Coming off of an ‘All Hail’ spectacle in which Triple H quoted Rolling Stones and set the bar high for an opening promo on SmackDown this year, as well as a fun Y2AJ & Mark Henry victory-filled main event, we switch gears to a SmackDown this week that’s guaranteed to further WrestleMania build, as we know Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch happens yet again on this show, in once again, a #1 Contenders Match stipulation environment. I’m sure we’ll be getting more Y2AJ as well. Without further ado, it’s time for this week’s SmackDown. Yes, Mauro is still here, not sick leading the forefront, as SmackDown is coming to you from Atlanta, Georgia. Remember to bow down to the king, as not only he made his presence felt on SmackDown last week, but did the same thing to Dean Ambrose he did to Roman Reigns on this week’s RAW as a lead-in to the opening segment tonight. In yet another awkward cold open commentary cuts off at Mauro’s “welcome to SmackDown…”
In case you couldn’t tell, Dean Ambrose is out (selling his injuries) and is ready to spit some words at Triple H ahead of their match at WWE Roadblock from Toronto, Ontario on March 12. As he sits in a chair, Dean recaps his injures, explaining that his body is one giant injury, as well as recapping how he got said injuries plus the opening from RAW. The 5 second plan turned into a 5 minute beating, but it worked out, as Dean gets a shot at the title at Roadblock. He implies everybody is freaking out backstage because he’s throwing a wrench into everybody’s WrestleMania plans. He wants another piece of Brock Lesnar, but wouldn’t mind giving the man who earned the title shot…a title shot if he wins at WrestleMania, or if Triple H invokes a rematch clause that could be the match. Ambrose even says that they could drop a cage and trap all four of them to fight (that is not a bad idea at all, actually)! Ambrose is about to ramble on some more, and out comes the Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens. Owens asks Dean why he’s out here spewing “crap”. Dean has been a doormat and a punching bag, and the only reason Dean still isn’t such for Triple H is because Triple H chose to stop. Owens is standing here as the IC Champ, which he doesn’t have a credible contender for, for WrestleMania. Dean tells Kevin to be nicer to people and/or be more proactive. Dean tells Kevin to wear a helmet upon challenging Brock. Kevin retorts with the fact that he doesn’t need advice from Dean because he makes him sick, is a waste of space, and is everything wrong with WWE. Kevin pushes Dean out of his chair, wobbling over, and whilst Kevin degrades him and his injuries, Dean sells his shoulder. A brawl breaks out as Dean clocks Kevin’s back with a chair shot and stands tall whilst still limping about. Dean challenges Kevin to a match tonight. Though, Kevin Owens walks away for now. Solid segment.
Decent tag between the constant matched up sides. Growing chemistry can do no wrong. The finishing stretch was excellent like most Usos tags. The rest of the match was getting heat on the hot tag, which Rusev and Sheamus and their power moves did a good job of. Jimmy was originally worked over but it transitioned to Jey after commercial, which included Jey’s shirt being ripped off, Beats of the Baron, a smash off the apron, etc. Once the hot tag was delivered we got exciting stretches of action, including a dive onto Rusev, Sheamus running around the corner only to be superkicked, and Barrett being superkicked off the apron. Sheamus got his knees up for a Jimmy Uso splash and hit the Brogue Kick for the win.
After the match, and after the L.O.N. celebration, The Dudley Boyz music hit surprisingly as they brought a table along with them. Byron called them hypocrites. Jey Uso was thrown into the ringpost and Bubba delivered a boot to Jimmy who was hold up by D-Von. A table was upright in the ring the entire time and was eventually flipped over by D-Von. OK then. This could be a match on the Roadblock show, or potentially a WrestleMania pre-show match; and most likely teams thrown into multi-man frenzy come WrestleMania Sunday.
A video is played of Dolph Ziggler x Cricket Wireless getting a group of fans a surprise with himself and tickets to the show.
This is a rematch of their RAW match in which Miz won with an abrupt roll-up. The rolls were switched this time and most likely to pop Cricket Wireless. Miz came out aggressive as hell which is fantastic to watch, proving he puts in work for TV, but the match came to an end at around the same time as the RAW match when Miz went for his corner leaping lariat and Ziggler caught him in a landslide. Interesting developments to say the least.
R-Truth is in catering when Goldust is shown eating alone at a table. Truth sits next to him as Goldust has his back turned to him. Goldust says Truth is scorning him and of course Truth brings comedy. Truth says the two ‘should’ be tag partners as the tag would be hot. Goldust suspects Truth playing a joke on him with food after pitching such, and takes it on himself to smash his own face with food. Just have them team up already.
Another rematch from RAW as its Round 2 to try and see who’s facing Charlotte at WrestleMania. These girls tore the house down, but unfortunately another double finish had to occur as there will be a blatant three-way at WrestleMania for the title. It was a fruit basket of Banks and Lynch’s talents, with submission finishers not ending the match, arm work from Becky, tons of counters from Sasha including lots of double knees, Sasha working over Becky, stereo spots and much more. I really enjoy the fact that this match went for multiple segments and got tons of time for TV. Unfortunately, the amazing barn burner of a match, that is still easily in the Top 5 for the year on TV, was interrupted after the two clotheslined each other on the outside in stereo. Ric Flair then taunted the two, and both got up, only for Charlotte to attack them for a disqualification finish. What also was disappointing was when Charlotte walked out in the middle of the match, leaving both girls freezing in their spots, which led to the segment bridge. I still very much enjoyed the match, and the build has been simply good. I look forward to more matches and the eventual WrestleMania match.
Renee interrupted the Flair party walking through backstage. She questions the involvement of both. Neither deserve to face her at WrestleMania, apparently. Charlotte has beaten Becky twice and “what has Sasha ever done?” Renee is supposed to be the one to get the scoop, and apparently has gotten one! Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte is officially announced for WrestleMania, and the two are left speechless. Renee giddily saying “any comments about THAT?” was amazing.
It’s New Day time. They’re out as Kofi Kingston is taking on AJ Styles…my goodness. New Day address a miracle that has happened tonight, and not L.O.N. winning a match, but Y2AJ and the miracle that they have obtained a tag title shot on RAW next week. This world we all live in, is a special and magical place; miracles happen everyday, implies Kofi. New Day jokingly plug the Network and Booty-O’s is plugged as well. Big E mocks Atlanta, explaining that Xavier was still successful even though he came from Trashlanta. New Day will still be your tag champions at the end of the day. Cue a theme and pyro interrupting the New Day rocks chant.
This is not only a match that people have wanted for a long time, but a match that serves as a preview to Y2AJ vs. New Day for the titles next Monday. Good match. Of course it wasn’t pay-per-view quality given it was fairly short but it was an effective TV match. The story that was told was AJ defying the odds of a 3 vs. 1 situation with Jericho not being there. Reason given for Jericho not being there is that he was going “promotional work” for WWE. Kofi was comical in the match, doing the Unicorn Stomp by himself going in and out of the ring. AJ fought back after being worked over as well as being taken advantage of in numbers. He pulled out the lariat corner combo with a Ushigoroshi which is always nice especially because Mauro calls it and traces its lineage back to Japan. AJ even kicked out of the S.O.S. After a missed Trouble in Paradise = a Pele Kick, and a little more time, the ref had to throw out the New Day because of shenanigans. Right then was the AJ win, as he beat Kofi by pinfall after delivering his springboard flying forearm. New Day attempted to beat on AJ right away but AJ had already evaded the ring before anything could happen. Plain and simple a good match.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt is officially announced for WWE Roadblock. Other matches on the card include Revival vs. Enzo & Cass for the NXT Tag Titles as announced tonight on NXT TV, and Dean Ambrose vs. Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Bray cuts a promo on Brock. No way I transcribe this. He told him to run. That’s pretty special, right?
This is by far and large these two’s best match ever. This wasn’t long whatsoever, but still felt like it was worked for the main event slot and was meant to be the main event all along. The dynamics all played together like an orchestra: Ambrose never giving up, refusing to lose; Kevin Owens attacking the ribs of Ambrose like no tomorrow as menacingly as possible (for example tearing the tape off, as well as at one point driving him into the edge of the apron rib-first), Mauro Ranallo going nuts for the match, especially for the finishing stretch on commentary, and a solid crowd + their chemistry getting better. There were countout spots that were done well, with Ambrose getting hit to the outside and big boy senton’d for the second time but on the damn outside! Ambrose fought back from that, and eventually Owens was almost down for the count, but he came back. There was only one commercial break during the match which helped its cause too. After fun counters, selling, big boy Kevin offense, and more, it came down to the epic finishing stretch in which Mauro was screaming alongside at the top of his lungs. Owens out of the Dirty Deeds, Pop Up Powerbomb into a hurricanrana, but Owens superkicks Dean. Knees up for the big boy senton that would have been hit for the third time! And…Dean finally hits Dirty Deeds. Fantastic main event and call from Mauro and the team.
“The will, the skill, the heart!” -Mauro Ranallo on Ambrose winning the match
SmackDown was the meat and potatoes of the build to WrestleMania for the most part, with simple and effective booking, and two fantastic TV matches as well as Kofi vs. AJ. It continues to out-power RAW, and even other wrestling shows, as I don’t know how, but the current blue show format is working. Watch for Becky vs. Sasha, stay for a great Ambrose promo, Kingston vs. Styles, and the marvelously executed main event between two rivals.