The Not-so-Rookie's Guide to SmackDown Vol. 8 – Brokedown in Dudley Town
My second week on SmackDown duty and I'm thrown a bone by WWE with the Dudley Boyz returning to a WWE ring for the first time in more than a decade. As a fan of WWE since the late nineties, I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited to see Buh-Buh and D-Von back in the ring. Aside from the Dudleys returning, I'm not sure what else to expect from this week, since WWE hasn't mentioned much outside of the Dudley Boyz. However, since the opening segment involves the Wyatt Family, and even Luke Harper receives some promo time, we're off to a good start. However, all good things must come to an end, as Roman Reigns' music begins to play. The two groups exchange pleasantries and when it comes time to fight the Wyatts bow out, leaving Roman and Dean Ambrose in the ring. Our opening comes to a close with a seemingly pointless promo as we get ready to get our first match underway.
Match 1 – The Ascension vs. The Dudley Boyz
This was easily the most hyped match on a SmackDown in awhile, so it really bothered me when I saw that they were going on first. It seemed really unusual that WWE would start the night with this match, especially after how much they've been going on about it these past few days. As the match progressed, it turned into what should have been expected this entire time. The Ascension didn't do much, and the Dudleys did all their classic spots from the old days, Whaaaazup!?, Buh-Buh's punch combo, and the 3D to close the match. It was pretty easy to see that this match was meant to get long time fans, like myself, excited, and to familiarize the younger audience with the Dudleys and their style. I have to admit, it was fun to see again, but I feel that the match really failed to live up to the amount of hype that WWE was giving it.
The return of the Dudley Boyz seems very similar to what WWE did with the New Age Outlaws in 2014. It seems like they've been brought back for one last run that will, hopefully, culminate with their tenth Tag Team title reign. I wasn't expecting to see the duo return on a full time basis due to their time with TNA. WWE seems to have shied away from bringing in talent from TNA in the last few years, and the Dudleys were a big deal. Not only were the two the first tag team to be inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame, but Buh-Buh was a two time TNA World Champion during his ten year run with the company. I know that WWE has welcomed back guys like Ric Flair in the past after their TNA run, but let's face it, there's a pretty big difference before Buh-Buh Ray Dudley and Flair.
To wrap this up, it was an ultimately unimpressive match. As I mentioned before, the duo did all of their trademarks and, after winning, put Victor through the table with Buh-Buh's top rope release powerbomb. This was after being interrupted by The New Day, who tried to keep the Dudleys from destroying another table. Of course, there isn't anything that could keep Buh-Buh and D-Von from breaking a table, so the New Day were just lucky that they didn't share Victor's fate.
Results – The Dudley Boyz win via pinfall (Dudley Death Drop)
Match 2 – Neville vs. Kevin Owens
If you've seen any of NXT, you probably would have expected a match between these two former NXT champions to be something that could have been the highlight of the evening. Sadly, due the the differences in booking between NXT and the main roster, what we got was a pretty lackluster match that didn't really do much for either of them. Considering the fact that these two athletes are both coming off of big wins at Summer Slam, this match did little more than slam the brakes on whatever momentum Neville had built over these past weeks.
This match highlights another case of WWE not knowing what to do with the talent that they have. At this point, the roster has ballooned and, thanks to the talent coming up from NXT, the roster is beginning to become overloaded with premium wrestlers. This has forced them to bury very skilled super stars and cut momentum short after big wins, otherwise they risk thei established talent losing their reputations instead. I'm getting a little off topic here, but the match wasn't much to talk about. Kevin Owens came out looking fine, but Neville looked terrible. He looked great in his victory over Stardust and King Barrett at Summer Slam, but now he can't even handle Kevin Owens, so where does that leave him?
Result – Kevin Owens wins via pinfall (Pop-Up Powerbomb)
Match 3 – Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs. The Bella Twins
The Diva's Revolution chugs along and we continue to keep seeing the same matches thrown at us week after week. When this whole thing started, it was supposed to shake up the status quo and bring change to the Diva's Division, which has become nothing more than a commercial for Total Divas. In that time have we seen anyone really step up to face Nikki Bella for the Diva's Championship? Of course not, despite Sasha Banks gaining a pinfall victory over Nikki Bella a couple of weeks ago, which in the past has typically granted the winner the number one contender spot, but we can't have Nikki losing her title before she surpasses AJ Lee's record.
The match was pretty sloppy too, Becky, Charlotte and Nikki all did fine, but Brie still isn't anywhere near the level of the other three. It makes me wonder about Sasha's comment from a couple of weeks ago where she said that Brie was merely riding on her husband's coattails. The match wasn't overly long, but the ending felt rushed, and these types of match just end up making Charlotte, Becky, and even Nikki look bad by placing them in such an uneven match. With the upcoming Diva's Beat the Clock Challenge on Raw, we can only hope that things will get better soon.
Result – Charlotte and Becky Lynch win via pinfall (Charlotte's Web)
Match 4 – WWE Intercontintenal Champion Ryback and Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana) vs. The Big Show and Rusev (w/ Summer Rae)
The fact that I could predict who would be involved in the match the moment I heard it was a tag match is pretty sad. This is a match where WWE is simply cramming as many feuding superstars into a single bout as possible, not to advance any of their stories, but rather to simply give the illusion that they are. The match was a complete waste of time, and nothing was gained from it. Ziggler and Rusev were both able to put on great performances, but Ryback looked sluggish and Big Show was his normal lumbering self.
The match was poor, and the ending with Big Show using the WMD on Rusev was just dumb. I'm convinced that WWE doesn't even know what to do with The Big Show at this point, otherwise he would be involved in some kind of feud that mattered, or be using his experience to elevate some of the other talents rather than just being stuck in these dead end feuds where he ends up being used for some spot for his size. I mean, how many times can we hear the announce team blow their tops over John Cena using the Attitude Adjustment on Big Show, or Ryback hitting him with the Shellshock? We've seen it before, plenty of times in John Cena's case, and you can't keep expecting the same trick, repeated over and over, to continue impressing the crowd.
Result – Ryback and Dolph Ziggler via pinfall
Main Event – Shaemus vs. Dean Ambrose
When I first saw the promo for this earlier in the night I felt an initial sense of excitement to see Dean Abrose headlining a show, but this feeling quickly faded when I realized just how many times we've seen this match up over the course of 2015. I think the thing that hit me harder though, was the fact that this match couldn't end clean. Sheamus appears to be in between feuds, but Reigns' and Ambrose's feud with the Wyatt Family was just ramped up on Raw with the introduction of Braun Strowman.
The match itself was pretty standard fare for these two. Everyone hit their signature spots, and eventually the lights went out and Shaemus disappeared. The Family laid out Ambrose, but were caught off guard when Reigns' music hit. Roman was able to surprise the Wyatts by coming to the ring from the entrance ramp, the one place no one would look for him, but ultimately even Reigns wasn't enough, as the Wyatts would once again gain the upper hand.
This match was another waste of time, it would have made more sense for Ambrose to have faced one of the Wyatts and have that end in interference. This is the exact thing I was talking about earlier when I mentioned that WWE only makes you think that the story is advancing on SmackDown, when ultimately nothing on the show really amounts to anything in the grand scheme of things, I mean, when was the last time they replayed a clip from SmackDown over and over like they do clips from Raw?
Result – No Contest due to interference
I'm not really sure how to feel about this, on the one hand I've escaped from the recent mediocrity of NXT, but on the other hand, even the rough patch we were going through with NXT was never this bad. SmackDown as a show has lost all relevance since the brand split was ended. This is the time that they could be using to showcase some of the lower card talent, but instead it's being hogged up by guys who we see on Raw every week. WWE needs to reconsider what they're doing with SmackDown, because these last two weeks have done nothing to make me regret not having it in my regular rotation prior to starting these reviews.
Rating - 1 Broken Table out of 5