We start off the show tonight hearing “EXCUSE ME! EXCUSE ME!” look who it is! The not-so-leaving-the WWE, Vickie Guerrero! Vickie announces that the Authority has taken the night off. Vickie announces that the Shield will be taking on 11 superstars later tonight in an 11 on 3 match. Vickie then announces that it is time for the “Great Debate” between Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter.
This reminds me of my first exposure to ECW. It was the ECW Invasion on Monday Night Raw before ECW had their first PPV. Heyman had a debate with Jerry Lawler during that feud on Monday Night Raw. I remember this vividly because I was desperately trying to find a way to watch ECW after this and I rushed to my local video store thinking that surely I just missed all of the ECW tapes when I was scouring through the WWF tapes. Maybe the ECW tapes were on the other side of those crappy UFC tapes (Story-within-a-story, I once rented a UFC tape because it had a Ken Shamrock vs. Dan Severn fight, you know where this is going, it was the one where they circled each other for 20 straight minutes as I feverishly anticipated “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” killing “The Beast”. It was easily the most disappointing tape I ever rented from that store. And that includes the time I rented WCW Uncensored ’95. Anyhow, this scarred me from UFC and I wouldn’t watch another UFC event until Brock Lesnar fought Frank Mir for the second time.) I did not find any ECW tapes and would not watch an ECW event until they debuted on TNN with the episode that had former matches to highlight their product. I watched Jerry Lynn vs. Rob Van Dam and it instantly became “The greatest match I had ever seen”. (It isn’t #1 on my list today, but it probably would remain in the top 10)
BACK TO SMACKDOWN!
We have Heyman and Colter each standing behind their own podium. This should be good. Two of the best talkers in the industry’s history dueling it out on the microphone. Vickie starts with Colter and gives him 90 seconds to start. Colter goes back to WrestleMania and the Raw afterward. Colter talks about how 10 months ago Cesaro was a nobody. Colter claims that he molded Cesaro to what he is today. Heyman then begins as if he is going to counter Colter but then busts out that it was his client, Brock Lesnar conquered the streak. Heyman utilizes his 90 seconds to repeat every way he can that Brock Lesnar conquered the streak. Colter then asks Cesaro if he knows anything about Paul Heyman. Colter tells Cesaro that Heyman would rather climb a tree and tell a lie than stand on the ground and stand up for what he believes in. Heyman rebuttals “That I am the 1 behind the 1 in 21-1. When is the last time your guy won?” Colter then tells Heyman that he knew this was going to be a sham. Colter then shoves his podium over and cuts the best promo since his name became Zeb. Colter and Heyman then get into an “Austin and Tyson” type shoving match. This feud is awesome. Is it going to end in tuxedo match a la Heyman vs. Cornette? I sure hope so!
This segues into the Cesaro and Swagger match.
Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman vs. Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter: Cesaro controls the early part of the match with a tilt-a-whirl back breaker and a few vicious uppercuts. Swagger throws Cesaro over the top rope and goes after Cesaro on the outside. Cesaro hits Swagger with an uppercut and big boot. Back in the ring Swagger gains the advantage with a chop block to Cesaro’s knee followed up with a belly to back suplex. Cesaro shows off his power and athleticism with a springboard uppercut and then a dead lift gutwrench suplex for a two count. Colter and Heyman are mastery managers in this match. This needs to turn into a long, long feud between Heyman and Colter. A throwback to the late 80’s when managers would bid over trying to recruit clients and feud through their wrestlers trying to outdo each other.
Cesaro hits a beautiful spinning uppercut from the top rope. Lately, Cesaro has been pulling these uppercuts out from everywhere he can, almost akin to his independent days. Then there is an awesome spot where Swagger goes for the Vader Bomb and Cesaro sticks his foot up to counter and Swagger counters his counter with turning it into the ankle lock. Cesaro gets to the rope and hits Swagger with a double underhook powerbomb. Cesaro calls for the Cesaro Swing and gives it to Swagger. Cesaro hits Swagger with the Neutralizer for the win. ***
Really a good match. It didn’t have to finish clean though. Unless Swagger earns a clean victory back on Raw, this feud appears over and it shouldn’t be. As Cesaro celebrates the Shield’s music hits. The Shield surrounds the ring where only a fallen Swagger remains. Michael Cole mentions that Swagger is one of the 11 men the Shield is facing later tonight. Reigns hits Swagger with the Superman punch. The Shield hits Swagger with the Triple Powerbomb. This appears to be the Shield’s plan tonight. They are going to eliminate their 11 opponents before the match starts. The Shield is constantly fresh and is constantly entertaining. They could seriously break up a year or even two years from now and will never get old.
Michael Cole shows a clip of Daniel Bryan being carted off on a stretcher from this past Monday. Cole announces the injuries Bryan sustained and announces that Daniel Bryan WILL BE at Raw on Monday.
We then gets some clips from Paige’s sit down interview with Michael Cole. Paige is confident and passionate in this interview talking about how important this win was to her. Paige put the Diva’s Championship over more in this interview than any Diva has been able to do in the entire time this title has been in existence. Paige is the BEST Diva to ever be in the Diva’s division. FACT. Snuka vs. Paige is the first WWE Diva’s match I have ever been looking forward to watching. EVER.
Tamina Snuka vs. Natalya: Tamina Snuka is much larger than most of the other Diva’s, right? She doesn’t wrestle like it. Tamina’s offense looks soft, like she is holding back. And she sells like she has watch AJ Lee flop around too much. She makes herself look so much smaller by doing this. JBL IS THE WORST WWE COMMENTATOR OF THE LAST DECADE. That is saying A LOT. Because, we all know that the WWE hasn’t been known for good commentary. JBL spends the majority of this match bickering at Michael Cole for repeating one of his lines. Tamina wins with the weakest Super Kick in the history of Super Kicks. If Shawn Michaels was dead he would be rolling over in his grave. ¾*
I sincerely hope Paige can carry Snuka to a good match at Extreme Rules.
We get a highlight package of the last time the Shield took on 11 opponents complete with the reunion of Evolution. I don’t listen to much Motorhead, but I love the entrance music they have written for Triple H and Evolution over the years.
We then get a shot of 3MB talking in the back about how they are part of the 11 men in the 11 on 3 match later. Seth Rollins then appears and Slater mocks him for being alone. Ambrose and Reigns appear and the Shield destroys 3MB. This is like something out of a comic book. The only thing the Shield is missing is a picture of their 11 opponents to draw an “X” on the face of everyone they take out before the match.
In the back, Vickie Guerrero is on the phone with Triple H. Vickie tells them that she has called the Shield into her office, but they haven’t arrived yet. Triple H then appears to give Vickie the night off and Brad Maddox fills in for her. Maddox makes himself comfortable and sends Vickie away. Maddox has great potential if he could just be given a central focus for once. He has always stuck in the shadow of the Authority on Monday Nights. Maybe he could be a manager and add to the Heyman and Colter feud of trying to hire the best clients. Or maybe he could wrestle? The guy is trained to do that, right?
Back in the ring we see Mike Chioda trying to separate Jey Uso and Curtis Axel before their one on one match begins.
Jey Uso w/Jimmy Uso vs. Curtis Axel w/ Ryback: Create-A-Wrestler, Curtis Axel, controls the beginning of the offense with his generic offense. If this continues Curtis Axel is going to win with the “DDT 6” (WWE Video Games joke). Axel wins in a squash with a face smash finisher I’ve never seen him do. N/A
The Wyatts make their way to the ring to address John Cena. As they are making their entrance Cole narrates highlights from this past Monday when the Wyatts wrestled John Cena in a 3 on 1 handicapped match.
Bray cuts a promo inside of a Steel Cage. Bray talks about the measure of power you have in this world is based on the amount of love that you receive. Bray talks about how John Cena has lost the love of the fans. Why does it appear that the Wyatt family is turning face? The Shield turning face is okay, but The Wyatt’s gimmick becomes less appealing and less creepy when people are cheering for them. Or maybe that makes them more creepy in a brainwashing kind of way. Okay, I’ll rest my reservations for now.
Bray cuts another typical promo that is really good, and he segues it into a sales pitch about the Cena vs. Wyatt Steel Cage match. Bray climbs to the top of the cage and sings “He’s Got the Whole World” with the audience. Bray looks both desperate and vulnerable. As if he needs the people’s adulation and secretly lives for it. It adds a new layer to the Bray Wyatt character.
Back from commercial the cage is gone and the Wyatt Family are prepared to wrestle The Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood (Cody Rhodes and Goldust) vs. The Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan) w/ Bray Wyatt: Michael Cole alludes to the slight dissension between the Rhodes brothers after their match vs the Uso’s from this past Monday.
Harper starts off the match with Cody Rhodes. Cody easily knocks Luke down with a clothesline. I realize Harper is an agile big man, but he should not be knocked down this easily by the much smaller Cody Rhodes. Bray gets on the mic and starts asking the audience if they are impressed by what they see. Harper and Rowan then begin to destroy Cody as they isolate him in their corner. (Side note:: One underrated aspect of the NXT system has been their promo coaching. Tyler Black, Brodie Lee, and Husky Harris are three guys that were never known for being “good promos”. The three of them are night and day compared to where they were in their earlier incarnations.) Luke Harper throws Goldust into Cody sending Cody out of the ring and into the barricade. Goldust sells grief in further adding to the dissension between him and his brother. Harper hits Goldust with a lariat for the win. *1/2
In the back we see the Shield talking to Brad Maddox in his office. Reigns grabs Maddox by his tie and throws Maddox into the wall. Ambrose then jumps on him and attacks Maddox. The Shield continue down their hit list.
Santino and Emma make their way to the ring for the mixed tag team match. Fandango make their way to the stage to dance their routine. The Shield comes out and attacks Fandango. This is set up perfectly as Layla is in Fandango’s arms she looks behind him and back pedals away like a scene from a movie. The Shield Triple Power bombs Fandango off the stage through two tables.
Santino and Emma vs. Fandango and Layla: N/A – Match never got started.
We get a recap of the Kane beat down on Daniel Bryan from this past Monday.
We then get a preview of the finals to the #1 Contenders Intercontinental Championship Tournament. Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam. This tournament has been awesome and it really sets the IC title to become the important secondary title to the WWE WHC. I keep seeing people talk about splitting the WWE WHC because the WHC was a good title to elevate guys like Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio and such. That is what the IC title is for!!! The WWE just needs to elevate and make it that important. Have some IC title matches main event Monday Night Raw. HECK! Have some main event PPV’s if the WWE champion is in a big time tag match or something. If you display the IC title as mattering the fans will think it matters. It is going to take time, but it can happen.
The Shield make their way to the ring as Michael Cole announces that Curtis Axel has been decimated in the back. JBL and Cole question how many of the Shield’s opponents are left as we go to commercial. Ryback, Bad News Barrett, Damien Sandow, Titus O’Neil, and Alberto Del Rio make their way to the ring.
What a good idea to eliminate General Manager, Brad Maddox. That way Maddox couldn’t replace the 6 missing superstars. And Vickie was sent home, the Authority is gone for the night. The Shield outsmarted the villainous, Authority. Right. Out. Of. A. Comic. Book.
Ryback, Bad News Barrett, Damien Sandow, Titus O’Neil, and Alberto Del Rio vs. The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins): Ryback starts off the match against Seth Rollins. Ryback shows off his power with some power slams. Titus O’Neil tags in and Rollins isolates O’Neil in the corner as Ambrose tags in. Reigns tags in after the Ambrose ambush and hits Titus with a short arm clothesline. Ambrose tags in and O’Neil powers Ambrose over to his corner to tag out to Barrett. The Shield is the best team ever as “the numbers game.” Individually they appear to be vulnerable, but as a team they seem unstoppable. Their chemistry, both in kayfabe and as pro wrestlers, is uncanny. Their offense and everything they do is so realistic.
During the commercial break the heels have gained the advantage. Ambrose tries to fight his way out of the heel corner until (my personal favorite) ADR comes in and drop kicks Ambrose. The beaten down Ambrose eventually gets the hot tag into Reigns. Reigns comes in with a flurry with vicious and powerful offense until the whole breaks out into a chaotic war. The Shield decimates their opponents with their signatures spots. Barrett and ADR walk out on their teammates up the stage. Ambrose and Rollins dive out of the ring to take out Sandow, O’Neil, and Ryback. As Barrett and ADR are on top of the stage Reigns comes out of nowhere and Superman punches ADR as Barrett runs away. Reigns must have ran through the crowd for this spot. The Shield all make their way to the ring to eliminate the rest of their opponents. Reigns spears Sandow for the win. ***1/4
Reigns spears Ryback and O’Neil. The Shield Triple Power bombs Ryback.
The Shield took out their 11 opponents with their wits and unity. This is a really good episode of Smackdown that had a story sewn throughout the night and two matches that received *** or higher in my opinion.
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