Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little with the title. But honestly, the main event of last night’s Smackdown really was top draw. The rest of the show wasn’t half bad either. For the last time in a while, I will go through the show and note what made me sit up and take notice. In the new year, one of the other writers will be taking a look at Smackdown and providing a new perspective. For now though, let’s get down to business.
The Wyatt Family squashed The Usos in the opening match, which seemed more like a prelude. John Cena came out for the real beginning and cut a painfully unfunny joke promo, bless him. He demanded a rematch for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but of course, that wasn’t going to happen on the B Show. Instead, The Shield came down to surround the ring for an attack. They were thwarted by Mark Henry and Big E Langston. Kane came out and, going against the Teddy Long grain, decided to book a triple main event of singles matches – I like it! It would be Langston against Ambrose, Henry taking on Reigns, and Cena pitted against Rollins. Great stuff.
Dolph Ziggler rudely interrupted Randy Orton when he was conducting a backstage interview with the beautiful Renee. The Champ took offence. Kane intervened and booked the match. That’s more like it for the perfect one.
Cody Rhodes had a good match with Antonio Cesaro. It’s good to see a lot more singles matches, because the tag situation has been approaching overkill recently. JBL and Cole were so funny at the desk during this match. Cole suggested that Kane is going to “stooge people off” in an attempt to break the fourth wall. Bradshaw criticised yoga and lamented his partner’s training knowledge. It was all very entertaining but perhaps they should have focused a tiny bit more on the match, which Cesaro stole with a roll up.
The Prime Time Players beat “Rybaxel”. Apparently they are officially called that now. I don’t have much more to add on this.
Dolph Ziggler got his big match with Randy Orton, and was sporting some awesome pink highlights. This was a lengthy and very well done match. I got to see the entirety of it because of an advert botch. The commentators went silent for a couple of minutes but the feed never cut away – awesome. Dolph came out of this really strong after a great performance and multiple near falls, but The Viper struck with an RKO out of nowhere, as promised, and picked up the win. He then delivered a vicious beating!
We saw a rebound of that pathetic divas Christmas tag team match from Raw. Why on earth did they feel that this was the best part of that three hour broadcast to re-show? The Shield cut a great promo as always. Roman Reigns was front centre again as he continues to become the focal point of the group. Dean Ambrose promised that 2014 would see more of the same from the Hounds of Justice. They all individually threatened their respective main event opponents, and told us to believe, which we surely do.
Damien Sandow took on Daniel Bryan in a battle of the beards. I’m not enjoying how irrelevant Bryan is becoming. This was a routine win for him with the Busaiku High Knee which is something I guess, but his opponent is waning bad. Bray cut a promo from the ramp in the dark after the match, flanked by his family members. I find myself asking, is this feud still really happening? Please end this before the Royal Rumble.
The Shield made their way to the ring for the main event, and Team Face followed. I thought they would come out one-by-one for their matches and become easy pickings for the screwing. I was pleased that they didn’t. I knew it would make for better wrestling. Langston and Ambrose were up first in a battle of the mid card champions. Michael Cole teased a unification of their titles. I can’t tell you how bad an idea that is. With only one World Title, the possibility of anyone emerging from the lower reaches into the main event has become slim enough. Take away one of the two titles they can challenge for, and we are gonna end up with a roster full of talented guys wallowing in irrelevance and mediocrity.
There was more very subtle heat teased between Reigns and Ambrose. WWE have done a tremendous job handling The Shield in almost every way during every stage of their development. Ambrose was beaten by The Big Ending after no more than five minutes. The guy is being severely phased out now in favour of the big guy. He must be pissed. Roman Reigns, on the other hand, dominated his encounter with the World’s Strongest Man and won with the Superman Punch and Spear. This was very different to the fate of Dean Ambrose. The first two matches were decent but only came to around ten minutes between them. The final match of the three would be far more interesting.
John Cena and Seth Rollins really did put on a clinic by Smackdown standards. This was a great way to put over the latter, who came off looking really strong. He defied the five moves of doom with an excellent counter, reversed the AA into a tornado DDT from the top turnbuckle, and kicked out at two countless times. Rollins himself pushed Cena to the limit and got so many near falls. The ending to the match was a series of amazing moves from both guys (even Cena pulled out an awesome powerbomb) and so many close calls.
It was an action packed conclusion to an incredible contest. I have to say, this seemed to be Cena’s best match in at least six months, and it looked a lot like Rollins’ HBK moment. Even the STF wasn’t enough to beat the “rookie”. Shortly after the submission attempt had failed, all hell broke loose at ringside. John Cena then finally got the win with the Attitude Adjustment. The faces celebrated in the ring, and the announcers rightfully put over Rollins after an incredible performance.
Most of the show was decent, but the main event was outstanding. I hope this can be a platform from which Seth Rollins can build to a position on the roster that his talent justifies. Fair play to John Cena too, for his part in what was – in my opinion – one of, if not the best match on Friday Night Smackdown this year. Then again, my memory is short and there have probably been countless better ones. But what can ya do?
It’s been a pleasure trying to cover Smackdown for you over the past year.
Thanks for reading,