You guys may be familiar with my last TV taping review, which was over two years ago. I finally mustered up the gumption to go to another one and this did not disappoint. I’ve been in and out on the WWE product of late, but I liked what I saw here at Smackdown.
Darren Young pinned Fandango – I wasn’t quite expecting something like this as the dark match, and truthfully I’d forgotten all about Fandango. Neither guy was super over in that “wow it’s the first match” sense, which was a bit of a bummer given that’s what I’m accustomed to at these shows. Anyway, this was basic stuff, just about what you’d expect.
Neville and Zack Ryder pinned Stardust and Tyler Breeze – Oh man, did I feel bad when I realized later on that Neville and Ryder were tagging up. At first I thought Neville was facing Ryder. Of course, Ryder didn’t get the actual pin, but nobody could be surprised by that. This was a good match, I liked what I saw. All these guys bring something to the table and work hard.
Paige submitted Summer Rae – One of the best moments of the show was when some random dude in the crowd decided to shout “THIS IS MOI HOUSE” while Paige’s music had just stopped playing. There were three women’s matches on the show and I’d say this was the second best of the three. Seemed like some people didn’t really know who Summer was, which is a disappointment. She actually got to talk, which was a recurring theme throughout the show with more and more people getting a chance to speak.
The New Day pinned The Social Outcasts – This wasn’t great as a match, but the time these guys got to talk was fantastic. Bo Dallas was the odd man out, and the other six worked a strange, unspectacular match mostly built on crowd involvement. I should also mention that New Day were getting nearly all the chants before the show. This crowd wasn’t on fire, especially in comparison to the crowd the last time I went to a show, but it was real lively. Glad I got to see these acts before WWE decides it’s time to break them up. I do feel like the Social Outcasts who worked in this match are misused, so I’m glad they get some TV time by being in a group together.
League of Nations pinned Dolph Ziggler and the Lucha Dragons – This all happened because Kevin Owens was out for commentary and distracted Ziggler, leading to Sheamus kicking him in the face and getting the pin. Nearly all the crowd involvement spots, like the lucha chant, tend to get a huge reaction. All the guys who do them get those reactions, so it stands to reason that perhaps more wrestlers need to be doing them. I’m kind of over Dolph Ziggler personally, and I do feel bad about that given that he works so hard, but it just is what it is. Wade Barrett was the odd man out in this match, which gave the superior three guys a chance to do their thing. Sin Cara is very sloppy.
Sasha Banks submitted Tamina – This was the worst of the women’s matches and I think everyone can figure out why. I dug the post-match though. Naomi was knocked off the apron by Sasha at an earlier point in the match, so she got in there and beat her up. In the end, Becky Lynch ran out there to make the save, only for Sasha to push her away when she was being helped up. In a backstage segment they shook hands.
Chris Jericho submitted the Miz – I don’t think this was, but it felt like the longest segment I’d ever been in an arena for. The Miz interrupted Jericho when he was talking about answering AJ Styles’ challenge for Fastlane, which led to a match. A really long match. I’m not saying it was bad or anything, it was just long. In the end, Jericho did all his big spots and went over. After that, AJ Styles finally made his way out there only for Jericho to reject his challenge for the PPV. AJ beat him up, and Jericho then accepted. Didn’t make sense to me and in my addled state now, it still doesn’t.
Charlotte submitted Natalya – Ric Flair being there was for a short time the highlight of the show. I marked out hard. Couldn’t stop unleashing “WOOO” throughout the whole match. Who can blame me, right? It’s probably annoying as shit to a lot of people but if it bothers you, you shouldn’t be there. A lot of people were doing it. This was the best of the three women’s matches as far as I’m concerned, and the crowd cared about this one the most. In some ways Ric Flair is a heat magnet, but the guy has to be given credit for getting people more interested in the matches. In the end, Brie Bella ran out there and decided she was going to get a piece of Charlotte. Ric Flair did a nice tumble when his daughter was kicked through the ropes, then he threw off his jacket. It was funny.
Bray Wyatt interview – I went to take a piss during this after seeing the entrance. I really just don’t care, but when I came back he was talking about everyone bowing down to him. The guy’s entrance is over, the rest I really don’t know.
R-Truth and Goldust skit – I liked this. Don’t want to spoil it. You may not like it.
Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose defeated the Dudley Boyz by disqualification – This was good, and I’m sure everyone’s read about the ending. BUT IF YOU HAVEN’T, I’m the guy to tell it. There was a great backstage segment with Paul Heyman and Dean Ambrose before this match, look out for that. So Brock Lesnar ran out there, took the Shield .6’ers to suplex city. Not before they jumped him, though. After Brock was done suplexing them, Reigns got in a Superman punch and wound up accidentally spearing Ambrose. After that, Ambrose got up and tried to finish Reigns off with Dirty Deeds, but Reigns Samoan dropped him. In the end HHH walked out there and projected the feeling that we were going to see HHH and Brock get it on at WrestleMania, but I find that incredibly unlikely.
My first thoughts about the whole thing was that the Dudleys and specifically Bubba are/is great heels. There were some lulls in terms of crowd reaction, but Bubba kept everything moving and brought people back into it. I also feel that Ambrose, Reigns, HHH, and Brock were the only people on this show that really projected star power. I can’t see WWE going in a Brock/HHH direction, but it sure felt like it. Surprisingly, nobody booed when Reigns took his buddy out. I found that interesting. The boos also weren’t as strong as I thought they’d be. Also, when Reigns’ music played at the end of the show, it started off with a round of canned boos. I know they’re canned because nobody was booing at the end of the show, and it didn’t make any sense for anyone to be booing. I also saw a shitload of people over watching Reigns as he was getting ready to enter the building. It did quite a bit to change my opinion of him.
In the dark portion, Reigns and Ambrose made up, they made some beer jokes and challenged the Dudleys to walk back out there. When they did, Bubba was carrying his boot and the Dudleys ate a finisher before heading backstage once more. I’m understating this, but I liked it a lot.
As someone who bought the ticket in very large part because Brock Lesnar was going to be there, I certainly was not disappointed. I came away with some different opinions of what’s going on than I had in the first place. I’m not going to recommend everyone get out to a show because they’re so hit and miss, but this was a fun time and money well spent. Raw is supposed to be here in April so I may get out to see that too.