WWE Smackdown
November 21st, 2014
University of Tennessee

Hello, this is Taylor C. Mitchell (@LuchaNerd) and this is the go home episode of Smackdown leading into the Survivor Series PPV (or FREE-PV depending on how you’ve subscribe to the Network) this coming Sunday.

Before the episode officially starts, we get a video recapping all of the events leading up to the Team Authority vs. Team Cena match at Survivor Series.

Michael Cole Interviews Triple H: This is in place of the usual weekly sit down interview that Cole conducts with Triple H, which have always been really well done. Triple H’s work in those interviews has largely been better than his work on the mic on Raw on Mondays. It would behoove the WWE to put these interviews up on a larger scale. Put them on the Network and advertise them. Why not?

Cole sets the table with Triple H summarizing the stipulation that Vince McMahon has placed upon this match. Triple H threatens Cole that this may be the last interview he conducts. Cole tells Triple H that the WWE Universe loathes him and if Team Cena wins it will be like the 1980 USA hockey team beating Russia. Ugh. Really? How is Team Cena as much of an underdog as the 1980 USA hockey team was back then?

Triple H says he doesn’t care what the Universe thinks and blah blah the WWE Universe wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the Authority. This chicken and egg storyline of The Authority being the reason the WWE exists or the WWE Universe is the reason the WWE exists is old, dried up and tired. It is things like this that annoy me as a wrestling fan. When I sit down and watch a wrestling show I don’t want to hear about how fan reactions matter or how this guy is in power so he is going to decide who the face of the WWE is. I want a story about two guys who hate each other and want to fight. I want stories about guys treating to defeat one another so they can move up the rankings to earn title shots.

Triple H talks about how back in his day Stone Cold, The Rock and he were the elite. Triple H says that they may have been bigger stars than him, but he is the only one left, because he is smarter. The Authority always wins.

Cole asks Triple H what Raw will be like on Monday with no Authority. Triple H then talks about Vince McMahon being a genius. Triple H says the only reason the WWE exists because of Vince McMahon. Okay, so why does the WWE exist really? And why does anyone care?!

Triple H says that if we take The Authority (Triple H and Stephanie) out of the equation than the WWE will only last one year, maybe two years max. Did Vince McMahon die again and not tell us? Why wouldn’t he be able to keep WWE running for more than two more years? Does Triple H plan on putting a hit out on Vince McMahon if Team Authority loses?

Triple H then calls Team Cena out to the stage to address them as a unit. Ziggler, Show, Ryback, and Rowan all come out to Ziggler’s music and stand atop of the stage. Cole shows Team Cena a clip of his interview with John Cena from this past week. (Somehow Michael Cole knew Triple H was going to call them out to the stage. Ugh. Its little things like this that don’t make sense and the WWE just covers it up assuming their audience is full of idiots. Good writers make their viewers think and stretch their intelligence. Bad writers write down to their viewers.)

Triple H tells the four members of Team Cena that they will be fired if they lose on Sunday. Rowan takes his sheep mask off and the four of them look at each other as if to question their decisions.

Okay, so let me get this straight. Vinnie Mac made this stipulation that the Authority would lose their power if Team Authority loses, but Triple H has the power to alter the stipulation? Why wouldn’t Triple H make it a handicapped match? (Ignoring Cena’s historical winning percentage in handicapped matches). Why wouldn’t Triple H make Cena’s team wrestle blind folded? This is another short sighted inconsistency in WWE’s writing. It is things like this that get fudged up when you have multiple authority figures with the lack of defined roles.

Rusev w/ Lana vs. Dolph Ziggler: JBL and Cole did a (surprisingly) really good job of putting over the new match stipulation for Survivor Series despite how contrived and lame it is. JBL and Cole talk about how this could be Ziggler’s appearance on Smackdown and speculate on if any members of Team Cena might quit before Sunday. To nitpick though, the narrative of wrestlers going instantly broke if they are fired is strange from a public relations standpoint from the WWE. Why is Dolph Ziggler going to lose his house and have to file for bankruptcy if he is fired on Sunday? Is he terrible with his finances? The only one that make sense for this is Big Show, because it was a year ago that The Authority was making Show cry on a weekly basis because he was in danger of losing his job and apparently hadn’t been good with his money.

This was a good TV match. Ziggler hit a ZigZag out of nowhere and created a nice moment of almost defeating the big monster that has never been pinned or submitted. Rusev eventually wins by tossing Ziggler up in the air (Cesaro Swiss Death style) and then as Ziggler lands Rusev nails Ziggler with a vicious super kick. **1/2

Corporate Kane is backstage on the phone when someone walks into the room off screen. Kane gets off the phone and says “Just the man I wanted to see….” (Awkward stare off camera)
After a commercial break Kane is backstage with Cesaro (mystery man who walked in off screen before the break). Kane talks to Cesaro about how Cesaro may not be a member of Team Authority, but he is still loyal to them.

The Miz and Damien Mizdow vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) w/ El Torito: The Mizzes are the dirt worst. Their shtick makes no sense. Stunt men do not mimic the actor they are stunting for, if the stuntman did everything the actor did then why would the actor need a stunt man in the first place?! Ugh. And Mizdow’s shtick buried all of The Miz’s momentum he had since his return. THE WORST! GET THIS CRAP OFF MY TV!

The Uso’s and Dust Brothers are at the commentary table to complete a 7-man commentating booth which you can imagine creates a chaotic and nonsensical mess of everyone talking over each other. Diego throws the Miz across the laps of The Uso’s and then Mizdow stupidly does the same thing only on the Dust Brothers. Diego rolls Miz into the ring and wins with a flying cross body. ** Los Matadores are vastly underrated and deserve a push/title run.

Dean Ambrose and his Survival Kit: Dean is here to tell a story about when he was a little boy. His mom handed him a $20 bill to buy some cigarettes and lottery tickets. On his way to the store a gang of older dudes roughed up Dean and stole his $20 Bill. Dean tells him mom what happened when he gets home. His mom hands him some brass knuckles and tells Dean to never let it happen again. (Strangely, this gets a big pop from the crowd — proves Ambrose is full of charisma).

Dean continues about how he is a walking/talking survival kit. Dean is going to pound his skull in and Bray needs to run and hide in shadows. Ambrose admits that Wyatt got under his skin and that is only bad for Bray. Ambrose says that he is the hunter and Bray is the prey.

Bray appears in a prison cell on the Titantron. Wyatt asks Dean if this is how he remembers his father. Bray tells Dean this is his future. This feud started by Bray Wyatt costing Dean Ambrose the biggest match of his career, but if you had only started watching wrestling the Monday after Hell in a Cell you would think these two are feuding because Ambrose has a convict of a father and Bray likes to make fun of him for it. Kind of silly that they have ignored and forgotten about the whole Bray costing Dean the biggest match of his career.

AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella: AJ comes out dressed as Nikki Bella complete with a stuffed top and padded butt much to Nikki’s chagrin. This match could have been an actual good match if not for the AJ mimicking Nikki antics. Otherwise, AJ and Brie worked their butts off. Nikki gets on the apron and AJ shoves Brie into her throwing Nikki off the apron giving AJ the opportunity to roll Brie up for the win. **

Erick Rowan vs. Cesaro: This match was placed on this show to put over Rowan and continue to job out Cesaro. Rowan defeats Cesaro with a potential new finished The Torture Rack. N/A

Luke Harper comes out and walks down to the ring with his newly won WWE Intercontinental title. Harper gets on the apron as if to enter the ring and fight Rowan, but changes his mind and steps down and walks to the back.

Team Cena is in the back with Renee Young. Big Show speaks for the group about how he and his Team Cena are going to stick together. Ryback says the Authority’s power is going to crumble. Ziggler shows remorse for losing his and the WWE Universe’s IC title.

Corporate Kane and Seth Rollins w/ Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble vs. Ryback and Big Show: It is announced before the bell rings that Dolph Ziggler and Erick Rowan are banned from ringside. It hasn’t been mentioned yet, but if Team Authority loses their power on Sunday, does that mean Kane is fired? Can it mean that Kane is fired? He is pretty awful. He can take a role backstage, I don’t care. I just don’t want to see him wrestle ever again.

Ryback and Show eventually gain control of the match and toss Rollins out of the ring on top of the New Age Stooges. Triple H and the rest of Team Authority make their way out to ringside as Cole discusses how unfair this is since Ziggler and Rowan are banned from ringside.

The match turns into a schmoz with all members of both teams brawling for a good five or so minutes until Triple H comes in and starts hitting every member of Team Cena with a steel chair repeatedly. Team Authority closes the show standing strong much like Team Cena stood at the end of Raw this past Monday.

Final Thoughts:

This was probably a better show than I will give it credit for. Heel authority figure storylines are getting to be too much and this is the culmination of heel authority figure overkill. I look forward to watching the Team Authority vs. Team Cena match at Survivor Series even if just for the nostalgia of a 5 on 5 elimination match with multiple stories being able to be told within the match. I have zero confidence in the WWE to write a good story no matter which team wins or what happens after Survivor Series.