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.
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.
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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