Smackdown – March 3, 2016

Smackdown
Date: March 3, 2016
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

We’re coming off a not great Raw this week and we could be in for another edition of that tonight on Smackdown. It’s always hard to guess what’s going to happen on one of these shows as they’re more wrestling based but if last week is any indication, they’re going to be recap based. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of HHH and Dean Ambrose from Raw which set up the main event of the upcoming Roadblock special.

Here’s a limping Ambrose to open things up. Dean sits down because all the bruises on his body are grouping together into one huge bruise. He isn’t one to have a long term plan because he’s more of a five second guy. Like a few weeks ago when he challenged Brock Lesnar and got sent into the windshield of a car. Then he went after HHH but this time it got him a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Now things get messy because everything is ready for Wrestlemania with Reigns vs. HHH. So what happens when Dean wins the belt? Does he face Reigns or should it be Brock, as in the person he’s already signed to face? Or maybe he fights HHH because of some rematch clause. Why not just throw all four of them in a cage and see what happens? That’s probably their best way out of it actually but I don’t think we’re getting there.

Instead here’s Kevin Owens to interrupt and likely set up the main event. Owens is tired of seeing Ambrose get beaten up and then have so many people wanting to fight him when the Intercontinental Champion can’t get a single challenger. Dean: “You could try being nicer to people.” That gets under Owens’ skin for some reason as he gets inside and says Ambrose is everything wrong with WWE. A fight breaks out and Owens gets hit in the back with a chair. Simple enough but neither guy needs to be doing a job tonight.

Usos vs. Sheamus/Rusev

Sheamus and Jimmy get things going with the pale one pounding the Uso down before quickly handing it off to Rusev. The League pounds him down on the floor and we take an early break. Back with Sheamus in control of Jey and giving him a suplex slam for no cover. There are the ten forearms to the chest from Sheamus, setting up a running knee in the back from Rusev to keep Jey in trouble and knock him out to the floor.

A DDT finally drops Rusev and the hot tag brings in Jimmy. Everything breaks down and Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick and the Usos start diving. Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick which allows Jimmy to superkick him out of the air. Back in and the Superfly Splash hits knees, setting up the Brogue Kick for the pin at 9:45.

Rating: C-. This is a good example of why people are getting tired of the Usos: they haven’t changed up their formula in years and it’s the same match over and over again. Yeah it’s entertaining and still more than watchable but I could go for something different from them. Unfortunately I’m not sure what that is and it’s becoming a problem for them.

Post match here are the Dudley Boyz with a table. The Usos fight them off but get powerbombed instead, albeit not through the table.

We see part of Stephanie speech from Monday.

Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

The announcers make a big deal about the match on Monday ending in 1:05. Miz punches him down to start and kicks Ziggler in the face for two. Back up and Miz misses a charge in the corner, allowing Ziggler to grab a backslide for the pin at 48 seconds.

R-Truth is in catering when he sees Goldust sitting by himself. Truth tries to make up for it but Goldust wants nothing to do with him. Now Truth is willing to be Goldust’s partner but Goldust thinks it’s going result in a plate of food going into his face. Well Goldust isn’t going to let that happen because he’ll do it to himself first. Goldust: “Who’s the idiot now?” They’ve actually turned this into an interesting story instead of just the same jokes every single week which is quite the surprise.

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

Rematch from Raw for the #1 contendership. The fans are split here as a test of strength puts Sasha down for two. With the wrestling not working, Sasha opts to forearm Becky in the face. Both of them try dropkicks and we’ve got a standoff as they’re matching each other step for step so far. This brings out Charlotte and Ric as we take a break. Back with Becky fighting out of a double arm crank and getting two off a t-bone suplex.

The running legdrop misses though and Becky gets caught in a quick Bank Statement. A European uppercut gets two for Becky and frustration is setting in less than ten minutes into the match. They head outside for a double clothesline but Flair starts strutting around them. Well at least he has good taste. Charlotte decks both of them from behind though and it’s a double DQ (thankfully she hit them at the same time so it’s an actual double DQ) at 12:04.

Rating: C. This was another match where you were sitting around waiting on the screwy finish and they did very little to hide it. Also I can kind of go with the idea that Charlotte screwed up like this as her dad never learned a lesson and it makes sense that she wouldn’t either. If nothing else we’re almost guaranteed the triple threat, which is where this should be going in the first place.

Charlotte beats both of them down even more post match.

Renee Young tells Charlotte that it’s a triple threat at Wrestlemania for the title. Ric and Charlotte aren’t pleased.

We recap Undertaker and Vince from Raw. That was so short that they might as well have just shown us the whole thing again. They still really need to tweak that thing too because it’s going to get a lot worse in a hurry otherwise.

Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles

This could be really good. Before the match, Kofi and Woods talk about the wonders of the world such as the sun, the moon, or Jello. Kofi: “We can’t explain these things!” Big E.: “Actually Kofi we can. Jello is a mixture of water, flour….” Kofi: “WE CAN’T EXPLAIN THESE THINGS!” Another miracle is that Xavier Woods is such a success despite coming from a town like Hot Trash Lanta. No matter what happens though, they’ll always be the champions.

AJ comes out alone as Jericho is on a promotional tour. Woods and Francesca II offer an early distraction but a rollup gets two for AJ. The drop down into the dropkick get two more for Styles but he makes the mistake of going after Francesca and takes out Woods with a plancha, only to eat a baseball slide from Kofi. Back from a break with AJ in a chinlock, followed by another chinlock to keep him in trouble.

Kofi tries to go up top but dives into a quick release northern lights suplex. I know there isn’t much to break down or analyze here but this has been a solid back and forth match. It’s hard to find stuff to talk about in something that works like this. AJ’s running forearm and fireman’s carry backbreaker get two each. Kofi gets the SOS for two more but Trouble in Paradise misses and the Pele sends Kofi outside. The threat of a trombone assault gets Woods and Big E. ejected, setting up the springboard forearm for the pin on Kingston at 9:57.

Rating: B-. This wasn’t a masterpiece or even a classic but it was two talented wrestlers getting to show off for a little bit. AJ continues to look like a star who was born for the WWE and I’m glad to see him getting a chance to do something like this. Kofi on the other hand continues to be the modern day Tito Santana: he has the resume to look good and can work well with anyone that he gets in the ring against. Good stuff here and that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

AJ bails from New Day in a smart move.

Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt is official for Roadblock.

The Wyatts talk about the Beast and how he needs to be slayed. Brock may have conquered them all but how do you strike fear in Bray Wyatt?

Freebirds Hall of Fame announcement.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

Non-title and Ambrose is limping badly on his way to the ring. It’s nice to see someone selling around here for a change. Dean tries a shoulder to start but has to stop to hold the injury. Well no one ever suggested that he was the brightest guy. Owens knocks him outside to mess with the bad ribs and gets in a few good kicks as we take a break.

Back with Dean being driven into the corner to break up Dirty Deeds. The backsplash (smart move) gets two and we hit something like a seated abdominal stretch. Kevin throws him to the floor and into the barricade for a nine count, only to be sent right back to the floor. Ambrose does that apron 619 of his and blasts Owens with a clothesline for another long count. Lawler is in full on heel mode here as he cheers for Owens, which really is working for me.

No Jerry isn’t doing anything amazing or groundbreaking but he’s being a jerk and insulting good guys. He isn’t bringing up some European sports competition that goes over 80% of the audience’s heads or trying to sound way smarter than he really is. Instead he’s cheering for villains and calling heroes stupid and it’s working. Why can’t more people get the simple idea that less is more? Back in and Ambrose starts fighting back, including the running clothesline and suicide dive to really bang up the ribs some more.

Back in again and Ambrose gets crotched, setting up the Cannonball for a close two. You can’t fault Owens’ psychology here. Dean fights back again and gets two off the top rope elbow but has another suicide dive countered, this time with his back being driven into the apron. Back in and the Pop Up Powerbomb is countered with a hurricanrana but Dean eats a superkick. The backsplash hits knees and Ranallo describes this as a fight between a dentist and a carpenter. Tooth and nail you see. Dirty Deeds puts Owens away at 14:45.

Rating: B+. I love the match but I really don’t like the boking here. They did every single thing they could have here to make Owens look smart and protect him but at the end of the match he was looking up at the lights after a clean finisher. I’m well aware that the Intercontinental Title means little to WWE but maybe they wouldn’t have this problem of injuries destroying the roster if they had some people who actually were protected and could be slotted into these matches instead. Dean winning is good but no champion should be losing twice in a week with a month before Wrestlemania, period.

Overall Rating: C+. The two good matches helped a lot and the main event was very strong but the important thing here was how they gave us actual stuff. I know it wasn’t anything amazing but at least it wasn’t a Raw clip show like last week’s was. Hopefully they’ll start setting things back on track on Monday but this week was a bit better with a much more standard show.

Results

Sheamus/Rusev b. Usos – Brogue Kick to Jimmy

Dolph Ziggler b. The Miz – Backslide

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banke went to a double DQ when Charlotte interfered

AJ Styles b. Kofi Kingston – Springboard forearm

Dean Ambrose b. Kevin Owens – Dirty Deeds

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