My money’s on Steph for this Wrestlemania triple-threat.
– It’s the 15th anniversary of Smackdown! Hell, it’s probably pretty close to the one-year anniversary of me doing these Smackdown reports. Let’s make it a special, share-filled night!
Hit the next page to continue smacking down!
Best: A Best for the Worst of Smackdown
The opening segment of the WWE’s Smackdown anniversary show celebrated everything that’s been wrong with show for a long, long time — lousy, undeserving GMs making random tag TEAM matches on a whim in order to fill TV time and nothing else. The whole thing should have been performed in front of a “Smackdown, Bad for a Decade!” banner.
That said, I still enjoyed it. Smackdown may be a crappy show, but dammit, it’s my crappy show. And Big Johnny was there! John Laurinaitis working stilted “9.99” plugs into his routine is something we’ve needed for a while. Then Teddy Long came out in possibly his most ridiculously baggy suit ever. You could have fit three Teddy Longs in that thing. Steph was also there, looking a bit like she swallowed the canary — the fact that the Smackdown 15th anniversary show was basically a two-hour embarrassed shrug can be blamed pretty squarely on the long-term laziness of her booking team, and she knows it.
Speaking of lazy booking, here comes Adam Rose!
Best: Be a Lemon! Be a Lemon! Be a Lemon!
This show being a celebration and all, I thought for sure the “fun” Adam Rose was going to come out, force all the heels to dance, then Ron Simmons would say “damn” or something and I’d have to spend some time being sad about all the Fridays I’ve stayed up late writing about this stupid program. But no! Instead Stephanie McMahon’s face became a living embodiment of my feelings about Adam Rose…
…then she bravely defied the lemon-shaming and booked Rose in a match with Kane. The Devil vs. The Devil’s favorite demon! I take back what I said about Steph being a lazy booker.
Then all the lemons had their own celebration. A lemon party if you will. Here’s a lemon party .gif for you.
Wait, what were you expecting?
Best: Tonight I’m a Party Pooper
So, Adam Rose’s asshole grin has been removed from his face, but he’s still going to win and then the “fun” will begin, right? Steph Elaine dancing, Big Johnny doing the Carlton and other things that were hilarious during the 90s will happen! Ha ha, NOPE.
HEE HEE. Hey Kane, there’s still more party to poop!
YES! MORE! I WANT BLOOD! OPEN THE BUNNY UP — OPEN HEEM UP.
I’m not going to recap all the Smackdown golden moments they replayed throughout the show because, well, most of them weren’t actually that memorable or important. It was fun to see clips of the Rock back when he was loveably beefy, had hair and didn’t look like a Cho Aniki character. I was also kind of shocked to see Jack Swagger’s title win replayed.
Of course there was one Smackdown moment that continues to resonate pretty strongly. You know the one…
Brrrrr. Oh, if only we’d known what we were in for.
We’ve all seen embarrassingly-gelled John Cena vs. Kurt Angle a million times, but I’d forgotten the part where John Cena, after one match, is greeted as the second coming backstage, even getting a handshake of respect from the Undertaker. Eight years, the longest title reign of the modern era and a Wrestlemania match against the man himself didn’t earn CM Punk a handshake of respect from the Undertaker. Don’t let anybody ever tell you John Cena wasn’t THE DESTINED ONE from the first second he stepped on TV — they did more for Cena on his first episode of Smackdown than they’ve done for Roman Reigns during his entire singles push.
Best: Alicia Isn’t Here
There wasn’t much to AJ/Alicia — like most AJ matches it went less than two minutes and ended in a surprise reversal into the Black Widow. The Black Widow reversals are cool and all AJ, but it probably shouldn’t be the only thing you do.
I’m giving the segment a Best because Alicia Fox’s crazy routine now apparently includes having a possessed finger ala Danny Torrence. Or maybe I just wanted to give this inoffensive segment with three pretty girls a Best. I ‘unno — let’s move on.
Worst: Can We Get Another Re-Do?
Woof. If you follow th’ dirt sheetz, you know this Kofi/Rollins match was so bad the first time around it had to be redone, and man, maybe they should have gone for a third take.
I swear they actually sped up the footage to get through this debacle quicker. Or maybe they just edited everything between the moves out? Rollins just hit on perfunctory move on Kofi after another, not stopping for a second to let anything sink in, Kofi got a brief comeback, then Rollins hit a half-botched curb stomp for the pin. While not Rosa Mendes awful or anything, this was pretty much as bad a match as two guys the caliber of Kofi and Rollins could have.
Worst: Another Angry Heel Squash
How do you follow angry, humiliated Seth Rollins taking his frustrations out on a hapless midcarder? By having an angry, humiliated Rusev take his frustrations out on a hapless midcarder of course!
Ziggler/Rusev was a bit more competitive (and better in general) than Kofi/Rollins, but it was still no great shakes. “Normally competent face suddenly becomes sad sack punching bag because heel is really angry at somebody else” is one of my least favorite WWE tropes, particularly twice in a row.
Best: This Escalated to a Weird Place
I’m not sure I see the wisdom in setting up one of your Wrestlemania main events with a wacky backstage comedy segment, but on the other hand, that’s kind of what made me love this.
The Rock’s a goof, always was a goof, and his recent returns don’t really mean much in the big picture. They’re a pop of fun and nostalgia and that’s about it. Despite this, Cena/Rock was sold as this achingly important, battle for the ages. It was tiresome. It was disingenuous.
By contrast this segment acknowledged the fact that most wrestlers, particularly the icons from the Attitude era, are ridiculous children in a perpetual meaningless pissing contest. Which is fine! I don’t care about legacies or battles for the heart and soul of the WWE universe — Rock doesn’t like Triple H and Triple H doesn’t like Rock and they want to fight because they’re babies who can’t let it go. That’s all I need. That’s all I want.
On top of all that, this segment was funny. Like, actually funny, not the Rock babytalk ‘n’ misogyny brand of “funny” we usually get these days. The “Why the f*ck are we standing so close?” bit was something that’s needed to be addressed for years. When jerks insist that the Rock of today is the same Rock we’ve always had, that “kung pao bitch” is the dude living up to his own standards, point ’em towards this segment. The Rock can be genuinely clever and self-effacing, he just chooses not to be most of the time. Hopefully this feud continues down this cheerfully dorky path when it picks up again next year and doesn’t become a stodgy END OF AN ERA or LEGENDARY STRUGGLE OF ULTIMATE TITANS thing.
Best: The 15-Man Tag
WWE multi-man tags are never bad, but man, this match was seriously testing that rule. For the record, the participants in this match were Mark Henry, Los Matadores, The Usos, Sheamus, Jack Swagger and El Torito on one side and The Dusts, Slater Gator, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, Damien Sandow and Mini Gator on the other. Yes, that’s 16 guys, but El Torito and Mini Gator count as half-men, you see.
The match was pretty shambolic and uninteresting most of the way through, but things got crazy enough in the final minutes to push us into Best territory. I mean, I can’t very well give a match featuring numerous Damien Sandow chants, the return of the Cesaro Swing and El Torito being crucifix powerbombed to the outside a Worst.
And then, in the most Smackdown moment ever, Teddy Long was announced the greatest Smackdown general manager of all time due to the results of a randomly assembled tag TEAM match. As if any other result was possible.
Sadly(?) the Smackdown being celebrated(?) in the previous segment no longer exits — Teddy Long making random tag matches hasn’t really been a Smackdown thing for a while. In 2014 Smackdown is about video packages and stars showing up and doing as little as possible, so it was entirely fitting that this 15th anniversary show should end with a Miz TV.
The Miz came out, showed some clips, Cena cut his most southern-accented promo in a while, Dean Ambrose said “yup” then everyone beat up Miz. The segment achieved nothing, but darnit, I sure recognized all its participants! The Smackdown 15th anniversary show — saying goodbye to the uninspired past, looking ahead to the even more uninspired future.