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WWE Smackdown!- February 26, 2015

by Scrooge McSuck

- Taped from Atlanta, GA (or according to the notes in front of the commentary team, “Sting’s old stompin’ grounds) on February 24th. Michael Cole, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Byron Saxton are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted.

- Daniel Bryan comes out for some talking. I guess he’s going to deliver his own eulogy after the hopes of him ever meaning anything in WWE were not only put in critical condition at Fastlane, but officially had the plug pulled in favor of the “seal of approval” promo that was meant to put over Roman Reigns, but in reality, did nothing for Reigns and was basically WWE’s way of saying “we don’t care if you chant for Bryan any more, this is what you’re getting, so accept it.” This leads to… ugh… Bad News Barrett interrupting and calling him a loser. This then leads to Dean Ambrose making his regular “make Barrett look like a fool” segment. Seriously, Daniel Bryan is now being lumped into the same group of suck fighting over the Jobbercontinental Championship. Did I mention R-Truth is still in the picture? Yeah, Daniel Bryan isn’t being phased out.

Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz:

No Mizdow this week, as they continue to milk this angle months after people were starting to burn out on it. WWE: We either blow things off too soon or just drag it through the mud until absolutely nobody cares. The Miz is one of a handful of names who has announced his participation in the 2nd Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale. Other names include Ryback and Curtis Axel. If this isn’t on the Kickoff Show, I’ll be surprised. Lockup, Ambrose with a shoulder tackle and roll up for two. He plants Miz with a slam and comes off the ropes with a twisting elbow for another pin attempt. Miz comes back with his back breaker-neck breaker combo for a near fall. Ambrose turns things around with a flurry of rights and boots in the corner. Running bulldog out of the corner. Ambrose to the top rope, but here’s Barrett to reclaim his Intercontinental Title. Miz goes for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Ambrose counters and finishes with Dirty Deeds at 2:46. * Ambrose picks up the victory, but Barrett has regained possession of his Championship. I don’t think that’s the end of this saga.

- Renee Young gets a quick word from Bad News Barrett. He’s not letting the Championship out of his site again.

Naomi (w/ The Usos) vs. Natalya (w/ Cesaro & Tyson Kidd):

I guess Natalya has officially gone full heel, but it’s not like WWE tells us these things. Kidd and Cesaro captured the Tag Team Championship at Fastlane, so expect a series of rematches with the Usos. Natalya is selling a leg injury that occurred on Monday Night Raw. Natalya grabs a side headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Criss-cross ends with a slow motion roll up from Naomi for two. Naomi with an arm drag to escape a wristlock. Natalya picks the ankle, but Naomi takes her over with a head scissors. They do a mid-air collision, with both feeling the effects. Naomi with a stiff kick to the injured leg, and suddenly the men get into it on the floor, with the Usos getting the better of it. Natalya recovers and hits the spinning clothesline for three at 2:38. I’m amazed they didn’t reference Bret Hart when accusing Natalya of playing possum. 3/4* Looks like we’re getting a bunch of short matches.

- Rusev and Lana are out to gloat about his victory over John Cena at Fastlane. Cena is a quitter, just like every other American, and he doesn’t deserve a rematch when he’s already lost to a superior athlete. Jack Swagger of all people interrupts, rallying the crowd into thinking he might have a shot at kicking butt. They get into a brawl, and it isn’t long until Rusev levels him with a super-kick and slaps on the Accolade. Not a match, but not a segment I’d say meant anything since beating up on a geek like Swagger just comes across as major time filler. When Swagger says he never gets tired of this, I guess he meant getting whooped by Rusev.

Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett (Intercontinental Champion):

Non-Title Match, so Barrett is losing. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bryan lost, just because it seems to follow the WWE’s trend of making him look like a chump since coming back from his injury. No entrance for either man. I guess we don’t need to see their full entrance twice in less than an hour. R-Truth joins the commentary and confuses Saxton for Jonathon Coachman… cute. Bryan takes Barrett down with a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. He goes for a modified surfboard, but Barrett fights back to his feet and takes him over with a snap suplex. Bryan with a vicious uppercut and a series of kicks. He hits the ropes, only to run into the Winds of Change for a near fall. Barrett tosses Bryan to the floor, then randomly celebrates with the IC Title as we take a break. We return with Barrett driving a series of knees into the chest of Bryan and laying him out with a running boot for another near fall. Bryan fights out of a chinlock with elbows, but gets nailed with a right. Whip to the corner, Bryan flips off the buckle and comes off the ropes with a clothesline. Bryan with the Yes-Kicks for a two count. Bryan with a running dropkick, but a second attempt misses (and is caught by one of the ugliest camera lenses I’ve ever seen used on WWE TV). Barrett leaves the ring to pick the IC Title belt off the ground, and is met with a baseball slide. Bryan quickly follows with a suicide dive. Bryan to the top rope, but Barrett crotches him along the buckle. Barrett goes for something but it’s quickly countered with the Yes-Lock. Meanwhile, R-Truth comically steals the IC Title. Barrett makes it to the ropes, forcing the break. He lands a kick to the midsection and sends Bryan shoulder first to the post. He sets up for the Bull Hammer, but is met with the Running Knee, and Bryan covers for three at 10:09. Looked like a nod to the finish at Fastlane where Bryan set up for his finish and was beat to the punch with the Spear. *** Good TV match, but Barrett shouldn’t be in a position where he’s constantly jobbing. After the match, Barrett looks around for his stolen Championship. You have to love the heart-broken expression on his face.

- Taped interview with Byron Saxton sitting down with Roman Reigns. WWE continues to not know how to use Reigns properly. He shouldn’t be selling the idea of how tough Brock Lesnar is and how he’s going to have to study him hard to figure out a way to beat him. He should be confident and how much ass he’s going to kick. I’m not saying “boo, Daniel Bryan deserves the spot more”, but Reign’s poor Championship chase will only be followed with a lackluster run with zero credible opponents. Seriously, who will he work with? Big Show? Kane? MAYBE Seth Rollins? The lineup is slim, and his chase is where the money is at, and the chase sucks.

- Hall of Fame Class of 2015 Inductees… THE BUSHWHACKERS. Do I have to say anything about this? I don’t want to hear about their run before the WWF as the Kiwi’s and Sheepherders. This is strictly “Bushwhackers”, the stupid comedy tag team that was nothing but a couple of jobbers who bumped poorly and made me feel embarrassed to be a wrestling fan. We have a new “Worst Inductee”, relieving Koko B. Ware of his spot.

- Dean Ambrose and R-Truth have a moment over the Intercontinental Championship. Truth gives him the belt and declares it the second title change of the night. I might be growing weak in my old age, but I’m finding Truth’s antics quite comical.

“The New and Improved” Fandango (w/ Rosa) vs. Curtis Axel:

Who the hell is the babyface?! AxelMania is running mild, and he’s spent over a month in the Royal Rumble Match (we’re at 32 days, 7 minutes, and 24 seconds as of this moment). Fandango with a waistlock, but Axel knocks him down with an elbow and stomps away. He tosses Fandango over the top rope and celebrates by chanting “Axel-Mania.” Then he points to the sign to really troll everyone. Fandango sneaks in with a roll up for two. He plants Axel with a suplex and finishes with the Last Dance at 1:03. So much for Axel-Mania. No rating for a 60-second match, but this segment was fine.

- Damien Mizdow is backstage filming a commercial. Miz interrupts to try and upstage Mizdow’s performance, stealing his spot in the commercial in the process. Judging by the lines, it sounds like a commercial for a product not unlike Viagra. Again, am I getting soft, or was Miz actually funny in that segment?

- Confirmed for WrestleMania is a multi-person Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match. But who will all the participants be? I’m guessing Barrett (duh), Ambrose, Bryan (ugh…), Ziggler, R-Truth, and we need another heel, so why not Luke Harper? Or maybe a returning Sheamus. He’s always returning.

- Sting hype video featured on Monday Night Raw, and already covered on Main Event. Short and to the point, it’s well done and gives you the impression of just how awesome Sting used to be.

Goldust vs. Adam Rose:

I’m expecting another short match with how quickly we’re running out of time. Adam Rose with an inset promo declaring his participation in the 2nd Annual Andre The Giant Battle Royal. He still won’t do the trust fall. Rose attacks from behind and sends Goldust to the buckle. Goldust quickly turns the tide and plants Rose with a snap Powerslam for two. Goldust avoids something from the top rope, and finishes with a twisting suplex at 1:01. Post-match, Goldust is attacked by one of the rosebuds, dressed like a monkey. It turns out to be Cody… err… Stardust, in disguise. THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE!

- Bray Wyatt cuts another promo, calling out the Undertaker for a match at WrestleMania 31. I wonder if we’ll get an appearance by the Undertaker before WrestleMania.

Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, Erick Rowan vs. Seth Rollins, Corporate Kane, Big Show (w/ J & J Security):

Yes, it’s the rematch from Fastlane, where Kane pinned Dolph Ziggler. It’s time for the babyfaces to win, and I can bet it won’t end with Rowan pinning Big Show. WWE actually has a recap video for Seth Rollins feud with… Jon Stewart. OK? What about Randy Orton? Does he not work Tuesdays anymore, either? Rowan and Kane start. Yay. Rowan quickly takes Kane down with a fall-away slam and follows with an elbow drop for two. Ziggler tags in and connects with a dropkick to the FACE for another two count. Rollins tags in and is quickly taken down with a neck breaker. What is with those crummy cameras stationed in the corner? Jumping elbow drop gets two. Big Show tags in and swings Ziggler from a Million Dollar Dream position.

We return from commercial, with Kane in control with a chinlock. Ziggler teases a comeback, but Kane ducks the FameAsser, and connects with a big boot. Rollins gets a near fall off a PUNCH. That must’ve been a devastating chinlock Kane had applied. Show threatens to splash Ziggler from the second rope… and actually hits it, but it only gets two. Usually, that telegraphs a miss. Ziggler gets a boot up on a charge and hits the FameAsser out of nowhere. Kane tags in and gets taken down with a DDT. Ryback gets the hot tag and bulldozes through Rollins. Whip to the ropes, Thesz Press, and a release belly-to-belly suplex. Press into a Powerslam. Ryback with the Meat-Hook. Mercury and Noble get thrown around. ShellShock with Rollins AND Mercury is broken up by Big Show. Rowan comes in and tackles Big Show over the top rope. Rollins takes Rowan out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Kane goes for a Chokeslam, but Ziggler interrupts with the Zig-Zag. Rollins with a super-kick on Ryback, but the Curb Stomp is countered by a Ziggler Super-Kick, and Ryback finishes with the ShellShock at 12:28. You mean the babyfaces not only won, but in a decisive and united effort? *** Basically the same match as Fastlane, except Ziggler was a better choice for a heat sequence, the finish was better, and I didn’t feel like my intelligence was insulted by the poor booking of Rowan.

Final Thoughts: No John Cena, no Randy Orton, only a pre-taped segment with Roman Reigns, and as what has become normal for Thursday Night, no Triple H or Stephanie. With all those absent, it didn’t hurt my enjoyment for the show. As head scratching it is for the booking of Barrett, the Intercontinental Title is being treated as something everyone wants, and it’s giving a lot of guys something meaningful for WrestleMania other than token spots in the Battle Royale. The undercard continues to be pushed elsewhere, with the drama surrounding the Usos, Naomi, Natalya, Kidd, and Cesaro, the Brothers Dust, and the never-ending angle between Miz and Mizdow. Only two matches went longer than a couple of matches, but both were pretty good for TV, and practically every segment meant something.

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