With only nine days remaining until WWE's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, the stars of SmackDown provided a rather lackluster show this past Friday night. Nonetheless, a returning Mark Henry ensured this edition wouldn't be a flop, as his domination of the blue brand throughout the night made for some quality entertainment.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in coming weeks.
Big Show Calls Out SmackDown General Manager Booker T
Fine opening segment featuring SmackDown general manager Booker T and Big Show. We've been seeing the same thing for weeks now, so I'm starting to question if this meant to foreshadow a feud between Booker T and Big Show down the line.
Nonetheless, this segment was effective in setting up Show's match with Kane for later in the night.
Cody Rhodes def. Kofi Kingston
Good match with Cody Rhodes defeating Kofi Kingston. These two work well together and made the most out of the match while it lasted.
The final few moments created some nice suspense and a cool finish. Both guys need wins at this point, but Rhodes has a bit more focus at the moment with his aspirations to become World Heavyweight champion.
The Great Khali with Natalya and Hornswoggle def. Titus O'Neil; Mark Henry Strikes
Horrendous match between The Great Khali and Titus O'Neil. This was yet another one of those matches that Khali is involved in that serves no purpose whatsoever, so why bother having it?
Thankfully, Mark Henry's post-match attack on O'Neil and Khali saved this segment from being a total disaster. His promo was strong and helped hype his match with Randy Orton in the main event.
Big Show def. WWE Tag Team Champion Kane
Decent match between Big Show and WWE Tag Team champion Kane. As Booker T stated earlier in the evening, this is a match we've seen countless times in recent years, so the action was nothing out of the ordinary.
The finish came out of nowhere with Show hitting the knockout punch for the victory, which was strange. Speaking of strange, the blue brand's top face in Alberto Del Rio just so happens to be a stalker, as he was seen lurking outside near Show's trailer following this bout.
Bonus points go to JBL for claiming that Del Rio should be arrested for his actions.
Jack Swagger def. Justin Gabriel
Basic squash match with Jack Swagger defeating Justin Gabriel. Swagger has been looking great in the ring since his return, although his mic work still leaves a lot to be desired.
Aside from that, I'm enjoying this new aggressive side we've been seeing from the All-American American and I'm hoping he secures a spot in the Elimination Chamber match within the next week.
Tensai def. Drew McIntyre with 3MB by Disqualification
Meaningless match between Tensai and Drew McIntyre. It lasted mere minutes and ended via disqualification, so this was another bout that had no purpose on the show.
It was nothing more than filler and occurred only to kill time. WWE should least attempt to further a feud and not waste precious time on something so pointless. Tensai's dancing act with Brodus Clay does nothing for this viewer, but I have no problem with it since Tensai wasn't doing anything as a heel anyway.
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro def. Sin Cara (non-Title)
Nice match with United States champion Antonio Cesaro defeating Sin Cara. It featured fun action and an exciting clash of in-ring styles.
There weren't any noticeable botches from Sin Cara here, which is always a plus. They both sold well for one another, and it's good to see Cesaro pick up a much-needed non-title victory.
Mark Henry def. Randy Orton
Solid match with Mark Henry defeating Randy Orton to score a spot in the Elimination Chamber match. They developed good chemistry as the match progressed and Orton lost nothing from losing clean here.
We've seen better matches from these two in the past, but it's mostly because this bout wasn't given enough time to tell much of a story. Regardless, Henry has looked dominant since his return on Monday's Raw, and I look forward to his performance in the Elimination Chamber.
Overall, a throwaway show that featured way too much filler, but I guess that was to be expected after this week's Raw featured hardly filler at all. Nonetheless, this show didn't seem to drag too much and still left me anticipating the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view next Sunday.
They've done a successful job of building up the Elimination Chamber match thus far, so here's hoping they can continue to do the same on next week's go-home edition of SmackDown.