I am loving the new Levesque era. This Smackdown was the best Friday night I've spent in a long time. I grinned through a lot of it. And why not? I think there was a lot to grin about!
First of all, General Manager Teddy Long introduced the new World Heavyweight Champion, Randy Orton, and could he have BEEN any more excited about it? Christian is taking a vacation, so Randy had to come out and announce himself like Del Rio just to ask Teddy who his next target is. Well, we were to find out in the main event when 20 men would compete in a Battle Royal for the honor. In the meantime, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase came out (yay! Legacy reunion!), and Cody announced that he was going to be competing in the match because while he, like Randy, wears gold, he's not satisfied with being mere IC champ. He then gave his manservant the microphone, allowing him to speak ("You've got a voice, Ted, use it."), but before Ted could get very far, Orton gave him the RKO mid-sentence. Too bad Ted was supposed to go up against Zeke next. Oh, well, Cody's there to take his spot!
Can we just stop for a minute and say how awesome Cody is in the ring? This match worried me, because Teddy Long declared that since it was Cody it was going to be for the Intercontinental Championship, I wasn't certain which way it would go. Thankfully, Cody ended the match with a Crossroads to finish Zeke off clean. Point #1 to the new regime, not wasting the talent of an amazing athlete and giving the belt back to the big man with muscles who just LOOKS impressive.
Next up was that Justin Gabriel video package again. Afterwards, he made his way to the ring to new music, looking very excited. He was in action against Tyson Kidd. This match made my night, seriously. Both competitors looked incredible, and made a great show of the match. Gabriel came out on top, but Kidd also managed to come out of it looking like a force to be reckoned with. Point #2 to the new regime, actually building up some of the incredible young stars that have been waiting hopelessly for their day in the limelight.
Apparently Teddy Long had instructed his assistant (WOO WOO WOO) to invite the undisputed WWE championship to the show last night. Zack mentioned that life was full of surprises, and Del Rio took up the invitation and came out to address the Smackdown crowd. He gloated for a bit before Daniel Bryan came out to call him generally boring (after all, he cashed in his briefcase just like everyone else has, ever), and challenge him to another match. Daniel Bryan, in case you didn't know, is such a NERD, he may have to beat the women off with a stick. Yet again, another incredible match from beginning to end. Del Rio, being the champion, came away with the win here.
Diva time! Kelly Kelly and A.J. took on Natalya and Alicia Fox. A.J. had some spiffy new blue gear (mama likey!), and surprisingly spent more time in the ring than the Diva's champion did. She definitely showed her improvement, and... wait, what is that I hear? Did the crowd actually POP for a DIVA'S match?? Point #3 to the new regime, giving the women more airtime and making people actually care about them again. Kelly pinned Alicia for the win, and afterwards, Alicia and Natalya had words that ended in Natalya laying her partner out flat outside the ring and throwing the sharpshooter on her.
God. Bless. Beth and Nattie. Beth and Nattie 4EVER. <3
Finally we get to the main event of the evening. Smackdown came back from commercial long enough so that we could see Randy Orton making his way down the ramp to sit ringside for the match, then went right back into a commercial again. Really? Did we need to see Randy that badly? You could have just continued the commercials straight through that and come back for the announcers to go, "And we have Randy Orton sitting ringside."
Anyway, the match. 20 men enter. Did it surprise ANYONE that Trent Baretta was first out? That kid seriously has a wing of the jobber hall of fame named after him at this point. Also not surprising that directly following him were Yoshi Tatsu, Johnny "Cheesiest Promos Ever" Curtis, and finally (Noooooooooo!) The Long Island Iced Z. Yeah, I was expecting Zack Ryder to get eliminated, I was just hoping maybe he'd last a little longer. One by one, guys were getting picked off, and at some point, Henry had slipped through the ropes and was outside the ring destroying the guys who were already out of the match! The Usos fell. The Great Khali. Ginder Majal. Cody & Ted. I held out hope as long as Wade Barret was in the match, but finally his number came up too. Then my only hope was Sheamus. When the last two men in the ring were Mark Henry and NOFACE! (that's Sin Cara to non-Spanish-speakers), I knew I had to finally admit that my boy was right, and this was to be Henry's night. I don't know what Sin Cara was thinking, that he could hurricanrana that big ass out of the ring, but he just ended up getting ragdoll-tossed to the floor.
Mark Henry can smell you, Orton. Maybe you should shower.