Smackdown was live this week from Providence, RI, and whenever the WWE comes to town, you can be sure the Average Nobodies will be in attendance. Tuesday night was no different, and as usual, WWE put on a great live show. We got in there right about the start of Main Event, and even saw Finn Balor and Samoa Joe team up in some high quality NXT action. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Smackdown!
1. The Wyatt Family
The Wyatt Family opened up Smackdown with a promo, which is par for the course for Smackdown. But if you think I’m not going to give Bray, Luke Harper and their new Donald Gibb lookalike a star then you’re high. Having Wyatt influence people enough to join his family is such a long overdo character trait that it makes me furious it didn’t happen sooner. But it happened now, and although I’m 1000% sure that Braun is going to end up being just another obstacle Roman Reigns overcomes, my optimistic side says that this trio could finally get Bray into the title picture. It’s a goddamn shame that Wyatt has never held a belt in the WWE, especially when the IC belt is toiling away in obscurity with Ryback and Big Show punching each other for 7 minutes at a time. You’re telling me IC champion Wyatt wouldn’t have good to great matches and feuds with the Dean Ambrose/Kevin Owens/Cesaro’s of the WWE? It’d be money, and it would give the mid carders something to chase. Make it happen, WWE. Or just have Wyatt be the best character you’ve had in a decade lose every important match he wrestles.
2. Seth Rollins
Fresh off his US title win at Summerslam and beat down at the hands of Sting on Raw, Seth Rollins unfortunately didn’t wrestle on Smackdown, but he did cut one hell of a fiery promo. While most of his promos are long winded, my favorite part about the Seth Rollins character is that it comes from a very real place. Rollins does have a chip on his shoulder, he does think he’s underrated and he truly believes he’s ‘the man’. When he was in NXT, he felt that he should have been elevated to the main roster. When he was in The Shield, he felt like the spotlight should have been shined solely on him. Now that he’s WWE Champion, he believes people should bow at his feet and thank him for being in their presence. He’s sick of having his title reign questioned, and if he has to beat old man Sting to prove once again that he’s THE MAN, then that’s exactly what he’s going to do. Seth Rollins is at the top of his game right now, and if there’s one guy who can pull a main event match out of Sting at this phase of his career, it’s Seth Rollins.
3. The Dudley Boyz Make Their Smackdown Return
I’m not going to sit here and lie directly to your face and say I didn’t pee myself a little when the Dudleys showed up on RAW and decimated The New Day. It was probably in my top 3 as far as wrestlers returning to the WWE goes (other two that i’m still waiting for are Stone Cold and Mickie James [love me some Mickie]). So when I found out the Dudleys were going to be showing off those sweet camo pants on the Smackdown that I was attending, I got the sharpie out and made a “get the tables sign” (WHICH WAS SEEN ON SMACKDOWN). Was I a little disappointed they fought The Ascension? Yeah, sure I was. Did it matter? Hell no it did not, The Dudleys were going to put one, or both, of them through the table anyway. Bonus pee in my pants for The New Day coming out with hilarious signs protesting the Dudleys reappearance in the WWE. #GiveTablesAChance
4. Sheamus Working the Providence Crowd
The WWE loves Sheamus. At first I didn’t understand why, but after a few years of matches and character changes I see it clearly, the guy is pretty much the total package. He’s big, he’s got “the look”, he speaks decent on the mic, he makes his opponent look good, has a shit ton of moves in his repertoire and he can deal with a tough crowd. On Smackdown, he had to continually deal with a hostile crowd that were chanting “You look stupid”, and while I agree with the Providence crowd, this can’t be an easy thing to deal with as a backdrop to your match. In-between giving Ambrose the beating of a lifetime, he would often look to the crowd and scream “no i’m not!”, which, if you ask me, is the perfect childish response you want from a heel. Great match by Ambrose and Sheamus.
5. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe
Samoa Joe and Finn Balor teaming up in a tag team match against the Lucha Dragons was a nice added bonus for our night at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence. The match was great, and Balor and Joe are a formidable team going forward (more on that in a bit). Sin Cara probably isn’t going anywhere past the Lucha Dragons, but if the WWE ever lets Kalisto let loose and become another Rey Mysterio, he’s going to blow people away more than he’s already doing now. The reason I mentioned Joe and Balor going forward, and the reason why this match was especially special (new phrase) is because this ended up being one of the matches that decided what teams would participate in the Dusty Rhodes Memorial Tag Team Tournament that is going to be dominating NXT TV over the next few months. The tag team division is probably the weakest part of NXT, and that’s not a knock on the tag division, but rather it shows you how strong the rest of their show is. If you want to see the difference between NXT and WWE, just look at this move by Regal, HHH and whoever else had a hand in creating this tournament. WWE’s answer to a subpar tag division is to just run fatal four way after fatal four way tag team matches with the same teams. The only reason people are talking about the division at all is because of the wonderfulness of New Day and the PTP. Instead of doing that, NXT creates this memorial tournament, which gives EVERY NXT wrestler, including their champion Finn Balor, a chance to enter with a teammate and try to win it. Dusty Rhodes was the heart and soul of NXT, so from a real life and storyline standpoint, every wrestler on the roster has motivation to want to win this thing. We’re probably not there yet, but how awesome would it be to have a few women team up and get a couple victories? If you don’t want to see Charlotte tap out Mojo Rawley you might not have a soul.
-The Average Nobodies
Extreme Rules was last night and the first post WM pay per view was a solid show overall. Daniel Bryan’s precious bunny neck caused him to miss the show, but rising star Neville took his place. In a shocking twist, John Cena retained his US title and Sheamus made an unconscious Dolph Ziggler kiss his ass. Let’s get to the 5 stars from last night’s Extreme Rules show.
At this point, if I’m reviewing a show or pay per view that Neville is apart of, there’s a 100% chance he’s going to be one of my stars. I don’t want to jinx it, but I can’t compliment WWE enough for how they’ve booked Neville since his debut. After a quick first squash, he was put into a match with the WWE Champion, then Dolph Ziggler, and now Bad News Barrett. Although he lost to Rollins and Ziggler, he proved he can hang with them immediately, which I believe does more good than having him squash a bunch of low card guys. I also love that the mid card titles are now something guys of value are trying to attain. The WWE has this weird theory that whoever loses a title automatically becomes the new #1 contender. It’s fine, but my problem with that is that it delays the start of new feuds. Neville beating Barrett twice in the same week automatically puts him in either the #1 contender spot or somewhere close, so when Bryan returns there are going to be at least two people gunning for his title. Also, this was Neville’s first pay per view win since joining the main roster, and he won clean.
One of the things I wasn’t looking forward to last night was seeing either Sheamus’s or Dolph Ziggler’s ass, and luckily we didn’t see too much. Ziggler won the match, but Sheamus was the one who got the upper hand (cheek) on Ziggler. Dolph is not the brightest bulb in the world, and for some reason he thought the guy who returned from injury with a Mohawk and a newfound sense of hurting people was just going to pucker up and kiss his butt. Instead, he got a low blow and a boot to the face, and then had his unconscious face rubbed against Sheamus’s ass cheek. Not Ziggler’s finest moment, but bad guy Sheamus is a guy I can get behind. You’re not going to root for him because he’s an asshole, but I’m all for him having hoss fights with the likes of Ziggler and Bryan and Neville. Also, his new music is awesome and I’ll never get tired of typing that.
New Day won the tag titles, but Cesaro, per usual, was the star of the match. Slowly transitioning Cesaro and Kidd to good guys while simultaneously turning New Day heel is not as easy as WWE is making it look, but it’s working perfectly. They knew the Chicago crowd would be cheering for Cesaro and Kidd and they knew that the same crowd would be chanting ‘New Day Sucks’, so why not feed into that? Cesaro and Kidd haven’t been together long but they’re both excellent in the ring and have created some fun to watch tag team moves. The over the rope suplex followed by a top rope elbow drop and the swing into the dropkick are crowd pleasers, and just make a tag team match better. Cesaro snatching Big E and Kofi out of the air and throwing them around will always be impressive, and I’d be fine with watching him do that for every match until the end of time. The end of the match makes sense, too, as New Day is using their 3 on 2 advantage to distract teams and win matches. That’s what smart heel teams do, but I do hope that Cesaro and Kidd stay in the tag title hunt.
4. The Last Man Standing Match
I went into the Last Man Standing match last night with zero expectations, but Big Show deserves an ice cream cone or something for his performance. He and Reigns just basically beat the crap out of each other, and while the crowd was clamoring for tables throughout the night, I’m glad they saved it for this match. The WWE and it’s superstars/divas are over saturated because we see them so much. On a week that includes a pay per view, the WWE puts on 8 hours of television, plus Main Event, Superstars, Backstage Fallout videos and whatever else they have planned for that week. With so much TV time to produce, certain shows can feel monotonous and employ the same kind of matches. If Ambrose/Harper had put themselves through tables in the opening match, the Show and Reigns table spots wouldn’t have been as effective. Reigns looked great, and Big Show looked like a worthy adversary, which also helps out Reigns. The table spots were also really well done, especially Big Show choke slamming Reigns from the ring to the outside through two tables and Reigns spearing Show from on top of one table and through the next one.
5. Seth Rollins
What a slimy piece of shit Seth Rollins is. The ending of the main event cage match between Orton and Rollins for the WWE Championship saw Seth Rollins use the RKO on Randy Orton then weasel his way out of the cage. As Extreme Rules was going off the air, the announce team was arguing about whether or not that was legal, since Rollin’s own stipulation for the match was banning the RKO. I’m sure there will be a 20-200 minute talking session to open up Raw dissecting whether this was legal or not, but either way I loved it. How much of a dick do you have to be to ban a guy’s finishing move, then not only use that move during the match, but use it to beat him and retain your title? That’s next level heel work, and Rollins is the most exciting part of the show. One of the friends I was watching this with brought up a great point about the main event scene right now without John Cena – you don’t automatically know who’s going to win. With Rollins as the champion, there’s always that chance that he’s going to lose the title, and that makes for exciting, unpredictable TV.
A Monday Night Raw without Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Brock Lesnar, Rusev, Dean Ambrose and Bad News Barrett can’t possibly be WWE’s strongest show, and that’s what we got last night. Raw wasn’t bad, but when you’re missing most of the fan favorites, three hours can be an especially long show. With that said, there were some important storyline progressions, and we now have a new #1 contender for Seth Rollin’s title at Extreme Rules. Let’s get to the stars!
If you’ve ever seen NXT, then this should come as no surprise, but if you haven’t, you watched a big part of the future last night as Neville took on WWE Champion Seth Rollins. The best part about having a heel champion who isn’t Brock Lesnar is that they can realistically lose any match. Rollins is quick and explosive and freakishly athletic, but by WWE standards, he’s still a relatively small guy. While he dominated most of the match against Neville, all it took was one reversal and Rollins was in the kill zone for the Red Arrow. I also love that J & J Security interfered, which helped Rollins win the match. Around the time Stone Cold came around, it seemed like WWE was trying to make all heels these bad asses who would get cheered by the smart crowds, but from day one in wrestling heels have been chicken shit guys who cheat to win. As much as it seemed unnecessary for Rusev to low blow Cena at Fast Lane, that’s what he SHOULD be doing. He’s a bad guy. The bad guy can’t keep winning clean and fighting honorably or else there will be no distinction between good and bad. Getting back to Neville, it was great seeing him get a shot with the Champ in just his second match on Raw. He can go, and he’s had some of the best matches in wrestling over the past year, so giving him a spotlight was great to see. The announce team was actually pretty good here, too, as they didn’t just make fun of Neville like they do with most NXT call ups. Neville has a bright future, and I love how the WWE is handling him so far.
2. John Cena & The US Title Open Challenge
If you watched Chris Jericho’s live podcast on the WWE Network after Raw, you saw Cena talk about being the US Champion and giving all comers a chance at the title. He’s had the title for two weeks, and has fought two solid matches against Dean Ambrose and Stardust. He’s beaten both of them, but John Cena should beat both of those guys. Cena’s been around for awhile, but he’s still John Cena. It’s not like Kane or Big Show or Mark Henry who just show up to get beaten. He’s still the face of the company, and losing a contested match to John Cena is better than winning against most of the guys on the roster. If you’re in the ring with Cena and it’s not a squash, then you’re getting a spotlight on you that just doesn’t happen with most other guys. That he holds a secondary title and keeps defending it only makes this situation better. If Cena can leave the US title picture better than when he entered it, it will have been a job well done.
3. New Day ( Doesn’t Suck)
If you told me I’d be giving New Day one of the stars for last night’s Raw I would have called you crazy and slapped you across the face. But New Day is taking baby steps towards a heel turn and I absolutely love it. Big E is the best out of the three, and he followed up his tweets from last week with a promo about a fan telling him he sucks but also asking for an autograph at the same time. I also love that their clapping is the only thing that is keeping them sane while thousands of people tell them they suck. If you watched their match, at one point Kofi, who was not in the match, cheap-shotted Kalisto. When Xavier Woods gets up and realizes what Kofi did, he gives this sinister smile of approval, and the group is adding more depth to their characters each week. You’d think the WWE would know by now that a happy go lucky clapping group isn’t going to work, but at least they’re listening to the crowd and making New Day more interesting. I’m fine with Lucha Dragons feuding with Cesaro and Kidd and then a heel New Day swooping in as the next challengers to whomever has the belts.
Sheamus is another guy who should always be a heel, and I’m glad WWE recognized that and brought him back as this Celtic asshole. He came up as a heel, and although he might’ve been pushed too fast, turning him into a good guy was not the answer. Now he’s back as a heel, and he does all the little things that a good bad guy should do. He took out the two most popular guys on the show, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, AFTER they fought a grueling match. When a fresh Mark Henry shows up, he wants nothing to do with him and tries to leave the ring. As I said with Rollins, there’s a huge benefit to having your bad guys be actual bad guys. When Sheamus and Mark Henry are on the outside of the ring, he uses the ring post to his advantage, and it’s clear from his pre match promo and antics during the match that he’s here to destroy our idols. Also, his new music is awesome, and although his hairstyle is kind of silly, he needed a change and a look that now identifies him as a bad guy.
5. Randy Orton
This is more of a “none of my favorite guys were on the show” star instead of a “he had a good showing” star. Most of the popular guys weren’t on Raw, and since Orton is the new #1 contender, I might as well have given him this slot. He fought Kane earlier on in the night, and I’m pretty sure the WWE is 0 for 100 when they have Kane and Big Show wrestle on the same show. I think Roman Reigns should’ve been given this slot, as it seems like the Orton/Rollins story has run it’s course, but they have great chemistry together, so their match at Extreme Rules should be good. It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here, and how Lesnar and Reigns fit into the WWE Championship picture in the future.
Sad day for America and WWE Universe,Rusev as US Heavyweight Champion makes me sick,John Cena where are you when we need you brother. HH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) November 4, 2014
Spoiler alert if you didn’t expand your usual 3 hours and 15 minutes of wrestling on Monday night and watch the post Raw US title match: Rusev won the gold. Also, Hulk Hogan is not happy about it. I know that Hogan knows this is all fake, but if there’s one person who is insane enough to think this is semi real, it’s Hulk Hogan. I know for a fact he’s training right now in an American flag t-shirt just waiting for the call so he can come and save America. Side note: we do not need John Cena. WWE is finally building a guy the right way. Please keep John Cena as far away as possible.
I could not be happier with the results of the Royal Rumble. Maybe it’s because I enjoy seeing The Animal tear people part and maybe it’s because I won a smooth $100 dollars yesterday, because of him. Either way I think Batista highlighting Wrestlemania is a good move. He clearly needs to shake some rust off, but once he does I can see a dynamite match in our future. I can see it now: Batista vs Orton with HHH in Ortons corner and Flair behind Batista. Do they have history? Yes they do.