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.
– Becky Lynch d. Natalya [**1/2]
– Mickie James d. Alexa Bliss [**1/4]
– Mojo Rawley d. Dolph Ziggler by Count-Out [1/4*]
– The Usos d. American Alpha [**]
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya: This was a match that came from Natalya walking out on Lynch in a tag match the week prior. Lynch went on the attack early but when the fight went to the floor, Natalya hit a Michinoku Driver on the floor to take control. Natalya worked the back and neck for a bit but Lynch fought back. Eventually. We had a battle for positioning on the top rope and Lynch was able to roll Natalya into the Disarmer from the top to get the submission victory. After the match, Carmella came out and laid out both Lynch & Natalya with super kicks. This ended being a solid little TV match, one where it was clear both were working hard. Both ladies were physical in the match, everything they did looked vicious and aggressive. The finish came off great as well, with Lynch winning the final struggle and gaining the clean submission victory. It was a much needed win for her after weeks of jobs and the post match attack was fine as it gave way for Carmella to enter the fold for the Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania.
Miz TV: Miz and Maryse introduced themselves at the guests this week and Maryse flashed her wedding ring. Miz warned Nikki she would never get one of her own since Cena cares only about himself. Maryse said Nikki is just as bad as Cena, saying she once had a contract to return to WWE but Nikki told her to hold off so they could get more money. WWE revoked the deal and Nikki got back in the door thanks to dating John Cena. Nikki took three years of her life away and Maryse wanted to hurt her in the same way, promising to expose her as a backstabbing bitch. This finally brought out Cena and Nikki who charged the ring so Miz and Maryse quickly bailed. Nikki called Maryse a liar, saying she created false stories once the Bellas got an opportunity to come back. Nikki gave Maryse an opportunity to face her right then and there but Miz said she didn’t have the power to make matches. Daniel Bryan came out and officially makes Miz/Maryse vs. Cena/Bella for WrestleMania as payback for the way Miz has been treating him and everyone else over the past few months. This was another solid segment in the feud. Maryse was surprisingly the master on the mic this week, keeping up with the great trend she and Miz have been doing of expressing disdain and jealousy for Cena and Nikki. Nikki held her own for once as well, sounding convincing in being fed up with their complaints and lies. There were too many references to Total Bellas for my taste but otherwise I continue to like the worked shoot nature of the feud and this segment did a good job officially setting the stage for the tag match at Mania.
AJ Styles Goes After Shane McMahon: AJ Styles started the show cutting a promo talking about the hurdles he’s had to jump through to gain respect. He takes no shame in losing his WWE Championship to John Cena but he expected a rematch. He was placed in a triple threat match where he wasn’t pinned, put in the Elimination Chamber, put in a battle royal & beat Luke Harper to get his deserved shot. Then he was forced to face Orton and now, despite being the MAN in 2016, he doesn’t have any match at WrestleMania. He planned to have a conversation about his career with Shane McMahon tonight but warned he may not have a career after it. Throughout the show, Styles waited in the parking lot and eventually Shane arrived. Styles attacked him and put Shane head first through a car window, leaving him laid out and bloodied. Daniel Bryan had police escort Styles from the building, telling Styles’ he’s likely fired. As the show progressed, Shane was shown to be banged up but eventually made his way to the stage where he declared that Styles’ now had an opponent for WrestleMania. So I’ll start by saying AJ Styles and Shane played their roles exceptionally well to set up the match. Styles’ promo at the star of the show and his attack in the parking lot were great. He was aggressive, vicious, and came across as a man with nothing to lose. Shane sold the attack well and I felt both men did a great job of getting their program off to a hot start. That being said, they did WAY too much in this episode, essentially shoving the attack on Shane down the fans’ throats during the course of the show. They overplayed the somber announcer voices and they kept cutting in during the the Usos/Alpha tag match, taking away from a match that desperately needed some attention. The Shane recovery and challenged could have been dragged out another week, I felt that having all this happen in one show was just too much, overtaking the good work the participants did to get us initially into the match.
Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss: They traded blows in the corner to start and James countered a cravat into a half crab but Bliss quickly got to the ropes. Bliss tossed her by the hair to come back and caught James with a sunset flip for a near fall. Bliss drilled James with a hard forearm and hit the double knee drop but she missed the double knee moonsault, allowing James to hit the Mick Kick for the win. I wasn’t a fan of this match, it was easily weaker than the earlier Lynch/Natalya encounter. There were various times where they didn’t seem to be on the same page and the match had little heat since the James/Bliss breakup last week was so sudden that the fans weren’t ready to be invested in Mickie as the baby face. The booking of the finish was strong, it gave James a big win to make her a strong favorite to win the title at Mania. Unfortunately, like most of her matches since her return, this was a disappointment.
Randy Orton Address Bray Wyatt: Randy Orton came out and talked about how a viper strikes when the moment is perfect and he waited months to figure out where to hurt Bray Wyatt the most. Orton said in that time he earned Bray’s trust and learned how to be as dirty and evil as possible. He said he destroyed Sister Abigail and saw the fear on Bray’s face since Bray is now alone. Orton proclaimed he had one more step left and at WrestleMania he will take everything from Bray. Bray appeared on screen and said he still felt the presence of Sister Abigail. Wyatt was born again in her ashes and he started to rub the soot all over himself before telling Randy to follow the buzzards. What a weird segment this turned into. Again, the delivery from both men’s promos was very strong but the dialogue is just flat out strange. The Sister Abigail stuff is just really confusing and not engaging to the large scale audience so this program is a bit of a mess at the moment. They desperately need some sort of big beat down or attack from Bray to take this in a positive direction, both guys can only do so much with this crap before it just sinks them and their Mania match before it even happens.
Mojo Rawley vs. Dolph Ziggler: Mojo overpowered Ziggler and dumped him to the floor repeatedly before Ziggler decided to just walk off, giving Mojo the count-out victory. This was garbage and a complete waste of time. Ziggler’s character is as dead as he was as a baby face a few months ago and his segments are easily the weakest part of Smackdown right now. It looked like they were going to let Mojo look strong for the battle royal but the finish pretty much killed that dead and there was absolutely nothing accomplished positively for either men in the outcome of the match. A total brain fart on the part of the creative team and I’m convinced now that Ziggler is beyond repair.
American Alpha vs. The Usos: AA gets the early advantage using Gable’s quickness and as the match takes place, they cut to Shane being escorted by Fit Finlay and Jamie Noble. They go back to the match and the Usos double team Jordan. They looked to leap off the top but AA was ready for them and they dropkicked the Usos to the floor. The Usos came back, hitting a backbreaker/top rope elbow combo on Jordan for a near fall. They cut again to Shane and when they get back, Jimmy misses a charge in the corner, giving Gable the chance to tag in and clean house. AA went for the Doomsday bulldog but Jimmy saved Jey and hit a super kick on Jordan, allowing Jey to fall into the cover for the win. A flat match coming out of some strong Usos promos from the past few weeks. This lacked heat since neither team are on TV consistently so the crowd isn’t invested in the feud. The fact that they cut TWICE to Shane just wandering backstage showed how much they care for the tag division right now. This ended up being the closing match on the show, so it’s a real shame that they didn’t give these two teams the chance to at least have the best match of the night and put on something worthwhile, instead using it as a diversion to led into the big Shane challenge at the end of the show.