After a thunderous go-home show for Fastlane, featuring Brock Lesnar and surprise Triple H; we transition into the fallout from Fastlane. At Fastlane, Triple H found out that he will officially be facing Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. On RAW, Triple H established that he’s the babyface of the feud, whether you’d like to think so or not, by playing to the crowd as well as crotch chopping Reigns, repeatedly slamming his head on the announcer’s table as well as Pedigreeing Roman Reigns onto steel steps — writing him off of television for ‘smarky crowd’ weeks to come. Speaking of HHH, he will be appearing tonight on SmackDown. I wonder why…(cough cough) A SHOW! The Road to WrestleMania lives through SmackDown, with Mauro Ranallo back at the forefront of its production from Indianapolis, Indiana.
An awkward cut to Triple H’s entrance with Mauro briskly opening us up. Weird, and incredibly awkward, but it’s time for The Game. Triple H places the title on the podium which was used on RAW as well. He’s a man of weatlth and taste, he’s laid many a man’s soul to waste. He implies that Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” may be written about him. It depends on who you ask, in which those may answer he is the devil, he says. Triple H knows that Roman Reigns remembers who he is. If Reigns forgot and thought there would be no payback for the attack months ago (TLC pay-per-view). After RAW, there is no doubt in Reigns’ mind any longer. We get a recap of the graphic ending to RAW, in black and white. It had to have dawned on Roman at some point, especially Tuesday morning of all times as he had to get surgery on his nose. It’s the look of a man who’s been humbled, and who knows his place. HHH takes the blame for being the man who’s doing this, in the corporate role, but make no mistake about it. Triple H is the law, and he is the Authority. He understands that, because it’s human nature to what to overcome the laws of the Authority, and HHH has been there at one time himself, but you can’t beat authority. If Roman Reigns can’t do it, the fans can’t do it, and no one else can. This message goes out to everyone that can hear Triple H’s voice. If you meet HHH, have some courtesy, sympathy, and taste. Roman Reigns want to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion more than anything in the world, and it takes more than blood, sweat, and tears to become such. Roman’s got the sweat down, he works hard, and he’s “good”, “damn good”, even, but then, as far as the blood goes, *Triple H pulls out the blood-soaked cloth*, and he’ll get the last one at WrestleMania. Roman Reigns will look across the ring at Triple H in front of the largest crowd even in AT&T Stadium, and Triple H will humble him — he will tear Reigns dreams out from underneath him, and he will get those tears. He will get those tears and there’s not a god damn thing that Reigns can do about it. Triple H is the law, the Authority, the Cerebral Assassin, the King of Kings, because…HE’S THE GAME AND WORLD CHAMPION! He is that…damn…good. Exceptional promo, and one with many references to said song by The Rolling Stones. It may bring chills to you how everything interconnects with Triple H, the song, the program, and the like.
It’s announced that Chris Jericho & AJ Styles + a mystery partner will take on the New Day tonight.
This was a hoot for the short time it lasted. A wacky spotfest it was, and you best believe it, I don’t hold no punches back when I say this is an effective spotfest unlike other spotfests you see. Dolph Ziggler was worked over for a good portion of the match, with Sheamus playing the cocky arrogant leader, thinking he could come in and finish Ziggler off with his “Are You Not Entertained?” banter and secondly his finish — but Ziggler superkicked him after the catchphrase was uttered out of his mouth! Then came all the hot tag galore and finisher jamming you could think of. The Lucha Dragons mostly stuck to the outside, either being involved in being caught by Rusev or Del Rio, or simply fending them off. Neville fended off Sheamus, in a really cool spot that saw Sheamus run at Neville who was going for a Red Arrow on Barrett, but he did A 450 SPLASH OVER RUNNING SHEAMUS on Barrett. Del Rio immediately superkicked Neville out of the pin, and we got some more fun frenzy. The end of the match saw Kalisto dive onto Rusev but be caught, yet Sin Cara came through by diving on them! Neville was finally able to hit the Red Arrow on Barrett, only for the ref to be distracted by Sheamus. Sheamus came in and delivered a Brogue Kick to get the win. Simple and effective storytelling intertwined with ridiculousness (in a good way)!
Renee Young (who looks even more that of an angel tonight) is with the IC Champ Kevin Owens. Owens has requested for time to announce something. When watching RAW on Monday night, Kevin Owens was so inspired by the beating Dean Ambrose took, and furtherly coming back in an ambulence, that it needs to be awarded. Out of the kindness of his heart, Kevin Owens has issued a challenge to Dean for his rematch for the title. But…there’s a catch. Ambrose is resting at home. Kevin implies he has a night off, but a massive hand is placed upon his shoulder. BIG SHOW out of all people explains that Kevin Owens hasn’t beaten him. He points Big Show towards the road to retirement, but Big Show grabs Owens and explains that the tour can provide one pitstop. How about he KOs KO?! Big Show’s opponent for tonight…is Kevin Owens. He’ll be seeing Kevin later, and refers to him as sunshine. This is the best banter-filled backstage segment since Cesaro and Owens on an older edition of SmackDown. I’m now a billion times more invested in the match because of simply the banter, and how it’s an interesting combination.
Bubba gets on the mic before the match, and explains that he knows what the people want [tables], and they want to see them put someone through it (it was actually quite funny that Lawler quietly chanted “Byron, Byron” for a second. Best thing out of revived heel Lawler thus far. They ain’t a circus nor nostalgia act; they are the multi-time WWE tag champs, which in turn makes them better than the entire audience in the arena. They can care less what the people think, they do what they do for them, they will continue to do whatever they have to do. They will make sure that they are the greatest tag team ever (LOL). Bubba tells the crowd to take the tables and chants and shove it.
The classic WWE booking of one partner vs. another as part of furthering said feud. Well, uh, this went about a minute. Things escalated quickly, a few moves were hit, and then all of a sudden Bubba Ray whips out a table, gets Jey and the refs’ attention, allowing for D-Von to roll-up Jimmy for the win. A very, very short match that still did its job, although shorter than some squash matches.
Styles & Jericho are backstage. Jericho recaps the past events between the two, and explains that he’s a 5 time tag champ with 5 different partners, and that he feels as if they can do the same as the team. The sky’s the limit for the team. AJ came here to be with the best, compete with the best, and get his WrestleMania moment. This sure is hinting at them teaming up for WrestleMania. They need a partner, and they joke about Funaki, but Mark Henry steps in. WSM should join the Y2AJ tonight. Tonight, they can teach them a ‘serious lesson’. There’s some awkward tension as Henry makes sure these two won’t turn on him, as well as tension with a strong handshake. Jericho explains that from a former world champ to another, it would be a pleasure. AJ is hit hard with a friendly push and they mini-sell the impact of Henry. Good stuff and solid comedic efforts.
If this match went 15 minutes, it would have been a WWE TV MOTYC at the pace they were going. It had a slow-build in the grand scheme of a match psychology, but it got cut short because of Kevin Owens being a dick. So great and something I welcome with open arms to happen again. The match was built off of extremes, with Owens exaggerating the impact of Show’s offense, yet Show doing the same, for a good balance of back and forth offense including Owens trying to ground Show with Show selling like a wounded giant — an image that comes across fantastic. Although, this match built to a superplex spot that never happened, of course, unless if they wanted the ring to break. Big Show finally mustered enough power to almost chokeslam Owens off the top rope, but Owens shifted the momentum to get Show to land on his nuts on the ring ropes. This allowed for the Intercontinental Champion to get the win via countout and exit fast with his title. Perfect.
The two best in-ring divas on the roster, in a most likely to be SmackDown match. Natalya is coming off of the carry job vs. Charlotte last week, and Becky is Becky f’n Lynch. I hope these girls get chances to go 15 minutes plus in the WWE someday together on whatever outlet. This didn’t even last 2 minutes, but I took all I could in whilst it was actually happening. Tons of great pure wrestling and matwork, interrupted by Team B.A.D. who snatched Natalya by her hair, pulled her off the apron, and gave her a superkick for a DQ. I love how Ranallo, rightfully so, put over British Columbia (my home province!) and the fact that these two girls have worked their way towards the WWE from there, interacting in the province and making towns alongside ECCW at one point. Sasha & Becky cleaned house but Charlotte is out with a mic in her hand with Ric by her side.
Charlotte just got an update on the bombshell she dropped last Monday. The #1 Contenders Match between Sasha and Becky for Charlotte’s Divas Championship (WrestleMania match) happens on Monday, and she will have a ringside seat. She wishes the both of them the best of luck and that is all.
Before the bell even rang, Goldust came out to cause the climax of the tag team tension. Goldust explains he’s going to watch ringside, and “Golden Truth” chants breakout whilst Goldust mentions them and uses them as leverage in trying to convince Truth to get over the denial hump.
It’s hard to care about this. Truth came back after being worked over. Adam Rose got knocked off the apron, Bo Dallas complained, and Goldust slid onto the apron to give Slater an uppercut, in which Truth used as leverage for his landslide pin for the win. There’s still separation between the two, but more “Golden Truth” chants broke out post-match.
New Day are out for your SmackDown main event. Xavier thought they were going to interrupted by League of Booty again, but after Fastlane, they might have learned their lesson — to not mess with the New Day. Big E now shoots. He wants to talk about the foul, moist mess of a tag team that is Y2AJ, and the supposed, alleged World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry. They then make fun of Henry and laugh. Kofi knows of a man in this very ring who would beg to differ, and it’s not Big E, it’s a troll job as Xavier Woods showcases his pecs. The first step to looking like Xavier is eating your Booty-O’s. Xavier roasts Y2AJ, explaining that Meek Mill & Drake teaming up have a better chance than these two. They boist as usual that they are world tag champs. They ride, eat, train, take baths (uhhhhhh, supposedly) together, and it’s because New Day rocks.
The first SmackDown main event after I talk about Road to WrestleMania type of craziness in the SD’s leading up to WrestleMania confirms that I am indeed right with my tag main event theory proposed on this week’s Wrestling With RAW. Solid main event this week that got extremely good in the finishing stretch. After some showcasing of Y2AJ’s teamwork with stereo pescados, elbows, etc, Jericho was the chosen one to be worked over by the champs. Work over segments with New Day are always entertaining because of the stomps in the corner, stereo moves of their own like the leg drop/splash combo from Kofi & Big E. Jericho fought through it all and kicked out of every false finish to get the hot tag to Styles. Styles was amazing in the closing stretch, and so was everyone else. Big E and Henry cancelled each other out, and instead of Kofi hitting Trouble in Paradise on Styles, Jericho pushed him out of the way to take one for the team, which was an impeccable touch to add to the layers of the tag team and dynamic. This left Styles and Xavier. Styles hit his blitz of offense but Xavier came back with a MEAN discus elbow that’s Shibata status. AJ however bounced off the ropes and made Xavier tap to the calf crusher, which is being put over like a million bucks; even if the Styles Clash isn’t.
SmackDown this week wasn’t as explosive, nor filled with worker’s charm in comparison to past ones thus far, but it got its job done. I believe that RAW was better this week, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this show is still riding its wave of momentum, even if this week wasn’t a particularly hot occasion. Mauro back in the booth was fun, Lawler limiting his burials was exceptional so he’s slightly bearable to put up with, and Byron limited his talk in the first place. Triple H appearing in the opening segment, a fun Lucha Dragons & Neville filled sprint again, Big Show and Owens with backstage banter and a hoot of a short match, Natalya facing Becky Lynch popping me, and the solid six man main event all made for a better than average block of WWE programming, and a show in which I come away from, by saying this:
No harm, no foul.
“Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith
And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game”
–The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy For The Devil”