Wrestling's 4Rs 3.24.14: WWE Smackdown Reviewed & Csonka’s Updated PPV Match Rankings
Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.24.2014
John Cena battled Luke Harper, Alberto Del Rio faced off with Big E, the Shield got laid out and more! Wrestling’s 4Rs breaks down the Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous of Smackdown with Csonka’s updated PPV match rankings!
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 3.21.14 By: Daniel Clark
QUICK MATCH RESULTS:
Dolph Ziggler def Damien Sandow at 5.51 by pinfall
Fernando def. Fandango at 2.32 by pinfall
Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. 3MB vs. The Shield vs. The Real Americans at 8.03 went to a no contest
The Big Show def. The Miz, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Titus O'Neill, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Alberto Del Rio and Big E at 2.04 in an Over The Top Rope challenge
Alberto Del Rio def. Big E at 2.48 by pinfall
The Bella Twins def. Natalya and Summer Rae at 2.27 by pinfall
John Cena def. Luke Harper at 5.28 by pinfall
THE RIGHT: Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow: The Battle Royal at WrestleMania is getting a good amount of attention and there appears to be plenty of stories that are being told heading into the match, which has allowed it to get plenty of attention on TV. And one of those stories is the re-rise of Dolph Ziggler following his awful end to 2013 and his attempt to get back to the level he was at when he won the world title after last year's WrestleMania. He has got some good momentum going, with a win and a fiery promo last week on Smackdown, another win on Raw, and then this win over Sandow, and seems to be featuring quite heavily in the promotion for this match. A decent effort in the ring as well from these two that made it a good start to the show.
Miz TV/Battle Royal: Miz TV with the Big Show didn't necessarily on paper look as if it was going to be a particularly exciting segment, but it turned out to be a really good way of promoting the WrestleMania Battle Royal. It began with the Miz and the Big Show going over a bit of their history around WrestleMania, with the Big Show's many losses being referenced, as well the fact that the Miz in undefeated and with the way that the host was talking and mocking the Big Show's record, hyping up his own achievements, and then set up the Big Show, it looks as if a much overdue heel turn for the Miz could be happening. The Miz invites several of the other men who will be in the match out to have a quick challenge and the Big Show gets the win, proving that he is justifiably being called the favorite for the match – winning this challenge proves it. And the Miz with his sneaking under the bottom rope to start with and then sneaking back in to try and eliminate Sheamus and the Big Show proves that he is getting his heel attitude back. Good segment that had some character work from the Miz and the Big Show and provided an impromptu challenge that promotes the battle royal and shows in kayfabe terms why people think the Big Show will win.
John Cena vs. Luke Harper: A really good main event to close the show. The match between Cena and Harper was pretty decent for the time that it got and it allowed Harper to get a couple of moments in before eventually falling to Cena, who as soon as the match ending, slid out of the ring and ran away because he is showing that he is scared of the Wyatts and what they can do. Normally Cena would be up for any fight against anyone but at the moment not against the Wyatts because of what they want to do to Cena. But the best part about this was the video package that was shown beforehand which is another example of just how good the WWE can be when trying to use video packages to promote feuds. This was excellent and managed to convey the legacy that Cena has and why the Wyatts are trying to take him down and encapsulates the feud perfectly and gives it that big match WrestleMania feel that it had sort of been lacking up until this point.
Emma and Santino: I know I shouldn't be a fan of this and it is just so cheesy, but I actually found this segment funny. It just furthers their characters a little bit and continues this love story between them and sort of makes us want to root for them to get together, although this would have worked a bit better had they been on TV over the last couple of weeks more.
puRgatoRy: Fernando vs. Fandango: I have a feeling that this match may not have been too popular with some people, particularly the way that it ended. However, if you are going to have a gimmick where you act like El Torito is actually a bull, then you may as well go all out with it and have things such as him charging against the red dress that Summer Rae is wearing, as least it is committing to the gimmick and trying to do something with it, and was a bit of light hearted fun and does at least give Fandango an excuse as to why he lost. That said, Fandango should be winning these kinds of matches against tag team wrestlers who barely win tag matches as he has far more of an upside and what is the point of promoting him if he keeps losing matches? And of course, we missed the start of the match as well due to a commercial break, which never makes any sense on a taped show.
Four way tag match: When I saw the four teams that were involved in this match to determine the number one contenders, very little about the match made any sense. Why, if that match was set up specifically by the Authority, were the Shield involved given their issues with Kane at the moment? Why were 3MB in this match given that they lost to R Truth and Xavier Woods on Superstars, have not won a match since November 12th? Why aren't Cody Rhodes and Goldust involved in the tag title hunt? Don't the New Age Outlaws have a rematch outstanding to them anyway? All of the questions were answered when it became clear that this whole thing was never meant as a match and was just a way to smoke out the Shield and set them up for the beat down by Kane and the Outlaws, and the other teams were selected purely because they would not object to this happening. Kane gives both Rybaxel and The Real Americans a tag team title match, although it wasn't mentioned as to when this shot would happen, or whether it was one match or two separate matches. It was a good match until the ending and the Real Americans and the Shield were really impressive in the match, although quite why Kane attacking Roman Reigns, who is not a part of the match, should constitute a no contest, is perhaps better not questioned. Kane wanting to get some revenge on the Shield makes sense and the Outlaws are tight with the Authority as well, so them joining in the assault works as well and surely sets up a six man tag at WrestleMania. However, this match seems something of a step down for the Shield given what they have been doing over the past year and a match against Kane and the Outlaws just seems a bit dull compared to a triple threat between them. The other issue is that Kane and Outlaws are unlikely to provide such a high quality match either, so it just feels a waste for the Shield at Mania.
Divas tag: An okay tag team match but didn't really help to answer the question as to who AJ is going to be defending the title at WrestleMania against. At the moment she seems to have issues with the Bellas, Tamina, Naomi and Cameron and even Natalya, yet there is no set contender for the moment. The Bellas get another win and it seems that Tamina and AJ are back on the same page for the moment but AJ's attitude is clearly going to see Tamina turn on her soon. Natalya and Summer Rae having tension between them and Natalya walking out after the match is clearly a set up to do with Total Divas.
Rusev: Same as before – the time is soon coming when he is going to have to do something other than just cut the same promo.
THE wRong: Kane Promo: Two things about this promo just didn't really work for me and it seemed a fairly flat start to the show and didn't really build on the momentum gained by the finish of Monday Night Raw. Firstly, showing a recap of what happened on Raw is fine and refreshes you as to what happened. But showing a recap that lasts for five minutes is too long really and given that I doubt there is anyone who only watches Smackdown rather than Raw, it is not like it was filling in the gaps of something that they might have missed either. And secondly, the promo didn't really accomplish anything that we didn't already know as all it did was re-enforce the idea that Daniel Bryan has no respect for authority and that the beating he suffered was his own fault. This promo was just a little bit dull and didn't add a massive amount to the feud, and with Kane not talking about the Shield either, it felt like a missed chance to do that as well.
Big E vs. Alberto Del Rio: I don't really have too much of a problem with the way the match ended, with Big E missing a shoulder charge to the corner and then getting hit with the superkick afterwards to give Del Rio the win. For all that Del Rio have fallen, he is arguably still a higher level talent than Big E, although given the push that he has and the rumors about Del Rio leaving soon, a win for Big E here would have done him the world of good. The problem is that the match lasted 2.48 which is just far too short. A good ten-minute match between these two would have been perfectly fine and allowed Big E to improve in the ring and hang with Del Rio. A three-minute match doesn't help either man really and makes Big E look quite weak with him losing as soon as he did. A lengthy match could with someone on commentary could also have continued the build to the battle royal, but this didn't help anyone.
THE RIDICULOUS: NONE
A strange episode of Smackdown. There was nothing really wrong with the show and it seemed to fly through quite quickly, but at the same time, was not the most memorable of shows and was full of short matches with the only match that went past the six minute mark ending in a no contest.
The Battle Royal at WrestleMania got plenty of build and progress towards it on this show with a decent match between Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow, a short match between Alberto Del Rio and Big E, and a Miz TV segment with the Big Show that led into an over the top rope challenge, but the crucial thing is that this is a match that lots of superstars actually want to win, and if they all think the prize is worth winning, then it is more likely to convince us, the viewer, that it is. Ziggler clearly wants to win the match, as does Sheamus, while the Miz and the Big Show got their chance on this show to put their case forward; the Big Show doing it in the ring and winning the impromptu battle royal to demonstrate why he is the favorite.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt's feud got some time attached to it as well with Cena in the main event against Luke Harper, which was a very good match for the six minutes that got attached to it, while Cena, in running away and ducking a fight with the Wyatts after the match, showed that he actually does fear and is worried about them as normally, even if it was a three on one fight, he would be right up for it, and this vulnerability in his character is something new that really makes the Wyatt family seem like a valid threat.
Kane and the New Age Outlaws against the Shield for WrestleMania looks like it is going to be set as well, and although I'm not sure that this is the best use for the Shield, at least the match does make sense given the storyline and it managed to save what was a strange looking set of teams to be involved in the number one contender match into something logical. The Shield perhaps deserve better than Kane and the Outlaws given the quality of their work over the last year and how Kane and the Outlaws have struggled in the ring recently, but this does allow them to explore to being faces to see whether they could survive as one when they eventually split.
What this show however sort of lacked was much in the way of build up towards the two other big matches at WrestleMania, particularly the WWE title match. Just a small promo from either Orton or Batista about how they feel about the title match being changed could have helped. It also felt as if there was a little too much in the way of filler material which could have been allocated to something else. Fernando vs. Fandango was fine but ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Rusev's promo was exactly the same as all the others. If the tag team match was just a set up to attack the Shield, it didn't need to go as long as it did. Even Kane's promo to start the show could go as it didn't add a massive amount to the show Take fifteen minutes or so of this and split it between lengthening Del Rio/Big E, giving Orton/Batista some time to talk, perhaps doing something a bit more meaningful with the divas division towards what will actually happen at WrestleMania, and giving Cena/Harper a few extra minutes and the quality of the episode would have been better.
As it is, this was just an average episode of Smackdown. The Cena/Wyatts stuff was good. The focus on the Battle Royal worked well with a good match and a useful Miz TV segment. But the rest of the show was really just there and was not on the level that you would want heading into WrestleMania.
A better show than last week, but still, Smackdown is not even close to the level it was at in January.
Show Rating: 6.6
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
TOP PPV MATCHES of 2014 By: Larry Csonka
From NJPW 42md Anniversary Show - Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi [****¾]
From NJPW New Beginning in Osaka - Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito [****¾]
From NJPW New Beginning in Osaka – Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto [****½]
From NJPW New Beginning in Hiroshima - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura [****½]
From WWE Elimination Chamber – Bray Wyatt. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose [****½]
From WWE NXT Arrival – Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn [****½]
From NJPW WrestleKingdom VIII - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura [****¼]
From NJPW New Japan Cup Night One - Tetsuya Naito vs.Tomohiro Ishii [****¼]
From NJPW 42md Anniversary Show - Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito [****]
From NJPW Fantastica Mania II - Ultimo Guerrero, Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito and La Sombra [****]
From NJPW WrestleKingdom VIII - Kota Ibushi vs. Prince Devitt [****]
From NJPW WrestleKingdom VIII - Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito [****]
From EVOLVE 26 - Ricochet vs. Trent Baretta [****]
From DGUSA Way of The Ronin – Johnny Gargano vs. Roderick Strong [****]
From DGUSA Way of The Ronin – AR Fox vs. Chris Hero [****]
From WWE Royal Rumble – Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt [****]
From WWE Elimination Chamber - Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro vs. Sheamus vs. Christian [****]
From NJPW New Beginning in Osaka - Kota Ibushi vs. El Desperado [***¾]
From NJPW New Beginning in Osaka - The Young Bucks (Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) vs. Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA [***¾]
From NJPW Fantastica Mania III - Hiroshi Tanahashi, Mistico II & Kota Ibushi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Mephisto & Yujiro Takahashi [***¾]
From NJPW Fantastica Mania II - Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rush [***¾]
From NJPW Fantastica Mania - Shinsuke Nakamura and Ultimo Guerrero vs. Rush and La Sombra [***¾]
From NJPW WrestleKingdom VIII - Hirooki Goto vs. Katsuyori Shibata [***¾]
From EVOLVE 26 - Chris Hero vs. Anthony Nese [***¾]
From EVOLVE 25 - Trent Baretta vs. Anthony Nese [***¾]
From EVOLVE 25 - Rich Swann and the Young Bucks defeated Johnny Gargano and the Bravado Brothers [***¾]
From EVOLVE 27 – Johnny Gargano vs. Uhaa Nation [***¾]
From DGUSA Revolt! – Rich Swann vs. Anthony Nese [***¾]
From DGUSA Way of The Ronin – Trent Baretta and Anthony Nese vs. Rich Swann and Shane Strickland [***¾]
From TNA Lockdown – Gunner vs. James Storm [***¾]
Have you checked out the Csonka Podcasting Network? If you haven't, you should We run anywhere from 15-20 shows a month, discussing pro wrestling, the world of MMA, the NBA, general sports, popular TV series of the past, bad movies, battle rap, interviews, MMA & Wrestling conference calls and more! Around 10 different personalities take part in the various shows, which all have a different feel; so you'll likely find something you like. All of the broadcasts are free, so go ahead and give a show a try and share the link with your friends on the Twitter Machine and other social media outlets! Running since May of 2011, there are currently over 500 shows in the archive for you to listen to.