someone like Henry for the title, a guy who has taken out giants like Khali, or would he want to face someone smaller, but smarter and craftier, of course. Christian asks if Khali understands anything he’s saying. Khali says he understands that Christian is small. Christian laughs and says he’s small like everyone is compared to Khali. Khali says only Christian is small. Christian walks away saying they have a deal, but Khali never actually said that.
Wade Barrett vs. Justin Gabriel
They show a replay of the end of last week’s tag team match that saw Sheamus and Justin Gabriel defeat Wade Barrett and Christian. Barrett is apparently upset that Gabriel pinned him with the 450 Splash last week.
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee ever, is the official. Gabriel gets a side headlock and Barrett takes him down by the hair. Barrett punches him in the corner. Gabriel chops back, but Barrett punches him down. Barrett puts him between the ropes and knees him in the midsection. Barrett the big boots him, and Gabriel falls to the outside. Barrett quickly puts him back in the ring for a two count. Barrett sends him to the corner, and Gabriel catches him with a head-scissor takeover that takes Barrett out of the ring. Gabriel follows up with a summersault plancha! Gabriel rolls him into the ring and hits a springboard moonsault for a near fall. Gabriel kicks away at Barrett and goes for an STO, but Barrett elbows out. Gabriel eventually gets him with it and goes to the apron. Barrett surprises him with a big boot and hits The Wasteland for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Wade Barrett
Match Rating: 1/2 *
Later tonight we’ll see Randy Orton take on Cody Rhodes in a non-title match.
Matt Striker is backstage with Randy Orton. Striker says this is Orton’s first match since losing the title. Striker asks if he has a comment on facing Cody Rhodes. Orton simply says, “No”. Orton says his only thought has been going to hell. Like the song says, “Hell ain’t no bad place to be,” especially if that’s where you go to become World Heavyweight Champion, again. He’ll drag Mark Henry to the depths with him, or maybe Christian, who already has a permanent residence. Either way, when he comes back from Hell, he’ll be the World Heavyweight Champion.
The announcers talk about the Hell in a Cell event that, by the way, is only eight days away. They play a hype video for it.
Christian is backstage with Ezekiel Jackson. Jackson says he understands that Christian wants him to help beat Mark Henry tonight. Christian says he never said that. Christian says he’s been World Heavyweight Champion before, and Jackson hasn’t. Christian says he knows that Jackson is the Personification of Domination, and as a former World Champion, he can see talent a mile away. Christian sees Jackson being a future champion. Christian says they have an agreement and walks off. Jackson never said they had an agreement.
Tonight’s main event will be a Lumberjack Match for the World Heavyweight Championship. It’s Christian taking on Mark Henry.
JOBBER ALERTS: AJ and Kaitlyn are in the ring with no TV entrance.
AJ & Kaitlyn vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya
Kaitlyn starts out against Natalya. Natalya powers her to the corner and backs up. Kaitlyn sidesteps Natalya and takes a dropkick. Natalya sends her into the ropes and chokes her. Beth kicks Kaitlyn in the face for good measure. Natalya tags in Beth and they hit a double delayed vertical suplex. Beth rubs Kaitlyn’s face in the mat. Kaitlyn fights her off and tags in AJ. AJ forearms Beth and sidesteps her. AJ clotheslines and dropkicks her in the knee. AJ hits the shining wizard for a near fall. Kaitlyn takes out Natalya trying to interfere. Beth counters a head-scissor by kicking her in the midsection. Beth drags her to the center of the ring and hits the Glam Slam for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: Beth Phoenix & Natalya
Match Rating: N/A
Randy Orton will take on Cody Rhodes in a non-title match next.
Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes
They show a replay of Cody Rhodes defeating Randy Orton on Raw last week. Rhodes hit Orton in the face with his facemask while Mark Henry distracted Orton. They made it a point to let us know that Booker T is not happy getting a bag.
Orton sidesteps Rhodes and kicks away at him. Orton throws him outside and beats on him at ringside. Orton throws him into the barricade and rolls him into the ring. Rhodes chop blocks Orton getting back in the ring and works on the knee. Orton reverses a whip to the corner and punches away at Rhodes. Rhodes quickly kicks Orton in the knee and works over it by dropping some elbows. Rhodes slams the knee into the mat. Orton comes back with some punches and sends him to the corner. Rhodes kicks him in the knee and smashes it against the ring post a few times. Rhodes removes the top turnbuckle pad and the referee yells at him. As the referee fixes the corner, Rhodes removes his facemask and smashes it on Orton. Rhodes picks up a near fall. Orton looks intense as he gets up. Orton blocks a kick and rips Rhodes’s mask off and hits him in the face with it right in front of the referee. The referee disqualifies him.
Winner by Disqualification: Cody Rhodes
Match Rating: 1/2 *
Orton looks insane and he hits Rhodes again with it. Orton viciously smashes it against his face and the crowd gets into it. Orton hits a nasty draping DDT on Rhodes and another referee runs down to try to calm Orton down. Orton throws Rhodes out of the ring and takes the ring bell. Orton smashes it against Rhodes’s face. There is a TON of blood at ringside. Orton clears the announcer’s table and puts Rhodes on top of it. Rhodes’s blood is everywhere, including on Orton’s body. Orton hits him with an RKO on top of the table and has a crazy look on his face.
Sheamus is in his locker room and Christian walks in. Sheamus looks apprehensive, but Christian gives him a potato. Christian says the Irish love potatoes, so it’s a peace offering. Sheamus says the Irish do love potatoes since it’s all they eat. Christian says even though Sheamus kicked him in the face, he promises he’ll give him a title shot when he becomes champion again. Christian asks if Sheamus will be out there for the Lumberjack match. Sheamus says he’ll be out there for sure. Christian says he appreciates it. Sheamus thanks him for the potato. Christian walks off. Sheamus bites into the potato and quickly spits it out. Sheamus says it’s not from Ireland; it’s from Idaho.
Tonight’s main event is a World Heavyweight Championship Lumberjack Match pitting Mark Henry against Christian.
They play a scene from “Haven” starring Edge.
The Great Khali vs. Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal order Khali to lay down, but Khali shakes his head. Mahal kicks Khali, but Khali pushes him into the ropes and clotheslines him down. Khali chops the chest and Mahal gets out of the ring. Mahal blindsides him and hits a DDT. Mahal drops a knee for a near fall. Mahal applies a front face lock, but Khali fights up and flapjacks him off. Khali clotheslines him down a pair of times and forearms him in the face. Khali hits the Punjabi Plunge and pins him with his foot for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: The Great Khali
Match Rating: N/A
Mark Henry will try to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Christian in a Lumberjack Match.
Sin Cara vs. Daniel Bryan
This looks like the original Sin Cara. He has a much more svelte look than the evil Sin Cara. They shake hands and circle the ring. They lock up and Bryan gets a side headlock. Cara whips him off, but Bryan takes him down with a headlock. Cara gets out with a head-scissor. Bryan quickly comes back with a Mexican surfboard. Bryan turns it to a pin, but Cara is too close to the ropes. Bryan sends him to the corner and runs into a boot. Cara goes for a victory roll, but Bryan blocks it. Cara drags him off and hits a springboard cross-body for a near fall. Cara goes for a wheelbarrow bulldog, but Bryan counters into a German suplex for a near fall. Cara backflips through a suplex and hits a handspring back elbow. There seemed to be some miscommunication on that move. Bryan rolls out of the ring.
Cara goes to the apron and hits a running hurricanrana that sends Bryan into the steel steps. Cara goes to the top rope and the bad Sin Cara runs down to push him off the top rope. The referee was checking on Bryan, so he never saw this. The bad Sin Cara hits a top rope Swanton Bomb for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Sin Cara
Match Rating: *
Christian is outside Randy Orton’s locker room and knocks. Zack Ryder comes out and Christian says he was great on Raw with Hugh Jackman. Christian says he could be the “Broski of the Week”. Ryder says he’d love to help Christian, but he’s the Assistant General Manager of Smackdown, so it’d be a conflict of interest. Ryder takes a call from Hugh Jackman and walks off.
Air Boom vs. The Usos
Charles Robinson, my favorite referee, is back for a second match. Bourne starts out against Jey. They lock up and have a clean break. Bourne spin kicks him down for a one count. Jimmy is tagged in and he hits a spinning sidewalk slam for a near fall. Jey is tagged back in. The brothers combine for a backbreaker/top rope elbow double team. Jimmy hits a running butt bump to the face for a near fall. Jimmy applies a chin lock, but Bourne gets up and kicks out. Bourne elbows Jey and hits a hurricanrana DDT on Jimmy.
Kingston is tagged in and he hits a springboard clothesline on Jimmy. Kingston hits some chops and a big dropkick. Jimmy sidesteps him and eats a pendulum kick. Kingston hits a springboard cross-body for a near fall. Kingston knocks Jey off the apron and turns into a superkick from Jimmy, which gets him a near fall. Jey is tagged in and they go for a double team Samoan Drop, but Kingston counters into a sloppy hurricanrana. Kingston hits the Trouble in Paradise and tags in Bourne for the Air Bourne. The pinfall is academic.
Winners by Pinfall: Air Boom
Match Rating: * 1/4
The World Heavyweight Championship Lumberjack Match is next.
The Raw Rebound plays.
They show the lumberjacks at ringside. Christian and Mark Henry make their way to the ring. The match is next.
World Heavyweight Championship Lumberjack Match
Christian vs. Mark Henry (c)
The lumberjacks for this match are Kofi Kingston, Titus O’Neil, Percy Jackson, Johnny Curtis, Wade Barrett, Heath Slater, Ezekiel Jackson, The Usos, Justin Gabriel, Darren Young, The Great Khali, Zack Ryder, Ted DiBiase, Yoshi Tatsu, Trent Barreta, Sin Cara, Evan Bourne, Tyson Kidd, Jinder Mahal, Daniel Bryan, Derrick Bateman, and JTG.
The bell rings and they circle the ring. Christian goes to leave the ring, but the lumberjacks gather to stop him. They lock up and Henry powers him down. Christian avoids a stomp and gets a waist lock. Henry backs him to the corner and elbows him in the face. Henry sends him into the corner sternum first and talks a little trash. Henry sends him to the ropes. Christian ducks a clothesline and hits some punches. Christian goes into the ropes and Henry grabs him by the neck. Henry tosses him over the top rope. Ezekiel Jackson keeps the other lumberjacks away, and then attacks Christian. Jackson throws him in and Henry covers for a near fall. Henry head-butts him down and applies a nerve hold. Henry sends him to the ropes and hits a flapjack for a near fall. Henry goes back to the nerve hold. Christian quickly kicks Henry in the head and punches. Christian jumps off the second rope into a bear hug. Henry powers him to the corner and charges, but Christian sidesteps him.
Christian punches away at him and goes for a clothesline, but Henry doesn’t fall. Christian tries again, but Henry doesn’t fall. Henry sends him to the corner and runs into some boots. Christian hits a missile dropkick and Henry stumbles. Christian hits another missile dropkick and Henry goes down. Christian covers for a near fall. Christian goes for the Kill Switch, but Henry elbows him. Henry clotheslines him down for a near fall. Christian kicks Henry and goes for a diving sunset flip, but Henry doesn’t go down. Henry tries to flatten him, but Christian moves. Henry goes outside the ring and pulls Christian out as well. The entire roster punches away at Henry, but he pushes them all away. Henry press slams Trent Barreta into the entire roster, and they all go down. The Great Khali is the only one standing, and he looks stunned.
Christian stays outside the ring and looks terrified. Christian goes to leave, but Sheamus runs down and throws him into the ring. Henry immediately kills him with the World’s Strongest Slam and wins his first championship defense.
Winner & still World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry
Match Rating: * 1/4
Randy Orton’s music hits and he runs down to the ring. Orton and Henry stand in the ring until Orton attacks. Henry pushes an RKO attempt away, but Orton comes right back with a dropkick that sends Henry out of the ring. Henry does not look happy as the show ends. Henry holds the title up.
Quick Match Results
Sheamus def. Heath Slater
Wade Barrett def. Justin Gabriel
Beth Phoenix & Natalya def. AJ & Kaitlyn
Cody Rhodes def. Randy Orton via DQ (non-title)
The Great Khali def. Jinder Mahal
Air Boom def. The Usos (non-title)
Mark Henry def. Christian to retain the World Heavyweight Title in a Lumberjack Match
Bump of the Night: Cody Rhodes’s nasty gash that had him spilling pools of blood!
Match of the Night: The World Heavyweight Title Lumberjack Match * 1/4
Simply put, this was one of the worst episodes of Smackdown in recent memory. Maybe this is why they stopped airing Superstars, because this was a two-hour episode of it. Every match could be considered a squash match. How much can you really say about seven squash matches? They were designed to make one person (or tag team) look good. Even Orton vs. Rhodes was a squash just because of what happened to Rhodes after. He didn’t exactly win convincingly, though. The only storyline furthered was a storyline from Raw that contended that Triple H had lost control of Raw.
The roster situation is scary for this show, as it has been for months. You could tell just how bad it was when they couldn’t surround the ring with just the roster of Smackdown. They had to include some Raw wrestlers and everyone from NXT. The only storyline is the storyline for the World Heavyweight Championship. The hard truth is, with the Raw Supershows going on right now, there is absolutely no reason to watch this show. Normally you can watch some quality, competitive matches, but there weren’t even any of those tonight. Hopefully it picks up next week because this was just terrible tonight. Even Mark Henry and all his awesomeness didn’t do anything for this show.
Final Rating: * 3/4
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.