411 Instant Analysis 2.07.14: WWE Smackdown
Posted by Nick Sellers on 02.07.2014
Randy Orton meets Christian in the main event, Daniel Bryan takes on Antonio Cesaro and has a few choice words for Corporate Kane, Sheamus collides with Ryback and more! It's Sellers on Smackdown with this week's blue brand Instant Analysis!
Disclaimer: Depending on which version of the show you've watched, the running order may be slightly different.
Match #1: The Shield (Ambrose & Reigns) Def. Dolph Ziggler & Kofi Kingston
Smackdown rarely opens on a bum note these days, and this week was no exception. The Shield – one of the hottest acts in the company – being in the first match was a good choice and Kofi & Dolph made credible opponents for them, bringing some much needed babyface energy to the proceedings. Nice touch with the finish, playing up to what happened on Raw and Reigns further cementing his status as the Don by giving Ambrose the pinfall. The tension between them will almost certainly come to a head in the next few weeks, but it'll be interesting to see what happens with Rollins, who recently has had to keep playing peacemaker (and he's doing well at it). Match itself was nothing out of the ordinary but was never dull, largely due to Dolph and Reigns' contributions.
Rating: 8/10. - Great start to the card.
- The Wyatt's cut a promo afterwards, with Bray mocking them for bickering like children and warning them that behind his eyes lurks a monster. Luke Harper weighs in warning them anyone opposing them will basically burn. Nice to see Harper getting some lines in now. Another great promo and this is going to be some clash at the Chamber PPV. Totally sold.
Daniel Bryan and Kane trade insults
First thing to point out is that this is a HOT crowd tonight (assuming it isn't all piped. Doesn't seem that way though), and they really added to this little bit with the former Team Hell No. Bryan warmed them up nicely and his verbal attack on Kane was great, questioning what happened to the Devil's favourite demon, and Kane's retort that he's traded in the bowels of the arena for an executive office. A Kane/Bryan rivalry in the interim isn't such a bad idea after all on this evidence.
Rating: 9/10. - Hot crowd, good points made from both parties. Nice microphone duel, as it were.
- Not sure if this is a German version exclusive, but Zeb and Cesaro are talking about the Chamber match and Cesaro is translating. They start talking about Swagger when the man himself walks in. It's all a little awkward. Was actually a good little backstage skit, track it down online if it isn't in your TV version.
- There's another Alexsander Rusev promo, with Lana in tow. The way she says "Brute force" made me change my underwear, if you catch my drift. She's a sort.
Match #2: AJ Lee Def. Nikki Bella
Pretty quick and maybe they tried to cram in a little too much in that time, because Nikki seemed to get blown up pretty quickly and the match barely got a chance to flow. Still, a decent victory for AJ who's done her fair share of jobs of late.
Rating: 5/10. - Too quick but the right decision.
The Primetime Players explode
Loved this segment. I can already see Titus being a hit as a heel once he gets more comfortable in the role again ("I've got a beautiful smile!") and it's good that they gave Darren Young such a strong rebuttal with the attack, because it restores his heat from looking like such a chump last week. Considering this angle is only really a week old, its already got a little steam about it.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Titus played the mightier-than-thou heel quite well and this angle has got some legs.
- Del Rio talked some more trash about Batista. Del Rio needs to rock the posh outfits more often because he really looks the part!
Match #3: Daniel Bryan Def. Antonio Cesaro
Rock solid from these two and you'd expect nothing less. They had great chemistry and the finish (Bryan used a tilt-a-whirl head scissors to transition into the Yes Lock) was superbly executed. This match was a microcosm of how to do wrestling exactly right: Having superb in-ring action yet with colourful and vibrant characters. Daniel Bryan has already proven he can cut good promos and his connection with the audience is obvious, and Cesaro has a nice pantomime villian thing going on with the Real American's schtick. Cesaro getting a measure of revenge post-match before Kane came out was a nice touch to keep him looking like a threat going into the Chamber PPV in spite of the loss here.
Rating: 8.5/10. - As much as I've hyped it up, and it was great, I don't want to kid everyone into thinking this was a ***** classic between two workrate darlings of the IWC, but it was still very, very good.
- Randy Orton runs down his Elimination Chamber opponents. Question, why does Del Rio get to dress so sharply while the man carrying the two World titles in addition to being the Authority's hand-picked face of the company just walks around in a t-shirt all the time? He doesn't look like a REAL champion, he just looks like a guy in a t-shirt. He just doesn't look or feel the part, and that's probably the biggest gripe I have about the way they've used him. If you don't want to put a suit on him, give him a badass robe or something to make him look like a true prizefighter type of dude. Something. Anything. Except fucking t-shirts all the time that don't even look that great in the first place. It would also help if he could even remotely stand a chance of grabbing the audience's attention when he speaks, which he just can't do and hasn't been doing for months now.
Match #4: Sheamus Def. Ryback
Wasn't expecting much from this, but I was surprised in how good it actually turned out. For once, Ryback didn't look totally limited in terms of what he could do (he even went to the top rope!) and for whatever reason they seemed to be extremely motivated tonight. Ryback countering the Brogue Kick into a Powerbomb was a nice surprise too. Sheamus winning was the obvious choice as he prepares for the Elimination Chamber, but Ryback deserves credit for making him look the part.
Rating: 8/10. - A surprisingly really good big-man match.
- They play a clip from Triple H's Wednesday interview on WWE.com. If you watch the whole thing, there's a great bit at the end where they bleep out HHH swearing at Cole. "Hey, don't ask me that sh**."
Match #5: Bray Wyatt Def. Goldust
Think I've mentioned this before, but when the Wyatt's arrive in the arena on Smackdown, they edit it so they're in the ring almost straight away in between their entrance idents, which I like. I also like how they play up to the fact that if anyone's more bizarre than Goldust, it's Bray (JBL: This is a psychiatrist's dream!). Match itself was short but sweet, and the Wyatt's still look to be a force to be reckoned with. As for Cody & Goldust, there wasn't much sign of them building towards a singles program between them so maybe they're holding it off until after the Chamber PPV.
Rating: 6.5/10. - Too short to get going but perfectly watchable. Goldust made a good foil for Bray as another bizarre character to do battle with.
- The Shield offer a retort from earlier immediately after the Wyatt's finish the match. Roman Reigns as usual has the best line "It seems that you just don't understand. Fortunately, we have methods of MAKING people understand." It all adds to a blockbuster PPV clash, and even with the heel vs heel dynamic it should be a corker.
Match #6: Randy Orton Def. Christian.
These two had a neat little series going a couple of years or so ago, and this followed much the same trend in terms of the match style, only this time with the heel/face alignments reversed. Here's the thing with Orton; His actual in-ring work ranges from solid to very, very good. That's where he's a great hand to have and you can see why many in the industry think he's a good worker. But for me the biggest problem is his whole aura outside of it. As for Christian, I make that two decent Smackdown outings since his return although he isn't really doing anything differently that we haven't seen from him since his initial WWE return after his TNA stint. Still, the matches tonight have been pretty good and this closed the broadcast nicely. A decisive win for Orton keeps him strong going into his next endeavours and Christian remained competitive despite the loss.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Nothing new but executed well and a decent match to go out on.
No major complaints again this week, just a few niggles here and there. Almost every match delivered tonight and we got some more great promos. Smackdown may not be perceived to be the A show, but in terms of consistency it's far outweighing Raw and they seem to be able to pack in just as much decent content in 2 hours as opposed to 3, sometimes even more so.
Rating: 8/10. - Great matches and great promos again this week which makes doing this little gig for 411 all worthwhile.