Smackdown – March 5, 2015: Reestablishing Equilibrium

Smackdown
Date: March 5, 2015
Location: Verizon Center, Washington DC
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

With just a few weeks to go before Wrestlemania, one of the main stories has been the Intercontinental Title scene. We’re definitely getting the big ladder match, but it’s not entirely clear who is going to be in it. It’s also not clear who is going to hand over the title belt to have it hung above the ring as everyone keeps stealing the thing. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s Dolph Ziggler with the Intercontinental Title. He says he never got a rematch for the title against Bad News Barrett because he got fired by the Authority. This is the fifth month that storyline has now been mentioned in. Even Vince Russo didn’t let stories go that long. Dolph officially enters the ladder match, but thinks there’s still something missing. Last year, someone did everything he could and never stopped fighting to become champion. The fans chant YES and Dolph agrees, but he gets Bad News Barrett instead.

Barrett says Ziggler has something he wants. Dolph: “Looks? Charisma? A great Twitter account?” Bad News gets in the ring but Luke Harper sneaks in and decks Ziggler. The champ goes for his belt but Luke steps on it. Ziggler gets back up and everyone brawls so here’s Dean Ambrose to get in on the fighting. The champ is knocked to the floor because he’s just another guy in this story. Everyone brawls on the floor again so R-Truth sneaks down in spy mode, crawling on the mat and getting the belt before hiding under the ring.

Truth is in the back (VERY quickly too) and says he got the title in advance. “It’s like when I eat when I’m not hungry, so when I get hungry I don’t have to eat.” He tries to give the belt to Renee Young but she politely declines. “Where’s Gene Ambrose?” As usual, Renee Young is incredibly cute. I’m convinced she could be bald and still be adorable.

Cesaro/Tyson Kidd vs. Los Matadores

Non-title. Diego and Kidd start things off but both guys tag out less than thirty seconds in. Fernando hurricanranas Cesaro down and Diego does the same with a headscissors, only to get caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. A double stomp gets two for Cesaro and we hit the chinlock. Everything breaks down and Cesar goes after Torito, who kicks him in the leg. That’s not a DQ for some reason but Natalya trips him up, allowing the Cesaro Swing into a dropkick from Kidd to get the pin on Fernando at 2:25. This was a good squash for the champs that we haven’t seen before.

Kane and Big Show both say they’ll win the battle royal.

We recap the main event from Monday with Reigns getting pinned by Rollins but cleaning house to end the show. Yeah, the dive over the top and big spear were cool, but it’s like a cool fireworks display after your home team loses a ball game. It’s a fun visual, but your heart isn’t in it.

Ryback vs. Kane

Big Show stares at the Andre trophy at ringside. Kane stomps him down in the corner but runs into some spinebusters. Big Show offers a distraction to no avail as the Meat Hook ends Kane at 2:07. Now why did it take us this many months to get here?

Kane makes Big Show vs. Ryback for right now.

Big Show vs. Ryback

This is joined in progress after a break with Big Show getting in the ring and pounding Ryback into the corner. A clothesline puts the smaller bald power monster down and Show follows it with a slam. Ryback fires some shoulders in the corner but dives into a chokeslam attempt. The KO Punch misses and Ryback hits an awkward looking spinebuster. Kane gets dragged in for offering a distraction and takes a second Meat Hook, allowing Big Show to KO Ryback at 2:58. Dang that was close. We almost saw someone get one over on the Big Balds and I just wouldn’t want to live in that world. What was this supposed to prove anyway?

We look at Bray Wyatt lighting the casket on fire on Raw.

Bray Wyatt wants an answer from Undertaker. He has something Undertaker can relate to, and he’ll unleash its spirit this Monday. Not even Undertaker can outrun his own fate. The camera pans down and shows the urn.

Sheamus return video.

Video on the Daily Show segment with Jon Stewart from Raw. That might be the best celebrity appearance ever. If not then it’s WAY up there.

Brie Bella vs. AJ Lee

I’m not a fan of how Eden says “this is a Deeeeevas match”. This is fallout from AJ returning to help Paige on Monday. Nikki brings up the “Give Divas A Chance” line but says that doesn’t apply to AJ. The Bellas have been giving the Divas a chance since AJ has been gone and no one has lived up to their standard. It’s why they’re the stars of Total Divas and they don’t care who comes at them.

The match starts after a break with Paige now at ringside to balance things out. AJ cranks on an armbar and elbows Brie in the face. A high cross body gets two on Brie but she comes back with a nice middle rope dropkick for two of her own. Back up and AJ has to stop so Brie can clothesline her before we hit a chinlock.

That goes nowhere so Brie dropkicks her down again, followed by a clothesline for some two counts. A Hennig necksnap gets an even closer two as the fans don’t seem all that interested. We hit another chinlock before the running knee to the chest staggers AJ again. Brie immediately goes to the corner but misses another middle rope dropkick. Back up and AJ hammers away with kicks to the ribs to send Brie out to the floor. We get a big staredown outside before the Black Widow makes Brie tap at 7:42.

Rating: C. This was better than your usual Divas matches but a lot of that is due to it actually getting some time. Brie seemed to almost run out of offense about halfway through though. The Bellas are decent enough as the better than you heels and I can live with them far more when they’re not being treated like all time greats who just happen to be heels now. And when they’re not dominating the show. That really drove me insane.

Daniel Bryan thinks the Intercontinental Title picture is very interesting right now and can’t wait to see who comes out with the belt.

I really can’t stand the theme song for this year’s Wrestlemania and I keep forgetting that’s what the song is for when it starts up.

New Day vs. Miz/Damien Mizdow

Woods is the odd man out this week. Before the match we get a look at the commercial from Monday with Miz being embarrassed. Miz slapped Mizdow as a result but we still didn’t get the big face turn. Kofi and Miz get things going by trading armdrags until Miz runs him over for two. Some kicks give Kofi a breather and Mizdow tags himself in and cleans house. Cesaro/Kidd/Natalya are watching in the back as Mizdown’s figure four attempt is broken up. Miz tags himself in and orders Mizdow to the floor but Mizdow gets in his face. During the argument, Big E. gets the tag and it’s the Midnight Hour for the pin at 3:15.

Rating: D. This was the same thing they’ve done multiple times now but at least it was Miz taking the pin instead of Mizdow. I really wouldn’t mind if Woods was left outside as a permanent manager as he doesn’t add much to the team. The match wasn’t very good though and it just reenforced the same things we’ve established for weeks now. In other words, it’s a Smackdown match.

We look back at Heyman’s speech from Raw.

Brock Lesnar video.

Reigns says Heyman is known for running his mouth, but it’s true that Lesnar is going to hurt him at Wrestlemania. Everyone that gets in the ring with Lesnar gets hurt and he’ll be no different. The difference is Reigns will get up, lock his fist and hit a Superman Punch. Then he’ll spear Lesnar in half to win the WWE World Championship, and then Heyman and Lesnar will believe that. As usual, this was far better because they kept it short and simple.

Jack Swagger vs. Rusev

Non-title and Swagger is thrown to the floor a second after the bell. Back in and Swagger throws Rusev to the floor as we take a break. Back with Rusev getting two off a dropkick and we hit the chinlock. Swagger fights up and tries the Vader Bob but has to settle for the Patriot Lock, sending Rusev to the ropes. Back up and Rusev kicks him in the face and Accolades him for the submission at 7:50.

Rating: D. Egads find someone new for Rusev to beat up. This didn’t prove anything and was the exact same match these two have had roughly 19 times. Yeah we get it: Rusev is big and strong and can beat up Jack Swagger. We’ve known that for almost eight months now. FIND SOMEONE NEW.

Rusev poses but Curtis Axel pops up on screen and says don’t change the channel BROTHER. He’s often imitated but never duplicated DUDE. This Monday he’s going to put Rusev down 1-2-3 and then coming for the US Title at Wrestlemania. Whatcha gonna do when Axelmania runs wild on YOU??? If Buddy Landel can get over by being Ric Flair, Curtis Axel can get over by being Hulk Hogan.

Cameron thinks it’s time someone gives her a chance. Summer Rae comes up and says she should be getting the chance. Eva Marie thinks the two of them have no chance. This is what I was worried about when this thing started up. There are far more talented girls to give this spot to, but instead it’s going to the girls on the reality show.

Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose

Truth is on commentary and doesn’t quite get the rules of the ladder match. He also doesn’t like how heights look when you look down at them. Harper Gator Rolls Ziggler to start but has to break up a sunset flip attempt. The running DDT is easily countered and R-Truth thinks he’s talking to Byron Jackson. A double tag brings in Ambrose to stomp on Barrett in the corner before the standing top rope elbow drop gets two. Ziggler and Ambrose clear the ring but nearly come to blows as we take a break.

Back with Barrett elbowing Dean in the face and handing it off to Harper for an elbow of his own. We hit the chinlock from Harper, who Truth accuses of not buying his shirt. Barrett comes back in and gets caught in a tornado DDT. Truth wants the match turned into a stepladder match and claims ladder discrimination.

The hot tag brings in Ziggler to speed things up but the big elbow drop gets two on Harper. Now the running DDT connects but still only gets two. A big side slam gets the same for Harper but Barrett and Ambrose come in to fight right next to them. Those two head back to the floor and Ziggler superkicks Harper, setting up the Zig Zag for the pin at 10:03.

Rating: C-. Totally standard midcard tag match here but it’s very nice to see that headlining the show instead of more dull stuff. It also helps that this is a logical part of the storyline and fits what they’ve been doing so far. Truth continues to be funny on commentary with a bunch of “what did he just say” lines. Oh and Barrett didn’t get pinned! Life is good.

Post match Barrett goes for the belt but Ambrose dives on him. Truth kicks Harper low but Daniel Bryan shows up to look at Truth holding the title. Truth hands him the belt and starts a YES chant. Bryan poses with the title but Stardust jumps Bryan and grabs the belt to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. The show went by fast enough and it’s really nice to have stuff away from the main event feud for a bit. It’s also nice to not have the Authority making my blood pressure go through the roof but that’s a different story. This still doesn’t feel like a major show but I like the Intercontinental Title picture when it’s not as all over the place and the battle royal is starting to look a lot better. This was a nice way to cool things down and bring them back to normal after a bad Raw, but it’s still not a great show.

Results

Cesaro/Tyson Kidd b. Los Matadores – Cesaro Swing into a dropkick from Kidd

Ryback b. Kane – Meat Hook

Big Show b. Ryback – KO Punch

AJ Lee b. Brie Bella – Black Widow

New Day b. Miz/Damien Mizdow – Midnight Hour to Miz

Rusev b. Jack Swagger – Accolade

Dolph Ziggler/Dean Ambrose b. Bad News Barrett/Luke Harper – Zig Zag to Harper

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of Saturday Night’s Main Event at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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16 comments

  1. james gracie says:

    Well that was awful. Hey it’s been a week since the Big Show looked strong so let’s job Ryback to him right after he beats Kane. That way NO ONE will get over

    Well it’s official, Daniel Bryan is in the clusterfuck IC title match. Seriously just put that match on last. The 3 most over wrestlers in the company are in that match and it’s easily gonna steal the show(unless they short change it just so they don’t over shadow Reigns) And now Stardust is in that match? So they aren’t gonna do the Goldust/Stardust blowoff? Can WWE creative be anymore lazy with their mania booking this year?
    And they’ve done the same angle on the last 4 shows with R Truth doing commentary. DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

    Tread lightly Curtis Axel. You’re starting to get over which means you’ll get buried soon.

    Just another terrible show tonight. It’s hard to get into the Mania build when 3 of the bigger matches only have one side of the feud showing up on TV. No Taker, no Sting, no Lesnar. Yeah great way to build up Mania idiots. I’m actually looking forward to Mania to see what a trainwreck it’s gonna be. Hey maybe that was their goal all along.

    Jay H (the real one) Reply:

    Honestly dude I just don’t understand why you continue to watch since every Show is so awful to you. Why do you waste your energy?

    Ive been enjoying the IC Title stuff as goofy as it might be at times. If Daniel Bryan can’t be in the WWE Title Match this year then I am ok with him being in the Ladder Match.

  2. Eric says:

    So basically, I was right. Give Brie Bella a chance at a real match with a competent diva and it turns out pretty well. That’s all the “give divas a chance” movement needs to be. Put the divas who are capable of it in matches of actual length and stories of merit. Do a Divas Money in the Bank, do a Divas Royal Rumble. Make it so that there’s cool stuff coming with their division. I mean, the ladder match could be cool and i’d bet on Naomi stealing the show in a match like that. With a Divas rumble, you could bring back an old diva or two each year like the real rumble. It would just all make it seem that the company cares about the Divas and there would be some excitement there. I’d be down for that.

    Rocko Reply:

    Divas Royal Rumble? Divas MiTB? No. There is still very little interest in them (let alone enough competent divas to put on a safe MiTB). This is not an overnight thing. This will take many callups and feuds to get anywhere.

    Also from a business perspective, the special matches would take a lot of time away from more prominent programs that would draw better and are actually interesting. Currently those matches would be very dumb. In the future, sure. But right now, no.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I can go with half of that. The match was indeed far easier to sit through tonight and a lot of that was due to the time. However, a Divas Rumble would be a disaster due to how long it would take. Also, AJ and Brie are two of the better Divas. A Rumble would include people like Eva, Cameron and maybe even JoJo. That’s not factoring in people like Summer Rae and Layla who are passable on their best day. A ladder match could work but they would have to build it up very well.

    Eric Reply:

    Layla is actually quite good. She’s never around anymore because she’s not on Total Divas but she can definitely go. I’m just throwing out these ideas because they’re doable. I”m not saying do them tomorrow but if hypothetically you did, you could have Naomi, Natalya, Emma, Paige, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Layla, and Alicia Fox in a ladder match without calling anybody up and those 8 are all capable of getting it done in that type of setting.

    Plus, we’re talking about a MITB match, right? Well, at MITB, you’re throwing 8 top guys in a ladder match anyways so midcard feuds are non-existent for that month. The lower card matches are just filler for the MITB match and the title match so why not a 10 minute Divas MITB match? Certainly Naomi doing something crazy off the top of a ladder would be more intriguing than Adam Rose’s stupid heel schtick against nobody just to fill a spot, no?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Having eight people in a ten minute ladder match would be horrible. Cut it down to four people with that length of time and you’d have something. That would be FAR too many people in one match though, no matter what gender they were.

    I’d hope they don’t have a second MITB case floating around though. Just a ladder match would be fine.

    Eric Reply:

    Fair enough. That would work too. A few years back they did a Divas Table match and that wasn’t half bad. My point is, if you’re going to do Theme PPVs, why not let the Divas utilize the theme as well? Doing TLC? Do a Divas Ladder match or Divas table match. Doing extreme rules? Have an extreme rules divas match. Just, you know, book so that the stories are justified in doing them. It really isn’t that hard and it would make the Divas stuff worthwhile because it would be treated a lot more like the men’s stuff.

    Heck, I was rooting for a Brie/Nikki blow off inside Hell in a Cell as that feud would have justified it. It’s things like that where there’s no reason NOT to do it other than “they’re girls”. Thus, do it.

  3. Aeon Mathix says:

    Man it is a bad sign when i have to look up previous shows results to even remember what main events are at mania this year.

  4. ted says:

    Man it is depressing for Wrestlemania to be very shortly upon us, and for me not to care. It isn’t even the Roman thing, thought that doesn’t help.

    Everything is just so slapped together at the last second. Nothing screams must see match, and even sting being in the wwe for the first ever i’m just not feeling. It just seems wrong for some reason. I will admit to some Bryan disappointment the number one guy not being used, in the main event for petty or stupid reason is well stupid. It’s just a very meh for me which I hope is only a temporary problem.

  5. klunderbunker says:

    The Knockouts have proven gimmicks can work, but the Divas need to prove they can handle a regular match before they move on to something complicated.

    Eric Reply:

    You see things like you saw tonight and you don’t think they’re proven they can handle a regular match? And then you go and praise the Knockouts, who are basically Divas castoffs (Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Taryn Terrell, ODB, etc all worked in developmental and were WORSE than the divas that made it to the main stage so if they are deemed good, the divas must be great)? It’s all about time. I’m a believer that if your’e on the main stage and your name isn’t Cameron or Eva Marie, then you’re capable of putting on a decent enough match. Therefore, the idea of giving them a chance is, let them have matches.

    It’s short term memory too, because everyone’s drooling over Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Bayley, and Becky right now, but a year ago at this time, Emma and Paige had matches that were BETTER than those. Now it’s like “well they’re on the main roster so they’re incapable of stuff”. They didn’t lose the skills they had to put on those matches, they just don’t have the stage. Give them the stage to do it and I think people would be surprised.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I saw a passable match tonight, not a classic. AJ, Paige, Natalya and maybe the Bellas could handle a longer match. The stage stuff is true, but you also have to change the atmosphere. You can’t have the commentators treating them like a joke or plugging Total Divas every 18 seconds.

    Also, I’d question calling Love and Sky Divas castoffs.

    Eric Reply:

    Why? They were in developmental and never made it to the main roster. I’m happy for them that they found success in leaving but let’s be honest here. Plus, for YEARS people said about Sky “hot but can’t work”. That’s the point. We’re conditioned to think of the Divas as “piss break” material so until that changes, nothing will change. And you’re right, it has to start with the entire presentation from the commentators to the stories, to the matches. It also has to be treated as another part of the show. Kind of like how Goldust/Stardust have their feud, so too can there be a Divas feud that’s written well and paid off with a wrestling match. It really isn’t that hard.

    I’m a believer in the Divas though. I have been for a long time. I simply don’t think they’ve been given a chance to be worth anything though and I’d like to see them get that chance. By treating them as a serious act and writing real storylines with real payoffs, what do you have to lose?

  6. klunderbunker says:

    I’d think you need to actually be a Diva before you can be a castoff.

    I can get behind the Divas, but it’s going to take a long time to get them to mean something. As for what you have to lose: viewers, lots of them.

  7. M.R. says:

    As great as Jon Stewart was, Rollins has the charisma and voice of a cheese grater, taking that Raw segment from great to pretty good.