After a week off for all sorts of shenanigans, I made it back to cover Smackdown for you this week. Why? Because I love you. You are my family. If you were here, I would invite you into my home for a small dinner before giving you a tour. I wouldn’t let you in the basement, that’s my special place. If I do lead you there, you probably won’t come back. Either way, you’re my friends.
Smackdown kicks off with Seth Rollins arguing with Kane over the events of Raw. Didn’t watch Raw? That’s okay. John’s Raw Deal is usually better than watching anyway. Kane makes a match with Rollins and Dean Ambrose later. Then Rollins talks about how Kane isn’t as good as he was before. They keep mentioning how much better Kane was as a big red monster. Really laying on the foreshadowing heavy here, guys. I have no idea why that segment aired before the intro, but it did. We can’t undo it, so I’m not going to dwell. But just know, it was awkward and I may or may not lose sleep.
Roman Reigns kicks off the show.
*Fake crowd cheers are fake. You do this every week with headphones out and it becomes glaringly obvious. Don’t bother using your voices at Smackdown events, since they’re just going to change it anyway. Yay! 1st Amendment!
*I love that they act like “The WWE Universe is who chose the main event for Payback.” It was a foregone conclusion. Just once we need to troll these polls and vote against what they want en mass.
*I’m fine with admitting Reigns looks a lot more comfortable on the microphone now than he has. He grows on me when he is in big matches. Then he talks about how awesome he is and how he punches stuff and I’m reminded that he phones in most of his work.
*So Kane comes out and just waves a ref out for an impromptu match.
Kane vs. Roman Reigns
*”Roman chants” were legitimate, but turned up substantially in post-production.
*I watch Reigns’ matches closely to see if he does anything other than punch and spear people. For the record, he usually punches and spears people exclusively.
*Do you guys remember two weeks ago when Sheamus threw Neville into the announce table and got disqualified? Kane did the same thing in this match and didn’t. That spot only gets DQ’s when it’s convenient for the story. I get that, but I’m going to pick it out anyway.
*REIGNS DID A SUPLEX. Probably shouldn’t be so worked up over that. But hey, I’m proud of him for busting out an actual move. He followed it up with a clothesline and then a top rope clothesline and then a bunch of turnbuckle clotheslines. God dammit.
*He hit a few moves, so I’m gonna let it slide this time.
*Kane bailed for the count out. Let’s get a pool together. Everyone gamble on what episode of Raw or what PPV Kane returns to his old gimmick officially. It won’t happen on the B show because WWE cares about it and nothing ever happens that impacts anything on Smackdown. If you miss it every week and watch Raw you don’t lose your place in the stories. It’s like if you watch The Avengers without watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. You can watch for some little stuff, but the big events are saved for the big shows.
Winner: Roman Reigns via Countout
Damien Sandow vs. Curtis Axel
*They somehow found a way to save Sandow’s stunt double gimmick without him being paired with Miz. I figured they had themselves written into a corner with that one.
*LOL @ Sandow selling bumps with his opponents to mock them. His matches are going to be awesome.
*Byron Saxton said Axel is a former IC Champion and has been very successful here in WWE. Then he burst into flames.
*Sandow won after mimicking some Hogan mannerisms. I dig it. Match was short, but still kinda fun without being all sorts of action-packed. Rating his matches might be tough with this gimmick.
Winner: Damien Sandow
Interview with Ryback pointed out that Bray Wyatt is the Eater of Worlds while Ryback is the Eater of Everything.
Quick nerd fact: “The Eater of Worlds” monicker actually belongs to a dragon named Alduin. Sorta. Go look it up. Nerd.
Ryback vs. Luke Harper
*I could totally take Ryback in a fist fight.
*Ryback has his share of detractors, and I’ll say his matches leave a bit to be desired, but he’s still fun. His mannerisms are unique. And against bigger opponents his offense is really hard-hitting.
*Luke Harper is awesome. I think there are mustard stains on his shirt, but he’s awesome. Mustard stains don’t make someone a bad person, despite what the media tells you.
*I like how Luke Harper literally threw Ryback out of the ring just so they could go to commercial. It was obvious. I wonder if the ref said, “Hey, we have to cut to a word from our sponsors. Can’t do it until he’s outside of the ring.”
*Ryback won with a Shellshock. Not a magnificent match, but still fun.
*Bray Wyatt attacked after the match. The “fireflies” being out while he was attacking in the dark was a sweet visual. Bray Wyatt is special. Considering how heavily pushed both of these guys are I’m a little hard-pressed to predict who wins the feud. I want to say Wyatt, but in my head I can’t see a world where McMahon lets Ryback lose a match clean in 2015.
A New Day vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro for the WWE Tag Team Championships
*A world where Cesaro and Kidd are faces is the type of world I want to live in. Their offense is tailor-made to get a big reaction. Plus they are babyfaces purely because the crowds respected them too much to keep booing them. The exact opposite of A New Day. That makes for an interesting dynamic when you look at the feud.
*Cesaro is unreasonably strong. I think his bones are coated in adamantium. Unlike Cena, it’s somehow still shocking every time Cesaro shows off how ridiculously powerful he is. Cesaro is also special.
*Kidd and Cesaro kicking Big E to the beat of “New Day Sucks” may be the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen. I probably say that too frequently in my life. I enjoy the little things.
*Big E is underappreciated. I don’t have much more to say than that.
*A 15 minute match of Cesaro doing uppercuts is still better than most matches on most shows.
*Lawler acting like Cesaro might not be able to hit The Swing on Big E is so stupid. He’s acting like he’s never called a match where he hit the same move on much larger people. I understand if other people forget the things that Jerry Lawler has seen, but for Jerry Lawler to forget things nonstop is ridiculous. Does the man have the brain of a goldfish?
Winner: Cesaro and Tyson Kidd by DQ
Divas said stuff. They’re so catty and cliché that I don’t pay a lot of attention, honestly. Doesn’t mean I’m sexist, it means WWE’s writers are.
I don’t want to watch Tough Enough. I just want to watch awesome audition tapes from it. It’s like those first few episodes of American Idol that you want to watch just because they’re terrible then you stop watching when they pretend that good singers are as entertaining as comically bad ones.
Cameron vs. Nikki Bella
*Everyone else on the show gets a unique hastag like, “#ReignsVsKane.” The Divas just get #TotalDivas. Are they really not worthy of their own hashtags? This is nitpicking, sure, but it’s little stuff like that that really annoys me. That’s probably my own personal issue more than the issue with the show. Whatever. It’s my job to find stuff like this.
*Cameron yelling insults at Nikki and continuing the trend of making the Divas into high school girls who don’t like each other for absolutely no reason and are intolerably rude just furthers my point. Nikki and Brie have come a long way since a few years ago as athletes and they, along with a lot of other Divas, deserve to be portrayed better.
*Nikki won with a Rack Attack. How come no one ever points out that she’s the twin with the big ol’ fake boobies and her finisher is called the “Rack Attack?” Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s noticed. I can’t help but think it was on purpose.
Winner: Nikki Bella
Prime Time Players cut a promo on A New Day. Tytus O’ Neil is lunky. Cricket noises in place of silence. I bet that effect cost a fortune. I don’t mind them. They’re fun, but all they’ve done in weeks is talk. Are they going to actually have a match at some point? More nitpicking.
Rollins tried to talk Ambrose out of competing in the main event. It would have been hilarious if Ambrose had agreed to it and then the show ended on the spot. We would all be confused but in retrospect we would be like, “Ha. That’s funny.”
Recap of King of the Ring. Barrett won because he’s English and that’s why. So is Neville, but it just works for Barrett. Besides the fact that they booked the whole thing in like ten minutes with no real build, I want to ask why they keep putting R-Truth in matches like he has a chance of winning. He just gets tossed into random stuff because they have nothing better for him to do.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
*Can’t help but imagine how annoying it is when someone has an entrance followed by a commercial break before the next entrance. On Smackdown it’s probably not a thing to think about, but on Raw, a live show, that’s like four minutes of a looping song. Wanna know what I would do if that happened to me? Nothing. I would sit in my seat. But, I would totally think about doing something about it.
*I’m fine with this match happening, but the fact that the history between these two is nuclear, I really wish they would save it for a bigger event. All things considered, the three members of The Shield should have been kept away from each other until next year’s Wrestlemania.
*Kane doesn’t have lifts in his new “ring attire” boots. He’s a big guy, sure, but look at him next to Seth Rollins. Rollins is about 6’1” or maybe 6’2”. Kane isn’t all that much taller than him, despite being billed for years at 7’2”. Good God I am being nitpicky in this review. I’ll hit some good points.
*Rollins and Ambrose have phenomenal chemistry. Usually guys who were on teams have great matches together because they know each other’s work styles so well.
*The rule of wrestling Dean Ambrose is to never throw him into the ropes because you’re always going to get clotheslined.
*Kane touching Seth Rollins at all is a DQ. Apparently anything Kane does isn’t against rules.
*Rollins’ new finisher isn’t bad or good. It’s just a move.
Winner: Seth Rollins
*As The Authority began a beatdown on Ambrose I was waiting for Reigns’ music to make the save. I was correct. It’s not a WWE show until they make Reigns beat the crap out of a bunch of people.
*Final little thought that I want to throw out there: What if they had decided to make Ambrose the guy that turned on The Shield? Would he be where Rollins is now? I mean, that was the logical booking considering Ambrose is such a good heel. Most people thought that was the direction they would go toward the end of the team there. All three guys have bright futures, but that’s something worth considering.
Not a great show. Not a bad show. Like I said up there someplace, they never push a story forward on Smackdown. That’s a shame, but I get why they do it. Sure, they will announce matches and stuff, but the majority of major twists are reserved for Raw. Yet, that means they need to rely on Smackdown being worth watching because of the in-ring action. Which, not that it was bad on this show, but it wasn’t as good as it should be if that’s what you need to sell the show.
Whatever. I’m not in charge, so what’s my opinion matter? McMahon will do what McMahon wants and he’s still rich and I’m still poor. At the end of the day, that’s what matters, right?
Follow me on Twitter @JakobDraper. I’ll be at an indie wrestling event later on tonight. Give me a follow and I’ll Tweet out some goodies and maybe even take a picture of the sound table I’m sitting at so you can be like, “Why is he Tweeting a picture of a table?” Well, if you read this then you’re already way more in the loop than the other followers, now aren’t you?