Smackdown opens with Randy Orton and Theodore Long sitting on a couch backstage. Long announces that Orton is not medically cleared to compete because he has a concussion. Long tells Orton there is security waiting outside the door to escort Orton out of the building. Long says Orton cannot compete tonight or in the chamber. Orton stands up, pauses, and then leaves.

^Best acting I’ve seen by Teddy Long in ages. Genuine concern and compassion on his part towards Orton. Can’t wait to see how the rest of Smackdown turns out now!

Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes take on the Big Show and the Great Khali in our opening matchup. Big Show hits a huge chokeslam on Barrett at the four minute mark to pick up the three count victory for he and Khali. After the match, Show hits the WMD on the Great Khali.

^Short opener but what else are you going to do besides open the show with your world champ? The chamber candidates are the best way to do it with the tag match they just put on. I’d say to get rid of Khali, but I’d be beating a dead horse.

Long is on the phone backstage and Mark Henry approaches Teddy Long and wants to be put back into the match and have his suspension lifted. Big Show interrupts and tells Teddy Long he wants Daniel Bryan tonight. Henry tells Show to take the heavy breathing and the drooling somewhere else. Show hits the WMD on Henry and starts tearing apart Long’s office. Long runs off and Show throws the furniture telling Teddy to give him what he wants.

^Lots of star power from the Big Show to open Friday Night Smackdown! I wonder if this is where the heel turn comes in as the giant becomes more angry!

Back from commercial Teddy Long is shown asking security to escort Big Show out of the building, but to first call for backup.

^Treating Big Show like Godzilla might have been believable back in 1995, but today it’s just lame. Good for Show to continue staying relevant.

Ted Dibiase is taking on Hunico once again here on Smackdown! Selling the wrist injury hard, Camacho(son of Meng/Haku) nails Dibiase and Hunico gets the schoolboy rollup by holding the tights for the three count.

^These are two very talented younger athletes that keep getting put in the ring with each other. Can we maybe get them in some tag teams or make a title or just do SOMETHING to spice up this rivalry a little bit? You’d think I was asking for something difficult here.

The Usos are up next taking on Primo and Epico in a non title match. This was a really good tag team wrestling match that ran decent length. It ended with one of the Usos missing a big splash and Primo hitting a backstabber to capitalize and pick up the win.

^WrestleMania’s of the past are known for having multiple tag team matches with teams that lasted for several years(Warlord/Barbarian, Brainbusters, Hart Foundation, LOD, Nasty Boys, Demolition, ect.). This year, we have two tag teams and they face off continuously at live events and here and there on WWE tv. Any chance we can get a couple more tag teams pulled onto the show? I heard Tyson Kidd and Trent Berretta(spell check) were teaming up. Wasn’t Santino doing the tag team thing for a couple weeks? Help me out WWE!

Daniel Bryan is out next to cut a promo. Bryan said it was time for him to declare himself and show everyone who he is and what he’s about. We flashback to Bryan’s attack on Orton and Big Show on Raw. Bryan brags that Orton and Show are both no longer in the building. Bryan says he will prove everyone wrong once again this Sunday when he retains his title at the Elimination Chamber. Bryan wants himself announced as the winner of the match that he was supposed to have with Orton tonight since Orton is unable to compete. Bryan goes to celebrate but is interrupted by Teddy Long.

^Bryan is still the perfect heel on the mic, and there isn’t much more to say beyond that. He’s a small guy compared to most of the Superstars and he uses his technical ability and willingness to fight anybody make him stand out in the crowd.

Long tells Bryan that he hasn’t competed yet but that is something that everybody wants to see. He says someone has volunteered since Orton can’t compete. Out comes Sheamus! This could almost be an early WrestleMania preview right here. Bryan and Sheamus put on a good match that ends as Bryan provokes Sheamus into a nonstop beating that gets himself disqualified past the five count. Winner by DQ, Daniel Bryan.

^Perfect booking. You got a taste of what these two look like in the ring together and it makes you think about the possibility of them headlining WrestleMania. I doubt it will be one on one, but the chemistry is definitely there. Good finish for Bryan to be the ultimate heel that angers his opponent into getting himself DQed. Genius.

Cody and Wade are backstage asking Teddy who the final participant in the Elimination Chamber match will be on Sunday. Teddy Long says anybody from Smackdown or Raw is welcome to compete in a battle royal to determine the final Smackdown participant. Cody says you can’t just book anybody for that match. Teddy says to watch him.

^I think it’s brilliant! It gives somebody the possibility of jumping from Raw and compete for the WHC. It also could have made for some fun participants in the battle royal as Long said anybody who had ever laced up a pair of boots.

Jinder Mahal is out next to take on Ezekial Jackson. Mahal gets big Zeke to tap out to the camel clutch in about three minutes for the victory.

^So Mahal gets squashed by Khali, but then defeats Ezekial easily? Scratching my head. It’s like every week someone who was supposed to have a push gets destroyed in a squash but then wins a squash within the next few weeks. Confusing.

Tamina and Alicia Fox are out next to take on Beth and Natalya. They brought the Natalya farting angle into the match and the ref turned away when Natalya applied the sharpshooter to Alicia. Alicia tags in Tamina and she hits the samoan drop and superfly splash to pick up the win. Tamina lays out Phoenix after the match and goes for the splash but Beth rolls out of the way.

^Good for Tamina and Beth to keep adding heat to their rivalry. I’m not sure why WWE feels the need to have Kharma face one of the two at WrestleMania when their is already a lot of talent being wasted in the divas division. As far as Natalya goes, she needs to quit. End of story. The disrespect towards the Hart family is disgusting and makes me want to change the channel.

Backstage segment where John Laurinaitis walks into Long’s office and introduces Otunga as a participant in the battle royal tonight. Long tells Otunga he has the stink of a lawyer on him.

^Funny stuff here. Surprised to see JL on Smackdown, but GM interaction can be fun(Bischoff and Stephanie anybody?).

It’s the Elimination Chamber final spot battle royal. McIntyre looks solid in this one. Meng Jr(Camacho) looks alright. Hunico holds his own well. ALex Riley name drop as Haku Jr. gets tossed. Looked like McGillicutty eliminated himself. Hawkins is eliminated by Justin Gabriel next. Riley is gone. Dibiase and Hunico are out thanks to each other. Gabriel eliminates Primo and big Zeke tosses Gabriel. Zeke eliminates Mahal next and we’re down to Zeke, McIntyre, Santino, and Otunga. McIntyre is gone. Crowd is chanting for Santino and Ezekial is gone. Otunga beats on Santino but Santino Hulks Up and hits the cobra but misses the drop. Otunga with a neckbreaker. Otunga goes to toss Santino but Santino ducks and pulls Otunga over the top rope! The crowd goes crazy! Cole says we’ve replaced a viper with a cobra! Santino celebrates as Smackdown goes off the air.

^That crowd reaction told the entire story. I’ve been a huge Santino fan for what he brings with the comedy, but also with what he brings to the ring. I know he won’t become World Champion this Sunday, but I’m beyond thrilled to see him in this match.

Overall, I’d call it a solid Smackdown to setup for this Sunday. Natalya’s situation is ridiculous, but the divas are setting up for a good ppv match. The chamber really seems to have the hype that it needs to sell viewers. I can’t wait to see what happens! My prediction column is already up for the show and you can check that out anywhere you find my writing. I’ll have a show reaction column early Monday and my Raw column will be done on Monday as well. Until next time, you’ve been ThunderStruck!

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