Smackdown – February 18, 2016

Smackdown
Date: February 18, 2016
Location: Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler

We’re three days away from Fastlane and the big story tonight is Brock Lesnar making a very rare Smackdown appearance. There’s no word on what he’ll be doing but you can assume it might have something to do with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, who are teaming together to face the Dudley Boyz tonight. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of Ambrose losing the Intercontinental Title on Monday thanks to Stephanie’s influence.

Opening sequence.

No Mauro Ranallo tonight due to a bout with the flu.

League of Nations vs. Dolph Ziggler/Lucha Dragons

Kevin Owens is on commentary. Kalisto and Rusev get things going with the masked man firing off kicks to the meaty Bulgarian thighs. Alberto comes in and gets taken down with a standing Lionsault for two. An old Jack Brisco spinning sunset flip out of the corner looks to get two for Cara but he tagged Kalisto by mistake. Everything breaks down for a bit and the Dragons dive through the ropes to take down Sheamus and Del Rio, followed by Ziggler coming off the top to elbow all three of them as we take a break.

Back with Rusev holding Cara in a chinlock before it’s off to Del Rio for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. That means it’s time for another chinlock from Alberto, followed by some Irish Curses from Sheamus for two. Owens goes on a funny bit about not liking idiots but having other reasons to not like Cole.

Cara finally kicks Del Rio down and tags in Ziggler to speed things up. Dolph’s superkick to Sheamus is broken up but the running DDT works a bit better. Everything breaks down and Del Rio kicks Cara in the mask, followed by throwing Kalisto hard into the barricade. Back inside, Ziggler hits a quick Fameasser for two on Sheamus, which draws Owens off commentary. The distraction lets Sheamus nail a Brogue Kick for the pin on Dolph at 11:27.

Rating: C-. So the League gets a pin on the #1 contender despite none of them having a match on Sunday’s pay per view card. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary here though and that’s pretty good for the most part. The wrestling was fine and they went with the formula that they’ve perfected on Smackdown, meaning this was acceptable but nothing I’ll remember in about an hour.

Owens leaves with Ziggler’s vest.

Tamina vs. Sasha Banks

Sasha gets slammed head first into the mat to start but flips out of a belly to back suplex to get away for a bit. The running knees in the corner have Tamina in trouble and Naomi gets knocked off the apron. A sitout bulldog sets up the Bank Statement to make Tamina tap at 2:22.

Sasha gets beaten down post match until Becky makes the save, only to be shoved away by her partner. This continues a simple story but it’s been booked well.

Post break Becky wants to know what that was. They’re coming up on Wrestlemania and it’s going to take a win at Fastlane to give them momentum. If Sasha wants to let her ego get in the way of their Wrestlemania moment, Becky is done right now. They agree to fight together on Sunday.

Here’s Chris Jericho to address AJ Styles’ challenge to him from Monday. Jericho is ready to answer but he wants AJ to be here face to face. Instead here’s the Miz to interrupt with an announcement of his own. Jericho hopes that it’s Miz quitting the business because everyone has been begging for it for years. Miz says he isn’t quitting but he certainly wouldn’t do it here. The announcement is that he’s ready to fight Jericho here and now, which earns him a throw to the floor.

Chris Jericho vs. The Miz

Thankfully this starts after a break instead of that stupid ring the bell and go to a break thirty seconds later. A suplex puts Miz down and it’s time for some right hands in the corner. Miz sends him into the post as the announcers debate what celebrity lists these two are on. The fans want AJ but get a knee to Jericho’s back and a chinlock. That goes nowhere so Jericho dropkicks him and goes up, only to get punched in the face. A trip to the floor doesn’t do much as Miz takes him back inside for more left hands to the face. We take a break and come back with Miz holding a chinlock.

The Reality Check gets two and it’s right back to the chinlockery. Jericho fights back again with an ax handle and counters another Reality Check (like any signature move, it’s only one per midcard match) into a failed Walls attempt. Miz’s short DDT and big boot get two each so he starts ripping at Jericho’s face in the corner. The running corner clothesline is easily countered into the Walls though and Miz taps at 12:22.

Rating: C+. As has been the case lately, Miz is on a roll and having a string of good matches. Now maybe that’s due to having matches against Chris Jericho and AJ Styles but at least it’s been better than the usual five minute nothings that he does every week. He’s been a good cog for this feud and kept things from being the normal tropes. Good stuff here as Miz continues to be a pleasant surprise lately.

Post match Jericho calls out AJ for the big answer. AJ comes out but Jericho doesn’t seem interested in wrestling him again. He respects Styles but doesn’t really like him, which is why there won’t be a third match. AJ blasts him in the face with his striking sequence and that’s enough for Jericho to change his mind. That’s rather heelish of AJ, who lost clean last week and now uses violence to get what he wants.

We look back at Heyman and Reigns’ exchange on Monday.

Ambrose says he’s fine after losing the title on Monday but tonight he just wants to go fight. That’s fine with Reigns, but Dean better not try that Dirty Deeds stuff again. Reigns leaves and Dean runs into Heyman. Paul shakes off Ambrose’s threats by saying Brock is here and he wants a piece of Dean. That’s freaks Ambrose out so badly that he asks Heyman for advice before deciding to deal with Brock on his own later.

New Day says they can’t wait to be on the Cutting Edge Peep Show because they’re real musicians. On Sunday they’re ready to get in their stretch limousine and make their way to the Hall of Fame. Edge and Christian are out of style because it’s not the 1990s again. Tromboning and dancing (a LOT of dancing) take us out.

Video on Charlotte, as sponsored by Geico.

Charlotte vs. Natalya

Non-title and Natalya gets the jobber entrance. Charlotte’s early headscissors attempt doesn’t work so Natalya grabs a headlock and hits a quick basement dropkick to send Charlotte outside. Ric tries to give some advice and we take a break before coming back to see Charlotte spinning out of a leg lock. Charlotte bails to the floor and a Ric distraction lets her kick Natalya in the face. Back in and it’s off to the bodyscissors for a bit before Natalya fights up and sends her outside with a German suplex. Charlotte pulls the ring skirt away though to tweak Natalya’s knee, setting up the Figure Eight for the submission at 7:40.

Rating: C-. This was fine as Natalya continues to be fine as the veteran jobber. I mean, I still don’t buy for a second that Brie is going to win the title on Sunday, even for a feel good title change to cash in on Daniel Bryan. Charlotte is getting the hang of the main roster now that she has a character but Ric needs to go as there’s really no need for him.

Post match Charlotte does the YES chants to draw Brie out. The YES Kicks send Charlotte running and a YES chant starts.

This week, Goldust is Dusta Rhymes and has some bad rap. Truth likes it to start but eventually turns him down with a rap of his own. Goldust looks sad, which makes me think they might not wind up teaming after all. At least it’s different than the Booker T. formula.

We look back at the Wyatts going even crazier and the ending of Monday’s show.

Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose vs. Dudley Boyz

They take their sweet time on the entrances until Ambrose and D-Von get things going. Dean gets early near falls of a cross body and bulldog before it’s off to Bubba. A lot of shouting is enough to bring Reigns in and the crowd….doesn’t seem to care. Bubba wins a slugout and elbows Reigns in the back of the head but charges into a Samoan Drop. D-Von gets double suplexed and Bubba is sent to the floor as we take a break.

Back with Bubba cranking on Dean’s neck and the reverse 3D getting two. D-Von slaps on a chinlock (despite not actually grabbing the chin) and it’s back to Bubba for some stomping. The slow paced (and mostly ineffective) offense continues with another D-Von chinlock. It doesn’t help that we’re just waiting for Brock to come out here. Bubba tries to start a LET’S GO AMBROSE chant but it’s a Reigns distraction allowing Dean to knock Bubba down on the top rope.

Thankfully a few right hands aren’t enough to even things up and Bubba knocks him off, only to miss the backsplash. The hot tag brings in Reigns to clean house with the usual but he loads up the Superman Punch right before Brock’s music hits. The Dudleys use the entrance for a sneak attack but Reigns blocks the 3D. Dean dives onto D-Von but Brock decks him for the DQ at 13:08.

Rating: D+. This really didn’t work as most of it was the Dudleys doing slow offense until Brock came out. It wasn’t even a secret as we got a BROCK LESNAR TONIGHT graphic before the match. At least they did something besides the League of Nations to put the Shield boys over for a change though, which they’ve been getting better at in recent weeks.

Brock cleans house post match until Reigns gets in a Superman Punch. The spear almost hits Ambrose though and Dean tries Dirty Deeds, earning himself a Samoan Drop. Brock F5’s Reigns but here’s HHH (how nice of him to make an appearance as his title has been the main focus lately) to stare Brock down to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. They’ve been picking things up lately around here and it’s been a nice change of pace. This has felt a lot more like the wrestling show that Raw just isn’t and that’s the best thing Smackdown can really be. If nothing else this was a good way to help set up Fastlane, which had a good build all night, even if it’s for a weak pay per view.

Results

League of Nations b. Dolph Ziggler/Lucha Dragons – Brogue Kick to Ziggler

Sasha Banks b. Tamina – Bank Statement

Chris Jericho b. The Miz – Walls of Jericho

Charlotte b. Natalya – Figure Eight

Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose b. Dudley Boyz via DQ when Brock Lesnar interfered

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