Six-man tag action main events Smackdown, as Chris Jericho, A.J. Styles, and a mystery partner take on the tag team champions, The New Day. Also: Triple H addresses his attack on Roman Reigns Monday night.
WWE Smackdown review
February 25, 2016
Taped 2/23/16 in Indianapolis, IN.
Aired on USA Network
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– Shown in slow motion were parts of the main event of the main event from Fastlane, culminating with the win by Roman Reigns.
– Triple H was out first in his business suit, WWE World Title slung over his shoulder. He placed the title on a small, dressed-up table in mid-ring. Hunter became poetic right off the bat, revealing that they were lyrics to a Rolling Stones song. He said if Roman Reigns forgot who he was, there’s no doubt now. Hunter said his attack on Reigns was retribution for Roman’s attack on him months ago. They showed Triple H’s beat-down of Reigns from Raw. They also showed a picture of Reigns post-surgery. Hunter reminded everyone that he is the Authority, and it’s human nature to challenge that. He said he’s been there before, but you can’t beat authority. He said the people know that too, that they might want to buck the system but in the end, they know their place. Roman wants to be champion more than anything in the world, he said, but it takes blood, sweat, and tears to do so. He said Reigns has the sweat, and then pulled out a medical bandage covered with what is presumably Roman’s blood. So he has that. Hunter said he’ll get the last of those at Wrestlemania, that being Roman’s tears. This was clearly a heel promo from Hunter and the piped in crowd noise certainly indicated WWE’s desire for him to be a heel. That’s an update for people who feel Hunter has actually been a babyface in this feud.
– Mauro Ranallo, Jerry “The King” Lawler, and Byron Saxton were shown at ringside, reacting to Triple H’s promo. Ranallo talked about Reigns’ “nasal reconstruction surgery” that took place this week.
– In six-man tag action, New Day faces Chris Jericho, A.J. Styles, and a mystery partner.
– We’ll also look back at Shane McMahon’s return on Raw.
1 – THE LUCHA DRAGONS & NEVILLE & DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS
Saxton called The League of Nations, “League of Bullies.” Ow, kitty can scratch. The match broke down right at the bell, with all eight men pairing off with a counterpart. The Dragons flew through the ropes and into Alberto Del Rio and Rusev, but the heels blocked both offensive moves. Side slam by King Barrett on Ziggler as they cut to break with the heels in control at 1:03 of the match.
Back at 4:52 of the match with Barrett still in control of Ziggler. Ranallo mentioned the Winds of Change hit by Barrett before the break, so someone must’ve gotten into his ear after he called it a spinning side slam before the break. Del Rio came in and continued working over Ziggler. Rusev dropped a few running elbows, but the best he could do was a two-count. Each heel got a chance to shine against Ziggler thanks to frequent tags. Ziggler fired back with a superkick after Sheamus screamed, “are you not entertained?!” Neville tagged in at 7:18. He took out all of the heels and set up for his finish on his fellow countryman. Kalisto catapulted onto Rusev, but Rusev caught him. Suicide dive by Sin Cara to take out Rusev. Red Arrow connected, but Del Rio knocked him off the pin. In the end, Sheamus tagged in and Brogue Kicked Neville, picking up the win.
WINNERS: The League of Nations, at 8:45. Now the League of Nations are slightly more credible than the Social Outcasts. I liked changing up the formula to start the match before they went to commercial.
Replays were shown of some of the finishing sequence.
– Back to the announcers, who sent it to a WWE.com interview from earlier in the day. Renee Young talked to Kevin Owens, who had an announcement. Owens said he was inspired by the actions of Dean Ambrose on Raw, and described everything Ambrose did. He wanted to reward Ambrose for showing heart, and challenge Ambrose for a rematch for the Intercontinental Title. Young said Ambrose isn’t there, he’s home recuperating. Owens said it was a shame because he’s beaten pretty much everyone. Big Show’s giant skillet-sized hand was placed on Owens’ shoulder. Owens said he hasn’t beaten him yet. Owens said they’re on the Road to KO-Mania, while Show should be on the road to retirement. Show didn’t take kindly to that jab, grabbing Owens by the collar and telling him they’ve got a match against each other later in the show.
– A Harriet Tubman quote was shown on-screen in honor of Black History Month.
– The Dudley Boyz came to the ring for singles action. As they did so, they showed the Dudleys turning on The Usos from three weeks ago. Before the match began (and with the Usos in the ring), Bubba Ray got on the mic and talked about how they’re no longer in the table business. He said they’re not a nostalgia act and they’re deserving of the titles. D-Von said some things as well, with Bubba finishing up the mic work by saying that the fans can shove it.
2 – D-VON DUDLEY vs. JIMMY USO
Jimmy got the early advantage. Bubba pulled a table out from under the ring, causing Jey to come after him. As the ref was distracted by Jey and the table, Bubba went onto the other side of the ring and shook the ropes, knocking Jimmy off the top rope. D-Von rolled up Jimmy for the win.
WINNER: D-Von, at 0:47. Good, easy heat for the Dudley Boyz. Glad they’re giving Bubba ample time to opportunities to cut promos.
– Big Show vs. Kevin Owens is still to come.
– Next, Shane McMahon’s dramatic return to Raw.
– The announcers talked about Raw being the #1 show socially on Monday night. They pitched it to a video package of Shane McMahon’s return on Raw.
– Next Monday night, The Undertaker returns to Raw.
– Backstage were Chris Jericho and A.J. Styles. Jericho helpfully recapped his storyline with Styles in one of those “helpful for the viewers but would make no sense for him to say it in a real-life conversation” moments. Styles and Jericho both excitedly talked about their tag match set for later in the show. Jericho said if they can beat New Day tonight, it would put them in contention for the tag titles. They were still looking for a third man as a partner. Jericho said Styles wrestled in Japan and asked if he had Funaki’s number. Styles said Funaki never gave it to him. Mark Henry walked up and said New Day is a bunch of clowns and he wanted to teach them a serious lesson. Jericho accepted Henry as their partner. Henry shook Jericho’s hand too hard and Henry seemed to go into bad-ass mode. He slapped A.J. in the shoulder and said he’d see him out there. A.J. sold it like it hurt.
– Big Show came out to face Kevin Owens, next.
– They announced that The Godfather would be going into the Hall-of-Fame this year.
– As Big Show waited in the ring for Owens, they showed Ryback walking out on the Fastlane six-man tag rematch on Raw, allowing The Wyatt Family to beat Kane and Big Show. They also replayed Ryback’s interview post-match.
3 – THE BIG SHOW vs. KEVIN OWENS
Big hip-toss by Show on Owens. Owens fought back by dropkicking Show’s leg. Enzugiri, but Show shook it off pretty easily. He pounded on Owens in the corner, then slapped him in the chest. Owens rolled to ringside to catch his breath. Show brought Owens back onto the apron, but Owens sent Show throat-first across the top rope. Chokeslam from Show back in the ring, but Owens rolled out. Show went after Owens and shoved him back into the ring. Show tried to climb to the top rope, but Owens met him up there. Show grabbed Owens by the throat as they struggled to find their footing. Owens pulled Show’s leg and crotched the big man across the top rope. Show ended up outside and was counted out.
WINNER: Owens, at 3:04. The win feeds into the loudmouth gimmick of Owens, and the cheap way he won works makes his talk even more empty.
Owens acted shocked that he won, taking his title and escaping before Show could get him some. They replayed Show getting crotched across the top rope.
– The main event six-man tag is still to come.
– Next, Becky Lynch vs. Natalya.
4 – NATALYA vs. BECKY LYNCH
The ladies touched hands in a sign of sportsmanship to begin the match. Lynch bridged out of a pin and dropkicked Nattie. Lynch missed a leg-drop, leading to a German suplex by Natalya. As Natalya went to ringside to bring Lynch back in, Tamina and Naomi came out. They took out Nattie for the disqualification.
WINNER: Natalya, via DQ, at 1:21. I’d love to see a long-form match between these two.
After the match, Naomi and Tamina tried to go after Lynch next, but Sasha Banks ran out to make the save. Charlotte came out with a mic and with her father at her side. Charlotte said she just found out that the Divas Title #1 contender’s match between Lynch and Banks will be on Raw this coming Monday – and she’ll be at ringside to observe. Charlotte wished them both the best of luck.
– The Lunatic vs. The Beast from Raw will be shown next.
– The Social Outcasts were finishing up their entrance out of break. R-Truth was next. Before the bell could ring for Truth vs. Heath Slater, Goldust came out to his music. Truth went to talk to Goldust, saying he didn’t want him out there. Goldust said he’d just go into the neutral corner. The fans chanted “Golden Truth,” and Goldust pointed it out to Truth.
5 – HEATH SLATER vs. R-TRUTH
After a few leap-frogs by Slater, Truth held onto the ropes and thrusted in Slater’s general direction. High hip-toss followed. Running high knee by Slater. Heel kick by Truth put Slater on the mat. Front suplex by Truth. He did a split, then knocked Adam Rose off the apron. Bo Dallas tried to come in. The ref dealt with him while Truth tried to backslide Slater. Goldust nailed Slater in the face to help Slater over on the backslide, leading Truth to pick up the win.
WINNER: Truth, at 2:33. If creative plays their cards right, Goldust and Truth winning the tag titles could get a momentous pop.
Truth saw the replay and didn’t seem to thrilled with Goldust’s interference. But he wasn’t outright upset about it either.
– Dean Ambrose and his appearance in an ambulance on Raw will be shown next.
– The announcers talked about Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar. They showed the interaction between the two on Raw.
– The New Day came to the ring. Xavier Woods said the Legion of Booty learned not to mess with the New Day. Big E. put down the tag team of Y2A.J. Kofi Kingston made fun of Mark Henry believing he’s still the World’s Strongest Man. They said Xavier Woods would beg to differ, and Woods did some posing. They made more fun of Jericho and Styles as a tag team, then hyped themselves. Woods said they eat together, train together, travel together and bathe together. Big E. and Kofi didn’t like him revealing that. The main event is next.
6 – THE NEW DAY vs. CHRIS JERICHO & A.J. STYLES & MARK HENRY
Big E. ran over Jericho with a shoulder tackle early on. Henry came in and blocked a Big E. punch. Three headbutts and a big boot to Big E. Henry clotheslined Kingston and Woods. Jericho and Styles both hit slingshot pescados onto New Day. Then all three gyrated in the ring a la the tag champs. They went to break at 1:30 of the match.
Back at 4:46 with Jericho cutting the ring in half against Woods. New Day took over when Big E. illegally drove Jericho’s head into the turnbuckle. He tagged in and dropped Jericho head-first across the buckle in the heel corner, but as he did, both Woods and Kingston got their feet up to kick Jericho in the head. Woods played the trombone as New Day had things firmly in hand. Kingston cut off an attempted tag by Jericho. Styles made the save on a pin attempt of Jericho by Big E. Jericho finally made the tag at 9:46 of the match. Styles got an opportunity to shine against Woods. The match broke down when Big E. got involved. Kofi went for Trouble in Paradise to Styles, but Jericho pushed his partner out of the way and took one for the team. Styles ended up locking in the Calf Crusher on Woods, who tapped immediately.
WINNERS: Jericho, Styles, and Henry, at 11:05.
They replayed Jericho’s sacrifice and the finish. Looked like Jericho caught Trouble in Paradise flush in the eye. The babyfaces celebrated as the show ended.
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Greg Parks has been covering WWE Smackdown for PWTorch.com since January of 2007. He is the host of “Moonlighting with Greg Parks,” a PWTorch VIP-exclusive audio show posted each weekend. Follow him on Twitter @gregmparks for live Tweeting during Raw, Impact, and PPVs, as well as other bits of wisdom. Comments, questions and feedback are welcome, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.