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Smackdown - March 19, 2015

Date: March 19, 2015
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

With ten days to go before Wrestlemania, it's time for the hard sell to the biggest show of the year. Given the recent trends on Smackdown, this show is going to be built around the Intercontinental Title match, which has gone from a huge match to everyone trying to one up each other. Let's get to it.

We open with clips from Brock's sitdown interview on Raw, talking about how he likes to hurt people and saying he'll be WWE Champion if he stays or not. They better have a plan if they keep the belt on him.

Opening sequence.

Here's Roman Reigns to get things going. Before he can get past “Heyman and Lesnar think they can intimidate me”, Mark Henry comes out to interrupt. Henry came out here last week to see what Reigns had, and that's what Reigns did. Naturally we have a clip of what happened because just telling us what happened would be too simple. Instead, let's show a minute long video of a beating. Based on that, Henry is putting all his money on Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania, because Reigns can and will beat him.

Cue the Authority with Kane asking when Mark Henry became the World's Biggest Self Help Guru. Rollins holds up the briefcase and ominously says that anything can happen at Wrestlemania. There won't be any Randy Orton tonight because the best security team has locked every door and blocked every entrance. Of course that's just for Orton's protection, because why would Rollins be scared of him? As for tonight though, Rollins thinks he needs a Wrestlemania tuneup. Therefore, tonight it's Reigns/Henry vs. Kane/Rollins. Kane: “Believe in the Authority.”

Tatsumi Fujinami is going into the Hall of Fame. I know he's a legend, but they're not exactly knocking this class out of the park outside of Savage.

Brie Bella vs. Paige

AJ and Nikki are on commentary because we need a five man booth. Paige spears Brie through the ropes to start and pounds her on the announcers' table. AJ: “I taught her how to slap.” Back in and Brie gets two off a middle rope missile dropkick before we hit the chinlock forty seconds into the match.

A clothesline gets two and we're on the second chinlock less than ninety seconds in. Back up and a double clothesline puts both girls down before Brie hits the running knee against the ropes. She lays back on Paige for the cover and gets rolled up for a pin at 2:28. The match wasn't two and a half minutes long and it had two chinlocks. How can this woman be married to Daniel Bryan and not be better than that by osmosis?

Recap of Seth vs. Orton on Monday with Sting making the big save. That really was an awesome moment and the best thing Sting has done since debuting.

Noble and Mercury tell security to keep an entrance open. They aren't pleased when they're not called sir.

Gauntlet Match

The participants are all of Barrett's challengers and we start with Ambrose vs. Stardust. Dean slugs away to start and Stardust bails out to the floor. The rebound clothesline connects but Stardust gets two off a Disaster Kick. A release front suplex drops Dean again and Barrett is watching from the back. Stardust tries a sunset flip but Dean drops down on him ala British Bulldog vs. Bret for the pin at 2:18.

Stardust, ever the nice guy, jumps Dean after the match and sends him shoulder first into the post twice in a row. R-Truth is in third and beats up Stardust, only to walk into Dirty Deeds for the pin at 3:02 total. Harper is in fourth with an inset interview talking about how they took his freedom away. Now he's using you to set them all free. He's been talking to Bray again hasn't he?

Back from a break with Dean hammering away in the battle of undershirts and jeans. Harper goes after the bad arm to take over and we hit the chinlock. Notice that it's one instead of two and we're over five minutes in. Dean is sent face first into the buckle and gets locked in a crossface. Back up and Dean sends him to the floor, setting up the running standing elbow drop.

The discus lariat is countered into a rollup for two and it's back to the crossface. When all else fails, Dean bites the hand to escape and slugs away. The running dropkick against the ropes and la majistral get two for Dean but he eats a superkick, only to knock him into the ropes for the rebound clothesline to drop both guys. Back up and Dirty Deeds is countered into the discus lariat and the sitout powerbomb is enough for the pin at 12:50 total.

Daniel Bryan is in fifth and starts with Harper after a break. During said break, Mercury and Noble yelling at security guards. They check someone's credentials and let him in for a scene that doesn't seem to mean anything. Back in the arena with Bryan wrapping Harper's knee around the post a few times before firing off the kicks. He even gets Harper up for the full surfboard and lifts him up for a YES chant.

More YES Kicks have Harper in trouble so he picks Bryan up and throws him out to the floor. Luke slows things down with a headlock but Bryan knee crushes his way to freedom. That's fine with Harper as he just punches Bryan in the face to put him down. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Bryan goes right back to the knee. A headscissors takes Harper to the floor and there's the Flying Goat for good measure.

Back in again and we get more YES Kicks but the big one is countered into the half nelson suplex for two. The discus lariat is kicked away but the left arm version blasts Bryan for another near fall. Luke is getting frustrated but Bryan helps him out by tripping the leg and putting on something like a heel hook for the submission at 25:33 total.

That only leaves Dolph Ziggler in sixth and we take another break before the bell. They lock up to start until Bryan takes him into the corner for more kicks. Ziggler goes a bit more conventional with right hands to the head but misses a Stinger splash. Bryan busts out a top rope hurricanrana but Dolph rolls through into a sunset flip for two. Both try cross bodies and both get knocked to the mat as we take another break.

Back again with Bryan working on the shoulder after sending him into the post while we were away. Daniel gets crotched on top but he counters a superplex attempt by crotching Ziggler right back. Dolph keeps up the countering by reversing the belly to back superplex into a cross body for two more. Bryan responds by kicking him in the face for the same as the fans (or at least the canned noise) are way into this. The running knee is blocked by a superkick but he can't follow up. The YES Lock goes on in the middle of the ring but Ziggler rolls out, ducks a big kick and grabs the Zig Zag for the pin at 27:36.

Rating: B+. It took some time to get going but the Bryan vs. Ziggler stuff was awesome. I can see those two building a roof on Levi's Stadium just so they could blow it off at Wrestlemania, but instead they're just throwing everyone into a ladder match. Really good and long match here, especially once they stopped with the quick eliminations.

Post match Barrett comes in and talks about a code, only to nail Dolph in the face. Bryan gets up and takes the microphone to the face. Both guys get Bull Hammers as well.

We look at Bray's promo from Monday.

LL Cool J video. People still care about him right?

The Divas give their predictions on AJ/Paige vs. the Bellas. As expected, the decision is split. This is giving them a chance I suppose?

Recap of the Cena/Rusev contract signing from Monday.

Another bit with the security.

Cesaro/Tyson Kidd/Natalya vs. El Torito/Los Matadores

Interspecies match. Well of course it is. Cesaro runs Diego over for two to start but a dropkick sends him into the corner. Off to Natalya vs. Torito for some pelvic thrusting, meaning Kidd tags himself in to face Fernando. Kidd takes it outside and trips Fernando up to send him face first into the apron. Back in and the hot tag brings in Diego with a springboard shot to the head as everything breaks down. Los Matadores dive onto the champs, leaving us with Natalya vs. Torito for the featured part of the match. Torito armdrags her down but gets caught in a sitout powerbomb for the pin at 3:49.

Rating: D. We're ten days from Wrestlemania and this is what we're seeing from the Tag Team Champions. I mean......dang man. The best we can get is an unfunny idea of woman vs. bull, because there are still people out there that think it's really a bull? Who could speak English? This kind of stuff is absurd and makes me hate this show more and more every time.

Seth Rollins/Kane vs. Roman Reigns/Mark Henry

And there's no Henry as we cut to the back and see him out cold. Rollins brings out a bunch of security to have his back. Maybe they're Noble and Mercury's students. Kane starts for his team and Mercury offers a trip, allowing the Big Bald to score with a boot to the face. Off to Rollins as the fans chant for Randy. Not the #1 contender and future main eventer mind you, but a guy not here.

Seth whips Reigns into a side slam for two and the bad looking running DDT gets the same. Rollins comes back in for some slow shots to the back and something like a downward spiral into the middle buckle. We're just waiting for Orton at this point and it's showing badly. Roman fights back with a forearm to Kane, followed by the tilt-a-whirl slam to Rollins. The Authority regroups but Rollins dives into a Superman Punch and the spear ends Kane at 5:07.

Rating: D. This match summed up the major problem with Roman Reigns: he could have been any given upper level guy and the match would have been the exact same thing. This was five minutes of waiting around for Orton to come out because that's the story we're seeing. Can you imagine that happening to Steve Austin or Daniel Bryan? No, because those guys commanded the audience's attention whenever they were on screen. Reigns is just another guy here and it's very clear that he isn't someone the fans are ready to cheer as the new top man.

Rollins throws a fit and here's Orton (in wrestling gear for no logical reason) to beat up the security. Noble and Mercury take RKOs, allowing Rollins to escape to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. That Reigns match really told you everything you needed to know about this Wrestlemania season. The main feuds have little heat and the whole show is built around Undertaker, Sting and Lesnar barely appearing or not saying anything. Combine that with the fans just not being interested in Reigns at the moment (and again, a lot of that isn't on him) and this is coming off as a pretty weak year.

As for the show, the Intercontinental Title match made for a good performance but that's not what we're getting at Wrestlemania. The Divas did their usual stuff, the comedy wasn't funny, and the main event was your standard scene with someone AMAZINGLY making it past security to get into the building. This felt like any given Thursday in June, not the next to last Smackdown before Wrestlemania.

Paige b. Brie Bella – Rollup
Dolph Ziggler won a gauntlet match last eliminating Daniel Bryan
Natalya/Cesaro/Tyson Kidd b. El Torito/Los Matadores – Powerbomb to Torito
Roman Reigns/Mark Henry b. Kane/Seth Rollins – Spear to Kane

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  1. At the least, Reigns actually won, but the story of "will Orton show up?" sure doesn't bode well.

  2. Re: Brie- Because, to quote the birthday woman, "talent is not sexually transmitted."

    Re: Reigns- Orton was the Chekov's gun: the crowd wasn't expecting the match (or at least the show) to end without Orton appearing. It was just like the Raw 10 days ago, when the handicap main event featuring Reigns against Rollins/Orton was just a set up to that angle. Yes, Roman does not have the connection with the fans that an Attitude Era star did or Bryan/Punk at their peaks did, but the storylines are presenting him as an afterthought, a means to further a seemingly more important (or certainly more focused upon of late) storyline.

    Wasn't there a Foley promo where he was bitter that while he was being beaten up or laid out, the fans were chanting for Austin (who wasn't even in the match/segment)? Unless I've imagined a promo that I can hear in my head, that would show that even much more over wrestlers could be viewed as it sounds like Reigns was, depending on how (as you say) the story is presented. You would think they'd be doing even more to protect Reigns since he needs so much more help, but they really are doing a poor job of making him seem like a big deal.

    I wish they had kept Reigns and Rollins apart for a while so that their (potential) feud when Seth cashes in would have more of a novelty feeling, but it feels like they've wrestled so many times in just the last few months.

  3. "Yep Mode" Abeyance Brown ©March 19, 2015 at 8:36 PM

    The fact that Ziggler and Bryan put on a great match tonight makes me disappointed that we couldn't have something like that at Mania.
    Also, I thought that the way Randy beat up those security guards seemed kind of cool.

  4. Catching up on the show...I keep reading Bryan has cooled off...compared to the rest of the show, that's a damning indictment of the show. If he's cool, the rest is ice because the last few crowds have been red hot when he's out there.

  5. Don't worry, WWE are still working on killing it of completely. This week they've started taking signs away.

  6. I keep thinking they are positioning reigns as an afterthought because they are gonna turn him heel.

    Heyman keeps putting him over.

  7. Reigns as a silent kicker of ass with Heyman as his mouthpiece would be perfectly acceptable by me.

  8. Yeah, they've managed to replace "YES! YES! YES!" with "M'EH! M'EH! M'EH!"

  9. Daniel O'ReillyMarch 19, 2015 at 11:09 PM

    That and/or Rollins cashing in are the only things that will redeem what will otherwise be a terrible main event.

  10. *for the future of Reigns

  11. Better picture of it:

  12. The first 2 of this season weren't anywhere near Season 1-3 quality, but they had their moments.

    Virtual Reality Dean was just awesome. And the begging montage had me rolling (especially the look on the hiring manager's face).

    And who wouldn't want to go to Greendale Computery College?

    Neither episode was classic, but I don't hate them.

    I want evil Chang back, though. As funny as "I got bit by a cat" was, it still wasn't great.

  13. There's a certain thrill in slapping a girl across the face while you're banging her, that is the only slapping a man should do. Wrestlers all seem to do it because they are concerned with hurting their hands maybe?


  15. Charlie's stand up blows. So does Chris Rock's brother's.

  16. I'll fucking say it: I'm glad Dave stopped when he did. A little bit of unparalleled greatness outweighs going on too long and ending up getting stale. The three (?) Seasons of Chappelles' s Show are amongst the greatest things in the history of American comedy, and part of that is how few of them we got vs how amazing they were.

    Although Dave will be back someday. As he said, it gets old sitting at home watching Key & Peele do your show every week.

  17. This movie deserves the sequels that Spider-Man and Fantastic Four have gotten.

  18. Key & Peele aren't funny though

  19. They better hope so?

    Unless anyone has better numbers, saw a few places reference around 650k buys for Starcade.

  20. Didn't they replay it on Nitro during the whole controversy over the 3 count thing?

  21. That's fucking terrible man. All the stats used are bullshit, but yeah, call it out and you're just considered a rape apologist. Horrendous.

  22. That Foley promo was after Cactus and Charlie were beaten down by DX and the crowd chanted for Austin to make the save. That was the "it's gonna be a long time before you see Cactus Jack again" promo.

  23. Um, yeah.

  24. ... and in 20 years... the cost of a Pizza Hut pizza remains the same.

    Meaning, they were SCREWING everybody back then.

  25. I haven't seen people walking around wearing his shirt so he's not that over right now.

  26. Battle Kat LitterMarch 20, 2015 at 5:21 AM

    I was watching X-7 last night for the first time in a while. It made me happy. Everything about it is great. It's got The Fink, it's got JR and Heyman on commentary. The crowd is great too. There's no stony silence; they boo the shit out of RTC and pop nicely for Tazz and the APA - and that's the biggest filler match on the card. A good crowd makes SOOOO much difference. More effort was made with the entire card back then. I haven't even got to the best matches yet and it's already a joy to watch.

    But yeah, I digress. Smackdown! Um, Reigns... and, um... stuff. Yep.

  27. Battle Kat LitterMarch 20, 2015 at 5:23 AM

    Vince has spies everywhere, in every town, on every street. Anyone wearing a Bryan shirt gets bundled into the back of a van and taken away for 'reprogramming'

  28. Stop doing this! You get called out every time! Quote Meltzer from the Observer, not from anywhere else. That's where Meltzer writes.

  29. As an Aaron, I waffle on that. They have some good skits and some bad ones, but yeah they've changed my life.

  30. Three Count? The guys danced! What's the controversy?

  31. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonMarch 20, 2015 at 6:39 AM

    The skits with Lil' Jon, "Does Wayne Brady have to choke a bitch?" or "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong" are up there

  32. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonMarch 20, 2015 at 6:48 AM

  33. Some questioned whether it was actually 3 Count and Tank singing on those songs. And as for being big in Europe? Je suis un European, and I never heard of them!

  34. Charismatic eNegro Jef VinsonMarch 20, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    "How can this woman be married to Daniel Bryan and not be better than that by osmosis?"

    In the words of AJ Lee "Talent isn't sexually transmitted."

  35. I' never really watched them, I just read a Chappelle quote where he said thst, thought it was pretty funny.

  36. Burt Macklin, FBIMarch 20, 2015 at 2:55 PM

    The first paintball episode is a classic. I agree about the second. Still quality but not up to the level of the first one.

  37. This is part of a Ziggler heel turn, right?

    The hair is darker. The whole "turd" thing. Fighting Daniel Bryan.

    Although it's more proof that the WWE can't figure out how to create faces who get over (and make sense) does make a certain amount of sense. You can run Bryan vs Ziggler and have some great matches with proper dynamic, rather than trying to explain why you've got a face vs face match booked.

    ...and, it gives the WWE a reason to not bury Daniel Bryan or crush his fan support.


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