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WWE Smackdown!- February 19, 2015

by Scrooge McSuck

- We’ve got the turn signal on for the off-ramp to Fastlane (how’s that for changing up the humor?), and as much as Fastlane is an obvious filler PPV, it does have a few interesting matches and angles that can alter the WrestleMania card.

- Taped on February 17th, from the BB&T Center in Sunrise, FL… really, SUNRISE, FL? Still not as bad as having TV tapings at Liberty High School in the middle of nowhere, NY. They say it’s Ft. Lauderdale, but I’m not buying it. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Byron Saxton are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Did you know Saxton used to wrestle on NXT? Of course not, nobody does.

Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz (w/ Damien Mizdow):

At least it’s not Round 746 of facing Kane and/or Big Show. Yes, the best way to make me look forward to the Miz working is by comparing him to the oversaturation of Big Show and Kane. If you missed it this past Monday, Bryan and Reigns played mind games with each other, with Bryan distracting Reigns during his match by constantly leading the crowd in “Yes” chants, and Reigns paid him back by distracting the crowd from Bryan’s match by giving away crappy merchandise, signing autographs, and taking selfies… I liked it. We flashback to the original season of NXT when Daniel Bryan was the Miz’s “rookie.” Miz chews his “assistant” out for trying to steal the spotlight and sends him away from the ring. Bryan attacks with kicks and drives a knee to the midsection. Whip to the corner, Bryan avoids a charge and bounces off the ropes with a clothesline. Bryan with the running dropkick in the corner, followed by more kicks. Bryan takes Miz off the top rope with a hurricanrana. Bryan sets up for the running knee, but Miz rolls to the floor. Bryan gives chase and gets his leg taken out for his efforts. Miz goes for the Figure-Four, but it’s countered with the Yes-Lock and the Miz taps at 3:16. That was quick. ¾* Just a squash match for Bryan. I’m glad they didn’t factor Mizdow into the match. Bryan doesn’ need cheap wins over scrubs.

- Later tonight, Roman Reigns faces Luke Harper, and Seth Rollins goes one-on-one with Dolph Ziggler in the Main Event.

Ryback vs. Corporate Kane:

Ugh. Please be short. Lockup, Kane grabs a side headlock, and Ryback quickly counters with a back suplex. Whip to the corner, Kane charges in at 0.002 mph, and is caught with a belly-to-belly suplex. Ryback sets up for the Meat Hook, but Kane rolls away to the floor. He turns the tide, hanging Ryback up across the top rope. Whip to the ropes and Kane connects with a DDT. Kane with a boot to the face.Whip to the ropes, Kane with an elbow for two. Just in case you had trouble staying awake, we settle in with a chinlock. Ryback slugs his way free and comes off the ropes with a Thesz Press, followed by a big splash. Spinebuster gets two. Ryback goes high risk and gets knocked to the floor. Back in the ring, Ryback skips making a comeback and cuts right to the finish, putting Kane away with the Shell-Shock at 4:16. That was a surprisingly quick, and clean, job for Kane. * It was short, and they didn’t blow anything, so bonus points.

- We recap the situation between Dean Ambrose and Bad News Barrett where Ambrose tied Barrett to the ring post and forced Barrett to sign a contract for an Intercontinental Championship Match at Fastlane. I don’t see how that is a legally binding document when we saw Ambrose force Barrett’s signature.

Non-Title Match: R-Truth vs. Bad News Barrett (IC Champion):

Despite the shady circumstances, the match between Ambrose and Barrett is signed and booked for Fastlane. I have a feeling R-Truth’s entrance will be longer than the match. Lockup, Barrett drives a knee to the midsection. Whip to the ropes, Truth dances and pounds away in the corner. Barrett knocks his head off with a big boot. He pounds away across the back and lands a punt to the midsection for a near fall. Whip to the corner, Truth gets the feet up on a charge, and follows with a pair of clotheslines. Jumping heel kick gets two. Scissors Kick misses, and Barrett hits the Winds of Change. He ignores going for a pin to continue screaming at Ambrose, who’s been at the commentary table for this. He sets up for the Bull Hammer, but gets distracted by Ambrose turning his back to him… and R-Truth rolls him up for three at 3:30. A distraction finish via non-distraction. WWE knows how to dig deep. * Just a device to build towards Fastlane, but Barrett’s win-loss record as Intercontinental Champion is just pathetic.

- Vince McMahon is featured in Muscle & Fitness Magazine. If anyone is convinced this man isn’t on some kind of muscle-enhancing drugs, then what the hell are you smoking?

- John Cena and Rusev continue to build towards their encounter at Fastlane. I hate to repeat people saying the same thing, but they really should be booking this like Rocky IV, instead of Rocky III. John Cena clearly hasn’t lost his fire, and the USA vs. Russia concept almost got Jack Swagger over as a babyface, so it’s clearly a storyline that works. With their match being for the United States Championship, you have to believe Cena isn’t winning, at least not decisively for the Title, but you have to think Rusev needs the win more than anything, and Cena can win a rematch at WrestleMania 31.

- Bray Wyatt cuts a not-so-subtle promo directed towards The Undertaker. I honestly don’t see how they will make this work at WrestleMania, but I’ll let things play out and see where it goes.

- Sheamus is coming back from yet another injury. Yay Sheamus.

The New Day (w/ Kofi Kingston) vs. The Ascension:

(Xavier Woods & Big E. vs. Viktor & Konnor)
This should be quick. We’ve crossed the New Aged Outlaws and the Brothers Dust off the list, so now it’s the New Day’s turn. I guess Los Matadores missed their flight to avoid being squashed this week. The Ascension gets to cut another horribly scripted inset-promo. Woods and Viktor start. Viktor grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Criss-cross, Woods with a knee to the midsection and a basement dropkick for one. Viktor takes him to the corner, and Konnor tags in for some double-mudhole-stomping. The pathetic attempt to get the crowd clapping along doesn’t seem to be working. Woods continues getting punished in the corner, as nothing of note happens. Double shoulder tackle gets two. Woods fights out of the corner and makes the cold tag to Big E. He takes Viktor over with a pair of belly-to-belly suplexes. He sends Konnor to the floor with a clothesline, but a splash meets knees. Viktor sends him to the post, and the Fall of Man finishes things at 3:11. ½* Standard squash match for the Ascension. At least Kofi was spared of being completely slaughtered.

Roman Reigns vs. Luke Harper:

This might be our first competitive match that will produce more than a 1-star effort. We’re only half-way into the show, and we’re on match #5. A lot of entrances are done during the commercial, so that helps save time. Has Reigns ditched his colorful alternative Shield attire, or have I not been paying attention? Reigns quickly takes Harper to the corner and pounds away. They take it to the floor, with Reigns laying him out with a running clothesline. Reigns blocks a boot and takes Harper down with a back suplex for two. Whip to the corner, Harper back drops Reigns to the apron. Reigns gets introduced to the steps, allowing Harper to take over. Somersault senton from the apron gets two. Harper with an elbow drop for two. Harper with the Gator-roll, settling into a side headlock. Reigns fights free and takes Harper over with a modified pump-handle slam. Reigns meets elbow on a charge, but recovers and unloads with a flurry of clotheslines. Whip to the ropes, and a jumping clothesline gets two. Harper escapes a Samoan Drop with a sunset flip, then takes Reigns down with a Bossman Slam for two. Harper goes for the Powerbomb, but Reigns counters with a Samoan Drop. Reigns sets up for the Superman Punch, but it’s countered with a boot to the face. Reigns staggers into the ropes, and comes right back with the Spear, and it’s good for three at 5:23. ** Fun, hard-hitting heavyweight action. Reigns intensity seemed to be turned up a notch, and made him much more interesting to watch. It also brings up how can Daniel Bryan overcome someone who can take some hard shots and come back unaffected.

- Recap from Monday Night featuring Triple H and Ric Flair discussing Sting. I’ve already mentioned it in my Main Event recap, but here it is again: Triple H’s obsession and paranoia over Sting’s arrival has been well done, despite the head-scratching call-out of a call-out that took place two weeks ago on Raw. Flair warns Triple H not to underestimate Sting, and gets shoved on his ass in response. WrestleMania can’t get here quick enough.

Erick Rowan vs. Big Show:

Why can’t they just take Big Show off television? This is one of the many rematches to what I called WWE’s 2014 Worst Match of the Year, so they have lofty expectations to live down to. We’ll set the over/under at 2:45, with my official prediction being under. Show interrupts Rowan’s entrance and hip throws him onto the concrete floor. Rowan gets introduced to the ring steps, flashing us back to that awful match at TLC ’14. They finally enter the ring and the bell rings to start the match formally. Show bum-rushes into the corner and unloads with rights and lefts. Show with a scoop slam and more stomping in the corner. Chokeslam finishes at 1:37. DUD Awful, as expected. When are they finally going to send Rowan back into the arms of Wyatt and Harper, because he’s dead as a babyface. Big Show still sucks.

- Coming out next week, the Flinstones and WWE cross-over. My God, the voice work sounds atrocious. I know most kids these days don’t know much of the original Flintstones series, but the voices are just wrong. Almost as bad as wrong-sounding Muppets.

Paige vs. Cameron:

The Bella Twins join commentary once again. This past Monday on Raw, the Bella’s stole Paige’s ring attire, and forced her to borrow a doofy outfit from one of the Rosebuds. I guess Cameron refusing to give Paige an outfit is the basis for why this match is taking place. I’m sure WWE was happy that Naked Paige was trending. CHILD FRIENDLY PROGRAMMING! Paige grabs Cameron by the hair and throws her across the ring. She unloads with a series of knees to the midsection, but gets caught by surprise with a DDT. Cameron with the weakest avalanche known to mankind, followed by a hair-pull slam for a two count. Paige with a cheap roll up for two. She takes Cameron down with a trio of clotheslines, followed by a running one-foot dropkick. Paige with a super-kick, and the PTO finishes at 2:32. ½* Another squash match. It feels like I’ve been watching the same segment with these Diva’s every week. Paige wins a squash, Nikki holds up the belt, lather, rinse, repeat. I guess they did change up the routine with the whole “Naked Paige” bit on Raw.

- Recap of the break-up between Goldust and Stardust, which means we finally get that one-on-one match between the two, this coming Sunday at Fastlane. Did I mention Stardust is being introduced from the 5th Dimension? Renee Young brings out Goldust for an interview, but Stardust interrupts via hacking the feed on the nearby television screen. I must say, WWE really dropped the ball with Cody and Goldust over the last year, but as much as we all know this isn’t going to lead to anything meaningful for Cody Rhodes, it at least appears to be closing the book on the career of Goldust/Dustin Rhodes. I’m actually looking forward to this one, just because of how many times we’ve been teased and it wasn’t delivered, and if given a decent amount of time (as in more than 5-minutes), it could be really good.

Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey & Naomi) vs. Tyson Kidd (w/ Cesaro & Natalya):

I love how Naomi is suddenly showing up at ringside, probably something to do with a dumbass storyline on Total Divas. These two teams will battle at Fastlane for the Tag Team Championship. Kidd unloads with forearms to kick things off. Uso comes back with an uppercut, followed by a slam. Mounted punches in the corner. Suddenly Rusev runs out, knocks Jey on his ass, then lays out Jimmy. He knocks Kidd to the floor, and continues to pummel Jimmy. Jey tries to save and gets laid out with a jumping crescent kick. It’s a no-contest at 1:04, by the way. No rating, as it’s barely a match. Rusev continues to punish the Usos, but Cena doesn’t save for two reasons: he doesn’t care to ever help anyone else, and he doesn’t work Tuesdays. Why not use the Matadores and a couple of other scrubs instead of destroying the Tag Team Champions?

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins:

It’s time for the Main Event, and it’s a rematch from Monday Night Raw J & J Security have been banned from ringside, which means they’ll make an appearance at some point. Lockup, Rollins goes for the arm. Ziggler counters, sending Rollins into the ropes to force a break. Rollins with a side headlock and takeover. Criss-cross leads to a Ziggler hip toss. He goes for a dive into the corner, but ends up meeting the buckle. Rollins puts the boots to him as we take a break. We return, with Rollins hooking a chinlock. Ryback, Rowan (cough:scrub:cough), Kane, and Big Show are at ringside Ziggler fights free, only to get taken right back down. Rollins with a pair of short-arm clotheslines. Ziggler ducks a third and comes off the ropes with a body press. Ziggler with a diving avalanche and neck breaker. Jumping elbow drop gets two. Rollins avoids a Fame-Asser, but gets rolled up for two. Ziggler with a back slide for another two count. Rollins with a boot to the midsection, but the Curb Stomp is interrupted. Ziggler counters a Powerbomb with a sunset flip for two. Fameasser gets two. Rollins gets dumped to the apron and knocked to the floor with a Super-kick. He slaps Rowan and Ryback because he can, but here’s Ziggler with a forearm. Back in the ring, Ziggler springs off the ropes for a hurricanrana (but not before a distraction from Kane), but Rollins counters with the Powerbomb into the corner. Rollins with the Curb Stomp, and it’s good for three at 7:26. Post-match, the 2015 edition of the Job Squad gets laid out by Rollins, Kane, and Big Show. **1/4 Highly disappointed. Either most of the match was clipped for the commercial break, or they really went straight from a slow start into a hot finish. 1

Final Thoughts: They sure did cram a lot of content into a two hour program. The longest match didn’t reach double digits (unless you count commercial breaks), and almost every segment meant something towards pushing to Fastlane. Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns had successful (and dominant) warm-up matches, Ambrose continues to be a thorn in Barrett’s side in his quest of giving meaning back to the Intercontinental Championship, Paige and Nikki Bella keep doing the same segment over-and-over again to give their match more than a week’s worth of build, and hey, how about that upcoming Stardust vs. Goldust match? As far as negatives are concerned, I really expected more from Rollins and Ziggler, and how about that Big Show? I hear you have to see him in person to really appreciate his size.

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