Welcome to the Smackdown review. My name is Jake. You don’t know me and I don’t know you. That’s really all I have to say. I was going to say something like, “I’ll be your guide on this journey,” but that’s just lame. Instead, I’m just going to tell you to read this Smackdown review and comment and agree with absolutely everything I say ever. It’s not much to ask.
Thursday Night Smackdown kicks off with WWE World Heavyweight Champion (been a while since you’ve read that, eh?) coming out with J&J Security, Kane, and The Big Show. He comes down to the ring and the crowd isn’t sure if they’re supposed to cheer or boo at first. So, Rollins decides to make sure everyone knows that booing is the best option, and cuts him a heely promo about how great he is.
Pretty typical “I’m great, everyone else sucks” heel promo about winning at Wrestlemania, then flying out to the Today Show, then flying back to Raw where he walked in and learned that Lesnar was challenging him. I have to say, I’m really curious how Rollins didn’t hear about it in that timeframe. I’ll buy that maybe he didn’t have a television to watch, but no one texted him? Emailed him? He didn’t even look at Twitter once? I dunno…I’m starting to feel like this was scripted…
Randy Orton crashes Rollins’ party and talks about how he played everyone a fool in The Authority. I don’t think he fooled many people. Maybe toddlers whose parents allowed to stay up past their bedtimes because of Wrestlemania season. But even they were like, “Mom, I don’t think Randy Orton is sincere.”
The whole thing led to Orton poking fun at J&J Security. I would write a transcript for what he said, but I imagine you can figure it out just by thinking for a second. Then he ripped on Kane and Big Show because they are big and useless. He left out how they’re old and probably should be in manager positions to protect themselves. He made fun of Kane for not being on Wrestlemania and then Kane made a match that he has to win in order to be considered for a title match.
Analysis: It was a pretty basic setup. There was a joke about Kane and how he used to be “The Big Red Monster,” and now he’s “Little Red Riding Hood.” But, just for the record, Kane was “The Big Red Machine.” Orton is clearly drunk. Rollins as WWE Champion is great. He’s a cocky champion with a lot of people gunning for him, but just as many people protecting him. This can make for some wild brawls. I hope he holds that belt at least until SummerSlam.
I’m going to drop a pretty petty complaint here, but WWE owns all of their own footage. I understand not showing us matches or full segments. But, instead of showing us a still shot of Sting about to get a Sweet Chin Music, show us a damn clip of it. Literally a two second clip. It slows the momentum of the show to have a PowerPoint presentation of an action show. Is anyone else feeling me? Yes? No? Okay. I’ll shut up. MOVING ON.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Orton hit his DDT off the ropes move pretty early on. Big Show is so heavy that it looked awesome because he fell so fast. The crowd sounds like they’re super behind Orton, but let’s just remember that WWE fiddles with the audio. Some of the cheers were legit.
It ended with J&J Security running interference and Big Show losing by DQ. The crowd started chanting, “Randy! Randy! Randy!” I gotta say, that was odd because I could see the crowd…and none of them were doing that. Also, it sounded exactly like the “Randy” chants from WWE 15. So there’s that.
The Authority beatdown was cut short when Ryback made the save. I wish they treated the post-Mania Smackdown like they do the post-Mania Raw. We all know this is where we would hear that classic, “Now hold on a minute, playas!” Oh, Teddy Long, how you are kinda missed for all the wrong reasons. I wonder if he sits at home on the couch in suits he got from Kane that are like 80 sizes too big, wishing he could make a tag team match in moments like this. A lone tear drips down his cheek, then he awkwardly dances out to the kitchen to get pretzels and Coors Light so he can finish the show.
Winner: Randy Orton via DQ
Analysis: Blah. This wasn’t even a match. Big Show is supposed to be some sort of threat, but only when the story calls for it. This match was meant to make Orton look like a threat to the title, so Big Show suddenly has no idea how to get on offense. It was a storyline more than a match, and that’s fine. Just, ya know, let’s not make it a habit, WWE. Good matches tell better stories than short ones and a ton of talking.
By the way, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, and Jerry Lawler are on commentary. Michael Cole is out training for his big match against Lesnar next year at Wrestlemania. Can Lesnar break another streak? We will find out in a year. Should I start italicizing sarcasm? No. No I should not. You figure it out on your own. I’m not here to cater.
They showed clips from Raw when Sheamus came back and beat up Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, then announced Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus. Damn you, WWE. I watched Raw. They announced Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus and Wade Barrett. I seent it. I seent the whole thing. I’m not complaining, so much as I’m upset because those two tag teams should be a thing once in a while.
Natalya vs. Naomi
The Bellas are on commentary for this. It’s a nice little back-and-forth match where Nikki just talks about how Naomi’s not anything special and lives in her husband’s shadow. Yes. Nikki Bella claims Naomi lives in her husband’s shadow. Huh.
The match was short, with Naomi picking up the win and the Bellas not really doing anything. I expected an attack or something. Nope. It’s just over and they’re moving on that fast.
Winner: Naomi via pinfall
Analysis: Meh. It was actually a fun match for a minute. Natalya is awesome and both of them are fairly athletic. It could have been a lot better if it had been given more than the typical Divas time slot.
Rollins was laughing that Kane pretended Orton might get a title shot. Kane said he thinks Orton against Rollins at Extreme Rules sounds like a good match. I have absolutely no idea what kind of power Kane has. Sometimes he’s capable of booking matches, other times he’s not. He get angry at other Superstars all the time, and sometimes he’s capable of punishing them, and most of the time he just gets all huffy and angry at them and does nothing. It doesn’t make sense. He’s just there because Triple H and Steph have better things to do on a Tuesd…er…THURSDAY night.
Rollins says the office stinks. We hear a free stock sound from SoundBible.com of a toilet flushing. I was already angry about this because I expected Big Show to come out of the bathroom, but when it ended up being Dean Ambrose my anger subsided. Oh my God, what does that even mean? Am I so biased toward Ambrose that it’s okay when he does things that are awful just because he’s Ambrose? I must consult my therapist.
Ambrose talked about how awesome the bathroom is. Then Kane said he was facing Luke Harper because he’s rude. Ambrose was happy about it. That’s why Ambrose is awesome. He was given a crappy (yup, pun) script for a segment that really stinks (bam) and he scavenged just a tiny shred of decency. His response was cool, everything else was dumb. Kane was all sorts of angry about it. But…uh…why not make it a handicap match if you’re so mad, Kane? You apparently have unlimited power tonight.
They aired the sit-down interview with Roman Reigns where he talked about his match with Lesnar. I’m all for a guy being confident, but Roman Reigns talking about how he has so much heart and won’t stay down is annoying. He showed us on Sunday and that told the story. I told you, matches speak more than words. Stop talking about how Reigns has heart and keep booking him to show it. This is a step back, as far as I’m concerned. Going into Monday, I liked Reigns a hundred times more because of how he was booked on Sunday night. He gets a lot of heat for being a guy with two moves and he literally hit two moves on Lesnar. Let’s not kid ourselves and pretend his offense was noteworthy. I like him less after this interview.
He talked about how Rollins took away his dream. He said he climbed a mountain and looked down but Rollins threw him back down. Then said he had Lesnar beat but Rollins messed it up. Again, Rollins interfered but Lesnar was still going strong. I want a more humble Reigns who admits he had no idea what Lesnar was truly capable of, but he’s going to give it Hell and try again when he gets a chance. Lesnar is like a boss battle in a video game, Reigns needs to admit he wasn’t leveled up enough, sleep and meditate on what he has learned, and come at it again when he’s prepared.
The Miz vs. R-Truth
R-Truth’s hip thrusts legitimately bother me. If I were like 15 years younger then they would be repressed memories at this point in my life. It ended when Miz won in what felt like thirty seconds of boring action. Mizdow came out and laid Miz out to finish out the segment. Why is Mizdow in WWE? Miz claimed he would be out of the company if he got fired. Is this just some jobless dude who runs in and hurts his old boss? No one is going to do anything about this? Whatever. Change the dude’s theme song and tights.
Winner: Miz via pinfall
Analysis: Meh. It was boring and short. Smackdown used to be about good matches. This episode has mostly been a refresher course for Raw and Wrestlemania. That’s all good, but it’s also just a setup for them most of the time too. You have an additional two hours of television that you choose to waste, WWE. If I had two hours of TV time per week for myself then I wouldn’t waste it. I would put on puppet shows with little lunch sacks and glued-on eyes. Mostly because it’s entertaining, but also because the idea makes me giggle.
John Cena makes his way out to an unusually non-split crowd. Is it really so much to ask that WWE not insult our intelligence? I literally see people in the crowd giving him thumbs down. Those toddlers who are staying up late for this are like, “Mom, why do people boo Cena on Mondays and cheer him on Thursdays?” These toddler questions are eventually going to lead to parents giving rude answers to shut up their children. “Because Santa’s not real and you are at high risk for heart disease when you’re older. Watch the show.”
People give Cena a ton of crap, but he puts over whoever he’s in the ring with over. He talked about how Rusev took him to his limits and how he was undefeated for a reason. Then he went into a point I made on Twitter on Sunday night:
The immigrant who came to America and found monumental success probably deserves a little more love from America. #Wrestemania
— Jake Draper (@JakobDraper) March 30, 2015
He said Rusev is the American Dream, and that instead of respecting this country he just talked about how it sucks.
I hate this angle. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. WWE is a global company. This worked fine in the 80’s when Hogan and Sheik did it, but times have changed. Our generation preaches our First Amendment Rights pretty hard, and definitely our tolerance of others. Ranting about this will result in some harsh backlash, but I’m just going to say it’s time to make Rusev’s character less one-dimensional. His “Russian” pride doesn’t need to be something we hate him for.
Having said that, the idea of John Cena issuing an open challenge every week is awesome. Not just because of the matches, but because it’s also exactly how he got his start in the business. Kurt Angle did the exact same thing, and Cena was the one who answered the challenge in his debut match. This could lead to a young, hungry guy really making a name for himself. Love him or hate him, Cena has a huge name. The crowds, at this point, don’t even necessarily hate Cena, it’s just become customary to give him a lot of shit when he’s in the ring. I know I will boo him if I make it to Wrestlemania next year, but I like the guy and respect him. I’m also bored of him, but having him holding a midcard title is a great solution to that issue.
Rusev came out and said he didn’t lose at Wrestlemania and said he’s awesome. Cena claimed Rusev is drunk. He and Orton are in back and they’re getting wasted. I know it. Rusev said, “At Extreme Rules, you’re gonna see this!” and tried getting the Russian flag to come down from above the ring, but it didn’t work. Instead Cena had the U.S. flag drop. I’m unsure why no one did that before. Clearly Rusev has more pride than anyone else in the company because he’s the only one who carries his country’s flag around and have it drop like that. Anyway, they announced the rematch at Extreme Rules.
A vignette for Neville aired. The man that gravity forgot, and who forgot his first name. Then more stills from Wrestlemania. We have basically seen the entire show one frame at a time since Sunday.
Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose
Ambrose isn’t wearing his wifebeater. Harper is still wearing the same one he’s been wearing for a few weeks. They did a floor-to-commercial spot (Trademark John Canton term there). Harper is just awesome because he’s a big, strong dude with a ton of athleticism. So, when he throws Dean Ambrose, Dean sells it like he literally died. He reminds me a lot of Ric Flair when it comes to that. That’s a good thing.
It went outside the ring where they cleared the table. Harper put Ambrose through it with another powerbomb like he did at Wrestlemania. I guess that’s the end of the match? No bell or anything, so, I guess. Whatever. This is going to lead to a tables match with them at Extreme Rules.
Winner: No contest
Analysis: Blah. It would have been a good match. Once again, with more time. Seems to be a reoccurring theme. The two guys involved are an excellent pairing.
Let’s analyze Ambrose’s career for a minute. He came in with The Shield from NXT and was pegged as the guy who would stand out. He even got a match with The Undertaker a couple years ago. Then it started to be Reigns who people saw as a standout. Then Rollins ended up being the standout. They split up, Reigns had his mega push, Rollins had his. Ambrose lost his feud with Rollins, lost his feud with Bray Wyatt, then lost his quest to get the Intercontinental Championship, then the United States Title 24 hours later.
Yet, the crowd loves him. He’s a great, fun character with a ton of potential. He’s not moving forward, and basically does nothing other than put other guys over because wins and losses don’t matter as much as how over a character is. It’s time to get Ambrose a prize for all of this. He deserves more than this, so WWE needs to give it to him. You can’t push everyone at once, I get that, but we can dedicate main events to Big Show and Kane and can’t give this guy a place higher on the card?
As long as I have your attention, I’m going to send you to check out another article I wrote earlier this week. It’s about my friend, Mike Dombrowski. You may know who he is from this season of The Amazing Race as half of the team “Truck Stop Love.” What they don’t say on there is that he’s also a very prominent independent professional wrestler who has a lot of really cool stories about guys like Seth Rollins, Scott Hall, Mick Foley, and Jimmy Jacobs. He also may possibly be partly responsible for the Bray Wyatt character. So, check it out.
The Prime Time Players cut a promo against A New Day and picked on them. Tytus O’Neil is lunky and awkward. His arms and legs are from the body of someone who’s as tall as Kane, but his torso is from someone the size of Rey Mysterio. They did their own catchphrases where Tytus barks like a dog (also lunky) and he claims he knows it always gets a response. Where? When? They ended it with their “Millions of dollaz” shtick, which actually is fun.
Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan
Sheamus came out to a new theme. It’s not as memorable, but more fitting for heel. It has a darker tone to it and it’s heavier. The “You look stupid” chants started up and Sheamus cut a heel promo about how he beat up those “little fellas” because he can. He’s going to run with a character who is a big guy who doesn’t think the little guys deserve respect because he’s a real man. I like this Sheamus better.
Daniel Bryan came out to huge “YES” chants. I wrote that before he came out. I just knew it was how to start this paragraph. Bad News Barrett was on commentary. That’s cool because angry Brits are awesome to talk to. Also, he’s not delivering bad news anymore because the crowds like it too much and he’s supposed to be a heel. Can anything just be organic in this business anymore?
Bryan and Sheamus have great chemistry because WWE has a huge hard on for these two in a match. Their rivalry has always felt kinda forced, but they do have some excellent matches when they have time. In fact, their infamous match at Wrestlemania 28 ended up being part of Bryan’s launch into superstardom. The fans were so pissed at the booking that the rest of the show belonged to Bryan that night and the next night at Raw.
This match saw Sheamus in charge for most of it, using his power moves and newfound cocky demeanor to wear down Bryan. I’ll admit it, I like Sheamus’ heel tactics. They’re cliché, sure, but smacking Bryan and saying, “Come on, Fell! They want ya! They’re cheerin’ for ya!” It works for me. When Bryan gets his offense in the crowd is happy. I’m happy. We’re all happy.
It became more back-and-forth after the opening. Bryan got his offense in, Sheamus reversed to go for White Noise, Bryan slipped out and went on offense again but only for Sheamus to regain control quickly. Pretty stuff. Bryan did his headbutts and Lawler said, “Don’t ever get into a headbutt contest with a goat.” Are they implying that having a beard somehow makes Bryan like an actual goat?
Bryan got tossed out head-first into the announce table and started bleeding. The cameras didn’t pull away from it, which is strange because they had two days to edit. Between this and Brock’s blade job at ‘Mania (which WWE denied), I would say it’s safe to say they are being a little more lenient on the blood rule. It’s fine that Bryan bled, but it needs to feel a little more special than this did. Give us blood when blood enhances a story, not when it’s just there for shock value.
Barrett came out of the announce seat and gave Bryan the Bullhammer on the floor. That caused the ending to be a count-out victory for Sheamus. Dull finish for a somewhat decent match. Not an amazing bout, by far, but at least better than the rest of the show. Sheamus’ hair became even more rooster-like once it got frizzy. Show went off the air with Sheamus celebrating.
Winner: Sheamus via countout
Analysis: Meh. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t bad. It was okay. It was better than anything else on the show because Daniel Bryan is good at making things worth our time to watch. Sheamus as a heel has a lot of potential, but he’s going to be stuck in the midcard for a while due to the crowded main event scene. Orton vs. Rollins was actually questionable as the main event for Extreme Rules because there are so many challengers for the title right now.
Overall Show Analysis
It wasn’t a very good show. Half of it was still images from Wrestlemania. The only match that got any real time was the main event, and even that was stalled out by the finish. The story made sense, so I won’t be super hard on it. The midcard belts are meaningful again, and Bryan defending the title against Sheamus and soon against Barrett and Ziggler is good. Probably lead to a four-way at Extreme Rules.
The blood and tables involved are part of the gimmick for the next PPV, so it’s okay. Dean Ambrose is crazy. Kane is capable of having supreme power within the confines of story convenience. The lack of Ziggler on this show hurt it. He’s up there with Bryan right now in terms of popularity.
A little blurb regarding how Rollins can be forced into defending his title. Lesnar defended it whenever he felt the need (in the story), so, in theory, Rollins should be able to say he doesn’t feel like defending it for a few months. There was no discussion on television that said Lesnar didn’t defend because of his contract, but instead they said he didn’t defend because he did whatever he wants. So, why can’t Rollins do the same?
Heyman wasn’t on tonight. Which leaves a good question for Raw: What’s Heyman going to do while Lesnar is away? He needs to be the advocate for someone for a few months, so why not turn Reigns heel and have those two pair up? That would be huge for Reigns. He would learn so much and maybe truly be ready for his next big push when it comes.
I have plenty more thoughts, but I don’t have the ambition to write all of them because I feel like I need to save something for next week. Or I’m hungry and want to go get sesame chicken. Take your pick. Follow me on Twitter @JakobDraper and pressure me into making a new Facebook in the comments below. Or talk about wrestling. You’re in charge here.