Michael Cole introduces the show stating we are two days away from the final PPV before WrestleMania XXX. Then announces two match ups for tonight: Christian vs. Sheamus and in six-man tag action Rey Mysterio teams with the Brotherhood to take on the Wyatt Family.
For the third week in a row, we start Smackdown with Daniel Bryan’s music. D-Bryan heads to the ring with the fans going nuts with “YES!” chants. We then get a recap of Kane’s brutal attack/match with Bryan. We then get a shot of the ring with Daniel Bryan and his taped up shoulder. Jack Swagger then makes his way to the ring with Zeb Colter and Cesaro in his corner. Michael Cole talks about how Swagger has a big match against Big E for the Intercontinental Championship this Sunday at the Elimination Chamber.
Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger: These two put on a heck of a match a couple of years back at the first “Old School” Monday Night Raw. It was one of the first times Jim Ross came back to do commentary.
Swagger goes straight for Daniel Bryan’s shoulder. Daniel Bryan uses his mastery in ring psychology by starting his offense off with avoiding the use of his injured shoulder. Daniel Bryan hits Swagger with stiff kicks, knee strikes, and a drop toehold. Daniel Bryan hits Swagger with a couple of dropkicks in the corner. Swagger steps outside the ring to take a breather and catch some useful coaching tips from Zeb and Cesaro. Daniel Bryan dropkicks Swagger then goes for the flying knee strike off the apron. Swagger catches Bryan and takes control of the match. Swagger then gorilla presses Bryan and slams Bryan injured-shoulder first into the ring post. Swagger rolls Bryan into the ring while Michael Cole sells Swagger as being on a violent roll as of late heading into Sunday’s Elimination Chamber.
Swagger has Bryan in a hammerlock and continues to work over DBryan’s shoulder. JBL points out that Bryan put a target on his shoulder by taping it up. Swagger is masterfully working over Daniel Bryan’s arm. Is this Bryan bringing the best out of his opponent yet again? Or is Swagger slowly improving week to week? A little of both. The crowd starts to get behind Daniel Bryan with “YES!” chants. Swagger has Bryan on the top turnbuckle to set up a move that will be devastating to Bryan’s shoulder. Bryan wiggles free underneath and through Swagger’s legs. Bryan runs to the opposite corner. Swagger steps off the turnbuckle and goes after Bryan. Bryan runs after Swagger and connects with the Busaiku Knee to the face of Swagger! 1, 2, 3! Bryan wins, the crowd erupts, and Zeb Colter provides yet another facial expression perfect for a gif. **1/2
This was a good start to a match. It could have been longer. Swagger was really doing a great job playing the menacing heel trying to injure Bryan further before Swagger’s partner, Cesaro, had to wrestle him and four others at the Elimination Chamber. The match ended out of nowhere, but hey, it puts over that Bryan’s Busaiku Knee can come out of nowhere. Question: Is there anyone in wrestling today that plays a better sympathetic-underdog-babyface than Daniel Bryan? Answer: No. And it’s scary to think how good of a heel this guy can be if the WWE ever needs him to be.
As Daniel Bryan is celebrating we hear “EXCUSE ME!” which can only mean one thing. We get a segment filled with cheap heat from Vickie Guerrero. Pet peeve: Anyone on the internet who mentions Vickie Guerrero getting the best heat in the business or anything closely related to this. She gets cheap heat. She has done nothing to evolve her character. It would be no different from Triple H walking into Boston and talking about how great the Yankees are. Of course, the fans are going to boo when Vickie says “EXCUSE ME!” with a high pitched annoying voice. She is not a good heel. Do I think she is better than she ever should have ever been? Sure. However, stop saying that she is a good heel or anything further than that.
Vickie congratulates Daniel Bryan on his victory. Vickie awards Daniel Bryan with another match against Cesaro. And It starts right now.
Daniel Bryan continues to be the guy wrestling multiple matches in a single night. It was great when Daniel Bryan mentioned this a couple of weeks ago on Raw when Triple H was “concerned for his health”, and Bryan threw it in his face that he was never concerned with “his health” when he was putting him in multiple matches on Raw.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro: Cesaro starts the match by hammering away at Daniel Bryan in the corner with stomps and kicks. Cesaro then begins to work on Bryan’s arm by slamming Bryan’s shoulder into the ring post. Bryan catches Cesaro with a drop toehold into the turnbuckle. Bryan starts hitting Cesaro with some stiff kicks in the corner. Cesaro regains the advantage after a bodyslam with Bryan’s arm pinned behind his back. Cesaro connects with a double foot stomp to Bryan’s shoulder. Bryan makes his way to the top turnbuckle and jumps off at Cesaro. Cesaro catches Bryan and turns it into a shoulder breaker for a pinfall and a two count. Cesaro and Bryan make their way to their feet and Cesaro runs at Daniel Bryan, Bryan pulls down the top rope as Cesaro tumbles to the outside. Daniel Bryan hits Cesaro with a suicide dive to the outside. Cesaro is back in the ring. Daniel Bryan gets on the apron and is distracted by Zeb Colter. Cesaro hits the distracted Daniel Bryan with a big boot to Bryan’s shoulder. As Bryan is laying on the outside Swagger picks up a chair and drops it once the referee catches onto what Swagger is up to. The referee give Swagger and Colter two technical fouls each and kicks them out of the ringside area! Cesaro is selling how angry he is that his cohorts are sent away as a go to commercial break.
Back from commercial we see Kane at ringside looking on. Cesaro irish whips Bryan into the corner and hits Bryan with some vicious uppercuts. Cole shows that during the commercial break on the WWE App Swagger and Big E get into a tussle backstage.
Back in the ring Daniel Bryan hits Cesaro with a missile drop kick. Daniel Bryan is shaking trying to fight through the pain to defeat Cesaro. Bryan kicks Cesaro repeatedly in the chest and misses the final kick to Cesaro’s head. Cesaro gives Bryan the Cesaro Swing. Bryan rolls out of the ring as JBL touts Bryan for great ring presence. Bryan gets back in the ring and rolls Cesaro up in a small package for a two count. Cesaro then throws Bryan in the air and hits him with the VERY EUROPEAN UPPERCUT! 1…2… Bryan kicks out! Okay, I forgive WWE for the short Bryan/Swagger match. This is awesome.
Both men make their way back to their feet. Bryan is selling fatigue and pain as he holds onto the top rope. Cesaro is targeting Bryan and waiting for the perfect moment. Cesaro runs after Bryan and connects with YET ANOTHER vicious uppercut! Cesaro steps away to argue with the referee for a second as Bryan runs out of the corner and hits Cesaro with the Busaiku Knee! …….then Kane steps into the ring and chokeslams Daniel Bryan to give Bryan the win via DQ. ****
After the match, Kane mockingly announces Daniel Bryan as the winner via outside interference. Cesaro then attacks Bryan and hits him with the Neutralizer. Michael Cole declares that there is no way that Daniel Bryan will be 100% going into the Elimination Chamber PPV. If this was happening on Monday Night Raw I would say this is a good sign for Daniel Bryan to win the Elimination Chamber match.
Bryan and Cesaro continue to put on classics. These two always just completely beat the tar out of each other whilst telling a wonderful story in the ring. People are complaining about the repeat match ups between Cena and Orton over the years. If Bryan and Cesaro take Cena and Orton’s spots as the #1 and #2 for the WWE then we will be treated to classics repeatedly. These two understand story telling.
We are then treated to Joe Lanza’s favorite — Renee Young! Renee is backstage with another chamber participant, Christian. Young asks Christian about his new aggressive side that he displayed this past Monday night. Christian delivers a heel promo about how he needs to “figure this out” because the “sloths sitting at home stuffing their faces with potato chips and hot dogs aren’t going to figure it out for him.” Actually Christian, I’m stuffing my face with Sour Patch Kids and Air Heads. If you are going to insult this sloth, then get it right. Christian then threatens to unleash this new angry side on Sheamus later tonight.
We go to commercial and come back to the same WWE Network commercial with the Bella Twins. Cole and JBL then talk about the Network and talk about what they are excited about.
Cole then narrates over clips of this past Monday when Roman Reigns defeated Mark Henry. Then Wyatts have a standoff with the Shield. Then in the main event from this past Monday, they show the Shield attack Sheamus and then the impromptu pseudo battle royal that ensued.
We then see The Wyatt family live making their signature entrance to the ring. Cole calls them “perhaps the most frightening entity in WWE history.” Bray cuts a promo about the Shield begging people to believe in them even though they are falling like dominoes. Bray says the Shield will be crawling on their hands and knees as they look up at the “eater of the worlds”. We go to commercial break.
The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, and Erick Rowan) vs. Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes, and Goldust: We come back from commercial break with Cole plugging the Elimination Chamber kick off show complete with a match between The Brotherhood and Rybaxel. Anyone catch Ryback’s tweet with a picture of his new Rybaxel singlet? Creepy, huh?
The match starts with Luke Harper and Rey Mysterio. What sense does it make, strategically, to start a match with your smallest guy vs. their biggest guy? Shouldn’t you use the small/quick guy for the hot tag in the middle of the match to wear out your fatigued opponent? I am officially applying to become the Brotherhood and Rey Mysterio’s manager should they decide to team up in any six man tags in the future.
Luke Harper utilizes his power to manhandle Rey Mysterio. Rey tags in Cody Rhodes as Rey and Cody double drop kick Luke Harper. Harper regains the advantage on Cody until Cody hits Harper with a forearm off the ropes. Harper has Cody isolated in the Wyatt Family’s corner and Luke tags in Rowan. Rowan removes his sheep mask and beats down Cody a little bit until Cody tags in Goldust. Goldust attacks Rowan in the corner with some punches and strikes. Goldust attempts to cross body Rowan, but Rowan catches Goldust and then throws Goldust into the Wyatt Family corner with a fallaway slam. Bray then is tagged in and knocks Goldust down with a clothesline. Bray does his creepy upside down thing and we go to another commercial break.
We come back from commercial break as Luke Harper is gator rolling Goldust around the ring. Harper has Goldust in a headlock until Goldust fights out of it and falls into the Wyatt Family corner. Goldust elbows Bray and Rowan to fight his way out of the corner. Goldust then hits Harper with a sunset flip in the style of a Canadian Destroyer. Cody gets hot-tagged in and hits Harper with a springboard dropkick and then goes for a moonsault and connects! Two count! Cody blind tags Rey, Harper runs at Cody as Cody pulls down the top rope and Harper tumbles to the outside. Rey, the legal man on the apron kicks Harper in the face. Rey then gets in the ring and Cody Rhodes assists Rey into a baseball slide to the outside for a body splash. Rey then gives Harper a head scissors take down to the apron on the outside. Rey and Harper enter the ring and Rey gives Harper another head scissors take down into position for the 619. Harper stops Rey with a big boot before Rey can hit him with the 619. Harper tag in Bray. Bray beats down Rey in the Wyatt family corner. Bray tags in Rowan. Rowan gets Rey into a bear hug and slings Rey around like Chyna use to sling around Goldust’s valet, Marlena.
Rowan slams Rey down with a sidewalk slam for a two count. Rowan tags in Harper. Harper continues the beatdown on Rey with some uppercuts and a vertical suplex. Harper tags in Bray and hits Rey with an avalanche splash in the corner. Bray goes for another avalanche splash by Rey drop toe holds Bray into the turnbuckle. Bray tags in Rowan and Rey fights to the corner to tag in Goldust. Goldust comes in off the hot tag with a spinebuster to Rowan. Goldust then punches Harper off of the apron. Goldust hits Rowan with a spinning cross body. Bray comes in the ring to attack Goldust, but Goldust throws Bray out of the ring. Goldust drops to his knees and hits Rowan with his signature punch to the face. Rowan falls into position as Rey hits him with the 619. Rey then goes to the apron on the outside and jumps on Harper to deliver a hurricarana, but Harper catches him and slams Rey into the barricade. Cody then delivers a springboard crossbody to Harper. Goldust tags himself in and sets Rowan for the Shattered Dreams! Goldust bounces off the ropes and Bray runs into the ring and knocks Goldust down. Bray then hits Goldust with Sister Abigail for the win. ***
JBL and Cole discuss the match of The Shield vs. the Wyatt Family at the Elimination Chamber. Then Cole narrates clips of last week on Smackdown when tonight’s opponents, Christian and Sheamus were teammates and Sheamus accidentally hit Christian with the Brogue Kick.
Byron Saxton is in the back with Sheamus. Sheamus claims to possibly have jarred loose Christian’s angsty side with the Brogue Kick last week. Sheamus then says that tonight the Brogue Kick he gives Christian won’t be an accident this time.
We then get a preview clip of Emma and Summer Rae is a dance off.
Renee Young is the MC for this dance off. Summer Rae then takes her turn and does what JBL calls “Footloose” moves. I’ll trust his call on that as I have never seen Footloose.
Emma then does the “Advanced Shopping Trolley”. Summer then says she needs them to play her “boopsy”’s music. Summer does her usual schtick. Emma then does her usual schtick. The fans boo Summer and go crazy for Emma. Emma is definitely over with the crowd. Emma then throws Summer Rae out of the ring. And dropkicks Fandango out of the ring.
Cole and JBL switch gears for a celebration of Black History Month. They show a video clip that I can only hope is for Koko B. Ware…..oh….its just the same Ron Simmons video package they showed on Raw.
After a commercial break we get vignette of Alexander Rusev. Rusev looks awesome. I have yet to watch him in the ring, I just hope he isn’t another Vladamir Koslov.
We see Dolph Ziggler in the ring as “Mr. No Days Off” Darren Young is on commentary showing off his new tshirt. Titus O’Neil then makes his way to the ring sporting new theme music. Cole plugs the Titus O’Neil vs. Darren Young match this coming Sunday at the Elimination Chamber. Elimination Chamber is going to be a good PPV. Mark my words. Every time the WWE does its due diligence and has the whole card planned out and each match is talked about on the Raw and Smackdown leading into the PPV it leads to a quality PPV. It is the cards with the thrown together, last second matches that lead to forgettable PPVs.
Titus O’Neil vs. Dolph Ziggler: Ziggler and Titus start off with Ziggler hitting Titus with a drop kick. Titus then picks up Ziggler and hits him with a rib breaker. Titus works over Ziggler with a slap to the chest and drives hits boot to Zigglers face as Titus yells at Darren Young “Are you watching me?!” Ziggler then catches O’Neil off guard and gives Titus the 10 punches in the corner and goes for the famouser. Titus catches Ziggler with a big boot. Darren then steals Titus’ whistle and blows it distracting O’Neil as Ziggler pins O’Neil with a schoolboy. Winner: Ziggler. *
After a commercial break we get a did you know graphic declaring John Cena as granting the most wishes in Make a Wish history. 400! John Cena is truly an upstanding guy. A true inspiration and the perfect guy to be a “face of the WWE”.
In the ring, we see the tag team champions, the New Age Outlaws. Then the Uso’s make their entrance. WAIT! We don’t have to hear Road Dogg and Billy Gunn jibber jabber about two words and crooked letters and double consonants? YES! This has been such a good episode of Smackdown!
Jimmy Uso vs. Road Dogg: The match starts with a collar and elbow tie up. Road gains the advantage early on with some kicks to the stomach of Jimmy. Road Dogg plays to the crowd as a heel. The New Age Outlaws are continuing to have a seesaw matchup with the parameters of being a heel and face. And the fans are not winning.
Road Dogg has Jimmy in a reverse chinlock. Jimmy takes over with a full nelson slam. Jimmy sets up Road Dogg for a butt thump in the corner. Road Dogg moves out of the way and goes for the pumphandle slam. Jimmy reverses it into a super kick for the three count. The Uso’s dance in the middle of the ring as they celebrate the victory. The Uso’s better win the tag team titles on Sunday. A long tag title reign with these two can really do a lot to establish the WWE’s tag team division. N/A
We then get a new video package on the dangers of the Elimination Chamber match.
Sheamus then makes his way to the ring for the main event of the evening.
Sheamus vs. Christian: Cole talks about how Sheamus has been in two chamber matches and Christian has been in zero. Cole recounts Christan earlier tonight saying he is desperate and Cole brings up how this could be Christian’s last opportunity to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship due to the wear and tear on his body and the injuries he has racked up.
Sheamus locks up with Christian and takes him into the corner. Sheamus shoulder blocks Christian down off Christian running the ropes. JBL and Cole are talking about how the Chamber is made for Sheamus’ brawling background yet his previously injured shoulder is untested. Cole and JBL state that Cesaro as the most momentum going into the chamber match. Sheamus runs at Christian as Christian pulls down the top rope sending Sheamus tumbling to the outside of the ring. Christian runs the ropes and baseballs slides to the outside as Sheamus sidesteps him. Sheamus picks Christian up and slams Christian into the floor on the outside with the rolling fireman’s carry sending us to a commercial break.
We come back from commercial as Sheamus has Christian in a chinlock. Christian fights his way out with some punches. Sheamus and Christian then take it to the outside of the ring and Christian throws Sheamus over the barricade towards the timekeeper’s table. Christian then grabs Sheamus by the wrists and repeatedly pulls him into the barricade hurting Sheamus’ injured shoulder. Back in the ring Christian hits Sheamus with a missile dropkick. Christian then works over Sheamus’ shoulder. I get that Sheamus’ shoulder was legit injured, but isn’t it wrestling 101 that you don’t have two matches in the same night that have guys working over the same body part? Maybe I’ve just been listening to too much “audio whoop ass” aka Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast where he mentions this very taboo.
Christian continues to attack Sheamus’ shoulder showing off his vicious streak. Christian goes for the Killswitch. Sheamus reverses it flipping Christian over his back. Christian lands on his feet and goes to the top rope. Sheamus scoop slams Christan off of the top rope. Sheamus is in the corner selling his arm injury and runs out knocking down Christian with a couple of clotheslines. Sheamus pins Christian for a two count. Christian then makes his way to the top rope and hits Sheamus with the tornado DDT. Christian climbs on the apron and Sheamus reverses it and gives Christian the repeated blows to Christian’s chest. Sheamus fireman carries Christian into the ring, Christian fights his way off of Sheamus’ shoulders and send Sheamus into the ring post injured shoulder first. Christian goes for another tornado DDT, but Sheamus reverses it into two Irish curse back breakers.
Sheamus then gives the signal for the Brogue Kick. Christian sees it coming and slides out of the ring. Sheamus follows him, but Christian rolls back into the ring. Christian catches Sheamus with the uppercut off the second rope. Christian goes for the Killswitch, but Sheamus reverses it into the White Noise for the pinfall and the three count. ***1/4
Overall, this was a good episode of Smackdown and good way to set up for the Elimination Chamber.