Smackdown comes to us this week from Newark, NJ. WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena is filming some movie, so his schedule doesn’t currently allow for appearances on the lesser shows. Sadly, Smackdown is a lesser show. It’s just slightly above Main Event. And since Main Event has the benefit of a live broadcast without piped-in crowd noises, it can actually be a more enjoyable show much of the time. Wow, I’m really dogging Smackdown. I’ll try to be more positive.
The champ isn’t here tonight, but advertised for this show is the return of Y2J himself, Chris Jericho. And here to kick off our Friday night festivities is the current Money In The Bank contract holder, Seth Rollins. Now things are starting to look up!
Seth Rollins Promo
There was the predictable interference by Dean Ambrose. Randy Orton and Roman Reigns also interfered. Triple H came out after the brawling and set up a match between Ambrose and Orton for later in the show. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins are in one of the hottest angles in the company right now, and they deserve it. Roman is the de facto main eventer of the trio, which is a shame because they could do him some justice by developing him a little more.
US. Championship Match
Sheamus (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
The crowd wasn’t really into this. Smackdown crowds usually aren’t too great anyway, but this didn’t really get a response into the final minute or so. These two are two of my favorites and this match itself was good. I’ll even give WWE credit for advertising this match before the show started. They need to do that more often. It can make the matches feel more important.
Del Rio kept trying to put Sheamus in his arm submission and it seemed like he was going to win a few times. He’s a heel, so my wife and I were rooting for Mexico’s greatest export all by our lonesome. The crowd on tv wasn’t with us, at least. Sheamus usually gets booked strong for some reason, so he pulled out the win. I think he used the Cloverleaf, although my memory is a little foggy on that.
Winner and still U.S. Champion: Sheamus
“What’s in a name? It’s written in the stars.” I’m not sure where this is heading ultimately, but it’s really intriguing. The tag division is weak compared to a year ago, hopefully they have a decent run with this Stardust twist.
Roman Reigns Promo
Roman needs to work on his promo skills. He was real quiet and didn’t show much emotion at all. I guess he’s trying to come off as super-confident and composed, but I have to turn up my volume extra loud because I just can’t hear him.
Bo Dallas vs. Diego (w/El Torito)
Bo Dallas dedicated this match to “little Daniel Bryan”. It looked like there was a botched head-scissors by Diego, but I could be wrong about that. Bo Dallas scolding Torito after the match was pretty funny. This was a short comedy match. It wasn’t as funny as his antics with R-Truth, but they kept it short enough that it wasn’t that bad.
Winner: Bo Dallas
Y2J Promo – Gets Interrupted by Bray, then Miz
Jericho gets the expected interruption from Bray Wyatt, who is amazing. The Miz came out a little later. He’s upset and made his way to the ring. The second he stepped into the ring, Jericho connected with the Code Breaker on him. I kind of like The Miz as a jerk.
Big E Brawls With Cesaro
Big E did his preacher-style promo before the match, saying that he’s going to get some revenge for his buddy Kofi. No match really happened here, it was just a straight-up fight. Cesaro and Big E battled really aggressively around the ring. It was a good, tough brawl. Maybe if Cesaro wins the IC title at Battleground then his scuffles with Big E and Kofi will lead to ready-made challengers for his belt. Just an idea.
AJ Lee vs. Eva Marie
Paige looked on from a seat near the announce table. This match is not for AJ’s Diva’s Championship. Eva’s offense is terrible. Thankfully, AJ put her in the Black Widow finisher fairly quickly and ended this match. Paige came into the ring afterward and congratulated her without incident. What a great sport, that Paige.
Winner: AJ Lee
The Cold War Heats Up!
Rusev (w/Lana) Make A Mockery Of Sandow; Swagger (w/Zeb Colter) Makes A Patriotic Appearance
The tragedy that is Damien Sandow’s career continues. He doesn’t even get one sentence out before Rusev interrupts him. It’s so depressing. Sandow is better than this. Rusev disposes of him quickly.
This Swagger/Rusev feud is becoming one of the hottest things in WWE right now and it’s all thanks to their managers. Colter and Lana are so fun when they both have microphones. The fans love this and the chants of “U.S.A.” and “We The People” are some of the loudest reactions right now. No fight happened tonight, but it’s early in this rivalry. Let it slow build until Background.
Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton
Mr. Money In The Bank, Seth Rollins, was already mic’d up with JBL and Cole at ringside before this match started. Ambrose has a taped up shoulder, selling his injuries from the MITB ladder match.
My favorite line from Rollins’ announcing stint was, “Oh, don’t be silly, Kane doesn’t wear watches.” You had to be there, I guess.
Ambrose was selling like a champ, really driving the direction of the match as he kept favoring his shoulder. Everything starting going into high gear when Dean charged at Seth and started wailing on him. Seth got thrown into the barricade. He never touched Dean, so the match continued.
The final moments of the match had Orton on the outside and Dean was going to dive through the ropes toward him, but Rollins used his briefcase to slam against his shoulder in the process. The DQ victory went to Ambrose. There was a 2-on-1 situation for a little bit, until the mighty Roman Reigns came to make the save. He Superman punched Orton, then Rollins was able to pull him out of the ring to escape.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
The build to Battleground is looking great. Even without John Cena on the show, there are several really intriguing stories going on. The Ambrose/Rollins feud is money and so is Jericho/Wyatt. Jericho and Wyatt haven’t even done much of anything yet and I’m already salivating over what might happen with them. Also, Rusev vs. Swagger is a powder keg waiting to explode. The WWE is really smart to let their managers do all the work at the moment. And with the return of AJ Lee, the Diva’s division has a much-anticipated matchup whenever she and Paige have a proper bout on a big card.
Time for Mitch’s awards of the night…
Match of the Night: Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton. Ambrose is so good right now. He was selling his injuries so well and he makes his audience feel his hatred of Seth Rollins. Even though it ended in DQ, this match connected with the audience better than any other fight of the night.
Promo of the Night: The Rhodes Boys. There’s a ton of interest here with the Stardust character and their short segment has my interest piqued to the max.
Superstar of the Night: Dean Ambrose. If this guy keeps it up, people will be calling for his first title reign before his buddy Roman.
Not a bad show tonight. Story-lines were furthered and there were a couple of decent bouts. The opener and the main event were really the only noteworthy matches. But there were a few not-so-great bouts, too (I’m looking at you, Eva Marie). I like what’s being done on the character side of things, but there has to be some strong in-ring action and that was lacking slightly tonight. That’s my only gripe.
Before I go, please head on over to TJRWrestling.com and check out my recent article titled, “A Closer Look At The WWE Intercontinental Title Contenders.” I did a quick analysis of all the guys announced for the over the top battle royal at Battleground. It’s my first column there that’s not a Main Event review and it’s doing fairly well, so I’m excited about it.
Staying on this site, MitchandAl regular contributor Rosie Piper wrote a recent piece directed to none other than Daniel Bryan. It addresses his appearance at Money In The Bank and it’s titled, “Daniel Bryan: Too Crude At MITB?”
Thanks for reading my opinions of this week’s edition of Smackdown. Join me again around Tuesday as we do the same thing for Raw. I’ll be here and the talented Al N. Jaxson just might be my tag team partner, if we’re lucky. These are always better with him, aren’t they?
One last thing, follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson
Take care, nerds.