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Smackdown - April 23, 2015

Date: April 23, 2015
Location: Dunkin' Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

It's the final show before Extreme Rules and for some reason in 2015, one of the major stories is Kane seemingly about to turn on the Authority and becoming a bigger deal than he is now. Of course it's possible that it's all a swerve and Kane will cost Orton the title match on Sunday, making the last few weeks a big waste of time, much like Kane in general. Let's get to it.

Opening sequence opens, as is its custom.

Here are Rollins and the Stooges to open things up. After a recap of everything that happened on Monday with the RKO's all around, Rollins mocks the RKO OUTTA NOWHERE concept. It's a good thing Orton got all those out of his system because the RKO is banned on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, Rollins doesn't need anyone's help, including an aging former monster' like Kane.

Strike up the organ of course so Kane can come out and threaten to chokeslam Rollins right now. He can either keep the title on Rollins this Sunday or destroy him right now. Seth laughs it off and says Kane will be fired for crossing the Authority. HHH only gave Kane that job to make him feel better because Kane is just a suit these days. Kane obeying the Authority is what's best for business.

Seth brings up Kane laying down and says that's what he should be doing, but Kane thinks Seth should lay down for him right now. He'll even make it non-title. A referee comes down and we get a bell. Rollins says this isn't right but Kane says he's the Authority tonight. The threat of disembowelment convinces Seth to lay down but as Kane goes to cover him, he says he's just kidding and helps Seth up.

However, Kane isn't done yet as he makes Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose RIGHT NOW. Ambrose comes running out but Luke Harper follows, setting up a big beatdown on Dean. With things going bad, Roman Reigns comes out for the save, chasing off Rollins and Harper with Superman Punches.

Dolph Ziggler/Neville vs. Bad News Barrett/Sheamus

On the way to the ring, Sheamus says it's an insult to have underdogs like the men in the ring compared to real men like them. He even offers to bring Ziggler a stepladder to help Ziggler kiss up to him on Sunday. Neville starts with Sheamus and starts kicking away at the leg, followed by a running hurricanrana to send Sheamus outside. Barrett gets sent out as well and Neville hits a big running flip to take them both down.

Back from a break with Barrett holding Neville in a chinlock before Sheamus drops him with a release suplex. Neville finally fights up and kicks Sheamus in the head, allowing the hot tag to Ziggler. The jumping elbow and running DDT get two each on Barrett but a Sheamus distraction lets Barrett hit a quick Wasteland for two more. Ziggler spins around the shoulders though, setting up a Zig Zag into the Red Arrow for the pin on Barrett at 8:39.

Rating: C. This was a nice way to set things up, but again, well done on having a guy who might be winning the Intercontinental Title in three days look bad. That being said, it's really nice to see Neville get yet another pin over a big name. Even though everyone pins Barrett, it's still the biggest fall of Neville's career.

We get the Tough Enough announcement and see some of the best/worst video submissions so far. Yeah fine. Just let me know when the winner (other than John Morrison) means anything.

Bray Wyatt says someone's strength is an illusion, just like anyone else. He sees right through this person because fear is the same for every man. Bray will expose him as a weakling very soon. How does life work for a butterfly with no wings?

Naomi vs. Natalya

I guess Natalya is a face again. Naomi slugs her down to start and catapults Natayla throat first into the bottom rope for two. A chinlock doesn't last long so Naomi drops an elbow, only to miss a legdrop. Natalya does the stepover into the dropkick, only to walk into the Rear View for the pin at 2:28. As usual, the week to week continuity dominates the Divas.

The next target for the Prime Time Players is the Tag Team Champions. Kidd is whipped and Cesaro is interesting. Why is he interesting? see......he's German! Uh I mean Swiss, but it's the same thing.

Ryback vs. Rusev

Jobber entrance for Rusev but Lana gives a speech about the strength of the Russian chain, which has protected the greatest of Russia for years. Rusev says the chain is his weapon and a burden to Cena, to whom no mercy will be shown. They stare each other down to start before locking up with Rusev shoving him into the corner. Ryback nails a running clothesline for two and the Russian is stunned. A delayed suplex puts Rusev down again but he rolls to the floor before Ryback can stay on him.

Back in and Ryback misses a charge into the post, sending us to a break. We come back with Rusev putting on a quickly broken bearhug. Ryback fires off some right hands and gets two off a belly to belly, only to splash legs. The Meat Hook and jumping superkick are countered but the second Meat Hook connects. Rusev slips out of a Shell Shock though and heads outside, where he hits Ryback in the ribs with the chain for the DQ at 9:57.

Rating: C-. Take two guys and let them beat on each other for a few minutes. It's a strategy that has worked for years and it worked well enough here. This was a pretty good way to make Rusev look like a killer again, even if it's just a way to set him up again to be destroyed by Cena.

Ryback gets the Accolade with the chain around the face.

Jamie Noble isn't worried about Harper because it turns out they're cousins. Harper comes up in his usual trance and Noble tries to get his attention, but Harper is annoyed that they broke his concentration. He was thinking of all the ways he can hurt people you see.

Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro

Before the match, the New Day blames the lack of positivity in WWE on the lack of clapping. Have no fear because New Day is here! Woods says they're like medicine: they may not taste good going down, but they're the right thing for you. Kofi goes on a rant about how the WWE isn't listening to them but soon enough they will embrace the New Day. They're kind of awesome at this.

The fans aren't pleased and chant their version of the catchphrase. A dropkick puts Cesaro down to start but he uppercuts Kofi into the Swing, only to have everyone else brawl on the floor. Trouble in Paradise hits out of nowhere for the pin at 1:30. That's not as bad as it's not a tag match loss.

Big Show has had enough of Roman Reigns and is ready to expose him for what he is.

Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins/Luke Harper

Kane is at ringside. Ambrose and Harper get things going with Dean taking him down to the mat and ripping at Harper's face. Off to Reigns for a stomping in the corner before Dean gets another tag and hits a basement clothesline. Harper finally gets Ambrose into the corner for a tag to the champ to take over. A headlock into a front facelock keep Dean in trouble before Rollins throws him to the floor for a big boot from Harper.

We take a break and come back with Dean fighting out of a chinlock but having to DDT Harper instead of tagging. Seth comes back in to break up the hot tag attempt with a clothesline before both guys try cross bodies. The double tag brings in the power guys with Roman cleaning house but having to Superman Punch the Stooges off the apron. Harper takes one as well before Dean nails Rollins with the top rope standing elbow.

Luke partially blocks Dean's suicide dive and sends him over the timekeeper's area, only to eat a clothesline from Reigns. Rollins comes back in with the springboard knee for two and it's the discus lariat for two. Dean comes in off the hot tag to clean house. The rebound clothesline puts Rollins down and Dean low bridges Harper to the floor. Dean dives on the pile at ringside, only to have Kane throw Rollins back inside, allowing Reigns to hit the spear on Rollins for the pin at 16:44.

Rating: B. This was a much better main event tag than I was expecting. I'm not wild on the champion getting pinned but that's one of those things you learn to live with in WWE. It's also par for the course for this title reign but that's another story for another time. Anyway, good, long tag match here which was better than I was expecting.

Overall Rating: C+. Pretty fun show tonight with a good main event to carry things. Extreme Rules isn't the most interesting card in the world but a lot of that is due to the show just being a bunch of Wrestlemania rematches. The direction of a lot of things is still questionable but at least we had a fun two hour show to get us to the pay per view.

Dolph Ziggler/Neville b. Bad News Barrett/Sheamus – Red Arrow to Barrett
Naomi b. Natalya – Rear View
Ryback b. Rusev via DQ when Rusev hit him with a chain
Kofi Kingston b. Cesaro – Trouble in Paradise
Roman Reigns/Dean Ambrose b. Seth Rollins/Luke Harper – Spear to Rollins

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  1. Who are you to doubt Eva Marie? She's a real jam-guy. A high flyer of the highest magnitude. Wait......

  2. "She is absolutely not hotter than AJ Lee."

    Quoted for Truth!

  3. I was under the impression that they hired her FOR Total Divas so they could have (Like Strong Bad to Home Star Runner) an antagonist.

  4. A surprising 30 seconds of fighting on a 3 hour show about fighting will be very surprising.

  5. Best part of that promo was when Bret called Psychosis "Hypnosis"

  6. Now Dolph/Neville vs Sheamus/Barrett sounds like a good old fashioned Smackdown match.

  7. Love the New Day. It's a shame they didn't figure this out during February so New Day could have called out WWE's phoney tributes to their few black stars

  8. Watched interstellar tonight. And i gotta tell ya. I'd rather watch the best of Eve marie than watch wooderson cry 15 times in 3 hours.

  9. Alright, I'm all-in on heel New Day. They still shouldn't get the tag titles on Sunday, but they're growing on me.

  10. Man they could have an instant main event feud if they'd just let Ambrose remember that he had a blood feud with Rollins that never had an ending. But he's weird looking so let's just have him toil in meaningless midcard matches all year and never win.

  11. LOL - while I might disagree with your opinion about Edwards I give you many points for your effective use of contrast between sentences 1-6 and the final two. I acquiesce to your knowledge and command of the English language. =)

  12. The TV that blew up in his face scrambled his brains. He doesn't remember who Seth Rollins is.

  13. Yeah it looks like we're finally getting a brand split done properly with the second brand having a different style of product. It makes a lot of sense to have a "pro wrestling" show with a strong roster touring and being the anchor show on the Network. They can afford to keep some big names down there and recreate the great strength of the territories by rotating people out of the main roster when they get stale and refreshing their characters. Meanwhile the house shows in Florida in front of an audience of 100-200 become what OVW/FCW was - the actual development territory.

  14. The chain match. They aren't going to do it are they? They can't do it. They can't run the same ending can they? Rusev drags Cena to one corner, hits the corner. Turns away to head to the other turnbuckle, Cena secretly hits the turnbuckle afterwards. Rusev never sees Cena hitting the turnbuckles. Fast forward to the last turnbuckle, some how they get reversed and Cena hits the last turnbuckle first. They can't do this same ending can they?

  15. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 24, 2015 at 2:56 AM

    Pretty much yep.

  16. Has a match like that ever ended a different way?

  17. "Ween" Dean AndrewsApril 24, 2015 at 5:11 AM

    Can I get a quarter at £55 please? Ta.

  18. That'd be a good stip for Brock, he could just annihilate someone and drag their lifeless carcass to the corners when he gets bored.

  19. Are you saying Kendrick's teaching her how to type with boxing gloves on her hands?

  20. I really liked the Dolph / Neville tag team and I think they could be a good team going forward. It's not like either guy is getting a world championship match anytime soon, and Dolph & Neville vs Cesaro & Kidd would be a hell of a match.

  21. Agreed. Respect to her for working so hard, but she's also going to have to transition to being in the ring for the most part with less skilled, clumsier, and weaker people than Kendrick. That springboard DDT looked cool, but she's going to have to go from being caught by Kendrick to being caught by a Bella.

  22. Extant1979 - Extreme SuperstarApril 24, 2015 at 6:55 AM

    Watching Smackdown now, the whole concept of just calling Adrian Neville by his last name bothers me more than it probably should. Also, how is a "Kiss Me Arse" match extreme? And how does Ziggler think he's going to make Sheamus kiss his own arse? Does Ziggler not now what an arse is?

  23. kbwrestlingreviewsApril 24, 2015 at 7:11 AM

    I seem to remember Vader doing that at one point.

  24. AverageJoeEverymanApril 24, 2015 at 7:40 AM

    I loved the sneaky heel move of Xavier trapping the guys legs so they get counted out on Raw

  25. If it's Rollins/Harper/Rowan/Bray that's just the Wyatt family with Seth Rollins, which doesn't seem very horsemeny.

  26. The whole 4 weeks of story lines in one night thing seems so weird.

    How long was the actual show from start to finish? Did each match come on in chronological order as it appeared each week on Raw? Did you watch Raw each week with friends and "predict" what was going to happen? And they were like, "Holy shit! Your psychic!"

    Were there any screw ups that they had to do over? Was there any point where you got so burned out that you said, "Fuck it, this is stupid. I want to leave.?"

    Sorry, this whole concept fascinates me.

  27. How do you mention Bob cat and announcer 3-ways but omit JOE GOMEZ?!?!?!

  28. Taker, HHH, and Kane are the only 3 guys from the era that are still around. I guess you could include Mark Henry but he had barely started wrestling at this point in 96.

    Kane is the only one of the 3 who still works a relatively regular schedule. But Taker started in the WWF 6 years prior to this period. And he probably started wrestling a good 8-10 years before 96.

    It's definitely impressive. Of course it helps that he wrestles only once a year now. I think the most impressive part is that he is respected enough, in the locker room, by Vince, and by the fans that people still want him around.

    Most people; after nearly 30 years, one of those three (sometimes all of those three) entities don't want that wrestler coming around anymore. So the fact that Vince, his peers, and fans still look forward to his appearances is pretty amazing.

    Sucks for me that I hated the gimmick from day one. Didn't care for his locker room politics through most of the early 2000s either.

  29. I hear what you're saying. But as a wrestling fan for 30 years I didn't need Warrior wearing a hat to hell me how that segment was going to end. I was tipped off by the fact that a heel was giving a babyface a present. I would have been far more surprised if Lawler HAD NOT hit Warrior with that picture frame.

    My question is: Why didn't they use gimmicked glass? Like when Piper hit Albano with that framed record. Piper hit him right over the head. It looked awesome. The whole "turning it around and hitting Warrior with the non-glass side" looked contrived and silly anyway.

    But bottom line, Scott was right. The whole angle was stupid. This was the best they could come up with for Warrior? Feuding with Jerry Lawler over a drawing?

    No thanks.

  30. I know right. They use it again with Austin in the SummerSlam preshow match. Especially if he was on his way out. Why not have someone beat him solidly to gain some good heat? I thought the Austin thing was weird too because even at that size I'm sure he could have taken a Stunner. It's not the hardest thing to bump for.

  31. It seemed by this point he never really landed the Drop anymore. He would go up for it but always miss. I think they were scared that he was too fat and he really might kill someone.

  32. I don't know any pre-teens that look like that. Those legs are unbelievable.

  33. AJ once had my favorite ass in WWE. I will admit she has gotten too skinny since hooking up with Punk, but that can be overcome. She was at her hotness peak when she was with Dolph.

  34. Because Joe Gomez is a legend or something? I dunno that was so 3 days ago.

  35. had a lot to do with who ut was in the ring then his "best work"

  36. Sub Rowan out and put in..Bo Dallas?

  37. at mind games after the main shawn went by the announce table and had words with henning

  38. Well it was 19 years ago now so some of the details are fuzzy, but I want to say it started at 7 and went to about 11:30 or so. They taped stuff for future episodes before the live episode at 9:00, then went back to taping for future episodes before taking on a main event of Michaels-Lawler. I watched the RAWs with the friends I went to the taping with, and I think we were all too excited to have a WWF TV taping in our area to be too critical, but yeah, the shows weren't good.

    We didn't leave, but when we got home and watched that night's NITRO (when Scott Hall showed up) we all realized which was the more interesting show.

    We'd also been to the In Your House where the power went out the night before.

  39. they were trying to kill time until warrior was put back into title picture and help build him up as a face to newer fans by pairing warrior against heels crowds are totally against like goldust and lawler

  40. Batista sure was a workhorse, eh?

  41. yeah when motivated actually yes


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