Smackdown – March 24, 2016

Smackdown
Date: March 24, 2016
Location: TD Banknorth Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Brock is here for a rare Smackdown appearance so you know we’re getting closer and closer to Wrestlemania. There are two shows left before the biggest show of the year and things are ranging from hot to lukewarm at best so it should be interesting to see which one we get here tonight. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte

Non-title and Becky Lynch is on commentary. We’re not quite ready to go though as Charlotte promises to lead the WOO Revolution over Sasha and Becky in front of a record setting crowd in Dallas. Simple speech but rather efficient. Like any good heel champion, Charlotte is on the floor before anything can happen to her. Back in and Sasha flips her over for two before slapping the champ in the face.

Charlotte comes back with a kick to the face and a neckbreaker, giving us a good old fashioned WOO. We hit the chinlock before a big chop puts Banks down again. A Thesz press gets two on the champ but the double knees in the corner miss. They head outside for a minute and it’s Sasha being whipped into Becky. Charlotte takes her back inside for the Figure Eight, only to be small packaged to give Sasha the surprise pin at 4:56.

Rating: C. Not a great match as they didn’t have time but hopefully the intensity shown here is a good indication of what we’re going to be seeing in Dallas. They’re doing a good job of setting this up as a match where anyone can win, even though I can’t imagine Becky having much of a chance. Good TV match here though and that’s how you build to the big stuff.

Post match Becky gets in the ring for a Bex Plex to both of them, followed by Sasha giving Charlotte a Backstabber.

Here’s New Day for their weekly chat. We’re just ten days away from Wrestlemania XXXII and they’ll be having a match against the League of Nations. The League is so boring that they’re like the going to the DMV of WWE. If they were a Star Wars character, they would be the Jar Jar Binks of WWE. Or if they were another sports star they would be the Michael Jordan of baseball. As usual, this was all about how strong New Day sells the material instead of whatever they’re actually saying.

Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus

No Del Rio for some reason. Sheamus isn’t playing around here and throws Kofi into the corner for an early stomping. It’s not quite the Unicorn Stampede but Sheamus is hardly trained for such combat. Kofi gets back up for some stomping of his own to send Sheamus to the floor. A big standoff is teased but the power of Francesca II calms things down. Kofi gets tripped off the apron though and we take a break.

Back with Kofi still in trouble and Rusev shouting in some insults. We hit the chinlock with Sheamus clearly calling some spots, one of which seems to be missing a middle rope knee drop. Things get even worse for Sheamus as he misses a charge into the post to start Kofi’s comeback. There’s the Boom Drop and Kofi follows with a flip dive over the top to take out Sheamus again. Back in and Sheamus grabs a suplex slam for two before going for a turnbuckle pad. Rusev offers a distraction so New Day chases him off, only to have Barrett’s distraction set up the Brogue Kick for the pin on Kofi at 10:28.

Rating: C-. Kofi is getting better and better every week, to the point where I could easily see him going up to the main event after the New Day run is over. You have to give the League something before they get to the pay per view though and this was as fine as anything else, especially with them playing up the numbers advantage for the League.

Usos vs. Ascension

Viktor runs Jey over to start and it’s off to Konnor for a chinlock. That goes as far as a first minute chinlock is going to go as Jey fights up and sends Konnor into the corner. Everything breaks down and a double superkick puts Viktor away at 1:37.

Post match the Usos put Viktor through a table.

The Dudley Boyz don’t think much of the Usos as they’re only two time Tag Team Champions. They’ve beaten up Rikishi and they could beat up the Wild Samoans, but here’s Roman Reigns to interrupt. Reigns doesn’t like the way Bubba is disrespecting his family so let’s have a fight tonight.

Long video on Shane vs. Undertaker, the same one from Raw.

Dolph Ziggler/Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens/The Miz

Sami and Miz get things going as we have to hear about the other three guys being added to the Intercontinental Title match for the sake of making it way more of a mess than it needs to be. Sami works on the arm to start (there’s a safe idea) before it’s off to Ziggler for a rollup. Owens: “WE GET IT! YOU WENT TO COLLEGE!” Dolph’s headlock slows things down but Miz puts a knee into his ribs to take over.

Owens comes in and eats a dropkick, only to run away from Zayn. He teases leaving again but this time Miz will have nothing to do with that and grabs Kevin’s arm, allowing Zayn to get in a dive to take them out. Some elbows to the head have Owens in trouble and that’s about it for this dream match. I would say save it for Wrestlemania but apparently we wanted a seven way ladder match including a guy who has won one match in nearly two years. Ziggler comes in and gets stomped in the corner before a catapult puts him on the floor.

We take a break and come back with Ziggler blocking the backsplash with the only counter that people use for that move. The hot tag brings in Sami for his running clotheslines and a high cross body to Miz. The Blue Thunder Bomb gets two as everything breaks down. Owens breaks up the Helluva Kick and a victory roll gets two on Miz. Both guys are down but now it’s time for Owens to walk out, only to have Sin Cara, Zack Ryder and Stardust stop him. Back in and Miz gives Owens a Skull Crushing Finale, setting up a superkick and Helluva Kick for the pin on Miz at 13:57.

Rating: C+. That scene with Ryder, Cara and Stardust coming out to stop Owens from leaving sums up every problem this title match has. If for whatever reason we can’t have Zayn vs. Owens, the best solution is to just add Miz and Ziggler to the mix. I’m not wild on it but it’s as good of a story as we can get. The other three can’t even get into a match on Smackdown and really do come off as people just there for the sake of being there. As usual, if you can eliminate something entirely and tell the same story, they’re really not necessary.

Post match Stardust comes in with the Queen’s Crossbow to Zayn. Ryder and Cara come in for the big brawl and it’s Ryder of all people standing tall.

Recap of Roman Reigns vs. HHH/Stephanie on Raw.

Roman Reigns vs. Bubba Ray Dudley

Reigns comes through the entrance again. Bubba immediately hits the floor to yell at the fans which is why he’s such a great heel. Back in and a Superman Punch sends Ray right back out to the floor. The brawl heads outside and Ray is in even more trouble as Reigns slams him into the table over and over for a DQ at 1:52.

D-Von’s save attempt earns him a Superman Punch and some steps to the shoulder. Reigns spears Bubba for good measure.

Goldust is painting his face in the bathroom when R-Truth comes in to call him partner. They’re still not partners but Goldust denies coming down to help him on Monday. Somehow Truth knows that Goldust sleeps naked so Goldust paints NO on Truth’s forehead. Truth looks in the mirror. “ON! IT’S ON!”

The Lucha Dragons are in the back to talk about how they can leave Wrestlemania with a title each. Cara leaves and Ryback comes in to talk about how much bigger and stronger he is than Kalisto. He can bench press Kalisto with one arm and ate that much weight for breakfast this morning. Ryback deserves the Wrestlemania spotlight and Kalisto can settle for a flashlight. Kalisto says he’ll win and leaves.

Tyler Breeze vs. AJ Styles

AJ starts with his striking sequence to send Breeze outside, setting up a springboard forearm. Breeze, who is announced for the Andre battle royal, knees AJ in the face but his superplex is broken up. Another Phenomenal Forearm is enough to pin Breeze at 2:03.

Here are Brock and Heyman to wrap things up. Heyman cuts off the speech by saying that his name is Paul Heyman and this is your main event of the evening. Brock is going to be your Wrestlemania moment, just like when he conquered the Streak. That still gets people to boo. That brings Heyman to the no holds barred street fight at Wrestlemania, which means Dean can use anything he can get his hands on against BROCK LESNAR.

It can be a chair, a table or a kendo stick but it won’t be enough. Now we have Mick Foley and Terry Funk handing Dean various weapons to use against Lesnar too. To shoot from the hip a bit, the only reason Funk and Foley are still alive is because Heyman’s prayers continue to go unanswered. What Ambrose doesn’t understand is that if Dean can get his hands on something, Brock can get his hands on as well. However, Brock can also get his hands on Dean and that’s just going to end badly.

Heyman invites Dean out to fight right now but he gets the Wyatt Family (minus Harper) instead. Brock seems to like the idea of being surrounded but here’s Dean to interrupt. Lesnar gets in a quick suplex to Rowan as Dean gets in, only to have Strowman take Brock’s head off with a clothesline. Dean’s distraction lets Brock suplex Strowman (first time for that I believe) before beating Lesnar down with the kendo stick. That’s fine with Brock who pops up and gives him an F5 to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The wrestling wasn’t great here but this was all about helping to set the stage for Wrestlemania. Things are really starting to shape up for the big night and they’re doing a better job of setting it up than they did last year. There are still some major issues on the pay per view of course but they’re doing what they can to fix some of them as fast as they can. This was a good enough building show and that’s exactly what it needed to be.

Results

Sasha Banks b. Charlotte – Small package

Sheamus b. Kofi Kingston – Brogue Kick

Usos b. Ascension – Double superkick to Viktor

Sami Zayn/Dolph Ziggler b. Kevin Owens/The Miz – Helluva Kick to Miz

Bubba Ray Dudley b. Roman Reigns via DQ when Reigns sent him into the announcers’ table

AJ Styles b. Tyler Breeze – Phenomenal Forearm

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