AJ and Dolph Ziggler lock lips over a fallen Miz as Big E Langston looks on.
Mediocre opening segment featuring Sheamus, World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus and SmackDown General Manager Booker T. Sheamus' happy-go-lucky promo did nothing for this viewer and his verbal exchange with Show was nothing new. However, Show made a good point when he said Sheamus doesn't deserve a title shot since he's successfully defended his title against him three times already. The "luck of the draw" seemed stupid and Santino Marella winning was wasteful since he ended up getting replaced anyway. Not the best way to kick off the show.
Meaningless match with Brodus Clay defeating Primo. It lasted a mere minute and felt completely random since they're not currently involved in a feud with one another. It's a shame how Clay is being utilized at the moment and I hope he turns back heel sooner rather than later.
Good six-man tag team match with Wade Barrett and Team Rhodes Scholars defeating Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston and WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No. The action was very well paced and they kept the action entertaining over the course of the contest. Everyone was able to hit their signature spots and I loved the finish with Barrett hitting his finisher on Kingston to score the victory for his team. This gives the heels a much needed victory and the opportunity to contend for their respective titles.
Nice match between United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and Zack Ryder. Granted, it was all about Cesaro, but Ryder scored some minor offense before inevitably doing the job. These two work well together, so it's a shame that Ryder is nothing more than an enhancement talent for Cesaro more often than not.
Wade Barrett scores a victory over Intercontinental Champ Kofi Kingston.
Great match with Dolph Ziggler defeating The Miz. This wasn't as great as their clash on Main Event last month, but it was still enjoyable while it lasted. The bout could've used more time given the fact these two have awesome (no pun intended) in-ring chemistry together. The finish with Big E Langston distracting Miz only to allow Ziggler to hit the Zig-Zag was logical but also very well done. The post-match attack on Miz was also excellently executed and I'd love nothing more than to see Ziggler and Miz feud with one another on the road to WrestleMania 29.
Typical squash match with Sheamus dominating Brad Maddox. As previously stated, I'm starting to like Maddox, but I'm hoping these constant losses lead to something and aren't a case of Creative just treading water with his character. His antics made this bout more enjoyable than the basic squash match, but the win hardly did anything for Sheamus.
Brief tag team match with The Usos defeating the Prime Time Players. The bout lasted only about two minutes, so it felt like it didn't serve much of a purpose, but it was nice to see The Usos pick up their second victory of the week. I'm not sure if that's a sign of good things to come for the duo in 2013, but I surely hope so.
Standard match with Big Show defeating Alberto Del Rio by disqualification to successfully defend his World Heavyweight Championship. It's been over a year since we've seen this match, but the action was still the same. However, the fact the roles were reversed this time around made it feel fresh and helped Del Rio solidify himself as a babyface. The disqualification finish was to best route to take and the entire SmackDown roster coming out to aid Del Rio and Sheamus made sense and sent the crowd home happy.
Overall, a decent show that didn't do much as far as story-line progression goes, but that's expected during a holiday week. The action as a whole as average at best, but none of the matches were worth going back to see again. SmackDown didn't end 2012 on a high note, but I expect the real hype for the Royal Rumble event to begin within the next few weeks.
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