#FINALLY: No, The Rock is not back even though he said he’d never leave us but I am back from vacation to give you all my special brand of insight into the WWE. It seems I missed alot on RAW, with Funkman flexing his comedic muscle, Punk nearly running the gauntlet and Kane making the strongest push yet for Cena to turn heel. Anyways, onto Smackdown!
#suckaaaaaaa: It’s questionable enough that they had Booker-Cody on RAW when they’re both on Smackdown, but why give the match away on free TV? They seem dedicated to making this story work, so why not build it up and put it on a PPV? I’m sure Cody won’t let the loss to Booker be the end of the feud and he doesn’t let Booker’s in-ring promo end without the last word. He does go for cheap heat insulting the Colts since the show is in Indianapolis, but there was still a clever dig at the people involving lefts on a race track. He cuts a solid promo as usual, but then again anyone could when they’re paired with Booker T. When Booker insisted he man up and congratulate Booker on his win, I was surprised Cody actually went through with it, and then he didn’t sucker punch him after the handshake. At least we know Rhodes has some honor and isn’t just a typical sneaky, cowardly heel. You can add well-spoken to that list since he perfectly lays out where Booker is in regards to whether he’ll go back to wresting or return to commentating.
#nomoregold: Speaking of surprises, Goldust comes out! But it’s not ‘Goldust’, it’s Dustin Rhodes, the man behind the gold so to speak. Cole says as much referring to him be his real name and Goldust as his alter-ego. He’s not wearing any facepaint or that weird jumpsuit, but a regular dress suit, so I’m sure some people in the crowd have no idea what’s going on. Dustin has some harsh words for his brother and Cody has some of his own, perhaps setting up a brothers feud? That might be interesting, but sooner or later Cody is going to have to winning feuds against current wrestlers and not ones on their way out. Though the three of them in the ring looked like a passing of the torch in a way. That might come next week when Cody and Booker face off for the IC title in what one assumes would be the end of their feud.
#notsomysterious: Even though the commentators try to paint Jindar Mahal as mysterious, his role in WWE isn’t. He’s a lower card heel who so far has only served to get DiBiase over with the crowd. Still, I am liking his promos where he insults Ted, the fans, and others. This week’s one about New Year’s resolutions was great since it did point out that most resolutions never really go anywhere. Of course this match/feud and its importance are immediately made clear since when the bell rings, Cole starts to berate Booker for being indecisive. I should be dismayed that the commentary is this way, but it’s become so routine it doesn’t really faze me anymore. Mahal makes Ted tap out to the Camel Clutch, if it makes any difference.
#bathroombreak: Or a Divas’ match as it’s more commonly known with Natalya & Tamina against Alicia & Kaitlyn. Getting pinned by Foxy would be enough insult for Natalya, but getting beat down afterwards by her tag partner Tamina makes it worse. I’m confused by that, since it would seem a way to garner face sympathy for Natalya, who is a heel. Perhaps a setup for her break from Beth? We all know the division is a mess, so WWE needs to make DoD legit, bring back Layla or Kharma, anything to breathe life into it. They really need someone like Madison Rayne, who has an actual defined personality and isn’t just a pretty face, not to mention her mic skills are lightyears ahead of any Diva in the WWE. She makes her ‘Queen Bee’ gimmick believeable and is great at portraying her psychotic side. Her high pitched shriek is so powerful she doesn’t even need a mic to be heard in an arena. If WWE had someone like her, then maybe the Divas would have hope.
#highflyers: Well that’s what Justin Gabriel and Hunico are and it is a short, but entertaining match with Hunico winning. I would like to know more about the guy who came to the ring with Hunico. Apparently his name is Camacho and he looks to be a bodyguard of sorts for Hunico. Whatever happened to Epico and Primo? I thought Hunico was going to be in a stable with them? That actually had a bit of promise, but it looks like WWE has no idea how to make a stable yet again.
#bigshowheelturn: It hasn’t happened but it will at some point I can assure you. All the build points to a Show-Bryan feud over the WHC and there’s no way that D-Bry could be the heel. It would be an interesting twist to be sure, but Show has the track record of being an effective heel. His victory over Otunga tonight for like the 20th time isn’t even relevant. It’s the uneasy ‘friendship’ between him and Bryan that is the real focus. If the heel turn is drawn out and we see more promos like the one from Show when he was interviewed by Josh Mathews, then it could be a success.
#blastfromthepast: Well not the distant past, but since Drew McIntyre is on Smackdown and getting screen time it seems like a long time since he has gotten this kind of treatment. Interacting with Teddy just now brings back some memories and Long does acknowledge their history, which is a nice touch. Teddy says that if Drew can’t beat Ezekiel Jackson and start winning then he might be let go. I believe that means he’ll win, because that segment with Teddy wasn’t for nothing. Big Zeke brings his big power game, as well as some hair on his head, instead of the usual baldness. It turns out I was wrong as Zeke gets the win in a roll up after Drew was caught using the ropes for pin leverage. Actually this might be better then Drew winning, as it would give him a chance to really prove he belongs.
#storytime: Sheamus isn’t out to tell us a story about his grandfather or some old Irish tale, but to proclaim that he will win the 2012 Royal Rumble. Now after that sort of proclamation, you’d expect someone else to come out and rebuke Sheamus. But no, instead it’s Hornswoggle, much to everyone’s chagrin, and it appears he thinks he’s going to win the Rumble. At sickening as that thought is, it does give Sheamus the chance to tell one of his stories. Heath Slater interrupts and I never thought I’d be glad to see him. To top it off he tells Sheamus he’s not the #1 redhead on Smackdown, which is worth a good laugh. This leads to Journey and R Kelly references as well as Sheamus tossing Slater over the rope to the floor. Don’t ask as I don’t understand it myself. Thinking this is over, they cut to commercial, but when we come back, there’s a match between the two. Great. At least it’s over quickly with Sheamus victorious.
#fallscountanywhere: If more then 40% of the action takes place inside the ring, I’ll be disappointed. If falls do indeed count anywhere, then it stands to reason that most of the fighting should take place outside the ring. It should spill to the backstage area like last week. In the early going it’s like any standard wrestling match, the only difference being the few covers just outside the ring. Barrett is dominating a majority of the action, which could be viewed as a good thing, but equally as a bad one since all it takes is for Orton to spring an RKO and it would be over. Finally Orton throws Wade over the announce table and then into the crowd. Finally, it spills to backstage and the match begins to earn its ‘Anywhere’ name. With the ref knocked out earlier, this becomes an all out brawl with tables, chairs, pipes, walls and a host of other things taking the brunt of both men’s wrath. Perhaps the best spot is when they battle into an open elevator that then closes and the camera switches to an interior security one. Don’t think I’ve ever seen a match spill into an elevator before. A cameraman vainly tries to catch up to them on some other floor, but only does when it appears Orton falls down a set of stairs. Barrett hightails it and the last WWE image of 2011 is Orton lying at the bottom of those stairs.