WWE SmackDown
April 23rd, 2015
Providence, Rhode Island

Introduction: The WWE has a new clip during their intro showcasing Neville. This is when why WWE should bring back the brand split. If Neville was a SmackDown exclusive wrestler then fans of Neville’s would clamor to SmackDown to see him. Instead we are left wondering why he was left off of Monday Night Raw, especially in favor of Kane who took up about 10 of the 12 segments on Raw.

Seth Rollins thinks the RKO is clever: Rollins kicks off the show in the middle of the ring. Rollins says he is glad that Randy Orton got all of the RKO’s out of his system on Raw. Rollins explains that he doesn’t care if Kane if the Gate Keeper of the Steel Cage on Sunday at Extreme Rules because Rollins doesn’t need any help to beat Randy Orton. Rollins says he doesn’t need J&J Security, Big Show, or Triple H to defeat Orton and him “sure as hell doesn’t need an aging former monster, Kane’s help.” If this leads to a Rollins/Kane feud for the title color me angry.

Kane takes exception with this comment and join Rollins in the ring. Kane says he is not a “former monster”. Kane lets Rollins know that he holds the fate of Rollins’ WWE Championship in his hands. Rollins then tells Kane that the only reason Kane has been made Gate Keeper is because Triple H felt sorry for Kane. Rollins tells Kane to be the good little corporate lackey and do what’s “best for business.”

Kane says that it is only fair that if Kane laid down for Rollins that Rollins lay down for Kane. Kane then calls a referee down to the ring and tells J&J Security to clear the ring. Seth Rollins channels his inner Shawn Michaels and says “I don’t lay down for anybody!”

The referee rings the bell and Rollins continues on the mic to plead with Kane about how this isn’t what’s best for business. Kane then tells Rollins to lay down now or he will reach down Rollins’ throat and rip his guts out. Rollins lies down and Kane slowly sells pinning Rollins but stops and says “I’m just kidding, buddy!” Because that is what monsters do….kid.

Kane then tells Seth Rollins that he has a match right now vs. Dean Ambrose. As Ambrose makes his way down to the ring Luke Harper comes out before the match can start. J&J security enter the ring to attack Ambrose. It’s four on one! Who will come out to save Ambrose? Roman Reigns from the ENTRANCE RAMP! Reigns Superman punches Harper and clears the ring.

This leads to the after commercial break announcement that the main event tonight will be Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins and Luke Harper in a Shield/Wyatt explosion!

Dolph Ziggler and Neville vs. Bad News Barrett and Sheamus: Eden announces Neville as “The Man that Gravity Forgot….The New Sensation…” So, apparently Neville has TWO nicknames now.

Here is the frustrating thing about Sheamus and it is clearly showcased just within the two minutes of his entrance. WWE is so bi-polar with how they want Sheamus to be portrayed and they always have been. Sheamus comes out with his awesome music screaming looking like a complete bad ass. And then he pulls out a microphone and starts doing comedic shtick. STOP IT. Why is it so bad to have a bad ass monster? Why does everyone on this roster have to try to become a comedian?

This match starts off with Neville showing off his incredible skillset. Neville is just so fluid and smooth in all of his moves. After a commercial break, the heels are beating down Neville. During the hot tag sequence with Ziggler taking out Barrett and Sheamus Lawler spouts off his own lame comedy shtick “…Barrett’s nose is already so messed up that he can’t smell what the Rock is cookin’!”

Ziggler tags in Neville to hit the Red Arrow on Barrett for the win as Sheamus looks out on the outside of the ring. **3/4

Tough Enough Announcement: Before the commercial break they pitched that they would be showing us Triple H’s announcement of Tough Enough. Full disclosure, normally, I fast forward through these segments because I watch Raw and have already seen it once. BUT! This was different. They actually showed clips of people’s submissions. It was hilarious. I hope they keep doing this.

Bray Wyatt Babbles about Fear: Bray Wyatt is worthless at this point. It is utterly pathetic. Bray Wyatt is going to join Giant Gonzalez and King Kong Bundy as trivia questions about Undertaker’s WrestleMania opponents. Wyatt just babbles about the same crap he always does here. If Bray put as much effort into his promos as he did into his ring work, he would probably be a lot more interesting. As it stands he is the guy who babbles blubbering non-sense, has bad matches, is in meaningless feuds, wash-rinse-repeat. Ugh.

Natalya vs. Naomi: You know WWE didn’t put much thought into someone’s heel turn when they haven’t even produced new music for them. This was one of the better four minute Diva’s matches you will see. It is a heel vs. heel Diva match which is what we are getting on Sunday. Where are all the babyface Divas?

Prime Time Players call out the Brass Ring Club: Titus O’Neil and Darren Young are cutting one of their promos where they make fun of a tag team. This might have been their best own. They make fun of Cesaro for carrying a “purse” and wearing a weird hat. Then Young has a poem about Tyson Kidd that ends with O’Neal cutting him off before Young can say the word “pussy”. Young defends himself saying he was referring to Tyson’s cats. Then Titus cuts a “fact” promo on the Brass Ring Club. Good stuff here.

Rusev vs. Ryback: Before the match Lana cut a promo about how great the Russian Chain is. Lana shows the ridiculous picture from Raw of Rusev putting the Accolade on Cena with the Russian Chain. You know? The picture where it looks like Rusev is pooping out a giant man with a crew cut?

Rusev then cuts a tremendous promo with the Russian Chain around his neck, about how he is going to destroy John Cena. Rusev is GREAT here. If WWE doesn’t have a plan for Rusev post-Extreme Rules then they are making a big mistake.

Tom Phillips invites us all to use the hashtag #RybackvsRusev on social media. Really he should be inviting us to use the hashtag #HOSSfight. As both men are staring each other down Rusev takes the chain and tosses it out of the ring on the steel steps. The chain makes this jarring sound that is just another small added element that Rusev thinks about.

During the middle of the match a “We want Cena! Cena Sucks!” dueling chant gets started. This was a really good match by two big guys who just beat the tar out of each other. A big time PPV match between these two would be incredible. Ryback hits Rusev with the Meat Hook Clothesline and sets up for the Shell Shock until Rusev rolls out of the ring. Ryback follows Rusev and Rusev ends the match by hitting Ryback with the Russian Chain and then puts the Accolade on Ryback using the chain. Rusev was naturally disqualified. ***1/2

Rollins searches in the Boiler Room: Seth Rollins is with J&J Security looking through the boiler room for Luke Harper so that Rollins can talk strategy with Harper. Jamie Noble reveals that he and Luke Harper are cousins. They find Harper and Harper is staring off into space. Rollins and Noble are unable to break Harper’s trance. Joey Mercury then mimes (because Mercury doesn’t talk anymore) to Harper what the game plan is. Harper grabs Mercury and is ticked off that Mercury broke his concentration as Harper was thinking about all the bad things he was going to do to Ambrose tonight. This was a moderately entertaining segment and it is good to see that Harper is getting more opportunities to develop his character.

Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro: Big E cuts a promo before the match about how there is a plague in the WWE Universe. A plague that is a lack of smiling and clapping. Xavier Woods then adds that people need to embrace their positive message. If this is building towards The New Day snapping and becoming an angry Nation of Domination-esque group then it might be the best accident WWE has made in years. Of course, they will probably screw that up too.

Kingston and Cesaro had some good matches against each other with the United States Championship on the line a year ago. You would be hard pressed to find a better big man that acts as such a good base for high flyers than Cesaro. This match was too short to be anything memorable, but did a great job of previewing the upcoming WWE Tag Team Championship match between these two teams at Extreme Rules. **1/4

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper and Seth Rollins: After Ambrose, Reigns, and Rollins all have their turns with multiple WWE title reigns and five+ years from now they reunite the Shield for a small run it is going to be something special. These three men are only going to continue to flourish as none of them has hit the age of 30 yet, and we all know wrestler’s reach their true potential at age 35. Imagine how great the Shield reunion will be when they are all at their max of potential.

To step into my Josh Mathews fashion guru shoes for a minute, I appreciate that Dean Ambrose has enough awareness to not wear his white tank top whenever he is wrestling Luke Harper. Anyone who has read a wrestling review from me knows it is my pet peeve when wrestlers are in a match against each other and they are wearing relatively the same gear.

These four guys should form the new Kliq. Rollins reminds me so much of Shawn Michaels circa 1995 with his recent heel run. You’ve got Roman Reigns who has already, and rightfully, been compared to Diesel. Luke Harper can fulfill the Razor Ramon role of being a big guy who can work. I guess that leaves Dean Ambrose to fill Triple H’s shoes, which doesn’t make sense, but who cares, these four are awesome workers and all deserve to be rotating through the WWE title picture.

In this match Ambrose did a great job selling to lead to the Roman Reigns hot tag. This was a true throwback to the Shield days with Reigns just looking like an absolute superstar coming off that hot tag. The fans were REALLY hot for Reigns here and the rest of the match for that matter. This is when things broke down then every guy hitting their high spots. This led to a couple of nearfall spots between Reigns and Harper. Ambrose comes in off a hot tag of his own and hits the best McGuinness Lariat of his career just completely taking Rollins’ head off. Ambrose then delivers the Foley Elbow off the top rope to the outside on top of Rollins, J&J Security, and Harper. Reigns then comes in and hits Rollins with the Spear and gets a CLEAN WIN over the WWE Champion. If this was NJPW Reigns would get a WWE title shot at Payback based on this tag team win over the champ. This was an AWESOME tag team match and definitely delivered upon expectations. ****

Final Thoughts: Every week I look at the non-spoiler match listing of SmackDown and measure my expectations before reviewing the show. This card looked loaded on paper, but I knew it wouldn’t deliver because it is WWE TV and they rarely let every match deliver. Prior to the main event this wasn’t a bad show, but wasn’t a good show either. The main event delivered and is the SmackDown match of 2015 that I’ve given four stars. If you are looking to catch the good stuff from SmackDown this week I would watch the main event and Neville in this tag match.