February 5th, 2015
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Prologue: This episode of Smackdown marks the one year anniversary for me (@MrTCMitchell on Twitter) writing for Voices of Wrestling. I would personally like to thank Rich Kraetsch for the opportunity to be a columnist here. In January of 2014, I was writing about pro wrestling on my little rinky dink blog. I overheard on VOW’s podcast reviewing their Match of the Year polls that Rich and Joe wanted to expand the poll as they asked for anyone with a blog, podcast, etc. to contact them if they wanted a ballot. I was really endeared to the concept so I emailed Rich and told him I would be honored to have a ballot while mentioning that I would love to contribute to their website if they wanted another columnist. Rich replied saying I could have a ballot and inquired more about my interest in writing for VOW. Rich said they were looking for a Smackdown reviewer. I, of course, obliged. It hasn’t always been the most fun writing Smackdown reviews over the last year (last fall-winter was brutal), but I feel like my writing has improved (want to talk about brutal? Read those early reviews), and look forward to writing more columns for Voices of Wrestling. Cheers to Smackdown!
Introduction: We get a Raw recap of the “controversially” and “core shaking” promo cut by the McMahon-Helmsley Clan. Even though the reasoning was silly (The Rock affecting the outcome of the Royal Rumble), it was nice to see they shoehorned a reasoning into it rather than playing to the non-kayfabe controversy of the fans wanting Daniel Bryan to win the Royal Rumble. This did nothing for Roman Reigns as it made him look like a total doofus. The best thing to come out of this segment was the Daniel Bryan/Seth Rollins match at the end of Raw which ended in The Reigns Train assisting Bryan in defeating Rollins to make the match official. It will be Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns at the Fast Lane PPV and the winner will challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE title at WrestleMania.
Miz TV with Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns: In 1994, this would be Jerry Lawler hosting “King’s Court” with Lex Luger coming off of the Lex Express and Bret Hart. In 2015, we get The Miz hosting with Roman Reigns coming off the Reigns Train and Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan makes his entrance first, Reigns second. Reigns immediately knocks Miz out to which Michael Cole excitedly screams “Miz TV has been cancelled!” Reigns gets on the mic and says he went through 29 guys to get to this point and he has no problem going through one more. Reigns then tells Daniel Bryan his master plan. “I’m going to go to WrestleMania to beat Brock Lesnar. And you know how I’m going to do that? I’m going to beat you.”
UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!! So bad. I’ve been giving Reigns a 2/10 on promos lately for a slight improvement, but this takes him back to a 1/10.
Reigns then throws the chairs out of the ring inviting Daniel Bryan to settle it right now. Seth Rollins comes out to the top of the stage. Rollins comes out to complain about Reigns sticking his nose in Seth’s business. Seth then runs down his credentials of bringing the Authority back, ALMOST defeating Brock Lesnar, and holding the future in his hands (Money in the Bank briefcase.). Seth then announces that tonight Daniel Bryan will be in a match against J&J Security……ANNND Seth Rollins. Remember when Bryan Danielson won the ROH World Title when he defeated James Gibson? We get the rematch tonight with Tyler Black and Joey Matthews thrown in the heap! PS: Daniel Bryan didn’t say a word this entire segment. Little weird.
Renee Young interviews The Miz post-knock out: The Miz is upset that Roman knocked him out. Miz said the only controversy is that he, himself, is not in the main event of WrestleMania, not Roman Reigns. The Miz said he is going to prove this tonight. (What about Daniel Bryan? Is the Miz ignoring the fact that Daniel Bryan could be in the main event of WrestleMania?)
Gold and Stardust vs. Ziggy Back Ryde (Ryback and Dolph Ziggler): The Dusties are teasing dissension. The Mizzes are breaking up, the Dusties are breaking up…Why does it seem like every time the WWE starts to build a tag division they have all of the teams break up? This is the perfect opportunity for Ziggler and Ryback to break up only to have Ziggler team up with Stardust to create the team “Ziggy Stardust”…..Okay, that was bad. Anyhow, Rybaggler is a step above Rybaxel and I was really starting to dig Rybaxel before they themselves broke up.
Stardust gets beat down by Ziggler after Dolph comes in off the hot tag. Stardust forcefully smacks Goldust in the chest to tag out and then walks out on his brother. Ryback gets tagged in to finish Goldust off for the win. **1/4
Black History Month profile of Ernie Ladd: Every single year WWE does this and it bugs me. No, it’s not celebrate Black History Month. That’s cool. I can dig that. The problem is that every year they profile Ernie Ladd, Ron Simmons, and Rocky Johnson. They seem to show the Ernie Ladd profile about 14 times in February. They have had so many more African-Americans wrestle in the WWE and other promotions that they have access to the footage of. Surely they could put some packages together for Booker T, Bad News Brown, and Mark Henry etc.
Dean Ambrose vs. Curtis Axel: Curtis pleads for us not to turn the channel and tries to get “#AxelMania” trending. Ambrose proceeds to rush to the ring to beat Axel’s impossible dreams out of him. Ambrose wins this by countering a Perfect Plex into the McGuinness Lariat followed by Dirty Deeds. *1/2
Bad News Barrett is back stage with a parody of TMZ called BNZ. Barrett makes fun of Ambrose’s Intercontinental Title aspirations by saying “Pfft. You really want this thing? You know if you’re the IC champ it means you lose non-title matches on every WWE TV show until you lose the title, right? I’ve had this thing FIVE times! Remember when I was in NXT and they pegged me to be a main eventer? Look at me now!” Not really. But, that is what he should have said.
Fandango vs. Adam Rose: When Adam Rose comes out to the ring he goes to do the trust fall/crowd surfing shtick with the Rosebuds and they drop him. Adam Rose then proceeds to attack all them and lays them all out. This was vicious and awkward in the best ways. This might be the most interesting thing Adam Rose has done since moving up to the WWE roster. Fandango wins this short match via Guillotine Leg Drop. *1/2
The Miz vs. Roman Reigns: The Miz storms to the ring without any of his usual taunts or mannerisms. Miz immediately asks for the microphone. Miz tells Reigns that he has embarrassed him on Miz TV for the last time. Miz tells Roman that if he wants to main event WrestleMania then he should come out and face someone who has actually done it.
Roman is on the apron during his entrance when Miz punches Roman off the apron and throws Roman into the steel steps. WHERE HAS THIS MEAN STREAK FROM THE MIZ BEEN?! This is the most interesting thing Miz has done since his WWE title reign!
Wow. This match was shockingly good. Probably the best singles match of both of these guys’ careers. No joke. Miz showed intensity I’ve never seen from him before and Roman was good enough to not look bad. ***1/2
Before tonight, you could have told me I’d be giving a Miz vs. Roman match three and a half stars and I would have called you Brian Williams.
Rusev vs. Erick Rowan: #HOSSFIGHT Time! Rowan continues to make great strides in the ring. Rowan is really learning how to fill the gaps in between spots and show emotion that will get fans invested in his matches. It would behoove the WWE to pair Rowan and Harper back together though. They were a really excellent tag team and would only get better as Rowan continues to develop.
Rusev survives a match that is largely controlled by Erick Rowan. Rusev hits Rowan with a Super Kick and then makes Rowan tap to the Accolade for the win. **
#HatersGonnaHateButBellasGonnaBall: We get a recap of the Bella’s spray tanning Paige from this past Monday. I really dug Nikki’s rant about the Diva’s division being flooded with “anti-divas”. Nikki spoke about how these anti-divas actually all look alike and doll themselves up just as much as the Bella’s. This might be Nikki’s most convincing work on a microphone.
Paige the Non-conformist: Renee Young is in the back with Paige. Paige goes on about how she doesn’t conform and she’s milky white, but that doesn’t matter because the Bella’s will be the ones who are embarrassed at Fast Lane.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox: Paige starts off with a fiery Lou Thesz press. This must be “Mean Streak Night” in Colorado Springs. Adam Rose, The Miz, and Paige all showed vicious mean streaks. Paige continues to rough up Alicia Fox and wins with the Paige Tap Out. Jerry Lawler said during the match: “When I was talking to Paige today she compared Nikki Bella to Barbie. I asked ‘What? Tall and beautiful?’, she said ‘No. Plastic and brainless.’” *3/4
Canadian Doubles Tennis Double Date: This was the same dinner scene we saw on Raw and Main Event with Natalya, Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, Jimmy Uso, and Naomi. Nattie Neidhart is showing a mean streak by siding with her jerk of a husband instead of the sweet/friendly Naomi. Kidd and Cesaro are a great tag team by the way.
Bray Wyatt Rambles: Bray calls out the Undertaker, but not really. Because he is all cryptic and mysterious. Ugh. I would rather watch Bray’s dad, I.R.S. feud with the Undertaker again then watch Bray vs. Taker at Mania. At least I.R.S. was a good heel. You didn’t see him playing to the crowd and asking them to hold up their W4 every time he made his entrance.
Daniel Bryan vs. Seth Rollins, Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury: Apparently if you are a member of the Authority you have to wrestle in dress clothes. Maybe J&J Security should team up with Kane and I.R.S. to take on Right to Censor. (two I.R.S. references in one review!)
We got a little bit of the Bryan Danielson vs. James Gibson rematch during this match. Rollins yells at Daniel Bryan “You want to know what it’s like to fight Brock Lesnar?!” And proceeds to German Suplex Bryan three times whilst mocking Lesnar’s dance in between each one.
This match hinged on the fact that J&J security are a pair of stooges and Daniel Bryan has the best comebacks in the bizz. Daniel Bryan wins with the Yes! Lock. **1/2
Corporate Kane comes out to attack Daniel Bryan. Kane was obviously just upset that he wasn’t invited to the suit party. Kane Choke Slams Bryan twice, followed by a Curb Stomp from Rollins, as a close the show with the Authority standing tall.
This episode of Smackdown won’t wow anyone. It was entertaining in an early 90’s Wrestling Challenge sort of way. It had a lot of two-star matches with interesting revelations throughout.