Tag Archives: Smackdown

5 Best WWE SmackDown Moments 5/19/16: The Bloodline vs. The Club

Extreme Rules is in just a few days and I hope you haven’t begun looking for predictions articles just yet because we’ve still got SmackDown to go over. You didn’t forget about SmackDown, did you? It’s okay if you did. Looking at the ratings, many of you routinely forget about WWE’s Thursday night weekly. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

If you did miss this week, here are the best moments from the broadcast. These are the things most worth your time to try and look up. One honorable mention goes to Big E for this…

5. Owens Wins, Laughs At His Foes

Sami Zayn got a little lost in the shuffle on commentary, but who could blame him? Not only is it regularly a three-person team as a base, both The Miz & Maryse were also mic’d up along with Sami. When The Miz and his lady tried to distract the in-ring competition, Zayn decided to put down the headseat and head into the ring. Inadvertently, Zayn’s involvement caused Cesaro to lose because Kevin Owens capitalized on the distraction for a roll-up pin. As the brawling continued after the match, KO exited back up the ramp while laughing.

All four of these guys bring something of value to this IC Title feud and I’m very pumped for their match at Extreme Rules. I don’t feel like Owens’ win here gives him any significant momentum considering the outside involvement and the cheap roll-up, but it was still a good ending to solid opening match.

(This would normally be the part where I find a Twitter link relevant to this particular topic to break up the text, but I’ll go slightly off topic to show a bit of banter that Owens had during SmackDown’s broadcast with a restaurant that sucked…)

4. The Man That Humbled Kalisto

Doesn’t The Iron Sheik always talk about breaking people’s backs and making them humble? Well, our boy Rusev has at least borrowed some of that phrase. In a backstage interview with Renee Young he and Lana proclaimed that his aggressive Accolade to Kalisto on Raw was an act of humbling. Lana called her man the greatest U.S. Champion of all time while Rusev said that people will soon be chanting “Machka, machka” instead of “Lucha, lucha.” Can that please catch on, if only for a night?

Since WWE has allowed Rusev and Lana to return closer to what’s worked for them in the past, Rusev has stepped it up as far as being his own mouthpiece. Lana can still vouch for the Bulgarian Brute but he can more than speak for himself. He’s very comfortable with his own voice and that’s why I picked this brief interview segment as one of the best moments of the show. The man deserves praise for his promo skills.

3. More Of Dana Brooke’s Winning Ways

With Becky Lynch on commentary, Dana Brooke scored yet another win in only her second week on the main roster. She defeated Paige, putting her overall SmackDown and Raw record up to an impressive 3-0. She’s not beating scrubs, either. Paige just pinned WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte on Raw less than two weeks ago.

Dana made sure to bad mouth Becky after she won, so it looks like that will be her rivalry for the time being. It’s a shame that Emma and (presumably) Sasha Banks aren’t along for this ride as well, but I won’t complain about a singles feud between these two.

2. A Clever Disguise

Chris Jericho entered the Ambrose Asylum before the cage and all of the different weaponry that accompanied it lowered over top of him. Y2J talked about how he’s been in every match that WWE has ever offered except for this new Dean-specific variation of a cage match. Chris also said he would make his opponent on Sunday spend 40 days in the hospital thanks to what he’ll do to him in this coming match. Chris said all of this without noticing the hairy stage guy in the cage walking behind him.

The disguise wasn’t the best thing ever, but I found it amusing to watch Ambrose remove his fake facial hair behind a posing Jericho. It had a comical tinge to it, which WWE has been guilty of doing too much of to Dean in the past. This didn’t feel like too much cartoony stuff to me, it was just a goofy reveal before the assault. Ambrose then procured a kendo stick and wailed on Jericho repeatedly before he could escape the cage.

1. The Expected Bloodline/Club Brawl

Sure, having these six guys in the same location has historically proven that there will be a melee, but since it’s pretty much always great then the predictability is fine by me. Also, this stable vs. stable fight followed a fresh match-up of Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows – and it turned out to be a pretty worthy main event.

For whatever hesitance Styles has had about embracing the heelish peer pressure of his buddies, he’s well beyond that at this point. It was AJ’s leg grab of Roman while the match was still going on that prompted all of the periphery players to get involved. The match didn’t technically end until AJ ordered Gallows and Anderson into the ring to administer the Boot of Doom to Roman. Styles looked ready to go even more ruthless when he cleared off the announce table. That move backfired against him and it was Roman who slammed AJ off of the table.

So, are all three members of The Club fully on the same page? As of the SmackDown main event, it would appear so. But, perhaps that’s precisely what I’m supposed to be thinking just to throw me off before Anderson & Gallows turn on AJ which will then be followed by the formation of the Balor Club on Raw the next night! Pardon the fantasy booking but I’ve been very into what WWE has been offering with this feud. I’m expecting some satisfying plot development/resolution to be given at Extreme Rules.

Oh wait, there’s also a YouTube video of more brawling after the show went off the air. Here’s a .gif of AJ missing another Styles Clash on a chair…

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5 Best WWE SmackDown Moments 5/12/16: Welcome To The Club

After a Raw that saw an obscenely expensive jacket get ripped to shreds by a man who has no business carrying a pair of scissors, SmackDown has arrived. While there wasn’t any further jacket destruction, Chris Jericho did introduce a new jacket that will likely play into a Pay-Per-View stipulation. That moment was one of the best of the night.

Moments that didn’t make the cut but were still notable included Big E getting scolded for repeated attempts at using risque speech, Lana throwing water into Kalisto’s face, and Bob Backlund being a crazy old guy who made Darren Young do 200 squats for using his phone to check the time. Old people are confused and senile and it’s hilarious!

This isn’t a comprehensive review of SmackDown but rather my thoughts on what the best moments of the night were. Assume this list is definitive and authoritative…or disagree. You have a right to your opinion.

5. The Golden Truth Sort Of Finally Forms

Is Breezedango an okay name for Tyler Breeze and Fandango? Or maybe we’ll call them The Beautiful Dance? How about Selfie Sticks and Hip Gyrations?  I’m not sure if Breeze and Fandango have officially formed a tag team together but they did join forces after they got fed up with the nonsense of the two guys that were their partners going into this match.

When R-Truth and Goldust found themselves to be the legal men on opposite sides of the ring, they refused to fight each other. They DO love each other! It was a beautiful moment in which the crowd briefly started a “Golden Truth” chant. The chants may have been piped in, but if that’s the case then please don’t message me or comment about it to set me straight. I want to live in a world that for at least a moment was happy that Truth and Goldust were finally coming together.

The moment didn’t last forever because as I already stated in the Breezedango paragraph above, they were attacked by their respective teammates. There will likely be a tag team match to settle the score and kick off The Golden Truth’s run in the near future. I’m hoping that The Forbidden Dance (nailed it!) will at least get an Extreme Rules pre-show match out of this. (Feel free to comment below with your own catchy tag team name suggestions for Tyler Breeze and Fandango below – even though it’d hard to top The Forbidden Dance.)

4. Playtime Is Over

Dana Brooke had her debut match on the main roster against Becky Lynch on SmackDown. It was notable because she scored a win over the superstar who competed for the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 32, but that’s not the moment I’m choosing to highlight. It was Dana’s promo prior to this big win that impressed me the most.

When interviewed alongside her pal Emma, Brooke explained why she chose to attack Becky from behind on Monday night. She talked about how Emma was at the forefront of the Women’s Division in NXT, but when Lynch came along, people focused on her instead. As she explained her actions while flexing her biceps (she is a bodybuilder, by the way), she seemed like an absolute natural on the microphone.

Brooke was always a standout talker in NXT. She’s proclaimed herself to be THE Total Diva in the past and has smugly patted those she disliked on the head. Watching this interview on SmackDown, it became clear to me that she might be the most talented female talker that WWE has. She’s so comfortable with her character, and it’s enjoyable to watch. She’s a natural.

3. Two Codebreakers In A Straitjacket

Are Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho building towards a straitjacket match at Extreme Rules? Judging by the opening of SmackDown, that seems to be the case. Some sort of unique stipulation should be expected but I can’t remember the last time I’ve watched that kind of match so why not?

Ambrose was in the middle of the ring, talking about his beef with Y2J when the arena went dark. Jericho’s music hit, yet nothing could be seen. It seemed like the prolonged pitch black was due to Chris’ fancy light up jacket getting destroyed on Raw, but he deviously chose to use the entrance as an opportunity to strike.

Jericho attacked his foe from behind. While Ambrose was loopy, Chris placed him inside of a straitjacket and then beat on him as he came to. Jericho gave him a Codebreaker before a team of refs came out to stop the attack, then gave another in the midst of the black and white stripes. Chris was ruthless as the two march on to a singles match at Extreme Rules.

2. The Club Levels The Usos

The only presence of WWE Champion Roman Reigns and his Extreme Rules challenger AJ Styles was during interview segments with their buddies before this tag team match. Both guys said they’d come out to assist if the either guy shows up, which surprisingly didn’t happen in this contest between Gallows & Anderson and The Usos.

What did happen was a DQ finish that led to a fun brawl on the outside. It felt a little wild and chaotic, something that I haven’t felt like these guys have yet been able to achieve without Roman or AJ involved. It was good that they could do that on their own.

Gallows & Anderson finally prevailed when they brought a steel chair into the mix. As both Jey and Jimmy were lying unconscious on the ground, Anderson sat on the chair while Gallows stood tall behind him. They both threw up their Too Sweet hand gestures in celebration.

1. The Miz Stands Tall

Next to the AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns feud, WWE’s current Intercontinental Championship division is the best thing going. Champion The Miz has Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn all vying for his belt and that’s a heck of a short list of challengers. On this night, a tag team match main evented with the guys split along heel/face lines.

Owens was the man to score the winning pinfall against Cesaro after he hit him with a Frog Splash, and that’s when the really fun stuff happened.The guys traded blows and specialty moves until Kevin was able to Popup Powerbomb Sami Zayn. The Miz, sneaky as he is, immediately came up behind Owens and dropped him with his Skull Crushing Finale.

The Miz standing tall among his three fallen challengers is how the show went off the air, a visual that made me particularly happy. I love The Miz. This is such a great mix of wrestlers and this SmackDown main event continued to add fuel to everybody’s fire.

Plugs

Thanks for reading my thoughts on SmackDown. If you like this style of review then go back and also read my 5 Best Moments From Raw 5/9/16: Ric Flair Is A Velociraptor. Also, follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks for reading.

5 Best SmackDown Moments 5/5/16: Big Cass Stands On His Own

Welcome back to the show that no McMahon is currently fighting for control over. It’s pretty much the wild west on Thursday nights. It shocks me that matches can still happen without people of power discussing them on camera while the show is ongoing, but somehow they do. It’s probably witchcraft.

This isn’t a comprehensive review, just my thoughts on what I believe to be the 5 best moments from the show. Feel free to disagree, it’s a subjective artform or something…

5. Another Miz Opener

Two weeks ago, The Miz kicked off SmackDown with a MizTV segment that included AJ Styles. Last week, The Miz interrupted Roman Reign’s opening promo to tell him that Styles was aligned with Gallows & Anderson. This week, The Miz crashed Sami Zayn’s appearance on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel to tell him that Sami interfered with his business on Raw earlier this week. All three opening segments resulted in later matches on each show against Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn, respectively.

The Miz has been one of the consistent cornerstones of SmackDown over recent history and I for one am more than happy about it. He’s a fantastic heel that has no trouble getting the crowds not only want to boo him but to also cheer for whoever is opposite of him at the time. The Intercontinental Championship as well as his fawning wife are by his side, which are both fitting complements to the “A-Lister.” Plus, his in-ring competition has been pretty stellar. What wrestler wouldn’t want to be facing that caliber of talent week after week?

Please continue the heavy Miz presence on this show, WWE.

4. Make Darren Young Great Again

Again? Doesn’t that imply…never mind, I’m being a jerk.

Young is one of countless guys in the back that hardly ever gets valuable on-screen time, so if this goofy Donald Trump parody segment gets him an opportunity then fine by me. You never know, he might stumble into something that clicks.

What makes this segment one of the better moments of the night is the craziness of Bob Backlund. He’s bringing to the table some Trump-inspired catchphrases, something that Vince is probably literally rolling on the floor laughing over. He also used the phrase “Wrestling is life” with a ferocity that eliminated any doubt that this was not wasted television time.

Was this segment silly? Yes, absolutely. But to be fair, it wasn’t long at all and it gave a guy TV time that’s pretty starved of it alongside a legendary former WWE Champion. I can stand a minute or two here and there for some Bob Backlund delivery of humor that Vince thinks is comedic gold.

3. Rusev’s Forehead

In a match with Zack Ryder, Rusev took a routine hit against the corner post while on the outside. The match kept proceeding like normal because nothing seemed off about the move at first glance. It wasn’t until the two brought the action back into the ring that the damage to the cranium of The Bulgarian Brute became evident…

Well, that probably hurt. Rusev was able to continue on with the match with no ill effects from the head shot, although he did noticeably wipe the goose egg with his hand a few times to check to see if there was any blood.

Lana’s sure got herself a tough man. At least she can revel in the fact that the part of him that resides above the eyebrows is number 3 on this week’s list. Rusev defeated Ryder fairly easily only to be gotten the better of by the U.S. Champion Kalisto post-match.

2. Anderson Facewashes Roman

It started out as a standard two-on-two tag team match between The Usos and Anderson & Gallows but with both Roman Reigns and AJ Styles at ringside you knew that things were going to break down. That moment came when Karl Anderson stuck his boot out of the ring and gave the WWE World Heavyweight Champion a facewash. Roman ran into the ring to retaliate and soon afterward everyone was brawling. Refs spilled out from backstage to try to seperate the factions and after a few moments, order was restored.

The moment that Anderson attacked Reigns with his boot is the part that I specifically wanted to celebrate. The Good Brothers have had a few bland matches in their short time in WWE so far but this week has felt so much better for them. They were using chairs and tempting Styles to attack a helpless Roman on Raw and now they’re booting Roman’s schnoz when he’s caught off guard. They’re lawless. They’re cool.

A six-man tag match was then restarted and it was a very good match from then on – easily the best match of the night. Roman scored the winning pinfall for his team after spearing Anderson, the man who struck first against The Big Dog.

1. Big Cass Stands On His Own

With Enzo Amore temporarily out with injury, the personality powerhouse half of the Enzo & Big Cass act could’ve simply left an unfilled void. But just like on Raw, Colin Cassady was handed mic time all by his lonesome. As far as I can tell, he’s doing just fine on his own.

After The Vaudevillians defeated Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel of The Social Outcasts, the seven footer’s music hit. He came out and told them that they looked like they were Sherlock Holmes characters trying to solve the mystery of who Cass was going to beat up. The answer to that mystery was that both of them would be getting the whooping. He’s got a calm and confident delivery that I’m really buying into.

Before going into the ring and making good on the promise of his promo he delivered his usual “spell it out for you” schtick, something that he’s been saying differently since coming to the main roster. Maybe it’s been longer than that, but since leaving NXT I’ve noticed that Cass doesn’t scream out his usual lines anymore. He says them in more of a normal speaking voice now.

It’s a perfectly fine change, but it has felt a little less energetic as of late…until this episode of SmackDown. Colin is finally nailing how to say the words with intensity without simply screaming them. It’s a subtle thing that I’m probably making way too big of a deal out of, but I was happy to feel like I truly heard the emotion from him like the fire in NXT.

Colin Cassady’s promos are good. Of course I’ll be tickled to death when Enzo finally comes back on screen, but if there were any worries that Colin would flop without his Luke Skywalker Smack-talker of a tag partner, worry no more.

Plugs & Stuff:

Thanks for reading. Here are other recent things you can read from me…

10 Most Insane Spots From WWE Payback

5 Best Raw Moments 5/2/16: Conflicted AJ

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5 Best Moments From SmackDown 4/28/16

Payback is this Sunday but hold on, we still have a SmackDown to get through. Whether or not you have the two hours available to watch the whole show, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered. These are the 5 best moments from the show, so this will at least get you up to speed with the really good stuff. Let’s kick things off with the ladies…

5. Natalya & Charlotte Promo

The big news earlier in the week was the Ric Flair told Natalya to kill herself during an Ambrose Asylum segment on SmackDown. By the time the show made it to broadcast, that sort-of-controversial remark was simply edited out. Even though the harshest comment from the exchange was missing, it should be noted that both of the ladies who will be competing this Sunday for the WWE Women’s Championship were solid in their verbal sparring. This very much felt like this was going to be an easy win for Charlotte a few weeks ago but now Natayla feels like a legitimate contender. I still don’t think she’ll defeat Charlotte, but after their great match at Roadblock they could have a repeat (well technically, three-peat) performance.

(On a side-note, Dean Ambrose revealed during this segment that his plant is named Mitch. That’s one solid plant name right there.)

4. They Couldn’t Mute ALL Of Sandow’s Cheers

It was heartbreaking on Raw that Damien Sandow’s match against Baron Corbin never even happened. It was clear that he was getting cheered, but when Dolph Ziggler attacked Big Banter, Damien was not seen again. Sandow would get another chance at an actual on-screen match on SmackDown and it was once again against Baron Corbin. Yes, it was a squash. Also yes, the crowd noise was obviously tampered with. But it didn’t take super-hero quality ears to hear that WWE couldn’t scrub out all of those pro-Sandow choruses. While the Intellectual Savior of the Masses was getting a whooping on the floor, I definitely heard some muted “Let’s Go Sandow” chants. Why do they hate the man so much? Let us love him!

3. R-Truth’s Selfie Stick

Okay, the never-ending tease of “will The Golden Truth finally unite” keeps chugging along after what seems like years and years, I’ll admit that. But these guys can be funny and I even find things to like about them in this blasé recreation of the Ross and Rachel chase from the first two season of Friends. (Right now, R-Truth is in his “Emily” phase with Tyler Breeze, I believe. It’s been a while since I’ve watched Friends, but I think there will be a marriage ceremony at some point and Truth will accidentally say “I take thee Goldust.”) The one really funny moment that I’ll give them props for tonight is Truth’s Selfie Stick that was LITERALLY A STICK. Like, he duct taped his phone to it. Very clever MacGyver-ing, Truth.

2. All Of That Tag Match

New Day were on commentary, which is a big plus. Enzo & Big Cass faced off against The Social Outcasts, which is another plus. Also, The Vaudevillians peered ominously at the top of the ramp to watch their opponents for the Number One Contender tag match at Payback on Sunday. The match was short and effective and the funny commentary was non-stop. I didn’t even take notes on all of the comments because I was just enjoying the charisma of everybody involved. Even Byron Saxton was amusing as he sat quietly on the floor, legs crossed and minding his business.

1. Post-Main Event Drama

Miz vs. Roman Reigns was the best match on the show, but it’s the stuff that happened after the match that really shined. AJ Styles still refuses to fully take the side of his old Bullet Club buddies and only came to blows when he was first attacked by an Uso. Roman even speared Gallows after he and AJ were arguing a little. This had the same feeling like on Raw, but it works for me because I’ve been digging the intrigue of who AJ’s pals might align with in the end. We’ll know for sure on Sunday.

Final Thoughts:

Okay, the show wasn’t too great from an in-ring standpoint. The main event was the best match, and it was good, but nothing else was even on the three star level. Still, there was plenty to like. The promos were good and hey, Damien Sandow had a complete match. I’ll take that.

Being the last SmackDown before Payback, I guess the weak matches were to be expected. Lots of big stuff is teased for that show on Sunday and Vince could shake things up a little with his announcement regarding the status of who’s running what shows. I won’t hold my breath, but something resembling a brand split could be in the cards.

What did you think of this list? Where other good moments left off? Comment below and let me know what I should’ve included instead.

That’s all for me with this SmackDown article. If you’d like to read more of my work then head on over to my blog where you can read about the 10 Best Insights From Lucha Underground’s Catrina’s Reddit AMA. I’ve also teamed up with Wrestling Arcade to deliver 15 Great Wrestling Moments In 16-Bit. Also, follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks for reading.

 

Ric Flair Says “Kill Yourself,” Natalya Plugs WWE Network (Video)

At this week’s Smackdown tapings, The Nature Boy” Ric Flair caused a little bit of controversy with Jim Neidhart’s daughter Bret Hart’s niece when he told her to kill herself. Natalya responded semi-appropriately with a comeback of asking him if he knew about the WWE Network. The video of the exchange is beginning to make the rounds on social media…

Is this something that Ric needs to put on blast over? I don’t think so, but it is good that it’s opening up discussion. Kids who watch might be tempted to repeat this phrase to their peers. If WWE doesn’t have a stated policy on this language then maybe it’s time to inform their on-air talent that this is unacceptable.

It’d be disappointing if Flair was suspended over these comments when all WWE needs to do is edit them out of theTV broadcast. Even if they kept the comments in, as long as the commentary team responded with remarks about how terrible Ric’s words were, then that would probably be fine.

Have any thoughts on Ric Flair telling Natalya to “Kill Yourself?” If so, comment below.

SmackDown 4/21/16 Results & Reactions

I’m writing this a couple of days after viewing SmackDown, so I’m leaving out match ratings during this recap article. I still have all of the results here and my reactions to everything, minus the Puerto Rico stuff from the Colon boys. What’s the point of all of that, anyways?

On to the show…

MizTV w/ AJ Styles

There’s some questions toward AJ here about whether or not Gallows & Anderson are colluding with the Number One Contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship or not, but the part I was loving the most was the interactions between Miz & Maryse. When Miz asked her to say “I love you again” simply so he can respond like Han Solo to say “I know,” I died laughing. This guys is money right now. Aj attacked Miz to end the segment.

Ryback def. Kalisto

This was a non-title match. It didn’t blow me away but it wasn’t bad or anything. I just don’t really care that Ryback wants to prove that his WrestleMania loss was a fluke. Kalisto went for his Salida Del Sol but Ryback countered it into a Shellshock for the win.

Baron Corbin Strikes Dolph Ziggler From Behind

I think these two were supposed to have a match together. Dolph was definitely coming into the ring for a match but never made it. Corbin attacked him while his making his entrance and gave him an End of Days on the floor. It was short and sweet. I’m looking forward to their eventual singles match. I assume that’s happening at Payback.

AJ Styles def. The Miz

I watched the first half of this one night and was too sleepy to finish it, so the first half of it was a blur to me. The ending was pretty strong as Anderson & Gallows prevented Miz from bailing on the match early. Miz ate a forearm while on the outside, followed by a Phenomenal Forearm in the middle of the ring. It was good from what I saw and added a new chapter to the AJ/Anderson & Gallows drama.

Finn Balor dropped his NXT Championship to Samoa Joe last night at an NXT live event. That doesn’t have anything to do with this particular episode of Smackdown but it does add to the intrigue of what could happen with these former New Japan stars over the coming weeks. WWE has a ton of interesting ways they can take this and I’m excited to see how it all plays out.

Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn were in a backstage interview in which they discussed potential tag team names. It was mildly humorous. They keep giving Dean Ambrose cheesy stuff like this and attacks with hot dog condiments and making green slime pop out of briefcases, but I won’t complain too much. His charisma usually makes up for the weak material.

Anderson & Gallows talk about their first match on Raw against The Usos next week. They said they’re going to make an “Impact.” Get It?! That’s probably not what they meant.

Paige & Natalya def. Tamina & Naomi

I love Naomi’s glowing shoes. They need to sell those in kids sizes to I can buy them for my children. Natalya and Paige made their opponents tap out while they both applied submissions. Natalya challenges for Charlotte’s title at Payback, so win here makes sense. It’s good to see Paige on a winning team as well as she’s kind of been an afterthought in recent months.

R-Truth def. Fandango (With Special Referee Goldust)

Lots and lots of dancing here. I don’t mind the silliness and didn’t think they drug it out too long. R-Truth defeated Fandango, who tagged with Goldust in the tag tourney that’s going on. Truth and Goldust danced together post-match, which I’m guessing is their way of implying that they’re finally cool with each other now and will form The Golden Truth.

Promo Time With The Tag Tournament Finals Teams

Enzo & Cass were in the ring when they were interrupted by The Vaudevillians, who were at the top of the ramp. I think they’re finally presenting English & Goth correctly, having them being super proper and offended at the classlessness of their opponents. There was no big revelation but I hope that The Vaudevillians get this kind of mic time on Raw on Monday.

Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens def. Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn

I don’t recall any gangbuster exchanges but I did enjoy this main event. There were too many hot talents to not. Jericho tripped up Ambrose while he was climbing the ropes, setting him up to be pinned by Kevin Owens. After the match, Owens and Jericho hugged like best buddies forever. There could’ve been more excitement here but it was still decent affair.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not a big fan of making secondary champions look like losers, but that’s what happened to U.S. Champion Kalisto and IC Champion The Miz tonight. I have less of a problem with it in The Miz’s case because he’s a slimy heel and lost slightly cheaply to a guy who’s main eventing the next Pay-Per-View. In the Kalisto’s case, I don’t see how a clean loss to a guy that doesn’t have much direction helps him in any way.

Miz was my favorite part of the show tonight. The guy is hilarious. The AJ Styles drama was furthered as well. That adds more intrigue to the main event at Payback. I just realized that the other half of that main event in a little over a week, WWE Champion Roman Reigns, was not on this show. There’s so much drama for Styles at the moment that his challenge to Reigns is kind of an afterthought to at all. That’s kind of strange.

Check out other recent show reviews from me for NXT and Lucha Underground, both great shows this week.

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SmackDown 4/14/16 Reactions

SmackDown is in San Diego this week and I’ve been on a show review kick. (Check out this week’s NXT, Lucha Underground, and TNA Impact when you have some spare time.) This is the same crowd that got to see the awesome Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler match on Main Event, which was great. Here are my thoughts on all of the fun stuff that went down…

MizTV With Maryse

I’m quite fine with Miz and Maryse being the current “It Couple” in WWE. They’re hilariously full of themselves and fawned all over each other during this segment until they were interrupted by the former Intercontinental Champion, Zack Ryder. Ryder almost got a rematch against Miz but instead found out he’d be facing off against Baron Corbin instead. I hope Ryder remains a presence in the IC division. He doesn’t have to regain the title or anything but it would be nice if his WrestleMania win doesn’t get treated like a total fluke.

Baron Corbin def. Zack Ryder (End of Days, Pinfall)

Well, maybe Ryder is getting the fluke treatment after all. This was a fairly quick match that saw Ryder taking the loss clean after eating Corbin’s finisher. I like Big Banter and hope he gets treated like a threat, I’m just poo-pooing the fact that Ryder can’t stay relevant.

Corbin keeps beating on Ryder after the match and gets saved by Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler will probably lose to him in a singles match at Payback because Dolph’s good for stuff like that. He’ll make Corbin look like a million bucks.

Kevin Owens was backstage being interviewed by Renee Young. Owens hinted that he was going to get involved with Sami Zayn’s match in the main event.

Emma def. Paige (Top Rope Trip-up, Pinfall)

Nothing too special here, but it’s interesting to see where these girls are. Emma seemed like a dead in the water character several months ago while Paige seemed like a cornerstone to the formerly Divas division. Emma’s defeat of Paige is odd, but good for Emma.

There was a recap of the Anderson/Gallows debut on Raw and Mauro used the phrase “Number one with a bullet.” Get it, bullet? GET IT?!

Enzo Amore & Big Cass def. The Ascension (Rocket Launcher, Pinfall)

Enzo used his fantastic zero dimes and gave Konnor & Viktor the sickest burn ever. He called them The Ascension.

The match was formulaic, but nobody was expecting The Ascension to get any significant offense here. Enzo & Cass are getting great responses with the live crowds. They’ve also appeared on Steve Austin’s podcasts twice last week, which are worth a listen.

Alberto Del Rio interrupted a backstage promo with AJ Styles to set up their match. ADR tells AJ that he’s way out of his league. I’m excited about this first time ever matchup.

AJ Styles def. Alberto Del Rio (Rollup)

The .gif of Alberto Del Rio’s scary inverted Superplex against Styles was something that made the rounds online long before I witnessed this match and it was just as scary as the first time I saw it. I’m not sure where the mistake lied but it was still dangerous.

Styles and Del Rio delivered with a solid match. It wasn’t the best thing ever, though. I’d put the weakest of the Styles/Jericho matches ahead of this one, but it was the best match of this night. I wish I could say that this left me wanting more but it doesn’t.

Gold-Dango?

Apparently Goldust still doesn’t want to be R-Truth’s partner. Fandango, who still exists on WWE’s roster, showed up to inform us that he will be teaming with Goldust. These humor segments have been more miss than hit but I didn’t mind this one. It got a little chuckle out of me.

The Vaudevillians def. Goldango (Whirling Dervish, Pinfall)

I’m not sure how the team of Goldust & Fandango is supposed to be spelled. It doesn’t matter, I guess. This loss most likely signals the end of their run together.

Simon Gotch & Aiden English face The Usos in the next round of the Tag Team Tournament. The other match remaining is between Enzo & Cass and The Dudley Boyz. I’m rooting for Enzo & Cass to win this but I’m not sure how Anderson & Gallows play into it all. After taking out The Usos on Monday night I assume that they’ll keep targeting them – or other tag teams. Either way, tag teams should be scared.

Zayn def. Jericho (KO Interference, DQ)

As if this matchup needed spicing up, we were treated to both Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens on commentary. It was great. Inadvertently, it was also a negative for this match because I was paying way more attention to the voices then to the action in-ring.

The final few minutes of this showed that Jericho vs. Zayn could be an amazing singles match if given proper time and build. Instead of that happening on this night, the guys in the ring targeted the guys on commentary. Jericho attacked Ambrose and Zayn back body dropped Jericho onto Owens. KO made his way into the ring a few moments later to attack Sami and officially end this match. I love every combination that these four guys can wrestler in and expect them to have a couple of stellar singles matches (Zayn vs. Owens and Ambrose vs. Jericho) at Payback.

Final Thoughts:

Not a bad SmackDown on paper. AJ Styles vs. Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho vs. Sami Zayn are a couple of pairings that had me excited prior to this show. They didn’t end up being four star matches but were still good. I like the Miz/Maryse stuff in the beginning and the promo time for Enzo & Cass before their match. Plus, Owens and Ambrose on commentary together are gold. The bickering back and forth was highly entertaining.

Overall, this was a slightly above average show.

Follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. Thanks for reading.

Mitch’s Match of the Week: Ryback vs. Rusev (Smackdown)

Welcome back to another installment of Mitch’s Match of the Week. I, of course, am Mitch and this is the article where I tell you what I think is the best pro wrestling bout of the past week. I’ll make this a little briefer than usual because this has been a good week for overtime and I’m a little worn out.

The match that I’ll crown as my personal favorite this week comes from WWE’s other weekly cable show, Smackdown. Ryback challenged Rusev as The Big Guy attempted to qualify for this Sunday’s Royal Rumble. While I like both of these guys I wasn’t expecting a lot out of this matchup. Hoss fights take a special kind of duo to pull off and it was quite a joy to see that these two monsters rose to the occasion. Ryback was able to be the face in peril for much of this match and really drew the crowd in as he attempted to mount those comebacks. The Big Guy scored a countout win and the Bulgarian Brute can still take that loss without being pinned or submitted, so everyone goes home happy.

This match was judged against all other matches on Smackdown, Raw, Lucha Underground, and NXT. It was a little bit of a down week but there are still a few matches worth pointing out as Honorable Mentions. Drago took on Cuerno in a Last Lucha Standing match on Lucha Underground. Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan in a great bout on Raw. Lastly, Hideo Itami took on Tyler Breeze in the first round of an NXT Number 1 Contender’s Tournament. If you watch these matches along with Ryback vs. Rusev then you’ll have a pretty enjoyable evening of wrestling.

What did you think of this week’s best match? Did I get it right? If not, put a comment below. Next week should be a great week to do this article because I’ll get to factor in the Royal Rumble into the equation, which is always a fun show. Also, check out my new podcast over at Blog Talk Radio. It’s called Curb Stomp Radio and my buddy Sgt. Damage banters with me about Conor McGregor’s dominance and who we think might win at the Royal Rumble. Click HERE to give it a listen.

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Mitch News Now: Possible Sting Return at Survivor Series

Welcome to a new podcast feature for those who subscribe to my podcast feed, Mitch Nickelson Radio. This is a weekend news piece that hopefully I’ll get into a good routine of doing. Here’s the description of the inaugural installment of this…

In this brand new standalone weekend news segment, Mitch delivers a quick blast of wrestling news, rumors, and opinions.

Topics discussed are:

– Will Sting debut at Survivor Series?

– Sheamus thinks there should be a male version of Total Divas…or something like that.

– Charlotte is scheduled for some upcoming Raw and Smackdown dates.

– TNA on Destination America

– Mick Foley might or might not be the new WWE GM.

Mitch talks about his recent interview with Alex Barie of TNANews.com and looks forward to the upcoming week’s interview with Brandon Lasher, who is the NXT guy at TJRWrestling.com.

To listen to this weekend special…
1. Click the Play button on the player at the top of this page.
2. Check us out directly at the site that hosts me (libsyn)…CLICK HERE.
3. Look up Mitch Nickelson Radio on iTunes. Don’t forget to subscribe! (This is how I listen to it. Give me a good rating!) I’m also on Stitcher Radio!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson to keep up with all things Mitch. Take care.

Stephanie McMahon Interview Highlights

WWE’s Billion-Dollar Princess sat down with Yahoo Sports for an interview on Monday. Here are many of the highlights, coupled with whatever witty banter I feel like including with it…

YS: We saw a shift in the wrestling industry when the No. 2 promotion, WCW, went out of business in 2001. Thirteen years later, the fate of another No. 2 promotion in TNA appears to be in limbo. Are you of the belief that a healthy competitor is good for the WWE’s bottom line?

SM: I think competition is always healthy, but what we look at as competition is everything out there —all entertainment and sports programming because we really are such a unique hybrid — there’s nothing like us in the world. Monday Night Football is a competitor to Monday Night Raw. Yes, I think competition is incredibly healthy, no matter where it comes from.

Competition is a very good thing, but TNA doesn’t really threaten WWE. WWE is in a tough spot as far as pushing their creative boundaries. There are about 4 million people who seem to watch Raw consistently. It would be nice if they rocked their own boat a little bit more than they do but that would be a risky business move if too many chances are taken. They have a hard time attracting new viewers, so there’s no reason to shake up what the fans seemingly eat up over and over again. Bottom line, we’re stuck with John Cena for a long while.

YS: You mentioned Monday Night Football — has the programming on Monday Night RAW shifted this year (ie: The Rock’s return earlier in the month) based on when halftime was taking place on Monday Night Football?

SM: We always try to be strategic in terms of having our best content on when we know the most fans are available to watch.

A fun pop from a surprise visit by The Rock is a useful spot to put in the ‘halftime’ slot. A bad idea is when they built the big John Cena segment around when the NFL break was about a month ago. It didn’t really spike the ratings and it made the Rusev/Mark Henry segment that main evented instead seem way out of place. But it seems like WWE learned their lesson from that move.

YS: Renee Young has been a great addition to WWE. Do you think she will be the first “voice” of RAW or Smackdown at some point during her WWE career?

SM: Renee has become an incredible force in terms of being an announcer and yes, I certainly hope she will become the first female play-by-play announcer. I think she is absolutely capable and has the opportunity in front of her.

Make this happen. Renee Young is fantastic and the WWE audience gets way too much of Michael Cole and JBL. Don’t get me wrong, I love JBL as a color commentator, but don’t have Cole and him announce everything. A little absence will help my heart grow founder, even for JBL.


Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @MitchNickelson. And here’s a plug for my most recent podcast, episode #5 of SBP Wrestling. Just click play to hear myself, Ronnie, and Bryan talk about the events leading up to Hell In A Cell and Ronnie’s review of TNA Bound For Glory…


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