Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Thoughts
March 1, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Well, this certainly was an interesting show in regards to the WrestleMania XXX WWE World Heavyweight Title match. Batista came out to kick off the show, and he turned full blown heel. This was most definitely the most comfortable Batista has looked in the ring since returning back in January. This seems to be the character he’s most comfortable playing. I really enjoyed his short heel run in 2010, and this seems to pick up right where he left off. At least now when he’s getting booed, it can be covered up by it being a part of the character now. Batista ran down the heroes of the crowd and the current era of WWE before running down the crowd themselves. His motto seems to be “Deal with it,” which contains the perfect amount of douchebaggery. Batista completed the turn by saying he’d systematically destroy every one of the crowd’s heroes on his way to the main event of WrestleMania.
Dolph Ziggler then came out to a nice reception, and he admonished Batista for thinking he could force the crowd to cheer for him. Ziggler called him a dinosaur before challenging him to a match. Batista accepted, and Ziggler dropkicked him down for a really nice pop. Ziggler was on point with the promo here. He wasn’t doing the fast talking thing. He was clear, intense, and I enjoyed it. This was a very good opening segment.
It now appears as if it is going to be heel versus heel match at WrestleMania XXX… apparently in the main event of the show. I doubt Randy Orton can build any real goodwill with the fans between now and WrestleMania due to him kind of being the face of all of Daniel Bryan’s burials, so he’ll still be considered a heel. Then of course you have Batista, who is heel regardless of the fact that he actually turned last night. If the match stays as is, it cannot be allowed to be the main event of the evening. That distinction would have to go to Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. I’m sure WWE doesn’t want the final memory from WrestleMania XXX to be a main event that was hijacked by “CM Punk” and “Daniel Bryan” chants. That’s what they’re looking at here anyway, so logic would be to put it as a second to last match or something like that.
The only way this could be made right is if Daniel Bryan does a double duty thing where he faces Triple H and then gets inserted into the match either by stipulation of beating Triple H or Hulk Hogan, the host of the show, playing off the matchmaking abilities The Rock possessed in 2011, puts Bryan into the main event. I just cannot believe that WWE would actually let Orton/Batista go as is. It needs to be made right. They cannot allow the crowd to totally hijack a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match on WrestleMania, the thirtieth installment of the show. People love round numbers. This is supposed to be a big deal show just because of the zero.
Anyway, back to my thoughts on Smackdown.
So, I don’t know if this is a breaking news type thing, but holy good god, Cesaro is a beast. Competing in a tag match with Jack Swagger against Big E and Mark Henry, he first gave Big E a superplex while E was on the apron. This move has to be seen to be believed. The strength it takes to pull that off is impressive. Big E landed a bit awkwardly, but not as bad as when he let go during the Neutralizer on RAW this past Monday. I’m sorry; Cesaro should receive no blame for that. Big E is wild in general, but after that Neutralizer on Monday, he’s a danger to himself as well in my opinion. The second incredible thing Cesaro did was giving Mark Henry a Neutralizer. I mean, come on, really? Cesaro cannot be stopped. His stock is rising, and I’m buying everything. It’s really fun to watch and recap him right now.
They teased some more problems with The Real Americans during the match, particularly when they were blind tagging in during crucial moments to steal the thunder from one another. It’s interesting that they’re doing almost identical storylines with The Shield and The Real Americans with tension.
Our next match saw Sheamus take on Alberto Del Rio. This match was done to death in 2012. It seems like Del Rio was the only guy Sheamus faced during his long title run other than Daniel Bryan. While it has been a while since they’ve actually locked up, for me it feels like yesterday. That’s not to say they didn’t have a good match. I’ve just seen it one too many times. Still, there were some positives. Since he’s returned, Sheamus has looked back to where he was before they made him the very pale John Cena in 2012. This is more Sheamus circa 2011 when he was really over. A roughhousing Irish dude that just loves a good fight. How can you not love a guy like that in wrestling?
Christian came out during the match and continued to put over how desperate he is in the tail end of his career. Christian is another one who has benefitted from a heel turn. This is a guy who hasn’t had a WrestleMania match since WrestleMania XXVI four years ago. Batista was finishing his first run with the company when Christian last fought on the big event. Now it looks like he’s going to have an opportunity to face Sheamus in what could be a sleeper hit of the night. They’ve always had great chemistry in the ring, and it could be a fun match for WrestleMania. Christian attacking him to cause a DQ was a good move, and he’s got some momentum against Sheamus for now.
Alexander Rusev appeared before the live crowd at this point along with Lana. Pretty much what you’ve seen in the vignettes they’ve been airing happened here, only performed before the live crowd this time. Looking forward to him actually fighting.
The next match saw Batista defeat Dolph Ziggler in the first match where Batista systematically destroyed a “hero” of the crowd’s. Since I’ve already talked at length about Batista and his Mania positioning, I’m not going to talk much about this. I will say that Batista is still a beast. During the Batista Bomb spot, Ziggler gave a little jump, but Batista wasn’t ready to lift him. Batista then dead-lifted him up a moment later in a really impressive looking move. I got a kick out of that. Ziggler did a good job in this taking it to Batista for a little while, but Batista overpowered him and destroyed him with a bunch of spinebusters and the Batista Bomb. That’s one hero down.
I really like the new custom touch they’ve been doing with The Wyatt Family this week with Bray Wyatt saying the name of the city they’re in before saying, “We’re here.” I think it’s pretty cool. Wyatt then cut a really interesting promo about how John Cena is the face of the “bottomless pit of lies” people base their lives on. It was pretty interesting to listen to. I highly recommend giving this a listen.
The Shield then came out to interrupt. Earlier in the evening, they teased some more tension before forming a united front against The Wyatt Family. The Shield stood on the apron ready for a confrontation when Triple H’s music hit. Triple H played a wise promoter when he told them this wouldn’t happen without a little promotion so he could make some money on it. He booked the big rematch for RAW, and I’m very psyched to watch that. The Chicago RAW is going to be a tough one for the company with the CM Punk thing going on, so this incredible rematch should quell some anger.
Triple H ordered The Shield to stand down, but they defied him by getting in the ring. Ambrose and Rollins took out Harper and Rowan with stereo suicide dives before standing in the ring with Reigns to face Wyatt. Wyatt backed away and held the family back. This was a very good segment that got me very excited for Monday’s RAW. I’m really hoping The Shield doesn’t break up any time soon. They’ve still got a lot of juice left.
Up next was the “epic” rematch from Elimination Chamber. AJ Lee successfully defended her WWE Divas Championship against Cameron in a pretty bad match. It was your standard divas match: run through your entire move set in the first 30 seconds, scream because you couldn’t beat her, put on a rest hold, and then take a loss. Next!
The main event followed after some video packages for Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. Daniel Bryan and the Usos defeated Kane and the New Age Outlaws in a match that commenter Scotty Savile pointed out was Attitude Era vs. New Era. This was a really fun match, especially with the crowd reactions. My fear is that the crowd would begin to turn on Daniel Bryan after making the asinine assertion that the match people want to see at WrestleMania is him versus Triple H. Um, no dude. People want to see you in the title match, and you know that. Don’t patronize the crowd. I’ll talk about in a moment why that won’t happen after seeing something on the Backstage Pass show. Anyway, the crowd was firmly behind him in this match. The Usos were fun as always, the Outlaws were on point, and Kane was good in his role as well. It was a fun match that you should check out if you haven’t seen it.
That idea of “Attitude Era vs. New Era” was kind of played up on the Backstage Pass on the WWE Network. Daniel Bryan talked about how the New Age Outlaws are past their prime and people was to see The Usos as the Tag Team Champs. Bryan also mentioned that the people want to see him as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and he looked knowingly into the camera. I’m really hoping they come to their senses and the scenario I laid out earlier comes at least halfway true. They need to get this guy into the match. The reaction would be humungous. That would be a “WrestleMania moment” that they love talking about.
Bump of the Night: Cesaro giving Big E a superplex while Big E was on the apron!
Match of the Night: The six man tag main event **
Final Rating: *** 1/4
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Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.