WWE Smackdown
November 7th, 2014
Albany, New York

I would like to wish a special birthday to Kazuchika Okada! As he turns 27 today (November 8th). Yours truly, (@LuchaNerd on Twitter) turns 27 on Monday. Okada and I are basically twins.

Suffering through these Smackdown shows has been quite the chore over the last couple of months, so I am going to reward myself afterwards by watching the already highly touted Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hirooki Goto match from earlier this morning that Bryan Rose gave five stars.

WWE Tag Team Championship – Steel Cage Match- The Uso’s (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. Gold and Stardust: The comparable ceiling for any tag team steel cage match for me will always be The Steiner Brothers vs. Money Inc. in the mid 90’s. It was at a build up to SummerSlam show. I remember I was at a random family friend’s house that never watched wrestling and they were flipping through the channels and stopped on this match and said “huh.. Here’s that wrestling stuff, kids. Wanna watch this?” and me, who always had to keep my wrestling obsession secret to avoid persecution was drooling and jumping up and down in my head, but managed to let out a very cool “eh..sure, I guess.” Oh, the memories.

Oh gosh! This match is already knocked down a notch on the Steiners/Money Inc. scale. WWE is doing that awkward thing where they have to tag their partners into the match, despite this match being No DQ. Why the heck would these guys bother to stand in a corner waiting to be tagged when the referee couldn’t disqualify them if they didn’t? WWE logic, everybody!

This match really picked up and had a nice last three – four minutes worth of action, but I still can’t get past the idiotic lack of logic of the opponents needing to tag each other in. These four guys have had some really pretty good matches, but the WWE needs to continue to work on their tag team division to give Gold and Stardust more opponents. **1/4

Raw Rebound: We get a recap of Vince McMahon’s return to Monday Night Raw to tag the stipulation onto the Team Cena vs. Team Authority Survivor Series Match that if Team Authority loses then Triple H and Stephanie McMahon lose their power. Sooooooo what does Team Cena have to lose? Why aren’t Triple H and Stephanie upset about this? Now, I did not actually watch Raw this past week as I was unfortunately watching my beloved New York Giants lose to my hometown Indianapolis Colts. Based on these recaps I really like this Randy Orton babyface turn. His “St. Louis Psycho” routine is something to behold. Speaking of St. Louis, where Orton is from and where Survivor Series 2014 is being held, if we don’t get Orton returning as full on babyface with a HUGE hometown pop that night then WWE doesn’t understand anything.
Corporate Kane In-ring Segment: Corporate Kane is in the ring babbling on like only Kane. Kane is telling Orton that the battle lines have been drawn and for him to choose wisely. Anyone else think this promo is just a few days too late? I assume Kane was watching Raw. Didn’t he see Orton choose his side?

Kane then tells Dolph Ziggler that he wants to see if Ziggler can survive against him later tonight and “what the Hell. Since there is already a cage above my head, let’s use it.” Kane implies that he is going to introduce a new member to Team Authority, but to his surprise and chagrin, Cesaro comes out and cuts a promo about how he can survive anything AND can swing John Cena like a rag doll.

Kane says that Cesaro is no the superstar he was interested in seeing in action tonight, but if Cesaro is intent on proving himself then he can wrestle the guy Kane had in mind….NOW!

Ryback vs. Cesaro: YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! We don’t see the beginning of this match, because it begins during commercial break. Smackdown doesn’t air live anywhere in the world. Can’t WWE cut the show up enough so that commercials don’t take place in the middle of matches? Or am I being naïve?

Cesaro controls the match early on until Ryback hits him with a Meat Hook Clothesline and then goes for the Shell Shock only to have Cesaro break his way out of it. Cesaro hits Ryback with an Elbow Drop off of the second rope and goes for a Vertical Suplex only to have Ryback counter into a Shell Shock for the win. *3/4

Cesaro continues his dissension to the bottom feeding jobber that McMahon thinks he should be after making public comments about not wanting to watch Cena vs. Orton. Ugh. If WWE cuts this guy loose it’ll be the biggest mistake they’ve made in years. And is Cesaro is cut and isn’t a competitor in next year’s NJPW G1 Climax tournament then I will be even more upset.

R-Truth vs. Adam Rose w/ the Exotic Express: This match includes two of my least favorite WWE wrestlers. The only thing that could make this worse is if Bo Dallas was somehow involved. R-Truth yells “What’s Up!” to the crowd to some cheers and good response. Adam Rose tries to yell “What’s up!” and the crowd boo’s. Anyone out there still think this guy is over?

The Bunny gets on the apron was starts dancing to which we get the wonderful commentary from JBL “THE BUNNY IS TWERKIN’! THE BUNNY IS TWERKIN’!” Adam Rose gets distracted by the bunny and R-Truth rolls him up for the win. Adam Rose is pissed off and goes outside the ring and knocks the Bunny down. And then dances with the rest of the Exotic Express sans Bunny. Joe Lanza can look forward to review Adam Rose vs. The Bunny matches on Superstars in the ensuing weeks.

The Peep Show as hosted by Christian w/ special guest Dean Ambrose: Christian has always been one of my favorites, especially when compared to Edge. Christian is better on the mic and in the ring. Christian should be included in the line of guys who can elevate the Intercontinental Championship in my dream world of having the IC title be the focal point of Smackdown and main eventing the occasional B-show PPV.

Captain Charisma plugs the episode of Haven that he will be appearing on. Christian then polls the audience on who they are rooting for at Survivor Series between Team Authority and Team Cena. The former gets some mild boo’s and the latter receives some mild cheers, but the big pop comes out when Dean Ambrose’s music hits.

Ambrose comes out in looking like the bad ass he is, wearing a black hoodie/black leather jacket combo. We then get some still shot recaps of the Hell in a Cell Match Ambrose had with Rollins complete with hocus pocus mumbo jumbo in Bray Wyatt interfering to conclude the match.

Christian introduces Ambrose as “The Lunatic Fringe Dean Ambrose”. Christian asks Dean what it’s like to be Dean Ambrose right now. Ambrose says it’s a whole lot of enemies and not any friends, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Christian follows up asking Dean why he thinks Bray cost him his match against Rollins. Ambrose says he doesn’t understand because he doesn’t have anything to lose, it’s not like he has a championship or anything.

Ambrose then says he loves to fight and spit blood and teeth and meet people in dark alleys. I don’t know. It sounded cooler when he said it.

Bray Wyatt’s music hits and he makes his entrance to the rocking chair sitting at the top of the ramp. Bray tells Dean that he has nothing to fear, because he has nothing to lose. Bray then tells Dean that there was a time he had safety and security and something to lose in the Shield, but now that has left him like a fish out of water. Bray tells Dean Ambrose that he can heal him, because he healed Harper and Rowan. Bray says he is not a fool, and he understands that salvation is not for everyone. Bray says he tried to heal Daniel Bryan once, and now he is nowhere to be found. Bray calls out that Dean’s father still ignores him. Bray asks Dean if his father still sends him postcards from prison. Bray then disappears from the rocking chair and reappears behind Dean screaming “RUN!” and then disappearing again.

Wow… uhh.. Well, this was actually interesting. It had some call backs to things that happened earlier this year, which is not usually the case with WWE. And the hocus pocus stuff was actually done really well. Do I like hocus pocus in my pro wrestling? Eh. It depends on where it leads.

We then get one of the Xavier Woods vignettes. These are pretty awesome and look really professional.

WWE Network Exclusive Match – Rusev vs. Sheamus Recap: This is a great idea from WWE to have these Network exclusive matches, and even better idea to advertise on Smackdown that this really cool thing happened exclusively on the Network. Maybe 2015 will be the year the WWE Network becomes really awesome and the WWE will finally understand what they have to work with. Let’s all hope so. This match would have been so much better if it was in front of a hot crowd. Although no one can blame this Buffalo crowd for being out of it after 4 hours of wrestling taking place before this. The storytelling of Sheamus never tapping out was really well done and can be something that comes up again down the road.

We then get the backstage WWE.com exclusive of Lana saying they are going to deliver the US title to Vladimir Putin. Lana isn’t getting enough credit for how great of a manager she has become. We obviously have Heyman and Stephanie McMahon as the definitive #1 and #2 best non-wrestlers in the WWE, but Lana is a very close #3.

Nikki Bella/Brie Bella/AJ Lee Segment: We get a recap of Nikki forcing her personal assistant, Brie to slap AJ Lee on Raw. Backstage Renee Young is interviewing AJ asking her about what happened. AJ says she knows Brie wasn’t responsible for what happened. Brie then appears to apologize to her and AJ says she understands. Then Nikki Pearl Harbors AJ from behind. (This is a term Gilbert Corsey uses on OVW TV all the time. By the way, did you know I review everything OVW on Voices of Wrestling as well?) Then Nikki orders Brie to follow her.

Natalya w/ Tyson Kidd vs. Summer Rae w/ Layla: Tyson Kidd is on commentary for this match. Tyson and Natalya should be careful with participating in these faux tension/faux jealousy feuds in pro wrestling that ends up leading to real life tension/real life jealousy/and real life cheating. Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit did this in the mid 90’s and look at how that one turned out…. Wait..I meant that Chris married Sullivan’s wife Nancy, not the other thing.

Kidd gets off commentary and goes to help Natalya, Natalya ends up losing the match to Summer Rae. N/a

Renee Young is in the back with Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler says he wants the Authority out. Ziggler says he doesn’t care if that means in he is a Steel Cage he will do whatever it takes. Triple H interrupts and taunts Ziggler by recalling what happened to Orton. Triple H mentions that Cena won’t be here to save him tonight. Triple H asks Ziggler “Who is going to save you tonight when you’re in your Steel Cage match?” WHY WOULD ANYONE SAVE ZIGGLER?! IT’S A STEEL CAGE MATCH! NO ONE SHOULD BE SAVING OR INTERFERING ON ANYONE’s BEHALF! WWE logic, everybody.

Michael Cole then introduces Army Sergeant/Afghanistan Veteran, Dan Rose. Cole then interviews the leader of “Soldier’s Socks”. Apparently this guy’s company made this bionic robot suit that people who have suffered from paralysis can use to walk. This is amazing! I will always have a soft spot for war veterans. This was a really well done segment from the WWE that was celebratory of the United States military and wasn’t pandering or over the top “look at what we are donating to!” like WWE sometimes takes their charities. Really, really cool. Oh, and Dan Rose got the biggest pop of the night with some awesome “USA! USA! USA!” chants.

Steel Cage Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Corporate Kane: If the Authority really wanted to stick it to Dolph Ziggler why aren’t they forcing him to defend his Intercontinental Championship against Kane in this match? Oh, probably because Kane couldn’t be bothered to have to travel with something as petty as the IC title.

Ziggler makes his entrance first and while he is entering the ring a hundred eyeballs appear on the Titan Tron with some cryptic audio messages about “piecing myself together.” which I can only assume is Luke Harper’s new gimmick? Does this mean Harper is coming after Ziggler and his IC title?

After listening to the “Talk is Jericho” podcast that Chris had with Dolph this past week, I have a newfound respect for Ziggler and I really appreciate the dedication he has to every match he puts on. It appears that the WWE may have finally realized how good this guy can be and it looks good that Ziggler is the 1b to Cena’s 1a in this Survivor Series match.

The story with this match is Ziggler works his butt off to make this match watchable and makes Kane look as good as anyone can make Kane look. The finish of the match is Ziggler climbs over the cage but Kane opens the cage door in time to drape Ziggler over the top of the door. Ziggler is hanging on the top of door as the door is swinging and Kane tries to escape through the open door, but Ziggler jumps and kicks the door in Kane’s face and drops down for the win and massive pop from the crowd! William Regal and Chris Jericho had a cage match that finished a similar way back in 2001. Exciting finish though.

Final Thoughts:

This wasn’t a terrible episode of Smackdown. It had two decent Steel Cage Matches in an era in WWE where Steel Cage Matches are pretty horrendous (see Wyatt vs. Cena ’14). The US veteran segment was cool and the Intercontinental Champion was the focal point of the show. A forgettable episode, but it went down easy. In closing, read my coverage of Ohio Valley Wrestling on this very website and follow me on Twitter @LuchaNerd to hear my thoughts on the Goto vs. Ishii match!