Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Review
February 26, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
I have to say I felt really bad watching that opening segment. Through this past month of really crumby booking (really, his whole return has been botched), Daniel Bryan is no longer over at a top star level. The crowd has been beaten. I was at the Royal Rumble event in Philadelphia. The roof almost blew off the place when his music hit. I remember how loud the crowd got when he announced he was returning to action on the last RAW of 2014. It wasn’t that long ago he was getting those reactions. Those reactions are so weak now and have been slowly becoming that way for the past month. Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan are on the same level of fan reaction it seems now. Perhaps Bryan has a slight edge, but not much more. It’s just such a damn shame because organic reactions like the ones Bryan would get don’t come all that often.
Bryan was in the ring to cut a promo about how the YES! Movement isn’t dead, and he still has big plans. Bryan talked about the opportunities the crowd was able to get him in the past, but they didn’t react to this like they used to. You can blame a flat crowd, but this has been happening since he got unceremoniously dumped from the Royal Rumble. I did like how he snuck in that it’s WrestleMania 31 and not just WrestleMania without a number. Bad News Barrett interrupted him and threatened him. That brought out Dean Ambrose, who attacked Barrett. Bryan looked at the Intercontinental Championship with some curiosity before giving it back to Barrett. Ambrose then attacked Barrett and took the title back. It looks like the Intercontinental Championship will be the consolation prize for Bryan this year at WrestleMania as WWE continues its efforts to make the mid-card titles mean something. I’d say I’m happy about that, but it seems like it’s shaping up to be a multi-man contest also involving Dean Ambrose. Ambrose should have won the title at WWE Fastlane. The guy hasn’t won a single PPV match since The Shield broke up. I would say he should go over and take the title at WrestleMania, but should Bryan be on the losing end of a match for the Intercontinental Championship? Surely they’d like to make it seem like Bryan is still somewhat of a star, no? This is just a really weird situation. Ambrose needs to win a PPV match before his crowd reactions die a painful death, but Bryan can’t really afford to lose either. I guess that rumored match with Bryan and Sheamus is out the window now.
Dean Ambrose then went on to face The Miz in a very quick match that wasn’t given much time at all. Barrett came out and stole the title back, and Ambrose quickly beat Miz. There wasn’t much to this.
I’m very happy that the storyline problems between Tyson Kidd and Natalya are over. Natalya really isn’t that great of a face. Her mannerisms on television are extremely stiff. As a heel, hopefully she’ll be able to let loose a little more and be a better character. With the length of time given to Natalya and Naomi, you could have fit at least eight Bella Twins vs. Paige and Emma matches in there. Natalya and Naomi mesh really well together and delivered a decent little match.
Rusev and Lana had another good promo on John Cena reiterating that they were not going to grant him a rematch at WrestleMania 31. Watching RAW back, which Adam Martin did a fantastic job recapping for me in my absence, I thought the segment with Rusev and Cena was the best one on the show. This storyline picked up a lot of steam now that they added the patriotic storyline aspect to it. The e-mail from Vladimir Putin was certainly a nice touch. I would have just left it at that, but they ran Jack Swagger out there for a beating. No harm, no foul I suppose, but the writers need to quit while they’re ahead sometimes.
Daniel Bryan and Bad News Barrett had a good match. They went back and forth before Bryan beat him. I know it’s been said before, but holy cow Barrett loses way too much. How exactly is this supposed to bring prestige to the Intercontinental Championship? Granted, Barrett shouldn’t beat Bryan, but he also lost to R-Truth recently, who was at ringside. Like come on. I have to say I thought it was funny that R-Truth kept joking that Byron Saxton looks like Jonathan Coachman before making a bunch of ESPN references, but he rode the joke into the ground after the commercial break. Once, twice, even three times I’m ok. An entire segment dedicated to one joke? As they say on ESPN, “Come on, man!”
The Roman Reigns promo was a miss in my book. The guy seriously cannot talk. This sit down interview was just a mess. They showed a replay of his interaction with Paul Heyman on RAW, and then he basically repeated the information. Then when asked about how he was preparing, he said some line about going out on a cruise or a boat ride. I don’t know if that was a joke, but if it was, the delivery was horrible. It made absolutely no sense. Then all that talk about hating how people tell him he can’t do things and wanting to prove them wrong was just cringe worthy. We’re just coming off ten years of John Cena being superman, and they’re giving us a Samoan carbon copy. There was a difference between Hulk Hogan to Bret Hart. There was a difference between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. There was a difference between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin. See where I’m going here? To put it bluntly, this man is not prepared for the push he’s receiving and quite frankly, he’s not even over. His reactions are lukewarm at best. They’re certainly not at the levels of someone who is going to main event WrestleMania in four weeks. This is Diesel all over again with half the charisma. I hate to be negative, I truly do – believe me, I love wrestling and want it to be good all the time – but these are the facts.
This may be the first time in his career I’ve ever wrote something like this about him, but I really like what Curtis Axel is doing with the “Axelmania” thing. The fact that he made a mistake reading off the Royal Rumble clock made it even better because he’s such a goof. He’s embracing it and having fun with it. I have a feeling he’ll be the first one eliminated from the battle royal at WrestleMania to make him eat crow. The match against Fandango was an absolute nothing, but the promo before it started made the segment worth it.
The Goldust/Stardust angle came off as flat as it did at the PPV this past Sunday. This whole feud was really bungled. The turn should have happened sooner so it could at least build to something. Maybe Goldust would be reluctant to face him at first only to have no other choice. There’s drama missing from this match because it wasn’t included in the build.
The main event was your standard good six-man tag team Smackdown main event. It’s a tried and true formula that works. This match probably won’t mean a damn on Monday night, but it was fun to watch. That’s the least you can ask for from your TV main event. There’s really not much else to say.
All in all, this was a typical WrestleMania season Smackdown where not a lot happens storyline-wise and the video packages seem extra long. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not like it’s worth your time to go out of your way to watch it.
Bump of the Night: Dean Ambrose clotheslining Bad News Barrett at ringside
Match of the Night: The six-man tag ** 1/4
Final Rating: **
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.