Mike Tedesco’s Smackdown Review
April 3, 2015
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
As I touched on in my Smackdown recap, this is my last recap of Smackdown. After six and a half years, 333 recaps, 1,000 plus hours recapping, approximately 1.75 million words, and probably over 2,000 matches (probably the vast majority being tag team matches, playa), my relationship with Smackdown has come to an end. I love the show and enjoy watching it, but to recap it along with recapping a live RAW every Monday has just become too much for me. I’ve done both for a year, but with a ton of great things happening in my life, including getting married, it’s time to move to recapping the one show. At least I go out knowing that I am without question the longest tenured Smackdown recapper in Wrestleview history. Heck, I’m the longest tenured recapper not named Adam Martin period. Go me! In one of those funny little things where life brings things full circle, Fresno, California, the site of tonight’s show, was where the very first Smackdown I ever recapped emanated from. That’s pretty cool to me.
I’ve seen a lot of great matches on this show. A few that stick out in my mind are Jeff Hardy vs. Undertaker in an Extreme Rules Match from 2008. There was also a very good Triple H vs. Undertaker match from the same year. John Morrison vs. Rey Mysterio from 2009 was awesome. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus in a No Disqualification Match from 2011 was absolutely brilliant, as was Orton vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship from the same year. Of course, there was The Shield vs. Randy Orton and Team Hell No from 2013 where The Shield took their first loss in WWE. Finally, that Gauntlet Match from a few weeks back ranks up there with some of the finest matches I’ve ever recapped on this show.
To me, the fact that the show isn’t live has kept it from the constant tinkering of Vince McMahon. Therefore, since I’ve been recapping the show, I’d say the vast majority of the shows have been very good. It has always contained some solid wrestling, more traditional storylines, and a fun way to pass two hours of time. It’ll be weird to just watch the show and not recap it now.
Now am I going out on a high note or was this that one show out of every ten that sucks?
Thankfully, this was a damn good show. The crowd was red hot all night and really responded positively to everything. They weren’t as disruptive or disrespectful as the crowd was on RAW.
The show kicked off with Seth Rollins making his way to the ring with his Authority cohorts. Rollins said that he was jetlagged from the two back-to-back cross-country trips in one day and couldn’t give Brock Lesnar his rematch. That would hold water if they didn’t book him in the main event of RAW forty-five minutes later. Rollins was very good here with his promo, and he really got the crowd to hate him.
Randy Orton then came out to the stage to say that he is next in line to face Seth Rollins after he beat him at WrestleMania before he cashed in. Orton then proceeded to verbally pick apart the other members of The Authority. Orton called Kane “Little Red Riding Hood,” which got a humorous “Red Riding Hood” chant lightly going. Kane then booked Orton in a match against the Big Show, which was to start immediately. The match between them was over in about a minute (which is good – does anyone remember their match at Survivor Series 2013?) when he was attacked after getting the better of Big Show. Orton fought them off with the assistance of Ryback. I’m assuming we’ll see Orton and Ryback face some combination of The Authority on RAW this week. This was all a good opening segment and little teaser for a match between Rollins and Orton with the title on the line. The crowd definitely made things better, as did the post-match save from Ryback.
Naomi and Natalya were up next to have a match. They started it off with a tit-for-tat where they wound up at a stalemate. I like things like that in matches sometimes, but this match wasn’t given enough time to really build to anything else. Things like that should be saved for bigger matches. When you don’t have that much time, you kind of have to get it going quickly. What they did was appropriate for a match with time to do a slower build. Still, what they did was good. Naomi is next in line for a Divas Championship shot as The Bella Twins were on commentary for this. Naomi is long overdue for a title victory. I hope it’s coming soon for her. There’s just something very likeable about her.
I liked Roman Reigns’ sit-down interview with Byron Saxton. Reigns had more of an edge in this and talked about how close he was to victory. I liked that Reigns took a big beating on Sunday to earn his stripes. It didn’t work with the crowd on RAW, but I think going forward he may be a little more accepted by the audience. I still think he has a ways to go to be THE guy, but he’ll at least have a chance to begin getting over organically if he puts out gutsy performances like at WrestleMania. Unfortunately there is no one on the roster who can take it to Reigns like Brock Lesnar can. There’s no one on the roster like Lesnar period. That’s why he’s so special and valuable for the company.
Damien Mizdow beat Stardust on RAW, and The Miz beat R-Truth on Smackdown. Even though they’re apart, Miz and Mizdow are mimicking one another by taking out the guys who probably didn’t need to be in the ladder match at WrestleMania. Mizdow got even with Miz by attacking him from behind and putting his sunglasses on.
I thought the promo with John Cena, Rusev, and Lana was absolutely fantastic. Cena was great with his initial victory about providing opportunity by giving a United States Championship match open challenge every week. Even though he misquoted the Statue of Liberty saying (It’s really “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” – I’m a history major, what can I do?), I get what he was trying to do. It was also refreshing to hear nearly 100% of the crowd behind him for once. It wasn’t like they were pumping in fake cheers; they normally never do that for Cena. This crowd was actually behind him.
Rusev and Lana then came out and threatened him about their match at Extreme Rules. Rusev wanted the Russian Federation flag to lower above the ring, but Cena had the United States flag come down instead. I loved Rusev’s face when that happened. He looked really fired up. Another great segment with these two. While it stinks that Rusev will have two straight losses, hopefully he’ll have a long streak in the months to come. I seriously wouldn’t have him lose again until SummerSlam or later. If he starts losing all the time, it won’t be a good thing.
Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper had a really fun little match that was hard-hitting. It wasn’t the most conventional setup for a match. Ambrose used Kane’s corporate bathroom, so Kane punished him by putting him in this match. They had a good brawl before Harper powerbombed him through the commentary table. I think we’ll probably see them have a Tables Match at Extreme Rules, which I hope will see Ambrose win. He has yet to win a PPV match since The Shield broke up last June. That was a helluva three days for Ambrose. On Sunday, he was powerbombed on the back of his neck through a ladder, on Monday he had a killer match against John Cena, and on the Tuesday Smackdown tapings he was viciously powerbombed through the commentary table. Ambrose is a tough dude.
I liked Sheamus’ quick promo about why he attacked Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler on RAW. First of all, I absolutely love that he’s a heel again. What a HUGE improvement already. I also really like the new look. Sheamus’ rationale reminded me of when Batista turned on the crowd on Smackdown last year. All the guy wants to do is crush our hopes and dreams. No big deal, right?
The main event with Daniel Bryan and Sheamus was absolutely fantastic. What a way for me to finish up my Smackdown tenure with a great match like that. This was hard-hitting and brutal, just the way I like it. Sheamus was great as the cocky heel. I like how Sheamus added some new moves to his arsenal that can be featured to overpower the guys that are smaller than him. That suplex release throw thing he did was pretty nasty.
Bryan definitely got messed up by slamming his forehead into one of the monitors carelessly left on the floor at ringside. He was absolutely gushing blood. Bad News Barrett laid him out with a stiff Bull Hammer, and Sheamus picked up a count-out win like a true heel. I don’t know how it can get any better: a heel doing actual heel things, a tainted victory, a bleeding babyface, and an angry crowd. That’s wrestling, baby. I’m really going to miss recapping this show. Just an excellent two hours of television that flew by.
Bump of the Night: Luke Harper powerbombing Dean Ambrose through the table!
Match of the Night: Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus ***
Final Rating: ****
Well those are my thoughts? Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of these two other options to get in contact with me.
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Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE RAW and Smackdown for Wrestleview.com.