WWE SmackDown – April 2nd 2015.
Save Mart Centre, Fresno, CA
If WWE want to prevent the post-WrestleMania crowd from hijacking RAW next year they should consider running RAW in a city at least 150 miles away, because that is approximately the distance from San Jose to Fresno and there was virtually no residual Mania crowd at this SmackDown show. Of course that throws up all sorts of logistical problems and it is no doubt easier to run in the same city as WrestleMania, however if the company gets fed up of having their TV show pillaged by the hardcores then it is something they might consider. Personally, I hope they don’t go that route because I don’t subscribe to the Lance Storm theory of “pay your money, shut up and watch the show”. The post Mania RAW is more often than not the best and most fun show of the year, so long may the hijackings continue. Unfortunately, SmackDown was nowhere near as enjoyable as RAW this week and it was more or less business as usual from the useless B show.
Seth Rollins opened the show and gloated about becoming the new WWE champion; He of course had J&J Security, Big Show and Kane with him. Randy Orton came out and said that he nearly ripped Seth’s head off with an RKO at Mania and noted he never had his one-on-one rematch for the title. Kane booked Orton against Show and said he would think about giving Orton a shot at Rollins if he could beat Show. Mercifully, the match only went 1:18 or-so because Seth’s goons attacked Orton for the DQ. Ryback ran down to help and he and Orton cleaned house on the Authority while Rollins escaped up the ramp. Later in the office, Kane said Orton vs. Rollins would be an “interesting match” at Extreme Rules and accused Seth of being scared of Orton. Seth said something smelled terrible and Dean Ambrose appeared with a newspaper after supposedly using Kane’s executive bathroom. Kane then booked him against Luke Harper as punishment for using the executive washroom. – I guess somebody must have used Vince’s personal bathroom or something, because there is no other explanation for making Ambrose look like an utter fool than the personal amusement of Vince McMahon. Also, they didn’t officially announce the Orton/Rollins match for Extreme Rules but it is clear that is the direction they are going.
Daniel Bryan faced Sheamus in the main event and they had a good, hard-hitting match. Maybe too hard-hitting, as Bryan was busted open hardway towards the end although it looked to me like he actually did it himself delivering headbutts to Sheamus. Finish was a lame count-out win for Sheamus, because Bad News Barrett was on commentary and he nailed Bryan with the bullhammer behind the ref’s back on the floor to cause the count-out. What was that about not booking the IC champion like a geek? If they didn’t want Sheamus or Bryan to lose then, and this is a novel idea I know, DON’T BOOK THEM IN A MATCH! From Barrett’s commentary it seems like they are going with Bryan vs. Barrett at Extreme Rules, however that could change if they want to get Sheamus in the mix.
Roman Reigns did a sit-down interview with Byron Saxton. Reigns was fine, actually he was good in places, but to me his delivery is still way too forced and everything his says feels contrived. He talked about relishing the fight against Lesnar and being 30 seconds away from winning until Rollins cashed in. Reigns didn’t really show enough emotion when talking about having the biggest moment of his life taken away from him. He just played the quite rage deal and said he had beat Rollins once and would do so again. – They had a chance to redefine Reigns’ character here and try turn the tide of negativity towards him, however he was still the same old quite badass that nobody bought in the first place.
John Cena cut another “rah-rah” USA promo and said he would be holding open challenges for his US title every week. Rusev showed up with Lana, who had her ***** WrestleMania outfit on and her right ankle bandaged up. Rusev said he didn’t lose at Mania and looked at Lana and called himself a “Russian Tank.” He told Cena to surrender the US title or he would be crushed at Extreme Rules then called for the Russian flag to drop. Instead, Cena had arranged for the Stars and Stripes to fall from the rafters and he pledged allegiance to kick Rusev’s ass at Extreme Rules. – Just like Bray Wyatt last year, the monster heel is going to go 1-2 in a program with John Cena. HOW IS THIS SUPPOSED TO HELP RUSEV?! It just boggles my mind. Look what happened to Wyatt after losing the feud to Cena. At least Rusev has been kept strong all year, so he might recover from going down 1-2 to Cena, however if they take Lana away from him then he is 100% dead in the water.
Miscellaneous: Naomi downed Natalya at 2:15. Bellas were on commentary; Naomi wants a Diva’s title shot. Yippie! Miz beat R-Truth in 1:20; yawn. Hey, remember Awesome Truth? Yeah, me neither. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper went to a DQ or a No Contest at 7:35; Harper powerbombed Ambrose through the announcer’s table, however no announcement on the winner was made. Harper threw around some furniture and intimidated some refs and EMTs; it was a good follow up to the powerbomb through the ladder at Mania, but it did kind of come off like a cheap imitation of the Brock Lesnar deal from RAW. Ambrose and Harper will likely be having some kind of gimmick match at Extreme Rules. The Prime Time Players cut a pre-tape promo and buried the New Day for being geeks that aren’t over. It was goofy and I have ZERO desire to see a PTP/New Day program.
The WrestleMania weekend edition of the newsletter will be up shortly with coverage of all the goings on from the Bay Area, so keep your eyes peeled!