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SD!: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Mark Henry: Man on a Mission
February 9, 2013

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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Once again I’m on the laptop for this recap. In preparation for my tax return, I’ve secured a loan so I can buy a brand spanking new computer. Of course, while I was putting it together, I completely screwed a few things up, making what should be a one-hour job turned into a five-hour ordeal. However, the benefit of completely failing means I was able to reinstall Windows, and this time actually install Windows 64-bit to (hopefully) help with my gaming speed.
 
The downside is that it’s taking me forever to get everything reinstalled, games and other such software included. I wasn’t so sure about dropping $400 on the laptop last year, but man, it’s definitely paid off and allowed me to continue working even when all hell breaks loose (or I screw up) like this. But hey, at least everything works… And I can definitely tell the difference between a computer with 4 GB RAM and one with 16 GB. I can’t wait to stress this thing.
 

But that’ll be tomorrow, probably. For now, I need to keep installing stuff… and get to SmackDown! Let’s roll…

Opening: We cold-open to Big Show’s bus arriving at the arena. The first one off is Some Guy, evidently his driver, who checks things over real quick. Then Show exits, insults the guy, and heads on in as we hit the signature.

Signature: Oh, and speaking the signature, we’ve got new music! This one is “Born 2 Run” by 7Lions. It sounds more like a pay-per-view theme song… maybe it was once, who knows. It’s far more fitting than Green Day, but still isn’t as good as “Rise Up” by Drowning Pool.

…Oh wait, in the process of researching the “new” song’s title and name, I found out that it’s been the SmackDown theme song since October 2012. So, uh… whoops. I guess that’s what I get for constantly fast-forwarding through it. This is the kind of thing I usually notice… I’m surprised I didn’t notice it once in the last four freaking months.

Segment 1: Big Show apparently made a beeline from his bus because he’s coming out to the ring immediately. He grabs a mic and declares that the administration is making the show unacceptable. He’s sick of the way he’s treated, and he’s sick of how biased everything is against him. He doesn’t really care about the torrent of boos he receives, but he doesn’t think that being disliked is any reason for him to be screwed over multiple times to let the “Latin maniac” win the World Heavyweight Title and assaulting him in his hotel room on RAW.

He points out the double-standard that when he beats the crap out of Alberto Del Rio, he’s insulted and called a “bully” and suspended; but when ADR assaults Show, he’s cheered and is a hero and is rewarded. But still, before ADR attacked him, Show did sign that title contract, so he’ll take back his title at Elimination Chamber.

Show admits that ADR has been suspended for tonight due to the hotel room attack, but that it just amounts to ADR getting a night off. It’s all Booker T’s fault for being jealous of Show’s ability, and the fact he’s still in the spotlight while Books is behind a desk and pushing pencils.

Naturally, here comes Books to reply. He doesn’t know why Show is bitching; Show, after all, got what he wanted in the form of the title shot. Books also agrees that he doesn’t like bullies, but Show is a bully… the way he bullies Ricardo Rodriguez.

Show diverts topics and rhetorically demands to know who exactly gave ADR Show’s hotel information on Monday. Show answers his own question: Books obvious did (or ordered one of his flunkies to do so), because ADR’s appearance gets ratings, and that Books wants to destroy Big Show completely. Show concludes with the question again, but this time it’s not rhetorical.

Booker T lets the question pass, since he points out that Show is sort of distinguishable in a crowd, and that anyone could have given ADR the information. Either way, Books says Show shouldn’t be concerned with all that, but should instead be concerned about his opponent tonight.

Show tosses his arm and says that it’s no big surprise that Booker T has some sort of unfair match lined up against him, especially given that Show is still in his suit. Why didn’t Books call him, or e-mail him, or text him, or tweet him about a match and an opponent tonight?

Books says he’ll take that under advisement, but gets on with it (after entirely too much blathering)… He’ll be facing Kane. Show drops his jaw, selling Kane’s power and strength, which is good. He even complains that it’s not fair since he’s got no time to prepare.

Books basically just shrugs and hits his catchphrase, then leaves. Meh… Standard modern opening, nothing more to talk about.

Pre-Segment 2: I confess that I hadn’t even noticed Cody Rhodes’s new T-shirt even after Rick mentioned it in an editor’s note, so now I was sure to take a look at it. And it’s indeed a handlebar mustache with comb teeth. It looks stupid as hell, something that looks like it would be one of the few things a hipster would wear “unironically.” Screw hipsters, and that crappy shirt.

Segment 2 [Singles Match]: Cody Rhodes defeats Kofi Kingston by pin. Solid match, but no noteworthy spots. Kofi and Cody play well together, especially when they get to just jump and fly around like Mexican jumping beans. The match ended with the Cross Rhodes, which followed a Disaster Kick that Chris Jericho has already sued for due to copyright infringement.

Segment 3: Kane is in the back, and Daniel Bryan arrives. DB says he apologizes for costing Kane his match on Monday. Kane accepts his apology and tells him to get out, but DB insists that they’re friends, and he totally forgives him for Kane ruining his match on WWE Main Event, which I never watch. DB also suggests that he should hang out with Kane during his match against Show.

DB brings up several reasons why it’s a super awesome idea, but Kane tells him rather forcefully not to say another word. Not “yes,” not “no,” no word at all. DB’s next word out of his mouth just better be “congratulations” after Kane totally wins.

Kane leaves, and DB actually does stay silent. He also looks a little worried, but I’m sure nothing will turn out badly, because Team Friendship is so stable!

Segment 4: RAW recap of Brock Lesnar for the past two weeks. I’ve been really bad lately; I’ve notice I keep recapping recaps, which is distinctly against OO Policy.

Segment 5: Replay of the Bruno Sammartino video montage.

Pre-Segment 6: As Khali, Hornswoggle, and Natalya hit the ring for a match, Josh Mathews segues from the previous segment by saying “Here comes another future Hall of Famer.” JBL proceeds to intellectually undress him on the air for suggesting any of those three will get into the Hall of Fame. For some reason, that makes me smile.

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Khali (w/ Natalya & Hornswoggle) reverse-squashes Titus O’Neil by pin. JBL continues to make me smile by insulting Josh throughout the match with more Hall of Fame-related insults. The match here consisted of punchy-kick, which Titus did pretty well given how little was actually getting accomplished. During Titus’s only flurry, Khali hit a Brain Chop out of nowhere to make the pin. JBL concludes: “That’s a Hall of Fame match right there.” Ha!

Post-Segment 6: Natalya gets in the ring to bounce around in multiple ways for my enjoyment as she usually does. Seems like a normal ending… and then here comes Mark Henry, who this time is getting about 50/50 cheers-to-boos. Unexpected.

Henry, moist and angry as usually, beelines to the ring, drags O’Neil out of it from under the bottom rope, then flings him head-first into the corner barricade as if the dude only weighed a hundred pounds. Henry then set his sights on Khali, entered the ring, got in Khali’s face, and proceeded to exchange blows. Henry again showed he’s got some additional speed than he had since he left, and his punches looked solid.

Khali got the better of the exchange and signaled for his two-handed chokeslam, but Henry powered out. Henry shoved Khali to the corner, did a running vertical splash, then went ahead and broke physics by hitting a clean World’s Strongest Slam.

Huh. I wasn’t as sold on Henry during his title run, which was arguably his first entry into relevance in his career, but he was entertaining me. But now, like I said on Monday, he looks a bit more trim, and he’s certainly moving more fluidly. So far, so good… let’s see what sort of feud he’ll be in once he’s settled again. [Ed. Note: his matches still won't be all that action packed now that he's 100% healthy, but he was definitely dabbling in the art of Credibility towards the end of his last run. And he's still got it. Having fans believe in you -- instead of rolling their eyeballs at you -- goes a long way to creating an environment conducive to entertainment.]

Segment 7: Mark Henry is still in the ring after commercial. He declares that the Hall of Pain is now open again, and he’s totally going to destroy everyone and everything. And his destruction this past week is all Booker T’s fault because while Books made up his Elimination Chamber of former World Champions, he forgot to call up Mark Henry. So now he’s pissed, and we need to deal with him. He declares that Booker T owes him an explanation right the hell now.

Books does indeed pop out of gorilla and is pretty upset too. He says that Henry can’t just beat the crap out of everyone and will impress him and Teddy Long. Henry ignores that and threatens that if Booker T doesn’t make room in the Elimination Chamber for him, he’ll make room… by injuring everyone so he’s the only one in the match.

Books doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, and he needs proof that he can still fight after nine months off. So he promises that if Henry can beat one of the people already in the chamber, then fine, he’ll let him in. So he instantly books Henry vs. Randy Orton tonight.

Segment 8: Show is back at the bus and insults the driver for not setting up the bus thermostat like he wants, and for overcooking his steak. The driver sucks up, and Show mumbles as he heads back into the arena.

The camera pans, and we see ADR pop out between two busses that were parked near Show’s… and if we assume this is real-life, then Show should totally have seen him at some point during this segment. But I guess being off-camera gives you magical powers of invisibility to other people in the scene, so there you go.

Segment 9 [Singles Match]: Big Show defeats Kane by pin. Decent match, nothing special. Kane had early offense, Show did the heel beatdown to take us to commercial. Once back, Show whiffed on a Vader Bomb, then Kane hit him with a flying lariat off the top rope. However, Kane hurt his knee during the flight and was slow to get up. They got to their feet together, and Show hit him with the WMD to make the pin. Short and sweet.

Post-Segment 9: As Show exited the ring, ADR appeared on the Titantron. ADR says that he didn’t know what he was going to do during his night after being suspended, so he decided to be social and make a new friend! Specifically, he befriended Show’s bus driver! And now, with ADR’s blessing, the driver has made some changes to the bus.

Show storms out of the arena, and when gets outside, we see that his bus is on cinder blocks without their wheels. Show wails “How is this even possible?” with the he most self-aware tone ever. As he stands there wailing, a bucket of orange paint gets dumped on his head (and covers half the camera). Pan up, and we see ADR doing the dumping.

Show wails some more to kill some time, and the camera pans to the left. Now ADR is sitting on a “roadside assistance” truck being driven by Ricardo, and ADR says that he totally knows a guy if Show needs some new wheels. Ricardo drives off as ADR hangs onto the roof, and Show sobs with a rather manly torrent of tears. Now that is funny and entertaining!

Segment 10 [Singles Match]: Jack Swagger extend-squashes Justin Gabriel by submission. Solid match that helps give Swagger some momentum. I still don’t think he’s noticeably different from before his short hiatus, but his more serious tone is helping, and everyone else’s selling and jobbing is useful too. The match ended with the Swagger Bomb followed up with the Patriot Act.

Segment 11: WWE wants kids to read!

Segment 12: Another Fandango vignette. What’s the point? Get him out here already.

Segment 13 [Singles Match]: Tensai defeats Drew McIntyre (w/ 3MB) by disqualification. Drew with early offense, Tensai started to counter, the rest of 3MB attacked Tensai to draw the DQ.

Post-Segment 13: And here comes… Brodus Clay to make the save? Looks like we’ve got a face turn by proxy that nobody asked for!

Clay and Tensai quickly clean house, and the Funkadactyls get in the ring. They encourage him to dance, which he does, and even busts out the Grand Master Sexay shovel step and Gangdam Style with Brodus Clay, because entertainment, or something. [Ed. Note: Somebody fact check me on this, but as "Tensai," was he wearing the face piercings? I don't remember, but I don't think they did. He was wearing them last night, perhaps signaling the full-on return to "Albert" or "A-Train." Sadly, I don't think my contribution -- TenPSY -- is under consideration.]

Segment 14 [Singles Match]: Antonio Cesaro defeats Sin Cara by pin. Decent match, nothing special, with a foregone conclusion of a finish. Typical formula too, with Cesaro doing all the early offense, suffered a hope spot, but cut off Cara’s momentum with a European Uppercut followed up with the Neutralizer. Nothing bad, but nothing surprising.

Segment 15: Matt Striker interviews Randy Orton in the back, who makes some generic threats against Mark Henry that aren’t worth retyping.

Segment 16: After commercial, it’s The Miz’s turn to be interviewed by Matt Striker. Miz puts over Brock Lesnar, saying he’s the scariest and most hardcore person he’s ever faced. But damnit, he’s still on his feet, and he’s—

Uh, and he’s cutting himself off as Antonio Cesaro arrives that Miz is a typical American: he stuck his nose where it didn’t belong, and is now complaining about it. Miz replies that he should stick his nose where it does belong, and proceeds to punch Cesaro in the face. They roll around a bit like a diva catfight before referees materialize to pull them apart.

Segment 17: Montage for The Shield, concluding with a RAW recap of their activities this week.

After that we get WWE.com exclusive coverage of post-RAW, where Cena declares there will be a fight against The Shield at Elimination Chamber. They’ll be in a six-man tag match (or something) versus John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback. Yay?

Segment 18 [Singles Match]: Mark Henry defeats Randy Orton by pin. Same exact formula as Cara/Cesaro up there. Henry had the punchy-kicky stuff early, then Orton had a hope and went for four of his Five Moves of Doom, including the Hangman’s DDT. However, Henry countered the RKO and hit the World’s Strongest Slam, putting an end to that nonsense and earning a spot in the SmackDown Elimination Chamber.

The match was short, but not overly so. It was just the perfect length: short enough to hide Orton’s and Henry’s flaws, but long enough to make it competitive. And I’m glad to see I was right: Henry is definitely moving faster and smoother than he did before his hiatus.

Final Thoughts: A safe episode of SmackDown that didn’t really accomplish a whole hell of a lot, every match felt like an undercard effort. Nothing bad, but nothing really good other than Henry’s reestablishment into the main event. Henry isn’t going to set the world on fire, but he’s become a solid heel, and he’s pretty watchable. Can’t really ask for anything more.

I’m still fighting with my new computer, so I’m calling it here. Thanks for reading guys, and I’ll see you next week for RAW.

Episode Grade: C

 
E-MAIL PYROFALKON


  
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