Matt’s Smackdown Recap 2/21/14

Full of desperation just days before what could be his final shot at winning the WWE world title, Christian takes on Sheamus in tonight's main event. [Photo courtesy of]
Full of desperation just days before what could be his final shot at winning the WWE world title, Christian takes on Sheamus in tonight’s main event. [Photo courtesy of]
WWE: Smackdown
February 21, 2014
Colorado Springs, CO
World Arena

The current WWE champs are as follows:
WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Randy Orton (12/15/2013)
WWE Intercontinental Champion: Big E (11/18/2013)
WWE U.S. Champion: Dean Ambrose (5/19/2013)
WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Age Outlaws (1/26/2014)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL.

Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger (w/Zeb Colter & Cesaro)

Like a BOSS, Bryan is still selling the left shoulder injured at the hands of Christian and more specifically Kane this past week on Raw. Tonight he looks almost like John McCain doing the YES chant. For more details on what went down, check out Scott’s Raw Recap. When we return from the video package, we see Bryan’s left shoulder is all wrapped up. Swagger of course looking to soften up Bryan leading into this Sunday when his buddy Cesaro and Bryan meet inside the Elimination Chamber. This is actually really smart booking with Swagger looking strong as he will face Big E for the Intercontinental title this Sunday as well, while also making the odds for Daniel Bryan surviving the Elimination Chamber much higher. There’s an onslaught on Bryan’s injured shoulder until Bryan slides underneath Swagger to avoid a hammerlock-style Belly to Belly Superplex and then he catches Swagger with the Busaiku Knee Kick for the win. (5:00) This was a pretty good idea until they just hurried up and went straight to the finish. Literally “do not pass ‘go’, do not collect $200.” *½

Out comes Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero and Corporate Kane to make another match for Daniel Bryan. His next match will be against Cesaro and it starts right now.

Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro (w/Zeb Colter & Jack Swagger)

This may make up for the random finish for some folks, but I would have been fine with a longer match with Swagger to make him seem more threatening for Big E. It would be different if Swagger was *not* the top IC title contender. While the result is the same, Cesaro takes a different approach in this match by bending and putting a lot of torque on the shoulder. Bryan fights back and hits the suicide dive, but gets distracted by Colter and booted off the apron by Cesaro. Both Swagger and Colter are sent to the back by the ref. Commercials! When we return, Corporate Kane has taken a seat at ringside. During the break, Swagger and Big E got into a fight backstage that was broken up by WWE agents. Back to the match, Bryan headbutts away a superplex and hits the Owen Hart missile dropkick. Yes kicks follow, but Cesaro blocks the Knockout Blow and delivers the Cesaro Swing. Bryan rolls out to avoid a pinfall and gets sent back inside to sneak an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Cesaro launches him a good eight feet in the air for the Very European Uppercut only to score a very close nearfall. Bryan nails Cesaro with another Busaiku Knee Kick out of nowhere. With that accomplished, Kane has had enough and walks into the ring to Chokeslam poor Bryan for the DQ. (10:00 shown) Once Kane leaves, a visibly aggravated Cesaro nails Bryan with the Neutralizer. Cesaro is having an amazing week of matches, while Bryan did a great job of selling the shoulder down to the littlest details. This one gets marred though by furthering the Kane angle that I can’t imagine too many people care about. ***¼

In the back with Renee Young, Christian cuts a heelish promo telling us how desperate he is to become WWE world heavyweight champion this Sunday at Elimination Chamber.

Moving on, Cole & JBL discuss the recent happenings between the Wyatt family and the Shield from this past Monday. As always, check out Scott’s Raw Recap for all the details.

The Wyatt Family vs. Cody Rhodes, Goldust, and Rey Mysterio

Looks like a warm-up match for the Wyatts. Goldust plays FIP while stuck on the wrong side of town. Harper controls mostly with a chinlock. We see the Gator Roll. Goldust hits the Code Red on Harper to set up the hot tag to Cody. Springboard dropkick, the lay-down uppercut, and the moonsault press score a nearfall on Harper. Blind tag to Rey, Harper gets sent out to the floor as Cody launches Rey into that Slip N Slide splash. Back inside, Harper fails to comply with the 6-1-9 and drills Mysterio with the Big Boot. Now the Wyatts look to dominate Rey for a while. Rowan applies the ragdoll bearhug. Next, Bray avalanches Rey in the corner. He tries a second one, but Mysterio moves out of the way and tags in Goldust. He’s all over Rowan and then dumps out Bray. Rey comes in and hits 6-1-9 to knock Rowan into a powerslam, but Harper then pulls Goldust off the cover. Rey tries the headscissors off the apron onto Harper, but gets caught and swung into the barricade. Cody, however, does take out Harper with a Jericho-style springboard plancha. Meanwhile, Goldust doesn’t realize that Bray has tagged in as he tries for Shattered Dreams on Rowan. Bray runs Goldust over and gives him the Sister Abigail finisher for the win. (9:00 shown) Good match – more competitive than I figured it would be – to again build what you have going into the PPV. When you’re in the PPV business, what can be more important than that? **½

In the back, Sheamus promises to Byron Saxton that the Brogue Kick he lands on Christian tonight won’t be an accident like it was last week, fella.

Next up, Summer Rae and Emma from NXT meet in a dance-off. Renee Young is the MC of the whole thing. Fandango and Santino Marella are here to support their lady friends. Summer Rae goes first, Emma wraps it up. Of course, the WWE fans cheer for Emma even though she can’t hold a candle to Summer Rae. This leads to a brief tussle between the two sides leaving Santino and Emma in the ring to celebrate in their own sad and strange way.

Another promo airs for Alexander Rusev and Lana. They are coming, folks.

Titus O’Neil vs. Dolph Ziggler

Darren Young is sporting his “No Days Off” tee on special guest commentary. I don’t want to sound mean here, but WHO WOULD BUY A DARREN YOUNG T-SHIRT? Seriously. Titus spends much of the match throwing Ziggler around. This is a low point in Dolph’s career, for sure. Darren Young makes the mistake of opening his mouth and saying that he wishes Titus nothing but the best in his career. WHAT. JBL lets him have it for saying such. Things are going well for Titus until Darren hops up from commentary and “calls a timeout” with a whistle. Confused and dumbfounded, Ziggler rolls up Titus for the win. (2:30) So yeah, Titus should be winning this Sunday at Elimination Chamber. ½*

Road Dogg (w/Billy Gunn) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso)

Jey defeated Billy Gunn this past week on Raw, so now let’s see what happens here. Road Dogg controls mostly with a chinlock. Jimmy fights out and hits a Samoan Drop. When he goes for the Buttalanche, Road Dogg slides out and uppercuts Jimmy through the ropes. Back inside, Jimmy flips away from the Pumphandle Slam and superkicks Road Dogg down for the 1-2-3. (3:00) So the Usos are two for two against the New Age Outlaws in singles matches. The New Age Outlaws are just transitional champions. The Usos will win the WWE tag titles at either Elimination Chamber or WrestleMania. Bank on it. ¾*

Neat little video package showcasing the Elimination Chamber and the history behind it for any newer fans who may not have a clue what it is.

Sheamus vs. Christian

I like this round-robin-style booking for these matches hyping up the Elimination Chamber. Sheamus overpowers Christian to start, culminating in a Finlay Roll out on the floor. Let’s take a break. When we come back, these two fellas head to the floor where Sheamus spears Christian into the barricade. He tries it again, but Christian backdrops Sheamus into the front row. Christian rips apart the covering and pulls Sheamus into the exposed barricade doing some damage to the “surgically repaired” shoulder. Back inside, Christian missile dropkicks the shoulder and sticks to his game plan. Killswitch fails and Christian finds himself up top where he gets slammed down to the mat. Sheamus fires back with Polish Hammers and a powerslam for two. Christian hits a tornado armbreaker DDT and lands the Bossman uppercut. While he’s seemingly in control, Sheamus spins Christian around on the apron and pounds on his chest. Sheamus wants White Noise, but Christian elbows Sheamus and drives him shoulder-first into the ringpost. He tries another tornado DDT, but Sheamus counters to not one but TWO Irish Curse backbreakers. Christian slides out to prevent the Brogue Kick. Sheamus goes after him, but Christian tries to capitalize being the first man in the ring by spearing Sheamus off the apron. Unfortunately for Christian, Sheamus sidesteps him and delivers a knee lift. Sheamus heads to the top, which is not where he belongs. Christian brings him down and delivers the Flying European Uppercut. Christian can’t get the Killswitch this time either and receives White Noise as Sheamus picks up the win. (12:30 shown) Although I do hate when wrestlers sell only when it’s convenient, this was still a pretty good match for Sheamus. Afterwards, Christian shoves a celebratory Sheamus off the top rope down to the floor just to be a dick. ***

Final Thoughts: Aside from the main event, a very heel-heavy night here. Smackdown continues to shine with another good show this week with longer matches than what we see on Raw. This is how they should continue if they want this show to standout because longer matches with a minimum of bullcrap is what I believe WRESTLING fans want to see.

For those who are interested, here are my Elimination Chamber PPV picks:

Elimination Chamber for the WWE World Title: Randy Orton (c) over Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Christian, and John Cena
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E (c) over Jack Swagger
WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos over the New Age Outlaws (c)
The Wyatt Family over the Shield
Batista over Alberto Del Rio
Titus O’Neil over Darren Young
Kickoff: Goldust & Cody Rhodes over Curtis Axel & Ryback