3/29 Barnett's WWE Smackdown on SyFy Live Review: The Rock appears, Mark Henry and Ryback in a weight lifting challenge, plus Chris Jericho, Wade Barrett, and Randy Orton in Action
By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on SyFy
Taped 3/26 in Hershey, PA.
[Q1] The WWE Narrator covered The Rock, Swagger and Del Rio, and The Shield retreating from their WrestleMania opponents.
In the arena, The Rock's music hit and he headed towards the ring to a huge ovation. The announce team introduced a clip from Monday where The Rock hit Cena with Rock Bottom. The Rock pulled out a Hershey Bar and smiled before beginning his promo. He said about a month ago on Raw he did a little thing called story time with The Rock. He recapped his story from Nashville and then said he moved there to a small town called Bethlehem, PA. He recalled his creepy mustache and asked the crowd if they wanted to see a picture of The Rock at 15. He showed the photo and was embarrassed to look like the bouncer from Menudo.
He said one of the benefits of being in Bethlehem was being an hour from a certain park, where he would ride amusement rides and eat as much chocolate as he could. He then did his “finally” bit and the crowd erupted. He then said he loves coming to Hershey, and recalled a weekend when he couldn't find a whatchamacalit. He drove his friend nuts trying to find it, and when he finally found one someone grabbed it right before he did. He recalled telling that person that if they didn't put down that candy bar, he would kick their candy ass.
The Rock then said Hershey is the birth place of kicking candy ass. He claimed a man will go to great lengths to get what he wants, whether it's candy or defeating John Cena at WrestleMania. The Rock then went into how Cena got in his face on Monday, and he kicked his candy ass. He then claimed no matter how Cena stepped to him, with jean shorts or fruity pebbles, he would continue to kick his candy ass. Before he could speak again, The Rock was interrupted by John Laurinitis' music, and he headed towards the ring...[c]
Barnett's Brief: That was cute and all, but I kept waiting for The Rock to get to the point, and when he did he got interrupted.
The Rock asked Johnny who in the blue hell he was. Laurinitis introduced himself and all of his various titles, to which The Rock responded that he had him confused with someone who gives a crap. Johnny said he had permission from Teddy Long to talk, and he knew everyone expected him to talk too long and get a Rock Bottom. He said he and the Rock have something in common, because The Rock is The People's Champ and he invented People Power. He said John Cena is the reason he got fired, and is the reason he is back.
[Q2] The Rock asked him to get to his point, Cena would be the reason he gets his ass whipped all over the building. Johnny then proposed that he be in The Rock's corner at WrestleMania, and that they would be unstoppable like two complimentary pieces of the Reese's Peanut Butter cup. The Rock said they should involve the people, and so he polled the crowd on what they thought. When they said no, he proposed that they ask the crowd if they should both send John Cena a message. Laurinitis said he liked the idea, and asked what he had in mind.
The Rock proposed a handshake, and Johnny shook his hand. The Rock refused to let go, and gave Johnny a spine buster. He delivered a People's Elbow, and said at WrestleMania John Cena's candy ass is going down again. He then did is “If you Smell” gimmick and posed for the crowd. The announce team said Sheamus, Orton and Show would take on Team Rhodes Scholars and Antonio Cesaro. They also plugged Henry and Ryback's bench press challenge for later in the show. Chris Jericho's music hit and he made his ring entrance...[c]
Barnett's Brief: The crowd ate that segment up, and it was fun, but it didn't really increase my interest in the Cena and Rock match at WrestleMania. Laurinitis got decent heat, and you can't deny The Rock's popularity, but the segment was definitely aimed more at the live crowd than building any tension for WrestleMania.
The announcers introduced a clip of Chris Jericho getting beat down by Fandango on Monday. The Miz joined the announce team and Wade Barrett made his ring entrance.
1. Wade Barrett vs. Chris Jericho: Barrett opened up the offense with a shoulder block. Jericho came back with chops and a drop kick. Jericho clotheslined Barrett over the top rope and down to the floor, and then followed up with a baseball slide once Barrett got to his feet. Jericho tossed Barrett back into the ring. Barrett tossed Jericho into the corner, but Jericho jumped over the ropes to the outside and climbed the turnbuckle. Barrett noticed him climbing to the top and hit a big boot that sent him tot he floor...[c]
[Q3] Jericho hit a double axe handle from the top to stun Barrett. He hit a nice drop kick and then a splash from the top for a two count. He then went for the Walls of Jericho, but Barrett fought away. Jericho dumped Barrett to the floor, but Barrett was quick enough to avoid a springboard drop kick, and Jericho landed hard on the outside. Barrett tossed Jericho back into the ring, but ended up jawing with The Miz. Jericho surprised Barrett with the Codebreaker as he got back in the ring, and go the win.
Chris Jericho defeated Wade Barrett at 8:09.
Jericho pointed out that Fandango's stage materials were set up, and that he was likely about to make his grand entrance. Jericho lamented that he wasn't able to pronounce his name properly. He went through about 20 different bad pronunciations of his name until Fandango made his entrance with his dance partner. Fandango nearly got to the ring, but he backed away when Jericho invited him into the ring. The announce team plugged a recap of the Lesnar and Triple H feud as next...[c]
Barnett's Brief: A well wrestled match from Jericho and Barrett, and they managed to advance their feuds with Miz and Fandango in the process. I'm looking forward to Jericho vs. Fandango, and I hope Miz and Barrett will surprise me as well.
[Q4] A video package aired that covered the entirety of the Lesnar and Triple H feud. It was well done and showed some footage of Triple H in the gym. An interview was shown with Paul Heyman from earlier today. Heyman avoided Mathew's questions and said he was there because Brock wanted it in the record that Triple H's whole livelihood is on the line. Heyman said Triple H would not be able to handle just the role at CEO of a publicly traded company, and would be jealous of the locker room he was trying to lead. The locker room would be poisoned and would rebel against him. He then said Triple H would have to confront two mistakes. First, he can't compete mentally with Paul Heyman, and he also can't compete physically against Brock Lesnar...[c]
Barnett's Brief: A good video package and a great follow up promo from Heyman. They are doing all they can to make Triple H's career stipulation feel important, and they did a good job of that here.
[Q5] Booker T and Teddy Long were on stage, and Booker said they are less than two weeks away from WrestleMania. Before that, two of the most powerful men in WWE will prove who is the strongest. Booker then said this particular contest was used in the NFL, and it was the bench press contest. Booker introduced Ryback first, and then Teddy Long interrupted him to introduce Henry as the World's Strongest Man. Henry approached Ryback aggressively, and Booker said if either one violate his no contact clause they would be banned from WrestleMania.
Teddy said they had flipped a coin backstage, and decided who would go first. Henry stepped up to the bench first. Booker reminded the crowd that the world record was 51 reps. Henry pushed 53 reps. After Ryback equaled his total, Henry walked over and choked Ryback with the bar. Ryback eventually dumped the weight off the bar by tilting it over and rolled onto the floor and choked. The refs attended to him and he eventually got to his feet and shook them off...[c]
Barnett's Brief: That was a pretty hokey segment. It's clear both men are extremely strong, but the weightlifting didn't introduce much drama because the result became clear really early in the segment when Henry went first and cleared the “record”.
A video clip was shown of the previous segment, and for whatever reason they showed a camera angle that demonstrated the bar not really even compressing Ryback's neck. Dolph Ziggler was shown in the ring with AJ and Big E. Daniel Bryan then made his entrance accompanied by Kaitlyn and Kane. A clip was then shown of Ziggler defeating Bryan and Kane from weeks past.
2. Dolph Ziggler and AJ vs. Daniel Bryan and Kaitlyn: Ziggler opened with a shoulder block and a taunt. Bryan fired back with an arm drag and Kaitlyn tagged herself in. AJ came in and hit a drop kick to Kaitlyn covered for a two count. She then hit two neck breakers and got a near fall. Kaitlyn fired back with a running shoulder block and tagged Bryan. Ziggler came in and ate a drop kick in the corner. Bryan went for a hurricanrana, but Ziggler reversed and got a two count.
[Q6] Bryan rolled through and kicked Ziggler in the chest, but Big E distracted him and allowed Ziggler to hit a standing drop kick. He then made a tag to AJ. Outside the ring, AJ jumped on Bryan's back and Ziggler kicked him in the face. AJ then made her way back into the ring and took a spear for the loss.
Kaitlyn and Daniel Bryan defeated AJ and Dolph Ziggler at 3:10.
The Shield was shown backstage and spoke about cliches. They said the worst cliché they've heard is that their opponents will put aside their differences to defeat them at WrestleMania. Reigns claimed they would choke on their cliches, and Rollins said that they don't stand a chance. Ambrose said they might think they could play nice together, but this isn't a game it's a story about justice and the final chapter will be told at WrestleMania. The Great Khali made his ring entrance with Natalya and Hornswoggle...[c]
Barnett's Brief: A match that seems to indicate we're going to see something from Kaitlyn and AJ at WrestleMania. The post match stuff from The Shield was pretty formula, but the delivery was good.
Jack Swagger made his entrance and they belittled The Great Khali as a slightly more competent call center operative. They then said they broke Ricardo's ankle to bind the country, and we the people etc...
3. The Great Khali vs. Jack Swagger: Khali threw his power around early, and shoved Swagger in the corner. Swagger avoided one big chop, but Khali managed to hit two more. Khali went for the Punjabi Plunge, but Swagger shoved him into the corner and kneed him multiple times. Khali fought out with a back elbow and a clothesline, but Swagger avoided the big overhand chop and rolled outside. Khali attempted to follow, but Swagger hung his leg on the top rope. Swagger then kept attacking the leg, and Khali got dumped to the outside.
Swagger attempted the ankle lock several times on the outside, and eventually cinched it in. The ref called for the bell at this point.
The Great Khali defeated Jack Swagger via DQ at 3:08.
After the match, Hornswoggle had to break the hold, and then Swagger attempted to break his ankle. Ricardo Rodriguez interrupted and invited Swagger to attack him again from the top of the ramp. Del Rio emerged behind Swagger and locked on the cross arm breaker. Colter broke up the hold, but Ricardo hit him with his crutch and then threw it to Del Rio. Swagger ducked the crutch and fled up the ramp...[c]
Barnett's Brief: I just don't get what they are doing here. The action itself isn't bad, but the story has just been awful and continues to be.
[Q7] A Raw Rebound was shown of CM Punk and Undertaker's segment from Monday. Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Sheamus, Orton and Big Show. Renee said it was improbable that they could team up, but it happened on Monday. She then introduced a clip from Monday. She then asked how they were gelling as a team. Orton said they were doing really good and they had a common enemy. Sheamus said absolutely, they had put aside their issues. Show said he wasn't the one who had problems to begin with, and they bickered a bit. Orton stepped in and told them to focus, and said they were on the same page and it was bad news for their opponents tonight and the shield...[c]
Barnett's Brief: Rinse and repeat on the backstage promo. Nothing out of the box there. The Punk and Undertaker video was basically all the important moments of their monday segment.
[Q8] Sheamus made his ring entrance, followed by Orton and Big Show. Team Rhodes Scholars made their entrance and Sandow and Rhodes said they were all uncommon men, and their opponents were nothing but common and it would be their downfall. Cesaro then yodeled for some reason?
4. Team Rhodes Scholars and Antonio Cesaro vs. Randy Orton and Sheamus and Big Show: Sheamus opened up and laid a beating on Cesaro. The ref separated them, and that allowed Cesaro to get in a few blows of his own. Sheamus hit a clothesline and then tagged in Big Show. Rhodes then tagged in and Show slapped his chest about 8 times. Show then chopped Cesaro off the apron and Sandow backed off and begged show not to slap him. Show made a tag to Orton...[c]
Sheamus grabbed Sandow by the beard and tagged in Orton. He did the 10 punches trope in the corner, but Sandow forced him into his corner and the heels took turns beating on Orton. Cesaro hit a double stomp and got a two count. He then grabbed a waist lock and powered Orton over, and then yodeled (WTF?) again while performing the move. Rhodes tagged in and Orton caught some wind, but Rhodes hit a knee lift and tagged Sandow right back in.
Sandow hit the Elbow of Disdain and locked in a chin lock. Orton powered out and hit an inverted back breaker. Orton strugged to get a tag and got Sheamus. Big Show knocked Cesaro off the top rope. Sheamus put another beating on Rhodes, and hit his chest clubs to both Sandow and Rhodes. He then hit White Noise on Sheamus, and things broke down. Big Show knocked out Cesaro, and Orton hit an RKO on Sandow. Both Orton and Orton cheered on Sheamus and he hit a Brogue Kick on Rhodes for the win.
Sheamus, Orton and Show defeated Team Rhodes Scholars and Cesaro at 10:12.
After the match, the Shield's music hit and they came down through the crowd. Sheamus, Orton and Show climbed the barricades and headed up after them. The show closed with Sheamus, Orton and Big Show getting the best of The Shield and them hightailing it out of the building.
Barnett's Brief: I really hope Cesaro yodeling was just part of tonight's comedy and will go away. The main event was itself a cliché, and maybe that will feed into Monday. Overall this episode had a pretty good pace, but struggled at time to really further develop WrestleMania. Maybe we'll get something more substantive on Monday, but this felt like a holding pattern for the most part. I'll have more to say tomorrow with Chris Shore on our All Access Smackdown Podcast.
Questions, comments, and concerns? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @barnettjake.
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