WWE SmackDown – February 26th 2015.
Philips Arena: Atlanta, GA.
Well, the most popular babyface in the company is not going to be in the main event of WrestleMania; far from it in fact. It appears that Daniel Bryan will be at least 6th from the top at Mania, along with at least 4 other guys, in a meaningless IC championship match. To be fair, the horrendous booking of late has certainly hurt Bryan’s popularity, however he is worth more than an 8 minute multi-man prelim match at the biggest show of the year. No doubt there will be some people optimistic of Bryan winning the IC title and making the belt important again. Well, all the hope in the world isn’t going to change the WWE’s mentality when it comes to booking the secondary champions. IT IS JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. What’s even more stupid is that the IC title program has been built around Dean Ambrose and Bad News Barrett, which would be a much better choice as a singles match as opposed to throwing a bunch of guys in a cluster. Anyway, Ambrose will probably come out of Mania with the IC title, and if you think they are going to book Dean any better than every IC champion of the last 15 years, you are absolutely crazy.
On that note, SmackDown was all about the mess of the IC Championship picture and getting Daniel Bryan into the mix, because Vince McMahon is a crazy old man. Bryan was out at the start of the show and cut a promo about the Yes movement not being dead. Bad News Barrett interrupted and said nobody cared about Bryan’s sob story and told him he didn’t deserve a WrestleMania moment this year. Barrett brought up Dean Ambrose stealing the IC belt and Ambrose showed up for a brawl with Barrett. Bryan picked up the title and stared at it; Barrett demanded it back but Bryan and Ambrose laid him out and Ambrose took the strap back. Opener was Ambrose vs. Miz. Ambrose won with his DDT at 4:40; Barrett showed up and took back his IC title. Later, Barrett and Bryan had a decent match. Bryan hit his running knee for the win at 9:15, however R-Truth was on commentary and did a fantastic job of being annoying and completely ruining the match. Truth kept referring to Byron Saxton as “Coach” and he said he couldn’t understand Barrett’s accent, which is one of my pet peeves, not just in wrestling but in life. If you are so ignorant that you are incapable of training your brain to understand different variations of the English language then I’m sorry, but you are an absolute moron. I know Truth wasn’t serious, but Kevin Dunn is notorious for not liking different accents and has some bizarre, “He don’t talk ‘Murican” obsession. Truth also said Bryan looked like “a chicken on Rogaine”; he was honestly worse than the Bellas on commentary. Anyway, Truth stole the IC title from Barrett then in a blitheringly stupid backstage skit, he handed it over to Dean Ambrose again.
Main event was a rematch of the average FastLane opener, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback & Rowan vs. Big Show, Kane & Seth Rollins. And it was in fact average. Babyfaces got their win back in 9:25 (TV Time) when Ryback pinned Seth Rollins with the shellshock. There’s not much to say about it really, as it doesn’t affect WrestleMania at all. Ziggler looks like he’ll be in the IC title match, Rollins is presumably facing Orton and the other big goofballs will surely be in the Andre Battle Royal.
Byron Saxton conducted a sit-down interview with Roman Reigns and it was like pulling teeth. Roman showed zero charisma and no personality while he blindly recited his poorly scripted lines. It also had no focus whatsoever. Reigns talked about training harder and such then claimed he wanted to win so he could provide a better life for his family, however, sadly unlike Kevin Owens, he came off utterly disingenuous. I don’t know what they can do with this guy now. He’s not going to get any better on the mic in 4 weeks, so they might as well just give up on the terrible promos and just have him be the silent badass again. Either way, it isn’t going to matter at WrestleMania when the majority of the crowd surely boos him out of the building.
Down in the Doldrums: Naomi beat Natalya in 3:58. The Usos and Kidd & Cesaro were at ringside and got into it. It was fine. Rusev & Lana came out to cut their usual promo. Rusev said he would be involved in a match at WrestleMania but it would not be against John Cena. Jack Swagger interrupted and did the, “We the People” bit then proceeded to get his ass kicked by Rusev and Swagger tapped to the Accolade, despite it not being an official match. Curtis Axel did his #AxelMania deal and had a new gimmick of a running clock to signify how long he had been in the Royal Rumble, kind of like Santino’s old IC title gimmick. The clock said 32 days, but Axel said “32 hours”, oops, then he proceeded to be squashed in 0:38 by Fandango. Not that I care or am clambering to see the guy pushed or anything, but why is Fandango working matches against other prelim heels? Backstage, Mizdow was filming a commercial for a “little pill” that would “set you straight” – Comedy, everybody. Miz showed up and kicked him out and the director said he would love Miz to be in the commercial. Goldust squashed Adam Rose in 1:09. Post-match, a Rosebud dressed as some kind of monkey thing attacked Goldie. It turned out to be Stardust and he left Goldust lying with his finish. Bray Wyatt pre-tape on the Undertaker; same deal as always. Bray told Taker to come find him.
And that was the show. 4 weeks everybody, 4 weeks.