Smackdown

Black and Blue – Gauntlet Edition (Mar.20)

This week’s edition of Smackdown felt like a long weekend vacation compared to Raw. Jokes aside, they put on a decent show last night, without making the Raw highlights the high points of the show. There was great work from the wrestlers that were scheduled, and most of the matches were entertaining and fun.

Opening Segment

Roman Reigns came out to a sea full of cheers, and I’m sure most of them were real. In fact there were audible chants for Roman, I think he may be slowly winning over certain smarky critics. I’m glad they kept Mark Henry tied to Roman in one way or another, he definitely helps the build for this feud. Other than Henry’s approval, the only other thing I took from his promo was that he bets money on different matches. The segment was going decently, until the Authoroty came out. Everything that Rollins had to say was completely irrelevant to what was happening between Henry and Reigns.  Think the match that was setup through this segment could have been done easier.

Paige vs Brie Bella

The idea to have the divas match first is smart because it’s what gets the crowd into the show. Assuming each match can be worked decently, this would be a good trend to keep up. I was upset Brie didn’t come out to her “Brie Mode” theme song because I enjoy hearing it every now and then. This contest started off with a bang, and it got me hooked right away. Paige did a swell job at selling Brie’s moves, and I’m surprised Brie had most of the momentum. The match ended abruptly, but I was happy with what we received.

Gauntlet Match (Dean Ambrose, Stardust, R-Truth, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Luke Harper)

I felt the Gauntlet match could have been the main event, just because it was very star studded and the Intercontinental Title angle has been the main focus of Smackdown. Ambrose and Stardust opened the match to some exciting action. Stardust showed the fans that he can still make a great singles competitor. This round of the gauntlet should have gone longer, just to warm up the crowd slightly more. R-Truth made his way out to a decent crowd reaction. I felt having him job in a few seconds was a waste. His character has been built up so greatly over the past few weeks, he should have stuck around for at least 2 minutes. When Luke Harper made his way out, I was convinced he’d last longer than 2 minutes. Surprisingly it took me a while to notice that Dean and Luke were dressed exactly the same. We saw this matchup a few weeks ago, but it’s worth pointing out that these two have solid in ring chemistry. Harper’s new submission was neat, and I think it would be a nice addition into his signature arsenal. Ambrose’s larriot felt forced because he was too far from the ropes, definitely a bad spot on his part. Having Harper win was the way to go in this round.

Daniel Bryan was the next competitor and I thought he was going to steamroll through Harper. The surfboard from Bryan was a great spot, it showcased that he is quite powerful. Up to this point these two had the best matchup in this contest. This is a testament on how Bryan can work with anybody in any match. The suicide dive from Bryan was executed beautifully, by him and Harper. It was so simple, and could have been my favorite spot at this point. In my opinion, these two almost stole the show, and I was happy with the way Bryan had to sneak a win out of Harper. Once Ziggler made his way out, I’m sure most fans marked out, because we were potentially in for an amazing match. I thought there were too many strikes handed out between these two, it began to feel redundant. While it was slow, Bryan needed to have a slight rest spot, especially after his round with Harper. Bryan did a great job at looking fatigued, I was very impressed and sold. Ziggler’s crossbody counter was the spot in this part of the match, simply for getting the crowd going. When these two eventually picked up the pace, these two stole the show. After putting on an absolute clinic, I marked out for Ziggler picking up the clean win. While their action started slow, they made up with it at the end. All I can say is that this match was the most entertaining match I’ve seen on Smackdown this year. I was happy Barrett came out and got the last laugh, it somewhat gave him some credibility after all those clean losses.

Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, & Natalya vs Los Matadores & El Torito

I think Vince Russo may be back on the creative team, because only he could book a match as an “interspecies” match. This match was much better than I expected. There plenty of neat spots and I could tell the two teams were having tons of fun. I agree with having Natalya picking up the win, because I would have stopped watching if she jobbed to El Torito.

Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins & Kane

I was actually looking forward to having Mark Henry tag with Roman Reigns, I thought the two made a good team. His match was great practice for Roman going into Mania, because he’s given a chance to sell every move from Rollins and Kane. The use of the camera in the post was awesome in this match, Roman actually looked like he was punched. While the match was well paced, it was tough for these men to keep up with excitement of the gauntlet match. I will admit though, Roman’s superman punch to counter Rollins from the top rope looked devastating. The post-match beat down from Orton was a nice touch, a RKO fest is always guaranteed to leave the fans entertained.

Conclusion

There only for matches on last night’s edition of Smackdown, but they made the most of it. I felt that the Raw recaps weren’t as evident as last week, but they were shown in a good portion. Most of the matches were solid, and hardly included any errors. Overall I give this edition of Smackdown a 7.7/10.

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