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The following report was originally published on PWTorch.com five years ago this week…
WWE Smackdown review
April 25, 2014
Taped 4/22/14 in Hershey, Penn.
Aired on SyFy
By Greg Parks, PWTorch Columnist (Twitter: @gregmparks)
– WWE Open.
– The show opened cold with Vickie Guerrero in the ring. She said The Authority have taken the night off, and he’s in charge. Therefore, The Shield will take on Curtis Axel, Ryback, Alberto Del Rio…and, well, eight other Superstars. I’m pretty sure this has been done before. The camera, which had been tight on Vickie, pulled back to show Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger standing at a podium, and on the other side, Cesaro and Paul Heyman at a podium for a debate. That had to be awkward for them standing there while she started the show.
Vickie gave Colter 90 seconds to discuss…well, I’m not sure. She said the two groups have “differences in opinion,” but that’s pretty vague. Colter said they’re going to debate Wrestlemania and the night after, when he was hoodwinked by Heyman and Cesaro. Colter reminded Cesaro that he took Cesaro in when nobody knew who he was. Heyman’s turn was next, after Colter shouted asking Heyman why he did what he did. Heyman, not shockingly, turned the debate into bragging about his client conquering the Streak. Colter now had 60 seconds to respond. He told Cesaro that Heyman is a liar, thief and manipulator. Colter asked again, why he stole Cesaro from him. Heyman asked when the last time a Zeb Colter Guy won. He said it was at the Mania Battle Royal, but he was already a Heyman Guy by then. Heyman then repeated over-and-over that Cesaro won the Mania Battle Royal. Colter said he’s the one who entered Cesaro in the battle royal. He got ticked off and pushed over the podium. Colter went to Heyman and asked him to settle them like men. Referee Mike Chioda came from somewhere to get in between the two managers. They had to be pulled apart by their charges as well as Chioda. Swagger vs. Cesaro is next. They needed to explore why Cesaro left Colter for Heyman, but debates are almost always terrible and this was no exception.
1 – JACK SWAGGER vs. CESARO
Cesaro caught Swagger in mid-air and gave him a back-breaker. And Swagger is no small man. Cesaro nailed Swagger with a few running European uppercuts. The fight went to the outside where it got even more physical. Colter and Heyman remained at ringside for this one. Swagger dove at Cesaro and took out his leg. Belly-to-belly by Swagger for two at 3:03. Swagger connected on a Swagger bomb for a near-fall. Cesaro managed to block a few Swagger punches in a comeback effort. Swagger was clotheslined over the top, but Cesaro fell to ringside too. Cesaro was lying at the feet of Colter as they cut to break at 5:46 of the match.
Back at 9:43. Swagger delivered a running big boot for a two-count. Patriot Lock was countered but Swagger slammed Cesaro, only for two. Gutwrench powerbomb from Cesaro. The Hershey crowd chanted for the Swing. Cesaro obliged. Neutralizer from Cesaro for the clean win.
WINNER: Cesaro, at 12:35. I thought this match was on its way to being built up as a possible PPV match. Despite the opening segment, it’s a good (and unique for its time) mid-card feud.
Before Cesaro could celebrate too much, The Shield’s music played. They came out and surrounded the ring where the still-down Swagger was the only one in it. Superman punch from Roman Reigns, followed by the triple powerbomb. It’s funny, I thought Cesaro and Swagger came across more as the babyfaces in that opening debate. Dean Ambrose brought up Triple H’s oft-repeated phrase, “adapt or perish” (since apparently the word “die” is not PG) and they said Swagger failed to adapt. The group said they’re not done yet.
– They showed Daniel Bryan getting wheeled out of the arena on Raw after the assault from Kane.
– The announcers discussed Daniel Bryan’s condition, something to do with the spinal cord. He’s working back to health via therapy and he will be at Raw Monday night. JBL said his sources told him that Stephanie McMahon will explain and apologize for Kane’s actions.
– Still to come, clips of Bray Wyatt’s message delivered to John Cena and his fans Monday on Raw.
– The announcers thanked fans for watching Wrestlemania (coming off the DYK noting that more people watched this Mania than any in history).
– A video package profile of Paige aired.
2 – NATALYA vs. TAMINA SNUKA
No entrance for either woman, but before the match, a graphic was shown for the Paige vs. Tamina match at Extreme Rules. Short-arm clothesline by Natalya, followed by a headlock take-over. Tamina powered Natalya out of the ring. Samoan drop by Tamina. She put Natalya in position Natalya moved out of the way of a splash attempt, and small packaged Tamina for two. Nattie couldn’t lock in the Sharpshooter, but she did give her a hard clothesline. After a kip up by Natalya, Tamina superkicked her for the win.
WINNER: Tamina, at 4:00. Not always smooth, and it felt a step slow, but a must-win for Tamina heading into Extreme Rules.
– They showed how The Shield’s grudge with Evolution began via video package.
– A graphic was shown for The Shield vs. Evolution at Extreme Rules.
– 3MB were talking backstage when Seth Rollins walked up. Dean Ambrose sidled up next to him. Heath Slater kept talking trash until Reigns showed up. In the background, Rollins and Ambrose took out Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre while Reigns continued to stare at Slater. Finally, after Ambrose nailed Slater, Reigns gave him a Superman punch.
– An 11-on-3 Handicap Match for The Shield takes place later tonight.
– Cole plugged the Best of WWE Hall of Fame on the WWE Network following Smackdown. This episode featured Bruno Sammartino and Jerry Lawler.
– The announcers talked about the Network on-camera, focusing on the Video on Demand aspect. They also talked about the latest free one-week trial. “It’s just like Netflix, but better” is an awful catchphrase. Cole’s cheesy smile at the end of the line reading doesn’t help, either.
– Vickie was talking to someone on the phone. She was given the rest of the night off, replaced by Brad Maddox. Maddox walked in and asked if she got the call from Triple H. He promised to go out and admonish The Shield, who he surmised would listen to “real” authority.
– In the ring, one of the Usos and Curtis Axel had to be separated by a referee until the match could start. That’s something different, and it worked.
3 – JEY USO vs. CURTIS AXEL
Jey took Axel down quickly, then locked in a rear chin-lock :23 in. That seems absurdly quick to work a hold like that. Suplex by Axel. A knee to the gut put Uso on the mat. Splash by Axel for two at 2:14. Jey made his comeback with jumping clotheslines and a kick to the solar plexus. Axel pulled Jey’s hair to take him down. From ringside, Ryback yelled for Axel to finish it. Axel followed the orders of his partner by winning via his finisher neck-breaker.
WINNER: Axel, at 3:39. Good win for Axel here to help build up his and Ryback’s tag title feud with The Usos.
– Up next, we’ll see what happened with Bray Wyatt and John Cena on Raw.
– A Bo Dallas vignette aired. So much stock footage.
– A graphic for Cena vs. Wyatt at Extreme Rules was shown.
– As Bray Wyatt came to the ring, they showed parts of the Wyatt Family match against Cena on Raw, and the post-match promo. Back on Smackdown, The Wyatts were inside a steel cage (which looked incredibly small on a wide shot) where Bray had a mic. Bray spoke on the subject of love. He said Cena has lost the love of the fans based on the voting that took place on Raw. He proclaimed to the world’s conscience. “I am every one and every thing,” he said. He turned his attention to his match with Cena at Extreme Rules. He said the cage defines Cena’s world. Wyatt said one-by-one, everyone will follow him. He climbed the cage and at the top, sang “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Simply transcribing what was said doesn’t do this promo justice. You really have to see it to see just how Wyatt acts and the cadence of his speech. It really was a sight to behold.
4 – ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER vs. CODY RHODES & GOLDUST
Rhodes took Harper out at the knee to start. Rhodes escaped a back-drop attempt by Rowan, allowing him to tag Goldust. Running bulldog by Goldust. Back to Rhodes who ducked down and punched Rowan, a move that had no effect. Wyatt got on the mic and worked the crowd. Rowan slowed the pace in dissecting Rhodes. Harper knocked Goldust off the apron and when Rhodes was ready to tag, Goldust wasn’t there. Disaster kick to Harper and both men were down at 3:41. Goldust made the hot tag and worked over Harper. He came off the top with a cross-body on both men. Powerslam by Goldust, but the pin was broken up by Rowan. Rhodes took care of him. Rhodes went to the top, but Harper shoved Goldust into the same corner, knocking Cody to ringside. Goldust turned around into a big clothesline. Harper then registered the pin.
WINNERS: Harper and Rowan, at 5:04. This continues to give credibility to the Wyatts, while also going forward with the eventual breakup of the Rhodes Brothers.
– Brad Maddox was on the phone in his office (can’t he keep that door locked?) when The Shield walked in. Maddox warned them and said they’d get to prove their point against Evolution at Extreme Rules. Reigns picked up Maddox and threw him into the wall. Ambrose attacked Maddox behind a couch.
– The 11-on-3 handicap match is still scheduled for tonight.
– Still to come, Kane’s assault on Daniel Bryan from Raw.
– Santino Marella and Emma came out for a mixed tag match against Fandango and Layla. As the heels did their usual dance routine atop the stage, The Shield walked out. Layla backed away as The Shield clobbered Fandango. They dragged Fandango to the side of the stage, where they triple powerbombed him off the stage and through a couple tables.
– Next, Kane’s attack on Daniel Bryan will be shown.
– An Adam Rose vignette aired.
– A replay of The Shield’s attack on Fandango was shown.
– A video package aired of Kane’s attack on Daniel Bryan Monday night.
– The announcers, on-camera, reiterated that both Bryan and Stephanie McMahon will be on Raw, and Stephanie stated she will publicly apologize to Bryan.
– Also this Monday, the finals of the #1 contender Intercontinental Championship tournament between Wade Barrett and Rob Van Dam.
– The Shield came out for their handicap match. It’s next.
– Back from break, they showed The Shield’s night-long attacks
5 – THE SHIELD vs. RYBACK & BAD NEWS BARRETT & ALBERTO DEL RIO & TITUS O’NEIL & DAMIEN SANDOW – FIVE-ON-THREE HANDICAP MATCH
Seth Rollins began the match against Ryback. The Shield kept Ryback in their corner and all three men worked him over. Ryback finally got free and tagged O’Neil. Like Ryback before him, O’Neil was cornered by The Shield as well. All the heels tried to get involved but The Shield held down the fort. They cut to break at 3:43 of the match.
The show returned at 7:55 of the match. Cole said the complexion of the match changed during the break, and the heels were in control with Bad News Barrett against Dean Ambrose. After Barrett, it was Del Rio’s turn on offense. Ryback took and kept Ambrose down with a chin-lock. Reigns tagged in at 11:48 and the match picked up from there. The match broke down with all participants fighting in the ring. Ryback and O’Neil were clotheslined over the top at the same time by Reigns. Reigns set up for his Superman punch on Sandow, but Barrett and Del Rio got in the ring. They backed away off the apron and actually headed to the back. Rollins flipped over the top and onto Ryback, then dove onto O’Neil and Sandow. Somehow, Reigns hid out at the top of the ramp and ended up giving Del Rio the Superman punch before he could get backstage. Sandow was the only healthy body left and he was speared by Reigns to end it.
WINNERS: The Shield, at 14:35.
O’Neil was thrown back into the ring and he was speared as well. Next was Ryback. He was given the triple powerbomb treatment. The Shield celebrated to close the show.
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