You’re right to look scared, Dean.
– Two title changes in one night? How ’bout two social media shares for one SmackDown report? Here’s the buttons!
Hit the next page to continue smacking down…
Worst: Normal People Don’t Narrate Their Own Lives
Okay, Bryan’s been back for a while now, and he seems to be doing fine. His arm remains attached to his body, and his neck hasn’t crumbled into dust. So, I’m going to try out being just a bit critical of the guy again. Cool? Well, I’m doing it anyway.
Bryan’s promo to open the show was not great. He’s fallen into doing that WWE main-event thing where you don’t respond to things like a real person. His WrestleMania hopes have been dashed in heartbreaking fashion, so what does he do? He comes out and dryly recaps the events of his own life, then gets artificially MAD AND SHOUTY. If he had called somebody “homie,” it would have been identical to a cookie cutter John Cena promo. I suppose I should be happy that somebody like Bryan gets to cut generic WWE main eventer promos, but I don’t need a tiny bearded John Cena.
Worst: Don’t Pick It Up!
Suddenly out came… Wade Barrett? I’ll admit, I kind of like it when unexpected guys pop up in these show opening talky segments. I particularly like it when guys stick their necks out and challenge somebody above their station. I didn’t continue liking Barrett’s appearance for long.
Barrett tried to lay into Bryan verbally, but Bryan just smirked so hard his beard nearly tore off. Dean Ambrose then came out, and Barrett promptly got his ass kicked because he’s the biggest goober who ever goobed, you see. Then, this happened…
NO, NO, NO. DON’T GET INTO JAMES DEAN’S CAR.
Barrett then crawled back into the ring and feebly asked for his title back, which obviously led to him getting beaten up by both Ambrose and Bryan with a duo of cheap shots. Do not tease putting Daniel Bryan in the IC title picture. I won’t stand for your threats, WWE. Where’s that Sheamus feud when we need it?
Worst: Finally, Some Justice
During the commercial break, Bryan and Barrett evaporated or something, leaving Ambrose to wrestle The Miz, who was also missing Damien Sandow. The match was a match. I think Dean Ambrose may the most formulaic guy in the company right now. If he’s a lunatic, it’s a very OCD-ish brand of crazy.
Wait, Barrett is back, and he grabs the title, but instead of making a quick escape like a non-dork would, he stares at it while slowly moseying away, allowing Dean to catch him with a clothesline. Thankfully for Barrett, Ambrose finds himself briefly engaged in the match he’s supposed to be having with Miz, allowing Barrett to scuttle off with the title again. Despite this distraction, Ambrose still easily beats Miz. Everybody looks bad! Points for thoroughness, I guess?
Best: It’s A Start, I Guess
Vince McMahon may claim he hears the fans, but it wasn’t a new day for the Divas on SmackDown. I suppose some baby steps were made though. Natalya/Naomi went a good 15 to 20 times longer than the 10 second women’s match on Raw, and the announcers actually did their job during it, calling moves and everything. The match even ended after an actual wrestling move instead of a distraction roll-up. That’s something!
Now, let’s give the ladies an actual reason to wrestle, an extra five to seven minutes to do that wrestling and not make the match mostly about the guys standing around at ringside. Also, let’s get Natalya wrestling in those volleyball shorts she was wearing on Raw full-time because day-um.
Worst: Please Ignore The Inferior
The first half of this segment was at least okay. There was a lot of recapping and repeating of the same old things by Lana and Rusev, but then they opened up the ol’ Kremlin mailbag and started reading personal emails from Vladimir Putin. Apparently Putin’s email comes through on official letterhead – he’s just that classy folks.
Then, Jack Swagger showed up.
At this point, Rusev shouldn’t even turn his head when Jack Swagger shows up. Just keep his eyes trained straight ahead and keep talking about kicking John Cena in the balls or whatever as Swagger stands impotently on the stage. But no, Rusev acknowledged Jack Swagger’s existence, and you’ll never guess what happened next. Believe it or not, Rusev beat up Jack Swagger and put him in the Accolade! Thank goodness WWE’s here to make sure I’ll never forget what that looks like.
My notes tell me Daniel Bryan had a match with Bad News Barrett at this point in the show, but I honestly don’t remember. The only thing I could pay attention to was the unfolding cataclysm happening behind the commentary booth. Yes, R-Truth on commentary was so bad I couldn’t pay attention to Daniel Bryan wrestling, which is the entire reason I watch WWE’s stupid shows in the first place.
The R-Truth commentpocalypse got right off to roaring start with some “all black people look alike” humor, as he hilariously mistook Byron Saxton for Jonathan Coachman. Yes, they gave that joke to R-Truth. Saxton’s face here pretty much sums it up…
Other highlights included Cole yelling at Byron for not knowing what fatback is and Truth saying Bryan looks like a chicken dipped in Rogaine. Don’t ask me, I just report the facts. Eventually Truth tip-toed over to Barrett’s title like he was in a Tom & Jerry cartoon and stuffed it under his shirt. Barrett was completely flummoxed by this. Dude had no idea where the title had gone. What the f*ck is happening?
Worst: Check Out The Cut Of The Jib On That Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns did a sit down interview thing with Byron Saxton, and it was okay, I suppose. There was a goofy bit where he was all, “I’m gonna prepare for Brock Lesnar by going on a cruise and having tropical drinks, haha. No, but seriously.” He delivered the line so flatly, it didn’t even come off as an attempt at humor, so I won’t ding him for it not being funny.
For the most part, the message was straightforward. Roman comes from a proud family, and he’s going to train hard and beat Brock Lesnar. It’s clear Vince is still writing Regins’ promos because this was totally a 70-year-old’s idea of what an admirable guy is. Reigns is HUMBLE and full of CAN-DO SPIRIT and is doing this to provide for his family gosh-darnit! Gee whiz, I hope he socks it to that nasty ol’ heel Brock Lesnar!
All that said, if we get videos of Roman training with all his famous relatives ISLAND STYLE, I’ll forgive every promo the guy’s ever done.
Worst: Take It, Man, Take It! Seriously, Take This Garbage
The IC title turned into the Hardcore title so gradually, I didn’t even notice.
R-Truth was strutting around backstage with his stolen belt when he ran into Ambrose, who said he’s coming for the championship. Truth, knowing it’s not worth any trouble, just gives the belt to Ambrose. Of course, Barrett is nowhere to be seen because him being the worst champion in history is officially part of the story now. The rich, 35-year legacy of the Intercontinental Championship, down the crapper for the sake of some R-Truth humor. At least he wasn’t wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat when he put the title down.
Best: Keep Practicing That Counting Curtis
Curtis Axel now has an AxelMania clock that keeps track of how long he’s been in the Royal Rumble. He tried to count along with it, but somehow was immediately off by like, five seconds. Oh, Curtis Axel. Never change. Or change literally everything about yourself. I’m afraid there’s no middle ground for you.
Worst: Well, At Least It Didn’t Get More Time Than The Divas Match
Right, Axel was out to have a match with Fandango, and, uh, at least nobody can take this show to task for giving Fandango more time than the Divas.
Best: …And My Butt Smells, And I Like To Kiss My Own Butt
The reason Damien Sandow didn’t come out to the ring with Miz earlier in the show was because he was shooting a commercial for some sort of boner lengthening or, uh, straightening(?) pill. Of course, Miz had to barge onto the set and shit on Sandow in the least subtle way possible. The days of passive-aggressive bell ringing are over, my friends. Now Miz is straight-up imitating Sandow in a funny voice and accusing him of having a brain that’s soft, small and completely and utterly useless. Come on, it’s two out of the three at worst. Miz also did this with his face…
This guy. This fabulous guy. I love how the second Sandow achieves any success of his own, the power balance flips. Miz is a babbling mess and imitating Sandow instead of the other way around. If Sandow ever gets a cameo role in a WWE movie, the two will immediately and permanently switch roles.
Sadly we never got to see the results of the commercial shoot. Are the pay-offs to backstage comedy segments too important for SmackDown now? Don’t leave me dangling on the Viagra joke punch-line!
Worst: On SmackDown, Monkey Beats You
Hey, an Adam Rose match! I felt like this show was missing something.
Goldust beat Rose in around a minute. Not much more to say about that. After the match, a Rosebud in a monkey costume attacked Goldust and, gasp, it was revealed it was really Stardust. I’ll reserve judgment, but I’m pretty sure covert monkey outfits isn’t what this Rhodes family feud is crying out for. It’s definitely not crying out for any involvement by Adam Rose.
Worst: Paaaay Attention To Me!
At Fastlane, Bray finally revealed he’s been talking about The Undertaker all along, and Taker has responded with, well, nothing. Now, here’s Bray on SmackDown, still challenging a guy who can’t even be bothered to respond and it all comes off as pretty desperate. Pro tip: If you want to know what Taker’s up to, just check Michelle McCool’s Instagram. Don’t act like you don’t follow her.
Best: A WWE Six-Man Tag Match
A rematch of the least interesting match from Fastlane? Oh, WWE. You spoil me.
This was a WWE six-man tag team main event, so of course it was pretty good. It definitely wasn’t the best example of the art form, as Rowan, Kane and Ryback all turned in some fairly clunky work, but it did feature Big Show repeatedly shouting, “I’m gonna hit mah move!,” before going for the Vader Bomb. Then, he hit his move! And Joey Mercury confirmed the fact that he hit his move!
Speaking of which, ol’ J&J Security were the MVPs of this match. At one point, Jamie Noble was hurled into the ring like he was a steel chair to cause a distraction, and Mercury took a face-first bump so nuts, I thought we were witnessing a repeat of this incident…
Then, Seth Rollins ate a superkick, got Shellshocked and pinned clean by Ryback. Huh. That was odd. Listen, I didn’t want to see the guy’s schlong either, but losses to Ryback aren’t the proper way to express your anger. Gotta keep the guy strong for his WrestleMania loss to Jon Stewart.