Wrestling's 4Rs 2.24.14: WWE Smackdown Reviewed
Posted by Daniel Clark on 02.24.2014
Christian battled Sheamus in the main event, Daniel Bryan had singles matches against both Jack Swagger and Cesaro and more! Wrestling’s 4Rs breaks down the Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown!
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.
Smackdown 2.21.14 By: Daniel Clark
QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
Daniel Bryan def. Jack Swagger at 4.57 by pinfall
Daniel Bryan def. Cesaro at 9.43 by Disqualification
The Wyatt Family def. Rey Mysterio, Cody Rhodes and Goldust at 12.49 by pinfall
Emma def. Summer Rae in a dance off
Dolph Ziggler def. Titus O'Neill at 2.38 by pinfall
Jimmy Uso def. The Road Dogg at 2.57 by pinfall
Sheamus def. Christian at 12.19 by pinfall
THE RIGHT: Daniel Bryan vs. The Real Americans (and the authority) : Starting the show off with Daniel Bryan is a good way to make sure that the crowd are into the show and hyped up as he gets the best reactions of anyone who is going to be on this show. I'm not sure that Swagger losing clean was the right move (see the wrong section), but the short little match between them was good for the time that it got and Swagger looked impressive in the way he was targeting the arm and he is someone who over the last couple of weeks has really stepped up a gear. Bryan gets the win, but the authority in Kane and Vikki Guerrero reward him for this by giving him a match against Cesaro. I loved this because it just fits the quasi heel-face dynamic that the authority have in that they are clearly a heel but try to act like a face. Bryan won the match, so the reward for winning is another match, which on the face of it, could be seen as a reward. But clearly, they know the Bryan is injured and that an extra match with Cesaro will see him injured more and just make it much harder for him to win the title at the Chamber. Good match between Bryan and Cesaro, not quite as good as their match of a fortnight ago, but pretty good nonetheless, and Cesaro continued the good work that Swagger started by the targeting of the arm. Bryan gets the knee and looks like he might steal the win so Kane, just to make sure that Bryan doesn't win, enters and chokeslams him. Good segment that keeps the authority vs. Bryan feud moving, and keeps both Cesaro and Bryan strong heading into the Chamber, as neither of them lost. Also a shout-out to the referee throwing Swagger and Colter out from ringside, which is always a nice touch when the heels get caught cheating.
Christian promo: This backstage interview with Renee Young was only about a minute long but Christian comfortably managed to get across his point, hint further towards his heel status, and stay within his character, which made this an excellent promo. He re-affirmed that he said that when he came back he was desperate to win the title and that given that the last couple of weeks have not gone according to plan, he had to do something about it and that only he can figure out a way to win the title again. And this works because it is a true statement and essentially he is right as the reaction of the fans isn't going to help him win a match, and if being a nice guy is not working, then why shouldn't he try something different? And after all, he is in the business to the win the title and so to him, it doesn't matter how he goes about winning it. Nice character development here and as the desperate man, Christian is going to be a wild card at the moment.
The Wyatts vs. Goldust/Cody/Rey: Given that they are heading into a match with the Shield at the Elimination Chamber, the Wyatts needed to win this and they did. A good match here, perhaps a little slow at times, but then, given the gimmicks of the Wyatt Family, Harper and Rowan aren't going to do too much else other than slow-paced deliberate offence as that is what suits their characters. Bray continues to show his intelligence by getting a blind tag and then taking out Goldust when he is not looking and get the win. The Wyatts remain strong, and given the nature of the loss, the face team do not come out of it looking too weak. A little disappointed to see that the Goldust/Cody Rhodes team has taken a backseat in recent weeks, as their tag title loss at the Rumble and Goldust eliminating Cody from the Rumble seemed to the start of something, but since then, there hasn't really been any tension between them, nor has what happened at the Rumble been explored.
Sheamus promo: Short, sweet, and effective. Says he is looking forward to the match and has no problem with Christian's aggressive side and he up for a fight. Says last week's Brogue kick was an accident, this week won't be. Builds up to the match nicely and sets it up well.
Titus vs. Dolph Ziggler: Over the last couple of weeks, Titus O'Neill has had the chance to develop his character and personality on the mic so it was good to see Darren Young have a chance to do so this week. He was not quite as strong as Titus was, and Titus is naturally far more charismatic, and Young needed an assist from Michael Cole on commentary to completely get his point over. But Young showed some personality in stealing Titus's whistle to distract him during the match and then mock him after the match having cost him it. Again, this feud is nothing special, but it is a perfectly fine mid-card, tag-team split feud, and both Titus and Darren are being given a chance to demonstrate a personality and to connect with the crowd, which so far, they are getting better at. The next step is for them to deliver something good at the Elimination Chamber and then start to look strong in feuds after this one. Also, good to see Dolph Ziggler get the win as he is probably ahead of Titus on the ladder, but really is heading absolutely nowhere at the moment.
Commentary: Michael Cole and JBL got tonight's commentary right. They did the job of putting over what has happening in the ring, what this means for the Elimination Chamber, and pushing and promoting the PPV.
puRgatoRy: The Dance Off: These kinds of segments can either go one way or the other, but this was perfectly acceptable in the sense that it actually fits with the feud and the gimmick of the characters involved. And this sort of worked in that it was played by everyone involved with the right amount of cheesiness in that they knew that this was not really a serious segment, but didn't go over the top in the attempt to get laughs, which worked a bit better. This does seem to be getting Emma over though, which is definitely a good thing, and this worked a lot better than the last time they did a dance off because people now know who she is and what he goofy dancing is about, as people were joining in with it, and the audience participation in something like that is always good. Of course, Emma wins, Summer Rae and Fandango get angry, but get taken down with the face team, and this gives Summer Rae and Fandango a reason to want to fight Emma and Santino again so they can get revenge. This is just a silly midcard filler feud really, but it is developing their characters and is getting Emma over with the crowd.
Jimmy Uso vs. The Road Dogg: This was a nothing match really, just on the show to do something to promote and hype up the tag team title match between these two on Sunday. Jimmy Uso gets the win, which is possibly the right result as it is only the experience of the Outlaws as a tag team that is getting them match wins in kayfabe terms. Nothing bad about this, just here to remind you that they face off on Sunday.
Christian vs. Sheamus: On the face of things, this was a pretty decent match, and even though they have both had long absences from the ring, neither have missed a beat since they returned and have shown absolutely no ring rust at all. Both men worked well here with Christian showing his new aggressive side in working the injured shoulder and being quite aggressive in his approach, while Sheamus did some good work in selling the injury and making you believe that he is actually injured. That said, Sheamus winning clean with the White Noise rather than the Brogue Kick is a surprising finish to the match. It doesn't really do a lot for Christian that despite claiming to be more desperate than ever, he loses to a guy who is not 100%, and loses clean to his secondary finisher. However, the loss could be what is needed to further this desperation storyline as nothing is working for Christian and he will be even more unhinged at the Chamber, and attacking Sheamus at the end of the show and hurting his shoulder again as we fade out of the show could be a sign of this.
THE wRong: Jack Swagger loses clean: I know it was against Daniel Bryan, and I know that he lost the match to one move having dominated the rest of the match, but losing clean to anyone when he is in a title match at the Elimination Chamber on Sunday is just not the right move at all. Swagger looked really strong in winning his last two matches, but losing clean to and injured Daniel Bryan just sets his momentum back to where it was and does not help his credibility in regards to facing Big E on Sunday. If they wanted to do this set of matches where Bryan faces Swagger and Cesaro then surely the best thing to do would have the Swagger/Bryan match end in a DQ. It protects Swagger from looking weak against an injured opponent and it allows Bryan to get the win and thus go onto face another opponent in Cesaro. Instead, you have Swagger losing some of the momentum that he has gained and does not look quite as much as a threat to Big E as he did. Bryan winning clean doesn't really affect him, but it does affect Swagger.
THE RIDICULOUS: NONE
Not on the same level as recent weeks, but still, this was a reasonably good episode of Smackdown, and spent a lot of time focusing on the Elimination Chamber PPV on Sunday, with only one segment on the show (the dance off) not building or promoting a match on the PPV, and even this could potentially be something that gets added to the show.
The main focus of this show was pushing the PPV, and it did so in an effective way that sets up and furthers the storylines going into Sunday. The Chamber match for the title saw Daniel Bryan continue to battle against the authority and the injury that he is suffering is something that can be used as an out for him if he doesn't win the title, while Christian's slow heel turn continues with him becoming more and more desperate to take advantage of the limited opportunities that he has left in his career, while Cesaro and Sheamus get another solid showing that pushes them as potential threats to the title, even though nobody really expects them to win the title.
The Wyatt Family got another win to keep their momentum strong heading into their match with the Shield, while the matches that are on the undercard of the PPV saw build as well, with both the Uso's now having beaten both of the Outlaws in singles action, while Darren Young and Titus O'Neill's match has had some nice simple build to it and both men have been given a chance to develop a character and a personality and perhaps have shown that they can survive when their feud is over.
The dance off was harmless fun as well with the comedy not feeling too forced and it is building to a match between the teams anyway, so it does serve some purpose, and it is getting Emma over with the crowd which serves the purpose of building up the diva's division so there is more than just AJ Lee who anyway cares about.
This episode still had some good matches, with the Daniel Bryan matches, the six-man tag, and the main event all having plenty of time attached to them, but the quality of these matches, although still high, was slightly down on matches that have been seen in recent weeks.
Not the best episode of Smackdown, but it was very effective in building up to the Elimination Chamber, and with that event on Sunday, that was clearly the purpose of this show.
Show Rating: 7.0
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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