Matt’s Smackdown Recap 3/14/14

Dolph Ziggler challenges Alberto Del Rio, COOHHH responds to #OccupyRaw, the Shield stand up to Kane, and the latest 2014 HOF inductee is announced. [Photo courtesy of]
Dolph Ziggler challenges Alberto Del Rio, COOHHH responds to #OccupyRaw, the Shield stand up to Kane and the latest HOF inductee is announced. [Photo courtesy of]
WWE: Smackdown
March 14, 2014
Little Rock, AR
Verizon 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 Usos (3/3/2014)
WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee (6/16/2013)

NOTE: First off, glad to be back. I apologize for the lack of Smackdown (Lackdown? No, that’s a TNA PPV…) this past week, but bronchitis is terrible. I have never been this sick before in all my 27 years of life and am still not 100% after a week of Tylenol, inhalers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Since I can’t do much of anything, I did get a chance to catch up on the recent shows, so I am pretty pumped. Anyways, enough about me. Time for some Smackdown.

Your hosts are Michael Cole & JBL.

We start the show with COOHHH coming down to the ring to react to what happened at the Occupy Raw. He tells us that he hopes we have enjoyed Daniel Bryan and wishes the YES Movement could keep on growing like it has since SummerSlam. He has tried to protect Daniel Bryan from the sharks of this business, but can protect him no more. At WrestleMania, he will crush Daniel Bryan because that’s the way the world works. Daniel Bryan is just not good enough to succeed in this business. He vows that there will be no happy ending to this “pathetic” YES Movement, that there will be no triple-threat match at WrestleMania and that he will in fact BURY Daniel Bryan. Oops, was he supposed to say that out loud? COOHHH says the show must go on though. He introduces Damien Sandow to come out and has him apologize for his insubordination this past week on Raw, which he does. HHH then tells Sandow that Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero has him wrestling first tonight against an unnamed opponent and wishes him good luck. All we know is his opponent is a part of the Shield, which Cole finds rather fishy as we take a break.

Seth Rollins (w/Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns) vs. Damien Sandow

We are JIP with this one. Basically a squash as Rollins has little problem handling Sandow. He runs through his offense and finishes Sandow with the Black Out. (2:00 shown) Afterwards, the Shield have a little extra fun with Sandow giving him the Triple Powerbomb, which may or may not have been done at the request of COOHHH. ¾*

From This Past Week on Raw, they replay Hulk Hogan’s announcement about the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, brothers.

Non-title match: WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)

Another short one here as Big E runs through his moves with little pushback and finishes with the Big Ending. (1:30) It appears that Fandango has entered himself into the Andre battle royal. ½*

From This Past Week on Raw, Paul Heyman asks the Undertaker not to come to WrestleMania, because his streak will end at the hands of Brock Lesnar. Taker feels that if Brock shows up in New Orleans, he will rest in peace.

Hey look, it’s Bad News Barrett on his phallic podium. Undertaker’s streak will come to an end at WrestleMania 30. As a result of this stressful event, you won’t be able to sleep that night and the next day you will fall asleep in an important meeting, and you will be fired. Pretty much, your life will be ruined. Cole & JBL make what appears to be an inside joke about how someone could fall asleep in a meeting.

The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter) vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust

Looks like the Rhodes family explosion will be switched at WrestleMania for the explosion of the Real Americans. Then again, maybe not. I’ve been really bad at guessing these things lately. JBL calls Zeb Colter a better coach than Phil Jackson. Cole is flabbergasted, but clearly doesn’t understand why Phil Jackson was so successful. Cody plays face in peril for most of this one. As time marches on, Swagger and Cesaro obsess over tagging each other when they don’t want to be tagged in just to prove something. Anyways, their problems end up costing them the match. While they argue, Goldust nearly gets the hot tag before he’s knocked off the apron. Swagger then gets caught in a backslide by Cody to give the Rhodes brothers the win. (5:00 shown) After the bell, the Real Americans work together to try to injure Cody’s shoulder. The Usos and Goldust chase them away though. *½

ICYMI: This Past Week on Raw, Daniel Bryan led the YES Movement and hijacked the show to get what he wanted from COOHHH. Now at WrestleMania, Bryan has a match with Triple H. If he wins, Bryan gets to join Randy Orton and Batista for a triple-threat match over the WWE world title. You had to know WWE would eventually do the right thing. There was just no way around it. For more details on how all of that went down, check out Scott’s Raw Recap.

This Past Week on Raw: The Wyatt family interrupted John Cena’s love session with Hulk Hogan.

Bray Wyatt (w/Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. Kofi Kingston

The stick and move strategy of Kingston sends Bray out to the floor. Back inside, Kofi hits a springboard clothesline while Cole & JBL discuss how Cena has everything to lose at WrestleMania against Bray. Kingston can’t deliver on a monkey flip and gets dumped violently on the floor. Back in, Wyatt delivers the running senton. Kofi makes one last explosive comeback until he gets stuck with a uranage. The Avalanche sets up Sister Abigail for the win. (5:00) They really need to beef up this issue between Bray and Cena, which they easily can with the good mic work they both can bring to the table. Follow the buzzards, y’all. **

In the back, Corporate Kane congratulates The Shield for their recent victories over the past week. He then orders them to be at ringside for his match tonight against the Big Show, and even considers leaving them some scraps afterwards. The Shield laugh off everything Kane is saying. They think he’s just scared because he was knocked out last week by Big Show. They tell Kane that they don’t take orders from him anyway and walk off.

Tamina Snuka (w/AJ Lee) vs. Nikki Bella (w/Brie Bella)

AJ Lee joins us for commentary. 271 days as Divas champ for her. Only 2,533 more days and she will surpass Bruno Sammartino’s title reign. She’s coming for you, Bruno! Anyways, this is the WWE’s opportunity to promote the return of “Total Divas” this Sunday night on E! I know there’s a great deal of divas on PTB Nation who love this show. Bad looking match here. Tamina delivers an ugly and dangerous looking Samoan Drop. She misses the Superfly Splash to kickstart Nikki’s comeback. AJ ponders over who actually is the #1 contender to the Divas title. She thought it was Naomi, but now people are saying it’s Nikki. Then all of a sudden, AJ runs over and attacks Brie for no reason. Tamina has to save the day by throwing Brie into the barricade. When she goes back inside, Nikki hoists up Tamina for the Rack Attack for the win. (3:00) Believe it or not, that finisher name is *not* a double entendre. It’s not like the Nasty Boys and the Pit Stop, for example. Let’s just hope the winning ways of Nikki Bella as of late doesn’t lead to a Divas title run. ¼*

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler

Last week on Smackdown, ADR cost Dolph Ziggler a match with Christian. Now they must fight. Del Rio announces that he has entered himself into the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. ADR corners Ziggler and punishes him with a swift kick to Ziggler’s side, but Dolph fights back and hits a bunch of elbow drops. Del Rio reverses a corner whip and double stomps Ziggler to take us into commercial. When we come back, Ziggler lays out the ten-count corner punch and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Zig Zag is pushed off and ADR drops him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Dolph ducks the superkick and plants Del Rio with a jumping DDT for another two-count. Del Rio hops up, hits the armbreaker and catches Ziggler with the superkick after all for two. Series of back and forth counters lead to Ziggler hitting Del Rio with the Famouser for 1-2-NO! ADR stops Ziggler up top and brings him down with a reverse superplex for another near-fall. Del Rio wants the Cross Armbreaker, but Ziggler breaks free and nails the Zig Zag! Finally! Cover by Dolph, 1-2-3! (6:00 shown) Well, it’s about time he won a match on Smackdown. Match of the night by far. Afterwards, Renee Young meets Ziggler in the ring to have a word with him about his recent wins over Alberto Del Rio. Ziggler is feeling good and throws his name into the hat for the ATGM battle royal. **½

The next inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014? That youngster Carlos Colon! The ICON of Puerto Rican wrestling. Such an odd class of wrestlers this year.

The Big Show vs. Kane

This better not last long. The Shield come down to either help or laugh at Kane’s expense. Kane works over the leg a bit. When Show gets to a knee, Kane drops him again with a running DDT. Now he wants the Chokeslam, but Big Show goozles him right back. Show mounts a comeback and spears Kane down. He heads to the top rope only to be brought down with the Chokeslam. Cover by Kane gets two. When that won’t finish Show, Kane orders the Shield to go after him. Being the brains behind the operation, Rollins doesn’t move a muscle to help and neither does Reigns nor Ambrose. Kane then turns back around into a Chokeslam and Show gets the win. (5:30) Afterwards, Kane grabs Seth Rollins before he can leave back through the crowd. Reigns comes out of nowhere and spears the crap out of Kane before he can hit the Chokeslam. And that’s enough to leave Kane with something to think about while the Shield leave in peace. ¾*

Final Thoughts: A little light on the wrestling tonight. They have switched the focus from the wrestling itself. Raw strictly sells the angles while having you pay closer attention to the specific wrestlers/feuds that WWE wants you thinking about more than you normally would watching Smackdown. I can see this format continuing too over these next 3-4 shows, because it’s ALL about selling you on WrestleMania right now, and not much else. On paper, it’s shaping up to be a fine show, so I can deal with that temporary change of focus.