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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

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Wrestling's 4Rs 2.17.14: Smackdown, Impact, & NJPW on iPPV
Posted by Larry Csonka on 02.17.2014





How the 4Rs of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R's. The column will run TWO times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a "mark" column, nor a "smark" column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.



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NJPW New Beginning in Hiroshima 2.09.14

  • Jushin Thunder Liger & El Desperado defeated Kota Ibushi & BUSHI [***]
  • Minoru Suzuki defeated Tama Tonga [**]
  • Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka defeated Yuji Nagata & Kazushi Sakuraba via DQ [**¼]
  • Michael Tarver defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan [DUD]
  • NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Satoshi Kojima © defeated Big Daddy Yum Yum [*]
  • Yujiro Takahashi & Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma [***½]
  • Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson defeated Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA [***]
  • Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI)[***½]
  • IWGP Tag Team Championship Match: Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows © defeated Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. [***]
  • IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi © defeated Shinsuke Nakamura [****½]




    NJPW New Beginning in Osaka 2.11.14

  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) © defeated Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) [***¾]
  • Katsuyori Shibata defeated YOSHI-HASHI [**]
  • Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr) defeated Bullet Club (Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga) [**½]
  • Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Prince Devitt & Bad Luck Fale [***]
  • #1 Contenders Match For The NWA World Tag Team Championship: TenKoji (Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan) defeated Michael Tarver & Big Daddy Yum Yum [**]
  • The Gracies (Rolles Gracie & Daniel Gracie) defeated Yuji Nagata & Kazushi Sakuraba [*]
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Shinsuke Nakamura & Yujiro Takahashi [***½]
  • IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title Match: Kota Ibushi © defeated El Desperado [***¾]
  • NEVER Openweight Championship Match: Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tetsuya Naito © to become the new Champion [****¾]
  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match: Kazuchika Okada © defeated Hirooki Goto [****½]


    The Tirade(s)

    At the end of the Road to New Beginning PPV review, I voiced concern over New Japan splitting what was once a major show into two smaller events. I was worried that it may hurt the product on various levels. The good news is that they sold out both events, but the bad was that by making this into two events, we had some BAD wrestling. This was thanks in part to the NWA performers that were part of the shows, and the general thinning of the roster. In theory it isn't the worst idea, because you can spotlight the under card titles and performers a bit to hopefully make them mean more. But then again, loading each show with 10 matches instead of 8 almost defeats the purpose. As much as I love the NWA Title and efforts to make it mean a little something in the year 2014, they are simply using the wrong guys to make that happen.

    The first show, the Hiroshima event lacked that feeling that a lot of NJPW shows have. It FELT like the set up show, but the problem was that we already had the set up show. The undercard, while some bouts solid and even good, just felt like a waste of time. Michael Tarver vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan was a horrendous outing, and an embarrassment to call it a wrestling match. I mean, if you ever wondered why Michael Tarver was released by the WWE, now we know. This man is not a good professional wrestler, at all. And now I present to you, BIG DADDY YUM YUM…

     photo yumyum2_zps9ef1e682.gif


    This dude, Jesus, while his match was not nearly as bad as the Tarver vs. Tenzan match, was not good. Satoshi Kojima defeated Big Daddy Yum Yum to retain the NWA World Title. These matches, back to back, simply killed the show, killed the momentum, killed the crowd, which never got back into it until the main event. The show rebounded match quality wise, and the run until the main event I felt was very good. I can only image how the show would have felt if the crowd would have been into it, but those back to back NWA singles matches just did not allow that to happen. But the stretch of Yujiro Takahashi & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma ([***½]), Prince Devitt, Bad Luck Fale, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson vs. Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA ([***]), Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI)[***½]) and Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. ([***]) really brought things around. I was happy again, and the main event delivered as Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in an early MOTY contender. Tanahashi and Nakamura simply work well together, and with last year's great run of Tanahashi vs. Okada, I think that a lot of people slept on how good Nakamura is. This was a great main event, and Tanahashi holding the IC Title will make it an extremely strong title. He is the biggest star, the biggest draw, and by defending it in great matches and refusing to not participate in the New Japan Cup, he is making the IC Title look like something that should be treated as important. Again, weak first half, good second half that makes up for a lot of it. I liked this show a lot more than others apparently.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


    Following a good effort in Hiroshima, the show from Osaka was a tremendous show that featured a stronger under card, and a tremendous final four that included two legit MOTY candidates. The show kicked off with a strong match between the Young Bucks and Time Splitters. More attention needs paid to both junior divisions, but the Young Bucks are a fresh coat of paint and have been great during their run. Shibata ran through Hashi rather easily as he is being groomed for a tile shot, and the following six man was fine, albeit too short. Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Prince Devitt & Bad Luck Fale was a ton of fun, with great heat from the crowd and Devitt looking like a star; it's no wonder New Japan, TNA and WWE all want the guy. Michael Tarver & Big Daddy Yum Yum were confined to one match, and honestly it was fine, as they lost to Kojima and Tenzan in a match that was for a tag title shot at the NWA belts. Below is Michael Tarver, and he is certainly NO Roman Reigns…

     photo tarver_zps8438c8a7.gif


    The Gracies were back, and they again were the worst part of the show. Again, they aren't good wrestlers, and they don't get the proper heat because they are using the wrong Gracies. It was better than the Tokyo Dome, and Sakuraba doing a plancha in a Gi was fun, but the rest was completely forgettable.

    But then the power of the New Japan PPV ran wild and the show hit another level, and got great. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Shinsuke Nakamura & Yujiro Takahashi in a really strong tag match with good heat because of Tanahashi and Nakamura's involvement. Kota Ibushi retained the Jr Heavyweight Title over El Desperado in a match that was better than the previous tag bout. Desperado was booked well going into the match and performed well, but never felt like a big time challenger or near Ibushi's level. They ended the bout as friends and will reportedly tag together in the future. That's fine with me, because Desperado has done well, but was shot into the title match with little time to build him. Given time he will be a good addition to the division, which needs capable bodies.

    In the co-main event, Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tetsuya Naito to become the new NEVER Champion, and when they were done they hit the clubhouse as the early leader for the 2014 MOTY. This was a 24-minute battle that felt gritty and real. Brutal chops, elbows and head butts along with your usual lariats and such were plentiful; but the big thing was Naito using a German suplex and Ishii selling it as if his arm was being ripped off. From beginning to end I was glued to this match, the crowd fell in love with the match and cheering both wildly by the end of it all. I loved this, and while early, I feel it has a set the bar for the MOTY stuff in 2014.

    AND THEN THE MAIN EVENT HAPPENED

     photo jurassickada_zps1a6d9f8d.gif

    Yes, that is IWPG Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. Carrying a man sized sword. Accompanied to the ring by a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex. JAPAN! Seriously, I had nearly forgotten that Okada had a match after the awesomeness of the Ishii vs. Naito. While not quite as good as the co-main event, they did so well considering that they had to follow such a great match, which is never easy. With Ishii winning the previous match, I will say that I felt that it actually helped this match. Most felt that Naito would win and retain and that he was going to hold his title for a long time, but when he lost, I think that the feeling that Goto had NO hope dissipated a bit, and again, helped them. Excellent, excellent match here, with Okada winning clean as a sheet with the tombstone followed by the rainmaker lariat. Shibata came out for the post match face to face to set up a title match down the line.

    This show had a great opener, a solid middle, and a tremendous final four to make it well worth your money.

    Final Score Hiroshima: 7.0

    Final Score Osaka: 8.75

    As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…

    0 - 0.9: Torture
    1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
    2 - 2.9: Very Bad
    3 - 3.9: Bad
    4 - 4.9: Poor
    5 - 5.9: Not So Good
    6 - 6.9: Average
    7 - 7.9: Good
    8 - 8.9:Very Good
    9 - 9.9: Amazing
    10: Virtually Perfect

    As a reminder, this is not a basic "how good was the show" number like a TV show, as I have always felt that a PPV is very different from a regular show. I have always judged PPV on how they built to a match, the match quality, crowd reactions to matches and angles, the overall booking, how the PPV leads into the future, PPV price and so on and so forth. I have added this in here for an explanation since so many have asked, and I have previously discussed it on podcasts. I understand that this may seem different, but that is how I grade. Obviously your criteria may be different.






    Impact 2.13.14:
    By: Irfan Alam

    QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
  • Gunner and James Storm def. EC3 and Magnus at 14:00 in a Case vs. Case ladder match
  • Samoa Joe and The Wolves def. DJ Zema Ion and The BroMans at 6:00 by submission
  • MVP def. Rockstar Spud at 1:00 by pinfall
  • Mr. Anderson def. Bully Ray at 13:00 in a casket match


    THE RIGHT:
    Anderson/Bully: This entry is for both the backstage segments involving the two, and for the actual match itself. Last week, I said that they should have involved Anderson on the show instead of Bully just destroying Curry Man. The short backstage promo of Anderson that they aired tonight showed Anderson in a much more serious temperament than we have seen him as of late. I think such a promo(a slightly longer version) should have been used last week to build the casket match as something bigger than the Aces & 8s and the championships. But better late than never, and Anderson was finally shown to be as motivated as Bully in this segment. Bully actually raised the bar of mindgames later in his segment when he called Anderson's wife from Anderson's phone(by sneaking into the locker room), and that helped make the main-event look even more personal and intense. The match itself was not PPV quality in my opinion, but was a decent choice for a TV show main-event. A minor gripe that I have with this match is that they should have invested in a better quality casket/coffin, at least one which wouldn't break. Aside from that, the finish(mic-check into the coffin) was very cool, and if this was really the end of the feud then that made it end in a high note. However, I really don't think they should end the feud now. Especially after so many teases of Bully going really personal on Anderson and his family, which should still have some fallout in my opinion, leading to a more deserving and intense final match between the two.

    The BroMans' involvement was actually explained: I honestly didn't think that they would ever care enough to explain The BroMans helping Dixieland, like how they explained Bobby Roode's help 2 weeks ago. But the way they used the just-finished "case vs. case ladder match" to explain that was really ingenious and I feel that deserves credit. It also was a nice excuse to bring back the tag champs on the show, at least a better scenario than to have them in a random match without any context. Speaking of their match, that is the next point.

    The Wolves' debut had the right decisions: The debut match of The Wolves was a 6-man tag against The BroMans, with Joe in their corner. The match showed off the double-team capabilities of The Wolves well enough and they really looked like a threat. Joe actually got the finish with the coquina clutch. I am saying that this match had the right decisions because of two reasons. One, they should not make the mistake of making their current tag champions look just out of the (higher) league of The Wolves on their debut. They have been built as the best free-agent tag team now signed with TNA, and if they dominate in the TNA ranks immediately, then it would look bad for the TNA tag division(however hollow it is). So, they made the perfect decision of not making them invincible on debut, but still making them dominant enough to be fearful. And secondly, the use of Samoa Joe was perfect to achieve this. They found a way of continuing Joe's massive push in a way that would also help out execution of another story arc(in this case, the impending debut of The Wolves), which was again ingenious in my opinion.

    Chris/Joseph "Abyss" Park is a conflicted monster: Abyss has always been great on the mic, but he rarely gets the opportunity to showcase that. Tonight was one of those rare opportunities. He started the promo with his trademark hoodie covering most of his face, but eventually revealed a continuously conflicted Joe Park as the promo progressed. There were instances when he subtly changed character from that of a man(Joseph Park) to that of a monster(Abyss), and he was really able to pull off the continuous changes in mannerisms, facial expressions and tone appropriately. The promo itself was more like a rambling to begin the next step in this storyline, which is that Abyss can no longer handle this multiple-character disorder after the recent brush with the truth. And that has made him even more disturbed, at the psychological level. That rambling however was in no way less entertaining than any other good promo out there. Plus, the end has ignited hopes of a James Mitchell return when Abyss said that he needs to find someone who understands him, which can only be good if it really happens. I have to again give props to the writing team here. They have been able to turn a 2-year long stagnant storyline into something intriguing, all the while maintaining continuity in a logical fashion. There couldn't have been a better direction for this storyline to go after the big reveal of last week.

    Dixie Carter can't bear it anymore: The character of Dixie Carter is of a rich girl accustomed of buying out anything in her way. So when MVP comes in as the secret investor and would not budge against Dixie, the sudden powerlessness should really make her desperate, which is what they focused on tonight. There were many segments that helped put that desperation over:

    (i) Her interaction with Velvet Sky put over how the MVP situation is overwhelming her mind in other situations too.

    (ii) She is really fearful and uncertain about the future as evident from her expressions on the phone before Roode confronted her. However the way she regained her composure once Roode hits the scene added a nice touch to her character, which would have a fake shell of arrogance to show to the world even when she is really trembling with fear from inside. They continued onto the logical path of Roode complaining about how Dixie never had his back last week even after promising. Tension between Roode and Dixie is teased. Her decision to later escort Roode out of the building with security was something that continued the theme of her mind being too clouded with fear and desperation.

    (iii) An attempt to buy out MVP as a last resort was the only logical choice this desperate character of Dixie had, which happened in the final segment of the night. MVP declined the massive money and instead proposed a Lethal Lockdown for the control of the company. This "Lethal Lockdown for the control of the company" seems to have been done many times now and it has really lost its charm in my opinion. Moreover, the way it was brought up seemed a bit haphazard and impulsive. Dixie had to accept the match, which added to this desperation theme that MVP is taking advantage of.


    puRgatoRy:
    MVP's debut against Spud: Just putting this here as it was too short to be either good or bad. The way they made this match and how Dixie couldn't help was funny. The match itself was a squash, and didn't do anything other than to be a preview of what MVP can offer as a wrestler. With all that TV time anyway devoted to MVP now, I would prefer his debut to have more of a build-up though.

    Chris Sabin/Velvet Sky: Velvet Sky did in fact come out to wrestle Sabin. Chris was funny on the mic for the short time offered to him tonight. There were some comedic spots before a giant lady came out to attack Velvet and pass her out with a full nelson. The match never officially started, and Sabin pins Velvet anyway while that lady counted a 3. This was not as cringeworthy as I expected it to be last week, but it certainly wasn't good either. It just felt rather unremarkable despite a new debut. On a related note, doesn't Taz need to improve his vocabulary?


    THE wRong:
    The entire opening segment: The opening segment, like most weeks, was rather long this week. There were parts of it that were good, like the Magnus promo in the beginning which was getting decent heel heat even in England. However, once Gunner came out and announced his cashing in of the title case next week, things started to become less coherent. Dixie booked an impromptu match of Gunner against EC3 with Gunner's case on the line, which MVP extended to a case vs. case ladder match. Then that ladder match saw interruptions from Magnus and Storm, causing MVP to again modify it into a tag team ladder match. But the terms of the tag team ladder match were unclear at best, and random at worst, which is never a good thing. For example, Magnus stopped EC3 from grabbing the cases which would suggest that whoever grabs the cases gets them, meaning it was actually "every man for himself". Then why call it a tag team ladder match? And if it really is every man for himself, having the potential of the world champion grabbing a world title shot case is ridiculous in my opinion. This was a classic case of overbooking. The match itself was not bad, in fact EC3 pulled off some nice moves and everyone worked hard. But the way it was all executed was indeed all-over-the-place to say the least, and could have been done better.


    THE RIDICULOUS:
    NOTHING


    The 411:

    I have not commented on the Willow video and the Samuel/Christy backstage segment. The former was too vague to pass any judgment at this point, while the latter was not a significant continuation of the storyline in the sense that Shaw had already agreed to continue this relationship like professionals last week. Most of the other things on this show felt very carefully booked, except the opening ladder match. That hook for coming back next week is really evident as I am interested in the continuation of a lot of storylines. Personally, the next actions of Roode and Abyss are the two biggest draws for next week, as both are intriguing in their own rights. There is also a World Title Match between Gunner and Magnus, which I am looking forward to in hopes of that being used as a means to really elevate Gunner on the main-event scene. One of the gripes that I have against Impact is that they never manage to showcase all of the talent each week. The knockouts(as in the knockout title feud) have been absent for the past 2 weeks, while the last time they were seen wasn't memorable either. And then there is the X-Division champion, who only appears once every 2 weeks. In their defense, they don't have a decent roster for those divisions to be showcased every week, but it has gotten to such a point because of their short-sightedness in some instances, which should be looked at immediately. However, those who are actually being showcased weekly are being booked very logically. Almost all the segments were meaningful, and some were even clever in subtle ways that reward the longtime viewers. So, overall it was a very solid show without many negatives. That gives it the highest rating that I have given in my 6 weeks of reviewing Impact.

    Show Rating: 7.5

    As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…

    0 - 0.9: Torture
    1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
    2 - 2.9: Very Bad
    3 - 3.9: Bad
    4 - 4.9: Poor
    5 - 5.9: Not So Good
    6 - 6.9: Average
    7 - 7.9: Good
    8 - 8.9:Very Good
    9 - 9.9: Amazing
    10: Virtually Perfect





    Smackdown 2.14.14
    By: Daniel Clark

    QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
  • The Shield def. Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and Christian at 12.39 by pinfall
  • The Miz def. Fandango at 3.43 by pinfall
  • Jack Swagger def. Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry and Kofi Kingston at 8.32 by submission (number one contender for the Intercontinental Title)
  • The Usos, Cody Rhodes and Goldust def. The New Age Outlaws, Ryback and Curtis Axel at 10.36 by pinfall
  • Darren Young def. Damien Sandow at 1.09 by pinfall
  • Cesaro def. Randy Orton at 12.42 by pinfall

    THE RIGHT:
    The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan/Sheamus/Christian: This was a magnificent way to start the show and continues the roll that Smackdown has been on over the last few weeks. All six of these men can go in the ring and they proved that here with a match that never for a second felt boring and managed to get an awful lot into the 12 minutes and 39 seconds that they had. Starting a show with Daniel Bryan is a good way to get the crowd hyped up and they were into this match, but particularly anything that he did. The Shield continue to develop and use their characters well in the ring, with a moment after the match had slightly quieted down showing this. Bryan and Ambrose were in the ring and went to lock up, but Ambrose skipped around the ring, thought about it, and then tagged in Reigns, who took one look at Ambrose and then got straight into it with Bryan. For all the bluster and confidence that Ambrose portrays, this was the perfect way for him to continue to look slightly cowardly as he didn't want a part of Bryan at all, but Reigns showed no fear at all and is just willing to fight anyone, which is setting the scene for where they go when the Shield breaks up. And Ambrose stealing the win at the end is undoubtedly something that he will brag about, even though it was Reigns and Rollins that really contributed to the win; Rollins taking out Bryan with a suicide dive, and Reigns hitting Sheamus with the spear to stop him breaking up the count. The Shield as an in-ring unit have managed to over the last 18 months develop so well together in the ring that they know exactly what to do to produce quality match after quality match, but have increasingly developed their characters and personalities in the matches as well so that when they split up they already have a defined character that the crowd can get behind. The Shield getting the win is the right way to go here, especially as the commentary team throughout the match were pushing the idea that the match at the Elimination Chamber against the Wyatts is a battle to determine not only the best unit in the WWE at present, but maybe of all time, so they have to remain strong and a win here helps them prove this as the opposition are all of high caliber and are in the Chamber match, which further pushes their argument that they should be the in the match for the title. And the way that the match ended, with Sheamus accidentally hitting Christian with the Brogue Kick just adds a bit more tension and dissention to the Chamber match and gives those two something to work with as a story in the match. Fantastic match to start the show, and may even be the best match on Smackdown so far this year.

    The Miz vs. Fandango: While this was not the best worked match and was a tad sloppy at times, what this was a decent bit of fun for a match with a good ending that managed to advance several angles at once. The Miz winning the match helps him in his cause to show that he deserves a better spot on the card than he currently had, so if on Raw he is not on the show, he has a justifiable reason for being left off the show given that he won this match (and has eight wins out of ten in singles matches), so if this is leading to a heel turn at the end of it, the heel turn would make some sense. And the feud between Fandango/Summer Rae and Santino/Emma continues as well with them costing Fandango the match with their interference and Santino hitting him with the Cobra, and the Emma/Summer Rae rivalry from NTX continues, with the crowd starting to get into this a bit with a good reaction to the "catfight" between the two. Summer's acting and reaction at the end when she was attacked by Emma was good as she had the right mixture between being unhappy at what had happened to her mixed with the slightly cartoonish and over the top nature that her gimmick requires.

    Darren Young vs. Damien Sandow: Match was nothing and almost a backdrop to the segment with the whole focus being on Young and Titus O'Neill continuing their feud, which so far, seems to have made a reasonable start and continued reasonably nicely here. Young gets the win, Titus decides to beat him down, but Young gets some revenge on him by countering the attack and then ripping his suit in half. Both Young and Titus have been allowed to look reasonably strong so far in this feud following on from the initial break-up. Titus has managed to get in his stuff on the mic while Young can hold himself in the ring and is winning the mini-brawls that these two are having, which should be them reasonably level when they eventually meet in the ring. Sandow is steadily dropping down the card though and even though he is in a losing streak storyline, the fact it was not even referenced here, is worrying for him.

    Randy Orton vs. Cesaro: The promos from both men before this match were good, but especially the one that Cesaro delivered, with it being simple and effective, just stating that he is confident of winning and that he will be champion, which perfectly suits his gimmick and his attitude. The match itself was another seriously strong match that Smackdown has delivered and this was the breakout match that Cesaro needed and delivered in, although it was not just Cesaro who delivered in the match. And I suppose the biggest compliment to pay this is that last week Cesaro took on Daniel Bryan; this match was better than that was. Cesaro's win was a bit of a surprise and not what I was expecting at all, but that fact that it is a totally clean victory just makes it even more impressive and just what he might need to jump to the next level. The way that he got the win as well was excellent. He brawled with Orton and ended up getting the upper hand, he showed off his agility and his strength throughout the match and dominated Orton, and he outwrestled the champion as well, as Orton was not able to hit any of his finishing moves or even look like he might be able to hit them. Cesaro has in the last three weeks wrestled Dolph Ziggler, Daniel Bryan, and Randy Orton, and delivered great performances in all three matches and in three different types of matches, with a high flying match against Ziggler, a wrestling match against Bryan, and a slower-paced brawl with Orton. Even though he is not likely to win the title at the Chamber, his run of performances in the last few weeks has shown that he is a man who can easily slot into the main event, and although it might not be before WrestleMania, afterwards, he could be a main event star. Fair dues to Randy Orton as well as he helped to make Cesaro look like a star, with the 100% clean loss demonstrating this, even if this loss does make him look a little bit weaker.


    puRgatoRy:
    Fatal 4 way: A slightly odd selection of people to be in this match to determine the number one contender, especially with Henry having issues with Ambrose and the US title, Kofi heading nowhere, Rey seemingly heading into tag team, and Swagger having had his recent struggles and having not won a singles match on TV (not including Superstars and NXT) since last May, so quite why these four were the best four contenders for the match in a kayfabe sense doesn't add up. And the match itself took a while to get going really and really had no rhythm and just did not click properly for the majority of the match, but it did pick up at the end with Swagger being the one who controlled this match nicely and put in a really good performance. This was particularly the case in the double German suplex and then his counter from the Trouble in Paradise into the Patriot Lock at the end to force Kofi to tap out. A match that was okay but just took too long to get going, but should provide an interesting match for the title at the Elimination Chamber, as although Swagger may not be a man who is ever going to be the WWE Champion again, he can still go in the ring, while Big E has been improving his in ring work and this should be a good test for him. He also did well on commentary, putting the four men in the match and what they would offer if he had to face them, as well as emphasizing the importance of the title he holds. (having since read a recap of Smackdown, it appears that there was a segment involving Zeb Colter and Vikki Guerrero where the match was set-up which was not shown on my edition of Smackdown, so that at least explains how the match came about, if not necessarily why the men in it were chosen)

    Eight man tag: This match I suppose is a good example of the difference between the wrestlers who are at the top of the card and those who are in the midcard to illustrate why they are where they are. The six-man tag match at the start of the show had 12.39 and was excellent from start to finish, this eight-man tag team match, had just two minutes fewer, but felt longer and it dragged on without really picking up until the hot tag was made at the end, as the control segment by the heel team was okay, but just not that captivating. However, once the Usos made the hot tag the match did pick up and ended well, and the Usos getting the win puts them in the frame for a tag title match, having gone and earned the match, just like the Outlaws told them that they had to do, with Cole and JBL on commentary putting over the Usos as future tag team champions as well. I feel that we got the right result in the end with the Usos getting the pin over the Outlaws to virtually book a tag title match, but the match itself just wasn't quite up to the standard that would have been expected and just did not really pick up until near the end.

    Rusev promo: Again, a perfectly solid promo, but nothing different from previous weeks, and still no real idea as to where he is going or what the plan is for him when he gets into the ring.


    THE wRong:
    NOTHING


    THE RIDICULOUS:
    NOTHING


    The 411:

    Two weeks in a row that Smackdown has delivered with nothing in the wrong and it is continuing to be the show to match in the WWE if you want to watch good quality wrestling. Raw may be the designated "A" show where all the big stars appear, but Smackdown, although the "B" show, delivers brilliant wrestling and story development.

    This show had two matches that would be around the **** mark, with the Shield continuing to deliver another great six man tag team match against Bryan, Sheamus and Christian, and the win for the Shield keeps them very strong, but also shows a tiny bit of dissention between them and continues to build up to the split between them, while the way the match ended, with Sheamus kicking Christian by mistake, perhaps sows the seeds for something to happen between them, perhaps at the Chamber, perhaps at WrestleMania.

    Jack Swagger became the number one contender to the Intercontinental Title in what an okay match, but Swagger had a really impressive performance in the match and his match at the Chamber with Big E Langston could be a sleeper match on the card with Swagger being excellent in the ring and Big E starting to step up his performances in the ring.

    The feuds between Darren Young/Titus O'Neill and Fandandgo/Summer Rae and Santino/Emma continue to build as well, and although what happened was nothing mindblowing, it just advanced the feuds nicely, with Santino and Emma getting some revenge for Santino's loss on Raw by costing Fandango the match and Emma taking down Summer. And Darren Young has continued to have the better on Titus in their confrontations, even though Titus is talking a good game on the mic. And even though the Miz and Damien Sandow where almost the afterthoughts in their matches, their angles continue to be advanced; Sandow and his losing streak, the Miz and his battle for respect.

    The Usos get a win over the New Age Outlaws and thus, has surely proved to the Outlaws that they do deserve a title match, and it was telling that they were by far the most over team in the eight man tag team match and with the steady build that that they have, they have managed to get a connection with the crowd.

    But Smackdown was really about one man this week, that being Cesaro. His match with Randy Orton was expected to be a good one, but Orton would get the win, possibly cheating to do so, but instead, Cesaro won clean, 100%, in the middle of the ring, by hitting the neutralizer. And this was an excellent performance for Cesaro who managed to dominate Orton in everything that he did and proved that on the night, he was the better man. And given that he delivered in the ring, his pre-match promo was simple and effective, just stating that he would win the match, and that despite being a heel, the crowd were firmly behind him and are invested in what he is doing, this was the break-out night that Cesaro was looking for that will hopefully cement him in the main event. This was Cesaro's night, and he took advantage of it and proved he belongs.

    With four length matches this week, Smackdown has proved itself to be the wrestling show, and continues to deliver great matches weekly. And it's not until just thinking about this now,

    Smackdown managed to not have a length in-ring promo segment, and the show didn't feel the worse for not having one, and the feuds were built during the matches and the commentary of them, which is something that hasn't necessarily been done recently.
    Smackdown at the moment is must watch wrestling.


    Show Rating: 8.9

    As a reminder, I will be going by the 411 scale…

    0 - 0.9: Torture
    1 - 1.9: Extremely Horrendous
    2 - 2.9: Very Bad
    3 - 3.9: Bad
    4 - 4.9: Poor
    5 - 5.9: Not So Good
    6 - 6.9: Average
    7 - 7.9: Good
    8 - 8.9:Very Good
    9 - 9.9: Amazing
    10: Virtually Perfect




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