Wrestling’s 4Rs: The Right, Wrong and Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown
How the 4Rs of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. The column will run TWO-THREE times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
– Baron Corbin d. The Miz, Dean Ambrose & AJ Styles ***1/2
– Apollo Crews d. Dolph Ziggler *
– The Ascension, The Usos & The Vaudevillans d. American Alpha, Heath Slater, Rhyno & Breezango *
– John Cena d. Randy Orton ***
Daniel Bryan Comes Home: Daniel Bryan opened the show to a huge ovation since the show was taking place in his hometown of Seattle. He talked about how the last time he was here he made the tough decision to retire but a year later he had so many things to be grateful for, especially becoming a father very soon. The Miz interrupted and mocked Bryan, saying he would be better suited as a stay at home day and questioned why he is still in the WWE. Bryan had a nice comeback line saying that not being able to wrestle never stopped Miz, so why should it stop him. Baron Corbin came out and warned Miz to stop talking. Miz attempted to form an alliance between them for the Chamber match but Corbin liked the idea of taking out Miz now better. Dean Ambrose came out and told them that he lived for matches like the Elimination Chamber and says he will walk out a double champion while the others may not walk out at all. AJ Styles was the last to appear and reminded each of them that at one point they all lost to him and he guaranteed he’d win back his championship at Elimination Chamber. Bryan decided to make a four way match between the four for right then and there. A fine opening segment. Rolling Bryan out at the start got the crowd hot and they were into the entire segment as a result. Everyone made their points and agendas perfectly clear and was a perfect set-up for both the four way and giving everyone a distinct purpose for entering the Chamber.
The Miz vs. Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles: Ambrose got the hot start, clearing the ring of Corbin & Miz. Everyone took turns in the early going taking control on offense as we headed into the ring and when we came back, Corbin took everyone off the top with the Tower of Doom, kicking the match into second gear. Miz tried to fire back but Corbin caught him with a nice Deep Six for a near fall. Styles caught Corbin with the Pele and a basement forearm for a near fall. Miz pressed Styles to the mat and hit the flying knee strike for his big near fall. Ambrose cleaned house and ran wild, catching Corbin with a suicide dive and then tossing Styles into the barricade. He crotched Miz on the barricade and hit the flying standing elbow off the top for 2. Styles caught Ambrose with the springboard reverse DDT and then hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Miz but Maryse pulls Miz to the floor to save him. Styles then walked right into the End of Days from Corbin for the win. This was a hell of a little match. Just a ton of fun, especially after the commercial break when every got to run wild. They smartly gave everyone in the match their own little portion to shine and they did some fun and creative spots using the four-way stipulation to their advantage. Corbin pinning Styles was a good call as you want to keep building Corbin as the unstoppable monster heading into the Chamber match and pinning the champion clear was a good way to accomplish that.
Duel Contract Signing: Becky Lynch, Mickie James, Naomi & Alexa Bliss came out for their contract signings for Elimination Chamber. Mickie James took control of the activities, explaining that she had the most experience of anyone in the ring, including Renee Young, so Young wasn’t needed as a modulator. James claimed Becky was trying to erase her past and take all the glory for the Women’s Revolution. James had seven years of rage built up and she’ll prove Sunday that she created Becky and without her there would have been no Becky Lynch. Becky retorted James walked away when things got tough but when things got tough, she walked through it like she would walk through James at Sunday. Lynch promised to bring a lifetime of fire to combat James’ rage. Bliss backed up James’ accomplishments and told Lynch that despite her excuses, she had the Women’s Championship, which meant she owned the division. She mocked the fact that she ignored Naomi and just simple promised to beat her Sunday. Naomi reminded Bliss that she pinned her twice and that no one was going to stop her from her dream of being champion at WrestleMania in her hometown of Orlando. She nailed Bliss with a high kick, which triggered a brawl highlighted by Naomi hitting a suicide plancha onto Bliss and James on the floor. I thought the concept of a double contract singing would be dumb and fall flat, but I thought this segment was fantastic when it was all said and done. The verbal back and forth between James and Lynch was terrific, both had tremendous delivery and fire and sold the importance of their match big time. Bliss continues to rule as a total bitch, no-selling Naomi as a threat and continuing to get under Lynch’s skin. Naomi looked strong, coming out on top in the brawl is heading into the PPV as the best built challenger in some time. This segment blew me away and made me excited for the two matches.
Nikki Bella/Natalya Satelitte Interview: Nikki Bella and Natalya engaged in a satellite interview in the final build to their match at Elimination Chamber. Nikki claimed that Natalya was no longer the same person she once knew and that are officially no longer friends. Natalya said Nikki never had any friends and was a figure hidden behind tons of makeup that will be exposed at the PPV. They traded insults through the duration of the segment, with Nikki claiming Natalya was living off her family’s reputation while Natalya claimed that if she wasn’t a married women, she would had John Cena all to herself. This forced Nikki to walk away at the end of the interview in frustration. This didn’t break any new ground in the feud, they pretty much repeated the same insults and lines they had used over the past few weeks. Natayla’s delivery was strong but Nikki continues to talk and act like a robot, showing little to no emotion in regards to Natalya’s personal attacks. After weeks of solid brawls, this was a flat way to send us into their blow off match.
John Cena vs. Randy Orton: Cena controlled the match early but Orton stomped away to take control. Orton brought Cena to the floor and sent him hard into the steps as they went into the commercial break. When they came back, Orton hit a full nelson slam for a near fall. Cena blocks the hanging DDT by dumping Orton to the floor but Orton came back with a back suplex onto the announce table. Cena came back with his trademark run of offense and he hit the AA on Orton for 2. Cena went up top but Orton stopped him and hit the hanging DDT off the top. He caught Cena with the RKO for another near fall. Cena went for another AA but Orton blocks and the momentum caused Orton’s leg to hit the ref, taking him out of the match. Cena locked in the STF and Orton tapped but there was no ref and the opening allowed Bray Wyatt to come in and attack Cena. He laid out Cena with Sister Abigail but Luke Harper came out and after a stare down finally drilled Wyatt with the discus lariat. Harper blocked an RKO attempt and sent Orton into the waiting arms of Cena, who hit the AA for 3. This was a solid but unspectacular main event. It had the typical Orton slow start and it picked up in the final stretch where they trade finishers but it never hit that fever pitch that the match needed. The best way to describe this was if you need a sampler match of all the matches Cena & Orton ever had, this would be that match. It had little bits of their better matches but it was condensed into a small package. The interference in the match was expected but didn’t generate the heat that they probably wanted. Overall, this match was fine but nobody brought anything new to the table and it was a predictable set-up for the matches on Sunday.
Apollo Crews vs. Dolph Ziggler: Crews landed a dropkick right off the bat and he sent Ziggler shoulder first into the post. Ziggler returned the favor and hit a DDT. Ziggler went for a super kick but Crews countered with roll-up for 3. Ziggler attacked after the match, hitting Crews in the back with a chair. Kalisto came out to save but Ziggler crotched him and hit him with the chair as well. This match was too short to break down but I continue to hate the booking of Ziggler. It was another sprint that gave Ziggler no time to flesh out his character in the ring and while the post-match beat down was strong, it doesn’t change the fact that he once again failed to win a match. They’re inconsistent with the direction they want to go with him. He either wins and fails to add a post-match beat down or losses and delivered a brutal beating post-match. It’s causing Ziggler to go nowhere and right now, that Ziggler vs. Crews & Kalisto match at the Chamber is destined to be a total mess.
American Alpha, Heath Slater, Rhyno & Breezeango vs. The Ascension, The Usos & The Vaudevillans – Wrong: Jimmy Uso and English argued about who was going to start, which allowed Gable to roll English up for 2. English gained control but missed a second rope summersault senton. AA hit a double dropkick but Beeze blind tagged and Breezeango laid out Vaudevillians as they went to break. They came back and Slater was the face in peril. English and Viktor blind tagged each other repeatedly and the arguing eventually allowed Slater to get the tag to Rhyno who cleaned house. AA cleaned the ring of everyone and Jordan tosses Gable onto the pile of bodies on the floor. In the ring, Rhyno missed a Gore and Viktor caught him with a knee strike for the victory. This match was a mess. The story of the match was the dysfunction between both squads, especially the heel side during the match. They gave the Ascension a pin fall victory in an attempt to give ANY of teams some heat heading into the tag team turmoil match, but the crowd didn’t care and as expected, no one, including the champs, have any real momentum heading into the match. The build to the Turmoil match has been god-awful and unless American Alpha & The Usos have a really good segment during it, the match is going to die a painful death.