Smackdown – April 4, 2014

Smackdown
Date: April 4, 2014
Location: Verizon
Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Michael
Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This is one of those
weird shows where everything is about hyping up Wrestlemania. There
will be a lot of hype videos and stuff from Axxess plus a few matches
taking place in the arena. This is going to be a shorter review than
normal as it’s all about setting up Sunday rather than anything
tonight. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.
Dolph Ziggler vs.
Titus O’Neil
Titus throws Ziggler
around to start and drops a big leg for two. The announcers run down
most of the people in the battle royal as Titus hooks a chinlock.
Back up and Titus runs into a pair of boots to the face followed by a
cross body and some right hands from Dolph. Ziggler hammers away in
the corner even more and drops Titus with a neckbreaker. Titus
avoids the Fameasser and gets two of his own off a big boot. He
loads up some backbreakers but Ziggler escapes and nails the Zig Zag
for the pin at 4:00.
Rating: D+.
Not much to see here but that’s the point for a show like this. It
sets up more of the battle royal and keeps Ziggler on a winning
streak for the first time in far too long. I’m not saying the guy
should be World Champion, but having him lose far more often than he
wins is ridiculous for a former champ. I’m not wild on Titus losing
but I can live with it being to a name of this magnitude.
Andre
the Giant video.
Video on HHH dominating
everyone he’s faced over the last eleven years. I think this is
slightly different from the video on Monday.
Speaking of Monday, we
also get clips from HHH and Stephanie’s promo on Raw, followed by the
ending of the show.
We get a sitdown
interview with Batista conducted by Booker T. Big Dave talks about
coming back to the company and being shocked at everything he’s seen.
Booker agrees that things have changed and we get clips of Batista
ranting about the real men being gone. Daniel Bryan is clearly just
the flavor of the month and Batista is going to squash him like a bug
at Wrestlemania. The fans are living vicariously through Bryan but
Daniel just isn’t the real deal. Orton is a big corporate sellout
and Batista can’t wait to kick his face in. You can guarantee that
Batista walks out with the title and he’ll be enjoying the boos.
Los Matadores vs.
Real Americans
Fernando starts with
Swagger as the fans chant WE THE PEOPLE. The masked man tries a
headscissors out of the corner but gets sent to the apron. He comes
right back with an armdrag and it’s quickly off to Cesaro to try his
luck. Cesaro gets armdragged as well and a headscissors puts him
down again. Diego comes in with a slingshot headscissors of his own
and the Real Americans want to caucus. Zeb slaps Cesaro to get his
attention and not-Antonio isn’t happy.
The slap works as
Cesaro comes in with a running dropkick of all things followed by
some running European uppercuts in the corner. A release gutwrench
suplex sends Diego flying and we take a break. Back with Diego
fighting out of a chinlock and taking both Real Americans down with a
double DDT. He still can’t make a hot tag though as Cesaro slams him
down and drops a big elbow for two. Back to Swagger who throws
Cesaro onto Diego in the corner, followed by a big running
clothesline for two.
Diego avoids a charge
in the corner and backdrops Cesaro to the floor. The Patriot Lock
doesn’t work but Cesaro makes a save, allowing Swagger to hit a belly
to belly for two. The Vader Bomb into the double stomp gets the same
but Diego sends both Americans to the floor. He FINALLY makes the
hot tag to Fernando as things speed up. A running elbow gets two on
Cesaro and a top rope cannonball gets the same. Diego sends Swagger
to the floor as well but Cesaro kicks him in the face. Fernando
dives into the Swing and the Neutralizer is good for the pin at
12:19.
Rating: C.
I’m not big on the Matadores but this was an entertaining match.
It’s cool to see teams like them get some extra TV time around this
part of the year because everyone else is busy. The Real Americans
could win the titles on Sunday and it’s nice to see them getting a
win here.
Video on AJ Lee which
transitions into a video on the Vickie Invitational.
Video on Cena vs. Bray,
including their segment from Raw.
Package on Shield vs.
Kane/Outlaws, including a big chunk of Kane vs. Reigns from Raw.
We get a sitdown
interview with Orton, again conducted by Booker T. He talks about
winning the title back in December and how it means he’s the top man
in the industry. As for the triple threat, Orton knows HHH a lot
better than he knows Bryan, but he also knows HHH is brutal. When
they step into the ring together, HHH is just another guy.
Orton took what HHH
said about holding his hand as a compliment because HHH called him a
technically gifted wrestler. This came off as him not wanting to
yell at his boss. We get a quick clip of Occupy Raw and Orton calls
him a fad. There’s no guarantee that Bryan will make it into the
match though so Orton isn’t worried.
As for Batista, he’s
missed four long years and is stuck in the past. Back in the day he
would have been an opponent but now he’s just a guy. Orton promises
to keep the title on Sunday. I liked this more than I thought I
would have as it felt like it was more from Orton the person rather
than Orton the character.
Video on Brock vs.
Undertaker.
Here’s Hogan in the
arena to close the show. He’s glad to be back here in Washington and
is pumped up to be the host. Hulk talks about his own great
Wrestlemania memories like the main event of Wrestlemania I,
Wrestlemania XVIII against The Rock and of course Wrestlemania III
against Andre. That match makes the battle royal so important to him
and we see the trophy on the screen. Hulk calls it beautiful and
asks what we’re going to do when it runs wild on YOU and that’s the
show.
Overall Rating: C+.
This was all you could expect from a Wrestlemania weekend Smackdown.
The wrestling obviously wasn’t the point here and it would be
ridiculous to treat this like a regular show. All the videos worked
well and every match was covered so what more can you ask for?
Wrestlemania looks good and I’m excited to be going so it’s a good
episode this week, despite it being different than every other show
all year.

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