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Smackdown - February 14, 2014

Date: February 14, 2014
Location: Citizens Bank Business Arena, Ontario, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It's Valentines Day and we're getting a nice gift in the form of Cesaro (now minus the Antonio) vs. Randy Orton in the fourth part of Orton's Elimination Chamber gauntlet. Cesaro is rapidly gaining popularity and it would seem a face turn is imminent. Other than that we might get more on the Daniel Bryan vs. Kane feud. Let's get to it.

Opening sequence.

Shield vs. Daniel Bryan/Christian/Sheamus

Christian and Rollins get things going but Seth quickly takes him into the corner for the tag off to Reigns. Roman catches a cross body attempt but gets popped in the face with a right hand. Sheamus comes in for the big power showdown and they slug it out for a bit before Sheamus hits the rolling fireman's carry for two. Reigns comes back with a knee to the ribs and brings in Ambrose who gets taken down by a running ax handle.

The fans demand Bryan and get their wish, followed by some rapid fire kicks in the corner. A top rope hurricanrana gets two and there's the YES Lock but Shield comes in for the save and we have a standoff. Back from a break with Bryan fighting out of a chinlock and sending Rollins into the top turnbuckle, allowing him to tag off to Sheamus.

The pale one slides to the apron and comes back with the ten forearms to the chest but the other Shield members get involved to take over. Reigns does that awesome dropkick from the floor to the apron before LAUNCHING Sheamus into the barricade. That's not something you see too often. Ambrose comes back in to stomp away in the corner before it's off to Reigns again for hard shots to the head and ribs.

We hit the front facelock for a bit but Reigns lets it go to knock Bryan off the apron but walks into the Irish Curse. Rollins comes in and takes a swing at Christian but only hits air before missing a backsplash to Sheamus. Hot tag brings in Christian to face Ambrose and a tornado DDT gets two on the US Champion.

Everything breaks down and Bryan takes out Reigns with the FLYING GOAT. Rollins takes him down with a suicide dive of his own though and it's Christian hooking the reverse DDT for two on Dean but the Brogue Kick misses Ambrose and takes out Christian. Reigns spears Sheamus down and Ambrose pins Christian at 12:45.

Rating: C+. This was more about the good guys building drama amongst themselves before they head into the Chamber in a little over a week. There weren't any problems for Shield this time which is a good thing before their big six man tag. This was the usual Shield six man so it was fine all around.

Zeb Colter asks Vickie Guerrero to be his valentine but she's not falling for it. Colter wants an Intercontinental Title shot for Jack Swagger but Vickie says he has to beat Rey Mysterio. That's fine with Zeb but Vickie makes it a fourway with Kofi Kingston and Mark Henry filling the other spots. Vickie shoves the chocolates into Zeb's chest, meaning she's a face now?

Cesaro (officially without the Antonio) says he'll win tonight and then take the title at Elimination Chamber.

Lita Hall of Fame video.

Jack Swagger vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Mark Henry vs. Kofi Kingston

One fall to a finish and the winner gets Big E. (on commentary) for the Intercontinental Title at Elimination Chamber. Henry quickly throws Swagger to the floor but gets taken down by Kofi and Rey. The two speed guys get to have a showdown with Rey dropkicking Kofi for two but they have to eliminate Swagger again. Kofi dives over the top to put Jack down again and Rey hits a running seated senton from the apron. Henry is back in and loads up a dive of his own, only to have Swagger take out his leg.

Two straight Vader Bombs have Henry in trouble but Jack has to clothesline Rey down for two. Mysterio comes back with a top rope seated senton for two followed by the sitout bulldog for two more with Kofi making the save. Rey is sent into the post before Kofi bounce up the ropes and dropkicks Swagger down before hitting the Boom Drop. Rey gets knocked off the apron again and Swagger loads up Kingston in a superplex. Henry tries to make it a Tower of Doom but Kofi holds on, meaning it's only a powerbomb to Swagger.

Henry cleans house but Swagger takes out the leg again and puts on the Patriot Lock, only to have Mark kick him off. Rey hits a 619 to Mark's ribs and Kofi adds Trouble in Paradise but Jack is on his feet again. Kofi grabs a German suplex on Rey but Jack suplexes both of them at once in a nice power display. Kingston is sent to the floor but slides back in to break up a 619 attempt. Henry makes the save but gets kicked to the floor by Kofi. The distraction lets Swagger catch Kofi in the Patriot Lock for the submission at 8:35.

Rating: C+. Nice match here with everyone doing their job perfectly. I didn't see the Mysterio knee injury but I'd guess it was on the seated senton from the apron as he went off camera for a few minutes as a result. Swagger getting the shot is a good enough choice as he was the only heel here and Henry vs. Big E. does nothing for me.

Raw ReBound covers Betty White and the Outlaws.

Bad News Barrett says American women are going to gain several pounds by tomorrow morning and be ashamed of what they see in the morning. Is there a point to this character coming anytime soon?

Goldust/Cody Rhodes/Usos vs. Ryback/Curtis Axel/New Age Outlaws

Billy and Goldust get things going with Gunn taking an atomic drop and the uppercut for a quick two. Off to Road Dogg vs. Cody with the sunset flip out of the corner getting two on Roadie. A clothesline gets the same and it's off to an armbar from Rhodes. Jimmy comes in off the tag to stay on the arm and a double elbow gets two for the twins. Road Dogg takes Jey into the corner and it's off to Axel for a dropkick. Ryback comes in for some driving shoulders in the corner and a hard slam as we take a break.

Back with Ryback elbowing Jey in the face and handing it off to Billy again. The Stinger Splash hits buckle and a double tag brings in Road Dogg and Jimmy. Everything breaks down with Jimmy cleaning house and hitting the running Umaga attack in the corner. Cody dives over the top to take out Axel but Ryback throws him into the barricade, only to walk into a Golden cannonball off the apron. A double superkick drops Road Dogg, Jey dives on the other heels and Jimmy hits the Superfly Splash for the pin at 11:00.

Rating: C-. This did its job but wasn't the most interesting match in the world. Most importantly of all though it gets us closer to the Usos getting their Tag Titles which they earned about two years ago. Ryback and Axel have nowhere to go at this point and I have no idea what's next for Goldust and Cody. The tag division has a lot of names in it right now but it's not a very deep talent pool.

Randy Orton says this gauntlet is just to make him better and all that matters is him being champion. Tonight, Cesaro gets the Viper.

Lana says Alexander Rusev isn't coming to make friends.

Darren Young vs. Damien Sandow

Titus O'Neil is on commentary. Young catches Sandow in a quick atomic drop and clotheslines him out to the floor. Back in and Damien gets a knee to Darren's ribs but You're Welcome is countered into a rollup for the pin by Young at 1:07. So much for rebuilding Sandow.

Titus goes after Darren post match but Young rips his pants off. I'll let you make your own jokes.

The Bellas show us how to use the WWE Network.

Fandango vs. The Miz

Miz dropkicks the knee out to start and rains down left hands in the corner but Fandango comes back with an atomic drop. A nice dropkick gets two and we hit the chinlock on Miz. It's quickly broken and Miz fights back with some basic stuff and the Reality Check but gets kicked shoulder first into the post. This brings out Santino and Emma for a distraction and a cat fight between Emma and Summer. Distraction, Skull Crushing Finale, pin on Fandango at 3:47.

Rating: D. At least it was the better finisher. I'm not sure how I'd react if we got through a week of shows without the distraction finish. Santino and Emma are a decent enough cute pair but Emma is going to have to get away from him if she wants to get over. Santino is going to overshadow whoever he's with due to how over the top he is and there's not much of a way around that.

Bobo Brazil video.

Cesaro vs. Randy Orton

In the sitdown interview of the week, HHH said he thinks Cesaro might be the wildcard in the Chamber. Cesaro chases Orton to the floor to start but doesn't go after him. They do the same thing again before Cesaro takes him to the mat and hits the gutwrench for two. A running European uppercut in the corner gets two more and they both head outside. Orton reverses a whip into the barricade and clotheslines Cesar as we take a break.

Back with Orton ramming Cesaro into the announce table and taking him inside for a chinlock. The fans chant WE THE PEOPLE and Cesaro fights out, only to lose a fist fight and get elbowed to the mat. Cesaro rolls outside and catches Orton with a big clothesline of his own and counters the Elevated DDT into the Swing. Randy can barely get to his feet but is able to backdrop out of the Neutralizer. Cesaro lands on his feet but runs into the powerslam for two.

Now the Elevated DDT connects and Orton points to the sign to make this serious. He spends too much time walking around though and it's Swiss Death for two. They head to the corner where Orton tries a superplex but Cesaro counters into a sunset bomb. A discus uppercut sets up the Neutralizer for the completely clean pin at 12:44.

Rating: B-. Well you can't give much more of a rub than that. However I'd be much happier with this if Kofi Kingston hadn't gotten the same kind of a win just a month ago. Cesaro is a guy that could be world championship material with a good push (meaning getting away from Swagger) but I have a feeling this is just for the Chamber and then it's back to nothing for not-Antonio.

Cesaro waves to Orton to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. Another good Smackdown tonight with some nice action and angle advancement which is all you can ask for anymore. Unfortunately I don't think tonight is going to mean much. Cesaro isn't winning the title and while Sheamus and Christian had some problems, I can't imagine it's anyone but Orton, Bryan or maybe Cena walking out of the Chamber with the title. Randy has to be the favorite even though he's lost three out of his last five matches and might even lose to Sheamus on Monday, making him look like a lame duck champion heading into Wrestlemania.

The rest of the show was good stuff with a nice six man, a good four way, a watchable eight man and a short Miz match that involved good looking women fighting. That's not bad at all when you consider what Smackdown means in the grand scheme of things anymore. Cesaro winning made me smile, but I can't imagine it's anymore more than false hope.

One more note: the spoilers I read said there was an Eva Marie vs. Alicia Fox match taped with Eva winning via rollup but there was no sign of it at all here.

Shield b. Christian/Sheamus/Daniel Bryan – Ambrose pinned Christian after a Brogue Kick from Sheamus
The Miz b. Fandango – Skull Crushing Finale
Jack Swagger b. Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio and Mark Henry – Patriot Lock to Kingston
Usos/Cody Rhodes/Goldust b. New Age Outlaws/Ryback/Curtis Axel – Superfly Splash to Road Dogg
Darren Young b. Damien Sandow – Rollup
Cesaro b. Randy Orton – Neutralizer

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  1. Alicia and Eva Marie are both horrible workers so I imagine the match was so bad that they simply cut it from the broadcast.

  2. Stranger in the AlpsFebruary 14, 2014 at 8:30 PM

    I may not fully comprehend the use of the grading system you use, but if I got a C+ in school, I got a new corn chute carved out of me. The 4-way was at least a B. Cesaro-Orton would get at least a B+. Are you taking the bigger-picture future booking into account with your grade? Or are you just grading the match quality?

  3. I disagree that Kingston got the same kind of win though. Kofi was sold as Orton having the match won multiple times, but he was so distracted and out of focus that he let Kofi stay in it long enough for a fluke pin. Cesaro and Orton was much more of a back and forth match, and in particular Cesaro controlled most of the ending of the match, getting a not at all a fluke pin.

    I also disagree that they had him beat Orton clean just to make him look stronger for a random Chamber match. It's not even like he's being booked strong for a big singles match. They didn't have Christian beat Orton or anything, so it's not like they're having every opponent beat him. Not saying this means Cesaro will be champion by May or anything like that, but I think WWE is pretty serious about pushing him in the near future. I'm guessing the hesitation is because he's getting face reactions but they aren't really prepared to break him away from Zeb.

  4. Usually just match quality but it can vary.

    Most of the time I start the match at a C rating and see how good or bad it gets and adjust accordingly. There are a few pairings (Sting vs. Flair, Punk vs. Cena etc) that I'll start higher up due to the expectations being higher. If you'd like a comparison to stars, a B+ would be about four stars.

    As for the four way, I liked it for the most part but Henry laying around brought it down a bit. It also didn't help that the winner was somewhat predictable.

  5. I think you're understating what Sting meant to WCW fans. He was the guy who never left. He kept the promotion afloat during some very rough spots. He was 'the franchise' in a way that nobody else other than Flair was.
    He may not have been 'great' on the mic but he had a certain charisma that fans loved. I can definitely objective defend him. Some guys just have a certain 'it factor', and he had it.

  6. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryFebruary 14, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    C'mon, this is pretty good:

    That was just a USA/Brazil joke, BTW. And our lists just show what games we had when we were kids. Christ, you make me feel old, you weren't even born when the SENS or PS1 came out. Fuck...

  7. I likened it to the Kofi match as both he and Cesaro have talent but have never made the jump up to the main event level. Both wins were upsets and while Kofi's was certainly more of a fluke, it still comes off as Orton looking past what he's doing tonight and towards his big title defense as he even said what matters is keeping the titles.

    I'm hoping you're right on the second part. I've wanted a Cesaro push for a long time.

  8. I laughed out loud at "got a new corn chute carved out of me".

  9. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 14, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    why wont you let us have nice things?

  10. Kofi though, has been around since 2008 (not counting ECW, even longer if you want to count that). Cesaro hasn't even gotten to 2 years yet on the main roster. I don't think Cesaro not making the jump is the same as Kofi not making the jump. I'd also say they're very, very different wrestlers, so while yes, they do both have talent, it's in different ways, and Cesaro, as a bigger guy with ridiculous power, is more in the mold of what WWE looks for in their top guys.

    Obviously, anything can happen (as we've seen a ton of times in WWE), but I think he really will get a push soon. Whether they stick with it or not, I have no idea of course, but I don't think this was a nothing win meant just for an EC match and nothing else. I actually wouldn't be shocked to see him in a match with Sheamus at Wrestlemania...not expecting it, but Sheamus doesn't really have an opponent right now as far as we can tell, and it wouldn't surprise me if they set it up during the EC.

  11. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 14, 2014 at 9:35 PM

    "Their 45 minute match ended in a time-limit draw and is considered a ****1/2 to
    ***** classic."

    it really isn't, though. i mean, some might consider it to be, but the match really isn't deserving of all those snowflakes. maybe **** at most on a good day, but certainly not *****

  12. I've liked their stuff before so that would work fine for me.

  13. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 14, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    what about the main event mafia's original run?

    also, sting came back as a heel in '10, aligning with nash against hogan but the events of bound for glory (10/10/10) essentially caused a double turn when jarrett and hogan turned heel

  14. I love Sting. I was a WWF guy growing up so I missed like 95% of Sting's prime, I didn't start watching WCW regularly until Hall showed up. Became a big Sting fan when I went back and watched all late 80 early 90s stuff.

    No doubt in my mind if you switch Warrior with Sting, Sting becomes becomes the biggest wrestling star ever.

  15. The problem with Crow Sting after Starrcade 97, other than botching that match, is that they had him act like regular old Sting. He should have stayed in the rafters with the title.

  16. Literally everything you wrote is wrong.

  17. I don't really understand why they seem to be having everybody BUT Christian beat Orton. Where's the story in that?

    As stupid as making your champion look weak can be, having Orton lose all his matches going into the Chamber would be ok if it continued to fuel his paranoia about being replaced. That in turn could tie to the whole Batista issue as well (I still think they're going for an Orton/Batista/Bryan match at WM).

    The better storyline would be Orton winning all his matches EXCEPT the one against Bryan (which should have been the last one heading into the PPV), to reinforce the notion that Orton is a strong champion that can't beat this one, particular guy. And then have Bryan screwed somehow at the chamber, Orton retains, and then build toward the triple-threat.

    The way they're doing it right now makes no sense... like pretty much everything in this Orton/Authority angle since day 1.

  18. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANFebruary 14, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    The story is that Orton is going to win. He's not doing all of these jobs to lose. They're doing a Jericho 2002 with him where he escapes by the skin of his teeth all the time. Then he's going to run over Batista's pet iguana or something and Steph will browbeat him, destroying the whole point of what they were doing in the first place.

    He sure put Cesaro over strong though, Cesaro whipped his ass.

  19. Given the backstage rumours about Orton complaining about the Authority storyline and how he's being booked, one wonders if WWE is just going to punish him by unceremoniously jobbing him out to everyone (except Christian, since Vince just doesn't give a crap about that guy) and then having him drop the title in the Chamber. Bryan wins the title, then we go towards Batista as the semi-unwilling corporate choice against the people's champion.

    Man, who did Damien Sandow piss off?

  20. Right. I think it's pretty obvious where they are going with this. It's interesting to say the least.

  21. More like Jurassic Age Outlaws.

  22. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    but DAT LANA

  23. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    it's no longer a cherry picker with a tarp over the basket

  24. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    ok, seriously, why do you guys have entire conversations in the blog? don't you have a chat program or something?

  25. Damn, I was really hoping to see the Eva Marie vs. Alicia Fox match. If only for the perverse pleasure of how bad it would've been.

  26. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    and justice for all

  27. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:15 AM

    her ass

    no seriously, he says as much in his book

  28. Beaver Cleavage lasted what, one match before he "shot" on the gimmick and turned into Chaz?

    The U.N.I.O.N vs The Corporate Ministry seemed as if it was going to be a months-long program and just fizzled out (possibly due to Foley's injury).

  29. Your_Favourite_LoserFebruary 15, 2014 at 2:28 AM

    'Beaver Cleavage lasted what, one match before he "shot" on the gimmick and turned into Chaz?"

    and then it turned into the "chaz is beating mariana" angle

  30. 2000: Chris Kreski's storyboards
    2014: Vince MCmahon's napkin

  31. There's a story they haven't done yet!

  32. This is pretty much the best thing I've read all day, sir. Kudos.

  33. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryFebruary 15, 2014 at 3:03 AM

    Because we can, motherfucker!

    Better question: why are me and you (or you and the Kid) NOT having entire conversations?

  34. His DDT is so terrible it negates the dropkick. I want him to retire that stupid top rope DDT thing forever. It hasn't got over in the 8 years he's been doing it. Enough.

  35. They get face reactions with that gimmick at every live event I've been to. Did the WWE really think their audience was going to boo three white guys who are against illegal immigration? I don't even agree with their politics and I cheer them because Cesaro is awesome and Colter's signs are pretty funny.

  36. Have you seen the picture of them from 1999 they are using on in the Superstar roster?

  37. WWE: because fuck Christian, that's why!

  38. You're confusing talent with storytelling. Sting a) had talent and b) was part of a storyline. Sting was a) already over in WCW and b) was doing the Crow gimmick as a part of the story.

    You're just being a troll again. A civil troll, yes, but a troll nonetheless.

  39. Debating something people can't defend =/= trolling. I initially said he was never a great worker amd average on the mic. He had very little tangible skills. Bring over or being a lifetime wcw guy doesn't give you tangible skills. That is what my original premise was.

    I'm actually pointing out the difference between "talent" and "storytelling". Name me 1 tangible thing Sting did in selling Starrcade 97? He sat in the rafters, was held off of tv, cut 0 promos in the build, and was portrayed as the first legit threat to the nwo. That's great STORYTELLING, not great TALENT.

    Warrior was one of my favorite guys ever. I liked him bc when I was a kid I thought he was cool and liked his schtick. I'd never ever say as an adult he was a great worker or had great tangible skills, bc he didnt. Same shit with Sting.

  40. And I could argue that Hogan and the nWo only sold Starrcade by doing the same tired heel work week after week but somehow, despite it all, it worked. Your argument is weak because you're taking a very narrow look at things. The guy had a much longer career than your stance would care to admit.

  41. I'm not sure where you're going with the Hogan thing but yea, I'm not saying the whole thing wasn't awesome. I'm saying when people cite it "look how awesome the starrcade 97 build was, he was clearly awesome blah blah blah", it doesn't hold water.

    So you think he was a great worker or great on the mic? That was my original premise. If you do we just fundamentally disagree

  42. For me the Attitude ended, when Vince Russo left. The stories after that were still good, but mostly hadn'd the depth of Russos. For example Wrestlemania X7 was maybe the best WWE PPV they ever made, BUT the matches were mostly random. There was no real story behind Austin vs Rock, Benoit vs Angle was just made, because both had nothing better to do... there was not that big story with Austin vs Vince were most of the roster was involved with Corporation, DX, Ministry etc..

  43. I liked that angle because Sting was acting like a heel while cryptically suggesting he was right...and it turned out he was, so I guess he was technically a face all along.

  44. despite hogan and bischoff getting shit, i think 2010 turned out to be a really good year angle-wise for tna once it got going (once the angle of "they're coming on 10/10/10" started in the late spring, and especially when abyss turned heel and went on a rampage talking about "their" arrival)

  45. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryFebruary 15, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    And the East side of Buffalo.

  46. Just watched smackdown. Outside of the offensive job sandow did that was a bad ass show. I've been saying for years smackdown is better than raw. Hopefully this show won them a few more fans.

  47. Hogan was always smart about protecting his spot as the guy on top of the business. Submitting to Luger doesn't put Hogan's spot in danger because Luger is just a supporting player, not a star. But putting Sting over at Starrcade would have made Sting a bigger star than Hogan ... and the Hulkster can't abide by that! As for jobbing clean to Goldberg? Well, he jobbed clean to Warrior in a similar fashion. My theory is that somehow Hogan knew both guys would turn out to be flashes in the pan and thus he could job to them without putting his spot in long-term jeopardy.

  48. I did like how they had just taped over the 'Toni' on Cesaro's jacket as if it was an idea they had about two minutes before they taped his segment.

  49. Maybe they could actually get people who, I don't know, write episodic television, and not people who couldn't get a job writing for Two and a Half Men.

  50. Fuck Christian overrides all.


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