Arena Reports 2/11 WWE results San Francisco, Calif.: Second detailed report - Orton-Barrett cage main event, Rhodes appearances, heel mic work, "Pizza" chants
Feb 12, 2012 - 3:00:10 PM
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WWE Smackdown house show report
February 11, 2012
San Francisco, Calif. at Cow Palace
Report by Alexander Coleman, PWTorch reader
The house show began at 7:30 p.m. sharp and the attendance at the historic Cow Palace was decent. Roughly 60 percent full, with the floor almost completely sold out.
(1) The Great Khali beat Jinder Mahal. It always helps to be the first babyface out, but Khali was very over. The match started with tons of stalling by Mahal, who kept bailing to the floor to anger the crowd and separate himself from Khali. But, when Khali finally got his hands on Mahal, it was just about total domination. The match concluded in predictable fashion with Khali finishing Mahal off after about seven minutes.
IC champion Cody Rhodes ran down to the ring as Khali was celebrating his win, hitting Khali with an awkward version of his Beautiful Disaster kick. Khali turned toward Rhodes, which made the heel run back to the top of the entrance ramp. Cody complained about not having a microphone with which to speak, and many fans started to laugh, as the guy behind me yelled that he needed a mic. Cody went backstage for about 30 seconds, then returned, bitterly saying, "Can't even find a mic in this dump?" This received a lot of heat. Cody said that he was taking Smackdown over, and that everyone could see him at Elimination Chamber where he'll become a dual champion -Intercontinental champion and World Heavyweight champion. Fans booed him vociferously.
(2) Ezekiel Jackson beat Hunico via DQ. Camacho interfered about two minutes into their match. Hunico and Camacho badmouthed the audience and behaved like thugs. Fans were into hating them. Complete domination by Zeke, who, as with a Stockton, Calif. house show I attended six months ago, was probably the most not-over babyface of the night. He's just not cut out for the face role. Anyway, Zeke went for an early Torture Rack finish on Hunico, but Camacho hit the ring and hit Zeke quite a few times.
After the bell rang, a beat down ensued until Ted DiBiase hit the ring and the faces cleared the two heels. DiBiase grabbed the mic and told Hunico that he and "his girlfriend, Camacho" should join Ted and Zeke for tag team action. A referee told the announcer that this was fine by him, so the match was made into a tag team match. The fellow behind me had been wanting Teddy Long to show up to make it a tag team match, but I turned around and pointed out that this was proof he was unneeded.
(3) Ezekiel Jackson & Ted DiBiase beat Hunico & Camacho. The match lasted about eight or nine minutes and had some good action, primarily from DiBiase. He seems to be crafting an effective babyface moveset.
(4) Alicia Fox beat Natalya. Fan interest was fairly low here, but the match itself was very much okay. They went about seven minutes, which felt very long when you're conditioned to an unofficial two-minute time limit to most Divas matches on TV. The match was never boring, though. Alicia sold Natalya's offense well, but came back with several pinning combinations, finally securing the winning roll-up after a solid struggle to do so.
(5) Big E. Langston beat Heath Slater. Slater came down to the ring first and cut a promo on how much he despises Hornswoggle. Hornswoggle came down to the ring and mocked Slater, then pointed toward the entrance ramp. Big E. Langston was introduced as being from Tampa, Florida, which is always amusing to hear for some reason. The match was basic and lasted exactly five minutes, as Langston finished Slater off after some power moves with a big running splash. Somewhat clever booking to give the fans a rooting interest in the new guy nobody knows with Hornswoggle at ringside, who was a thorn in Slater's side throughout the match.
Then, the dastardly Cody Rhodes returned, and gave Big E. Langston the Beautiful Disaster kick, followed by a general beat down and Cross Rhodes. Hornswoggle tried to stop Cody's attack, but was shoved face-first into the mat for his troubles. Big E. Langston was being taken to the back at this point. Just when things were beginning to look bleak for the little leprechaun, Justin Gabriel's music started up and he ran down to the ring to confront Rhodes. The match was made for the Intercontinental Championship.
(6) IC champion Cody Rhodes beat Justin Gabriel to retain the IC Title. Hornswoggle remained at ringside. This was an excellent match, with a lot of old-school stalling to begin with from Rhodes, who the fans seemed to loathe. After a couple of minutes of this, a "CODY SUCKS!" chant rang out throughout the building. Cody grabbed the mic on the floor and cuttingly remarked, "I can't suck! I'm not from San Francisco!" This drew more heat. The match blew everything preceding it out of the water, as it went a good twelve minutes and had a lot of engrossing back-and-forth action. One of my favorite sequences involved Rhodes going for a Russian legsweep on Gabriel, but the face held on to the top rope, making Rhodes fall to the canvas, and in one motion, Gabriel sprung himself up for a moonsault from the middle rope, only to crash when Rhodes moved out of the way. Eventually, Rhodes seemed to outsmart Gabriel and hit him with the Cross Rhodes for the clean heel victory.
As Rhodes held his Intercontinental Championship up high and basked in the fans's hatred, Great Khali's music hit and he gingerly walked to the ring. There was a moment where you could see the pain in Khali's face as he made his knees move coming down the ramp. It took him a while to get to the ring, but when he did, Rhodes was in trouble. Khali chopped Rhodes in the head, then Gabriel and Khali moved Rhodes into position to receive the Tadpole Splash from Hornswoggle. The three faces - a leprechaun, an Indian giant, and a South African - celebrated and danced in the ring while Rhodes was taken away.
A message from Daniel Bryan aired on the Tron. He said that the fans were mistaken about Big Show, who has somehow fooled everyone into believing that he's a gentle giant. He told everyone that he was proud to call himself a vegan.
(7) Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus in an Arm-Wrestling contest went to a No Contest in a Royal Rumble Winners Challenge match. Ricardo Rodriguez was in the house and received a rather loud pop. Del Rio received as many cheers as boos upon his return, and he made the point that there was a large Hispanic audience in attendance, which only gave him more cheers. Sheamus came down to a mighty good pop, and chatted up the fans on the mic. Del Rio said that a battle between Royal Rumble winners would happen, but not tonight, as he was actually not medically cleared to wrestle. So, they made it into an arm wrestling contest, which most of the fans found disappointing. Sheamus was about to win the arm wrestling contest, but Ricardo jumped on his back while Del Rio shoved the table away. Sheamus flipped Ricardo down and Del Rio bailed, to watch his ring announcer receive a great-looking Brogue Kick to the head. The fans ate that up. Sheamus shook hands and gave out high-fives before leaving.
A message on the Tron was delivered by Randy Orton, who promised to punish Wade Barrett inside the "15-foot high steel cage" at the end of the night.
(8) Big Show beat World Hvt. champion Daniel Bryan via DQ; Bryan retained the World Title. Cody Rhodes and Jinder Mahal hit the ring to interfere against Big Show to cause the DQ. This match was juvenile - and pretty hilarious, quite truthfully. Bryan spread his vegan propaganda, saying we were all poisoning ourselves by eating meat and other animal products. Big Show came down to the ring in his usual jovial way. Big Show was very over and a "BIG SHOW" chant started up very quickly. Lots of stalling from Bryan, who, at ringside, grabbed the mic and yelled at a fan in the second row: "Is there meat on that pizza?" The fan was rather large and Bryan told everyone that if we ate pizza, especially with meat on it, we'd end up just like him: fat and ugly. He asked, "Do you know how many animals were probably sacrificed for that pizza?" The fan made the best of the situation and held up his slice of pizza proudly. This made the fans chant, "PIZZA!" I believe pizza may have been the most over babyface of the night, at least for a few moments. After some more Bryan stalling, Show grabbed the mic in the ring and said that for a guy who doesn't eat meat, "You sure do act like a chicken." Show chopped Bryan's chest a few times, which the fans loved, and Bryan, in trying to alleviate the pain in his chest with his hands, held his arms up in a manner that made him look like a chicken clucking away. Show laughed at this and so did most of the fans. After a while, the match slowly became a bit more serious, as Bryan continuously chop blocked Big Show's left knee and went to work on it. He put Show in the LeBell Lock. Show eventually powered out of it and the momentum turned in his favor. Bryan hit Show with a missile dropkick, and went for something else off the top, but Show connected with the WMD right hand, knocking Bryan out. Show fell down, though, and as he started to move toward the prone Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Jinder Mahal hit the ring, drawing the disqualification after about 15 minutes of match time.
Afterward, Rhodes and Mahal worked over Big Show, but then Sheamus reappeared to make the save. He cleared the ring of both Rhodes and Mahal with some Irish Hammers, and he helped Big Show to his feet. They continued to play off that respect-babyface angle started on Smackdown this week, as they high-fived and shook hands with each other. Sheamus left, while high-fiving more fans. Big Show grabbed the World Heavyweight Championship belt and looked at it in despondent fashion. He then dropped the championship belt and walked away from the ring, to the back. After a minute or so, Bryan came back to consciousness. He begged to understand why he lost the match to the referee, fearing he'd lost his precious World Heavyweight Championship. Yet, the referee assured him that this was not the case, handing him the championship belt. Bryan turned that frown upside down and gleefully jumped up and down, yelling, "YES! YES!" as the fans booed him. He skipped and hopped and joyously ran his way to the backstage area.
Next was a steel cage main event of Orton vs. Barrett. Barrett came down to the ring first to a decent heel reaction. He said that he would be the next World Heavyweight Champion after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. He pointed out that he had a background in bare knuckle fighting, which made him the toughest man WWE had ever seen. He wondered why no one was showing him any respect in San Francisco. Orton came out to a rather monstrous pop. It was kind of humorous to see so many cellphone cameras held up to capture Orton.
(9) Randy Orton beat Wade Barret via RKO in a Steel Cage match. This was the match that beat out Gabriel-Rhodes for Match of the Night honors, though both matches were very good. A very solid steak and potatoes cage match, with most of the obligatory cage match spots utilized well by both men. Barrett took a real beating in this match. Orton flung him around the ring and cage, and seemed to throw him headfirst into the top of the cage when both men were up there. (Barrett had attempted to exit by climbing over and hit him with a bunch of crisp suplexes and powerslams.) Barrett got his licks in, throwing Orton into the cage a few times as well. Good back-and-forth action, demonstrating how much Barrett has progressed from, say, 15 months ago in the ring. Orton hit all of his standard maneuvers, including the rope-assisted DDT, all to very strong reactions. Inevitably, Orton won the match after 15 minutes with an RKO in the center of the ring. The fans went home happy as Orton gave out handshakes and high-fives at ringside afterward.
The entire show went just a couple of minutes shy of two-and-a-half hours, as the crowd began to pour out a few minutes before 10:00 p.m.
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