411 Instant Analysis 2.14.14: Sellers on Smackdown
Posted by Nick Sellers on 02.15.2014
Cesaro squares off with Randy Orton in the main event, The Shield are in 6-man tag action against Sheamus, Christian & Daniel Bryan, there's a Fatal Fourway to crown a new #1 contender to the IC title and more! 411's Instant Analysis on Smackdown is here!
Disclaimer: Depending on which version of the show you've watched, the running order may be slightly different.
Match #1: The Shield Def Daniel Bryan, Christian & Sheamus
Good start to Smackdown as you'd expect from the six involved here, with the action building up nicely throughout. I know we've seen Shield six-mans by the bucket-load over the last twelve months, but when the eventual split does happen we're going to miss these matches involving them as a collective trio. No matter who they're up against in these matches, the formula allows everyone to produce a cracker and get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy, especially when you have someone like Daniel Bryan who live audiences always go nuts for. The babyface team will all be competing against each other at the Chamber anyway and The Shield continue to look strong going into the clash with the Wyatts. All good.
Rating: 8/10. - Great start.
Match #2: The Miz Def Fandango
At least Fandango is moving on from feuding with Xavier Woods and R-Truth. Miz did what he could to get the crowd into it and depending on how much piped chanting they edited in, which I didn't think was too much, he did alright. Match was ok, nothing more, and in the end proved to just be a backdrop for the Emma/Summer Raye feud anyway.
Rating: 6.5/10. - As one of my recapping predecessors would say "Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling."
- They are now billing Antonio Cesaro merely by his last name (they even have his name taped up on his Real Americans jacket). He will prove tonight that not only can he become champion, he WILL become champion. Short but sweet promo.
Match #3: Fatal Four way #1 contenders match for the IC title – Jack Swagger Def Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry & Rey Mysterio
That was a shit hot fatal four way! Lots of cool sequences and false finishes with Rey and Kofi doing the bulk of the work, before Swagger added some technique of his own (sweet double German suplex) and Mark Henry bringing the power game. Lots of different dynamics all coming together brilliantly. It's also nice to see a Smackdown midcard match with an actual consequence to it, something we don't see enough of. Would love to see more number 1 contender matches for the different titles going forward.
Rating: 9/10. - Excellent! Great match and a reason to actually fight for a prize at the end of it.
Match #4: The Usos & Rhodes Brothers Def The New Age Outlaws & Rybaxel
Ran a little too long for my liking and the crazy pace of the four way match meant that whatever followed it was always going to struggle by comparison. Still, the tag title picture is coming together exactly how I expected: The Rhodes Brothers would transition them onto the Outlaws, and soon they'll be passed on to the Usos. Totally fine with that.
Rating: 7/10. - The stuff between the Usos and Outlaws worked well, but the other four didn't contribute much of note.
- Rene Young interviews Randy Orton. Had little to say, as usual. All of my previous criticism of Orton and how he's being utilized as a champion stand.
Match #5: Darren Young Def Damien Sandow
Just a segment to keep the Young/Titus O'Neil feud going. Looking at it purely as a segment rather than a match, and ignoring Damine Sandow's spectacular fall from grace, this was well worked and Titus already fits seamlessly into his heel role.
Rating: 7/10. - Good segment rather than a match.
Match #6: Cesaro Def Randy Orton
Quite the upset, but Cesaro went over clean as a whistle and put in a solid performance to boot. These two had great chemistry in terms of a hard-hitting yet technical style and I thought it was an excellent main event once the pace picked up. Strangely, Zeb, one of the best heel managers in recent memory (one of the only ones, for that matter) actually did a nice job of getting the crowd behind Cesaro from the outside. JBL and Cole on commentary also did a good job highlighting how it's a massive moment in Cesaro's career and how a star has been made. The dropping of Cesaro's first name is an odd call and I'm not entirely sure why they did it, but there you go. Still, this was great.
Rating: 8.5/10. - Cesaro gets the biggest win of his career to date in a terrific main event.
Has a new star been born? Time will tell, but this week's edition brought about mainly good matches and saw a couple of good angles advanced, so everyone's happy, right?
Rating: 8/10. - Another good edition. So far, SD is outweighing Raw in 2014 in the quality stakes.