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Smackdown - April 16, 2015

Date: April 16, 2015
Location: 02 Arena, London, England
Attendance: 10,000
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It's time for the last TV show of the European tour. You can see most of the Extreme Rules card from here as a lot of the stipulations have been announced. The main event will see Randy Orton challenging Seth Rollins inside a cage with the RKO banned. A few things still need to be filled in on the card though as we've got less than two weeks to go. Let's get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here's John Cena to open things up. Why is he always surprised that a British crowd is booing a loud American talking about how great his country is and bragging about being the champion of his country? After a quick look at Rusev's attack on Monday, Cena goes over the rules of the Russian chain match, which is the four corners version. There's a chance that he won't even be in it though because he's issuing another open challenge RIGHT NOW.

He gets Cesaro/Kidd/Natalya, but they're not here to accept the challenge. Instead, they're here to drop FACTS. Cena has been out here pandering to the crowd (fact!) and saying London deserves a Wrestlemania (fact!) but that's a blatant lie. They think the “please retire” chants should have been directed at Cena, which the fans here don't seem to agree with. Cena tells either guy to bring it on but cue Daniel Bryan to even things up.

Bryan has heard Cesaro and Kidd calling themselves the greatest champions in WWE today but he'd like to ask the fans what they think. When he gets to himself he changes it to being the most handsome man in WWE. That gets a mixed reaction, so Bryan just asks for the tag match to get the fans back on his side. Kidd quickly accepts so we can have the Tag Team Champions lose twice in four days. As a consolation prize, they've got something with that FACT line.

Neville vs. Sheamus tonight. That would be the third World Champion he's fought out of the four opponents he's faced.

Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth

Lawler calls this a rare in ring appearance for Wyatt. That's true as it's been a whole week since we last saw him wrestle on Smackdown. Truth hammers away and actually puts Bray down. We get the pelvic thrust but Bray spiders up and nails an uppercut. The chokeslam is countered so Wyatt just runs him over and hits Sister Abigail for the pin at 1:38. That's the fifth time Bray has squashed Truth on TV in just over a year.

We look back at the Divas battle royal on Monday and Naomi jumping Paige post match, sending her off to film a movie.

This week's interview is with Roman Reigns, who says he's going to get back up every time Big Show puts him down. He's speaking in just above a whisper.

Here's Miz with something to say. Mizdow got lucky on Monday because he made Mizdow what he is, just like he made Summer Rae and the Marine 4 into a soon to be success. Cue Bad News Barrett who says we're in London tonight. The fans aren't here to see a pretend movie star, because they want to see the future six time Intercontinental Champion.

Miz vs. Bad News Barrett

Miz spends 27 seconds taking off his sunglasses and turns into the Bull Hammer for the pin at 34 seconds. I think the fans have forgotten Monday's loss to Cena.

We recap Orton and Rollins on Raw with both guys winning matches to earn a stipulation for the title match at Extreme Rules.

Damien Mizdow and Summer Rae are with Renee Young and celebrate the win on Monday when Miz comes in. He isn't cool with Mizdow using his gimmick, but Summer says Mizdow does Miz better than Miz. Mizdow takes off his sunglasses and starts imitating Miz again before challenging Miz to one more match on Monday for the whole Miz character. Summer talks Miz into taking the match, pretty much guaranteeing that she turns on Mizdow. She slaps him for good measure.

Sheamus vs. Neville

Neville is now billed as sensational. Before the match, Sheamus says Neville is a tiny little man, just like Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. He brags about being from the real Ireland and his people don't like the English. Neville puts the mouthpiece in and is shoved into the corner for some forearms to the back. Some front flips give Neville some room to hit a running hurricanrana to send Sheamus outside for a twisting flip dive.

Back in and Sheamus rolls away before Neville can try the Red Arrow. Instead Neville dives at Sheamus but gets caught in a tilt-a-whirl slam on the floor. Back with Neville fighting out of a chinlock but Sheamus picks him up for a suplex and just throws him down in a big crash. The Irish Curse plants Neville and we hit another chinlock. This one doesn't last as long though and Neville avoids a charge, sending Sheamus' shoulder into the post. A running kick to the face and the standing moonsault get two for Neville and Sheamus is staggered.

Neville breaks up the ten forearms and ducks a Brogue Kick before hitting a missile dropkick. A kick to the head in the corner sets up the Red Arrow but it's a middle rope Phoenix Splash for two more instead. Now he goes up for the Red Arrow but gets crotched down, but Neville counters White Noise into a sunset flip for two. Back up and Sheamus clotheslines him out to the floor and drops him onto the announcers' table for the DQ at 10:53.

Rating: B. I liked this far more than I was expecting to as Neville continues to be one of the best pushed rookies in a long time. A few months back, the rumors came in that he was going to be Mighty Mouse and I think people too that too literally. They saw it as something like the Hurricane when it was really going to be more like what Superstar Bill Dundee saw himself as: a guy who was about 5'7 but saw himself as 6'4.

Neville is a small guy who has been thrown out there with three World Champions and a former Intercontinental Champion but hasn't backed down an inch. If they keep this up and have him start winning some of these matches, such as this one here, fans are going to stop seeing him as an underdog and start seeing him as an equal. In other words, they're going past the period of wasting him in squash matches and throw him right into the big time. You don't see that too often these days but it might work wonders for him.

The key here though was Sheamus didn't squash Neville and then lose on a fluke. Neville was going move for move with Sheamus here and had some near falls. It wasn't like Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick and threw an unconscious Neville over the table for the DQ. Neville came off like he could hang with Sheamus, which is quite the accomplishment for someone headlining NXT house shows a month ago. I'm excited about this guy and he could be something special if this keeps up.

Sheamus throws him back inside and drives knees into his head until Dolph Ziggler comes out for the save. Sheamus bails but Ziggler grabs the mic and says no one from the Germans to the Bronies to the Irish like Sheamus. Ziggler is going to stand up to Sheamus but Sheamus tells him what he can kiss. He means it literally though, because they're having a Kiss Me Arse match at Extreme Rules. To recap: Neville vs. Sheamus and Ziggler were entertaining matches but the match between the two stars has a comedy stipulation. I think I prefer it that way actually.

Los Matadores vs. New Day

Big E.'s entrance: “OH O2! It may not be the USA but I guess it'll do!” Diego chops Big E. to start but gets stomped down in the corner. You can tell New Day is officially heel now as they're in the bottom right hand corner of the ring and that's where heels always stand. Off to Kofi who walks into a jawbreaker and springboards into a shot to the ribs. Fernando gets two off a rollup and everything breaks down. Trouble in Paradise drops Diego as Torito armdrags Woods. The Midnight Hour ends Fernando at 2:33.

We recap Fandango dumping Rosa.

In the back, Fandango reiterates that Rosa is dumped. He leaves and the Rosebuds run by in a scene that only makes sense in wrestling or on Monty Python. Rose says Rosa can be #1 again in a certain somebody's life. Think about it.

Here's Big Show with something to say. This past Monday proved that English people suck because they don't appreciate the fact that he's the best giant of all time. No one in the world, including Roman Reigns, can stop him. Show doesn't answer to anyone but the Authority because he doesn't see Reigns as anything but a victim of an automobile crash.

This Monday, it was the car getting hit by Reigns and we see a clip of Show throwing him at the car. Then he kneed Roman in the head, complete with clip. The chokeslam on top of the car gets the same treatment to really stretch this out. Show sits on top of the car and shows us a clip of Reigns walking off under his own power. That's not cool with Big Show, so it's a last man standing match at Extreme Rules. Man, if there's one thing that the least interesting feud in the world needed, it was a six minute segment from one of the most boring talkers in years. That's got my money for sure.

Cameron vs. Alicia Fox vs. Natalya

I sit through a Big Show promo and my reward is a Cameron match??? Cameron gets double teamed to start and knocked to the floor. Fox bails to the ropes to avoid the Sharpshooter but Cameron comes back in with a rollup for two on Natalya. It's Fox taking over by running over both girls with clotheslines, only to get taken down for Natalya's stepover into the basemant dropkick for two. A superkick drops Cameron for two but she gets in a forearm to Fox's jaw.

Cameron makes the mistake of going up though and gets caught in the top of a Tower of Doom to put everyone down. Fox is thrown outside, leaving Cameron to trade rollups with Natalya for two each. Believe it or not, Cameron doesn't horribly botch anything! She's improving! Natalya puts Cameron in the Sharpshooter, then does the same to Fox, only to break it up to throw Cameron outside. Fox kicks her in the face and nails the ax kick but Cameron throws Fox to the floor and pins Natalya at 4:45.

Rating: D+. The match wasn't bad but they're really pushing Cameron as something now? Their idea to make us care about the Divas is to have Cameron and the Bellas getting pushed? Oh and Paige is going on vacation and Naomi is now a heel. Natalya is heel as well so who in the world is left as a face? Alicia? Emma? Summer? I'm blanking on anyone else.

Post match Alicia throws a fit so I guess we really are down to just Emma and Summer (I'm guessing until Monday) as face Divas. Really, who else is there?

Fandango vs. Adam Rose

Fandango scores with an early dropkick and clotheslines Rose to the floor for a slingshot dive. Rosa comes out to yell at Fandango, allowing Rose to baseball slide him down. Back in and Adam looks at Rosa, setting up the rollup to give Fandango the pin at 1:24.

Bray Wyatt asks what happens when you lose it all. Eventually you're going to be all alone with nothing but regret. You should be more careful because the reaper walks in the daylight.

John Cena/Daniel Bryan vs. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro

Cena and his black eye start against Kidd with John shoving him down. It's off to Cesaro for a test of strength but Kidd gets in a cheap shot from the apron to take over. He comes back in legally for a front facelock, followed by a spinning kick to the face for two. Cesaro knocks Bryan off the apron to break up a hot tag attempt and gets two off a suplex.

Cena sends Cesaro into the corner and Kidd out to the floor but Tyson pulls Bryan off the apron. The STF on Cesaro is quickly broken up behind the referee's back and Kidd hits a low dropkick to Cena for two. Cena hits a quick backdrop (totally different than the AA of course) and the hot tag finally brings in Bryan.

A series of right hands sets up the moonsault out of the corner but he hits a running boot through the ropes instead of the Flying Goat to Cesaro. There are the YES Kicks in the corner followed by a top rope hurricanrana for two. Both Tag Team Champs get YES Kicks but Bryan has to yell at Natalya. Kidd accidentally knocks her off the apron and into Cesaro, allowing Bryan to YES Lock Kidd for the win at 7:49.

Rating: C. Oh yeah they're protecting Bryan. Other than being pulled off the apron and a rollup by Kidd, Bryan was never hit with any offensive moves. About 90% of his offense was strikes and the only high spots were that hurricanrana and the moonsault. The match was fine, but they really had to make the champs lose clean for the second time in a week? You can't do a countout or something?

Bryan and Cena celebrate to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. Neville vs. Sheamus was good but this was a very skippable show otherwise. It's so sad to see Bryan's neck flaring up so soon and it's clear he can't do much at the moment. I thought the worries about the neck were keeping him out of the main event and if that's the case, WWE seems to have been justified in not going with him so soon.

The rest of the show was nothing much to see, but I'm really interested to see how they get out of this mess with the Divas. Either someone is being called up or Paige is going to be very busy in the near future, as I really don't think anyone but maybe Emma is still a face on the main roster and most of the heels were recently turned. Nothing show here but Extreme Rules is coming up soon, meaning we can hopefully get away from the Wrestlemania rematches.

Bray Wyatt b. R-Truth – Sister Abigail
Bad News Barrett b. Miz – Bull Hammer
Neville b. Sheamus via DQ when Sheamus threw him ono the announcers' table
New Day b. Los Matadores – Midnight Hour to Fernando
Cameron b. Alicia Fox and Natalya – Cameron pinned Natalya after an ax kick from Fox
Fandango b. Adam Rose – Rollup
John Cena/Daniel Bryan b. Tyson Kidd/Cesaro – YES Lock to Kidd

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  1. "That's the fifth time Bray has squashed Truth on TV in just over a

    How many times did we get stuck with Goldberg vs. Jerry Flynn back in the day?

  2. I think Natalya is face even though she was supposed to turn heel, instead Naomi who she was supposed to turn on is now a heel feuding with someone else. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either.

  3. Yeah I prefer Bray going over jobbers that don't matter even if we've seen it 100 times before than Bray going over with someone with good potential.

  4. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 16, 2015 at 8:18 PM

    If you count Saturday Night, six over about 20 months.

  5. Trying to understand how the women are booked and when/why they turn face/heel is beyond Russo confusing.

  6. Goldberg squashes were fun. I could watch those all day.

  7. A "Kiss My Are" match? So they're seriously looking to Wrestlecrap for booking ideas?

  8. Naomi's heel turn made sense. Face gets frustrated after doing the "right thing" still gets passed over after losing a stupid match (after she's been beating the champ) and finally snaps.

    Add to it the "I'm just as much of a veteran as AJ and she's the legend and I'm the dancing girl" and it all works fine.

    The rest of the division...Charlotte is coming, right?

  9. Natalya is a face when she wrestles, a heel when she's valeting for Kidd/Cesaro.

  10. Naomi's heel turn made sense, I just think she's the wrong person to have as a heel. She's the most natural babyface in the Divas division.

  11. I've said before that I think some of the Divas -- Cameron, Eva Marie, Rosa, etc. -- should be valets only and not wrestlers. But when you look at how WWE books valets (who aren't Lana), I can see why no female wants to be a valet. The valets get the brunt of the worst of WWE's misogynistic writing staff. Rosa is the weakest character on the roster right now, just a lovesick little puppy over Fandango.

  12. Some acting and speaking ability is required to be a good valet. Lana brings that, which is partly why she's so awesome. Those other girls cannot.

  13. Naomi did make sense, but I'm talking about most turns. Especially poor Nattie.

  14. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 16, 2015 at 10:44 PM

    It also helps that she had a reason to be there to start, but then it turned out that Rusev spoke English. By then though the fans cared about her because she was good at her job.

  15. Poor, poor Nattie.

    Who even knows anymore, or cares?

    They should move her down to NXT and just copy Tyson's heel run completely.

  16. Hogan was THE babyface of wrestling and he made a pretty good heel.

    I'm not saying she's Hogan, but you never know what might stick, everybody should run heel and face in their career just to see what works. She's a top notch athlete, maybe turning heel will focus her work and we'll get something good.

    She's already cut a more competent promo than anything she's done as a face, and she showed some actual passion beating the tar out of Paige.

    Plus, if Paige is our...only female face we take seriously, why not just turn the rest of the roster heel and have Paige mow through all of them?

  17. Natalya is a face when she wrestles because her psychology sucks and she can only do one match.

  18. I also think that having a posse makes people seem more important. Ric Flair wouldn't have been Ric Flair without his horde of hot cougars or JJ Dillon or the Horsemen.

    Like, Brock Lesnar is not a bad promo, but even if Paul Heyman wasn't as good as he was he'd still be an asset because Brock shouldn't be talking to other people, he talks when he wants to talk and has somebody else handle the minutiae.

    Rusev without Lana would be a dude. Having a hot Russian (Handler? Agent? What's her job exactly?) makes his gimmick seem that much more legit.

  19. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 17, 2015 at 12:59 AM

    To back up the Lesnar line, there was an appearance on Raw where the roster was on the stage and Lesnar walks through them and doesn't even look at any of them because he knows no one there is in his league. Like you said, that's beneath him and Heyman does the talking. It's a really cool aspect of the character and something only he could pull off that well.

  20. "How about this, Vince?" said Kevin Dunn as he rose to his feet during a WWE Creative meeting. "Why don't we just make all the divas heels?"

    Vince snorted. "Why would we do THAT?"

    "Heels are awful, horrible people. They lie, cheat, steal...and they don't care," Dunn explained.

    Vince looked at Dunn, confused. He wasn't sure where Dunn was going with this.

    "...just like a woman." said Dunn. A malicious grin swept across his face, exposing his buck teeth. "Just like EVERY woman."

    A leer slowly spread across Vince's face. Dunn sat down and folded his arms, as if he knew he just made his point.

    Triple H closes his notebook, stands and gets up to leave.

    "I've got some NXT stuff to take care of," he explained on his way out the door."

    With a slight nod of his head, Vince repeats what Kevin Dunn has just proposed, "Every woman is a heel...EVERY woman..."

    "You can't...Dad, seriously..."

    "Shut up, Steph," Vince shouted at his daughter. "This is what we're doing..."

    And another horrible WWE idea is put into play.

  21. Emma has turned heel on NXT. (Slap Bayley and you're a de facto heel.)

    ...but, I think we all agree that NXT is non-canon for WWE purposes.

  22. Lesnar is such an interesting phenomenon.

    You want to see him wrestle everybody worth wrestling (I know people want Lesnar vs. Bryan/Ziggler, but I'd want to see Lesnar vs. Sheamus/Cesaro, or Lesnar vs. the Leaders of the New School in NXT) but it'd really hurt his aura if he did. He's one of the last guys to really offer "Dream Matches" just because he feels so special and wrestles so rarely. And even still, just wrestling a guy makes that person seem important (and Big Show...but that's just for the freak value of seeing Lesnar toss Big Show like yesterday's trash).

    Orton vs. Lesnar should be a dream match, Orton is the second most decorated active wrestler and he has the shared developmental history with Lesnar but that match feels like such a mismatch in star power because Orton is the most "Made" Man next to Cena and even he feels completely outmatched by Lesnar's presence.

    I mean, is it sad that I'd be more excited about Sami Zayn and Finn Balor, two guys who probably wrestled a dozen times on the indies, than seeing Lesnar face one of the most prominent and important WWE guys in the last decade?

  23. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 17, 2015 at 1:40 AM

    It's an easy story for Orton too: he does what Cena can't. Cena spent six months fighting Nexus and Orton dispatched every member in about four weeks. He also pinned Punk at Wrestlemania. Or you can go with the easy idea of Orton breaking Lesnar's record as youngest champion ever.

  24. I mean, he has the pedigree and the prestige, but a Lesnar match feels like a waste against Orton because Randy is just...there...

    Probably the least impactful Main-Eventer in history.

  25. There is no way R-Truth has good potential any more. Or was that what you were saying?
    The guy's a lab rat, fry him up!

  26. If only Neville could talk like Bill Dundee.

  27. Kevin Dunn screams "MRA Redditor"

  28. Typically true, but didn't she recently team with the Bellas to take on Paige and AJ around WrestleMania?

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  30. Yeah that's what I was trying to say. I much prefer Bray going R-Truth a 100 times than seeing Bray going over Daniel Bryan in an unadvertised filler match.

  31. No no, this is a "Kiss ME Arse" match.

  32. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 17, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    I'd put Del Rio higher on that list.

  33. Del Rio was never a tippy-top guy the way Orton was.

    And I'd actually be stoked about Lesnar/ADR.

  34. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 17, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    True but he was a main eventer. I'd like to see Orton vs. Lesnar but I'm a big Orton fan.

  35. I'm glad somebody is.

    Seriously, I feel sorry for Orton, 10+ years and no superfans would be a sad thing. He's like the Phil Collins of wrestling, been on top forever, made a bunch of money, is technically competent, but I've never met a person who would divorce their spouse over them.


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