We roll on to the first Smackdown of 2014 and I have to say, I had high hopes. Although it was not long before my little dreams were crushed into a thousand pieces by the writers and production team that by the time they were taping Smackdown just wanted to go home. Yes this Smackdown was rather lackluster to say the least. Matches that were all filler, no killer and production failures that just cannot go unnoticed. By the time the rest of you watch Smackdown, I’m sure it will be fine production wise, so you were lucky on that side of things. However you still have to go through four matches of utter drivel.
Smackdown kicked off with The Shield cutting a promo on how there is no weak link within the group, all in response to CM Punk trying to “find the weak link” The character that Dean Ambrose has formed recently has made him seem like he is cracking. All the pressure is getting to him and he is going crazy. However, The Shield are adamant to prove to everyone that they are stronger than ever. And their first way of doing so was a match against… The Usos.
The Shield (Rollins and Reigns) vs The Usos
If you haven’t watched Smackdown yet, I can say now that you only need to listen to this match as what happens in the ring is irrelevant. For all its worth they four men could have had a dance off in the middle of the ring and Ii would not have noticed because this match was not about the fight but about what Dean Ambrose was saying on commentary. The commentary of the match focused on The Shield not having a weak link and it allowed Ambrose to really try and push the angle. There was also talk about the unification of the Intercontinental and United States Championships, which Ambrose said did not worry him. This talk of unification has been going on all week on dotcom and even on Wednesday’s Main Event; which makes me think WWE will be slimming down on the amount of straps.
What I actually saw of the match was interesting and in fairness it was a decent and entertaining match, The finish came when Ambrose interfered causing a disqualification. The Shield then started beating on The Usos to “send a message” as Ambrose said. However CM Punk came and saved the day chasing The Shield off. Smackdown General Manager, Vickie Guerrero then came out ad announced that the main event tonight would be CM Punk and The Usos vs The Shield.
This match was clearly filler, so I give it 1/5 Crowns.
R-Truth vs Fandango
No! Not another filler match! YES! YES! YES!
R-Truth came to the ring singing with Xavier Woods, with Truth stepping into the ring and Woods going to commentary. Again this match was nothing special and another excuse to push a feud; this time the whole Brodus Clay fiasco, which I believe will soon start t get annoying. Eventually Woods stood up on the announce table and called out The Funkadactyls. Truth used the distraction to score the pin and a dance ensued between The Funkadactyls, Truth and Woods. Boring match and it really was this time! 1/5 Crowns.
The Brotherhood vs The Wyatt Family for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The big talking point surrounding this match was Daniel Bryan joining the family and the absence of Bray at ringside. This match was one of the better of the night. Every time I see the Wyatts I feel like they are a throwback to the style of the Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Era. In this match, Luke Harper showed what a good brawler he is and is genuinely scary at times. On the other hand, Erick Rowan is not so great in the ring; I just feel that he has done nothing to set himself out from the crowd of brawlers. This sounds stupid, but with Harper, I can believe he is a brawler, but with Rowan it just looks like he can’t wrestle so uses brawling moves. Both men are top talent in the WWE but they still need a little bit more work to ensure that they reach their full potential. Goldust looks like he is in the best shape of his life, even better than his original WWE run. Cody Rhodes has also improved a lot, adopting much more high flying to his set which I feel only improves his entertainment factor.
This match was amazing. Four of the greatest wrestlers in the tag team division facing off, what more to ask for? The match was paced well with the right amount of high impact and even the rest periods were fun and entertaining to watch.
The finish came when Goldust tag himself in but Rowan didn’t know. This allowed Goldust to roll up Rowan for the win. I was shocked that The Brotherhood actually won this match and I thought for sure that The Wyatts were the new champs before it begun. The schoolboy pin finish made the Wyatts look really weak and a DQ or no contest finish would have been much better for the family. Realistically they want the Wyatts to look as strong as possible coming up to WrestleMania. It will make their WrestleMania match all the more interesting. 3/5 Crowns.
Nikki Bella vs Aksana
Another boring match, which is unfortunate. Nikki Bella knows what she is doing and has good wrestling skill; however on the other hand, Aksana has almost zero wrestling talent, the girl cannot wrestle. This made for a poor match and it is visibly bad. There isn’t anything to be said about this match other than Nikki won cleanly, it was overall a boring match and more filler; that gets this match a 1/5 Crowns rating.
Curtis Axel vs Big E Langston
Next up we got a short match between Curtis Axel and Big E Langston. This match had some potential to be good but fell quickly to become another boring bout. I find that Axel rests on his laurels of being a third generation superstar and needs to really push himself hard or become a disappointment. Axel has the ability to become a world title contender in my eyes, but to me he isn’t doing enough to show he deserves the big time. Big E is just not working for me and I have found myself unimpressed; the Intercontinental Title is wasted on him and he won’t go any further than where he is now. Put the title on someone that can use it to either launch or reinvigorate their career *COUGH* WADE BARRETT *COUGH*
Anyway this match followed the basic formula of Punch => Slam => Repeat. The match ended after about five minutes with Big E hitting the Big Ending for the win. Yet another 1/5 Crowns.
Finally we got something I wanted to see: some bad news. The whole Bad News Barret gimmick is great and if used correctly, Barrett could become a top heel again. They need to get him of the scissor lift and in the ring, delivering bad news to superstars throughout the WWE. Barrett is a great performer and a natural champion; treat him as such! He went from looking like he could win the WWE Title in the main event scene, to looking like he might beat JTG on Main Event. When will WWE learn to push guys with real talent? Barrett could have been a better version of William Regal!
CM Punk and The Usos vs The Shield
After the bad news, CM Punk hit the ring for tonight’s maaaaain event! I was excited for this match, mostly for Punk and The Shield. I have to say it was a great match. Punk works so well with The Shield and any match between the two is a dream. You can tell I liked this match because I don’t have a lot to say about it. So much was going on; the action was always at its highest level and it made for an entertaining, edge of the seat match. My only criticism of this match was The Usos. Their style is too boring for me; I must have saw about 50 variations of kicking in that match thanks to them. The twins would be better kickboxers than wrestlers and have no entertainment value at all! The one thing I thought most of during this match was that we need more Punk vs Rollins!
The finish was average but fun. The Usos took out Rollins and Reigns with a dive to the outside and Punk hit Ambrose with the GTS for the finish. Great match. Great entertainment. Great talent. 3.5/5 Crowns!
I am enjoying the whole “weak link” story with The Shield to a certain degree. It keeps it interesting with the possibility if a change in membership. On the other hand I don’t want to see them split as they are such an interesting stable and bring a lot to the ring. If anyone is the weak link, I’ll say it now and call Dean Ambrose; numerous losses to Punk – especially him being the one that was pinned in this match – and he seems to be cracking. Is this the end of The Shield or will we see a new member replace Ambrose and an Ambrose face turn? Who knows?
To end the show, a vignette of Bay Wyatt in the barn played. He talked about how Daniel Bryan doesn’t listen to the fans anymore, only him. This hypes up RAW this Monday, as I and I am sure everyone else is left wondering, what does it all mean? Is Bryan heel again? Is he trying to destroy them from the inside? All I know is I cannot wait for Old School RAW!
Match of the Night: The Brotherhood vs The Wyatts
Moment of the Night: Wyatt vignette
Overall Score: 2/5 Crowns