“What it is, Orlando!” is my first thought when I see that Smackdown was taped in Orlando for tonight. Bonus points and high fives to the person who can place that quote. If no one gets it, I will reveal the answer in next week’s Smackdown review. But surely, someone else’s mind out there works the same as mine…
The Usos vs. Rybaxel
The Usos have really come into their own. Each week, I find something new about them that makes me smile. This week, I notice that they’ve integrated more double-team moves into their repertoire, reminiscent of tag teams in the late 80’s/early 90’s. THAT’S the kind of stuff that defines and revitalizes a tag division, because it differentiates your matches from thrown-together tag bouts (like the ones they do when they pair off people who’ll be wrestling against each other at the next PPV). I also like how the Usos inject some personality into their moves – like a jaunty salute to the crowd before a suicide dive through the ropes. They are such a likable, talented team.
Rybaxel looks awkward tonight, and the finish is less than clean. When both Usos are down on the floor, Curtis Axel drags the not-legal man back in, who is fresher, and pins Axel. I hope this Twin Magic doesn’t happen again, since I am no longer 12 years old, and this ain’t no Killer Bees.
George simply has too much personality for MizTV
The Miz leverages his new “Hollywood” persona by making an Oscars-style acceptance speech for his Intercontinental Championship win. It’s all well and good, and then he mentions that his parents are here for the occasion. YES. George and Barb! I have missed you so. And while George IS looking more animated than usual, Barb is the one who gets to bust little Michael’s chops on the mic. Before Miz can finish his speech, Bo Dallas’s music starts playing. It turns out that Bo is a big fan of The Miz, but their simpering banter is cut short by Dolph Ziggler, who tells them that they’re both full of crap.
NOT THE MONEYMAKER
Dolph Ziggler vs. Bo Dallas
There is a scuffle between the three men on MizTV, and during the commercial break, a match is made between Dolph and Bo. The Miz goes on comms, and he does a smooth, competent job of it. Geez, he is almost likeable, which probably isn’t the point, but great work on his part. He seems very confident in this slightly new role.
Bo starts out as the aggressor. Ziggler reverses an Irish Whip to turn things around for himself. He manages one heck of a jumping DDT for a 2 count. When the action goes out to the floor, Dolph tries to sneak in a superkick to Miz at the announce table. Miz reacts with tremendous dramatic abandon. Back in the ring, Bo ducks a Fameasser, but cannot duck it a second time. Nevertheless, Dolph falls prey to the classic school-boy roll-up, giving Bo another feather in his winning cap.
Miz plays the frazzled lower-case diva to perfection, until he sees an opportunity to cheap-shot his likely future opponents. The fallout is pretty entertaining, as Bo victory laps into a superkick from Dolph, then Miz throws Dolph into the ring post, and polishes his sunglasses as his music hits. You know, Miz really carried this whole thing. It was fun.
Backstage Promo: Renee Young with Roman Reigns
I don’t have anything to remark upon for this segment, in which Reigns threatens his opponent for the main event tonight, Alberto Del Rio.
Luckily, the music does not make the man.
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro (No DQ)
Both of these guys are stuck with terrible entrance music now. The tunes are forgettable and don’t suit them. The backstory between them is that Cesaro is looking for revenge after Ambrose used a steel chair in their match on Raw.
Ambrose starts on the offense, and I wonder how much wrestling we should expect from him as long as he’s wearing those jeans. It’s fine for now, when he’s in half-cocked mode, but I’d like to see him evolve because we know he can wrestle more than this. He starts pulling out kendo sticks and chairs. They brawl into the timekeeper’s area, and then Ambrose gives his own personal tribute to the Macho Man by jumping off the barricade and delivering a blow onto Cesaro using the ring bell. But Cesaro makes a quick comeback, and tries to Jedi-slice Ambrose in half with a kendo stick.
We come back from commercial with Cesaro having locked Ambrose into a standing camel-clutch style hold, with a kendo stick integrated for greater punishment. When Ambrose bites his way out of it, Cesaro slams him onto two chairs, then invents another hold that involves the kendo stick AND a chair. He tortures Dean a bit more, until Dean does his version of hulking up, and takes his turn creating new ways to use a kendo stick. This is an excellent match, for what it is. I normally don’t get too excited by “fighting” matches, but this one has had a lot of personality and creativity.
Cesaro uses his strength to block Ambrose’s attempts to suplex him onto the chairs, but Ambrose finally gets him there, with an almost snap-suplex to boot. Then he jumps off the top onto Cesaro, using a chair as landing gear.
Before this super-stiff square dance can reach a proper conclusion, Seth Rollins interferes. It’s no matter, because it’s no DQ, and Cesaro capitalizes by dragging Ambrose to the top turnbuckle for a superplex onto a mess of chairs down below. Ambrose is twitching, but kicks out, and wins with a freakin’ roll up. His crappy music is interrupted by Seth Rollins, who’s come into the ring to double-team with Cesaro to destroy Ambrose.
Just don’t do the grind, please.
Naomi vs. Paige
In an unexpected turn of esthetics, Naomi is parading around like the child of Sable and Bob “Sparkplug” Holly. Paige comes skipping down the aisle, AJ style, and announces that she and AJ are still friends. Speaking of frenemies, as Paige and Naomi are about to lock up, Cameron’s music hits. Oh no. Oh no no no no no! Don’t overlap this Funkadactyl business on top of Paige’s business! (Business is my polite way of saying shit, and now I’ve gone and said it anyways. Durrrr.) When Naomi is distracted, Paige hits her with a brilliant Rampaige, and then the scorpion cross-lock. Paige wins, Cameron comes down and beats up Naomi, and finishes with her oh-so-painful gimmick of applying her lip gloss.
Backstage Promo: Goldust and Stardust
Goldie is wearing a wizard’s hat from a magic shop, and speaks about the cosmic key while gazing into a plasma globe. It is exactly as stupid as it sounds, and manages to go one step further when Goldust turns away for a moment then returns to gaze upon… Stardust’s head, which has sprung up through the center of the table where the globe used to be. So he’s essentially wearing a table, and I’m done.
Even the spider is a waste of effort here.
Bray Wyatt vs. R-Truth
During entrances, they show a clip of Bray attacking Chris Jericho in the locker room on Raw.
I don’t understand R-Truth. So much wasted movement, corkscrewing through the air after hitting Bray, then showboating with a painful-looking split. And those are his two moves in this match. Sister Abigail told me so.
Post-match, Bray gets on the mic and tells Chris Jericho that he is not the savior. Maybe that’s all they need to set a re-match for Summerslam.
Next week on Raw: John Cena reacts to the Brock Lesnar announcement. I invite you to play John Cena promo BINGO for that one!
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Well this is a new match-up. Del Rio spends the early part of the match working over Reigns’ left arm, softening it up for the cross arm breaker. Reigns rallies a bit, bashing Del Rio on each turnbuckle and landing a Samoan drop. Then Alberto gets a long run of dominating Roman, enough to elicit some boos from the otherwise quiet crowd. It’s really too bad that they split up Del Rio and Ricardo, because together they resonated with the fans so much more than ADR does alone. And it is matches like this that show why Del Rio is in WWE to begin with: he can put it all together, and he isn’t just the same old thing every time.
He does such a good job that Reigns’ big comeback is that much more fulfilling. A Superman punch and a spear later, Reigns has his hand raised to end the show. As usual, the majority of the signs in the crowd are for Roman Reigns, and so this was a good way to send the people home happy.
Quote of the Night
Cole: Miz, is it true your parents had to pay their own way to fly themselves here tonight?
Miz: Well how else would they get here?
Well tonight’s Smackdown seemed a lot less painful than in recent weeks. The time went quickly and I enjoyed most of the matches! Worth a watch this time.