Smackdown – January 2, 2015

Smackdown
Date:
January 2, 2015
Location:
Norfolk Scope Arena, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators:
Michael Cole, Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
So
the Authority is back because WWE can’t wait more than a few weeks
without having a full time heel GM running the show. Other than
that, Edge and Christian are allegedly in charge tonight, despite
filing a multi-million dollar lawsuit against WWE on Main Event,
because if there’s one thing WWE fans like more than evil authority
figures, it’s the fun characters filing lawsuits. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of the ending of Raw. Seth Rollins is awesome in
this heel role and comes off as evil when he’s given the chance. I
remember thinking that if he really wants to nail this, he’ll go to
stomp Edge anyway, and that’s exactly what he did.
A
somewhat subdued E & C open things up as Cole brings up the
lawsuit. Edge (in a Cesaro shirt this time) says he’s played the
scene from Raw in his head over and over and it’s his fault. He
apologizes for what happened, but there’s nothing they can do
physically to Rollins. Don’t worry though because there’s a John
Cena sized missile coming after Rollins very soon. They have an
amazing show planned and there’s nothing the Authority can do about
it.
Before
they can though, we see a limo on screen with the Stooges alone
getting out. They head to the ring with Mercury holding a document.
Edge suggests they climb under the bottom rope next time because it’s
better suited to their height. The document is a prepared statement
from the Authority, which says they didn’t know what Rollins was
going to do on Monday.
The
Authority officially apologizes and won’t interfere with Edge and
Christian running Smackdown tonight, but the Stooges will be their
official observers tonight. Edge smiles and makes his first match of
the night: the Stooges vs. Ryback. The Stooges panic so Edge makes
it Ryback vs. Big Show. Christian agrees that that’s a main event in
any arena in the country, but thinks he can one up Edge with Rusev
vs. Roman Reigns. Noble says this is going on their permanent files.
Edge: “You know I don’t work here right?” He gets in their
faces and says he and Christian are running things tonight, period.
Erick
Rowan vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray
tells Rowan to lay down because they’re not meant to fight. Erick
goes right at him and drives Bray face first into the buckle but
misses a charge into the post. Bray asks why Rowan is doing this to
him and puts Rowan on the mat with his head against the post. He
tries what looked like a clothesline and clearly didn’t touch Rowan’s
head so I’m not sure what effect that was supposed to have. I know a
lot of moves don’t connect but you can usually tell what they were
supposed to be.
Back
in and Rowan pops up because his genius IQ (remember that?) insulates
his skull or something. He slams Bray around a few times and the
fans buy into the false hope of the comeback attempt. Rowan slowly
picks Bray up and says he’s sorry, only to eat Sister Abigail for the
pin at 4:02.
Rating:
D+. So is Rowan possibly going
back to Wyatt? It’s better than whatever he’s doing now, which seems
to be turning into a genius then forgetting about it while he jobs to
Big Show. As usual, WWE
builds someone up, gets bored with them and throws them out of their
crib like a baby with a toy more than a week old. In this case
though it was about two matches as Rowan has been treated like a joke
since the day after Survivor Series.
Bray
looks remorseful after getting the pin, almost like he feels sorry
for having to hurt Rowan. Wyatt grabs the mic and says he gave their
only begotten son. If he’s willing to do that to someone he loves,
what is he going to do to Dean Ambrose on Monday? It’s been fun, but
all good things must come to an end. Their story ends with Dean in
the back of an ambulance. Follow the buzzards.
Edge
and Christian make sure the Stooges hear them practicing the Five
Second Pose. The Stooges cut it off and do it themselves in a bit
that really isn’t as funny as they were shooting for.
R-Truth/Usos
vs. Goldust/Stardust/Adam Rose
Rose
tries to do WHAT’S UP and gets booed out of the space he’s standing
in (there was nowhere near enough of a reaction for it to be out of
the room). Truth even takes us back to the past with a WHOMP THERE
IT IS! Adam tries the same and gets rolled up for two. Jey comes in
and is quickly sent to the floor as we take a break. Back with
powerslamming Jey for two. Goldust: “COME ON KEY!” At least
that’s what it sounded like.
Off
to Stardust to stand on Jey’s chest as the announcers go over the
history of the Dusts and the Usos. They even manage to make that
sound dull as there’s just no emotion in Phillips’ voice and it’s
clear that he’s just reading this off a piece of paper in front of
him. Go watch some Gorilla and Jesse to learn how to sound
interested in something, even if there’s nothing interesting to talk
about.
Jey
gets popped in the mouth by Rose but knocks Adam and Stardust off the
apron before backdropping Goldust out next to them. Jimmy (Uso, not
Little Jimmy) comes in with some clotheslines for Rose and there goes
the orange shirt. Everything breaks down and Truth dives onto
Goldust, setting up the superkick and Superfly Splash to Rose for the
pin at 8:20.
Rating:
C-. So I guess it’s back to the
Usos vs. Goldust/Stardust because almost a year of the same idea
isn’t enough. I still can’t believe how badly they screwed up Rose.
He should have had a job for years from just coming out to start a
house show, getting the fans to dance and beating a low level heel
(“This isn’t some party! This is business!”) in two minutes
before dancing away. In
other words, he should have been the PG version of the Godfather.
Instead he’s this: a guy that feuds with a Bunny and R-Truth over a
battle of rollups. Stop making things more complicated than they
should be.
The
Rosebuds try to go after Truth and the Usos and are dispatched with
ease. The Usos steal their hats and it’s time to dance.
We
look back at Bryan’s announcement from Raw. That’s such good news to
hear as he’s worked so hard to get where he is and now he gets to
keep going.
Ryback
vs. Big Show
We
get a clip of Ryback’s big speech on Monday where he talked about his
career, including the bad leg injury he suffered back in 2010. The
fans look so bored as Big Show comes through the curtain. Show
easily shoves Ryback out to the floor and drags him back in by his
head. Back in and Ryback drops him with some middle rope ax handles,
but unfortunately that’s the extent of Randy Savage’s influence on
this match.
We
take a break and come back with both
guys trading clubbing blows until Big Show drops him with a boot.
Show goes after the leg,
showing some thinking after Ryback mentioned the ankle and leg
injuries almost ending his career. He
takes Ryback’s knee pad down and lifts him up by the leg to stay on
it. Off to an old school
Lasso From El Paso but Ryback is right next to the ropes. I miss
that hold but it wasn’t as good as the Haas of Pain. Big
Show slams him down, making sure that the leg hits the ropes.
Ryback
sends him out to the floor for a breather before firing off some
shoulder blocks. A Thesz Press and Warrior Splash have Show in
trouble but Ryback has to limp for a bit to pretend he knows how to
sell. Doing your usual
offense and then limping isn’t the same thing as selling an injury.
The chokeslam is countered into a spinebuster but the Russian flag
drops to break up the Meat Hook. The
distraction lets Big Show KO Ryback to the floor for the countout at
11:30.
Rating:
D+. This was a decent enough
power match until Ryback just popped up and stopped selling the leg
until he got his offense in. Big
Show basically wasted his time on the leg, especially with the ending
they went with. That being said, it wasn’t the worst idea in the
world as they kept both guys looking strong, and you know Big Show
isn’t going to lose a match when he can knock someone out and look
dominant, because Big Show exists to be pushed as hard as he can.
JBL
tries to save Ryback by saying he wasn’t completely out cold from the
KO. In other words, he was starting to move his limbs at six.
That’s his consolation prize. Rusev comes after Ryback but takes a
Meat Hook to knock him outside again.
Christian
is in the bathroom so Jamie Noble goes in to keep an eye on him. A
woman screams and Edge says that was the women’s bathroom. COMEDY!
Cesaro/Tyson
Kidd vs. Los Matadores
Thankfully
they haven’t used
the rumored name The Masters Of The WWE Universe for Kidd and Cesaro
yet. They say they’re glad
the Authority is back and want the titles in an inset interview.
Fernando runs into Kidd’s
elbow to start and his
suicide dive hits Cesaro’s uppercut. Back
in and Kidd hammers away before it’s off to Cesaro for a chinlock.
Not the most exciting stuff in the world here.
They
pick things up a bit with the Cesaro Swing into the dropkick from
Kidd. That’s a really good spot when they can time it right. Kidd
gets dropkicked out of the air and the lukewarm tag brings in Diego.
Everything breaks down and Diego gets caught in a Cesaro powerbomb
with Kidd adding a Blockbuster for the pin at 4:02.
Rating:
D+. Kidd and Cesaro had some
good double team spots but there aren’t enough of them to carry a
match. Los Matadores were fun for awhile but they’ve dropped down to
what people were expecting them to be when the gimmick was
introduced: standard high flying jobbers that might get the crowd
going for a few moments before losing. Dull match.
Dean
Ambrose vs. Curtis Axel
The
match never starts as Ambrose goes after Axel before the bell and
lays him out with Dirty Deeds.
Ambrose
grabs the mic and walks up the ramp, saying he hopes Bray is
listening. They have the first ambulance match in the history of
Monday Night Raw to kick off 2015. Dean walks up to an ambulance
next to the ramp and promises to run Bray over, then break all of his
fingers, then run him over again, then attach him to the ambulance
and drag him around the arena. Then he’ll FINALLY put him into the
ambulance and drive him away for a Happy New Year.
Ascension
says first it was Hawk and Animal, then it was Ax and Smash, but now
it’s Viktor and Konnor. I like that they’re acknowledging that
they’re a modern version of the old school power tag team.
We
look at the end of Raw again. Lesnar standing off in the background
and looking annoyed intrigues me.
Ascension
vs. ???/???
Ascension
has gained 21lbs combined since Raw as they came in at a laughable
480 there and 501 here. Viktor fires off elbows in the corner to
jobber #1 before it’s off to
the 280lb Konnor, allegedly putting Viktor at 221. I have a problem
believing he’s within a few pounds of CM Punk’s listed weight. After
beating on #1 some more, the Fall of Man ends Jobber #2 at 1:20.
Edge
and Christian are in the Authority’s office when the Stooges come in
and say they need to get it ready for the Authority’s return. Is
there a reason they’re setting up an office in Virginia when Raw is
being held in Corpus Christi, Texas? The Stooges leave and the
Canadians draw on the Authority’s Muscle and Fitness cover.
This needed more Slick
references.
Rusev
vs. Roman Reigns
Non-title.
Feeling out process to
start with Rusev getting the first blows in as he stomps Reigns down
in the corner. They’re being very liberal with the piped in chants
again tonight. Reigns nails a quick clothesline to put Rusev on the
floor and we take a break. Back
with Reigns fighting out of a front facelock and snapping Rusev’s
throat over the top rope. Rusev
takes him down to the mat with a waistlock and the fans just go
silent. The Russian mixes
things up with a chinlock and the release fall away slam for two.
Yet another chinlock makes
me groan out loud.
Reigns
blocks a ram into the buckle but Rusev throws him out to the floor.
Back in and they shove each
other a few times until Reigns nails some running clotheslines. A
dropkick stops the Superman Punch but Reigns nails the second
attempt. Reigns has to
throw Rusev back inside and here’s the required Big Show
interference. He doesn’t touch Reigns but eats a Superman Punch so
we’re not done yet. The jumping superkick gets two but Reigns pops
up with the spear, drawing in Big Show for the DQ at 13:12.
Rating:
D. If this is the best they’ve
got for Wrestlemania, they’re in big, big trouble. Reigns isn’t even
bad in the ring or anything. He’s just REALLY boring a lot of the
time, but to be fair a lot of this match was dull because of all the
chinlocks and facelocks Rusev kept using. Reigns
needs a lot more seasoning and a lot more character development
before he’s ready for anything resembling a big time main event.
There’s no emotion behind
him and the best main events of Wrestlemania, or any major show for
that matter, are usually built on the emotion the stars bring to the
match.
Another
thing working against this match was how obvious the ending was. The
only question was whether it would be Ryback, Big Show or both guys
interfering to cause the DQ. In
other words, we sat through a boring match with an obvious ending to
continue a feud that not a lot of people want to see to end a really
dull show. Happy New Year people.
Post
match Big Show spears Reigns and loads up a
chokeslam, only to be slammed face first into the table. Show loads
up another spear but misses and goes flying over the announcers’
table. Reigns turns the table over on Show
to finally end the night.
Overall
Rating:
D-. I
don’t know how fair it is to criticize Reigns at the moment because
he’s stuck in one of the least interesting feuds I can remember in a
very long time. This feud
should have lasted all of two weeks but somehow they’re stretching it
into the new year and it dies a little more every time they drag it
out. We’ve seen Big Show built up as a monster for the better part
of twenty years now and the story of someone bringing him down is the
same almost every time. Why should we care more about it with Reigns
instead of everyone else that has done this story over the years?
Other
than that….dang this show was dull. The
big problem here is they’re stuck in a holding pattern until Monday
when the Authority is back full time, making tonight just a
placeholder show until things really pick up on Monday, complete with
slow speaking twenty five minute opening speeches with a bunch of “I
told you so’s”. The
wrestling was nothing special and felt like a waste of my time for
the most part.
That
being said, there’s a good deal of hope for the future as the Rumble
field is shaping up and Lesnar is wide open after Cena. It’s
Wrestlemania season and hopefully that means they’re going to put in
some efforts and fresh ideas instead of the same tired old feuds and
stories. Maybe this is the last of the bad shows for awhile, but I’m
not thrilled with what they’ve done with Smackdown in the last few
weeks. This show was a disaster and really felt like a chore to sit
through rather than something I was supposed to enjoy.
Results
Bray
Wyatt b. Erick Rowan – Sister Abigail
Usos/R-Truth
b. Adam Rose/Goldust/Stardust – Superfly Splash to Rose
Big
Show b. Ryback via countout
Cesaro/Tyson
Kidd b. Los Matadores – Powerbomb/Blockbuster combo to Diego
Ascension
b. ???/??? – Fall of Man to #1
Roman
Reigns b. Rusev via DQ when Big Show interfered
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