411 Instant Analysis 3.14.14: WWE Smackdown
Posted by Nick Sellers on 03.14.2014
Triple H cuts a promo on Daniel Bryan, Bray Wyatt is in action against Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler faces Alberto Del Rio, The Shield run riot again and more! Check out 411's Instant Analysis on Smackdown!
Disclaimer: Depending on which version of the show you've watched, the running order may be slightly different and some segments/matches might not have even transmitted in certain regions.
-Triple H kicks us off, recapping the Occupy Raw/Yes Movement stuff before promising to end it all at Wrestlemania and stop Daniel Bryan for good. It's a great promo and his fiery delivery to sell the match made me more excited than I initially thought I would be for a Bryan/HHH confrontation. Damien Sandow getting chewed out was good natured fun, and he even sported a quick grin when he heard The Shield's music, as if to say "Yep, you got me."
Seth Rollins Def. Damien Sandow
Rollins has a massive amount of potential; He's just excellent in either face/heel alignment and whether he's in singles or tag competition he always puts on a really good match. Sandow's descent down the card in recent months is a pity, but if there's a plus point at least he's in segments with HHH and The Shield. Hopefully that's a step in the right direction. Ambrose teasing dissension for a brief moment before they triple-powerbombed Sandow was a moment of beauty.
Rating: 8/10. - Opening the show with a bang following up from HHH's promo.
Rhodes Brothers Def. Real Americans
Decent contest here, and the backdrop of the split-tease between Cesaro and Swagger was nicely done. In terms of the finish and the Usos coming down to stop the assault on the Rhodes Brothers, they might be building to a multi-team match at Wrestlemania or there might be some interaction in the Andre battle royal if they're in that match instead. Note how they've also tried to protect all three teams in this segment: Cody got the actual victory, the Real Americans got their heat back afterwards and the Usos look the part for coming out and stopping the onslaught. Match was good filler.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Good stuff all-round. Things are bubbling nicely between Cesaro/Swagger and for a tag title match at 'Mania.
Big E Def. Fandango
Very short but a nice, explosive showcase for Big E. The shorter his matches are, the more of a punch they pack and that's the best thing to do with Big E going into the Andre battle royale. It may even establish him as a top contender, which you'd expect with him being the IC Champion and all.
Rating: 6.5/0 - Short but action packed.
-Bad News Barrett rips on fans for probably falling asleep in meetings the night after Wrestlemania. That'll definitely be the case for some fans in the UK staying up in the wee hours.
-Great video package for the John Cena/Bray Wyatt collision at Wrestlemania.
Bray Wyatt Def Kofi Kingston
Great showcase for Bray, and Kofi took his offense like a trooper. What a turnaround for the former Husky Harris too; after a stinker of a match at Summerslam against Kane, he's now in a massive headline match at Wrestlemania against John Cena and he's interacting with Hulk Hogan too. Great stuff.
Rating: 7/10. - Bray's still on a roll. Business as usual for him,
-Kane wants The Shield at ringside for the main event. They tell him they'll do what's best for business.
Nikki Bella Def. Tamina
Not bad at all, and actually it was quite an enjoyable divas segment. The in-ring action was good, AJ on commentary talking about the Divas division was great. There's been some duff matches in the division recently with the likes of Cameron, but Tamina is a great heel diva and Nikki Bella isn't bad in the face role. AJ completing that piece of the puzzle and essentially providing colour and background on the goings on within the division really helps keep your interest. It's still a far cry from anything Paige and Emma do in NXT, but it's still pretty good.
Rating: 6.5/10. - Good use of Diva TV time.
Dolph Ziggler Def. Alberto De Rio
Great semi-main. Both have a fast-paced, high-octane style and it blends together wonderfully. This might actually be a great time for Ziggler to regain his place in the upper echelons of the card; With Punk on hiatus there's a spot open there for someone to take and run with it. After a few false starts, now might just be the time for him to push on and get more opportunities to headline. After all, if a hard worker like Daniel Bryan is getting a big opportunity, why wouldn't someone like Ziggler who can wrestle at a similar pace? Del Rio might have a blander than bland character, but I always enjoy watching his actual matches. This was a treat.
Rating: 8.5/10. -Terrific stuff.
-Carlos Colon is going into the Hal of Fame. Great shout, well deserved.
Big Show Def. Kane
Match was so-so, but as a segment built around Kane's ongoing problems with The Shield this worked really well. It looks like they'll go with Kane putting them in a triple threat at Wrestlemania as punishment, and it does have the potential to steal the show. But I think even after that, there's still plenty of time left for them to march on as a trio. Divided, they risk getting lost in the shuffle, but together they all remain a collective threat and that might be the best course of action. Admittedly that's just a personal preference though and maybe not what's actually the best move in the long-run. Time will tell.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Viewed as a segment to get over the Kane/Shield problems, this was great.
Stacked show this week even with a few key players missing. The Shield were the stars as usual, but Del Rio and Ziggler had an absolute belter of a bout. HHH's opening promo was great too. Everything else was pretty solid.
Rating: 7.5/10. - Thumbs up for a tight show this week.