Originally branded as “The Rock’s Show,” WWE looked to make Smackdown memorable and take advantage of an appearace from The Rock and used him on this show.
Quite a smart way to bring in viewers.
WWE also tried something different when they revealed a few days ago that Alberto Del Rio had captured the World Heavyweight Championship from The Big Show on their website.
Perhaps they wanted to give it away to see if viewers would tune in to watch it. This took away the surprise factor though and what could’ve been one of the best moments in Smackdown history didn’t have the intended effect.
- Video opener hyped The Rock’s Miami return and first Smackdown appearance in 10 years, The Big Show’s dominance and Alberto Del Rio’s “destiny for gold.”
- Booker T came out. He said he couldn’t overlook Raw, but said Smackdown would be better. He said Raw had John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler. He’d give them Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton (Great, Main Event’s match), The Rock in a Smackdown ring and put the World Heavyweight Championship on the line in a Last Man Standing Match between Show and Del Rio while music played awkwardly over. Show came out angry and said it was a personal vendetta from Booker. He blamed the Latino population’s need to embrace Del Rio as the match’s reason. He said there were no Latino heroes in Miami or any heroes that’d stop him. He backed Booker T into a corner and advised him to change his mind. Del Rio ran down, attacked Show and hit him with kicks. Decent segment but the way Show put down Latinos sort of made them forced to cheer Del Rio. Their reaction didn’t feel genuine.
- Video aired of one of The Rock’s career highlights from September 13, 2001 when he threw Shawn Stasiak out of the ring and beat him in a WCW Title match.
- Randy Orton def. Antonio Cesaro via DQ: Cesaro announced his Royal Rumble entry in a pre-taped promo. The two exchanged blows, rest holds and maneuvers. Cesaro hit the European Upper Cut for a close near-fall. He hit the Second-Rope DDT and gestured for the RKO. Before he could strike, The Shield attacked Orton and beat him down and hit the Powerbomb. Good that they didn’t give much away. They’ll fight on a presumably longer Main Event match anyway.
- Matt Striker interviewed 3MB backstage as he brought up their Royal Rumble entry. They bragged that they had a 10% chance of winning the match and headlining WrestleMania. They used bad musical puns to say they’d beat Sheamus later on.
- CM Punk cut a promo from Sun Life Stadium. He said he wouldn’t disrespect Rock’s career as he was a big fan, especially his College Football career. He put on Rock’s old jersey. He said the place where Rock played football was gone, just like the WWE he was a part of was no longer around in the “CM Punk era.” He said while he could come back to Miami, he’d never “come home.” Good stuff.
- Matt Striker approached Del Rio and Rodriguez backstage and wanted his thoughts on the Last Man Standing match. Del Rio said Show lowered himself to make fun of his own people and that he’d be new World Heavyweight Champion.
- Dolph Ziggler/A.J. Lee (w/Big E Langston) def. The Great Khali/Natalya (w/Hornswoggle): Khali hit chops on Ziggler, who sold them awesomely. Once the women were in the ring, A.J. found her inner vampire as she bit Natalya multiple times. A.J. hit Slice-Bread Number Two to finish Natalya off. After the match, Langston attacked Khali as he checked on Natalya. Ziggler hit the Fameasser on Khali. Hornswoggle stood between Ziggler and Langston and tried to escape, but ultimately felt the wrath of the Hit-and-Run.
- Another Punk promo aired from Sun Life Stadium. He said Rock claimed that he came back to save “the people,” but they didn’t deserve to be saved and that they could rot in hell. Heyman told Rock not to take it personally, because Punk was better than everybody. He said in the era of CM Punk, it didn’t matter what his vison was. Punk took off Rock’s jersey and threw it to the floor. More good stuff.
- Another Rock career highlight aired from the debut of the Rock and Sock Connection. Classic.
- The Rock came out. He said he finally came back home. He said Miami was where it all started and brought up his College Football days where he trained with Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and won a National Championship. He asked Miami if they wanted to have some fun and then Team Rhodes Scholars music hit. They introduced themselves. Rhodes said Rock wouldn’t become Champion and that they deserved that time and not him. He suggested to Rock that he leave. Rock made fun of Cody’s mustache. Sandow proposed a “wager” and asked Rock to answer three questions directly to stay in the ring or leave. Sandow asked him who the 19th U.S. president was. Rock answered Rutherford B. Hayes. Rhodes asked him what Movie won Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993. Rock countered back with a question of his own. Sandow answered “Rock Bottom” and Rock did so. Rhodes and Rock stared down. Rock gave him a Spinebuster and performed The People’s Elbow. Fun segment.
- Sheamus def. 3MB: The whole group ran out of the ring. Slater ran back in and got Brogue Kicked. 1-2-3. Gee, that was short. McIntyre and Mahal carried Slater up the ramp.
- Team Hell No def. The Primetime Players: With their loss to Team Rhodes Scholars on Raw, Team Hell No looked to redeem themselves. They did that as they roughed up the PTP and overpowered them. Kane Chokeslammed Young and pinned him.
- World Heavyweight Championship- Last Man Standing Match- Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) def. The Big Show to win Title: Slow-paced match to start. Show Bodyslammed Del Rio through a table to a seven-count. Show brought a chair in the ring, but it backfired once Del Rio grabbed a hold of it and struck Show several times in the back with it. Del Rio held on the Cross Arm-Breaker over the ropes but fell to the outside for a seven-count. Show grabbed another table and set it up in the corner. Del Rio Dropkicked Show and he fell into the table and broke it. Show got up at five and later Chokeslammed Del Rio, who got up at eight. Show then speared Del Rio through the ringside barrier. Del Rio got up at nine. Show KO’d Del Rio. Del Rio rolled out of the ring and landed on his feet to break the count. JBL called for an end to the match as Show went for the Steel Steps. Show threw the steps at Del Rio and the post, but missed as it hit him in the face. Del Rio picked up the steps and hit Show three times in the head. Show fell behind the announce table. Del Rio turned the Announce Table onto Show and the Referee counted to ten and the crowd popped huge. Del Rio celebrated in the ring and then went in the crowd as JBL talked about how it was a big moment and that Del Rio won by any means necessary. Obviously a big moment that nobody probably expected and Del Rio looked strong here.
Final Thoughts: It was no secret that WWE planned to move behind Del Rio as their big Latin draw, but surely, nobody saw his World Title win so soon. Either way, it was a big moment and it thankfully came across that way on TV. If only they hadn’t given it away days prior, but then not as many people may had seen it, so who knows?