The January 4, 2013 Edition of Smackdown was a televised Professional wrestling event by the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on December 30, 2012 at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia.
For the first time since getting injured at the hands of The Shield of the Dec. 14 edition of SmackDown, Randy Orton stepped back onto the blue brand - declaring his intention to enter the 2013 Royal Rumble Match on his quest to recapture the World Heavyweight Title.
A determined Sheamus soon interrupted, throwing his hat in the Royal Rumble Match as well. Though last year's Rumble winner thanked Orton for joining him and Ryback in Monday's Raw counter assault on Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, it wasn't long before the two competitive Superstars were ready to butt heads.
Just as things started to get tense between them, World Heavyweight Champion Big Show casted his enormous shadow on the situation, stating that even if one of them did make it through the traditional Rumble free-for-all on Jan. 27, they would only get a KO Punch for their trouble, not the World Title. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro joined the increasingly volatile situation as well, unleashing his unique brand of insults in the direction of all three Superstars.
Before things descended into chaos, SmackDown General Manager Booker came forth, creating a main event showdown that would pit Big Show and Cesaro against Orton and Sheamus.
Still furious over The Miz's insults against 3MB during last month's WWE TLC pay-per-view, Heath Slater looked to get payback on the outspoken Superstar in a one-on-one contest.
When Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre were caught in an altercation with The Awesome One, the referee opted to throw both of Slater's interfering cohorts out. Then, in the culmination of the hard-fought match that followed, The Miz ultimately rose above Slater with the Skull-Crushing Finale.
Four days after Mae Young 'gave birth' to a 'New Year's Baby' Hornswoggle on Raw, the pint-sized competitor joined The Great Khali and Natalya in Six-Person Tag Team action.
And once the resilient 'Swoggle escaped his opponents' attack to tag in The Punjabi Playboy, Khali overcame their double team and hit Epico with the devastating Punjabi Chop for the three-count.
Just four days after losing the Intercontinental Title to Wade Barrett on Raw, Kofi Kingston exercised his rematch clause and once again leaped head-first into The Barrett Barrage. Prior to the match, the English Superstar sent his adversary a message: After he triumphed, Kofi would be out of chances, out of options and out of luck. 'The Wildcat,' however, didn't plan on letting it get that far.
In the final moments of an absolutely electrifying back-and-forth title rematch, Barrett would stop Kofi dead in his tracks. As his high-flying opponent launched an aerial assault from the top rope, the rough-and-ready English champion suddenly hit him with the earth-shattering Bull Hammer elbow in mid-air, making both the three-count and the glory of his new championship reign a forgone-conclusion by the time Kingston hit the canvas.
Although Layla was able to fight back from the assault of the ultra-aggressive Tamina in a match filled with animosity, the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Snuka soon caught the English Diva in-flight and sent her crashing to the canvas. This allowed Tamina to execute the splash off the top rope to finish off the former Divas Champion.
Every Diva in WWE had better keep one eye on Tamina.
On the same week that saw United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defeat both WWE Hall of Famer Sergeant Slaughter on Raw and former World Heavyweight Champion The Great Khali on WWE Main Event, General Manager Booker T ordered The Swiss Superman to join forces with World Heavyweight Champion Big Show to take on Randy Orton and Sheamus.
Despite obvious friction between Sheamus and Orton earlier in night, for a while, it seemed as if the explosive combination would work together without a hitch. After The Celtic Warrior avoided Big Show's KO Punch and leveled The World's Largest Athlete with the Brogue Kick, he tagged The Viper into the match to finish off their adversaries.
But as Orton looked ready to take down Cesaro, The Celtic Warrior tagged himself back into the ring, immediately causing noticeable discourse between the two former World Champions.
Second later, Sheamus hit White Noise on the United States Champion, setting up the inevitable Brogue Kick. But before he could hit it, Orton suddenly jumped into his path and hit Cesaro with the RKO. In doing so, he instantly snatched the thunder away from The Celtic Warrior, who was left to pick up the pin without hitting his signature maneuver.
If the match's outcome shows one thing, it's that as Superstars head down the road to the Royal Rumble Match, allies will be as dangerous as enemies.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Miz defeated Heath Slater w/ Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal (12:16)
- The Great Khali, Natalya and Hornswoggle defeated Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes (4:06)
- Wade Barrett (c) defeated Kofi Kingston to retain the Intercontinental Championship (13:18)
- Tamina Snuka defeated Layla (3:07)
- Randy Orton and Sheamus defeated Antonio Cesaro and The Big Show (10:37)
- Dark match: The Big Show (c) vs. Sheamus ended in a no contest in a World Heavyweight Championship title match
Other on-screen talent
- WWE Smackdown #698 at CAGEMATCH.net
- [Smackdown #698 on WWE Network]