4/30 Moore's WWE Smackdown TV Review: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns vs. Kane, Kidd and Cesaro vs. New Day for the Tag Team straps, Damien Sandow vs. Curtis Axel, Ryback vs. Luke Harper, Naomi vs. Cameron
By John Moore
WWE Smackdown on SyFy
Taped on Tuesday in Moline, Illinois
Before the intro theme, Seth Rollins confronted Kane backstage. Kane said he was justified in striking Rollins because Rollins struck first. Rollins then blamed Kane for putting him in a triple threat title match at Payback. Kane retorted by saying that this was an opportunity to show that Rollins was a fighting champion. Rollins directed his problems towards Kane by saying that Kane isn't doing what's best for business which is to protect the champ. Rollins then said that Kane was jealous of him. Kane said that part of his job is to make Rollins grow as a person. He then set up Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose in singles competition for later in the show. Rollins said 20-years-ago-Kane was better than today's irrelevant Kane. Rollins then dared Kane to do something important later.
The pyro blared, as Smackdown opened in the arena. Roman Reigns made his usual entrance from the crowd. Tom Philips recapped the events from Monday, joined by Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton. Reigns had a mic in hand for a promo. He started out with a shoutout to his brother Dean Ambrose who would face "little Brother" Seth Rollins. Reigns recapped how Rollins destroyed the Shield and took away his World Title opportunity.
Reigns said since Mania, he had to scratch and claw like every fight was the biggest fight of his night. He used that to hype his triple threat. Suddenly Corporate Kane entered the arena as he took off his dress clothes heading down the ramp. Kane called for a ref to start an impromptu match.
1. Roman Reigns vs. Kane. Kane dominated to start the match but Reigns kept fighting back no matter how much Kane dominated. The young fans in the crowd chanted for Roman. Kane hit Reigns with a strong back suplex. Reigns got some hope when he front kicked Kane and sent him to the outside. Kane countered on the outside with one of his signature punches. Reigns managed to turn things to his side for a bit with his signature apron dropkick on the head of Kane. Kane recovered and slammed Reigns on the Spanish Announce Table... [C]
Kane had Reigns in a bear hug when we came back from break. Kane dominated again leading to a pin attempt that Reigns kicked out of. Reigns managed to come back at Kane with a punch exchange leading to a suplex that grounded the former monster. The suplex took wind from both men and they both beat the ten count. Reigns came right at Kane with a flying clothesline. He then succeeded that with a top rope clothesline.
Roman Reigns beat on Kane in the corner until Kane came back with his Kane punch. Reigns snuck in with a Samoan Drop and cocked his arm for the Superman Punch. Kane caught Reigns midair into a chokeslam for the nearfall. Kane then did the throat slash signaling the tombstone. Reigns countered into an arm locked DDT (add another new move to the Reigns arsenal). Reigns hit the superman punch this time. Reigns then ooo-ha'd for the Spear, but Kane dodged the spear. Kane walked up the ramp and got counted out. Rollins was bewildered at the backstage monitor.
Roman Reigns defeated Kane via countout in 6:28.
Reigns leaned on the ropes with a look of disappointment before he accepted his win. Rollins was met by Renee Young backstage for his thoughts. Rollins said Kane got a little too in over his head. Rollins said the difference between Kane and him aside from Kane's senior citizen's card. Rollins said the difference is he never runs away from a fight. He wins matches on his own. Rollins then said he was going to win the triple threat without any help, including J&J. Rollins then said he was the future and "the Man". Seth and his stooges walked off... [C]
John's Thoughts: Standard Kane match and as good as a Kane match as you're going to get out of Kane these days. The story is still intriguing with him being involved in the title picture indirectly. Rollins is still a great heel character who knows his character very well, and he proved that in his talking segments so far tonight.
Damien Sandow made his entrance on Smackdown with his new theme. Sandow ran in the ring and did his mimic thing with JoJo Offerman during the ring announcements. Curtis Axel was his opponent. Sandow mixed things up in the mimic routine by editing his version of Axel's introduction when doing the mimic thing. Sandow called Axel a disappointment.
2. Damien Sandow vs. Cutis Axel. Axel started the match by doing the Hogan shirt rip. Sandow teased the same thing before getting Axel in a headlock. Sandow did the rip after he grounded Axel. Sandow sent Axel to the outside. Sandow then sat down with Axel before elbowing him. Axel showed aggression by mercilessly stomping on Sandow in the ring.
Axel continued to work on Sandow in the corners while also playing to the crowd for heat. Sandow dodged a splash and kipped up. Sandow then did the Hogan "you!" point to Axel. Sandow then did a boot and the Hogan audience listen gesture. Sandow topped things off with his You're Welcome slam for the victory.
Damien Sandow defeated Curtis Axel in 2:29.
Sandow went around the ring afterwards and got cheers when he called for them...
Ryback was interviewed by Renee backstage. Renee questioned Bray's actions by targeting Ryback. Ryback said he wasn't sure as to why Bray attacked him but he said that Wyatt has bitten off more than he can chew. Ryback said that Wyatt wants to question Ryback's dedication. He then wanted to make an example of Wyatt's former disciple Luke Harper. Ryback said not to worry. Ryback's message was simple and clear. He said it didn't have complicated words, and was just three words, Feed me More... [C]
John's Thoughts: Damien Sandow was okay here, but I feel that this act can get a little too cute for his own good. At least he is mixing things into the mimic routine and not going full bore on the costumes like he once did, but if he goes too far in this mimic act, he might create a creative ceiling for himself that limits him to being a comedy figure and the guy is more talented than just that.
3. Ryback vs. Luke Harper. Luke Harper had some bruises from Extreme Rules. Ryback went for the quick pin after the initial takedown. Luke Harper countered with uppercuts leading to a headlock. Ryback powered out of the headlock and tot a wristlock on Harper which doubled as a pin attempt. Ryback then Thesz Pressed Harper with slams.
Ryback shoulder tackled Harper several times in the corner and placed him on the top rope. Harper escaped and grounded Ryback with a Suplex. Harper mocked Ryback in the ring. Harper called for a suplex but Ryback countered into his delayed marching Suplex. Harper escaped corner punches into a sitout powerbomb. [C]
Harper had the advantage as we came back from break. Harper locked in the gator roll on Ryback. Ryback escaped the hold with a front suplex. Ryback powered out of the corner with his foot. Ryback then did his running powerslam into his running splash for a nearfall. Saxton said that Harper was the offspring of Bray Wyatt which means there is a little bit of Bray inside of Harper. Harper countered Ryback into a flip over pin attempt. Ryback nailed Harper with a powerful spinebuster.
Ryback went to the corner to signal for his signature meathook clothesline. Harper intercepted Ryback with a front kick and succeeded it with a superkick for a nearfall. Harper signaled for his discus clothesline which Ryback dodged into his meathook clothesline. Ryback landed Shellshocked for the victory.
Ryback defeated Luke Harper via pinfall in 6:03.
Ryback led the crowd in Feed Me More chants after the match. The Wyatt sounder suddenly interrupted as Bray Wyatt appeared out of nowhere in the ring as the arena lighted up with cell phone lights. Wyatt grounded Ryback with an uranage and went on to pummel Ryback with mounted punches. Ryback topped everything off with Sister Abigail's Kiss as he stood kneeling in the ring surrounded by his "fireflies" as Harper watched from the corner... [C]
John's Thoughts: Solid big man match with the workers involved. The only thing that took this match down a few notches was the fact that Luke Harper hasn't won any real matches in a few years. The poor guy loses to R-Truth on Superstars! I hope they can finally get a Wyatt feud right with Ryback, but the problem is, both guys need to build themselves up with wins so someone has to go under here right? Better that than even steven booking like every other Wyatt feud.
Big E told everyone to clap and feel the power. In a random shocking moment, more people than ever were clapping with New Day (which was still a minority but better than none). Cesaro and Kidd were cashing in their rematch clause. The new tag champs were then enveloped by New Day Sucks claps.
4. Kidd and Cesaro vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston (c) (w/ Xavier Woods) for the WWE Tag Team championships. Kofi Kingston started off with Tyson Kidd. Kidd tried to sneak in an early pin attempt which Kofi escaped. Kofi managed to reverse a chain sequence into an armbar. Kidd countered that into a sequence that led to a pin attempt. Kofi tried to send Kidd to the outside, but Cesaro used his back as a bridge to keep Kidd on the inside. Kidd and Cesaro then did a tag team uppercut combo to give Cesaro a nearfall on Kingston.
Cesaro went for another pin after a gutwrench. Cesaro attempted another pin after some chain wrestling. Cesaro finally settled into an armbar. Kofi managed to escape. Kofi went for a rollup, but Cesaro powered into suplex. Kidd tagged in into a tag team driver move for a nearfall on Kofi. Kidd and Cesaro continued to try to keep Kofi away from his corner. Kofi escaped for a bit, but Cesaro snuck in an European Uppercut. Big E tagged in, but was overtaken by his opponents. Kidd and Cesaro then stomped on E to the beat of the New Day Sucks chant.
Kidd used his speed to get the best of Big E for a while. Xavier Woods continued to be exaggerated in tormenting the crowd and the New Day's opponents. Woods was also trying to turn the chants to New Day Rocks to no avail. Kofi and Big E then tried to isolate Kidd from his partner. Kofi went for a high risk move, only to eat a front dropkick from Kidd. Kofi managed to tag in Big E before Kidd could tag Cesaro. New Day had the advantage heading into commercial. [C]
John's Thoughts: New Day is starting to find themselves as heels unlike that gawd awful face iteration. Xavier Woods is definitely coming into his own as a pest on the outside.
Kidd was trapped in a Big E bearhug when we came back . E got the belly-to-belly on Kidd as Kidd kicked out of a pin. Kofi tagged in and hit the boom drop on Kidd. Kofi made sure to make sure Cesaro couldn't interfere. Kofi missed wildly with Trouble in Paradise which allowed a window of opportunity for the tag to Cesaro. Cesaro got the hot tag and worked on Kofi with running shoryukens. Kofi kicked out of a pin attempt. Cesaro tried to lock in the arms and legs for another pin that Kofi kicked out of.
Cesaro did a gorilla press foot stomp combo for a pin which Big E broke up. Kofi Kingston tried to use the Woods distraction to get a rollup but Cesaro kicked out. Big E hit a running axe-handle to a pin that Kidd broke up. Kidd took out Kofi on the outside with a senton. Cesaro hit Big E with a flying uppercut in the ring leading to a Big Swing. Cesaro did the swing with the Kidd dropkick. Xavier Woods broke up the pin for the DQ.
Tyson Kidd and Cesaro defeated The New Day via DQ in 10:04.
New Day put the beatdown on Cesaro and Kidd with the numbers advantage. It took the referee's orders to take them out of the ring. Xavier Woods continued to gloat up the ramp with the belts still on his team. Kofi and Woods held up Big E and the Belts like a trophy...
John's Thoughts: Very good tag match with an expected ending to keep the belts on New Day. With the New Day finally in the right spot, there was little holding this match back other than the tag division still just being a mid-card sideshow. Hopefully the New Day get a long meaningful run, but that's what we said about every tag team before this.
Cameron and Summer Rae were standing together backstage in a Divas segment. They were applauding Naomi's change in demeanor. Nikki tried to defend her sister who was attacked by Naomi. They argued for a bit leading to Nikki challenging Cameron to a match on this episode of Smackdown... [C]
More Tough Enough submissions were shown after the break. They seem to be highlighting a few of the "legitimate" sports athletes in this one. Zack Ryder's friend "The Big O" was also in one of the videos. Already in the ring, was Cameron. A heel promo from Naomi aired in an inset video.
5. Cameron vs. Nikki Bella. Nikki started off the match with an armdrag and takedown all while mocking Cameron. Cameron escaped out of an armbar and did her old Funkadactyl body roll. Cameron grounded Nikki and Nikki kicked out of a pin. Cameron took the action to the outside and slammed Nikki into the barricade. Cameron botched a split kick, it think, for a two count. Cameron locked in a headlock which Nikki escaped. Nikki was grounded again in a headlock after a facebuster.
The Crowd could care less about this match, can't blame them, I'm not sure of how heel and face turns work in the Divas Division. Nikki hit Cameron with a single legged dropkick from the top rope for a two count. Nikki took advantage of Cameron's gloating to get her Rack Attack finisher for the victory...
Nikki Bella defeated Cameron in 3:50.
The Primetime players were back again to make fun of tag teams. Darren Young was sad that the New Day were champs. Titus did the cricket thing that he's been doing and it's getting old already. They tried to tell some joke about the New Day and a box that was to lame to understand. They then went to try to rally fans to ask for the Primetime Players by using the beat of the New Day Sucks claps... ok?...
Johnny's Apathy: Ok... The Players stretching this thing and have been out of material for a while. Ugh. In other news, the Divas division is still a thing and we still the one good thing is that Naomi is the first Diva in a while to do a straightforward heel-face turn. The rest of the division has just been confusing for a while.
Backstage Seth Rollins politely asked Dean Ambrose to cancel the match they were having later on. Rollins said Kane made this match out of spite to humiliate Rollins. Rollins said that Triple H would punish anyone involved in this. Dean Ambrose said "sounds good" making Rollins think that Dean was canceling the match. Ambrose said that humiliating Rollins sounded good so the match was still on...
Tom Philips and Lawler transitioned us to a highlight package on this past Tuesday's WWE King of the Ring tournament. Of course, Wade Barrett won that tournament. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins made their way to the ring for the Main Event.
5. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. Dean Ambrose converted a hammerlock to an armbar to start off the match. This caused Rollins to retreat to ringside while Ambrose played to the crowd. Rollins had the advantage when he came back in and locked in a hammerlock of his own. Ambrose reversed the hammerlock to a headlock like maneuver.
Rollins escaped and used the ropes to work on Ambrose a bit. Ambrose changed the momentum with a running crossbody and a clothesline to send Rollins outside. J&J tried to form a distracting barrier on Ambrose. Rollins used the distraction to get a baseball slide on Ambrose. Rollins distracted the ref which allowed J&J to put the boots to Ambrose. Kane entered the arena as the show cut to commercial. [C]
Ambrose drove a forearm into the face of Rollins as we came back from break. Rollins showed some aggression with stomps and a clothesline. Rollins hit more clotheslines on Ambrose while also minding that Kane was ringside. Rollins tried another clothesline, but Ambrose landed a short-arm clothesline of his own. Ambrose then executed his signature punch-chop combo. Ambrose topped off a frenzied offensive sequence with a bulldog. Ambrose went high risk but was stopped by Rollins. Rollins was sent to the outside with a front dropkick which allowed Ambrose to follow up with a suicide dive. Ambrose tried his slingshot clothesline, but Seth was quick to dodge. Ambrose hit a unique facebuster move on Rollins for kicked out pin attempt.
Ambrose set up Rollins for a superplex. Rollins fought out of it into a bucklebomb. Dean Ambrose kicked out of the pin at two. Ambrose tried a thrust kick but Ambrose turned it into a roll up. Ambrose went for Dirty Deeds. This time Rollins nailed Ambrose with the thrust kick after escaping the finisher. Ambrose kicked out at two himself. Kane went to the ring apron to complain to the ref which gave Ambrose a window of opportunity to run into the distracted Rollins, sending Kane falling off the apron. Ambrose then threw Rollins over the top rope onto Kane. J&J Security went to check on all of their fallen allies. Ambrose went to the top rope and took everyone out with a clunky elbow drop. Rollins sent Ambrose into the barricade.
Rollins went to console Kane, but Kane choked him. Kane also caught Ambrose. You can hear the ref yell at Kane threatening a disqualification. Kane went on to threaten the ref with a choke. As the Ref stood in fear, Ambrose sent Kane into the turnbuckle. Rollins thought he put Ambrose in the ring, but Ambrose feint kicked his way into taking out J&J. Rollins sent Ambrose into the steel steps this time. Rollins hit his new DDT Finisher for the victory.
Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose in 10:18.
Kane entered the ring after Rollins won. Rollins fell immediately to the floor. Kane turned around and put the boots to Ambrose. Rollins and his cronies joined Kane in the stomping. Roman Reigns's theme played As Kane went up the ramp, he ate a superman punch from Reigns. Rollins got sent to the outside with a punch. Reigns speared Jamie and Joey at the same time. Kane tried to double chokeslam the Shield brothers. but Ambrose sent him down with a clothesline. Reigns hit Kane with a spear to end the attack. Philips noted that the people standing in this scene were the former Shield members. This closed Smackdown.
John's Thoughts: We're already seeing the shift from Brock Lesnar to Rollins as Rollins is working quality matches in house shows and the big TV shows. This main event was very fun and they managed to integrate the story of Kane's struggles into it without seeming too convoluted. Ambrose and Rollins had a solid main event and it would be wonderful to have these two meet up for a world title feud sometime later this year once Ambrose builds up some credibility.
This was a pretty good episode of Smackdown. Not quite at the level that fans would like where Smackdown would be on par with Raw, but there was nothing offensively wrong with this show. The undercard got a chance to cultivate without segments dragging too much. The Kane chapter of the main event storyline got to get furthered along as well while the Orton and Reigns component gets forwarded on Raw.
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