Last week, I noted that as someone who doesn't get to watch Smackdown until a day or two later, but also someone who religiously reads spoilers for the Tuesday tapings, that I would start blogging about the results on Wednesdays. So, here are Smackdown spoilers and analysis for the episode to air Friday, March 23.
Of note, I believe this is the last Smackdown before WrestleMania. In the past, WWE has aired a show on Friday from 8 to 10 p.m. eastern called "Smackdown" right before WrestleMania weekend, but it has been two broadcasters (Josh Matthews and Scott Stanford last year, I believe) basically giving recaps of the build-up to WrestleMania while on the set of Axxess from the host city. Last year's show didn't even have a clip of the injury angle for Vladamir Kozlov that occured at Access, writing him out of the 8-man tag between The Corre and Big Show, Kane, Santino and Kozlov's replacement, Kofi Kingston, so the show is pretty pointless unless you've missed something along the way.
Anyway, on the with the rundown of Tuesday night's Smackdown tapings.
Much like Raw, there wasn't a whole lot in the way of new storyline developments, at least not from the slightly more detailed spoiler reports I could find. Two new members were added to Team Teddy, however, in the form of Zack Ryder and the Great Khali. There didn't seem to be a lot of fanfare in the announcement. I'm glad Ryder will finally have a WrestleMania match, even if it is part of the 12-man cluster this is bound to be. At least its has a good storyline behind it, unlike the aforementioned 8-man tag with the Corre last year.
As for Khali, you kind of figured when he returned at the Rumble that he'd get a spot at WrestleMania. I know hardcore fans don't like him, but he gets a good reaction from the live audience and having a big man on Team Teddy balances out Mark Henry on Team Johnny.
Those additions leave one spot open on each team, which will likely be filled on Raw. Unless he's had a setback with his injuries, there is no way the final spot on Team Johnny goes to anyone but Alberto Del Rio. I could envision them leaving the final spot on Team Teddy open to be filled with a Mysterio -- I mean -- mystery competitor at WrestleMania.
Ryder beat Jack Swagger in a match on Smackdown and Khali defeated Ziggler by count-out. Looked like the Ryder win was clean (and I guess counts as his revenge for Swagger beating him for the U.S. Championshp when he was "injured") but Khali-Ziggler sounds like it was overbooked. John Laurinaitis apparently tried a screwjob finish when Ziggler put the sleeper on Khali, then when Teddy Long restarted the match, Ziggler got counted out. Kofi Kingston and Santino Marella, who apparently were at ringside, threw Ziggler back in the ring to be on the receiving end of a Khali chop.
Ryder did apparently have a backstage segment with Eve, although I can't seem to find details about what was said. I really think they should try to do a storyline where Eve offers him some "forbidden fruit" so to speak, in exchange for costing Team Teddy the match, then dumping Ryder again.
Christian also made an appearance on Smackdown again. Doing guest commentary during the Khali-Ziggler match.
Most of the show seems ripe with squash matches. Mark Henry defeated R-Truth in another Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy rep match that apparently was a squash. Guess that gets Henry back on track after losing to John Cena and eating a Rock Bottom on Monday. Brodus Clay beat Heath Slater in a squash match as well.
Big Show and Kane had a rematch from Raw, which saw Cody Rhodes interfere again. This time, Big Show won by DQ, then chased Rhodes through the crowd while Orton snuck into the ring and laid out Kane with an RKO. No word on how long this match lasts, but its the start of the second hour match, so it should get a decent amount of time. At least more than the 45 seconds on Raw.
Daniel Bryan opened the show with AJ for a promo, which Sheamus interrupts. AJ later defeated whichever Bella Twin she didn't beat last week with an assist from Bryan. There is a rumor going around that Bryan is dating Brie Bella in real life, which might be incorporated into this storyline down the road.
Bryan was also in action this week, teaming with his former NXT mentor and long-time rival The Miz to take on Sheamus and WWE Champion CM Punk. Sounds like this was a relatively short main event, with Sheamus pinning Miz after the Brogue Kick. Bryan apparently ran from the ring when Sheamus got the hot tag. I like that they are keeping these two apart. They've had some physicality along the way, but not so much that the match won't feel fresh. Same with Punk and Chris Jericho.
Overall, this sounds like a very "can-miss" episode of Smackdown. Unfortunately, that's kind of where we are at with the WrestleMania build. The biggest matches -- Cena/Rock and Taker/Triple H, and even Punk-Jericho -- are mainly playing out on Raw. The conversation between Eve and Zack Ryder could be something worthwhile, or it could be nothing. Guess I'll have to watch and find out.