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Smackdown - February 21, 2014

Date: February 21, 2014
Location: World Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It's the go home show for Elimination Chamber and everything is set for Sunday. Monday ended with a huge brawl between the twelve people in the two biggest matches on Sunday which is a good way to end a show. The main event for tonight is Sheamus vs. Christian after Christian turned heel on Monday. Let's get to it.

No In Memory graphic for Nelson Frazier Jr. Even TNA had one of those. Maybe on Sunday.

Opening sequence.

Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger

Bryan is nursing a bad shoulder after Christian and Kane attacked him on Raw. Jack goes after the shoulder to start but Bryan takes him to the mat and grabs a headlock. Two running dropkicks in the corner send Swagger to the floor but he catches Bryan charging off the apron and drops him onto the barricade. The bad shoulder goes into the barricade and post as Jack is being much more aggressive tonight.

Swagger stays on the arm by wrapping it around the ropes and driving in knees before slamming him down on the shoulder. Another slam gets two and Jack takes him to the top for what looks to be a northern lights superplex onto the arm. It's nice to see someone mixing up their offense on a limb like that. Bryan slips down before Swagger can through him though and the running knee connects out of nowhere for the pin at 4:48. It's as abrupt as it sounds.

Rating: C. It was nice while it lasted, but this is the kind of booking that makes me shake my head. We're supposed to buy Swagger, known as losing more often than he wins, as a challenger for a title on Sunday so why would you have him lose clean in less than five minutes? Obviously you can't put him over Bryan, so WHY PUT THE TWO OF THEM TOGETHER IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Have Jack beat up Sin Cara or Ziggler or Miz or have Cesaro come in for the DQ before Bryan can cover. Just don't have Swagger get pinned this soon before a title shot.

Post match Vickie Guerrero comes out and makes Bryan vs. Cesaro because she's a heel now after acting like a face with Colter last week.

Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro

Cesaro goes right after the arm to start by taking Bryan into the corner and driving knees into the shoulder. Daniel comes back with some kicks but a single shot to the shoulder puts him right back down. Cesaro takes him into the middle of the ring and cranks on the arm even more before slamming it down onto the mat. Again, it's much better to mix up the offense than to use the same move over and over again. Keep it fresh.

Bryan fights up and goes to the middle rope but dives into a shoulder breaker for two. We hit the armbar as Cole thinks Bryan should just give up now and save himself for Sunday. Daniel is able to knock Cesaro to the floor and hit the FLYING GOAT but a Colter distraction lets Cesaro kick the bad shoulder. Jack gets caught with a chair and gets ejected for his efforts. Colter gets the same and we take a break.

Back with Cesaro pummeling Bryan in the corner with Kane at ringside. Cesaro loads up a superplex, making sure to bend Bryan's arm as slowly as possible, but Daniel headbutts him down and scores with a missile dropkick. The YES Kicks give Daniel a breather but the big one is countered into the Swing. Back in and Cesaro throws Bryan into the air for Swiss Death which might have hit the shoulder. Another running uppercut in the corner has Bryan reeling but he comes out with a running knee to knock Cesaro silly, only to draw in Kane for the DQ at 10:20 shown of 13:20.

Rating: C+. This ending works much better as Bryan was in trouble but Cesaro still could have kicked out due to Bryan not being able to cover immediately. The arm work here was good and they still have an out to keep the title off Bryan on Sunday, or a way to have him overcome the odds and shock the world. I'm still hoping we get Kane vs. Bryan on a big Raw before Wrestlemania and HHH vs. Bryan at the PPV if he doesn't get in the title match.

Kane announces the result like he did on Monday. Cesaro hits the Neutralizer on Bryan to blow off some steam.

Christian talks about being more aggressive because he knows his window to be champion again is closing. The last few weeks haven't been going the way he'd hoped and he had to figure it out before the Chamber. These people at home stuffing their faces aren't going to help him so he had to do it himself.

Bella Twins video on how to use the Network.

We look at The Shield and Wyatts nearly colliding on Monday before brawling to end the show. I'd take Bray vs. Reigns at Wrestlemania right now.

The Wyatts come out for their match. Bray says there isn't much left to say now. The Shield are just three dominoes in a line and then the rest shall fall. They want people to believe in them but how can that happen when they're crawling on their hands and knees, looking up at the eater of worlds? Follow the buzzards.

Wyatt Family vs. Cody Rhodes/Goldust/Rey Mysterio

Harper and Rey get things going with the big man tossing Rey around, only to have Rhodes come in off a blind tag. A running clothesline gets two on Luke and it's off to Rowan vs. Goldust with the painted one taking over. Goldust ducks a right hand in the corner and fires off some punches of his own, only to get caught in a fallaway slam. Bray himself comes in for a hard clothesline as we take a break.

Back with Harper Gator Rolling Goldust before putting on a headlock. Goldust fights up and hits a quick sunset bomb but Luke rolls through before a count. The hot tag brings in Cody with a springboard missile dropkick and the moonsault press for two. The fans aren't getting all that fires up by this match. Rey comes in off another blind tag as Harper is sent to the floor. Back in and Harper counters the 619 with a big boot to give Bray a two count.

Rowan comes back in for a bearhug and a big side slam for two. Luke gets another tag and hammers on Rey for a few seconds before it's back to Bray for the running splash in the corner. Rey counters a second one with a drop toehold and it's off to Goldust to speed things up a bit.

A spinebuster puts Rowan down and the spinning cross body does the same. Rey comes in with a 619 to set up a Goldust powerslam for two. Harper catches Rey diving over the ropes and slams him into the barricade as Bray makes a blind tag. Goldust loads up Shattered Dreams to Erick but Wyatt runs him over, setting up Sister Abigail for the pin at 12:52.

Rating: B-. This was the usual six man tag between the Wyatts and any group of three midcard guys, meaning it was entertaining but nothing we haven't seen before. The Family is getting better in the ring and there's something awesome about Bray just throwing his body into people like a battering ram.

We recap Sheamus accidentally kicking Christian last week.

Sheamus says he's partially responsible for Christian's new side. Christian is aggressive now and that's what Sheamus wants. Tonight's Brogue Kick won't be an accident. Another simple but to the point promo from Sheamus which is better than his Irish folk tale nonsense.

Time for a dance off between Summer Rae and Emma. Quick summary of the next five minutes: Emma wins, the fans still don't care, Summer calls Fandango her baby boopsie, Santino and Fandango brawl and no one cares.

Ron Simmons Black History Month video.

Alexander Rusev will achieve greatness.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Titus O'Neil

Darren Young is on commentary. Dolph scores with an early dropkick but gets thrown down to the mat with ease. Titus cranks on the arm but gets caught by a cross body and right hands. Some more punches in the corner have Titus in trouble but he comes back with a big boot. Darren gets on the announcers' table and blows the whistle for a distraction so Dolph can get a rollup pin at 2:40.

Road Dogg vs. Jimmy Uso

Dog gets taken into the corner to start but comes back with some kicks to the rib and one to the side of the head. We hit a quick chinlock on Jimmy but he comes back with a Samoan drop. A right hand misses and Dogg fires off his shaky punches but Jimmy escapes the pumphandle and superkicks Roadie for the pin at 3:03.

Rating: D+. Just a quick match here to set up the Tag Title shot on Sunday. There's still no reason to keep the titles on the Outlaws, which is why I'd almost bet they hold onto them until at least Extreme Rules, probably getting a win at Wrestlemania in a multi team tag match. Nothing to see here though the Usos can wrestle singles matches decently enough.

Video on the Chamber.

Sheamus vs. Christian

Sheamus shoves him around to start and an elbow sends Christian out to the apron. Back in and Christian punches Sheamus in the face which brings a smile to the Irishman's face. Christian low bridges a charging Sheamus to the floor but misses a baseball slide and walks into the rolling fireman's carry on the floor as we take a break.

Back with Sheamus holding a chinlock but getting sent into 619 position. Christian tries his jump over the top rope into a right hand but Sheamus blocks the punch and shoves him into the barricade. Sheamus charges at him but gets backdropped to the timekeeper's area to change control. A middle rope missile dropkick gets two for Christian and he goes after the surgically repaired shoulder.

The arm is wrapped around the ropes and Sheamus bites the ropes to get through the pain. More cranking on the arm ensues but Christian escapes the Killswitch. Some right hands have Sheamus in trouble but he's still able to slam Christian off the top. The running ax handles and a powerslam get two on Christian but he comes back with a tornado DDT on the arm for two.

Christian tries to snap Sheamus' neck against the ropes but gets countered into the ten forearms, only to send Sheamus shoulder first into the post for two. Sheamus comes back with a pair of Irish Curses but Christian bails to the floor to avoid the Brogue. Back in and Christian slams Sheamus off the top to take over. The middle rope back elbow looks to set up the Killswitch but Sheamus counters into White Noise for the pin at 12:48 shown of 15:48.

Rating: B-. This was Sheamus 101: a nice match where he beats an upper midcarder to set up a match against main eventers that he has no chance of winning. He's the main event jobber and there's nothing wrong with that role. The fans are into his act too, even if there's nothing deep to him. Nice main event but it showed the problem with Christian as a heel. He barely ever won a big match as a face and his finisher isn't optimal given how long it takes to set up

Sheamus poses but Christian shoves him off the top and to the floor to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. Good way to go into the Chamber here as Sheamus gets some spotlight of his own instead of sharing it like he's done since he returned. The Chamber card looks pretty good but I'm worried about the end results and how they're going to shape up Wrestlemania. I could have gone for a Shield promo but it's still a good way to set up Sunday.

Daniel Bryan b. Jack Swagger – Running knee
Daniel Bryan b. Cesaro via DQ when Kane interfered
Wyatt Family b. Goldust/Cody Rhodes/Rey Mysterio – Sister Abigail to Goldust
Dolph Ziggler b. Titus O'Neil – Rollup
Jimmy Uso b. Road Dogg – Superkick
Sheamus b. Christian – White Noise

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  1. I'm with you on Bryan vs. Kane. Do it as a big Raw main event, with the stip that a Bryan win gives him HHH at Wrestlemania. Maybe a good video package detailing the Team Hell No lineage and making it sound like the match actually means something.

  2. Is it wrong that I cringe every time Rey uses his legs in a move?

  3. "I'm still hoping we get Kane vs. Bryan on a big Raw before Wrestlemania and HHH vs. Bryan at the PPV if he doesn't get in the title match."


    "I'd take Bray vs. Reigns at Wrestlemania right now."


  4. Anyone else pleasantly surprised with the storytelling going on with the Goldust/Cody break up?

    Cody keeps costing them matches because he does some big flashy move, and Goldust gets left in the lurch. Tonight the plancha took out Harper...and Rey and Cody. And in the rematch against the Outlaws, his Moonsault did not do what it was supposed to do.

    You can either go with Dustin blaming Cody for his reckless stunts, or Cody can blame Goldust for getting pinned and going with a hotshot cocky heel thing where he does stupid acrobatic stuff to prove how good he is (y'know, like what Ziggler should be doing).

    Even though Goldust is the better babyface, I think the money is in him going heel and putting over Cody.

  5. The PTP breakup is my favorite thing going on Smackdown. It's a simple, done-to-death story, but that's why I like it. Unlike Broadus and Tensai, this one is actually going to have a blowoff on a PPV no less. Just hoping Darren Young gets a WM payday before he is inevitable future endeavored.

  6. I hate to poo-poo on a storyline that may or not be told well, but at this point I'd rather see Dusty beat them both in a handicap match at WrestleMania, and afterwards he practically cuts the same "now that'th hard tahmth!"

  7. Bryan should win the title at wrestlemania there is no reason not to do it.

  8. Is there a reason why?

  9. No surprise you'd like that angle.

  10. The most important reason, from a personal perspective, is that I just don't believe that Cody has any potential of being a star in the first place, so the whole schmozzle means nothing in the long run; either Goldust turns or Cody does, but who gives a shit?

    From the last couple of years, historically, the only guys who can break through (Punk and Bryan, basically) do so by being talented enough. Cody doesn't come anywhere close to the paradigm set by those two and he doesn't have what WWE would seem star quality.

    On top of all that, Phred, it's not like they've artistically and painstakingly orchestrated this Rhodes brothers storyline as if it's entertaining in and of itself, so fuck 'em all.

  11. Ah, so you just don't like Cody. That's fair.

    Cody's been in a lot of tag-teams...and he's never looked like a star in any of them...well maybe him and Bob Holly. But DiBiasie looked better, McIntyire looked better, Sandow looked better, and now Goldust looks better. Considering what happened to the rest of them, I wouldn't enjoy being Dustin.

    Cody's strange, he's not bad at any aspect of wrestling and is good at a lot of them. So I'm not really a "fan" in the classical sense, but I've been pleasantly surprised about how much I've enjoyed the Rhodes Team and I think the break-up will be fun because I expect both of them to put a lot of work into making it good.

    Will this result in Cody being a star? Eh...who cares? Let's just let go and see what happens.

  12. I liked the Dr. Doom character and him believing he was scarred. I can take him or leave him now but he's just a guy anymore. Imagine that: giving someone a character makes them more interesting.

  13. That was probably his best work overall. Well, he's better in the ring now, but as far as character stuff he's just a guy.

    For as much people love old school NWA stuff (and I do like it as well) it does seem to lend itself to a whole bunch of generic "I'm just a wrestler" guys.

  14. It violates my rule of black guys fighting each other, but this is an exception because it actually makes sense. Now, if they start dancing it's on!

    Them being black is the only reason it's progressing like it is. They probably let them book it themselves since no one cares about brothas anyway. Those 10 minutes every Smackdown keeps the NAACP of their back.

  15. I can think of two good ones:

    1. Bryan has been feuding with Triple H as far as the audience is concerned for months.

    2. Hotshotting Batista-Bryan with basically no build time doesn't really do it for me.

  16. "I'm just a wrestler" works fine, but you have to a) book them strong, b) give them mic time to develop *some* sort of personality within that framework.


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