Smackdown – April 23, 2015

Smackdown
Date: April 23, 2015
Location: Dunkin’
Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Michael
Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s the final show
before Extreme Rules and for some reason in 2015, one of the major
stories is Kane seemingly about to turn on the Authority and becoming
a bigger deal than he is now. Of course it’s possible that it’s all
a swerve and Kane will cost Orton the title match on Sunday, making
the last few weeks a big waste of time, much like Kane in general.
Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence opens,
as is its custom.
Here are Rollins and
the Stooges to open things up. After a recap of everything that
happened on Monday with the RKO’s all around, Rollins mocks the RKO
OUTTA NOWHERE concept. It’s a good thing Orton got all those out of
his system because the RKO is banned on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday,
Rollins doesn’t need anyone’s help, including an aging former
monster’ like Kane.
Strike up the organ of
course so Kane can come out and threaten to chokeslam Rollins right
now. He can either keep the title on Rollins this Sunday or destroy
him right now. Seth laughs it off and says Kane will be fired for
crossing the Authority. HHH only gave Kane that job to make him feel
better because Kane is just a suit these days. Kane obeying the
Authority is what’s best for business.
Seth brings up Kane
laying down and says that’s what he should be doing, but Kane thinks
Seth should lay down for him right now. He’ll even make it
non-title. A referee comes down and we get a bell. Rollins says
this isn’t right but Kane says he’s the Authority tonight. The
threat of disembowelment convinces Seth to lay down but as Kane goes
to cover him, he says he’s just kidding and helps Seth up.
However, Kane isn’t
done yet as he makes Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose RIGHT NOW. Ambrose
comes running out but Luke Harper follows, setting up a big beatdown
on Dean. With things going bad, Roman Reigns comes out for the save,
chasing off Rollins and Harper with Superman Punches.
Dolph
Ziggler/Neville vs. Bad News Barrett/Sheamus
On the way to the ring,
Sheamus says it’s an insult to have underdogs like the men in the
ring compared to real men like them. He even offers to bring Ziggler
a stepladder to help Ziggler kiss up to him on Sunday. Neville
starts with Sheamus and starts kicking away at the leg, followed by a
running hurricanrana to send Sheamus outside. Barrett gets sent out
as well and Neville hits a big running flip to take them both down.
Back from a break with
Barrett holding Neville in a chinlock before Sheamus drops him with a
release suplex. Neville finally fights up and kicks Sheamus in the
head, allowing the hot tag to Ziggler. The jumping elbow and running
DDT get two each on Barrett but a Sheamus distraction lets Barrett
hit a quick Wasteland for two more. Ziggler spins around the
shoulders though, setting up a Zig Zag into the Red Arrow for the pin
on Barrett at 8:39.
Rating:
C. This was a nice way to set
things up, but again, well done on having a guy who might be winning
the Intercontinental Title in three days look bad. That being said,
it’s really nice to see Neville get yet another pin over a big name.
Even though everyone pins Barrett, it’s still the biggest fall of
Neville’s career.
We
get the Tough Enough announcement and see some of the best/worst
video submissions so far. Yeah fine. Just let me know when the
winner (other than John Morrison) means anything.
Bray
Wyatt says someone’s strength is an illusion, just like anyone else.
He sees right through this person because fear is the same for every
man. Bray will expose him as a weakling very soon. How does life
work for a butterfly with no wings?
Naomi
vs. Natalya
I
guess Natalya is a face again. Naomi slugs her down to start and
catapults Natayla throat first into the bottom rope for two. A
chinlock doesn’t last long so Naomi drops an elbow, only to miss a
legdrop. Natalya does the
stepover into the dropkick, only to walk into the Rear View for the
pin at 2:28. As usual, the week to week continuity dominates the
Divas.
The
next target for the Prime Time Players is the Tag Team Champions.
Kidd is whipped and Cesaro is interesting. Why is he interesting?
Well…..uh…..you see……he’s German! Uh I mean Swiss, but it’s
the same thing.
Ryback
vs. Rusev
Jobber entrance for
Rusev but Lana gives a speech about the strength of the Russian
chain, which has protected the greatest of Russia for years. Rusev
says the chain is his weapon and a burden to Cena, to whom no mercy
will be shown. They stare each other down to start before locking up
with Rusev shoving him into the corner. Ryback nails a running
clothesline for two and the Russian is stunned. A delayed suplex
puts Rusev down again but he rolls to the floor before Ryback can
stay on him.
Back in and Ryback
misses a charge into the post, sending us to a break. We come back
with Rusev putting on a quickly broken bearhug. Ryback fires off
some right hands and gets two off a belly to belly, only to splash
legs. The Meat Hook and jumping superkick are countered but the
second Meat Hook connects. Rusev slips out of a Shell Shock though
and heads outside, where he hits Ryback in the ribs with the chain
for the DQ at 9:57.
Rating:
C-. Take two guys and let them
beat on each other for a few minutes. It’s a strategy that has
worked for years and it worked well enough
here. This was a pretty
good way to make Rusev look like a killer again, even if it’s just a
way to set him up again to be destroyed by Cena.
Ryback
gets the Accolade with the chain around the face.
Jamie
Noble isn’t worried about Harper because it turns out they’re
cousins. Harper comes up in
his usual trance and Noble tries to get his attention, but Harper is
annoyed that they broke his concentration. He was thinking of all
the ways he can hurt people you see.
Kofi
Kingston vs. Cesaro
Before
the match, the New Day blames the lack of positivity in WWE on the
lack of clapping. Have no fear because New Day is here! Woods
says they’re like medicine: they may not taste good going down, but
they’re the right thing for you. Kofi
goes on a rant about how the WWE isn’t listening to them but soon
enough they will embrace the New Day. They’re
kind of awesome at this.
The
fans aren’t pleased and chant their version of the catchphrase. A
dropkick puts Cesaro down to start but he uppercuts Kofi into the
Swing, only to have everyone else brawl on the floor. Trouble in
Paradise hits out of nowhere for the pin at 1:30. That’s
not as bad as it’s not a tag match loss.
Big
Show has had enough of Roman Reigns and is ready to expose him for
what he is.
Roman
Reigns/Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins/Luke
Harper
Kane
is at ringside. Ambrose and Harper get things going with Dean taking
him down to the mat and ripping at Harper’s face. Off
to Reigns for a stomping in the corner before Dean gets another tag
and hits a basement clothesline. Harper
finally gets Ambrose into the corner for a tag to the champ to take
over. A headlock into a
front facelock keep Dean in trouble before Rollins throws him to the
floor for a big boot from Harper.
We
take a break and come back with Dean fighting out of a chinlock but
having to DDT Harper instead of tagging. Seth
comes back in to break up the hot tag attempt with a clothesline
before both guys try cross bodies. The
double tag brings in the power guys with
Roman cleaning house but having to Superman Punch the Stooges off the
apron. Harper takes one as
well before Dean nails Rollins with the top rope standing elbow.
Luke
partially blocks Dean’s suicide dive and sends him over the
timekeeper’s area, only to eat a clothesline from Reigns. Rollins
comes back in with the springboard knee for two and it’s the discus
lariat for two. Dean comes in off the hot tag to clean house. The
rebound clothesline puts Rollins down and Dean low bridges Harper to
the floor. Dean dives on the pile at ringside, only
to have Kane throw Rollins back inside, allowing
Reigns to hit the spear on Rollins for the pin at 16:44.
Rating:
B. This
was a much better main event tag than I was expecting. I’m not wild
on the champion getting pinned but that’s one of those things you
learn to live with in WWE. It’s also par for the course for this
title reign but that’s another story for another time. Anyway, good,
long tag match here which was better than I was expecting.
Overall
Rating:
C+. Pretty fun show
tonight with a good main event to carry things. Extreme Rules isn’t
the most interesting card in the world but a lot of that is due to
the show just being a bunch of Wrestlemania rematches. The direction
of a lot of things is still questionable but at least we had a fun
two hour show to get us to the pay per view.
Results
Dolph Ziggler/Neville
b. Bad News Barrett/Sheamus – Red Arrow to Barrett
Naomi b. Natalya –
Rear View
Ryback b. Rusev via DQ
when Rusev hit him with a chain
Kofi Kingston b. Cesaro
– Trouble in Paradise
Roman Reigns/Dean
Ambrose b. Seth Rollins/Luke Harper – Spear to Rollins
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