Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Thoughts
January 30, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
Due to the Blizzard of 2015, which was rough in some areas, but overblown in others, WWE didn’t get to have the episode of Monday Night RAW they wanted to. I figured they’d have what they planned for RAW on this show, but condensed into two hours. Well, if this is what they were planning for RAW, it probably wasn’t going to be a very good episode.
Triple H gives a huge cliffhanger for Monday Night RAW
This was the one thing I really liked about this show. Triple H came out and touted the WWE’s successes this week, as he should. He flaunted the fact that WWE hit 1,000,000 subscribers for the WWE Network (in spite of the #CancelWWENetwork trend) as well as putting over the triple threat match at the Royal Rumble huge (it was truly phenomenal). Triple H also put over WWE as this company that fights the system and had a live RAW even when they were told they couldn’t. Yes, they fight the system, but they’re at the mercy of their shareholders. That’s another story though.
Triple H then talked about the controversy surrounding the Royal Rumble match, and they showed a replay of Roman Reigns winning it on Sunday amidst a chorus of deafening boos. I like that they’re addressing it instead of ignoring it. Does anyone remember when they tried to cover up the boos for Hulk Hogan in the 1992 Royal Rumble? Triple H then laid the big cliffhanger for RAW by saying that he’d make an announcement that would shake the WWE Universe to its core. I honestly couldn’t even speculate on what that could be, but I’m definitely interested to find out. A lot of people are thinking Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan with the WrestleMania title shot on the line, but I don’t know if I can picture them having Bryan sneak into the main event for the second year in a row. Hindsight being 20/20, I don’t think I’ll ever understand why they brought Daniel Bryan back for the Royal Rumble knowing that he’d be a huge fan favorite only to make him look like a chump. Wouldn’t it be better to have him come back like… now? Probably could have salvaged the Roman Reigns thing.
Speaking of Roman Reigns, he came out and went face-to-face with Triple H. The crowd was loudly booing him with a smattering of people supporting him. I guess the story of Sika nearly drowning him as a kid didn’t resonate with the audience. Triple H said there was a lot of controversy surrounding the Rumble, but Reigns doesn’t think there is since he won flat out. Maybe Curtis Axel will be inserted into the main event of WrestleMania.
The Roman Reigns/Big Show feud is over at long last
I believe the most boring and misguided feud in WWE with Roman Reigns and Big Show ended last night on Smackdown. For weeks, they’ve been having matches and face-offs with no definitive victory. I believe they did count-out and disqualification finishes. None of the matches were any good. For one, Reigns really can’t sell well, so that’s an issue because he has to sell a lot for the giant. That’s a problem that WWE has to address. Reigns on the sell is no good. Secondly, Reigns should be coming across as a powerhouse and a killer. He should be running over guys in relatively short order. Instead he’s selling for a guy who hasn’t been truly relevant in years who has turned 30+ times in his career. On top of that, it took forever for him to get an actual victory over the guy. That doesn’t make sense.
This match lingered like a stale fart in a small room. The crowd really turned on it early and never came back for it. This match was slow and quite boring. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Reigns was really bad selling Big Show’s offense. It was nothing match, but at least Reigns picked up the definitive victory and this is hopefully behind us. Oh, and I’m sorry, but every time Reigns cocks his fist like a gun, it’s incredibly corny. Reigns’ feud against Big Show and that being a “big victory” goes to show how thin the heel roster is. Who will Reigns feud with when he’s champion? Big Show again? Seth Rollins? Who else is there really? I think when Sheamus comes back, he needs to go heel in the worst way.
Seth Rollins’ open challenge was quite lame
This segment was a real stinker. Seth Rollins came out to talk about his performance at the Royal Rumble, which was spectacular. I did like how he mentioned that he injured Brock Lesnar, something neither The Undertaker nor John Cena could do. That part of the segment was fine. The open challenge not so much. Ryback answered the challenge, but J&J Security, Rollins’ goon squad, helped to get the better of him. Erick Rowan came out to help, but he was quickly dispatched. Dolph Ziggler didn’t fare any better. So you have three guys who came out of this segment looking very weak. What made it worse was this whole thing felt so rushed. The three guys weren’t even really a true challenge even though Rollins had to run away. Three guys couldn’t neutralize him.
The Usos finally have new challengers
For the first time in a long time, The Usos didn’t have a match that featured some combination of The Miz or Damien Mizdow. Jey Uso faced Tyson Kidd. While the match wasn’t much and was rushed, it was refreshing to see something different on the horizon for The Usos. It’s also good to see Kidd and Cesaro get a shot at the Tag Team Titles, even though they probably won’t win. I definitely see the match-up being quite good.
John Cena and Rusev have a face-to-face meeting
This was actually a pretty decent verbal confrontation. Rusev started it out by talking about how John Cena is the past since WWE is starting the transition of positioning Cena behind Roman Reigns. It wasn’t clear why Rusev was so angry with John Cena in the first place. Rusev’s complaint is that he’s not in his league, but hardly any of the people Rusev has faced have really been in his league. Why wasn’t he going insanely angry over facing Jack Swagger at TLC? Certainly Swagger was completely out of his league by December.
John Cena then came out and put over his accomplishments over the last decade. I don’t think anyone forgot them, but I don’t remember them really pushing that he’s had 10 WrestleMania appearances. That made me feel old. I was there for the first one in New York City. I would have liked for Lana to get on the microphone and went back at him since he really got some good digs on them. I don’t think we’ll see Cena pin Rusev at WWE Fast Lane, but I don’t quite feel so confident for WrestleMania. I shudder to think of the backlash that will ensue from Cena ending Rusev’s undefeated streak. You thought Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble was bad? If Rusev loses to John Cena at WrestleMania… as Samuel L. Jackson says in Jurassic Park, “Hold on to your butts.”
I’m sure I’ll say this again, but when Rusev’s streak does inevitably come to an end, he shouldn’t lose another match for like three months to make it not seem like his winning streak was a complete fluke. Almost every time I can remember someone losing an undefeated streak, they get jobbed out a lot after that. It’s probably not the greatest example in the world, but Vladimir Kozlov had an undefeated streak for a while. When he lost that, it was like he never won another match again. They need to handle Rusev properly post-streak.
The Ascension beats an actual tag team on the roster
Other than beating The Miz and Damien Mizdow on their first night, The Ascension hasn’t faced a tag team that was on the main roster. The Ascension’s act is pretty dead with the mishandling of them. It’s hard to recover from the cheesy face paint and shoulder pads.
The most interesting part of this match was Gold and Stardust teasing a breakup. Their heel turn was so poorly executed that I don’t think anyone really knew it ever happened other than Goldust started wearing blacker face paint. Eventually people caught on, but that took a while. Now it seems like they’re back working face as of last night. Goldust had The Ascension handled despite their claims that he was an old man. Stardust then tagged himself in and cost them the match. To start the match, they disagreed over who would start it. Goldust’s full-time wrestling career is imminently coming to an end, so I guess the Rhodes brothers will finally get to do the feud they’ve been dying to do for a few years. I don’t think it’ll happen at WrestleMania, but I do believe it will happen.
Bray Wyatt teases a match against The Undertaker
Well for those that were looking for confirmation over whether or not The Undertaker was coming back for another year, we basically got it last night. Bray Wyatt didn’t flat out say his name, but he did emphasize that he feels nothing living or dead. I hate to be negative, but Undertaker looked pretty bad last year. How’s he going to be another year older? Will the allure still be there without the streak? I guess we’ll find out. I’m still looking forward to the match.
The Daniel Bryan/Kane feud is finally over
This was another feud that seemingly, at long last, has come to an end. Coming out of the Royal Rumble, there’s a lot of speculation on where Daniel Bryan goes from here. On the list of potential WrestleMania matches, he doesn’t even appear on the list. Well, for now, at least his feud with Kane is over. The Casket Match was nothing overly special. It’s hard to capture a lot of intrigue and excitement in the match to begin with. Kane hasn’t really come off as a monster in quite a long time, so that was missing from the match as well. I can say that the right guy won, and I’m interested to see what they do with Bryan in the weeks heading into Fast Lane and WrestleMania.
This was a show that had some good promo work, but the great matches we’ve come to expect on Smackdown were noticeably lacking. Still, WWE seems to have been thrown for a loop by this snowstorm, so I guess you can kind of excuse shows that seem disjointed or thrown together. I was expecting more from this Smackdown than I was from the RAW, but this completely underwhelmed me at times. Still, it gave you a great cliffhanger for RAW that should have people talking and speculating, so there’s that.
Bump of the Night: Bryan hitting Kane with a cross-body on the floor
Match of the Night: The Casket Match **
Final Rating: ** 1/4
Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.