WWE Smackdown review
January 29, 2015
Live from Hartford, Conn.
Aired on SyFy
By Greg Parks, pwtorch.com

– WWE Open.

– Smackdown Open.

– Fireworks opened the show inside the arena in Hartford.

– A graphic was shown advertising Roman Reigns vs. Big Show tonight.

– It was followed up by a graphic for Daniel Bryan vs. Kane in a Casket Match.

– Eden Stiles introduced Triple H to the live crowd. He made a full entrance. As he did so, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and Jerry Lawler were shown at ringside. For the 158th time in a row, Cole referred to Sunday’s PPV as “controversial.” Triple H welcomed fans to Monday Night Raw. Then he made fun of people who told WWE they couldn’t run Raw Monday night because of the blizzard. He said they don’t like being told what to do. He also said there were people who said they’d never reach one million subscribers on the WWE Network, but they’ve done so. Hunter said “they” told WWE they couldn’t do a show from Hartford, but here they are. So far, babyface Triple H. Hunter talked about the controversy following the Royal Rumble and equated it to the controversy in the Super Bowl. He made the predictable “balls” joke about a week after that gag had run its course in the mainstream. Hunter said neither he nor WWE have ever had a problem with “balls.”

He said when there’s controversy in WWE, unlike NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he takes action. And at Fastlane, he’s going to deal with a problem: The Man Called Sting (and Hunter called him that, too). He said he’d resolve the problem at that show. Triple H said the Royal Rumble event itself was spectacular. The fans booed. Hunter then said the Triple-Threat Match was one of the greatest matches he has ever seen in his life. He said Seth Rollins proved he was the future of the industry. Also, John Cena proved to the world that he’s the past. So now this is heel Triple H. It was also a match in which Brock Lesnar proved he is the beast. Hunter said the problem was the Rumble match itself. He said the building was rumbling, the roof was hanging, people were going crazy. He said the next day it got worse: Everybody was talking about it from SportsCenter to Bill Simmons. Hunter clarified by showing the final eliminations, wherein Roman Reigns threw out Kane and Big Show. Reigns was then attacked and The Rock ran out to make the save.

Back live, there were boos and Hunter milked them a bit. He said he’s going to put an end to the controversy on Raw. He promised to make an announcement that would “likely shake the WWE Universe to its core.” The music of Roman Reigns interrupted and he came out through the crowd. Triple H, of course, never mentioned what the controversy was, leaving open to speculation about just what he’s going to announce on Raw. Reigns stood face-to-face with Hunter in the ring. Reigns said he doesn’t see any controversy. He said he’s going to Wrestlemania. Hunter agreed he did win the match, then said, “let’s see if you win this one.” He exited the ring as Big Show’s music played and the big man came to the ring. That match is next.

[Commercial Break]


I wouldn’t say it’s been a warm reception for Reigns thus far. Jerry Lawler said they’d hear from Vince McMahon live tonight in response to the WWE Network’s free month of February announcement. Big splash in the corner by Reigns on Show. Saxton said that he talked to Reigns backstage and that Reigns is basically shrugging off the boos. Lawler said the negative reaction on Sunday wasn’t necessarily a reflection on Reigns, just that they hoped someone else would win the Rumble match. Hard whip into the buckle by Show. Show again put Reigns on the mat with a headbutt. Beell out of the corner by Show. Cole said some people think Daniel Bryan could’ve and should’ve won the Rumble. Okay, now we’re getting dangerously close to talking about booking rather than treating what we’re saying as real. By what we saw, there’s really no argument that Bryan “should’ve” won the Rumble. The only way you can bring that up is if you mean something besides what we’re seeing is a real competition. Oh, and Reigns clotheslined Show over the top rope to go to break at 3:36 of the match.

[Commercial Break]

Back at 7:38 with Reigns selling a leg injury and Show walking around the ring. During the break on the WWE App, Reigns clotheslined Show over the top again, but Show speared Reigns later. Show basically stood Reigns on his head and worked over the knee in a neat move. Reigns somehow used his feet to send Show over the top rope in a move that seemed to defy the laws of physics. Reigns performed a jumping dropkick on Show, whose head then bounced off the ring post at ringside. Show was able to shake it off and re-enter the ring. Jumping clothesline by Reigns. Samoan drop followed. With Show again at ringside, Reigns jumped off the apron for a clothesline, though he came down on his knee in the process. Superman punch was intercepted with a chokeslam. Reigns kicked out at two at 11:24 of the match. Show climbed to the top rope, but he appeared to have second thoughts. Superman punch by Reigns, and a second one. Show still held on until Reigns slammed him off. Spear by Reigns finished it.

WINNER: Reigns, at 12:28. I get that putting Reigns in matches with Big Show allows Reigns to show off his impressive power, but it doesn’t do much for the need for him to improve his in-ring work.

A few replays of the more impressive Reigns efforts were shown.

– The announcers threw it to Vince McMahon, who was backstage with the WWE Network over his shoulder. He talked about the million subscribers to the WWE Network. He said the month of February is being offered to new subscribers for free. He directed them to WWE.com for more information.

– Reigns continued to celebrate his win atop the ramp.

– A casket surrounded by smoke was shown backstage. It’ll be used in the Kane vs. Daniel Bryan Casket Match slated for later in the evening.

[Commercial Break]

– Back to the announcers who talked about Randy Savage being the first inductee announced for the 2015 WWE Hall-of-Fame. Then we got the video package for Arnold Schwarzenegger as the next inductee.

– Seth Rollins cut a promo on the way to the ring, and he was joined by Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury. He talked about how close he came to being the WWE World Champion, and bragged about breaking Brock Lesnar’s ribs. Rollins made an open challenge for someone to “test” him. Ryback answered. J&J Security attacked, and Rollins hit a beautiful dropkick. Erick Rowan’s music played and he came down to make the save. He bowled over J&J Security, but Rollins kicked him, knocking him off the apron. Rollins went back on the attack on Ryback. Dolph Ziggler ran out and was able to knock Rollins down. Rollins tossed Ziggler into the announce desk at ringside. Shell Shock attempt by Ryback, but J&J Security broke it up and got Rollins out of there. Rowan took hold of J&J but Rollins helped them out before any damage could be done.

– Kane cut a promo while caressing the casket backstage. He described what he’d do to Daniel Bryan during the match later in the night. He said the only think Bryan will see once inside the casket is beautiful, black darkness. He said Bryan would scratch and claw, like an animal, desperate to escape. That’s one way to silence Bryan’s fans: Kill off his character in this match.

– John Cena addresses Rusev tonight.

– The Usos came to the ring. Jey is in action, next.

[Commercial Break]


Jimmy and Naomi were at ringside for Jey, while Natalya and Cesaro were out supporting Kidd. Kidd put Jey’s leg under the ring apron and stomped on it. I’m not sure how putting it under the apron cover really helped anything. Kidd went out of the ring where Cesaro offered support. Back in, Jey hit a Samoan drop. Cesaro distracted Jey, but Jimmy took him out. Twisting fisherman suplex by Kidd after a dropkick to Jey’s knee earned him the victory.

WINNER: Kidd, at 2:28. Hopefully this is a sign that the tag title direction is Cesaro & Kidd vs. The Usos instead of The Ascension vs. The Usos.

– Kane was staring into the open casket. He takes on Daniel Bryan in a Casket Match tonight.

– Next, John Cena addresses Rusev and their upcoming match at Fastlane.

[Commercial Break]

– Rusev was pacing in the ring, mic in hand, out of break as Lana looked on. They aired a graphic for Rusev vs. Cena at Fastlane. Rusev said everyone saw what happened during the Royal Rumble PPV match. He said he should’ve been declared winner. Lana ranted in Russian. He said he should be facing Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania and said he’s the only undefeated Superstar. He also said he was United States Champion, just to remind those who’ve forgotten I guess. Rusev said WWE has given him a man who is not a challenge, a man from the past: John Cena. He said Cena has no hunger or desire. Cena came out to answer Rusev’s critiques.

Cena said that sometimes he and the WWE Universe doesn’t see eye-to-eye, but everyone will likely agree when he tells Rusev to shut his mouth or he’ll shut it for him. He said Rusev needs to learn respect. Cena reminded Rusev of his accomplishments in his career. Cena said he held the U.S. Title before Rusev had pubes and Lana had boobs. Cena wanted Rusev to dance, and by dance he meant fight. Lana told Rusev not to waste his time on Cena. Rusev thought about defying orders, but in the end, listened to Lana. They left the ring, but Cena got the mic and after another sexual comment, pointed to himself saying that at Fastlane, he will beat Rusev.

– The announcers talked about another match made for Fastlane: Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas Championship.

– Renee Young was backstage with Paige. Before Paige could answer a question, the Bellas walked up and made fun of her skin tone. Brie said it looked like the blizzard brought Hartford its own snow angel. Nikki said she looked like a blood-sucking vampire. Paige sarcastically laughed and took a shot at Brie. She tried going after Nikki, but the numbers game caught up with her as the Bellas subdued her and knocked her to the ground.

[Commercial Break]


In an inset interview, Konnor called the New Age Outlaws “De-Geriatric X.” I’ll give them credit for that play-on-words. Quick roll-up by Stardust for a near-fall. Hip-toss took down Viktor. Viktor caught Stardust in a full nelson, then dumped him in his corner. Big uppercut by Konnor. Another tag to Viktor, who worked Stardust over with a rear chin-lock. Stardust flipped out of a suplex attempt and tagged Goldust at 3:20. He played the role of the babyface getting the hot-tag. Powerslam by Goldust. Blind tag made by Stardust. Goldust wasn’t happy. He went for the Disaster Kick, but Konnor pushed him off the ropes. Fall of Man felled Stardust.

WINNERS: The Ascension, at 4:32. This gives The Ascension a big win and continues what I presume is an eventual Goldust vs. Stardust feud, perhaps finally culminating in a Wrestlemania match between the two.

Some of the action during the match was replayed.

– Kane was still looking at the casket. He laughed and closed it. A graphic was again shown for Bryan vs. Kane later on tonight.

[Commercial Break]

– The announcers talked about SyFy’s show, “Wizard Wars,” which follows Smackdown tonight. Justin Flom of the show was backstage and they showed him performing tricks for R-Truth, Summer Rae, Alicia Fox, and Zack Ryder. The Miz and Damien Mizdow walked up, with Miz saying he knows how Flom did the trick. Flom said he’s always wanted to do a trick for an A-lister and revealed he was talking about Mizdow. He decided to show Miz how to do a trick with a fake egg turned into a real egg. Miz didn’t believe it was a real egg and told Flom to prove it. So Flom broke it on the forehead of Miz. “The yolk’s on you,” said Truth. I hope whoever wrote that line is proud of himself.

– Somewhere, Bray Wyatt cut a promo. He said he finds enjoyment from things mommies and daddies shield their kids from. Wyatt said he fears nothing, living or dead. Another Undertaker reference? He said after what happens next, it’ll be difficult for us to smile again.

– Kane came out for the main event. It’s next.

[Commercial Break]


Bodyslam by Kane, followed by a low dropkick. Kane ordered for the casket to open :51 into the match, but he couldn’t get Bryan in. Bryan went after the knee of Kane. Bryan tried to roll Kane toward the casket, but Kane fought free. Kane lifted Bryan over his head, but Bryan went out the back and got Kane onto the apron. Kane ran to the corner to avoid a Bryan attack. The lid closed with both men staring at each other at 2:57 of the match.

[Commercial Break]

Back at 6:15 of the match with Kane hammering away on Bryan, with Bryan’s head under the apron cover. Bryan held onto the top rope with one hand to prevent himself from falling into the casket. Kane pushed him in, but Bryan kicked Kane away. Side slam by Kane. Bryan was flipped over the top rope, holding on but with both feet in the casket. Bryan grabbed Kane by his feet and tried to get him into the casket. That seemed to briefly spook Kane. Bryan went to the top rope and dove onto Kane at ringside. Kane caught another Bryan dive and sent him spine-first into the ring post. Big boot by Kane sent Bryan into the casket, but Bryan quickly scrambled out. Kane shoved him back and closed the lid, but Bryan’s leg strength kept it slightly open. He finally kicked Kane far enough away to get out. Unfortunately for him, he jumped into an uppercut. They went to break at 10:26 of the match.

[Commercial Break]

The show returned at 14:33 of the match. Bryan fought away from a rest-hold but Kane hit a DDT. Kane worked over Bryan in the corner. Bryan began his comeback at 16:17, looking for support from the WWE Universe. Bryan kicked at the chest of Kane, but Kane dodged one to the head. Low-bridge sent Kane out of the ring, and a suicide dive found the mark. Bryan punched at Kane outside the ring, but Kane back-dropped him into the timekeeper’s area. Eden Stiles scurried away, then Kane threw Bryan over the announce table. He took a steel chair and hit Bryan over the back with it. And again. Kane tossed Bryan head-first into the casket lid. Kane readied to Tombstone Bryan into the casket, but Bryan went out the back and hit two running dropkicks. Kane still held onto the top rope. Kane caught Bryan on a third attempt and chokeslammed him. Bryan was then rolled into the casket. Bryan kicked his way out again. Bryan applied the Yes Lock on Kane, maneuvering Kane so that he was in the casket as he applied the move. Bryan tried to close the lid but Kane put his arm up to stop it. Bryan did a near 360-degree sell of a clothesline back in the ring. Another low-bridge by Bryan, followed by a kick to the head. Kane was rocked and a running knee to the head put Kane in the casket. The lid was shut for the victory.

WINNER: Bryan, at 22:06.

The finish was replayed as Bryan celebrated by leading “Yes!” chants while standing atop the casket. Cole brought it full-circle, talking about Triple H’s upcoming Raw announcement. They replayed Triple H making the announcement about the announcement earlier tonight. A graphic showed Triple H, Roman Reigns, and the Wrestlemania sign when previewing the announcement. Bryan’s celebration continued as the show closed.

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