Photos via WWE.com
We kick off the show with a signature/awesome video package of the Evolution vs. Shield feud complete with Seth Rollins destroying Roman Reigns’ back with a steel chair and curb stomping Ambrose’s head on a steel chair.
Triple H’s music hits and he comes out at the top of the stage, smiles at the crowd and looks behind him as Seth Rollins comes out to follow him to the ring. Seth Rollins is still wearing his Shield gear. Shouldn’t Seth be wearing his Tyler Black gear again? Why is he still wearing his Shield gear that is clearly still attached to that stable? Interesting.
Triple H mocks the crowd saying “You probably all think I came out here to rub your faces in it, to brag and rub your faces in it. I am not that kind of guy. I am out here because I know you all have questions for this man….Seth Rollins.”
Triple H puts over the dominance of the Shield before handing the mic over to Seth Rollins to explain himself.
Seth starts off “So everybody wants an explanation. You want to know why I did what I did to my “brothers” on Monday Night. So, let me tell you. The only person who knows why I did what I did and the only person who needs to know and the only person that I owe anything to……is me.”
Dolph Ziggler’s music hits and Ziggler comes out to confront Rollins. Ziggler comes and said that he is about to say something that is going to put him further down the totem pole. Ziggler tells Rollins that he never liked the Shield, but he did something that he could never do. He turned on his brothers.
Triple H says that Ziggler’s right. Seth sold out, like he is going to sell out arenas. Triple H then tells Ziggler he is going to come down to the ring to face Seth Rollins one on one.
I have always though that Ziggler was overrated. Ziggler is great at selling and can have a good match with the right opponent, but his promos have never done anything for me and his gimmick has never done anything for me. This promo though was one of his best. Ziggler recently has been trying to be “Mr. Friday Night” by taking on the main eventers from major storylines on Monday Night Raw (i.e. Batista the last two weeks, now Seth Rollins) but, hey. Ziggler is making the best of the opportunity that is being handed to him. His match with Batista was a sleeper hit (I gave it ****) and now he has a chance to do the same with the best seller and one of the best in ring talents in the WWE.
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler: The Seth Rollins heel turn has been the talk of the town this week and as the official Smackdown reviewer for Voices of Wrestling I am absolutely stoked that they didn’t wait until Monday before addressing anything. JBL and Cole are actually on point with commentary. Talking about the match. Just goes to prove that sometimes (emphasis on “sometimes”) their commentary sucks because the competitors aren’t giving them enough to play off of.
This match went back and forth. Triple H played his role on the outside to perfection. Appearing cocky and arrogant when Rollins was in control and other wise looking deeply concerned. Ziggler has truly perfected the art of the shocked reaction when he pins his opponent for only a two count. Rollins and Ziggler are, respectively, #1 and #2 in the WWE when it comes to bumping and selling. They proved it here. This match should have better, and maybe could be better in the future if there is a rematch. It did, however, provide a fresh matchup which is one of the major key positives coming out of the Rollins heel turn. *** ½
Renee Young is in the back with Bad News Barrett. Renee asks Barrett how he feels about being in a Triple Threat Match tonight against RVD and Cesaro. Barrett begs the questions as to why he is in this match when he already defeated RVD at Payback and Cesaro walked out on him during his tag team match this past Monday. Barrett tells RVD and Cesaro that he has bad news for them. “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news” is turning into Barrett’s “And that’s the bottom line!” or “If you smell what The Rock is cookin’.” As opposed to using it as a gimmick with not-so-entertaining comedy segments. It is a good transition for the talented Barrett.
In the back Big Show appears and confronts Triple H, Seth Rollins, and Randy Orton. Show stares Rollins down and tells him that he is a piece of trash for selling his soul. Show tells Rollins that he should try to do to him what Rollins did to Ziggler. Triple H laughs at him and puts Show in a match against Randy Orton tonight. OOO! A rematch of the 2013 Survivor Series main event for free on TV?! Ugh……
The Uso’s (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. Rybaxel (Ryback and Curtis Axel): Rybaxel might be the least entertaining tag team to come down the pike recently, but I must say. I am noticing a major improvement in Axel’s in ring work. Now, don’t get me wrong here. Unless Axel wakes up one day and figures out how to cut a convincing promo all of a sudden, then he won’t go anywhere. Dude is just getting better in the ring is all.
This match was decent. Typical Uso match with lots of high flying and super kicks. **
Lana comes out and puts Russia and Rusev over for being dominating and award winning. The fans are chanting “USA! USA! USA!”. Lana demands they stop and…. They do. These fans are soft.
Rusev comes out with his Gold Star Medal. This must be one step above Gold Star stickers that Kindergarten teachers put on their students spelling tests. It looks about that quality.
Lex Luger’s old theme hits! It’s the Lex Express! Luger is back to take down the evil Foreign Fanatics again! Oh…. It’s just Xavier Woods with this Consequences Creed hat and vest on. Lame. I was more excited when I thought it was going to be Luger.
Rusev w/ Lana vs. Xavier Woods: Rusev makes quick work of Woods. Super kick. Stomp to the back. Pull face up by nostrils. CRUSH! Accolade for the win. N/a
Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match – Bad News Barrett© vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman: I am really digging this storyline that is intertwined between both the US and the IC championship with RVD, Cesaro, Barrett, and Sheamus. It is providing highly entertaining mid card matches as well as taking the US and IC title to new heights.
Lilian Garcia gives the big match introductions.
This was one of the better Triple Threat matches WWE has had. Rich Kraetsch himself might even approve of the actions. Of course there was the typical one on one matches within the match with a fallen opponent out of the ring, but it was kept to a minimal amount of the time. The fallen #3 wrestler was jumping back into the action quickly and often. All three men stared involved in the match enough to avoid the trite WWE version of Triple Threat Matches. Rob Van Dam hits a Five Star Frog Splash going all the way across the ring and then Barrett out of nowhere knocks RVD out with the Bullhammer for the win. ***3/4 in potentially a Rich Kraetsch approved Triple Threat Match.
Heyman was on commentary which is always a good thing.
Bray Wyatt is in the back to make his return to TV since Payback.
Bray talks about how afraid he was being locked in the box at Payback until he saw her face. She told him that in death Bray would find his rest, but in his rebirth he would become stronger. She told Bray that he would become their leader and his voice would soothe their soul. Bray tells the brothers and sisters that he is reborn.
We get a highlight package of NXT Takeover. This is a great platform to showcase what people are missing if they aren’t subscribed to the WWE Network to watch the exclusive NXT shows.
Natalya vs. Alicia Fox: Alicia Fox spent the majority of the match screaming to freak out Natalya. This was not a wrestling match. It was a showcase of Alicia Fox’s new bipolar gimmick. ½*
After the match Alicia Fox goes after Lilian Garcia. Alicia screams asking who rang the bell because she was not finished.
Michael Cole transitions into recapping the Payback segment with Brie Bella quitting and slapping Stephanie McMahon in the face. Then the next night on Raw Stephanie makes the announcement that if Daniel Bryan is cleared to compete at Money in the Bank PPV then he would defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Kane in a Stretcher Match. If he is not cleared to compete then the WWE title would be vacated and put up for grabs in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. I personally would prefer to see the latter…ladder match with Seth Rollins winning it. Can you imagine the main events against a returning Daniel Bryan? A face turned Cesaro? Even against Ambrose and Reigns? There would be a lot of fresh matchups to be used for PPV main events.
Santino Marella w/ Emma vs. Bo Dallas: Bo cuts a typical go away heat promo. Bo takes Santino down to start the match and then takes a victory lap. Santino delivers two arm drags and then takes a trumpeted victory lap on the outside much to Dallas’ chagrin. Bo Dallas then hits the Bo Dog for the win. N/a
Big Show is in the back with Renee Young. Big show calls Evolution a bunch of bullies. Big Show tells a sob story about being bullied when he was younger. Big Show says tonight that he is going to ball up his big meaty fist and KO the Viper. The referee should be on watch now, Big Show has come out and said he is going to use an illegal closed fist on his opponent. Oh wait, Big Show does that in every one of his matches. Stupid.
Byron Saxton is in the back with Randy Orton. Byron asks Orton how he feels about taking on the familiar foe of Big Show. Orton says that the craziest things can happen in the ring when you least expect it. Just ask Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.
The Big Show vs. Randy Orton w/ Triple H: This match was as slow as can be. This match reminded me of the classic craptastic match Triple H had with Scott Steiner back in ’03. Those matches were so hard to get through. I remember going to Best Buy and buying one of the PPV’s they headlined and trying to watch their match 4 times and each time I fell asleep. It was a struggle to get through this match. It was slow with head locks and Vintage Randy Orton nonsense. Seth Rollins comes in to interfere and cause a DQ. Triple H grabs a chair and hands it to Seth Rollins. Rollins Curb stomps Big Show. 1/3*.
I am breaking the usual parameters of the star ratings. I wanted to indicate that this match was less entertaining than the Alicia Fox vs. Natalya match earlier in the night, but I couldn’t give it the dreaded ¼* because Rollins was involved and curb stomped Big Show.
This episode of Smackdown had two matches worth going out of your way to watch and a terrible main event that will put you to sleep. I know it did to me. Thanks for read! Follow me on Twitter @LuchaNerd and tell me what you thought of this episode of Smackdown!