With his sudden rise as new World Heavyweight Champion, WWE has fully backed Alberto Del Rio as their big Latino draw.
So lately, he’s been the poster boy for all things Latino.
He promised a “Fiesta” on this episode of Smackdown, so that also likely meant that we’d also see sombreros, mariachi bands, chihuahuas and burritos at the occasion. Not sure if he’d ride down the ramp in a lawn mower like The Mexicools did, but in WWE, anything was possible.
- Video opener hyped a “Rock Concert” on the show, Del Rio’s triumph over Big Show last week and a big fiesta celebration.
- As expected, the Fiesta had a mariachi band and a female dancer. Ricardo Rodriguez introduced Del Rio, who donned a suit, smiled, posed with the belt and slapped fans’ hands. He said he and the fans hadn’t seen eye-to-eye over the years, but they could all celebrate that the “fat jackass” was no longer champ. Dolph Ziggler, A.J. Lee and Big E Langston interrupted. Ziggler said Del Rio could say “adios” when he cashed in his briefcase. Del Rio told them to leave. Ziggler threatened to cash in right there, with Langston’s help. Del Rio told them to do it. The Big Show came out, walked into the ring with a cold stare and stood with Ziggler, who said Del Rio was outnumbered. Sheamus came out, said he’d help out with the numbers situation and congratulated Del Rio for his victory. He said he had no doubt that he deserved to be World Heavyweight Champion and shook his hand. Sheamus offered to be the fiesta bouncer. Del Rio said he didn’t want any fights, but then changed his mind and took off his jacket. Booker T came out and said it wouldn’t go down like that. He said he’d ruin Show’s day if he put his hands on him again. He made a main event tag match between Sheamus/Del Rio and Big Show/Ziggler. Well, excuse us, Teddy Long. Booker ejected Show, Ziggler, Langston and A.J. from the ring because they weren’t invited, hyped the crowd up and wanted the party to go. Music played and Booker danced. Del Rio asked for a Spin-a-rooni and Booker delivered. Sheamus went to leave the ring. Del Rio asked him to dance. Sheamus said he had a reputation, but danced anyway. JBL hilarious quipped that Sheamus would never be let back in Ireland. Pretty much the campy celebration it was expected to be and yet another predictable tag team announcement. Welcome to Smackdown.
- Antonio Cesaro def. Kofi Kingston: They didn’t have enough time to get things going, but great finish. Kingston jumped off the top rope at Cesaro. Cesaro caught him and Kingston tried to counter it into a Hurracanrana but Cesaro hit the Neutralizer instead. Miz watched the match from a backstage monitor.
- Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes made fun of The Miz and said he wasn’t close to what Ric Flair was. Miz insulted Rosa and walked out.
- The Great Khali (w/Natalya) def. Tensai: About as good as it sounded on paper. Khali won with the Chop in about two minutes. Khalia and Natalya danced after.
- Team Hell No was backstage. Bryan was confused why Dr. Shelby brought Team Rhodes Scholars into their therapy session. Kane said he didn’t understand Cody Rhode’s mustache. Bryan said some people didn’t understand when their facial hair looked ridiculous. Funny. Kane agreed and Bryan questioned what he meant. They bickered. The camera turned to reveal Randy Orton next to them. He asked them if they would argue like second graders or focus on their match. Kane said both. Bryan defended that they didn’t act like second-graders but worked through their anger issues, something Orton had gone through and that they were Champions and he wasn’t. Orton said that would change after the Royal Rumble. Bryan told him to take it one step at a time and focus on the tag match and after they won, they could do a group hug. Orton said he wasn’t much pf a hugger. Bryan said not yet. Funny.
- Team Hell No/Randy Orton def. Team Rhodes Scholars/Wade Barrett: Nothing you hadn’t seen before. Rhodes hit the Cross Rhodes on Orton and rolled out of the ring. Sandow went in and covered Orton but only got a two-count because Kane broke the pin. Rhodes charged at Kane but was thrown out of the ring by him. Sandow followed up and knocked Kane out of the ring and turned around right into an RKO. Match over. Bryan and Kane forced a group hug on Orton, who was uncomfortable.
- They replayed The Rock’s concert segment from Raw from when Vickie Guerrero came out to the brawl.
- The Miz def. Primo (w/Epico, Rosa Mendes): A match that went on for a bit too long. Epico went on the apron and encouraged Primo, who had the Figure Four Leglock set. Miz kicked him forward into Epico and knocked him off the apron. The Miz then applied the Figure Four Leglock himself and Primo submitted. Why is WWE doing this with Miz? He’s not Ric Flair and doesn’t need to be to get himself over. He was already over with his own moveset.
- Backstage, Layla and Alicia Fox congratulated Kaitlyn on her victory and Teddy Long and Booker T joined in.
- Kaitlyn def. Aksana: Boring. Kaitlyn won with a Spear that woke the crowd up, but too late.
- We finally got that Mick Foley video package. Well-done.
- It was a while since we last heard from The Shield. Thankfully, they fixed that pretty easily with another solid handheld promo where they addressed Sheamus, Randy Orton and Mick Foley.
- Randy Orton watched from backstage and Sheamus came into the room. He apologized that he wasn’t there for Orton on Wednesday. Orton said he didn’t need Sheamus’ help and he liked Sheamus because he had an answer for everything but he wouldn’t have an answer for him at the Royal Rumble. Loved the little forshadows of their eventual feud.
- Sheamus/Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez) def. Dolph Ziggler (w/Big E Langston, A.J. Lee)/The Big Show via countout: The Referee ejected Langston and A.J. halfway into the match, which got a great crowd reaction. Average match. Ziggler was taken out with the Cross Arm-Breaker but Big Show stopped it before he could submit. Del Rio hit an Ensuiguiri whick knocked Show off the apron and as Show climbed back up, Del Rio tossed a bucket of water at him. Show stood cold, wet and embarrassed. He left up the ramp and got counted out. A bucket of water was just not that serious. Del Rio and Sheamus celebrated some more as Mexican-colored balloons fell from the ceiling.
Final Thoughts: We got a bit more Rumble hype but there was nothing on this show that screamed “must-see.” It was just an average Smackdown. That’s not a complaint but it’s also not a compliment so go figure.