Date: May 14, 2015
Location: Ford Center, Evansville, Indiana
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton, Michael Cole
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It's the final show before Payback and we're pretty much all set up. Raw ended with Seth Ambrose standing tall over his three opponents, meaning tonight is likely going to end with one of the other three doing the same, albeit not over the other three people in the match. Raw has been good lately so Smackdown has a lot to live up to. Let's get to it.
We open with Bray Wyatt talking about Ryback coming face to face with him on Monday. Ryback is a very strong man, but he has an Achilles heel. Bray is going to prove that the Garden of Eden does exist and tonight he'll scratch an itch. Ryback's dreams will be turned into nightmares. Resist the itch and run. Why are these two even fighting?
Here's Dean Ambrose to get things going. Dean says he works best alone, fights alone and drinks alone. It felt good on Monday to stand alone because this Sunday it's every man for himself. You have Seth Rollins and his Lollipop Guild Goon Squad. Randy Orton was last seen eating a spear. That leaves Roman Reigns, who is Dean's only friend in the world. Dean has one thing to say to Roman, but he'll get to say it to his face as here comes Reigns.
Dean isn't going to apologize but Reigns wasn't expecting one. This past Monday, Dean hit him with Dirty Deeds and that's all he's going to get. There's no grudge between them because they're brothers but this Sunday, Reigns is bringing the big guns. They're about to shake hands when Kane comes out.
Dean should be less concerned with winning the Slammy Award for Bromance of the Year and be worried about what he has to do. Ambrose brings up HHH's decree that Kane is out of a job if Rollins doesn't win on Monday. This might be the last night we see Corporate Kane. That's not cool with Kane, who makes Ambrose vs. Sheamus RIGHT NOW. Ambrose: “Is that the only time you know?”
Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose
This match starts after a break. They fight up against the ropes with neither getting an advantage so it's time to go basic. Ambrose grabs a top wristlock but gets taken down with a headlock. Dean ties his legs up though and grabs the mohawk for a kick to the back. Sheamus gets a boot up in the corner but Dean bulldogs him down to take over again. The running dropkick against the ropes is countered and Sheamus knees him out to the floor.
We take a break and come back with Dean slugging away but getting caught in the Cloverleaf. Dean makes the ropes like any good rebellious hero should do, only to charge into White Noise. To be fair he deserves that after not selling the hold. The threat of the Brogue Kick sends Dean to the floor and he nails a hard clothesline to take over again.
Back in and it's a missed Brogue Kick, a clothesline to the floor and a suicide dive to take Sheamus out again. Back in again and Sheamus' tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two. He takes too long to follow up though and eats a clothesline, sending Dean to the top. Sheamus tries what looks to be a top rope powerslam (facing the floor instead of the ring though) but Dean slips out to avoid the whole broken back thing and sends Sheamus face first onto the post, followed by a rollup to give Dean the pin at 12:42.
Rating: B. This was the fun power brawl that you would expect between these two. Ambrose is one of those guys that can work well against anyone regardless of their size or style. Unfortunately it came at the expense of Sheamus, who has lost almost all of his momentum since returning with the really good bully character. Therefore, he's likely getting the title in the Chamber.
Rollins channels his inner Stephanie by repeating the stipulations of Sunday's match to Kane in a way that no normal person would ever actually speak. Kane says he's set for life and doesn't need the Authority's money. Oh and Rollins gets Ryback tonight.
Here are Rusev and Lana with something to say. The fans chant USA but Rusev says the woman wants to talk. Lana reads a prepared statement, apologizing for Fandangoing on Raw last week. It should all be about Rusev, who shows us a clip from Raw where Rusev interrupted Neville vs. Cena and beat John up post match. I can't wait for this feud to be over already so the writers have to wake their lazy brains up for a change.
Rusev knows Cena was quitting in his head when he passed out, but this Sunday everyone will hear him quit. We get a loop of Cena saying he quits (out of context) from Raw and no big followup line to end this. Lawler however does think that video was doctored because Cena never gives up.
Ryback says he's no meat head. He saw fear in Wyatt's eyes on Monday but tonight, he's hungry.
Tough Enough videos, including one from Gabriel Iglesias.
Here's Rollins with something to say before his match with Ryback. He continues the trend of showing clips from Raw by giving us his big beatdown, but promises that's the last time anything like that will happen.
Ryback vs. Seth Rollins
Non-title but that might not matter as Wyatt jumps Ryback on his way to the ring. Back from a break and Ryback says he can go because he's tough that way and the idea of calling a DQ for someone attacking before the match is unheard of in this company. Ryback tries a suplex to start but Seth knees him in the head to escape and knocks Ryback out to the floor. He dives back in at nine and eats a DDT for two. We see a clip of Bray's attack, which was just a shoulder block. Ryback is that banged up off a single shoulder?
A neckbreaker gets two for Seth and he slaps on a front facelock. Ryback counters exactly how you would expect him to and plants Seth with a tilt-a-whirl powerslam to put both guys down. The big guy gets all fired up and nails a not great spinebuster for two. The Meat Hook connects but Rollins rakes the eyes (a rare sight these days) to break up the Shell Shock. Seth hits the top rope knee to the head and the a pair of low superkicks for the pin at 8:23.
Rating: C. So to recap, a shoulder block is enough to knock Ryback silly and give him a huge disadvantage? I love the idea of not having Ryback lose clean, but couldn't they have had Bray send him into the steps or give him a big beatdown or something more than a simple shoulder? The match was fine and actually had a story to it of Rollins focusing on the head with the low superkicks getting the pin. It's not as good as the curb stomp but I'll take a high impact move over that lame falling DDT.
Here's what you missed on the WWE Network this week. So the news broke this week that the classic content wasn't getting a lot of views. Now I'm just thinking out loud but maybe people might watch it if it was advertised, say, once. That's just nutty though as WWE thinks eight minute interviews with the stars of a movie that is bombing or Wiz Khalifa is what really draws in the viewers.
It's the Bellas vs. Naomi/Tamina on Sunday. That makes sense but can we please stop finding ways to keep the title on Nikki? It's just not going to be seen as epic no matter how WWE tries to spin it.
Naomi brags about how strong Tamina is and says they're tired of walking around empty handed. The Bellas get all the opportunities around here, even though Nikki is overrated and Brie is more worthless than her quitting husband.
Tyson Kidd vs. Kofi Kingston
Before the match, Woods informs us that Cesaro/Kidd are cheaters but the New Day is giving them one more title shot on Payback. Big E. tells us just how bad Cesaro/Kidd are: they don't recycle, the double dip and they buy one ticket at the movies and go see two! The New Day is the change you need to see in this world and the fans should sing with them. Instead it's a siren and we're ready to go.
Kofi kicks him in the ribs to start as Woods is cheering even harder than usual this week. Tyson fights back and knocks Kofi to the floor for a big flip dive (Woods: “KOFI MOVE!”). The New Day distraction prevents the Sharpshooter but Tyson gets it on a few seconds later for the submission at 2:06.
Elimination Chamber preview.
We see Bryan's speech from Raw as he vacates the title. This seems to be the promised health update.
Here's Bo Dallas with something to say. He saw Daniel Bryan vacate the title on Monday but he sees it as an opportunity. There are five stages of grief and Dallas can help you through them all. First up is denial, but there is no denying that Bryan let all the fans down. Next is anger, which the fans should feel towards Bryan for letting you down.
Third is bargaining. You'll get one heck of a bargain on those Daniel Bryan t-shirts now that he's gone. Depression is going to completely engulf Bryan when he realizes everyone has forgotten him. Finally there's acceptance and Dallas can help us all accept that Daniel is gone. All you have to do to accept it is Bo-lieve! Dallas will have a job for years with promos like this.
Neville vs. Bo Dallas
This is joined in progress after a break with King Barrett on commentary and Neville flipping forward out of the corner. Neville sends him to the floor but gets pulled down onto the apron to give Bo an opening. Back in and we hit the chinlock for a bit but Neville fights back with those running kicks to the head. A longer Red Arrow than usual is good for the pin at 2:17. I believe this is Neville's first match against anyone who has never held a WWE Title.
Post match Barrett mocks Neville for wearing a stupid costume every week. This Sunday Neville is in for some corporal punishment in the form of a royal Bull Hammer.
The Rosebuds ask Adam Rose when they're going to be paid. Rose doesn't take kindly to this and says they're just like the Bunny. The hot dog gets pushed down and the party is officially over. Rosa kisses him and Kane walks by them on his way to the ring. So the Rosebuds are officially gone. That's probably for the best, but Rose really needs to get away from Rosa as she's possibly the most worthless Diva in years.
More Tough Enough hype.
Kane vs. Roman Reigns
Pin or submission only, making this a glorified street fight. Kane goes after Reigns during the entrance again and they slug it out on the floor before the bell. Neither guy can get the better of it until Kane sends him into the steps. We finally get a bell and Kane punches Reigns back to the floor, only to miss a stairs shot against the post.
It's kendo stick time (because there must be kendo sticks under the ring at all times for reasons that aren't entirely clear) but Kane takes it away from Roman and pounds him down. A kendo stick to the face gets two and we take a break. Back with Reigns taking a big boot to the face for two more before Kane throws him outside.
Kane loads up the table but Reigns punches him down and nails a clothesline off the table. It's time to bring the steps back in as Reigns drives them into Kane's head to put him down again. Roman throws in a pair of tables but Kane takes his head off with a big boot for two. The chokeslam through the table is blocked but Kane catches the Superman Punch in a chokeslam through the table for two. Thanks for coming Kane and if you would kindly stand in front of that table in the corner for the spear please. A Superman Punch puts Kane in perfect position and the spear through the wood is good for the pin at 11:16.
Rating: C. Decent enough brawl but it felt like they were filling in time until the obvious ending. Kane is still capable of having a power brawl but my limited interest in him is killed by the long promos with HHH and Rollins, plus a story that almost no one cares about. Good enough here though and Reigns kicking out of a big finisher keeps up the idea that he never quits.
Seth isn't worried about Reigns but it's going to take more than that to get this belt off him on Sunday. That's true for anyone that wants to take the title off of him, including Ambrose.....who is behind the Stooges. For some reason he has a plate of cookies to throw at them but the numbers catch up with him. This brings in Roman Reigns for the save and they stare each other down. The camera pans down to show the belt on the ground. Roman extends his hand but Dean reaches down and picks up the belt. He puts it on Reigns' shoulder, saying he'll take it back on Sunday.
Overall Rating: C-. How was this possibly a two hour show? It feels like we should just be at the halfway mark and somehow the whole thing is already done. This show did as well as it could have with what it had though, as Payback just isn't that interesting. I don't have much of a reason to care about seeing the same stuff that's been boring me for five hours a week for another three hours this Sunday. Passable episode this week but nothing past that.
Dean Ambrose b. Sheamus – Rollup
Seth Rollins b. Ryback – Low superkick
Tyson Kidd b. Kofi Kingston – Sharpshooter
Neville b. Bo Dallas – Red Arrow
Roman Reigns b. Kane – Spear through a table
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