The best part of WWE Raw this past Monday night was that, for the first time in many, many months, the live go-home show before a WWE pay-per-view actually worked hard to hype and promote said PPV and convince the fans to buy and/or watch it. The best part of WWE Smackdown tonight is that it picked up right where Raw left off, primarily focusing on the World Heavyweight Championship match between Big Show and Sheamus, but also hyping every other match on the card (including even the pre-show Divas Battle Royal).
As I mentioned, the primary focus of WWE Smackdown tonight was the Chairs Match at the TLC pay-per-view for the World Heavyweight Championship between Big Show and Sheamus and the fact that if either Superstar initiated contact with the other, either Sheamus would lose his title shot or Big Show would be stripped of the title (depending on who initiated the contact). With that in mind, WWE Smackdown kicked off with a match between World Heavyweight Champion Big Show and R-Truth (which was a huge mismatch from the beginning) with their respective TLC opponents – Sheamus and United States Champion Antonio Cesaro – doing commentary at ringside. R-Truth got in a very minimal amount of offense before ultimately losing pretty quickly, which is good for setting up Big Show as a monster going into his match but doesn’t do R-Truth any good going into his match at the PPV for the US Title.
After the match, Big Show and Sheamus got in each other’s faces but neither one would so much as touch the other until Cesaro shoved Sheamus into Big Show. Big Show feigned an injury and after the commercial break was seen backstage trying to convince Smackdown GM Booker T to call off the Chairs Match since Sheamus had touched him. Booker T refused, noting it was obvious that Sheamus had only touched Big Show because Cesaro shoved Sheamus into him. which caused Big Show to get David Otunga to go out to the ring with him and threaten to go to the WWE Board of Directors to not only have the match called off, but have Booker T and Sheamus fired for not abiding by the rules of the contract. Booker T came out and refused to call off the match, followed by Sheamus (with a steel chair in hand) who said that if the Chairs Match was going to be called off anyway, he may as well beat the hell out of Big Show right then and there. Big Show thought about it for a second but then said that the contract was still valid and left the ring. After Big Show left, Sheamus hit Otunga with a Brogue Kick for good measure.
The main event of the evening saw Sheamus take on Antonio Cesaro in a match where both men looked equally strong heading into the respective PPV matches (which bodes well for Cesaro, who continues to look good in the ring no matter who is opponent might be). However, beore the match Sheamus was seen joking around with William Regal and this led to Big Show throwing Regal out onto the ramp from the backstage area during the main event, which caused Sheamus to leave the ring and head up the ramp. While the referee counted Sheamus out (awarding the victory to Cesaro) Big Show actually hit Regal in the back with a chair while Regal was being held up be Sheamus, but there was nothing Sheamus could do since getting retaliation would cost him his title match on Sunday. Thus, WWE Smackdown ended with Big Show laughing at Sheamus while Sheamus looked on in clear anger with nothing but revenge on his mind.
Here are my quick thoughts on the rest of the show:
Damien Sandow announced that he was done looking for an apprentice from among the WWE Universe now that his partner and best friend, Cody Rhodes, was back from his injuries. Team Rhodes Scholars then had a match against The Usos as a warm-up for their #1 Contenders Tables Match for the Tag Team Championships at TLC against Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara, which they quickly won.
Kaityln faced off against Aksana in an odd match in that 90% of the match saw Aksana holding Kaitlyn in a headlock before Kaitlyn ultimately used her strength to hit some power moves and pin Aksana for the win. With no real Divas storyline heading into the TLC PPV, which will features a #1 Contenders Battle Royal in the pre-show, followed by a Divas Championship match on the PPV itself, I have to assume this match tonight means that Kaitlyn will win the Battle Royal and go on to face Divas Champion Eve Torres for the title.
Randy Orton was supposed to be interviewed backstage but was instead attacked by The Shield and it was later announced that Orton suffered a separated shoulder and a concussion. According to rumors/news on the Internet, this storyline injury is because of a legitimate injury that Orton suffered at the Tribute To The Troops show earlier in the week.
The Miz hosted another segment of MizTV and this time his guests were WWE Tag Team Champions Kane & Daniel Bryan (Team Hell No). The Miz starts to ask some questions but Bryan and Kane note that the time for talking is over and they can’t wait for the TLC Match at the PPV when they can beat the hell out of The Shield using tables, ladders and chairs as weapons. The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) appear on the TitanTron and say that Bryan and Kane should look at Orton to see what happens when people make empty threats against them. They say that Kane isn’t really a monster anymore and that Bryan can only hid behind his partner for so long, but Kane interrupts and invites them to the ring to fight now and not wait until Sunday. The feed on the TitanTron goes black and suddenly Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns appear in the crowd and start to make their way to the ring, but Ryback hits the ring and with Rybak, Kane and Bryan all ready to fight, The Shield decide to retreat back into the crowd and wait until Sunday.
There was an eight-man tag team match with Primo, Epico, Darren Young & Titus O’Neil facing off against Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, Great Khali and Hornswoggle, but even with Rosa Mendes and Natalya accompanying each respective team to ringside, I admittedly fast forwarded through the match (which the faces won). Who backstage thinks that Hornswoggle and Khali as a tag team is a good idea and why do they still have a job?
Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston defeated Alberto Del Rio in a match that helped Kingston look strong going into his title defense against Wade Barrett at the PPV and made Del Rio look very weak as he lost his third match this week and doesn’t even have a match currently scheduled for Sunday. After the match, Barrett tried to attack Kingston but Kingston countered the attack and knocked out Barrett with a flying kick to the head.
Check back on Saturday or Sunday for my preview/predictions post for the WWE TLC pay-per-view!