3/21 Barnett's WWE Smackdown on SyFy Live Review: John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, The Shield, Dolph Ziggler and more..
By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on SyFy Live Coverage
Taped on Tuesday, March 18th in Houston, Texas.
[Q1] The show opened to the arena and Cole welcomed us to Houston. He announced a fatal four way match for a number one contendership for the tag team titles. He also said the main event would be John Cena vs. Luke Harper. Kane made his ring entrance. He quickly spoke and said Monday was a glorious night for WWE, and he wanted to present the end of the Yes Movement. He showed video from Monday of the hellacious beating Daniel Bryan took Monday Night. It played nearly in it's entirety. Cole and JBL spoke over the video, and Cole tried to express outrage. JBL made bad analogies to John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, and said they would do the same to protect their companies. Which might be true, but they probably would have had the sense to pay someone to do their dirty work.
In the arena, Kane said Daniel Bryan had it coming. He's an insufferable egomania who craves the attention of the WWE Universe. Kane then blamed the crowd for what happened to Daniel Bryan. He said Bryan began to think he was bigger than the WWE and bigger than the authority, and on Monday Night everyone learned that nobody is bigger the authority. Kane said that some people are better than others. The authority is better than Daniel Bryan, and they are better than the Yes Movement, and what happened on Monday is something we all deserved. He then read a letter from Triple H. I'll do my best to paraphrase, as he read really fast.
Triple H's letter basically said that he regretted being forced to take matters into his own hands, and that Daniel Bryan forced his hand. It was never the intention of the authority to get involved personally with Daniel Bryan, but they were left with no choice due to Daniel Bryan's attempt to Occupy Raw. Thank you and welcome to Smackdown, signed Triple H.
Fandango then interrupted Kane before he could leave the ring and made his own entrance. He was followed by Los Matadores, with Fernando wrestling...[c]
My Take: A better than average promo from Kane, considering his recent efforts. Corporate Kane played the part of the loyalist and continued the trend of members of the authority talking about their inherent superiority over us common folk.
[Q2] 1. Fernando vs. Fandango: The match was joined in progress. Fandango locked in a chin lock and held it for a good while. Cole talked about Fandango being in the WrestleMania Battle Royal. Fandango tried to drop a knee from the top rope, but nobody was home. Fernando pushed the pace with some flying elbows and a head scissors. Summer Rae interrupted the match. She was wearing a red dress, so El Torito chased her around the ringside area. She jumped the apron to escape, which allowed Fernando to surprise Fandango from behind with a roll up for the win.
Fernando defeated Fandango at approximately 4 minutes.
Cole made some plugs for the WWE Network. They plugged the four way tag match between The Real Americans, The Shield, Rybaxel, and 3MB. Sandow vs. Ziggler was advertised for next...[c]
My Take: You're pretty safe ignoring this segment entirely. Nothing to see here. The bit with Summer Rae was about as contrived as it gets, but I'm sure the kids thought it was funny.
Damien Sandow did not get a televised ring entrance. Dolph Ziggler made his ring entrance to a nice pop.
2. Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow: Sandow opened up the offense with a side russian leg sweep and some knee strikes. Dolph climbed up top, but Sandow kicked him and he spilled out to the floor and hit the steps. Dolph continued the offense in the ring, and held a chin lock. Ziggler tried to break free, but Sandow hit a clothesline and dumped him to the floor. Sandow tossed Ziggler into the barricade and then back into the ring.
Sandow covered for a near fall, and went back to the chin lock. Ziggler escaped and started his comeback with a drop kick. He hit a back suplex for a near fall, and then set up for a fameasser, but Sandow got out of the way. They went back and forth, and Ziggler was able to hit the fameasser successfully and got the win .
Dolph Ziggler defeated Damien Sandow at 5:59.
Cole plugged Cena vs. Harper for the main event...[c]
My Take: An alright match, but I wasn't blown away. I'm probably a victim of my own expectations, because it as a solid effort and it's not like they had all the time in the world. I just with both guys meant more, and they just don't.
[Q3] The Wyatt's sounder hit and Luke Harper said it's not safe here for John Cena. Tonight, he is the reaper, and tonight he will carry out his will. Bray Wyatt said it makes all the sense in the world why he would be afraid of him. He was born of this world to relieve it of his sins. He is the tears of his mother for the love he couldn't repay her. He is the sad truth that is waiting or him down below. Fear is his power, and he is now in control. Bray said he would ruin his entire world.....Run.
They switched gears abruptly and awkwardly and showed some clips from WWE Slam City from the WWE Network. Back in the arena, The Shield made their ring entrance for the fatal four way tag team match...[c]
My Take: Another very good Wyatt Family promo. Bray Wyatt sounds just crazy enough to be entertaining and a bit unnerving. Luke Harper might even be more creepy with the way he seems so calm when he's saying violent things.
Rybaxel, 3MB, and The Shield were in the ring. The Real Americans made their ring entrance. This match establishes the number one contendership for the tag team championship.
[Q4] 3. 3MB (Jinder and Drew) vs. Rybaxel vs. The Real Americans vs. The Shield (Ambrose and Rollins): Axel and Ambrose started, and Ambrose hit a huge clothesline and a body slam early. He dropped an elbow and covered for a one count. Jinder Mahal tagged in and Ambrose grapevined him. Ambrose stayed in control and tagged in Rollins. They traded offense briefly until Ryback tagged in for Mahal. Ryback attempted a vertical suplex, but Rollins flipped over the top. He and Ambrose then sent Ryback to the floor and dove on him...[c]
Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal worked a double team on Ambrose and got a near fall. Axel tagged mahal in the back and Mahal argued with the ref. Ryback then tagged in and slammed Ambrose, followed by a big splash for two count. He continued with strikes and then used the second rope to choke Ambrose. Ryback then hit a meat hook clothesline, but Swagger tagged him when he got too close to the corner. Swagger hit a Swagger Bob, and Cesaro tagged in and hit a running stomp. Rollins broke up the pin, and Cesaro kicked him in the face for his trouble.
Ambrose and Cesaro traded blows, and both men ended up the mat. Cesaro made the tag to Swagger, and he prevented Ambrose from tagging out. Ambrose hit Swagger with a DDT, and tagged in Rollins. Jinder Mahal tagged in as well. Rollins cleared the Real Americans and Drew McIntyre off the apron, and then hit Mahal with a blockbuster. Reigns hit Heath Slater with a spear on the outside. Rollins hit flying stomp on Mahal, but McIntyre broke up the pin. Kane showed up at ringside and attacked Reigns on the outside to cause a DQ.
The match ended in an apparent no contest at 12:28.
[Q5] Kane attacked Reigns up the ramp. The New Age Outlaws showed up and continued the beat down. In the ring, The Real Americans, 3MB and Rybaxel took out Rollins and Ambrose. Kane walked to the ring and choke slammed Rollins. The Outlaws tossed Reigns into the ring for the same fate...[c]
My Take: An ok match, but nothing terribly exciting. The post match beating was flat. The crowd didn't care, and I'm certainly not excited about The Shield vs. Kane and The Outlaws for WrestleMania. In fact, if you told me that was the plan a few months ago, I would have laughed in your face.
They replayed the part of the beating we just saw. The Miz was in the ring for MizTV. Miz said it's been a while. He welcomed everyone to MizTV and recapped Hulk Hogan's announcement of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. He announced his entrance in the match, and promised a victory. He then moved on and introduced his guest, the odds on favorite to win the Battle Royal, The Big Show.
Miz handed Show a Microphone. Show smiled and soaked up the cheers. Miz polled the crowd and everybody thought Show would win. Show thanked the crowd for his reaction, and talked about being compared to and being a fan of Andre the Giant. He then said it would be fitting for his legacy to win the memorial battle royal. Miz said that nobody has lost more at WrestleMania than the Big Show, and questioned whether he could do it. Show said he was lacing his boots before Miz left high school, and said he better shut his mouth before he does it for him.
Miz said he invited some of their competition onto Miz TV, and a whole mess of people came out. Big E, Mark Henry, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, Del Rio, etc. Miz said they should all take out their biggest competition, and then looked at Big Show. A brawl broke out, and everybody but Sheamus and Big Show were cleared from the ring.
[Q6] They traded punches, and Sheamus hit a cross body to take down Show. Miz had slipped under the bottom rope, and tried to eliminate both men. Sheamus got dumped to the floor, then Miz, and Show was left standing tall. Andre approves of this booking...[c]
My Take: The problem with loading up the talent in the Battle Royal is that it's hard to make them all feel important heading into the match. Case in point being this segment.
Big E was in the ring, as was Alberto Del Rio.
4. Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E: Del Rio jumped out early on offense. He hit some strikes and a drop kick, and then locked in a chin lock. Del Rio locked on an arm breaker over the top rope, and broke on a count of four. Big E picked up Del Rio for a body slam, but he slipped out the back and hit a back cracker. Del Rio signaled for the cross arm breaker, but Big E pushed him away. Big E charged the corner and hit the post after Del Rio moved. Del Rio followed up with a kick to the head for the win.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Big E at 2:55.
Backstage, Santino was getting make up applied to his face to cover up a black eye. He spoke to the make up lady about how awesome Emma was, as she sneaked up from behind him. As he was doing the Emma dance, she tapped him on the shoulder and he fell out of his chair. As he got up, they conked heads and he ran off embarrassed. She sat down in the make up chair to shake off the collision...[c]
My Take: That match was bizarre. What's the point of jobbing out the intercontinental champion here? As for Santino and Emma, it's a travesty that they can't think of anything but this to do with Emma on the main roster. She doesn't need to be involved with a male talent to get over.
[Q7] Mr. T's Hall of Fame video was shown. The Bellas were in the ring, opposite Natalya and Summer Rae. AJ was on commentary with Tamina, who apparently made up.
5. Natalya and Summer Rae vs. The Bella Twins: Nattie and Nikki started, and Nikki got the better of it early with a kick and a two count cover. Summer tagged herself in and she and Nattie jawed with each other. Summer worked over Nikki's bad shin for a bit, until Brie tagged in. Summer tossed Brie into the corner, and then Summer and Nattie got into it again. Nattie tagged in and tossed Summer to the outside. Brie hit Nattie with a facebuster for the win.
The Bella Twins defeated Nattie and Summer Rae at 2:28.
Footage was shown of Main Event, where The Undertaker sent a message to Brock Lesnar through Paul Heyman. Cole said both Brock and The Undertaker would be in Brooklyn on Monday Night. Backstage, Kane spoke to Rybaxel, The Real Americans and 3MB. He promised both Rybaxel and The Real Americans a tag title match. 3MB was granted entry into WrestleMania Battle Royal. The New Agoe Outlaws walked out, and Kane thanked them and told them he knew he could always count on them...[c]
My Take: I'm guessing we get a Triple Threat Tag Team Match at WrestleMania and a six man match with The Shield and Kane plus The Outlaws. All I can say is meh. I just don't care. The divas match seemed like they were selling Total Divas, and that's about it. AJ and Tamina were a side show that got nearly zero attention.
[Q8] Lana walked out on the stage, and said Houston, we have a very big problem. She then introduced Alexander Rusev. Cole gave an update on Daniel Bryan, and said he had a partial shoulder separation. They said he vowed to make WWE Live events this weekend and Raw on Monday, but they questioned his decision. John Cena made his ring entrance...[c]
My Take: Nice reaction for Cena. The crowd still has no idea what to think about Rusev. Lana is hot, so she gets her fair share of cheers, but not much else for noise.
The Wyatt Family made their entrance. The Wyatt/Cena Eminem music video from Monday was shown again.
6. John Cena vs. Luke Harper: Harper opened up with strikes in the corner. Cena escaped the corner, but ate a clothesline. Harper gator rolled him and applied a chin lock. Cena hit a back suplex to get out of the chin lock, and followed up with a shoulder block. Cena hit the ropes and ate an atomic drop followed by a very impressive side kick from Harper. Cena recovered and started his comeback with the prototype suplex. Harper circled the ring as Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle. Cena went for the AA, but Harper avoided it and hit a big boot to the face.
Harper looked crazed and Cena dumped him out of the ring. Cena applied a cross face on Harper, but Harper bit his hand to escape. Harper went for a powerbomb, but Cena reversed with a head scissors. Harper then hit one of his own, albeit a lot more clumsily. Harper measured Cena for his big discus clothesline. Cena avoided it and hit the AA for the victory. Cena booked up the ramp after the win, narrowly avoiding the Wyatt's.
John Cena defeated Luke Harper at 5:50.
My Take: A short match that left me more impressed with Luke Harper than I've been any time recently. He really speaks well and is very athletic for his size. I enjoyed this match despite the short length, although it would have been better had the Wyatt's been able to put more roadblock's in Cena's way. The victory came a little too easy for a guy who was at a significant numbers disadvantage. Overall, this was an average edition of Smackdown any other time of the year, but a little below average for a WrestleMania season show. I'll have more to say with Chris Shore on the all access podcast tomorrow.
Do you have questions, comments or concerns? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.
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