WWE SmackDown – February 19th 2015.
BB&T Centre: Sunrise, FL
It doesn’t take a genius to pick holes in the WWE product at the minute. Just last week, my 8 year old nephew made a couple of remarks that confirmed what a terrible job the company is doing at telling compelling stories and connecting with its audience. First, he asked me why Roman Reigns hates the Big Show. I was stumped. I tried to come up with an answer that wouldn’t confuse the poor little sap and the best I could do was explain that Big Show works for the Authority and therefore Reigns and Daniel Bryan don’t like anyone associated with HHH & Stephanie. He seemed satisfied with that. Next he remarked that Reigns & Bryan had “no chance” of beating Brock Lesnar for the WWE title at WrestleMania, because they are both “not tough enough.” Now, you do want people to believe that Lesnar is an unstoppable monster, so that is fine, however when an 8 year old has no faith whatsoever in the two babyfaces likely to headline WrestleMania then that confirms to me that Reigns & Bryan are being booked into oblivion. Finally, when I asked who his favourite wrestler was he answered, “The Rock.” A guy who has not worked a match for nearly two years and who I’m fairly certain he has never actually seen besides a few clips here and there. He did manage to tell me that Roman Reigns and the Usos are cousins, so at least something is sinking it. This doesn’t really have anything to do with SmackDown, but when I was 8 years old, I could tell you why Owen Hart turned on Bret, why Ted Dibiase brought in a fake Undertaker and I certainly didn’t lack faith in Bret or Taker when they took on the monstrous Yokozuna. It’s a sad state of affairs when you can’t even get a child into the product and fail miserably in them believing in any of the top stars.
As I said, that little aside has absolutely nothing to do with SmackDown this week, other than there was some of the usual dunderheaded booking. Regardless, I miraculously found myself enjoying the show this week even though it wasn’t particularly interesting. There were 8 matches on the show and barely any meandering promos; despite none of the matches being that good, SmackDown felt more like a pro-wrestling show for once. Now, for a go-home episode they did little to get any last minute subs, but why should they bother given that FastLane is a free show, right? It’s not like it’s WrestleMania season or anything. Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns didn’t even interact with each other after trying to tear each other apart on Raw, so that was a little stupid. Bryan squashed Miz in a 4 minute opener and Reigns beat Luke Harper in 5:20 of a nothing match that did nothing to help the talented Harper. Neither of them cut promos about their “important” match at FastLane and it was as if the brawl on Monday never happened.
Main event was Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins. Match was fine, but these two are capable of a lot more. Rollins won with the curb-stomp after a distraction from Kane at 8:23 and the show closed with a brawl between Rollins, J&J Security, Kane, Big Show, Ziggler, Ryback & Rowan. The heels came out on top, but Ryback did get a big comeback spot and took out everybody before being overwhelmed by, “THE NUMBERS GAME”; a phrase which almost drives me as crazy as, “MIND GAMES”. So the go-home show ended by setting up a six-man for FastLane which they didn’t even bother to announce. How lazy do you have to be not to even announce a match you shot a big angle for?
There was another angle that is worth noting, involving Rusev destroying the Tag Team Champions like geeks, because he needed to get some heat back after being mauled by John Cena on Raw. Jimmy Uso was facing Tyson Kidd and Rusev promptly showed up to cause a No Contest and laid out both the Usos. It was sufficiently violent and made Rusev look good, but it really shouldn’t have come to this in the first place. Lana didn’t even cut a promo on Cena, Rusev just ranted in Bulgarian.
Other Occurrences: Ryback beat Kane at 4:25 of a plodding big-man match. Get this idiocy, R-Truth pinned Bad News Barrett in a non-title match, because Dean Ambrose was on commentary and he turned his back on Barrett, which angered him so much he was distracted and Truth rolled him up. Will Truth get a title shot? No. Does the IC Champion need to be losing to prelim guys before a title defence? No. Have they completely screwed up Barrett and ruined any chance of him becoming a top heel? Sadly, I believe so. Everybody, including myself, seems to be complaining about Kane & Big Show taking up the top heel spots, well it hit me square in the face here that Barrett is one of the prime contenders to replace them, however after years of neglect he may never be taken seriously enough by the fans to be a serious top heel, which is an absolute crime. Bray Wyatt cut another promo telling the Undertaker to come find him. Another example of a potential top heel ruined by slothful booking and losing matches to John Cena. The Ascension beat Xavier Woods & Big E w/Kofi in 3:12. Nobody cared at all. Both these teams are condemned to utter failure. Big Show was booked against Erick Rowan and attacked him before the bell. Rowan told the ref he was ok to continue, so Show murdered him and pinned him with a chokeslam in 3:13. Rowan is also doomed to ruination thanks to the calamitous booking. Paige tapped-out Cameron with the PTO in 2:40. The Bellas were on commentary again and were just as wretched as ever. Whoever thinks it is a good idea to keep putting them on announcing duty is either crazy or playing a giant rib on the women in NXT. There was a WACKY segment with Goldust being interviewed by Renee in the back. Stardust appeared on a TV screen behind them and said everyone will forget the name of Goldust when he beats him at FastLane.
After typing out everything that happened, SmackDown seemed more of a bad show than I originally thought. However, I must have been in a mood to just watch a bunch of meaningless wrestling matches on Thursday because, for whatever reason, I was entertained enough while sitting through a show that was, as we say in England, as useless as a chocolate frying pan.
For more on the SmackDown February 19th show, NJPW New Beginning in Sendai, RAW, NXT, ratings, and more, check back for this week’s newsletter published this Saturday.