The Rock returns to Smackdown for the first time in ten years. Also, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Big Show defends the title against Alberto Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match plus more!
World Wrestling Entertainment presents Smackdown
From: Miami, FL
Booker T makes his way to the ring to kick of the program. He puts over RAW for being epic and says that Smackdown can do even better than RAW. Booker books WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro against Randy Orton for tonight. He also says that the Rock will be on the program for the first time in ten years. Also, Big Show will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio. This brings out Big Show, who is angry about this. The announcement by Booker was clearly edited in so he must have messed something up. Show wants to know if Booker has a personal agenda against him. Show thinks Booker is angry that he is still in the game and Booker is pushing papers in the back. Show thinks this is because Booker is trying to get the Latino population behind Alberto. Show considers Del Rio to be below him. Show doesn’t think anyone is going to stop him. Show threatens Booker to change his mind and backs Booker into the corner. Del Rio runs out and kicks Show several times. Show nails Show with a running kick and Show is dropkicked to the floor. Del Rio leaves and Show is fuming.
Opening Contest: WWE United States Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton
This is also booked to happen on Main Event next week, so a clean finish may not be likely. Orton drops Cesaro with a shoulder block in the opening minute of the bout. Cesaro uppercuts Orton a few times but is tossed to the floor. Orton drops Cesaro with a clothesline on the outside as Smackdown goes to a commercial.
Cesaro is working on Orton with a chin lock. Orton battles out with an uppercut but runs into a clothesline from Cesaro. Cesaro follows up with a gut wrench slam for a two count. Cesaro continues to work on Orton with a chin lock. Orton nearly rolls Cesaro up out of the corner. Cesaro hit a sit out slam for a near fall once again. Orton comes out of the corner with a series of clotheslines and a snap powerslam. Cesaro lifts Orton up and hits an uppercut for a near fall. Orton delivers a backbreaker to stop Antonio moments later. Randy goes for and hits an elevated DDT. The Shield runs into the ring to attack Orton as he was going for the RKO to cause the DQ. They hit the triple team powerbomb on Orton.
Your Winners: Randy Orton by DQ
Match Rating: **1/2. A decent match but this was simply a way to fill television time and build the Shield up more. These two will get more time and a clean finish on Main Event next week, I’m sure.
Backstage, Matt Striker is with 3MB. They will be in the Royal Rumble match. Slater says they have a ten percent chance of winning the Rumble. They are going to beat Sheamus tonight, too.
Earlier in the day, WWE Champion CM Punk and Paul Heyman were at the home of the Miami Hurricanes and last year’s WrestleMania. Punk says he is huge fan of Rock, especially his career as a college football player. Punk puts on a jersey. Punk talks about how Rock’s glory years as a player, the Orange Bowl, is gone. Punk says that Rock’s home in the WWE is dead and gone as well. Punk says that Rock can never go home.
Backstage, Matt Striker talks to Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio says that Show is insecure for bullying Ricardo and his people. Del Rio is going to give Show a perfect picture of what family is. Alberto is predicting he will win the championship. There were some scattered boos on that.
Second Contest: Dolph Ziggler & AJ Lee vs. The Great Khali & Natalya
Late in the match. AJ bites Natalya and hits a slow Slice Bread out of the corner for the win. After the match, Big E. Langston enters and clotheslines Khali. Ziggler hits the Fame-Asser on Khali. Langston picks up Hornswoggle and hits his finishing slam.
Back to the stadium, Punk lets us know that he is better than the fans and the Rock. Paul Heyman says Rock isn’t equally as talented as Punk. Punk takes the jersey off and tosses it on the ground.
The Rock’s music hits, and he comes out to a massive reception. The Miami crowd is red hot for him as he makes his return to a Smackdown arena for the first time in ten long years. The Rock arches The People’s Eyebrow before slowly making his way to the ring, basking in the glow of the crowd’s reaction. The Rock flashes the hand signal of the University of Miami.
The crowd chants “Rocky.” The Rock opens up with, “Finally, The Rock has come back… home!” Rock says this is a very special show and night. Here tonight is The Rock’s boy, Miami’s own Flo Rida. Not only is The Rock back, but also he’s back on a very special show that was named after him – Smackdown. Rock says it’s exciting to be back in his hometown in front of family and friends. He wanted to continue what he just did on Monday – Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow in the middle of the ring. You can imagine how disappointed he was to find out CM Punk didn’t show up. If CM Punk wants to run Miami and the U down, it’s right here where it all started for him. On the campus of the University of Miami, Green Tree Practice Field, where he and his teammates, such as Warren Sapp and Ray Lewis, put it down everyday learning about commitment and sacrifice. Everything he’s done in life all started right here in Miami.
Home for The Rock isn’t just being in Miami or on Smackdown. It’s coming home to the Royal Rumble where he’ll kick his cookie puss ass and become the WWE Champion. Since CM Punk didn’t want to come and have fun, he’ll have some fun on his own. The Rock asks if Miami wants to have fun.
Damien Sandow’s music hits, and he comes out to the ring to a chorus of boos along with Cody Rhodes. Sandow wants to beg the crowd’s indulgence for a moment. He says his name and that he is the intellectual savior of the unwashed masses. This is his tag team partner and best friend, the essence of mustachioed magnificence, Cody Rhodes. They are out here to not only help him, but to correct him. Rhodes says The Rock is not to become champion. They are. They beat Team Hell No this past Monday and will become Tag Team Champions. They don’t think The Rock deserves this time. They do. Rhodes suggests The Rock leave the ring before he doesn’t have any choice.
The Rock wants to get something straight. They saunter down to the ring, get in this ring, in the people’s ring on the people’s show Smackdown, dressed like they are, dead caterpillar on Rhodes’ lip (Sandow says that isn’t funny), that takes a lot of guts. The Rock says, “Sweet tap dancing Jesus, what is on your face?” Rhodes says he’s an adult. If he wants to grow a mustache, he’ll grow a mustache!
Sandow says he’ll place a wager. Recently, he has embarked on a futile quest to find an apprentice. He’s been asking members of the audience to answer three questions correctly, and he can’t find anyone who can do so. Since The Rock is “The People’s Champ,” let’s see if he can do what they couldn’t. If he answers three questions, then he gets to stay. If not, he leaves. The Rock says, “Just bring it!”
Rhodes doesn’t think he can answer the questions since he went to Miami. Sandow congratulates him on being able to read. Sandow asks for silence before asking the first question: Who was the nineteenth president of the United States? The Rock says he’s going to utter an answer that has never been said on Smackdown: “Rutherford B. Hayes, bitch!” Sandow says that’s not what the “B” stands for, but he’s correct. The Rock says he knows his nineteenth century. Just like Sandow’s nineteenth century beard and buggy eyes, he looks like what would happen if Abraham Lincoln got busy with a gremlin!
Rhodes asks which film won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993. It wasn’t “The Tooth Fairy.” It was “Schindler’s List.” Rhodes should know something about lists, since he spends the majority of his day on Craigslist. Rock says Lilian Garcia is scared, but she can put the pepper spray away. If Rhodes advances on her, he’ll slap the caterpillar into the eighth row.
Sandow asks for silence. The final question is… but The Rock interrupts. The Rock wants to ask the final question. Since they were nice enough to interrupt The Rock in his hometown, if he gets it right, he’ll get a nice prize from him and Miami. The Rock asks what happens when you combine a geological aggregate of minerals with its lowest form? Sandow answers, “Rock Bottom.” The Rock says, “Exactly” before giving him a Rock Bottom! Cody Rhodes backs away to the corner. Rhodes then gets pumped up, takes off his robe, and charges into a spinebuster! The Rock gives the symbol for the University of Miami before hitting the People’s Elbow! “If you smell what The Rock is cookin’!” The Rock then poses for the crowd. (credit to WrestleView for the writing of this segment).
Third Contest: Sheamus vs. 3MB – Handicap Match
As if there was ever any doubt. Sheamus won this match easily after hitting the Brogue Kick on Slater.
Fourth Contest: WWE World Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. The Prime Time Players
The tag team champions won this extended squash match after Kane hit a choke slam on Young.
Main Event: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio – Last Man Standing
Alberto delivers a few kicks but Show headbutts him and delivers a chop. Show slams Del Rio, but Del Rio comes back with right hands. Show continues to chop Del Rio and goes to the floor to get a table. The champ sets it up on the floor. Show scoop slams Del Rio through the table on the floor and the referee begins to count, but Alberto gets up at six. In the ring, Del Rio kicks Show and whacks the champ over the back with a few chair shots. Show blocks a cross arm breaker but Del Rio hangs on while over the top and on the apron. Show is screaming in pain but Show is able to slam Alberto across the apron.
Back from a commercial, Del Rio is hammering away on Show on the floor. Show kicks Alberto and tosses him back into the ring. Show goes under the ring again to get another table, which he slides into the ring. The table is set up in the corner and Alberto dropkicks Show through the table! Show gets up at seven but Alberto quickly puts a sleeper on the champ. Del Rio superkicks Show and delivers a few body shots. Alberto delivers a few clotheslines but Show doesn’t go down. Show catches Alberto and hits a choke slam after the challenger jumped off the middle rope.
On the floor, Show sends Del Rio through the guard railing. Alberto stumbles to his feet to break the count right before ten. Del Rio is back in the ring laid out but get sup and Show delivers the Knockout Punch! Alberto rolls to the floor and stands on his feet before falling back down to break the count. Ricardo is dumping water on Del Rio to wake him up. Show gets the ring steps but Del Rio avoids it and Show rams the steps into his own face after hitting the ring post!
Del Rio picks up the ring steps and hits Show three times to knock the champ down behind the announce table. Del Rio pushes the announce table over onto Show! Del Rio gets up at seven. The referee counts Show out and Del Rio has won the championship!
Your Winner and NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: ***1/4: They are going all in with trying to make Del Rio a top babyface. This is the right way to try and do it. Del Rio took a beating and prevailed over the biggest guy in the WWE. The fans went nuts for the victory and there has to be hope in Del Rio being able to carry the load as a top face. Hopefully this doesn’t last only three days, though. The guy needs a decent lengthy run.
An alright episode this week that saw the Rock return to Smackdown and have a good segment with Rhodes Scholars. The main event was really good and a surprise win for Del Rio. I’m interested to see where Smackdown takes things as they head into Mania as I was expecting Ryback/Show for the strap there. A mild thumbs up for the show this week.
Thanks for reading.
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.