Reviews WWE

WWE SmackDown Review for 2/11/16 – The New Workhorse

Coming off of last week’s SmackDown, where it was ‘Absolutely Better Than RAW’, the trend looks to continue as Monday Night RAW was unsurprisingly a waste of two hours this week, then came the Daniel Bryan retirement, which was the reason to watch the show in the first place — and was one of the most captivating wrestling television segments of all time. The build has been immense for AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho, and the path this show continues to take is leading it in the direction it needs to go. I’ve already read a few spoilers by keeping on my TweetDeck, but it’s all good. I know I’m going to definitely enjoy this week’s show. It’s time for a solid looking SmackDown as it looks to keep building its momentum on U.S.A.

The pyro streak…has been broken. Also, no nameplate for the location this week either and an abrupt start to the show with Jericho’s music hitting. Weird. But, none the less, we’re in Portland, Oregon.

The rematch opens the show which is bizarre. Something is up. Jericho respects AJ, but that doesn’t mean he likes him. He puts him over but drags him down, smashing his Phenomenal nickname, as he says it belongs to him. Blah blah, Shawn Michaels vs. him was great and it was Portland. Yay, AJ’s finally here!

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

Well, before the bell even rang, Social Outcasts’ music hit and they’ve came to get revenge on AJ. They’re about to take SmackDown viral, baybay. Heath calls out AJ and compares his Phenomenal One to their Phenomenal Three. Heath also does a great job calling himself back to his rockstar gimmick to make fun of rocker Jericho. The headline act tonight, will apparently be them. Jericho finally interrupts and says they’re getting on his nerves (#GottenTo). More mocking from SC. Jericho smashes his mic on Heath’s head and the Outcasts attack Jericho. Styles & Jericho clear the ring. Jericho says that they’re going to fight later, but they’re going to team up to face Social Outcasts now. I can dig it.

Chris Jericho & AJ Styles vs. Social Outcasts (Curtis Axel & Adam Rose)

A short yet enjoyable tag. The entire time saw Jericho and Styles play a game of one ups manship. Axel and Rose only got offense in when they worked over AJ, but other than that, it went through the same “I hate you but let’s work as a tag” phase with one upping the other. Jericho got the hot tag after a Styles Pele Kick on Axel, and managed to hit the Lionsault on Rose, but AJ came in with a tag and flying forearm over a scrambling Jericho — which then resulted in AJ Styles getting the pin on Adam Rose! Post-match, Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Styles, continuing to set the pace for the main event.

It’s announced that Brock Lesnar returns to SmackDown next week. Originally he was set to appear this week.

Tables are setup ringside, and The Dudley’s are out. Bubba’s in street clothes, which is automatically the best Bubba, and one that is closer to Bully Ray than a face vet Bubba. On Monday night, The Dudley Boyz made a statement. The only thing the WWE Universe wants to talk about, is Daniel Bryan. They are sick and tired of hearing about Daniel Bryan. They’re sick and tired about a lot of things around the WWE. This is a shoot and I love it. Even since they’ve returned, they’ve been looked at as a nostalgia act — when the reality is, that according to them, they are two legends and still the baddest tag team on the planet. Bubba points out all the tables ringside, and all the tables that the ‘people’ love so much. In a beautiful heat magnet addition to the promo, Bubba says that these tables will be the last time we ever see them in association with The Dudley Boyz. He then gets crew to take them to the back. Bubba says they won the tag gold, not the tables. Bubba puts over the “Let’s Go…” chants in favor of the chants for the tables. “WHAT ABOUT US?,” Bubba exclaims. There is one last table in the middle of the ring. Bubba teases the “D-Von, get the tables” chant by only doing the “get the” portion. The two pack up the table and leave. This was brilliant. I love it, and there’s a reason to care for the two again — or at least slightly more.

Sasha Banks vs. Naomi (w/Tamina)

Becky is on commentary for this too. I’m not ready for the puns. Good match that got much more time than your typical divas match. Sasha was worked over for a good majority of the match, and for an athletic girl like Naomi, I expect her to be more entertaining doing so but it was kinda just a chore to see the comeback. Sasha kept it fun, as well as Becky, but massive props to Naomi for bringing out ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey kicks as well as a damn Best Moonsault Ever. Naomi has definitely improved as a worker, and is in the top echelon of divas that are getting pushes that are well deserved. She works well as the new top heel. Sasha was extremely fired up and athletic, like a good babyface, using tons of hurricanranas and overcoming the odds/kicking LASS. They did an angle where Becky came out of her seat, Tamina attacked her, but Sasha came out of the ring to deliver a huge boot to the face — tipping Tamina over in the chair. As she got back into the ring, Naomi thought she had her with a roll-up, but Sasha immediately got out of it with the Bank Statement for the win. Really cool finish, and a refreshing type of divas match to make tape.

Jojo is with AJ Styles. What a weird thing to say still. This was borderline awkward. I wasn’t feeling this promo too much, but it was short, and if I’m not mistaken, this is the first time AJ’s talked in WWE. He said he was proud of his redneck heritage, but he was definitely not a rookie, and tonight he’s going to show to one of the best in the world in Chris Jericho, and to the world; why they call AJ the Phenomenal One.

A Bray Wyatt vignette airs, and they use an old AJ Styles theme which is quite humerous. It’s ‘Evil Ways’. It works really well with the mystique vibe/Bray being Bray.

There’s no point in transcribing Bray promos when they don’t mean jack. I don’t understand what he’s saying half the time anyways because I’m a half-educated dimwit. Or he just makes no sense. He mentions Zeus (not All Japan Zeus or WWF Zeus), and explains that he’s the new god (okay then). This extends the narrative that we’re getting a clusterfuck six man at WrestleMania with Show, Kane, Ryback vs. Wyatts.

I looked away from my TV to check-in on the WWW group chat, and I look up to see raspy-voiced Strowman trying to formulate words. It’s scarier than the gimmick! Wyatt finishes off the promo with the fact that the war “against your gods” has only just begun. Sad face. Also, not entirely sure if the people they book The Wyatts against are our gods.

Neville & Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) vs. The Cosmic Wasteland (Stardust & The Ascension)

We got the comic book matchup graphic for this one! This was essentially a “make Kalisto look good” match. Neville hasn’t been working any matches lately, so it was nice to see him. The Ascension worked fairly stiff and Stardust didn’t do much whilst they worked over Neville, but Kalisto got a hot tag (one of the best in the company albeit), and ended up hitting a stereo tope to the outside with Sin Cara. It’s so nice to hear the topes called as topes. A Salida del Sol, senton, and Red Arrow trifecta won the cruiserweight trio the match. Fun stuff even if it lasted a blink of an eye. I hate Lawler on commentary in case you missed the other 5000 times I’ve mentioned it. Calling Neville ugly literally doesn’t do anything but come off as lazy heel heat — in which there’s no heat to get.

We get a recap of Daniel Bryan’s retirement/retirement speech. Thank you once again, Mr. Danielson, for all you’ve done. I’m so glad Dave is renaming the technical worker of the year award after him too.

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

I’m pretty sure this is actually happening this time around. I’m glad the tag happened yet this is still happening. This was a pay-per-view quality match on free TV. I cannot complain. I think The Miz match may still be my favorite of AJ’s thus far though. However, this was by far and large the best both men have looked in 2016 in the WWE. The match was a perfect ongoing battle for their rivalry, as they don’t have each other completely scouted yet, but there were spots that changed and spots that didn’t happen in their signature places within the match because the knowledge has been picked up based on past matches. There were tons of near falls, but the focus was on all the counters and submission work near the end. Mauro was absolutely incredible on commentary, putting over Styles’ & Jericho’s travels of Japan, Mexico, etc, as well as Mauro calling the Ushigoroshi!!! We got incredible teases with Jericho managing to pull through as he was trapped in the Calf Crusher, nearly tapping, and then we got Styles nearly fading out/taping out in the Walls of Jericho. The finish saw Styles go for a springboard flying forearm but Jericho countering it because he knew what was coming. Jericho went for the cover but the positioning of the pin saw parts of bodies under the bottom rope. Jericho then pushed AJ off and managed to deliver a Codebreaker outta nowhere for the victory to even up the feud. Really good main event worth checking out this week, built off of everything that’s happened thus far in the feud. I love it. Plus, Mauro’s commentary did wonders for the match. I cannot praise the voice of SmackDown enough. Neither can I praise AJ enough. This was one of Jericho’s better matches in the past few years.

SmackDown was easy to watch this week, and continues to set the pace as main roster show to beat. Screw you, RAW. I’ve got AJ Styles becoming the ace of SmackDown, Mauro Ranello doing the best commentary work in WWE history and short to the point segments, with not a lot of segments, and matches that matter and deliver more than RAW’s. This week saw Social Outcasts try to breakout but fail because of AJ & Jericho’s unlikely slightly comedic partnership. We got news that Brock is back next week. Sasha Banks rolls on and so does her momentum headed into Fast Lane w/Ms. Lass. We got a few promos from AJ, Wyatt, and the like. A quick six man did its work and Neville popped back on my screen as Sin Cara is playing right hand man to Kalisto’s mega push. And lastly, AJ Styles and Chris Jericho deliver a SmackDown early 2000s main event in which the workhorses did their thing to establish what happens on this show, whilst still building to a pay-per-view event. What a time to be alive.

The new SmackDown workhorse is in town. His name is AJ Styles.

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