This episode of Smackdown is coming to you from the UK! First off, the WWE should really utilize these UK shows to have “special attraction” shows. Remember when Raw took place in Germany and had that awesome European Championship tournament final between Owen Hart and The British Bulldog? (Unfortunately both the birth and the peak of the European Championship) That show was so special it made it onto the recent Raw 20 DVD box set. Instead we are stuck with these thrown together shows that are essentially house shows or “Insurexxtion” PPV’s from the late 90’s that had no interested from anyone that wasn’t from the UK.
Jimmy Hart starts off in the ring introducing Hulk Hogan coming out to a WWE ring in London for the first time in 20 years. EAT YOUR HEART OUT JOE LANZA! This is a Hulkamania esque pop! Maybe the first time in 20 years for that too…. Also, TNA gets good crowd reactions from UK fans…… Maybe UK fans are just too eager for good wrestling. All the more reason the WWE should make these shows a big deal! Or HELL! Even have one PPV a year take place in the UK! They run like 13 or 14 a year, they can put one of those across the pond?
Hogan cuts a nostalgic promo talking about the UK rocking it out tonight like 20 years ago. Then Hogan turns into a commercial for Legend’s House. This is like a “Rent-A-Center” commercial for Legend’s House.
And then this promo ends super awkwardly. Hogan talks about the WWE making history at New Orleans and then acts like he is going to make a big announcement to the UK fans, but finishes with “UK Hulkamaniacs! Whatcha gonna do when the Legend’s House, the WWE Network, and Hulkamaniacs run wild on you, brother!?” It was almost as if he was implying that a big show is taking place in the UK, but then his music hit and he flexed and left……. Weird.
Cole then plugs the Uso’s vs. Rowan and Harper later tonight as well as Ziggler vs. Batista in a no DQ match.
No DQ Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Batista: We get a recap of last Friday’s Smackdown when Batista ended his match vs. Ziggler with a low blow. According to Michael Cole Ziggler went to “The Authority” and demanded to have a rematch with Batista in a no DQ match. This is why “The Authority” is so stupid. Why are they granting Ziggler a No DQ match against one of their Evolution allies? A much smaller Ziggler can obviously close the gap on the advantage the larger Batista if he is able to use weapons. Unless of course Evolution plans to interfere and take out Ziggler. It is lazy booking like this that makes me hate these authority figures. Why couldn’t Ziggler just get on a mic and call out Batista and challenge him to a no DQ match? Simple and easy.
I have to give Batista credit. On a scale of 1 – 10 his ring work has gone from -15 to 2 in the last month. He seems to be in better “ring shape” just in time for him to take a few months off and get out of said “ring shape”. Ziggler looks like he is going back to bumping like a mad man to earn the company’s respect. Hey Ziggler! How about do something like learn how to talk on the mic! Or get a better finisher than the “ZIG ZAG!”
Batista and Ziggler trade moves on the outside. Batista goes for a spear against the guard rail and Ziggler moves and then comes back tackling Batista over the guard rail and into the time keeper’s area.
Ziggler shows his aggressive side by using a steel chair on Batista. Ziggler looks like he is fighting for his life. Or maybe just his job…
The match is really starting to pick up here. Ziggler struggles to roll Batista into the ring and Batista does the smart heelish thing and rolls back out. Ziggler then looks to be losing steam as he continues to beat down Batista as if he has channeled all of his energy into these first few minutes. Ziggler goes for the Famouser, Batista counters and goes for the Batista Bomb, Ziggler punches his way out and catches Batista with the Famouser and a two count. Ziggler pleas with the referee desperately for three. Batista rolls out of the ring and Ziggler baseball slides and kicks Batista over the announce table. Ziggler mounts and punches Batista on top of Michael Cole even. The genius of JBL’s commentary doesn’t mention this dramatic moment of a commentator being taken out by some wrestlers. In fact he takes it a step further and calls Cole a “pansy”. Cole then no sells the abuse and gets on the headset asking if it’s safe.
Ziggler gives Batista a low blow as a call back to their match from last week. Batista is drooped over the ring steps and Ziggler runs off the apron and goes for a super Famouser on the ring steps, but Batista moves and Ziggler takes a sick bump to the ground appearing to rip him hamstring to shreds doing it.
Batista picks Ziggler up and throws him in the ring and hits him with a spear for the win. I’m doing it. Are you ready for this? ****!
Count ‘em, four stars. Ziggler worked his butt off in this match, Batista worked harder than I’ve seen him work all year. This was Ziggler’s best match in the last 12 months and Ziggler showcased everything anyone has ever praised him for. They told a good story with a couple of call backs to their previous match and Ziggler’s desperate attempt for a victory over this main eventer to move up the card. Ziggler took one high risk too many and it cost him the match. This match might be the hidden gem of Smackdown for 2014 much the way Del Rio vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing match last year on Smackdown was.
After the match Batista gives Ziggler a Batista Bomb to send a direct message to the Shield (according to Michael Cole). Bravo, Dave and Dolph…..Bravo. I have been very open about my dislike for both wrestlers, but I have to be fair here. Best Smackdown match I’ve reviewed all year.
We get a Bo Dallas BOlieve vignette announcing his debut tonight.
Nikki Bella and Eva Marie vs. The Funkadactyls (Naomi and Cameron) w/ Summer Rae as the Special Guest Referee: Apparently there are a lot of layers and depth to the storylines of this match if you watch the “SMASH HIT” (Cole’s words, not mine) Total Divas. I, however, do not watch that show, so I am at a loss as to why these five women are involved in this match. Eva Marie goes for a pin and Summer refuses count the pin, Eva argues with Summer and Cameron rolls up Eva. Summer fast counts to 3 and pisses Nikki and Eva off. 1/4 *
Bo Dallas is debuting next
I really feel like the lack of a brand split hurts debuting superstars. So, many WWE superstars have debuted recently they are going to start to get lost in the shuffle. This is the only reason I am glad Sami Zayn hasn’t debuted yet. I want Triple H to put his money where his mouth is and debut Zayn in a long term storyline.
Bo Dallas makes his entrance in the ring. If DDP can’t make this motivational speaker gimmick work, when DDP is obviously in real life a motivational kind of guy, then I’m not sure Bo Dallas is going to be able to make this work.
Bo Dallas cuts the ultimate go away heat heel promo.
Ugh… This guy needs help.
Sin Cara vs. Bo Dallas: Bo is all smiles and screaming “YEA BABY!” anytime he gets some offense in. Sin Cara gets some of his solid signature offense in and tries hard to put over Bo Dallas when he can. Bo Dallas does hit Sin Cara with a pretty sick Lariat and then a running bulldog off the ropes for the win. The ONLY way I see this BoLieve gimmick working is if somehow him and his brother Bray Wyatt get into a feud over which character is more full of crap and even then…. Ugh… this match gets *1/2
Speaking of which, up next Bray is in his rocking chair in the ring cutting a promo about how we are becoming prisoners of this society. This Cena vs. Wyatt feud has got to end. It peaked before WrestleMania and has been downhill fast since.
Bray says we have let this monster (Cena) lie to our children for long enough. Wyatt then cuts to a video package. I really hate when wrestlers cut to video packages in the middle of their promo. Did they splice the video clips together and put the music behind these packages? Can you imagine Bray Wyatt (the character) in the production truck editing this video package? It just takes me out of the scene so easily. I really want to like the Bray Wyatt character. I have liked the Bray Wyatt character a lot until this feud happened. He just needs to feud with someone else and be used in smaller doses.
Alright! An ADR match much to this reviewer’s liking!
Paul Heyman and Cesaro are on guest commentary for this match.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus: ADR is really a guy that can win the Intercontinental Championship and take it to new heights with a lengthy title reign.
Right when the bell rings Cesaro stands up and asks Sheamus if he wants to shake hands now. Del Rio takes advantage of the distraction with a kick to Sheamus’ side. Sheamus hits ADR with the rolling fireman’s carry that takes ADR to the outside. On the outside with Sheamus up against the apron ADR hits Sheamus with his signature Enzugiri. This is why I love ADR, he finds new ways to hit all of his signature offense and always finds new ways for them to be countered. It’s the seasoning to a delicious stew. The stew might look the same as your neighbors, but with some signature seasoning it makes all the difference in the world.
ADR and Sheamus exchange some moves until ADR hits Sheamus with a back stabber for a two count. Sheamus then hits ADR with an Irish Curse Back breaker for a two count of his own. Sheamus gets thrown out the apron and tries to climb back into the ring until Del Rio seemingly knocks him out with a super kick for a two count. Del Rio then slaps on the Cross Arm breaker. Sheamus fights his way to the ropes. Cesaro causes a DQ and hits Sheamus with a Neutralizer on the outside of the ring. I can get behind a Cesaro vs. Sheamus feud. These two men can beat the crap out each other on a weekly basis and I’ll be entertained. **1/2
Vickie Guerrero is in the ring asking the UK audience to excuse her. Maybe she just farted. Oh wait…. that’s just her one legged gimmick.
Vickie then introduces Adam Rose and the Exotic Express. I don’t mind this gimmick yet. I am a HUGE fan of the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall which is essentially what made Russell Brand’s career. But, how far can a wrestler take this? We have seen how far Fandango has gotten with this one trick pony gimmick.
Adam Rose calls Vickie a Lemon and Vickie screams that she is not a lemon. Vickie steps on the apron and tells Adam to leave her ring. Adam offers her his sucker and she backs away and falls into the crowd surfing Exotic Express. Vickie screams the whole time she is carried to the back. What better way to get Adam Rose over then to use the over used heel persona of Vickie Guerrero.
Renee Young is in the back with the Uso’s. the Uso’s talk about how they are a real family. Cena then comes in and cuts a nonsensical comedic promo and equates it to Bray’s.
The Uso’s (Jimmy and Jey Uso) w/ John Cena vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper w/ Bray Wyatt: We get a recap of Raw of when Bray Wyatt delivered Sister’s Abigail to Cena on the steel ramp. Remember when Jake Roberts DDT’ed Ricky Steamboat on concrete and it was a huge deal? Cena is out here four days later (the next night taped) running around like nothing happened. Now, I’m not saying Bray Wyatt’s Sister’s Abigail is as dangerous and protected as Jake Roberts’ DDT, but c’mon.
The Uso’s take turns isolated both big men in their corner working over the two as the experience tag team they are. Rowan and Harper gains the advantage after Harper launching Jimmy Uso into the middle rope whiplashing the back of Jimmy’s head onto the ring mat in a pretty cool spot. Jimmy makes his way to his brother for a hot tag after hitting Harper with the Whisper in the Wind. Jey hits Rowan with a Samoan Drop, Harper hits Jey with a big Boot.
Bray causes a DQ finish when he throws Jimmy off of the top rope. Cena retaliates with an AA to Rowan and stares down Bray.
This was a decent episode of Smackdown. I have certainly seen worse. It definitely had a “Smackdown” Match of the Year candidate with the surprising Ziggler and Batista. If nothing else go back and watch that match. The current WWE product is being severely hurt with the lack of a good Daniel Bryan storyline and too much Wyatt vs. Cena. There were no appearances by the Shield here tonight. It would have been nice to even see a pre-taped backstage promo or something from them. Follow me on twitter @LuchaNerd and tell me what you thought of this episode of Smackdown!