411 Instant Analysis 2.28.14: WWE Smackdown
Posted by Nick Sellers on 02.28.2014
Daniel Bryan & The Usos face Corporate Kane & The New Age Outlaws in 6-man tag action, Batista addresses the WWE Universe and faces Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee defends the Divas title and more! Check out 411's latest Smackdown Instant Analysis!
Disclaimer: Depending on which version of the show you've watched, the running order may be slightly different.
Note: On the version I watched, I didn't get the Real Americans vs Big E/Mark Henry tag match. Not sure if they cut it completely or just didn't go out on my overseas version.
Batista tears into the WWE Universe
THIS is how to use Batista. If you saw any of his work from the end of his last WWE run in 2010, this promo was every bit as good as some of his stuff from that time. It's great that they've responded to the crowd reactions he's been getting by switching up their plans for him and making him a full-on heel again because he was born to play that kind of role. Like so many of the greats, Batista is essentially portraying his real-life persona but with the volume turned up to 11, and you could sense in his promo that he genuinely believed everything he was saying and, in a strange way, it came from the heart. Dolph Ziggler coming out to crash his party was a nice touch too and that's a big match for later on in the show. Overall, it's great for Smackdown that they chose to have this change in direction for Batista here rather than on Raw, and it's great to have one of the big headliners around when the likes of Cena have been absent recently.
Rating: 9/10. - Can't argue with Batista's ability to come across brilliantly as a mega-star heel.
Sheamus Def. Alberto Del Rio via DQ
Good bout here between two very capable in-ring workhorses. These two can take a match in any direction they want; they can mix it up from a technical standpoint or go for the brawling game. You know you're guaranteed a good match whether they're opening or closing a show, but it is a match we've seen a fair few times now and there's not always much consequence about them. But that's where this match differs slightly due to Christian's involvement and interference; note how on commentary, Christian, Cole and JBL kept talking about his new attitude and desire to be the champion. He sees Sheamus as a roadblock on that path, hence their rivalry and their reason for feuding. It isn't much but it's SOMETHING, which makes things inherently more interesting than just your usual sequence of matches where you keep rotating the wins and losses without anything really coming of them at the end.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Good work.
-The Shield continue to argue amongst themselves but Rollins pulls everyone together and they get on the same page again. It's strange, because even though Ambrose is clearly being positioned as the heel by default, he's actually been quite heroic in that he never, ever backs down from the Wyatts. Actually he's usually the first to take the fight TO them.
Batista Def. Dolph Ziggler
Another good bout, and another good reason for switching Batista back into a heel role is that it allows the babyface to do the bulk of the flashy, quick work in the ring. This way, more bumping aside, he doesn't get so tired out and can slow things down by mocking the crowd and soaking some of the heat up. Ziggler was a good foil for him here and I imagine the likes of Daniel Bryan eventually will be too. Batista still looks like he's getting back into ring-shape in terms of the conditioning standpoint, but he has been out for a long time and it does take a while to get back into the groove. I know he's been training outside of WWE, but there's no substitute for good old fashioned 'match fitness' as we say in soccer. Give it time and he can still be a brilliant main event heel.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Give it another few months and when Batista has more match fitness they could have an even better bout.
-Bray cuts a promo on John Cena and The Shield interupt. HHH made a rematch from the 6-man at the Elimination Chamber for Raw and there was a brief skirmish. If they're Chamber PPV match is anything to go by, the Raw rematch is going to be off the hook. Maybe they'll pull the trigger on Ambrose leaving the group on Raw. If that's the case this is probably the last time we'll see The Shield as we know them.
-On the version I'm watching they replay the Big E vs Cesaro match from Raw.
Divas title - AJ Lee Def Cameron
Cameron doesn't look even remotely comfortable in the ring, so I'm glad this was quick. Good to see them put the title on the line and give people a reason to care about the match, though having Cameron as your challenger is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.
Rating: 4/10. - Lacklustre.
-Raw rebound: Undertaker returns and chokeslams Brock Lesnar through a table. Good start to the build-up for this.
Daniel Bryan & The Usos Def. Kane and The New Age Outlaws
Not bad but we've seen slightly better Smackdown main events in recent weeks. Still, Bryan builds a bit of momentum going into his feud with HHH for Wrestlemania and with that being mind it served it's intended purpose. All six looked good at one point or another and the Outlaws in particular make a fantastic top heel tag team, 14 years on from their last reign too.
Rating: 7/10. - Good TV main event without blowing the audience's minds.
An enjoyable effort this week and Batista cemented his return to heeldom, and doesn't he fit the mould perfectly? There were good promos, matches and efforts all round. More of the same, please!