Smackdown – January 31, 2014

Smackdown
Date:
January 31, 2014
Location:
Huntington Center, Toldeo, Ohio
Commentators:
Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
past the Rumble now and two third of the Elimination Chamber are
already filled in. There’s a chance we might actually get something
to happen tonight with the final two spots being taken. On top of
that there’s the interesting case of CM Punk who has walked out on
the company which may or may not be a work. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Raw with Bryan/Cena/Sheamus defeating the Shield
thanks to the interfering Wyatt Family, earning themselves spots in
the Elimination Chamber along with defending champion Randy Orton.
Here’s
Shield with something to say. Ambrose talks about how glad Randy
Orton is that the Wyatts interfered on Monday because the title would
be coming back home with the Shield at Elimination Chamber. Ambrose
and Reigns get in a mini argument about who would have won in the
Chamber but Reigns is cool with Ambrose trying to throw him out of
the Rumble because it was every man for himself. Rollins breaks them
up because they have someone more important to deal with right now:
the Wyatts.
He
talks about how great each member of the Shield is and how they had
the match won on Monday until the Wyatts got involved. If the Wyatts
want a new world, come get one at the hands of the Shield, and yes
that is a challenge. Instead they get Vickie Guerrero who promises
to make history, only to have HHH cut her off. HHH tells them to
drop it about the Wyatts but Roman gets in his face and says this
isn’t a request. The Wyatts vs. the Shield is made for Elimination
Chamber.
Elimination
Chamber Qualifying Match: Antonio Cesaro vs. Dolph Ziggler
See,
this is an actually fresh match where either guy could win. Cesaro
hits a running dropkick for two at the bell before a standing sunset
flip gets the same. They trade rollups for two each before Ziggler
hits the Fameasser to send Cesaro outside. Back in and Cesaro hits a
quick backbreaker to take over and a big clothesline puts Ziggy
outside as we take a break. We come back with Ziggler in a chinlock
and a clip from the break of Cesaro on the middle rope and suplexing
Ziggler back in from the apron.
Dolph
fights up and hits a nice dropkick for two before putting on the
sleeper. Cesaro fights out and loads up Swiss Death but Ziggler
turns it into a DDT for a very close two. Antonio is up first and
blocks the Zig Zag before putting on the Swing to a big face pop.
Ziggler is already done and it’s the Neutralizer for the win at 8:34.
Rating:
C+. This was better than I was
expecting and Cesaro getting the win makes things even better. He
has no chance of winning inside the Chamber but it’s nice to see him
getting even a spot in a match like this. There’s always one guy in
there that can showcase himself and hopefully it’s Antonio this year.
Fandango
vs. Xavier Woods
R-Truth
is on commentary and Woods now has no mustache. A quick slam puts
Xavier down but he comes back with a quick dropkick, only to be
caught in a wheelbarrow suplex for one. We hit the chinlock on Woods
but he fights up and counters another wheelbarrow suplex by rolling
forward and slamming Fandango face first into the mat. Woods comes
back with some strikes and a nice dropkick to send Fandango outside.
A nice flip dive takes Fandango down again as Emma is dancing in the
crowd again. Back in and Fandango hooks a quick falcon’s arrow for
the pin on Woods at 3:20.
Rating:
D. Nothing to see here but man
alive I’m over these dancer vs. dancer matches. Woods is another guy
who is just taking up space on the roster while there are more
talented guys down in NXT. He’s not the worst in the world but I
really don’t see the appeal of his in ring work.
Truth
makes the save from a post match beatdown and dancing ensues.
Prime
Time Players vs. Ryback/Curtis Axel
Curtis
punches Darren to start and drives him into the corner. Off to
Ryback who throws Young out to the floor with ease. Back in and the
Meat Hook sets up Axel’s neckbreaker into a faceplant for the pin at
1:30. My goodness that was quick.
Young
is bleeding from the mouth and Titus isn’t pleased. He’s about to
walk away but Darren says they’re family. Titus says they’re not a
family because this partnership is the first time that Titus has ever
been a loser. The only thing Titus is doing is dropping the dead
weight of Darren Young off his back. Titus kicks him in the chest
and stomps him to the floor, giving us a good old fashioned heel
turn. Young is either in line for a big gimmick change or he’s not
making it to the summer.
Jake
Roberts Hall of Fame video.
Alexander
Rusev and his handler Lana are coming.
Elimination
Chamber Qualifying Match: Christian vs. Jack Swagger
This
is Christian’s first match back after a lengthy absence due to
injury. Swagger gets the jobber entrance. We get a clip of Colter
slapping Swagger to fire him up on Monday. JBL gets Zeb to join in
on commentary, showing how important Swagger’s match is to him. Jack
throws Christian up and over the corner to the floor to start before
putting on a body vice. A Vader Bomb gets two and Swagger stays on
the ribs.
Christian
fights out of a superplex attempt and gets two off a tornado DDT. A
middle rope dropkick gets the same but Swagger comes right back with
the gutwrench powerbomb for two. Jack walks around for a bit to the
anger of Colter, allowing Colter to get his feet up to block another
Vader Bomb. He comes right back with the Patriot Lock but Christian
sends him shoulder first into the post, setting up the Frog Splash
for the pin at 6:00.
Rating:
C-. Nice while it lasted but
this was more about angering Colter and getting Christian into the
Chamber than the match itself. I’m hoping this breaks up the Real
Americans as Swagger has dragged the team down since the day they got
together. He’s just been branded as a loser in WWE and that’s almost
impossible to escape.
Christian
is happy he won because his window of opportunity is starting to
close.
Damien
Sandow vs. Kofi Kingston
An
inset interview with Sandow says this losing period is just his trial
by fire. Damien grabs a quick rollup for two but Kofi takes him into
the corner to slow him down. A standing sunset flip gets two more
for Sandow as Kofi rolls through and kicks Sandow in the chest.
Trouble in Paradise hits the ropes but a sloppy SOS is good for the
pin on Sandow at 1:57. Not a good match.
We
look at Heyman demanding Brock get a match with either Batista or
Orton but getting neither. As a result, Lesnar broke up the New Age
Outlaws vs. Cody Rhodes/Goldust on Raw.
In
his weekly sitdown interview, HHH announces Cody/Goldust vs. the
Outlaws for the titles on Raw in a cage.
Road
Dogg vs. Cody Rhodes
Rhodes
has a bad arm coming in due to Lesnar’s attack on Raw. A quick
clothesline takes Roadie down as we hear about Brock being fined
$10,000 for attacking a referee on Sunday. Road Dogg goes after the
arm by wrapping it around the ropes and ramming it into the buckle.
Cody fights out of an armbar and both guys ram heads to put each
other down. Rhodes takes over with a kick to the ribs and a
springboard missile dropkick as Billy and Goldust get in a fight on
the floor. There’s a Disaster Kick to Gunn and a second one to Dogg
for the pin at 3:53.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t do much for me
but it did what it was supposed to do for Monday. I don’t think the
Outlaws lose the belts on Raw which hopefully leads to a long overdue
Usos title reign. Road Dogg continues to look decent in the ring,
especially after being out of action for so long.
Shield
is out for the main event when the Wyatts appear on screen. Bray is
looking forward to the war, especially the Shield waving those white
flags. For once Harper actually speaks about the beautiful hill
Shield has chosen to die on. Bray says don’t invite the devil into
your back yard because he might like it and choose to stay.
Shield
vs. Sheamus/Rey Mysterio/Daniel Bryan
Sheamus
takes Rollins over with a headlock to start before a shoulder block
sends Seth into the Shield corner. We get the tag to Reigns and it’s
time for a big power showdown. The fans aren’t sure who to cheer for
but it’s Reigns running Sheamus over with a shoulder of his own.
Roman stomps on Sheamus in the corner but the pale one comes back
with a hard clothesline and a neckbreaker.
Off
to Ambrose for some right hands but Sheamus drapes him across the top
rope, setting up the forearms to the chest. The spot is definitely
still over and Ambrose falls to the floor as we take a break. Back
with Bryan putting Seth in the surfboard with the dragon sleeper
before it’s off to Rey for a running kick to the chest and a two
count. A middle rope hurricanrana looks to set up the 619 but Reigns
tags himself in and throws Rey outside.
Back
to Rollins for a lot of trash talk and a chinlock as JBL asks Cole
what he means when he calls Rollins the Architect of the Shield.
Apparently Cole means tactician, which of course is why he calls
Rollins the Architect. Rey sends Seth into the middle buckle and
it’s hot tag to Bryan as things speed up. He backflips over Reigns
in the corner and hits the running clothesline to set up the YES
Kicks.
Roman
is low bridged to the floor to set up the FLYING GOAT. Sheamus
catches Rollins in the Irish Curse but gets dropped with a Superman
Punch. The missile dropkick from Bryan sets up the YES Lock to
Reigns but it’s Ambrose with the save. Sheamus’ bad shoulder goes
into the post but you don’t need a good shoulder to Brogue Kick
Ambrose in the face. There’s the 619 to Rollins and Rey sets up one
on Reigns, only to have Roman pop up and spear Rey in half for the
pin at 12:50.
Rating:
C+. Typically
good Shield match here with Sheamus looking like he hasn’t lost a
step. The fans seem to like him as well so at least there isn’t that
awkward phase where he gets back to what he was doing. He’s still in
need of a story and an actual challenge though. Bryan got a solid
reaction as always but didn’t really do much here.
Overall
Rating:
B-. This
show addressed the main problem that Smackdown has been having for
several months now: something actually happened here. While it
wasn’t anything major, we had a tag team split up which we haven’t
seen in a long time. That’s a good thing as the division is growing
and the Prime Time Players were little more than jobbers in the
division anyway. On top of that we had a PPV match made and the
Chamber was filled in. It’s nice to have this show feel like it
means something for a change.
Results
Antonio
Cesaro b. Dolph Ziggler – Neutralizer
Fandango
b. Xavier Woods – Falcon’s arrow
Ryback/Curtis
Axel b. Prime Time Players – Neckbreaker into a faceplant to Young
Christian
b. Jack Swagger – Frog Splash
Kofi
Kingston b. Damien Sandow – SOS
Cody
Rhodes b. Road Dogg – Disaster Kick
Shield
b. Rey Mysterio/Daniel Bryan/Sheamus – Spear to Mysterio
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