Introduction: We kick off the show with the immediate plug of the 6-man Tag Rematch coming later tonight. It will be rematch of the Fastlane match that pitted Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, and Erick Rowan against Big Show, Kane, and Seth Rollins. Jerry Lawler describes this as “…a rematch of the AWESOME match from Fastlane. It was so nice that we are giving it to you twice.” This is both a false statement and a shoehorned joke that Lawler used to use every time Kelly Kelly made her entrance to the ring.
Daniel Bryan Promo: Bryan is in the ring soaking in the “Yes!” chants — Bryan then screams “NO! NO! NO!” at everyone. Will this be a turn for Bryan? Nope. He eventually panders to the crowd saying that is what he used to say when he didn’t have anyone’s support and now he has the support of the WWE Universe. Bryan goes on to say that everyone backstage is asking him “Is the #YesMovement dead? NO! NO! NO!”
Bryan begins to tell us his “major” plans for WrestleMania until Wade Barrett interrupts (which Lawler compares to Kanye West. Ugh) telling Bryan that he will not get the spotlight at WrestleMania “because he is a loser.”
Barrett threatens Bryan, telling him to get out of his ring when Dean Ambrose joins the party by attacking Barrett. Ambrose throws Barrett into the barricade. Bryan grabs the Intercontinental Championship then hands it back to Barrett as Ambrose attacks Bad News.
Ambrose eventually retrieves the stolen IC title as Bryan leads the crowd in a “Yes!” chant.
Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz: There is no Damien Mizdow in Miz’s corner tonight as Michael Cole speculates that Damien might be shooting his big commercial that he told Miz about this past Monday on Raw.
In the middle of this match Bad New Barrett reappears to steal back his Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose jumps out of the ring and clotheslines Barrett. Ambrose then goes back into the ring to hit The Miz with the McGuinness Lariat and Dirty Deeds for the quick win. Barrett is seen running up the ramp with his IC title. ¼*
This match did more to kill off any momentum that any of these three have been holding onto. Barrett looked like a buffoon, Ambrose looked like an idiot and The Miz looked like a jobber.
Barrett and Blondie: Renee Young tries to conduct an interview with Barrett with such an interesting question as “How does that make you feel…” or “What made you….”, but instead Barrett cuts her off calling her “blondie” and says he reclaimed what is rightfully his.
Natalya vs. Naomi: This was a short match; however, there was more depth to this match than your typical WWE Divas match. Natalya and Naomi were using excellent facial expression as they stared each other down after each spot. The Uso’s and Brass Ring Club brawl a little bit on the outside. Natalya is continuing to sell her knee injury from Raw as the referee is asking her if she can continue. Natalya heels it up by clotheslining Naomi for the win. *1/2
Rusev and Lana teach us about champions: Rusev and Lana are in the ring teaching us what a champion is while showing screen shots of John Cena failing at Fastlane. Rusev and Lana claim that John Cena “gave up” as Fastlane and say that he fell asleep on the job. Lana translates a letter supposedly sent to them by Vladmir Putin. Man, can you believe this? The president of Russia took time out of his day to write a letter to a professional wrestler. Can you imagine Barack Obama writing a letter to John Cena?
Cue Jack Swagger, aka the Honma of Rusev’s world. Swagger cuts a pandering promo about how Rusev came to the wrong city. “ATL Stand up! You see that? You’re surrounded by REAL AMERICA.” Swagger takes Rusev down and knocks Rusev out of the ring. Rusev eventually gains the upper hand with a superkick followed by the Accolade. Swagger taps out as the Russian Flag descends from the rafters.
Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett: R-Truth is on commentary. R-Truth tells Byron Saxton that he is excited to see him and loves watching Saxton on ESPN. Truth is confusing Saxton for Jonathan Coachman, former WWE commentator. This could be seen as racist, but R-Truth is doing it so it might be okay.
Remember five years ago when Wade Barrett kicked Daniel Bryan out of The Nexus? Full circle, everybody. Daniel Bryan controls the first half of this match hitting all of his signature spots until Barrett moves out of the way of a Running Drop Kick. Barrett quickly loses control as he is concerned his IC Title might be taken. Bryan hits a suicide dive and slaps on the Yes! Lock as R-Truth steals the IC Title. Barrett sets up for the Bullhammer but is cut off by the Busaiku Knee as Bryan picks up the win. **
During the post-match Barrett is looking for his IC Title. Barrett and asks the commentators and R-Truth has Saxton’s mouth covered up as they all tell Barrett they don’t know where the title is. Barrett sits against the table to sell anguish. This story is silly, but Truth’s and Barrett’s performances were actually pretty good here.
Saxton sits down with Roman Reigns: Roman came off really strong in this interview. These are the kinds of promos Reigns should be cutting. Reigns should be cutting pre-taped promos that can be edited or reshot. Let the guy get comfortable talking through his character before letting him make a fool of himself in front of a live crowd. Reigns came off here better than ever despite making one silly joke about taking a cruise as his training method for WrestleMania. The rest of it was serious and Reigns clearly set himself apart from Lesnar. Reigns built up his opponent as a monster and himself as just a guy trying to provide for his family. You couple these kinds of interviews with some clips of Reigns training in a gym a la The Rock training before his Summerslam 2002 match with Brock Lesnar and you can build Reigns up as the real deal. Present him as a serious guy. It wouldn’t hurt for him to even be a little boring. Cut the jokes out of his promos. Some MMA fighters are boring when they’re being interviewed, but they’re serious ass kickers that are fighting to make a living. Reigns should be shown in this light.
Curtis Axel vs. Fandango: Curtis Axel cuts a promo before the match about how long he has been in the Royal Rumble match complete with a clock displayed on the Titan Tron showing his time. Fandango makes quick work of #AxelMania and wins with the Last Dance. *1/4
Damien Mizdow shills pills: Damien Mizdow is shown in front of a green screen with a couple of ladies as he delivers the line “…this little pill will set you straight!” Is he a spokesperson for Viagra? Maybe this will end in the second ever “Viagra on a Pole Match” between Mizdow and Miz at WrestleMania.
The Miz comes in and becomes Mizdow’s acting coach as he makes fun of Mizdow by describing him as the worst actor since Michael Keaton in Birdman. The Miz tells the director Mizdow sucks and the director instantly recasts the role with The Miz in it. The WWE is REAL topical tonight.
Intercontinental Ladder Match at WrestleMania: Byron Saxton makes the announcement that Bad News Barrett will be defending the IC title against multiple opponents at WrestleMania in a ladder match. This sounded like it was voiced over and was a last minute addition to the broadcast of Smackdown. It would be nice if the WWE would announce how many entrants there will be in this match and maybe make the participants when qualifying matches or something. Of course every mid carder in the WWE has defeated Barrett over the last few weeks anyways…
Sting video package and Triple H confrontation recap: This was the same video package that was shown on Raw and the Triple H confrontation has been covered on the VOW Fastlane review as well as my Weekly WWE Soapbox this past Monday.
Adam Rose vs. Goldust: Rose continues to show his vicious streak. It would be great if Rose just became Russell Brand on a weekend bender constantly. Have the Rosebuds constantly in fear that he is going to snap, but also want to continue partying with him because they’re in need of their fix as well. This could be really dark and awesome at the same time. Rose can be the Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad when Pinkman becomes so overwhelmingly wealthy that he just lets his house become this ugly, disgusting, party house of meth heads that are all obsessed with him because he provides them with their drugs and parties. I always hated those scenes in the best way. They were so sad and scary at the same time. Oh, who am I kidding, this writing is over their heads.
Rose starts off viciously attacking Goldust, but Goldust quickly recovers and defeats Rose. Stardust dressed as a Rosebud then attacks Goldust after the match. If this feud ends in “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes wrestling Stardust in a Bunkhouse Brawl at WrestleMania then take my money. Also, why couldn’t Adam Rose win this match? Goldust is heartbroken over his brother’s insanity. There is his out.
Bray Wyatt wants Undertaker to know that he is a Serpent: Bray cuts a promo on Taker ignoring him. Bray cuts some of the best promos in the business when he has a clear direction. My interest level in this Taker vs. Wyatt match is still really low. My outlook is optimistic though.
Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan vs. Big Show, Kane and Seth Rollins: Ryback is the only one in this match wearing gear with any sort of color to it. Everyone else is wearing black. This past Monday, Ziggler wrestled Bad New Barrett and they were both wearing black boots, black knee pads, black trunks, and white taped up fists. Who is producing this TV show? I thought there were big time Hollywood television writers writing this crap. Don’t they pay attention to these nuances? I will always be a huge fan of Stone Cold Steve Austin, but he did two things that ruined wrestling for the next 10-15 years after his peak. Austin made it cool for babyfaces to wear black and created the “What?” chant.
Rowan’s black jumpsuit makes him look like a pair of floating arms and a floating head when he is standing on the apron against the audience. Ugh. Okay, I will get off my fashion soapbox.
The heels work over Dolph Ziggler in this match as opposed to them working over Rowan in the Fastlane match. That makes this match only slightly better than the previous one. Ryback gets the hot tag and comes in as a wrecking ball of fury as he takes down the heels. This eventually leads to J&J Security getting involved which leads to a Super Kick from Dolph and Shell Shock from Ryback on Rollins for the win. WHY ARE KANE AND BIG SHOW THE TWO MOST PROTECTED GUYS IN THE WWE?! If you listed these six men and asked me who should take the fall in this match Big Show and Kane would be #1 and #2. Rollins should be protected as the biggest heel in the company and there is no reason why the babyfaces should have lost as Fastlane. What does the WWE think they are going to get out of Big Show and Kane that makes them want to protect them like this?
This episode of Smackdown really surrounded around the Intercontinental Championship. I’ve been screaming from my soapbox that Smackdown should be surrounded around the IC title every week. In fact, WWE should bring back the brand extension and instead of bringing back the World Heavyweight Championship just use the Intercontinental Championship. Hmm…this topic would be perfect for my Weekly WWE Soapbox coming out this Monday. Follow me on Twitter @MrTCMitchell and let me know your thoughts!