Hey there, guys and gals, and welcome to the final SmackDown before WrestleMania. Am I excited? For WrestleMania, absolutely, but in terms of SmackDown, CB has informed me that this is going to be recap and promo city. And you all know how much I. Fucking. Love. Recaps.
So, on with the show!
Even Michael Cole Wouldn’t Call Titus O’Neill The ‘Odds-On Favourite’
Speaking of the show, the Show-Off Dolph Ziggler is here and waggling his ass in a provocative manner. What a character. His opponent is Titus O’Neill, and remember when I said that his heel turn was going to rejuvenate his character and make him a big thing? Neither do I. Because those words have never passed these lips. Much like the words ‘swag’, ‘yolo’ or ‘I love you’.
Go-behind to a waistlock by Dolph, but Titus throws him off using his hips. Ziggler goes for the leg, then lays a flurry into Titus, coming off the ropes before O’Neill chucks him and lets him splash. Titus now in control with a bodyslam as the announcers talk up how awesome and cool the Battle Royal’s going to be, we’re totally serious you guys. Sleeper to Ziggler, followed up by an inverted suplex into a facebuster off the knee. Titus then says ‘I have no direction and am booked dismissively’ in that dog language he speaks before charging Ziggler and running right into a pair of boots.
Dolph ducks a clothesline, hitting a crossbody and following it up with punches in the corner, then hits a neckbreaker. Fameasser misses, Dolph ducks a boot, tries the Fameasser again and Titus slips away, possibly a mistake there, and then levels Ziggler with a boot after some conversation for a two.
O’Neill gets Ziggler up, hitting a backbreaker, then another but Ziggler slips away before a third is served, hits a Zig-Zag out of nowhere and gets three.
Not the best thing to put you in the mood for the Battle Royal. I’m not sure what that slip-up was with the Fameasser, or even if it was a slip-up, but even without that these guys just didn’t click. 2 Stars.
And it’s our first promo, and even the WWE don’t focus on the competitors to advertise the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. It’s a very nice look back at Andre, but it’s just a shame they didn’t include a clip of his throw-down with Westley, or of him climbing the Cliffs of Insanity.
And then we get a flashback to this past RAW, featuring that admittedly-awesome promo for Triple H, then the slightly-less-awesome conversation the villains all had following it. Oh, then we actually get most of the match featuring Daniel Bryan beating the shit out of everyone. Again, that was actually pretty sweet.
Then, we get a promo for Batista, featuring an interview with Booker T. It’s like we get a flashback of every single douche-costume he’s ever worn since coming back. I actually like the side of him shown in the interview: soft-spoken but entirely sure he could rip out your spine and floss with it.
Swagger Gets A Slap, Batista Gets A Slap, Cesaro Gets A Slap: EVERYBODY GETS A SLAP
Here are the Real Americans, ready for their match against…ah, Christ. Los Matadores. I never thought I’d find it easy to tell the Usos apart until this couple of jokers showed up. You know what? I’d actually like them to do a detailed backstory of how two matadors who had a short-statured friend who was into furry fandom decided to learn how to wrestle and then come to the WWE. Have them make one of those amazing promos about it; I would watch the hell out of that. Just explain it to me.
The bell rings and a significantly-paler Jack Swagger backs Uno into a corner and lays into him with the knees. Uno (Cole says it was Fernando, but I neither care nor adequately believe that he pays close enough attention and it’s not like their characters are widely divergent anyway) manages to reverse an Irish whip, then headstands in the corner, leaps over Swagger, comes off the ropes with a headscissors and then Swagger drives Uno into a corner and tags in Cesaro. Uno manages to hit a damned beautiful-looking dropkick on Cesaro’s chin, following it up with some deep arm-drags before Cesaro hits a bodyslam, but Uno manages to take him over with a headscissors from the floor, then tags it Dos, who hits a headscissors of his own.
Zeb for some reason is yelling at the more skilled and more able member of his team, and Cesaro appears to be taking exception to this, so Zeb slaps him. Cesaro wants to send Zeb on the Cesaro Swing (although not in the sexual way) but Swagger keeps the peace so Cesaro lets out his aggression (although not the sexual kind) out on Dos, hitting him with a seriously hard-looking dropkick right in the mask. Uppercuts frickin’ galore to Dos and this makes Anakin Skywalker vs. Roomful of Jedi Toddlers look like a back-and-forth affair.
Suplex to Dos from the outside, but he kicks out and tries to fight back, but Cesaro levels him with a boot and tags in Swagger. Swagger lays the beatdown on Dos, putting the boots to the masked man before tossing him out of the ring. Tag to Cesaro, who clotheslines Dos on the outside. Back in the ring, a chinlock’s applied. El Torito tries to fire up the crowd, but apparently Zeb slapping them would do a better job. Tag to Cesaro as Dos tries to fight out, hitting a double DDT on both Real Americans. Swagger pulls Dos away from his partner, tagging Cesaro in for the double suplex. Uppercut to Dos and Cesaro gets thrown into him before Swagger goddamn beheads him with a clothesline.
Dos manages to get the boots up, crawling towards Uno, low-bridging Cesaro in the process, kicking Swagger away, but Cesaro takes down Uno on the outside before the tag is made. Belly-to-belly suplex from Swagger nearly gets the three, then he hits the Swagger Bomb, then the Cesaro Stomp for a near-fall. Dos starts to fight out again, tossing both Real Americans out of the ring. Uno gets the tag and takes it to Cesaro right off the bat, hitting a hurricanrana and springboard back elbow for a near-fall. Uppercut sends Uno reeling; he backflips out of a back suplex and hangs Cesaro up on the turnbuckle. Uno’s going up high, hitting a standing Cesaro with a senton. Swagger interferes and is tossed out by Dos; Cesaro boots Dos off the apron, runs into a double-knee from Uno, but catches him and it’s CESARO FUCKING SWING TIME. Neutraliser hits and that’s the match.
I actually thought that this was rather good. Not the quickie I thought we might be getting, and I thought Diego did a decent job of playing the valiant victim. Interesting hints of discord with Cesaro: possible face-turn at WrestleMania? I also now have image in my head of Cesaro giving the Cesaro Swing to a bunch of Jedi children. 2.5 Stars.
Promo for the Ultimate Warrior. Wow, this guy was nuts.
And then we get a promo for Hulk Hogan. Just judging from this, I can only imagine that the Eighties was a really different time. Although I’m pretty sure that was the decade that gave us Hulk Hogan is Mr Nanny, and I will never not love that motion picture magic.
We then get a promo for AJ Lee, which is a pretty good one. I also can’t help but feel that the best ending for this would actually be to have AJ retain. If someone who wasn’t a huge bitch in her own right made this match, then it’s a good way for her to lose the belt. But Vickie made the match, which makes me want to see AJ win and Vickie to once again drown in her own failure.
Promo for Bray Wyatt/John Cena. I’ll say it again: rap music and Bray Wyatt? Really?
We see the match from this Monday wherein Bray Wyatt beat R-Truth and then got jumped by Cena. I actually noticed the second mask out there, but didn’t realise that there was something wrong with that, and actually had to rewind back to get the full effect.
Promo for the Suits vs. The Shield, then a replay of the Kane vs. Roman Reigns match.
Oh wow, they actually cared about Orton enough to give him a promo and an interview with Booker T. I’m pretty sure they could have erased him from WrestleMania and it would have no impact.
We then get…some guy in a studio talking to me. Go way, some guy. I don’t know you. But he’s here to talk to us about the Undertaker, so why the hell not have a promo for that too? On the topic of how the WWE’s approached this match: couldn’t we just have had the Undertaker show up, ready to deliver a promo, then Lesnar’s music hits, he comes out, destroys Undertaker and that’s our build? Knightfall didn’t start with Bane getting knocked around by Batman a couple of times before getting a punch in; Bane beat the unholy shit out of Bats and broke his back. Because, you know, he was a threat.
And finally, here’s Hulk Hogan. He’s happy to be back on SmackDown, and he’s totally pumped up for WrestleMania. He takes us through his WrestleMania moments, so really we’re listening to an old man reminisce. This is our last segment before the Show of Shows. Oh, and he’s using to talk about the Battle Royal? I can’t headdesk hard enough. He asks us what we’re going to do when the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal runs wild on us.
Probably switch over to some pornography.
Doesn’t really seem fair to grade this show, as it’s not been that kind of a thing. The promos were pretty stellar, for sure, but if you’re reading this before watching the show I’d say save yourself a couple of hours and watch them online.
Well, that’s all from me. Hope you guys have a great time watching WrestleMania, and I’ll be back in a week!
Tags: Cesaro, Diego, Dolph Ziggler, El Torito, Fernando, Hulk Hogan, jack swagger, Los Matadores, Real Americans, Smackdown, titus o'neill, wrestlemania, WWE, Zeb Coulter