Smackdown starts with a recap of the Daniel Bryan/Authority saga of Bryan’s victory at WrestleMania leading to him being stripped of the WWE Championship leading then to the Money in the Bank ladder match. The video finishes off with a highlight package of each of the 8 participants in the MitB ladder match complete with sound bites from their promos this past Monday on Raw. You know when they all took their turns coming out with microphones to explain why they are going to win the match. I wonder sometimes if they organize those promos just for video packages like this.
It was certainly refreshing to see Daniel Bryan on WWE TV. Seems like so long ago he was putting on the best TV matches in the world on a weekly basis.
Triple H is in the ring with Evolution….Oh wait…They aren’t Evolution anymore. Just Orton and Rollins. Triple H talks about all of the former “eras” in the WWE. The Rock N Wrestling era. The Attitude Era. The Ruthless Aggression Era. Then he delivers the line “I’ve heard people call today’s era “The Reality Era”. No, Helmsley. YOU call it that. And it sounds stupid. No one else calls it that.
Triple H then says he would refer to this at “The Authority Era”. What does that even mean? This is the era of authority figures? Because, THAT would actually make sense. Except I agree with the general consensus. DO AWAY WITH AUTHORITY FIGURES!
Triple H then goes on about how Orton is going to win the championship and then Rollins is going to earn the briefcase in the other ladder match.
Orton then cuts his usual generic promo. Orton literally sounds like a WWE 2k14 Create a Superstar. Orton and Rollins then start to argue back and forth. Orton calls Rollins “Mr. Plan B”. I wonder if that is his new gimmick. Edge was the “Ultimate Opportunist”; Seth Rollins is “Mr. Plan B”. He could be the sponsor for the contraceptive pill!
Triple H then talks about Dean Ambrose and tells Dean “He’s got some bad news for ya!” This is Triple H’s new favorite thing to do and he is beginning to sound like that annoying Uncle that tells the same joke at every family gathering and cracks himself up, but he tells the joke each time like no one has ever heard it before. This is probably why Shane McMahon does his business in China. To keep his kids away from Uncle Hunter.
Dean Ambrose vs Bad News Barrett: Ambrose is still in his Ryan Atwood (from the OC) gear. (I am going to keep riding that reference until someone comments on a Smackdown review agreeing with me about how good a show The OC was.)
Barrett has been on a hot streak lately and his Bullhammer is The Rainmaker of the WWE. It sucks that he hurt his shoulder in this match and is out of the MitB contract ladder match this Sunday. Hopefully he isn’t out too long. The guy always seems to get injured just when he starts to hit his stride.
The spot in the match where Barrett gets hurt is when the Lunatic Fringe, Ambrose throws Barrett into the barricade on the outside of the ring. Barrett wrestles the rest of the match with no noticeable pain in his arm. Ambrose hits Barrett with the McGuiness Rebound Lariat and the Dirty Deeds to finish off Barrett. No Bullhammer and not enough time for these two great competitors. **1/2
Ambrose is a great heel, but he is quickly proving to everybody how good a babyface he can be.
Post-match: Swagger and Zeb Colter come out to puff their chests before the MitB contract match. Bad reporting on my part. Swagger is the one to hurt Barrett. Swagger slams Barrett into the barricade and Barrett slaps Swagger’s leg trying to signal to him that he is hurt. The referee throws up the infamous ‘X’ symbol as Ambrose dives to the outside on top of Swagger and grabs one of the ladders that are on display. Ambrose attacks Swagger with the ladder. Swagger dumps Ambrose out of the ring and Swagger points up at the briefcase signaling that he is going to be a two time MitB winner. Ambrose jumps back into the ring and attacks Swagger. Rollins then comes in and grabs Ambrose slamming him into the ring steps. The crowd very vocally boo’s Rollins and chants “You sold out! You sold out!” Rollins screams at Ambrose “You think you’re going to ruin this for me?! I’ve got eyes on you at all times!” Rollins curb stomps Ambrose and declares it to be his time.
Paige vs. Cameron: Naomi is on commentary for this match in preparation for her match vs. Paige this Sunday at Money in the Bank.
This match is short. Cameron hits Paige with a Code breaker at one point. Paige hits Cameron with the Paige Turner for the win. ½*
Post-match: Naomi comes in the ring for the pre-title match stare down. Cameron jumps up no-selling the Paige Turner and shoves Paige. Naomi gets in between the two to try and mediate. Paige turns her back and Cameron shoves Naomi into Paige. Paige thinks that Naomi did it herself. Paige and Naomi then trash talk each other. This segment was pulled off VERY well. It took my intrigue for their title match from a 1/10 to a 4/10.
Luke Harper cuts a promo in the back about wanting what the Uso’s have. If actor Jason Lee was taller with a giant beard and balding hairline he would look just like Luke Harper. They’ve got the same facial expressions and everything. When he was on the indies I always wondered if his name was Brody Lee because of his uncanny resemblance to both Bruiser Brody and Jason Lee. Anyhow. Harper cuts a good promo here further proving that he’s got a future post-Wyatt Family.
Sheamus vs Bray Wyatt: Sheamus is a part of the European trio of WWE superstars that have been putting together the best matches in the WWE this year (along with Barrett and Cesaro). I don’t know if Sheamus has the ability to put together a good match with Bray.
Bray is donning his Mankind brown sweatpants for this match. Sheamus shoves off his athleticism early on as he skins the cat up to the top turnbuckle and then dives off with a flying shoulder block.
After a commercial break the Uso’s come out to ringside to even the odds. Sheamus is bumping Dolph Ziggler style in this match. Bray trips him and Sheamus falls back first on the apron. Bray legit slams Sheamus’ head into the ring post. And then there is a spot where Bray punches Sheamus off the top turnbuckle and Sheamus falls off the turnbuckle straight to the outside.
Sheamus puts the Irish Cloverleaf on Bray. Harper comes in and gives Sheamus the big boot for the DQ finish. ***
Post-Match: The Uso’s dive out of the ring on Harper and Rowan. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick on Bray and Bray retreats as Sheamus and The Uso’s stand tall in the ring.
Bray Wyatt is a guy who could have really benefited from some time on the independents before making his way to FCW/WWE. This was one of his best singles matches and it appears as if he has potential, but it is going to take a few years for him to “get it”. Those years could have been spent on the independents honing his craft. Sheamus is like the Tomohiro Ishii of the WWE. He is going to stiff you and he fully expects you to stiff him back. Sheamus continues a really good, yet quiet, in-ring year.
In the back Byron Saxton is with Goldust. Saxton asks Goldust about Rybaxel challenging Goldust and Stardust to a match at Money in the Bank. Stardust appears out of nowhere and cuts an awesome promo about different stars and whatnot. You just have to watch it. Stardust is awesome.
Dolph Ziggler and Rob Van Dam vs Cesaro and Alberto Del Rio: Cole and JBL bicker at each other throughout this match. Paul Heyman bickers with them, but at one point he points out to Cole that he is ignoring the match, which was funny. These commentators have got to go. Why couldn’t they release JBL and keep Josh Mathews. At least Mathews would commentate the match when he had a good guy to tango with on the headset.
These are four of the better in-ring workers in the WWE and I could not get by the commentators bickering to even enjoy this match. I almost want to go back and watch this match on mute and rate it properly, but for that I have to give this an N/A. RVD went for the Five Star Frog Splash on ADR and ADR puts his knees up to counter then locks in the Cross Arm breaker to force RVD to tap out for the win. ADR rules. I’m telling you people.
Post-match: ADR trash talks with Cesaro. Cesaro had enough and hits ADR with the neutralizer.
The Uso’s are in the back with Renee Young talking about cockroaches, early birds getting worms, flies at barbecues, superkicks, and more nonsense. Anyone who thinks these guys are beating the Young Bucks out for Tag Team of the Year can’t possibly know who the Young Bucks are. With that said, I would get a kick out of a Young Bucks vs. Uso’s match. Why the WWE hasn’t signed the Bucks yet is beyond me. Surely Booker T’s influence isn’t that big, right?
Rusev w/ Lana vs Sin Cara: Before the match Lana cuts a promo about Pittsburgh being a lazy/decaying city. This gets zero heat. You could hear a pin drop the whole time until she mentions “Vladimir Putin” then you some “boo’s” that may or may not have been piped in. The WWE should really cut back on the Lana promos and the Putin mentions and just let Rusev be Rusev. A mean angry, nasty, behemoth that destroy his prey.
Sin Cara gets some kicks in until Rusev BLASTS him with a super kick. There hasn’t been this vicious of a superkick since Yokozuna. Every time I see Rusev connect with a superkick I literally am afraid he will knock his opponent out cold. N/A
Post-Match: Big E comes out and cuts a promo in his Martin Luther King voice. Strangely it works for him and does not seem like a joke. Big E stares Rusev down in the ring and it the fans are raucous waiting for these two to tear each other down. Lana convinces Big E to retreat. Rusev leaves the ring, but then jumps on the apron and Big E knocks him off the apron. Lana screams at Rusev to leave the ringside area.
We then get a recap of the Raw segment with Stephanie and Vickie Guerrero. I feel like enough has been said about this segment on the Voices of Wrestling website this week, so I will leave it be.
Michael Cole comes out with breaking news to add Big E vs. Rusev and Layla vs. Summer Rae with Fandango as the Special Guest Referee to the card at Money in the Bank.
Kane vs Roman Reigns: I was the only one from the VoW team to pick Reigns to win the WWE title at MitB. I agree with most of the other guys’ sentiment that it’s too soon for him, and he hasn’t put together the best string of singles matches together. If the WWE does indeed put the title on Reigns then it sends a signal that maybe they don’t have faith in Daniel Bryan and won’t put the title back on him anytime soon. That they want to go with a different “new main eventer”. There were live reports at Raw that when they showed Daniel Bryan’s picture on the Titan Tron and announced that he would be at MitB that he received a tepid reaction from the live audience. Hopefully that isn’t a sign of things to come. Although Bryan always has the ability of being a great heel in his back pocket.
This match is a “Kane match”. Slow. Plodding. Lame. Reigns actually saved this match from being a complete dud. Reigns hits Kane with the apron dropkick and the Superman punch as he sets up for the spear Orton runs down to cause the DQ. **
Post-Match: Reigns gives Orton the Superman punch and Kane gives Reigns a choke slam. Kane slides a ladder into the ring sets it up underneath the championship belts that are hanging above the ring. Kane looks over at Randy and backs away allowing Orton to climb the ladder to foreshadow Kane’s motive in the MitB title match is just to help Orton and the Authority regain control of the WWE title. Orton then sets up and goes for the punt kick. Reigns counters with a spear and then spears Kane. Reigns screams/roars the crowd goes crazy!
The go home episode of Smackdown heading into Money in the Bank was a decent one. Less quick/squash matches like in recent weeks. A lot of foreshadowing/build up to both Money in the Bank ladder matches in this episode. I don’t necessarily think Reigns is the best move to win the MitB title match, but the dude is definitely over. I will be joining the rest of the VoW team this Sunday to review MitB, so look for my reaction to the actual winner and you can follow me on Twitter @LuchaNerd and read/reply to my live tweets of Raw every Monday! And comment below and tell me what you thought of this episode of Smackdown!