The Not So Rookie's Guide to Wrestling Vol. 10 – Screw the Rules!
Oh WWE, why do you even bother with SmackDown? This week's show gives us a look at what's wrong with the current state of the “B” show. I've mentioned in my previous SmackDown recaps that the show has had issues with its relevance in the grand scheme of the WWE Universe. It seems that each week the show features more rematches from Raw, and the clips from Raw get longer and longer. If WWE is content to let SmackDown simply flounder in the shadows of Raw and NXT, then why not simply turn this slot into a replay of Raw in its entirity? Well, regardless of the current state of the show, we take yet another trip down the rabbit hole and hope it will be less painful than the last.
The Wyatt Family warn Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
If you've followed my recaps since my time at NXT, then you realize that I have shied away from covering segments, since I've found they are an entirely different beast from recapping matches. This is an occasion that I will make an exception, since it was the highlight of the evening. The Wyatt Family made their way to the ring in their traditional fashion, but once they hit the ring things went down a little differently than normal. Luke Harper was the first to speak and tell those who are lost to listen to his voice, for he would help them find their way. He then hands it off to Bray, who talks about Roman Reigns being infected, and that Reigns doesn't care about the fans, but only about winning the WWE Championship. He continues on, saying that Dean Ambrose is a fool for supporting Roman, and that if anyone wants to see what happens to people who associate with Reigns, they should ask Randy Orton. We close out the segment with a quick word from Braun Stroman, as he tells Reigns and Ambrose to run.
This segment is what WWE should have been doing with the Wyatts all along. Splitting the Family toward the end of last year didn't really accomplish much, aside from Luke Harper's short Intercontinental Title reign and Bray losing some matches. I really love the idea of having Luke Harper and Braun Stroman being the muscle to Bray's mouth, and I would prefer to see Bray only take to the ring when he absolutely has to, allowing them to really build up the cult leader angle. This was a great segment, and great booking for these three men. I hope WWE stays the course with this, as I would love to see the Wyatt's win their match at Night of Champions and see this rivalry continue until Survivor Series. This type of slow burn could give this match a truly fulfilling outcome, especially if it becomes this year's Survivor Series match, which is something I would love to see.
Cesaro vs. The Miz
I am still convinced that WWE has no idea of how to book Cesaro. In just the last few months Cesaro has gone from being a Tag Team Champion alongside Tyson Kidd, to being a glorified jobber, to having main event level matches against champions. Most recently, he had been in a feud with Kevin Owens, which, of course, he lost. However, Cesaro was not left to languish in the midcard, as WWE decides who Cesaro will be fed to next. It seems that WWE was able to catch The Miz in between whatever it is that he does between random feuds and pay-per-view appearances, and he was able to make it to a SmackDown to entertain us all. What we got here was a pretty solid match, Cesaro is always great in the ring, and, love him or hate him, The Miz has headlined pay-per-views for a reason. This actually was a pretty good match, but the true icing on the cake was the fact that Cesaro was finally able to win a match using the Sharpshooter. While one win over The Miz certainly isn't going to turn Cesaro's fortunes around, this one still means a lot. This win was for you Tyson, we hope to see you back in the ring again soon.
Result – Cesaro wins via submission
Paige vs. Sasha Banks
I would be a little more excited for this match if we hadn't just seen it a few days ago on Raw, and let's be entirely honest here, it would be so much better if this were happening on Full Sail instead of on SmackDown. That bring us to the matter at hand, which is this ongoing “feud” between the three factions of Team P.C.B., Team B.A.D, and Team Bella. Not only is that a whole lot of letters, and a couple of acronyms, but its also all a lot of nonsense. The mere fact that the “Diva's Revolution” was credited to Stephanie McMahon in commentary during this match is ridiculous. With all due respect to Stephanie McMahon, it seems like she had little, if anything, to due with the state of women's wrestling at NXT, and I'm sure she wasn't the sole deciding factor in bringing Sasha, Charlotte, and Becky to the main roster. The only advantage to giving Stephanie the credit for the “Diva's Revolution” is the fact that it would give us someone to blame for the complete mess that this thing has turned into.
Result – No Contest
The New Day vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Jimmy Uso
Looking at this match on paper, it should be something I really enjoy. I'm a big fan of four of the six men competing in the match, and The New Day has been one of my favorite parts of WWE's programming recently. However, the involvement of Reigns and Ambrose surely means that this match won't be ending well, since most of their recent matches have ended at the hands of the Wyatt Family. The story, if you can call it that, was set up earlier in the night, when we found out that Dean Ambrose had brought Jimmy Uso in to tonight's match. This seems to rub Roman Reigns the wrong way, as he doesn't want to get any more of his family involved with the Wyatts after Bray mentioning his daughter just a couple of months ago. Ambrose tells him it will be okay, and that Jimmy was the one that offered to help them out.
Fast forward to the start of the match, the New Day get off to a typical start with some great heel tactics and excellent team work that made them a joy to watch. I was a little disappointed to see that Xavier Woods didn't bring his trombone with him, until he went to the time keeper's area and retrieved it to begin taunting their opponents. I was really happy to see that Jimmy Uso was still on top of his game, despite being off of TV since his brother's shoulder injury earlier this year. It was great to see Ambrose and Uso together, the two's styles actually mesh together very well, which kind of left Reigns as an odd man out, but he still managed to get his spots in. The match continues as usual until the Uso goes for the top rope splash and suddenly the lights go out and we see the Wyatt graphic flash on the screen. We come back to see Jimmy Uso being choked out by Stroman. Ambrose and Reigns attempt to make the save, but the lights go down again and the Wyatts disappear leaving Uso laying down on the stage. The strangest thing in all of this was that the match was ruled a no contest, despite Jimmy Uso, the legal man, being attacked by the Wyatts. This is hardly the first time that WWE chose to ignore their own rules, but twice in one night, in back to back matches? That's a little much, even for them.
Result – No Contest
The Lucha Dragons vs. The Ascension
I'm always excited to see the Lucha Dragons, as they're one of my favorite tag teams on the main roster since they moved up from NXT. Once I saw that their opponent would be one of their former rivals from NXT, The Ascension, I got even more interested. Having watched the Lucha Dragons come up in NXT and see them topple the Ascension, ending their streak as the longest reigning tag champs in NXT history, I was expecting to see magic in this ring. I should have learned to curb my exceptions though, because what was a great match on paper turned out to be little more than a squash match. It didn't take me long to realize what was going on, and I could see that WWE was trying to undo the damage they had done to the Ascension over the past few months when they were unceremoniously buried by the commentary team and their bad booking. We end the match with a Fall of Man following a distraction from Stardust. After the pin, the Ascension begins to beat down the Lucha Dragons, before they are saved by Neville, thus nullifying WWE's attempt to make the Ascension look strong by having them run away from one guy.
Result – The Ascension via pinfall
WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback vs. WWE United States and World Heavy Weight Champion Seth Rollins in a Champion vs. Champion Lumberjack Match
It has certainly been some time since I last saw a lumber jack match on WWE television. Our commentary team tells us a little about what's going on as the lumber jacks make their way to the ring, followed by Ryback and Rollins. What ensues is a sloppy and completely off the rails match that involved more notable action from the lumber jack than either of the two competitors in the match, which is sad, considering how great Seth Rollins usually is to watch in the ring. Glossing over the bulk of this uneventful match, toward the end all of the heel lumber jacks jump in the ring and begin attacking Ryback, which the ref does nothing to stop. After this is cleared up, all of the lumber jacks begin brawling, with the exception of Kevin Owens. Right as Ryback sets Rollins up for the Shellshock, Owens grabs Ryback's legs and gives Rollins the opening he needs to claim his victory. I wouldn't have a problem with this, since Owens cut a promo recently calling out Ryback, but this outcome had been phoned in since the beginning of the night. Each time they showed the match card, you could see Owens prominently featured at the top center of the image. In addition to this, Owens didn't get involved in the match at any point. He simply stood in the corner, watching the match and waiting for his opportunity to stake his claim for Ryback's Intercontinental Championship. Overall it was a dusty finish to a sloppy match, that will lead to a story that will be crammed into the next two shows, before a match at Night of Champions.
Result – Seth Rollins wins via pinfall
WWE continues to rest on their laurels and phone in a lackluster product that is insulting to their fan base. Tonight's SmackDown had it greatest highlight within the first five minutes of the show, and everything else was down hill from there, from terrible matches with awful finishes, to the terrible commentary team and telegraphed plot threads. This was one of the worst episodes of SmackDown that I have had to sit through over the last month of writing these recaps. This is the point at which I shall continue to soldier on, but mostly in the hopes that my editors will eventually allow me to review some sort of wrestling product that isn't associated with the WWE.
Rating:1 Lumberjack out of 5