Smackdown House Show
The LG arena was about 2/3 full presumably because there was a Raw taping in Liverpool on the same night.
1. William Regal defeated Daniel Bryan
As you would expect Regal got a big pop here from the English crowd, during the match Regal and Bryan went for a handshake but Bryan took this opportunity to low-blow Regal and worked the rest of the match as the heel which put the audience firmly in Regal’s court. At the end of what was a great technical wrestling match Bryan went for the Labelle Lock but Regal cancelled and Bryan tapped out to the Regal Stretch. After the match Regal praised Bryan for being the most aggressive that he’d ever seen him and called him the future of the business who also assured the fans he wasn’t retiring and thanked legendary British wrestler Robbie Brookside for all he’d done for him, Brookside even got a small chant from the crowd.
2. Tyson Kidd defeated Jinder Mahal
Originally Johnny Curtis was Mahal’s opponent but he was attacked from behind before the match began and carried out by referees. Mahal then started a promo in Indian which elicited what chants from the crowd until Mick Foley’s music hit and the crowd went wild. Foley got some cheap pops in and plugged a comedy gig he has in Birmingham next year he then told Mahal that he didn’t like anybody to go away without doing a proper night’s work and he bought out Kidd as his new opponent. I have to say this was a rather dull match as for the most part Mahal was in charge however some near falls at the end got people a little bit more excited and the win came when Foley distracted Mahal allowing Kidd to get the roll-up. After the match Foley got Mister Socko out and applied the Mandible Claw to Mahal before thanking the fans once more and leaving with Kidd.
3. A.J. beat Tamina
Aksana refereed this one which everybody either fell asleep for or went to buy some food. The only highlight for me was AJ’s firework-fuelled entrance and while these two tried their best nobody really cared.
4. Sheamus defeated Christian
Huge ovation for Sheamus as he came to the ring, this started with some moving around between the two before Sheamus got Christian’s T-Shirt and wiped his arse with it. This caused Christian to get on the mic and insult the crowd before telling people he was leaving but of course Sheamus wouldn’t let him leave. This for me was the match of the night between two men who know how to work well together and understand ring psychology and the crowd were fully into it throughout also. After several counters, Sheamus won the match with the Brogue Kick.
5. Hunico beat Yoshi Tatsu
This was the first match after the intermission so people were still coming in from the back as Sin Cara made his entrance to the ring. Funnily enough the ring crew had forgotten to set up the trampoline for his entrance so it was hastily placed in its right position as he leaped in. After tearing up a Sin Cara sign, Hunico took off the mask and berated Sin Cara and the Birmingham crowd; personally I think he should’ve hung onto the mask as they were selling them for £55 on the merchandise stands. Tatsu and Hunico worked a good match and when the pace was fast they really got into it. The end came when Hunico executed a Senton off the top rope onto Tatsu.
6. Randy Orton and Ted Dibiase defeated Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes
Barrett got a nice ovation from the English crowd but I was disappointed to see that Rhodes wasn’t accompanied by his baggers. Orton inevitably got the biggest pop of the night and his entrance and exit were probably the most memorable parts of this match. This was a solid tag match but it did drag a bit whenever Barrett and Dibiase were together as for me they didn’t have a lot of chemistry. The exchanges between Orton and Rhodes on the other hand were first class and Orton really had the Birmingham crowd in the palm of his hand. The end came when Orton set up for the RKO on Barrett, Rhodes intervened, Dibiase caught Rhodes in Dream Street and then Barrett got the RKO from Orton to make he and Dibiase the winners.
7. The Big Show defeated Mark Henry by Disqualification in a World Title Match
When this was announced for the World Title it was obvious that Big Show wouldn’t get a pinfall victory here. Henry probably got the biggest heat of the night but there was a nice pop for Show, possibly more than I was expecting. This was the usual bearhug/test-of-strength extravaganza and really failed to follow the previous few matches. There were one or two impressive moves but overall the crowd were dead and I even heard a few we want wrestling chants. Henry hit Show with a chair to get disqualified but keep the title obviously Show got some revenge blows on the champion to keep the audience on a high as they left.
Overall for me the first half of the show surpassed the second mainly due to the deathly dull main event and the fact that Regal, Foley, Sheamus and Christian had livened things up early on.
Hunico (when he took the Sin Cara mask off)