Hello and thank you for reading my first Smackdown report for Voices of Wrestling! My name is Taylor C. Mitchell and I have been watching wrestling for 20+ years. My pro wrestling interests rest in WWE, Ring of Honor, CHIKARA, and most recently NJPW. I have always wanted to do something in pro wrestling outside of being a fan, all the while still being a fan! And Voices of Wrestling has provided me that opportunity.

Let’s get to the 2/7/2014 episode of Smackdown.

The opening signature and sequence are CM Punk free.

The show starts with “The Flight of the Valkyries” pumping through the speakers as the crowd roars with “YES!” chants. Can’t pick a hotter way to start a show off these days than Daniel Bryan. Bryan cuts a promo about The Authority stating that they would consider making Bryan the “face of the WWE” if he could defeat Randy Orton. Bryan says he doesn’t care about being the “face of the WWE”, he just wants to be himself. Bryan states that The Authority showed their true colors when they sent his “old friend” Kane down to the ring during his match vs. Orton on Raw. They show clips of the finish to the Orton vs. Bryan match this past Monday complete with the after match shenanigans. Kane managed to raise his arms and throw them down to shoot flames out of the ring posts all the while managing to not rip his button up shirt.

VoicesofWrestling.comBack in the ring on Smackdown, Daniel Bryan demands that Kane come to the ring to explain how his once best friend turned into a corporate sell out and stabbed him in the back. Kane comes out on the stage in the Hell fire and brimstone and begins to explain himself. Bryan interrupts Kane and tells Kane that he was having trouble hearing him from the stage and wants him to face him in the ring. Kane then says he acted on his own and it was “unprofessional and improper”. Daniel Bryan says, “What the Hell are you talking about? And I am using the term “Hell” literally. You are KANE! You are the Devil’s favorite demon!” I’m not sure that if that is the right usage of the word “literally”, but nonetheless this was subtley funny and a perfect example of how Daniel Bryan can entertain on multiple levels.  Daniel Bryan continues asking what happened to the old Kane. Daniel Bryan states he gets what the Authority did. Bryan reminisces about when the Authority tried to stick him in a $1,000 suit, but Bryan told the Authority to stick that suit where the “sun doesn’t shine.” Bryan is showing some fire and passion here. Kane states how him and Bryan are not friends. Kane states, “a wise man once said that in this business you can either make friends or make money. And I am doing pretty well for myself.”

Daniel Bryan retorts with him having plenty of friends in the arena. The crowd pops. And Bryan then challenges Kane to settles this “not like friends.” Kane states that that isn’t going to happen and announces that Daniel Bryan would wrestle one of his Elimination Chamber opponents tonight instead. Antonio Cesaro!

The Director of Operations knows what is truly best for business. Cesaro vs. Bryan is a way better match than Kane vs. Bryan! A rematch of the classic gauntlet match from last year.

We cut to JBL and Cole who preview the upcoming Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. A graphic displays the participants and then another graphic displays the rules of the Elimination Chamber match as Cole explains the rules.

Cole then previews the Randy Orton vs. Christian non-title match for later tonight.

The Shield’s music hits. Man! This is starting off to be an awesome episode of Smackdown to review as my first for Voices of Wrestling. Will they all be like this? A guy can only dream.

Cut for commercial.

A commercial airs previewing Randy Orton vs John Cena live — this Monday Night on Raw with Betty White as the guest host! Luckily, this was focusing more on the major main event of Orton and Cena being given away free on TV than focusing on the ex-Golden Girl hosting a pro wrestling show.

We come back from commercial with Dolph Ziggler’s music playing as Ziggler and Kofi Kingston are standing in the ring. Seth Rollins is guest commentating. This is good. I appreciate when WWE provides these up and coming superstars the opportunity to get some practice on the mic. Rollins has been making huge strides in his mic work through the last year and half of being a member of the Shield. Also, is it not weird that Kofi and Dolph are teaming up? After feuding over the United States, Intercontinental, and Tag Team championships and wrestling in 1,000’s of matches against each other, probably more than any other two superstars over the last 4 years, they are now teaming up on Smackdown.

The Shield (Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns) vs. Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston: We start off with Ambrose and Kofi in a collar and elbow tie up. Ambrose takes down Kofi with a headlock. Rollins explains the usual hullabaloo about how the Shield are not breaking up and tensions happen in the field of battle and that is okay. Cole then points out that this is the first time that Ambrose and Reigns have teamed up in a traditional 2 vs. 2 tag team match. Cole plays Dr. Phil and tells Rollins to stop avoiding the answer to his question “Are there problems behind the scenes between Ambrose and Reigns?” Rollins bats it down as if nothing is wrong and says, “They run this yard.”

After some more chain wrestling Kofi tags in Ziggler and the two begin to double team Ambrose. Ziggler gets Ambrose down for the repeated elbow drops. JBL calls this the “Heart stopper”. Distasteful, yet only excusable because Jerry Lawler didn’t die after the heart attack that could have been potentially caused by these same elbows.

Cole points out Reigns accomplishments of eliminating 4 men at Survivor Series and 12 men in the Royal Rumble. I hope the WWE realizes these things help build stars. I appreciate the small moments of WWE TV like this. Mostly because they are a company that is historically bad with continuity. Kofi gets a hot tag and is hitting Ambrose with a succession of moves. Ambrose catches Kofi and hangs him on the top rope. Ambrose rolls through and tags Reigns. With Kofi’s head hanging over the bottom rope, Reigns runs from the ground and jumps up and drop kicks Kofi as he lands back first on the apron. I don’t know if I’ve missed some Shield matches or something, but I have never seen Reigns do this. It looked awesome! Reigns hasn’t been too high on my list (#3 best member of the Shield to be exact), but this made me like him a little bit more. Maybe hanging around guys like Ambrose and Rollins for year has done this guy some good! Reigns pins Kofi for a 2 count.

Commerical break.

We come back from commercial and Ambrose has Kofi’s arms hooked and gives Kofi some knee strikes and turns it into a double arm back suplex. Ambrose pins Kofi for 2. They show a highlight of Reign’s dropkick. Ambrose beats down Kofi in the corner and battles Kofi on the top turnbuckle. Ambrose is punching Kofi. Whatever happened to the classic 10-count punch that fans would count along with that wrestlers used to do in every single WWE match in the early 90’s? Kofi knocks Ambrose down and hits Ambrose with a flying cross body. Kofi fights to tag in Dolph. Ambrose has Kofi by the foot. Kofi kicks Ambrose in the face. Both men are down. Both men jump to tag their respective partners in. Ziggler comes in off the hot tag in a blaze of glory. Crossbody to Reigns, dropkick, Stinger splash and what? The 10 count punch! Ziggler is bringing it back! Ziggler hits a neck breaker and goes for the Famouser. Reigns takes Ziggler down. Reigns sets up for the Superman punch. Ambrose goes to tag himself in and and Reigns steps back to prevent it. Reigns and Ambrose exchange words. Kofi comes around and pulls Ambrose off the apron. Ziggler catches Reigns from behind with a DDT! 1..2.. kick out! On the outside Kofi misses the Trouble in Paradise on Seth Rollins. Ambrose grabs Kofi and slams in into the guardrail. Back in the ring Ziggler goes for the Zig-Zag , Reigns throws him off of him, and hits Ziggler with the Superman punch. Reigns screams and sets Ziggler up for the Spear. Reigns hits Ziggler with the Spear and tags in Ambrose telling him to go ahead and pin Ziggler. Ambrose pins Ziggler and gets the victory.  Rollins steps into the ring and separates the two. ***

The Wyatts appear on the Titan Tron. Bray states the Shield are bickering like children. This promo furthers that the Wyatt Family is a tighter knit group. The Shield vs. Wyatt Family is a 3 on 3, heel vs. heel feud. And it is working. It is elevating the Wyatt’s as a dominate force in the WWE while telling the story of the inevitable breakup of the Shield. This is a place the WWE is getting it right with their story telling.

Sheamus appears back stage walking through a hallway. Cole states that Sheamus is set to take on Ryback next on Smackdown.

Commercial break.

The “WWE Did you Know?” fact is about how you can watch every WrestleMania in history on the WWE Network.

Sheamus makes his entrance to the ring and the fans are hyped to see him make his return. Ryback is already in the ring.

VoicesofWrestling.comSheamus vs. Ryback w/ Curtis Axel: These two behemoths get caught in a collar and elbow tie up. They take each other down. Sheamus gets the advantage until Curtis Axel trips Sheamus. Sheamus regains the advantage and hits Ryback with the Rolling Firemen’s Carry Slam. Sheamus steps outside and hits Axel with the Brogue Kick. Sheamus steps on the aprons and hits Ryback with the repeated clubbing blows across Ryback’s chest. Ryback counters with some elbows strikes. Ryback pulls Sheamus into the ring with ease. Ryback hits Sheamus with a spinebuster. Sheamus gets up in the corner and Ryback hits him with a clothesline. Ryback Irish Whips Sheamus into the opposite turnbuckle. Ryback hits Sheamus with a scoop slam and big splash. Ryback has Sheamus in a chokehold and tells the crowd to “shut up!” and gets some boo’s from the crowd. Sheamus gets up and head butts his way free. Ryback then grabs Sheamus and connects with the Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder.

With Sheamus down Ryback goes to the apron and climbs the turnbuckle as the fans are booing him big time. Ryback leaps from the top rope for a big splash and Sheamus moves! Ryback is expanding his repertoire. Both men get up and Ryback continues to trying to punch Sheamus. Sheamus keeps blocking Ryback and hits him with a punch of his own. Sheamus hits Ryback with a couple of strikes and scoops up Ryback for a powerslam. The crowd is hot for Sheamus as Sheamus sets up for the Brogue Kick. Ryback catches Sheamus and reverses the Brogue Kick into a powerbomb. Ryback gets a 2 count. Ryback sets up for the Meat Hook clothesline and runs at Sheamus. Sheamus hits Ryback with the Brogue Kick and gets a 3 count. **3/4

This match was better than it ever deserved to be. Sheamus was the bad ass Celtic Warrior that I love and not the goofy giant bully that he has been in the past. Ryback showed a lot more energy in this match than he typically does.

They cut to the weekly interview series that Cole conducts with Triple H. This interview series is the only good thing to come out of “The Authority” storyline. It gives real kayfabe perspective of Triple H as the C.O.O. I wish authority figures would go back to the Jack Tunney days and only ever show up when something really important happens, but if we are going to be stuck with authority figures I can enjoy these interviews.

Commerical break.

Back from break we see a preview of “Legends House”. This show is either going to be decently entertaining or completely stupid trash TV. Roddy Piper might save the show.

A countdown appears for the network. 16 days 12 hours and 9 minutes. Cole explains the WWE Network and what it offers.

Renee Young from the back introduces her guest, Alberto Del Rio! You will be reading about my admiration for Del Rio weekly in these Smackdown recaps. I think Del Rio gets a lot of undeserved crap. Del Rio, hands down, wins the “Best Wrestler No One Pays Attention To” award. His matches are good, people! Watch them! The guy just keeps getting stuck with the same opponents with no real storylines. The guy has talent! I promise you that years from now people will be looking back and talking about how good Del Rio was in the ring. I’ll take anyone in an argument over this topic. Bring it on!


Anyways, back to Renee with Del Rio. They show a recap of Batista’s and Del Rio’s exchange from Monday. Del Rio calls Batista an “Animal” that belongs in a zoo. Del Rio says he is going to turn Batista into a little Chiuaua drinking from a saucer of milk. Del Rio is so good when he is a menacing and vicious bad ass heel.

Cesaro makes his way to the ring with Colter and Swagger in tow. Cesaro and Swagger charge to the ring and we cut to commercial before they throw their flags into the ring. This entrance is unique, why does WWE always cut it out?

Back from break we get the announcement that Mark Henry makes his return to Monday Night Raw this Monday. Returning from Brock Lesnar’s vicious attack.

Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring with a big pop.

Cole shows the participants of the Elimination Chamber match to set up Cesaro vs. Bryan.

Antonio Cesaro w/ Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger vs. Daniel Bryan: The crowd seems as stoked for this match as I am! Cole tells everyone watching at home to join in on Twitter by hash tagging the “YESmovement”. Cesaro starts the match getting Bryan into the corner and hits Bryan with a Knife edged chop. Bryan reverses with kicks and knee strikes. Cesaro gets Bryan down and pins Bryan’s hands down for repeated pin falls. Bryan raises each arm then bridges back. Cesaro jumps up and puts all of his weight down on Bryan trying to force Bryan out of the bridge. Bryan uses Cesaro’s body for leverage and hurricarrana’s Cesaro. Bryan hits Cesaro with some more repeated kicks.

Cesaro finally catches one of Bryan’s kicks and reverses it into a spine buster. Cesaro has Bryan in a headlock. Bryan gets Cesaro down for a Short arm scissor hold. Cesaro rolls through and dead lifts Bryan into the air and slams Bryan down on the mat. Cesaro’s feats of strength continue to make the WWE high lights reel. Cesaro hits Bryan with an uppercut in the corner. Cesaro with a vertical suplex to Bryan for a 2 count. Cesaro puts a sleeper hold on Bryan. Bryan works his way to his feet and elbows Cesaro. Daniel Bryan goes into his trademark comeback. Cesaro kicks out on two. Bryan hits Cesaro with some more repeated kicks. Cesaro reverses the last one into a schoolboy pin for a 2 count. Bryan goes for the Labell Lock. Cesaro reverses it and slam Bryan down hard on the mat.

VoicesofWrestling.comCommercial Break.

We are back and Cesaro hits Bryan hard in the corner with a uppercut. Cesaro has Bryan in a chinlock. Bryan fights his way out of the corner only for Cesaro to stop him short with a big boot to the head. Cesaro drives at Bryan and Bryan pulls down the top rope. Cesaro tumbles to the ground outside. Bryan dives off the apron and hits Swagger with a running knee. Cesaro runs at Bryan again and Bryan moves out of the way causing Cesaro to hit the guard rail. Back in the ring Bryan flies off the top turnbuckle and gets hit with a big uppercut. Cesaro goes for the Big Swing. Bryan grabs the rope to break up the Big Swing. Cesaro pulls Bryan to the center of the ring. Bryan rolls Cesaro into a small package for a two count. Cesaro turns Bryan inside out with a clothesline. Cesaro cracks his neck and sets up Bryan for the Neutralizer. Bryan does a head scissor lucha type move and turns it into the Labell Lock to make Cesaro tap out! The crowd goes wild! ***

After the match Kane comes out and Bryan is calling for Kane to come to the ring. Cesaro attacks Bryan from behind and hits him with the Neutralizer. Kane steps into the ring and chokeslams Daniel Bryan. “You Sold Out!” chants pour over Kane from these fans. Nevertheless, Cesaro and Bryan need to feud over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That feud can last a full year and never get old.

Renee Young is in the back with Randy Orton. Renee asks Orton how he feels about wrestling each of the other 5 men from the up coming Elimination Chamber match. Orton claims him loss to Bryan was  a fluke and he will eliminate all 5 men in that match and continue to be the face of the WWE.

AJ Lee comes out with Tamina

Commercial Break.

WWE shows their highlight reel of Ernie Ladd for Black History Month and we get a promo from Alexander Rusev and Lana.

Nikki makes her entrance into the ring.

AJ Lee w/ Tamina Snuka vs. Nikki Bella w/ Brie Bella: Nikki dominates the match early. AJ gains the advantage with a sleeper hold. Brie gets the crowd fired up for Nikki. Nikki regains the advantage until Tamina steps on the aprons. Brie tries to fight off Tamina. Nikki inadvertently slams AJ Lee into Brie and is distracted when checking on Brie. AJ Lee sets Nikki up on the Black Widow and forces Nikki to tap out. ¼*

JBL and Cole recap the breakup of the Prime Time Players. Titus O’Neil is in the back with a microphone and barks like only Titus O’Neil can. Titus says that Renee has been begging for an interview. Titus is goofing off explaining that Darren Young was dead weight. Darren comes out and attacks O’Neil  in a pretty vicious backstage brawl. This feud needs some more time to play out. Good for WWE, they are really telling good stories that don’t include the “part timers”.

Commercial break.

We get to watch high lights of the New Age Outlaws vs the Brotherhood in the Steel Cage Match on this most recent episode of Raw.

Goldust is in the ring with Cody Rhodes waiting for his opponent,  Bray Wyatt, to enter the ring. The Wyatts don’t get an entrance (as the often don’t on Smackdown for some reason.). The lights go dark and come back on to see the Wyatts at the bottom of the ramp with Bray in the rocking chair.

Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper and Erick Rowan vs. Goldust w/ Bray Wyatt: Both men trade their respective bizarre taunts. JBL calls this match a psychologist’s dream. Bray crawls around the ring attacking Goldust while taunting Cody who is standing on the outside. Bray catches Goldust with Sister Abigail for the victory in this short match.

Ambrose and the Shield appear on the Titan Tron with their handheld camera. Seth Rollins said he is going to scrap the Wyatt’s beards off with his boot. The Shield says Bray has cost one of them the chance to become the WWE champion.

Cole previews Christian vs. Randy Orton up next!

These two had a series of good matches in 2011 when they were feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship.

Randy Orton vs. Christian:  Orton and Christian circle each other and exchange the first offensive moves. The crowd is invested in this match as Christian and Orton continue to exchange some big moves. Christian dives off of the top rope to Orton on the outside taking out both men.

Commercial break.

VoicesofWrestling.comOrton gains the advantage as he drives Christian into the ring post on the outside. Orton picks up Christian and back drops Christian over the top of the guardrail right onto Christian’s spine. Orton rolls Christian back into the ring for a 2 count. Orton is stomping on Christian, picks up Christian, and drives some uppercuts into Christian’s face. Orton gets some boo’s with Christian on the  ground. Orton does the “Orton pose” with his arms in the air. Orton hits Christian with a drop kick. The crowd starts chanting “Randy Sucks!” and Orton has Christian in a rear chin lock. Christian reverses it into a back drop. Both men down. Christian rallies the crowd behind him by pounding onto the mat. Christian gives Orton the 10 count punch in the corner.

Maybe this never went away and I am just crazy to not have noticed it. Christian hits Orton with a flying cross body. Christian rallies the crowd with some clapping to set up Orton for the KillSwitch. Orton reverses the KillSwitch into a powerslam. 2 count. Orton whips Christian into the corner post shoulder first. Christian counters and gets Orton down on one knee. Christian jumps over the top rope and punches Orton. Christian climbs the top rope and dives at Orton with a frog splash. Orton rolls out of the way and gives Christian the hangman’s DDT. Orton stalks Christian with the “viper” taunts. Christian reverses with a backslide for a 2 count. Christian goes for the KillSwitch. Orton reverses. Christian goes for his signature sunset flip from the corner and Orton hits him with the RKO for the 3 count. This same finish happened multiple times during their 2011 feud. **1/2

Overall, Orton is 1-1 in his Elimination Chamber gauntlet series.

Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter for some live tweets of Monday Night Raw and my other commentaries on Nerd Culture @LuchaNerd.