We start off with Triple H announcing John Cena’s challenger at Summerslam.
Triple H “Guaran-damn-tee”-ing that John Cena won’t walk out of Summerslam as the WWE champion makes zero sense. Why doesn’t the C.O.O. of WWE want John Cena to be their champion? I could kind of buy the Daniel Bryan thing. Bryan didn’t fit the “WWE image”. But, John Cena is literally the most perfect guy to be the “Face of the WWE”. John Cena hasn’t done anything recently to piss off Triple H or Stephanie besides win matches that Randy Orton couldn’t. I can normally bypass the holes in WWE’s storylines with the understanding that it’s how WWE storylines are, but this is a major, and might I add, stupid hole in this storyline. Why couldn’t Paul Heyman just come out with Brock and simply challenge Cena? Brock holds every right at a shot at the title as anyone else. That is the trap WWE finds themselves in all the time. They feel like fans won’t buy into a match unless a heel authority figure forces the babyface to wrestle someone with the odds stacked against him. One of the refreshing things about the CM Punk/Brock Lesnar storyline going into Summerslam last year was that it was organic. No authority figures were involved in that story at all. Punk and Heyman just worked the microphones like only they can and Punk and Lesnar brawled on multiple episodes of Raw like only they can, and what did we get? A highly anticipated match that turned out to be really, really good match. Ugh…. I’ll step off my “Anti-authority figure” soapbox now.
We kick off the show with the Uso’s coming out as the commentators hype the awesome tag team match they had against the Wyatt Family last Sunday at Battleground.
The Uso’s (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. Rybaxel (Ryback and Curtis Axel): Rybaxel was just another dumb thrown together WWE team months ago, but I have finally accepted them as a real tag team. They’ve got longevity (remember this is the WWE), they’ve got chemistry, and they’ve got a few credible wins under their belts. The commentators, surprisingly, do a great job on a week to week basis putting over Rybaxel as a team that is finally getting their feet underneath them. They put over the fact that they lost a lot early on as a team, but now they are a threat to the tag team titles. This is the beautiful thing about tag teams. Paul Heyman worked this to perfection with the Smackdown 6 back in his 2002 – 2004 run as the head writer for Smackdown. You put two guys together, establish them as a team, and throughout their tenure as a team they gain experience and become better without magnifying their flaws. Ryback and Curtis Axel have both improved a lot in the ring within Rybaxel.
Whenever Michael Cole says “USO Crazy!” He reminds me of that middle aged man that walks up to a bunch of kids and says “This is going to be EPIC!, right guys?!” Or some other “hip” phrase kids are using these days.
This was a pretty good tag team match. Curtis Axel’s selling is getting better and better. The Uso’s win with Twin Magic, which begs the question as to why the babyface team is using it. Although, I guess the Killer Bees were baby faces. **1/2
The Miz is in the bag as he rips a magazine out of a little kid’s hands and autographs it assuming that is what the kid wants, when the kid really just stares at him disgusted. Have I told you how much I love the Miz’s new gimmick?
Miz TV Segment
I love the Miz’s new entrance music with the movie trailer beginning. Tonight he debuts a red carpet rolled out for him on the ramp, I hope this sticks for his entrance for now on.
The Miz starts off saying the fans did not get what they wanted on Battleground, an acceptance speech. The Miz starts off as if this is an acceptance speech for an Academy Award. The Miz then goes into the audience and interviews him Mom. His Mom says its “AWESOME!” that her son is a bona fide movie star. The Miz then asks her who her favorite WWE superstar is and she says “Roman Reigns” because he’s “hot”. The Miz jumps back over the barricade and thanks his Mom for her sense of humor.
Bo Dallas comes out to interrupt the Miz’s acceptance speech. Bo claims that the Miz won the battle royal because he “BOLIEVED!”
Dolph Ziggler comes out to a HUGE pop. DZ walks down the ramp to the ring and puts over the Intercontinental Championship. DZ talks about why Bo and Miz get along, because they have million dollar smiles and are both full of crap.
Bo tells DZ he can be just like him and the Miz, he just needs to “BOLIEVE!”. Ugh…. What a joke. Get Bo Dallas off my TV. This should have just been Miz and Ziggler trying to out trash talk each other. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised to see the Miz in my Fave Five at the bottom of this review.
Bo Dallas vs. Dolph Ziggler: The Miz is on commentary for this match.
This was Bo Dallas’ longest WWE TV match since his original WWE debut when he feuded with Wade Barrett.
Ziggler spooked the Miz by attempting a super kick The Miz and the Miz jumps out of his chair and complains asking why Ziggler came after him for no reason. The Miz jumps on the apron and Ziggler distracted gets rolled up by Bo and Bo wins. **
This match protected Ziggler and put over his feud with the Miz. Ziggler appears to be slowly rebuilding. The Miz/Ziggler feud could make both guys better by the end of it.
No DQ Match – Cesaro vs. Dean Ambrose: These two men are over with the crowd for sure. Ambrose is a white hot babyface that is gaining a ton of sympathy and support from every audience he wrestles in front of. Cesaro spends the majority of this match beating the snot out of Ambrose. Cesaro scoop slams Ambrose across two steel chairs that are set up. Cesaro sits in a chair that is positioned on Ambrose’s back and puts a camel clutch on Ambrose using a kendo stick for leverage.
Ambrose gains the advantage with a McGuinness bounce back lariat. Completely taking Cesaro’s head off in the process. Ambrose dives to the outside to take out Cesaro and then proceeds to throw 12-15 steel chairs into the ring. Seth Rollins runs out and attacks Ambrose. This buys Cesaro enough time to regain the advantage. Cesaro dead lift superplexes Ambrose off the top rope and onto the stack of 12-15 steel chairs. OUCH. Ambrose kicks out, Cesaro goes for another suplex, Ambrose small packages Cesaro for the win. ***1/2
Cesaro and Rollins team up to attack Ambrose after the match.
This match was really, really good for a TV match. I wished it would have been a little bit faster paced at times and ended differently. I didn’t like that Ambrose rolled Cesaro up so soon after being superplexed onto a dozen chairs. At least the slower pace allowed the big spots time to breathe, but it almost killed the crowd too.
We then get a recap of the Paige/AJ Lee feud.
I am so glad that Paige “WWE’s Greatest Diva Ever” has turned heel. Her work in the heel turn this past week on Raw already surpassed all of her work as a babyface. When she was screaming “THIS IS MY HOUSE NOW!”, just added a kind of competitive bad ass spirit to her that is severely missing from 95% of the Divas roster.
We then get a recap of the Funkadactyls Explode storyline.
Paige vs. Naomi: Paige comes out skipping around the ring mocking AJ Lee. Paige then gets on the mic and claims that her an AJ are still friends. And she tells Naomi that she likes her too. Cameron then comes out on the stage and Paige attacks Naomi from behind. Paige hits Naomi with the Ram-Paige and the PTO for the tap out victory. I like the intertwining of both of these feuds. It adds some depth and layers to Divas storylines that usually have no substance. N/A
Goldust is in the back with a crystal ball and wizard hat on talking about the “cosmic key”. Stardust then comes out of the table where the crystal ball once was. I love Stardust’s Frank Gorshin shtick. I just wish the Dust Buster’s 1. Had a tag team name so I could stop calling them the Dust Buster’s. And 2. Actually wrestled and started a feud with another tag team.
We come back from a commercial break mid-entrance for R-Truth. Thank you WWE for sparing me from having to watch an entire R-Truth entrance. As R-Truth asks Orlando “What’s up?” (in which they would usually respond with “What’s up?” which always confused me. If my friend Alex came over to my house and asked me “What’s up?” I think I would have a better answer for him then repeating his question.) Anyways, The Wyatt’s interrupt R-Truth pre-match mic work and Bray tells Orlando than they are here to a much bigger pop than R-Truth.
R-Truth vs. Bray Wyatt w/ Erick Rowan and Luke Harper: Bray Wyatt is like a really good actor with a really bad script. His character work is so amazing, but his matches are so terrible that you can’t truly appreciate him. It would probably help if his character cared about winning a match once in a while. How “dangerous” would he appear if his mission in life was to take over the WWE with his propaganda and B.S.? But, the crazy dude who doesn’t care about winning, he’s just there to screw things up is not a good gimmick. Even Joker from Batman was all about anarchy and chaos, but he still wanted to “win”, by getting Batman to cross the line and result to killing. Joker didn’t just try to drive Batman crazy by “messing things up”.
Anyways, this match was there. Typical quick WWE match, only there to further a storyline, in this case it was Jericho and Wyatt.
Recap of Stephanie McMahon being arrested. I’ll stay off the “Anti-Authority Figure” soapbox for a second to praise Stephanie’s work as a heel in this segment. Stephanie has been top notch in 2014. If Paul Heyman was not in the WWE, then Stephanie would have my vote as top heel in the WWE for 2014.
It’s now time for this highly anticipated main event! Highly anticipated by, maybe only, yours truly as both of these men were in my Fave Five last week!
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio: This match was pretty good. No thanks to Roman Reigns, however. I have been on the Roman Reigns bandwagon for a long time, defending him at every turn, telling people to just give him some time he will improve in the ring. I tweeted @VoicesWrestling telling Joe M. Lanza that this is going to be the awesome Roman Reigns match that he has been looking for, but anything good that happened in this match was due to ADR. ADR did a masterful job of working over Roman’s arm in the first half of the match to set up for the Cross Arm Breaker. Roman then forgot about selling this during that last half of the match. It was as if ADR hadn’t touched his arm. Roman did go for the apron drop kicked and missed it for the first time ever, which Del Rio countered with a missile drop kick through the ropes. ADR does two things better than anyone else in the WWE. 1. Works over the body part of his opponent that leads to his signature submission hold. 2. Weaves his and his opponent’s signature moves throughout the match and finds new ways to use those moves, counter those moves, or make those moves feel fresh. ADR, ladies and gentleman. The Best WWE Superstar That No One Watches.
Overall this was a pretty good episode of Smackdown. It appears that WWE is trying to increase the ratings for Smackdown lately instead of let it fall to the wayside. It was reported that the reason WWE gave Reigns vs. Rusev away on Smackdown was to boost the rating after a dismal previous week. I am a big fan of them focusing more on Smackdown and not only because I review it on a weekly basis. I think, and have always said this, a big change to make would to have Smackdown Rewinds on Raw. Monday Night Raw is the most watched WWE show every week. No one watches Smackdown, Superstars, and/or Main Event, but doesn’t watch Raw. It never makes any sense to me why WWE recaps Raw on these B and C shows, but doesn’t let anyone that watches Raw know what happened on these B and C shows. WWE should have something big happen on Smackdown and then talk about it on Raw. Do this once in a while to get fans thinking “Man! I don’t want to miss Smackdown. Cool stuff happens on that show sometimes.” As it stands fans are stuck thinking “Oh, Smackdown? I am sure it will have some decent matches, but if I miss it this week I know I won’t miss anything important.”
And here is week 2 of
TAYLOR C. MITCHELL’S FAVE FIVE:
1. Dean Ambrose (Last week#1)
Ambrose stays at the top of the list. He is still the best wrestler on the microphone (Heyman beats him out overall). He is having great matches (vs. Cesaro on Raw and Smackdown) and he is one of the most over superstars in the WWE.
2. Paul Heyman (Last week N/a)
No one puts over a feud or a match like this guy. I already wrote about how much I hated the fact that Triple “handpicked” Brock Lesnar to be Cena’s challenger, but Heyman saved this with his excellent, excellent promo on Raw. I have never witnessed one wrestler talk so less, but be put over so well by a heel manager. The most recent I can remember is Andre the Giant with Bobby Heenan and that was 25+ years ago. But, Lesnar literally stood there on Monday and looked like the most dominant WWE superstar of the last 15 years without saying one word. This further proves that Paul needs to make KENTA a Heyman guy.
3. The Miz (Last week N/a)
I am one of the few that dug The Miz’s WWE title run. If the Rock doesn’t return and doesn’t overshadow the build up to Miz’s WrestleMania 27 main event and the Miz just defeats Cena clean in the main event I think the Miz would have lasted longer in the WWE main event scene. This “Hollywood” gimmick of his is a resurgence in his career. What a good heel. He is full of himself (the dude is obviously not a REAL Hollywood movie star), he has had success (2x IC champ, WWE champ, WWE Tag champ, US champ), he has the mic skills, and he has a face (aka the Money Maker) that you just want to punch in the face. You see this “guy” in bars all the time. He walks in dressed like a douche bag and walks around like every girl in the bar wants him. And you just want to knock the guy out. HEEL 101.
4. Alberto Del Rio (Last week #4)
I’ve already written enough about how awesome this guy is. The dude just does not get enough credit for his ring psychology or the good matches he has.
5. Seth Rollins (Last week #3)
Seth drops three spots this week. Mostly because he didn’t do much this week to impress me. Both Curb Stomps he hit on Ambrose this week felt contrived and looked too set up. I’m still on the “Rollins as a Heel” bandwagon, but he I need to see something more out of him on a weekly basis.
(Sheamus fell out of the FAVE FIVE with no action this week and Roman Reigns fell out for his lack luster performance in the main event match)
Follow me on Twitter @LuchaNerd and tell me who is in YOUR Fave Five!