“Yes sir, we promised you a great main event…” The WWE video leads us into the show.
They show a video package highlighting the end of Monday Night Raw. John Laurinaitis threatened John Cena with a bunch of things to make the odds tip in his favor for their match this Sunday at Over The Limit. Laurinaitis then received a letter from the WWE Board of Directors that stated the match would be one-on-one, no special guest referee, and any superstar who interferes will be immediately terminated. If Laurinaitis loses to Cena this Sunday, then he will be terminated. Laurinaitis slapped Cena and quickly left the ring.
John Laurinaitis’s music hits, and the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown makes his way to the ring looking down in the dumps. Michael Cole, Josh Mathews, and Booker T welcome us to the show as Laurinaitis gets in the ring. Laurinaitis says, with all due respect, he disagrees with the Board of Directors. He feels like he’s been put in harm’s way. He asked for this match with John Cena, but the Board of Directors has restricted the way he was to compete with him. This Sunday is like leading a lamb to slaughter, and that’s not fair. He’s approaching 40 years old, and he’s not as flexible as he used to be. He can still bench press 250-pounds, run a mile in six minutes, and he’s still as tough as he used to be. That still doesn’t qualify him to compete against John Cena. He asked the Board of Directors to reconsider and they said no. Now he’s asking the crowd to find it in their hearts to support him in this unfair and lopsided match. They boo him. Laurinaitis says he isn’t expecting to be cheered, but he will ask that they pray for him before going to sleep.
CM Punk’s music hits, and the WWE Champion comes to the ring to a massive reception. Punk shows off his championship before soaking in the chants of his name. Punk asks if Laurinaitis gets it. He’s not a praying guy, but he’s been praying. Everybody has been praying, including the guys in the back. Punk is here to let him know that their prayers have been answered. This Sunday, the only way Laurinaitis can win is by pinfall or submission. If anybody interferes then they get terminated. It’s just one-on-one. The best part is when, not if, John Cena beats him then he gets terminated. Punk wants to be the first to wish him the best in his future endeavors. Punk says they’ll be partying in the streets going into Monday Night Raw and going right to next Friday. This party will be bigger than Marti Gras.
Punk asks Laurinaitis if he realizes how miserable he makes people or how badly he’s abused his power. Punk says on Monday Night Raw he had a 7-foot giant groveling on his knees, begging for his forgiveness. Laurinaitis made him beg for his job because he loves to entertain. He made him beg for his job with a smile on his face. Punk mocks Laurinaitis’s smile. Laurinaitis constantly insults the intelligence of the WWE Universe. He also belittles Teddy Long, the man who made Smackdown the great show it is. Punk asks how it feels to be on the other end of the stick for once.
Laurinaitis says he isn’t there, yet. He’s still the General Manager of Raw and Smackdown, and he can make any match he wants. Tonight, Punk will go one-on-one with Kane. Punk says OK. He says he won’t act like he’s not concerned about facing Kane, but he won’t go to the Board of Directors to ask out of the match because he’s a man. The funny thing about it is when it comes to Kane, he respects him, which is more than he can say for Laurinaitis. This time next week, he’ll still be the WWE Champion, and Laurinaitis will be hanging out in the unemployment line. Punk mocks Laurinaitis’s smile and leaves the ring.
After Punk leaves, Laurinaitis asks the crowd if they liked that. They respond favorably. Laurinaitis says they like it when someone makes fun of their boss. As the General Manager of Raw and Smackdown, he’s been tough, but fair. He’s been generous and benevolent, but they don’t get it. He works hard for the WWE Universe. It seems the harder he works for them, the more they crap all over him. He’s not going to blame John Cena or CM Punk for their actions. He’s going to blame everyone in the WWE Universe. They support what they do and say. It’s their faults. He detests each and every one of them. They boo him wildly. If this is his last night on Smackdown, then he wants all the ingrates to remember the last thing he says. “You can all go to hell,” and Laurinaitis leaves the ring as the crowd jeers him.
Tonight’s main event will see the World Heavyweight Champion, Sheamus, take on one of his opponents in the Fatal Four Way at Over The Limit, Randy Orton.
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth vs. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil
Darren Young starts out against R-Truth in this non-title match. They lock up, and Young powers R-Truth to the corner. Young knees and clubs away at him in the corner before the referee backs him up. R-Truth ducks a punch and unloads on him. Young reverses a whip, but R-Truth hangs on to the ropes. Young runs into his boots, and Kingston is tagged in. Kingston lays him out with a big cross-body block for a two count. Young reverses a whip to the corner, but he runs into a pendulum kick. Kingston dropkicks O’Neil off the apron as he tries to interfere. Young capitalizes on the distraction by hitting an impressive back suplex on the apron!
Young puts him back in the ring and drops an elbow for a two count. Titus O’Neil is tagged in, and he body slams Kingston down on the injured back. O’Neil mocks the crowd before stomping him. O’Neil sends him to the corner and hits an avalanche. The referee backs him up, and he runs into Kingston’s boots. The crowd chants for Kingston. R-Truth and Young are tagged in. R-Truth punches him, does a dance, and lays him out with a big right hand. Young reverses a whip, but R-Truth comes back with the corkscrew elbow. R-Truth hits a DDT, but O’Neil breaks up the pin. Kingston and R-Truth dropkick him down. Kingston then lays O’Neil out on the outside with a plancha. R-Truth quickly ducks a clothesline and hits the Little Jimmy for the win.
Winners by Pinfall: Kofi Kingston and R-Truth
Match Rating: * 1/4
They show a video of a B.A. STAR rally in Brooklyn, New York. Stephanie McMahon, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Eve Torres, and Mark Henry were involved with the presentation.
Zack Ryder is backstage, and he welcomes us to another edition of Z! True Long Island Story. All of a sudden he looks off camera to see Damien Sandow looking at him with disgust. Sandow walks away as he’ll be in action, next.
JOBBER ALERT: Yoshi Tatsu is in the ring with no TV entrance.
Damien Sandow makes his way to the ring to the tune of “Hallelujah.” Lillian Garcia announces him as, “The self-professed intellectual savior of the masses.” Sandow begs the crowd’s indulgence for a moment. He says his name is Damien Sandow, and he is here to help all of us. As the WWE’s intellectual savior to the masses, it is his duty, nay his passion to set all of us free from the chains of ignorance. One fortnight ago, he stood on the precipice of ushering in a new era of enlightenment that the unwashed masses desperately yearn for. However, much to his dismay, upon his arrival at ringside, he saw that he was pitted against an unworthy opponent. He rejected the opponent so as to not subject everyone to witness such an abhorrent contest. Sadly, he finds himself in that same vexing scenario this evening. This alleged superstar is an unworthy opponent. Therefore, he cannot and will not demean himself by engaging this ignoramus this evening. And as always, he does this for the benefit and wellbeing of everybody. “You’re welcome,” he says before getting off the apron.
Yoshi Tatsu gets on the microphone, and he says that Sandow is a chicken. Tatsu imitates a chicken as Sandown looks at him angrily. Sandow takes off his robe to reveal hot pink tights. Sandow charges the ring and attacks Tatsu as his back is turned. Sandow has him in a full nelson as he bashes his head off the turnbuckle a few times. Sandow then hits an arm trap neckbreaker before leaving the ring.
Later tonight, they’ll replay the video of John Laurinaitis firing the Big Show on Monday Night Raw.
They show a replay from last Monday’s Raw when Sheamus accidentally gave Randy Orton a Brogue Kick as he was teaming with him to take on Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio. Orton gave him an RKO after that. Then last Friday, Sheamus and Orton went back and forth with finishers on Del Rio. Finally, this past Monday, Sheamus hit Chris Jericho after he antagonized him. That cost Orton the match by disqualification. They argued after that and got in the ring to fight before referees backed them up.
Matt Striker is backstage with Sheamus and Randy Orton. Striker asks for their thoughts on going head to head before their Fatal Four Way match this Sunday. Sheamus says he’s looking forward to the Fatal Four Way match because it gives him another chance to show what type of champion he is. Like one of his three opponents this Sunday, he has a reputation of being a hothead, but he was able to harness that aggression in the ring. That’s why he’s the World Heavyweight Champion, unlike some people. Randy Orton says like one of his three opponents this Sunday, he used to be so overconfident that he came across looking like an idiot. Orton also knows that he can win the title without beating the current champion. However, there’s no one that he would rather beat more. Sheamus says he’s just happy that one of his opponents had the guts to say this to his face. If he wanted to, he could Brogue Kick him in the face right now, but he won’t because he’s a nice guy. Orton says unlike him, Sheamus is a nice guy, and they both know where nice guys finish.
Zack Ryder vs. Daniel Bryan
They circle the ring and lock up. Ryder turns him in the corner before Bryan punches him down. Bryan takes him down with a European uppercut. Bryan drops a knee on the back of his neck for a two count. Ryder tries to fight back, but Bryan soon takes him down with another uppercut. Ryder comes back with a face-buster, but Bryan soon digs a knee into his midsection. Bryan screams “Yes” before hitting a running dropkick in the corner for a near fall. Bryan applies a modified hammerlock/arm bar combination. Ryder fights out of a hammerlock, avoids a back elbow, and catches Bryan with an elbow. Bryan runs into the knees and takes a missile dropkick. Bryan counters a Broski Boot with a drop-toe-hold into the corner. Bryan hits the arm, kicks him in the head, and applies the Yes! Lock for the win.
Winner by Submission: Daniel Bryan
Match Rating: 1/4 *
Kane is shown backstage. He’ll be taking on CM Punk in a match ordered by John Laurinaitis earlier tonight, next.
Daniel Bryan has joined the commentators for the next match. Bryan talks about first meeting CM Punk when Punk had a fractured skull
CM Punk vs. Kane
They circle the ring, and Punk applies a side headlock. Punk wrenches the arm, but Kane whips him off before hitting a shoulder block. They circle the ring again, and Punk peppers Kane with some kicks. Kane powers him to the corner and hits a knee. Kane pushes his face before backing up. Punk fights back before clotheslining him out of the ring. Punk challenges Kane to get back in as we go to commercial.
We come back from the break to see Punk kicking away at Kane’s left leg, trying to chop him down to the mat. When that fails, Punk DDTs him for a one count. Punk begins working on Kane’s knee before applying a figure four leglock (woo). Kane punches out of it. Punk tries to go for it again, but Kane kicks him out of the ring. Kane tries to bring him back into the ring, but Punk snaps him off the top rope. Punk goes for his springboard clothesline, but Kane uppercuts him out of midair. Kane stomps the ribs before pressing him into the ring post. Kane then backs up and hits a running dropkick, sending Punk’s ribs into the ring post. Kane stretches him out against the ring post as Bryan smiles on commentary. Kane drives some shoulders into Punk’s injured ribs in the corner before punching him down for a two count.
Kane applies a bear hug and Punk rallies the fans for support. Punk punches out of it, but he quickly runs into a backbreaker for a near fall. Kane applies a body scissor. Bryan talks about how both he and Punk struggled on the independents to get a chance in WWE. Punk elbows out of the body scissor. Punk punches and kicks him before going into the ropes. Kane goes for a Chokeslam, but Punk counters out. Punk comes back with a swinging neckbreaker for a one count.
Kane pushes him to the corner, but Punk sidesteps him. Punk hits a high knee, but Kane counters the bulldog. Kane runs into a boot, and Punk hits a second rope bulldog for a near fall. Punk hits his springboard clothesline for a near fall. Punk goes for the GTS, but his ribs are too injured. Kane hits a big boot for a near fall. Kane sets him up on the top rope for a superplex, but Punk punches him off. Punk looks at Bryan before standing on the top rope. Punk hits a Macho Man Elbow Drop for a near fall. Punk immediately goes for the Anaconda Vice, but he can’t lock it in. Kane hits his trademark sidewalk slam for a near fall. Kane goes to the top rope and hits his flying lariat. Kane signals for the Chokeslam, but Punk gives him a roundhouse kick that takes Kane out of the ring. Punk then lays him out with a suicide dive in front of the announcer’s table.
All of a sudden Bryan gets up and stalks Punk with a steel chair in hand. The referee warns him not to do it. Bryan then quickly turns and hits Kane on the back with it. The referee calls for the bell.
Winner by Disqualification: Kane
Match Rating: **
Daniel Bryan runs away before Kane gets up. Kane gets up to see Punk holding the chair, so naturally he thinks that Punk is the one who hit him with the chair. Kane goes crazy and assaults him with the chair, smacking it off his back a number of times. Kane drops him on the commentary table and throws him into the barricade. Bryan watches eagerly from the top of the stage as Kane puts Punk in the ring. Kane hits him with a Chokeslam, stands over him, and then hits a second one. Bryan applauds what he sees and smiles as Punk lays in pain in the center of the ring clutching his ribs.
Later tonight, we’ll see Sheamus take on Randy Orton in a non-title match. Coming up next, we’ll see a Champion vs. Champion match. WWE Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes will take on WWE United States Champion Santino Marella.
WWE United States Champion vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion
Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes
They show a pre-taped promo with Santino Marella. Santino says the WWE United States Championship means everything to him. He then kisses the title and professes his love for it before saying that he can’t wait to snuggle with it.
Santino fakes Rhodes out with a high kick. They lock up, and Rhodes applies a hammerlock. Santino turns the hammerlock on Rhodes, but he’s quickly taken down. Rhodes slaps him on the back of the head. Santino threatens the Cobra, so Rhodes kicks him down. Rhodes knees him in the midsection a few times before talking some trash. Rhodes kicks away at him before Santino reverses a whip to the corner. Rhodes hits him with an elbow and goes for a moonsault block, but Santino sidesteps him. Santino takes the Cobra out, and Rhodes quickly dropkicks him down. Rhodes takes a moment before covering for a near fall. Rhodes punches him before hitting the ropes. Santino splits under a clothesline before the Cobra strikes for the win.
Winner by Pinfall: Santino Marella
Match Rating: 3/4 *
They’ll replay the Big Show firing, next.
They replay the firing of the Big Show on this past Monday Night Raw. John Laurinaitis wanted an apology for Big Show making fun of his voice. Big Show apologized, but that wasn’t enough for Laurinaitis. Big Show cried, begged, and pleaded with Laurinaitis to not fire him, but Laurinaitis fired him anyway.
Randy Orton’s music hits, and its time for the main event. Orton will take on Sheamus in a non-title match, next.
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
They circle the ring before locking up. They jockey for position around the ropes and into the corner before releasing the lock up. They stare at each other before locking up again. Sheamus takes him down to a knee with a side headlock, but Orton elbows him off. Sheamus hits him with a shoulder block before going into the ropes. Orton takes him down with a dropkick for a one count. Orton applies an arm bar, but Sheamus quickly fights up. Sheamus powers him to the corner before the referee separates them. Sheamus shoves him, and Orton shoves right back.
They punch it out with Sheamus coming out on top. Sheamus sends him into the ropes, but Orton blocks a hip toss. Orton counters with a clothesline, and he stomps Sheamus’s limbs. Orton goes for a knee drop, but Sheamus moves. Sheamus hits a shoulder block, and he punches away at him in the corner. Orton turns him, and he punches away at Sheamus. Sheamus turns him around once again, and Orton does the same. Sheamus reverses a whip into the corner, but Orton pops out quickly with a clothesline. Orton clotheslines him out of the ring. Sheamus is quickly up, and he rips Orton out of the ring. They fight at ringside. Sheamus reverses a whip into the steel steps, and Orton hits it hard. Sheamus goes for a Brogue Kick, but Orton sidesteps him. Orton quickly pulls him into the ring post shoulder first, and he begins slamming the shoulder off the steel steps. Sheamus’s shoulder was injured recently at the hands of Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio. Orton smiles as he attacks Sheamus’s arm.
We come back from the break to see Sheamus’s arm tied around the middle rope. Orton releases the hold before he’s disqualified, and he punches away at Sheamus. Sheamus fights back, but Orton ducks the hammer throw and hits an arm breaker for a two count. Orton applies a chin lock, but Sheamus fights out. Orton quickly jerks the arm, and Sheamus drops to his knees in pain. Orton drops a knee on the shoulder, and Sheamus gets to the corner to recover. The referee tries to hold Orton off. Sheamus fights back, but Orton reverses a whip into the corner. Sheamus hits the turnbuckle with his shoulder, and Orton picks up another two count.
Orton wraps the arm around the middle rope again. Orton stomps him and ties the arm up again. Sheamus sidesteps Orton as he approaches and throws him out of the ring. Orton tries to get back in the ring, but Sheamus knees him in the face. Sheamus ties him up in the ropes and clubs away at his chest. Sheamus then hits the ropes and shoulder blocks Orton off the apron and into the barricade.
We come back from the final break of the evening to see Sheamus dropping some knees on Orton for a near fall. Sheamus applies an arm bar, but Orton soon fights up. Orton punches him a few times. Sheamus reverses a whip into the ropes, and he turns him inside out with a knee to the midsection for a near fall. Sheamus hits a rolling fireman’s carry, and he plays to the crowd. Sheamus sets up for the Pale Justice, but Orton slips off and hits his patented backbreaker. Orton hits a pair of clotheslines, ducks one, and hits a nice powerslam. Sheamus elbows him, but Orton quickly catches him with a belly-to-belly side suplex. Orton goes for the hanging DDT, and Sheamus snaps him off the top rope.
Sheamus gets on the apron, and he hits a slingshot shoulder block. Sheamus hits some hammer throws and digs a shoulder into his midsection. Sheamus hits a knee lift and a powerslam for a near fall. Sheamus can’t believe it. Sheamus goes for the Irish Curse, but Orton elbows out. Sheamus reverses a whip, but he lowers his head and eats a kick. Sheamus quickly comes back with the Irish Curse for a near fall. Sheamus is still in disbelief. Sheamus goes to the top rope, and Orton sweeps the feet. Orton punches him, as he’s perched on the top rope. Orton hits a nice superplex for a near fall.
Both men take some time before getting up. Orton is up first, but it doesn’t matter. They trade punches until Sheamus drives him into the corner, driving some shoulders into him. Sheamus hits the ropes and goes for the Brogue Kick, but Orton sidesteps him. Sheamus goes over the top rope. Orton hits the hanging DDT, and he drops to the mat to stalk Sheamus. Sheamus pushes off an RKO attempt, Orton ducks a Brogue Kick, and Sheamus counters an RKO into a schoolboy for the win!
Winner by Pinfall: Sheamus
Match Rating: ** 1/4
Sheamus celebrates with the championship as Orton sits in the ring for a second to catch his breath. Orton smiles at how he got caught at the end. Orton gets to his feet and says, “You got me.” They talk a little bit about Sunday before Orton extends his hand. Sheamus shakes hands with him and says, “See you Sunday.” Orton turns to leave before striking with an RKO out of nowhere! Orton stands over Sheamus and smiles as the show ends.
Quick Match Results
Kofi Kingston and R-Truth def. Darren Young and Titus O’Neil (non-title)
Daniel Bryan def. Zack Ryder via Submission
Kane def. CM Punk via DQ (non-title)
Santino Marella def. Cody Rhodes (non-title)
Sheamus def. Randy Orton (non-title)
Bump of the Night: Darren Young gives Kofi Kingston a back suplex on the apron!
Match of the Night: Sheamus vs. Randy Orton ** 1/4
Smackdown opened up with a fun little segment between John Laurinaitis and CM Punk. The interactions these two had in the winter leading up to the Royal Rumble were quite entertaining, and Punk always gets some good jabs in on him. Laurinaitis was hilarious before Punk came out, asking the crowd to pray for him as he’s “led to slaughter.” I highly doubt that we’ve seen the last of Laurinaitis, even if he loses on Sunday. The guy is pretty entertaining, even if he’s a disaster on the microphone. He was particularly great after Punk left the ring when he was insulting the fans and going off about how hard he works for them. I was chuckling at that. That was a real fun segment to open the show with.
That was a fun tag team match to kick off the wrestling for the night. I’m not the biggest fan of Titus O’Neil and Darren Young, but as long as they’re not almost killing anyone with sloppy ring work, I can tolerate them. Everyone looked good in this. My only criticism was Darren Young popping up immediately after R-Truth hit his corkscrew elbow signature spot. He was using that as a finisher a few months ago and it’s always a near fall type move. That’s a rookie mistake getting up right after that. Other than that, this was a decent little match.
Man, Damien Sandow looks fantastic. He seems like he truly belongs on the main roster and his character is fantastically entertaining, in my opinion. He delivered another homerun by refusing a match against Yoshi Tatsu only to beat him up after Tatsu made fun of him. I like that neckbreaker he used. That was William Regal’s old finisher from back in the day. I’m glad to see that it’s getting some use by a man who is as much a gentleman as Regal is. I’m interested to see what he does next and how he’ll translate to an actual program when the time comes.
Daniel Bryan handled Zack Ryder pretty easily in what was essentially a squash match. Ryder’s stock sure has dropped. Pretty much everyone knew it was going to happen eventually, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was involved in segments with John Cena and having a WrestleMania moment that saw him get betrayed by his girlfriend. Oh well. Sheamus and Randy Orton had a decent little promo before this to add some tension to their main event later in the evening and their match this Sunday. It wasn’t that bad.
I was pretty impressed with the CM Punk/Kane match. Kane, for some reason, always takes me by surprise. I’ve seen it before. I know he’s a more than capable competitor with the right person. Still, every time he has a great match out of nowhere, I’m shocked. Tonight’s match was a lot of fun. Daniel Bryan was great on commentary as well. Bryan did a good job talking up how he and Punk come from similar backgrounds on the independent scene. He also did a good job putting some emphasis on how important their match is to him on Sunday. The finish was well thought out, too. First of all, I’m glad to see they’ve decided to do a rib injury angle here rather than another arm one. The arm was the limb of the month up until tonight. Secondly, it adds another dimension to their match. Bryan showed himself in his match earlier against Ryder that he can be vicious, and Punk’s injured arm will be chum in the water for him on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to that match.
The Intercontinental Champion took on the United States Champion, and not a single you-know-what was given that day. Even though they tried valiantly on commentary to build this match up like it’s actually important, the thing was kind of a joke. Champion vs. Champion didn’t feel important whatsoever. It went maybe two minutes. They barely got through telling a brief history of both titles when the thing ended. Why even both having them build up the titles if you present it like this?
Last year, Sheamus vs. Randy Orton won my Match of the Year award. Tonight’s match was good, but it wasn’t Match of the Year good. They went a long time in this one, and they kept my interest throughout. I wasn’t bored while watching it. There was one glaring error that was bugging me pretty good toward the end, though. Normally I try not to be a snob about selling, but when fifteen minutes of the match is devoted to destroying the shoulder, shouldn’t you at least sell it a little bit later in the match? Especially since they’ve been targeting the limb for nearly the whole month. Instead we had Sheamus using the shoulder for shoulder thrusts, battering rams, lifting for an Irish Curse. Sheamus is a solid competitor, but this is definitely one aspect missing from his game. It was still a very good match and a solid effort, but that definitely didn’t help this.
All in all, this was a much more focused Smackdown after last week’s ten match, “cram as much as you can into two hours” debacle. I even noticed that the commentary was more than decent tonight. This was a very good effort heading into the PPV. The only thing missing was more AJ!
Final Rating: ***