WWE SMACKDOWN WORLD TOUR (House Show) – February 12, 2012 Rabobank Arena – Bakersfield, California – The Arena (or the parts of it open for the show) was maybe 2/3′s filled, so maybe 2,500 people. LOTS of kids. – Tony Chimel was our Ring Announcer. He was pretty good, didn’t notice any flubs, though at one point he had to read a number of promotional announcements from a card.
Singles Match: The Great Khali def. Jinder Mahal. – Khali got a big pop from the kids, they loved him. – The match was pretty weak overall. Mahal put in a lot to make it work; Khali is just not a wrestler. – After the match, Cody Rhodes ran in and attacked Khali.
Tag Team Match: Ted DiBiase & Ezekiel Jackson def Hunico & Camacho – Ted got a good amount of pop, though the crowd seemed confused if they should cheer or boo for Jackson until Ted made it clear that they were partners. – Hunico & Camacho got a good amount of heat. Hunico was on mic (in Spanish) during the entrance. – The match was fair. Hunico & Camacho carried most of it and looked REALLY good out there, made me fan with their work tonight. Ted came off very weak and didn’t connect with a lot of his punches and kicks by a good distance, but still got a solid pop when he made the pin.
Divas Singles Match: Alicia Fox def Natalya – A really solid 10-minute match with great spots and a lot of reversals. Crowd seemed indifferent at the beginning but quickly got into it. – Alicia was sporting some new long Magenta extensions which was a good look for her. She got a nice pop from the crowd when she won. I haven’t liked Alicia’s work in the past, but her in-ring skills have improved because she put in solid work. – Natalya got some heat when she came out, but the pop was much louder than the boos. She seemed to have A LOT of fan support from what seemed to be the more Smark-y members of the crowd. Lots of cheers when she tried to put Alicia in the sharpshooter. There were some loud teenage girls near me with a big pink “Natalya Rocks!” sign and she posed for a picture with them.
Chimel announced a special ring announcer for the next match: Hornswoggle. (All the kids in the audience went NUTS!)
Singles Match: Local Talent (couldn’t catch his name) def Heath Slater – Local guy was good with a strong look. African-American, probably early 30′s, buzzed mohawk haircut. Short, but really muscular in a purple singlet. He pretty much carried the match. Slater looked weak as a performer. Local guy got the pin.
Cody Rhodes comes out. Crowd chants “You suck!” Cody says “That’s not a very nice thing to say, is it?” Cuts a promo where he wants to win Elimination Chamber next week and be the first World’s Heavyweight/Intercontinental Dual Champion. Hornswoggle was still loitering around the ring and begins to taunt Cody. Cody starts to beat on him, when Justin Gabriel runs out and stops Cody.
Singles Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes def. Justin Gabriel – Match dragged out as Cody spent a lot of time outside the ring avoiding Gabriel. Crowd started getting a little bored. – Gabriel went for the 450 Splash, but Cody stopped him and later got the pin. – After the match, Hornswoggle jumps in the ring and Cody begins to beat on him again. Great Khali comes out and gives Cody the Khali Chop. Then Hornswoggle climbs a turnbuckle and frog splashes Cody. Finally a recovered Justin climbs the turnbuckle and gives Cody the 450 splash to a huge pop.
Ricardo Rodriguez came out and announced: ALBERTO DEL RIO(!) The crowd was genuinely surprised to see Alberto and there were a lot of cheers for him at first. Once he got on mic, he quickly generated heat for himself. Said if he wasn’t injured that he would have won the Royal Rumble for a 2nd year in a row. He then called out Sheamus for a “Royal Rumble Champions Match.” Sheamus comes out to huge pop (“What’s the craic, Bakersfield?”) and the two banter back and forth on mic. Alberto says that he’s not medical cleared to wrestle yet, but challenges Sheamus to an ARM WRESTLING contest. They arm wrestle and Sheamus wins, but is quickly attacked by Alberto, assisted by Ricardo. Alberto grabs a chair, but Sheamus is able to boot it back into Alberto’s face. Alberto flees, leaving Ricardo in the ring. Sheamus gives him the Brogue Kick.
Main Event #1: World Heavyweight Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Big Show. – Before the match, long promo where Bryan rips into the Bakersfield crowd for being fat, meat eaters. Big Show then comes out (to huge pop) and compares Bryan to the Travelocity Garden Gnome. Bryan asks Chimel to announce him as a Vegan and a role model. Big Show asks Chimel to announce him as a “lover of steak” and “not a role model.” – Long match with a lot of action outside the ring. Bryan tries two different submission maneuvers including the LaBelle lock. Big Show made a LOT of loud chops to the chest. At one point, Bryan was bleeding from the right elbow. – Match is interrupted by Hunico and Camacho who start attacking Big Show with Bryan. The match was called for Big Show via DQ, but Bryan retains the title. Sheamus then runs down and lays waste to all three. Once Sheamus and Big Show got their pop and left, Bryan was left in the ring. He picked himself up, looking very upset, until the official handed him his World Heavyweight Title. He then began to cheer for himself in typical Bryan fashion and left the ring.
15 minute intermission to set up…
Main Event #2: Wade Barrett vs. Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match – Barrett’s entrance featured his new song, which plays much better live than his old song. He then cuts a long promo where he demands respect from the crowd because he used to be a bare-knuckle brawler, ergo he’s the toughest man in the WWE. Randy comes out, milks the entrance. Doesn’t jump on mic. – In case it’s not clear from the televised shows, the crowd LOVES Randy. They just went nuts for him. – During the match, a lot of good spots. Barrett was really making more use of the cage than Randy and attempted to climb over three times. Both guys hit their signature movies (“Winds of Change,” “RKO”). After maybe 20 minutes and a lot of back and forth, Randy gets the pin. – Chimel announces the end of the show. Randy stays by the ring and works his way around, signing autographs and shaking hands.
Biggest pops: Randy Orton (by FAR), Big Show, Justin Gabriel’s 450 Splash.
Most heat: Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes
Match of the night: Natalya/Fox. Bryan/Big Show not far behind.