Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Thoughts
December 16, 2014
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
When I heard that they were doing a live Smackdown as part of WWE Week on the USA Network, I was a little concerned about it. In the past, live episodes of Smackdown haven’t exactly been awesome. They haven’t done one since 2012, but I still have vivid memories of the poor efforts WWE put out. The problem is they usually seem to overproduce the shows when they’re live. Smackdown usually has a pretty good formula: two long matches, a promo building up a feud, and some filler. It’s not that difficult to figure out they don’t have to alter this for a live setting.
I’m glad to say that my concerns were all for naught. This wasn’t a bad episode of the show at all. All of the main storylines in WWE were hit on, and they managed to squeeze it into two hours. I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but two hours is more than enough for WWE television shows. I don’t know why, but that extra hour just is so unbearable.
Roman Reigns was out first to make his big in ring return since his hernia operation. This was ok. Reigns spent a little too much time selling for Fandango, which I didn’t like. If they’re trying to build him up big, I think it would have been better for them to have Reigns just run through Fandango quickly and be done with it. For Reigns to spend all that time selling for Fandango, it just didn’t look right to me. On a side note, is it really a wise decision to have a guy fresh off hernia surgery to work with a 500-pound man?
Dean Ambrose made his first appearance since his loss on Sunday. Ambrose cut a good promo not making any excuses for why he lost. The crowd was really into what he was doing. I thought he had a great match against Bray Wyatt on Sunday. If they had that match on any other show, they’d have blown the roof off the place. Too many other gimmick matches desensitized the crowd and really hurt them. Bray Wyatt then came back with a really good promo to build up their Boot Camp Match on Tribute to the Troops tomorrow. I guess that’ll be the end of their feud after that.
The six-man tag team match with The Usos and Erick Rowan taking on The Miz, Damien Mizdow, and Luke Harper was pretty good. Of course, I enjoyed all of Mizdow’s antics at ringside, as well as in the ring. The Usos giving Miz a double atomic drop and Mizdow mimicking that definitely made me chuckle. Jimmy Uso did a great job playing the face in peril. When he made the hot tag to Erick Rowan, it was anything but hot. The crowd doesn’t seem all that receptive to Rowan as a face. Maybe it’s the theme song or the fact that he’s another slow, plodding big man. It could just come down to the fact that there was never an explanation for why he turned face. The crowd eventually came around to him, but he had to splash Miz off the top rope to get them going.
I liked the fake-out of Seth Rollins versus Ryback. I thought Rusev’s attack on Ryback was really well done. I’m actually looking forward to that matchup. It’s something fresh for Rusev. They’re both big, hulking, physical behemoths. I enjoy those kinds of matches for the most part. This should be a great challenge for Rusev. I also don’t think he’ll be losing his undefeated streak anytime soon.
Dolph Ziggler then came out to goad Rollins into facing him in the main event. Rollins first cut a decent promo about how out of control WWE is without The Authority. Ziggler’s promo wasn’t that bad. I’m just glad he wasn’t doing that gag inducing stuff where he talks about how lucky he was to be in the spot he’s in and how blessed he was that Sting came out when he did. They both did a good job verbally sparring before Rollins accepted the challenge. It was a good way to build up the main event for the night.
Naomi and Nikki Bella had a match with the Divas Championship on the line. I can’t claim it was a great match. I don’t get why the divas can’t have a one segment match that doesn’t involve them going to near falls a minute in and them squeezing every big move in their arsenal in. How can everyone else on the roster make it through a one segment match and they can’t? I did enjoy the interaction with The Miz coming out to root her on only for Jealous Husband Jimmy to beat him up, which distracted his wife and caused her to lose. The storyline is simple enough, and I don’t mind it at all. I don’t have any interest in seeing Naomi turn heel and side with The Miz, so hopefully that all gets ironed out eventually.
Kane squashed Adam Rose in about a minute or so before killing The Bunny for the second night in a row. Not much to this one.
I really enjoyed the main event. Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler is a great match-up, and the final result definitely surprised me. The whole match, I was waiting for the bottom to fall out for Ziggler. When Noble punched him in the head while attempting the Zig-Zag, I figured that was it for him. Instead, they pulled a fast one on everyone and let Ziggler pick up the win. A loss doesn’t hurt Rollins because he’s fresh off beating John Cena in a Cage Match (on top of the fact that he’s firing on all cylinders), so that’s not a big deal for him. This is a nice win for Ziggler and keeps him up there in the crowds’ minds as an up and coming top guy. Good stuff all around.
Bump of the Night: Rusev kicking Ryback off the stage
Match of the Night: Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins ** 1/4
Final Rating: ** 3/4
Check out my recap of this Smackdown here. Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy WWE TLC!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.