#intercontinentalkickoff: I hope they put the WHC in the main event slot unlike RAW. I do like how they start off Smackdown with the IC Title match between Rhodes and Booker. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual promo opener and going with one of the two marquee matchups advertised will certainly get the audience invested right off the bat. Of course this means Cole is in fine form right off the bat. Even when Josh tries to engage in normal conversation over the match, he takes the chance to rip into Booker for being too old, etc. The IC title will have a hard time regaining its prestige if Cole is continually ripping on its challengers. The match itself is pretty much even, with an expected aggressiveness from both men. I am surprised with how well Booker is selling, such as the pain he’s in after a barrage from Cody. He even gets close to a 3 count on a number of occasions and when Cody kicks out of the Scissors Kick, the crowd goes nuts. It’s to no avail as Rhodes connects with the springboard kick and the New Legend Killer retains his title. Backstage after the break sure set up a future Cody-Goldust feud, including the younger Rhodes throwing out that not only was he more successful then his older brother, but he might even be more so then their dad.

#overthetop: It’s fitting that this is an Over the Top Rope Challenge is fitting, since the idea of Hornswoggle against Heath Slater is a but over the top. I mean why even take up time that could be better spent on this travesty. It makes me want to watch a Divas match. Swoggle ‘unexpectedly’ wins and the only silver lining in this whole thing is that tool Slater gets embarrassed. I wonder who he pissed off to be booked into this situation. I spoke too soon as the other silver lining is Justin Gabriel making a run-in to hit the 45o Splash to cause even embarrassment for Mr Wendy.

#trickedout: I’m not sure what to make of the lowrider bicycle Hunico and Camacho ride to the ring on yet. It certainly is something new, given we’ve seen Stone Cold come down on an ATV and Taker on a motorcycle. So the basis for their beef with Ted DiBiase is that they don’t get invited to one of his posse celebrations. It’s not that great of a feud starter but at least DiBiase is moving on from Jindar Mahal. He’s also moving on to a new nickname it seems as Josh has called him a ‘real southern gentleman’ a few time already tonight. I suppose that could fit in with his posse gimmick. At least Hunico is ocntinuing to show off some good in ring skills, mixing his usual high flyer moves with some ground based submissions as he worked on Ted’s shoulder throughout the match. He wins with an interesting submission that’s also a pinning move. It ends up with Hunico looking like he’s taking a knee, but also hooking one of Ted’s arms with his leg and holding his legs crossed with an arm. That probably makes no sense, but I’m not even sure how to describe it properly.

#ortonupdate: We were told we would get an update on Orton’s condition after last week during the night. Little did we know it would be Wade Barrett who would deliver it. He informs us that Randy has a herniated disk in his lower back and that his career is finished. While I’m sure The Viper will be back, this does give Barrett a huge boost as putting Orton on the shelf is an accomplishment in and of itself. Claiming he’ll win the Rumble brings out Sheamus who goes into story mode to compare his uncle Wilford to Wade. For some reason Jindar Mahal shows up to confront Sheamus. Slapping the Irishman like Mahal did is certainly not the best idea as he it gets him a beating, which quickly turns into a 2 on 1 that Sheamus overcomes. So I guess the point of this segment was to set up a Barrett-Sheamus feud? Wade does need someone since Orton is out and Sheamus has seemed lost lately.

#notjustasquash: The stipulations attached to this McIntyre-Santino match tell me it won’t be the usual match where Santino gets squashed. If he wins he becomes Teddy Long’s new assistant. If Drew wins, he improves his standing and perhaps avoids getting let go. However, if he loses the reverse is true. Either way McIntyre’s entrance music is epic, especially in its full mode where he waits before coming out. The match is relatively short but Drew falls to The Cobra. How is he supposed to rebuild his career and reputation if he’s being booked to be beaten by that move? I mean if they really wanted Santino as Teddy’s assistant, then they could’ve just given it to him by some other means. By the way, how bad is Smackdown’s on-air authority structure look now with Santino joining Teddy Long. I wonder if this will affect Long’s ability to make random tag matches. Cole may have given a hint when he said the show might go the way of WCW.

#disgrace: That’s what the latest showing of WWE ’12 footage is about. It has Cole taking on Daniel Bryan for the WHC. All the footage is of Cole ‘dominating’ Bryan and then making him tap out to the An-Cole Lock to win the title. Words cannot describe how absurd that is, even more so that they actually showed it on television, as if Cole wasn’t too full of himself. He’s a bombastic egoist with a superiority complex and he’s ruining the product almost all by himself.

#tagtitlefeud: Not only am I surprised that there is an actual feud over the Tag Team Titles, but I’m surprised at the poncho-ish garments Epico and Primo are wearing. They don’t look very flashy and they’re all black except for their respective names on the bottom of the front. Since it seems like they’re being taken seriously as a threat to the Tag champs, wouldn’t they get a shirt or whatever that’s a bit flashier? Also since they won, doesn’t this make them the #1 Contenders to the titles? Wouldn’t it have made the match more meaningful if it was announced they would become as such with a win.

#divamatch: So its Natalya against Tamina and normally a Diva match would’ve been enough to put me to sleep. However, the fact that Tamina is seemingly getting pushed instead of Natalya is notewrothy. Noteworthy because of how bad of a decision it is to continue to bury perhaps the best female wrestler WWE has on their roster. It’s just sad.

#heeldanielbryan: Bryan’s actions so far tonight are proving the possibility of him turning heel more and moire likely. Earlier he was in disbelief when his ‘girlfriend’ AJ was worried about his chances in the match and then when Striker is interviewing Show, he shows up to insult Show. Best one was him claiming that if he had Show’s size as well as his wrestling skills it wouldn’t have been 9 years between championship reigns. At least Bryan is showing some sort of personality and I’m really liking the sarcastic streak he’s showing the past two weeks.

#actualmainevent: At least Smackdown’s world title match is in the main event slot where it belongs. It’s still a far cry from the WHC on the first Smackdown of 2011 which was Edge defending against Kane in a Last Man Standing match. Mark Henry is out for commentary and before the bell even rings he is ragging on Cole for asking stupid questions. He even tells Josh to shut up and otherwise does a pretty good job of commentating throughout the match. Bryan continually tries to overcome Show’s obvious size and weight advantage but has to result to telling the ref to start the 10 count once Show is down on the outside. That doesn’t work out and it begins to look bad for Bryan when attempting to pin Show he continually gets tossed a few foot in the air instead of just being rolled off. Bryan shows some resiliency when he kicks out of a massive Spear from Show. He then counters a Chokeslam with a guillotine submission and then a LaBell Lock when Show tries to get out. After Show powers out of that he gets into it with Henry which causes the DQ and title retention. There’s a fair amount of boos along with the usual cheers when Bryan is celebrating. That’s certainly a controversial way to win and what a way to set off 2012.