This week's episode of WWE Smackdown, airing on the SyFy Network on May 21, 2015, comes from Norfolk, Virginia. This week is the Payback fallout show. For full results of the show click here.
Here we go.
A New Game Plan
Roman Reigns started off the show to address coming up short in the Fatal 4 Way main event match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Payback this past Sunday. The Big Dog also announced his participation in the Money in the Bank ladder match at the MITB pay-per-view next month. Dean Ambrose then come out to let everyone know that he is challenging Seth Rollins for the WWE WHC in less than two weeks at the WWE Network exclusive Elimination Chamber.
As excited as Ambrose would be to enter the Money in the Bank ladder match this year, he stated that he will not have that opportunity since he will already be WWE WHC by then. Reigns tells Ambrose that while he did enjoy exactly how Ambrose was able to become number one contender, he wishes Ambrose would think of an exit strategy just once.
Enter the Director of Operations, Kane, who will now be known as the red headed step child of the Authority. Or Justin Bieber's number one fan. Either one works. Anyway, during a fiery exchange between Kane and Ambrose, the main event was set up for tonight, seeing Ambrose take on Bray Wyatt, as he had this prior Monday on RAW. Kane was nice enough to give Reigns the night off, however, after telling him that Reigns is not in the MITB match and will not be in that match until Kane feels he has earned that right.
Meanwhile, the Eater of Worlds continues to find himself on the right side of the Authority's favor. This has really been the case for most of Bray Wyatt's time on the main roster. In the wake of his victory against Ryback at Payback, Wyatt has been used twice now to soften up Ambrose for the Authority. This past Monday, J&J Security even helped Wyatt secure a victory against Ambrose.
The Lunatic Fringe actually wanted this match since he has unfinished business with Wyatt. Nothing less is expected of Ambrose at this point, who went out all in the main event, throwing his body into harm's way early on in the match. The story of the match was that Wyatt couldn't really handle Ambrose. No matter what Wyatt threw at him, Ambrose remained resilient, even controlling a good portion of the match. So, here comes J&J Security and the WWE WHC, Seth Rollins.
Fortunately, Roman Reigns returned from catering to play equalizer for his former Shield mate, beating up the cruiserweights and making Rollins back off, as usual. Then, perhaps channeling his inner Kane, Reigns interfered in the match, delivering a Superman Punch to Wyatt behind the referee's back. One Dirty Deeds later, and Dean Ambrose is your winner.
If this is the new game plan Reigns alluded to, where the brothers actually watch each other's back, I am completely down for it. Especially if Roman is the one helping Dean all the time. He deserves it after last summer.
Showing Off the Wrong Way
Dolph Ziggler responded to Rusev's reaction to the kisses between the Show Off and the Ravishing Russian, Lana. He came across as a guy who does not exactly mind taking advantage of the problems between Rusev and Lana. To me, this is disappointing. Yes, Dolph should stand up for Lana because it would be the right thing to do. But, the only reason Ziggler is involved is because Lana came to him. He did not see what was going on and decide to stand up to a "bully" as he had with Sheamus. Dolph is using a bad situation to get close to a pretty lady and it feels a little creepy to me.
I have not been shy about my displeasure for the direction of Lana's character. I often times will take a look at the WWE with rose colored glasses and just ignore things that I simply do not appreciate about a certain angle to enjoy it better. This is not one of those times. Until this whole story with Rusev comes to what I fear will be an ugly end (and it's not real pretty as it stands), I cannot review anything involving Lana objectively. Sorry, Cagesiders, especially to those who are enjoying this. I just can't.
Scream for Me
Confession time: I don't really watch RAW the same way I watch Smackdown. I almost always skim through RAW and stop on the segments I feel I would like. I watch Smackdown from start to finish. One part that I did watch this past RAW, beside Kevin Owens OWNING John Cena, was Paige returning and wrecking shop. Paige's promo on this episode has caught some flack from fans on Twitter. The WWE removed the apparently controversial "botchamania" line but not the disses on Tamina being a man.
This is disappointing, of course, but par for the course for the WWE's treatment of women on the main roster. I did enjoy the segment despite this. Naomi is improving on the microphone with every promo in my opinion. Nikki Bella coming out to stand tall was a reversal of Paige's return this past Monday and fit with in the story. I am glad Paige is back. Now if we could just get that Charlotte call up . . . .
All the rest
Four Corners Tag Team Match: The six teams involved in the very first Elimination Chamber style tag team match for the WWE Tag Team championship all did their part to promote said match. Titus O'Neil of the Prime Time Players and Xavier Woods of New Day did their part on commentary, brilliantly. Titus actually sounded less like a competitor and more like a hype match at nearly every point. The other four teams put on a very exciting match inside the ring. Every single team- The Lucha Dragons, Kidd and Cesaro, Los Matadors, and the Ascension- looked impressive. Yes, you read that correctly. The Ascension looked impressive in this match. That is all that needs to be said about this segment.
Stardust versus R-Truth: These are two of the competitors who will compete in the Elimination Chamber match to determine a new Intercontinental Champion. It was a fine match. The two have good chemistry. But can anyone explain to me why R-Truth beat Stardust twice in one week?
Ryback promo: Call me crazy but it feels like the WWE has some kind of plan for the Big Guy. Besides Sheamus, I feel like Ryback has a very good chance of leaving Elimination Chamber with the IC title. At the very least, I can see him being one of the last people left inside the Chamber match and putting in a solid performance. I am actually looking forward to what Ryback does next.
The Mega Powers versus Adam Rose and Heath Slater: Nice to see Axel and Mandow get a win with this "gimmick". All four men were entertaining but I cannot help but feel that at least two of the men in this match deserve way more than this.
Bo Dallas promo: A video package highlighting Bo Dallas's attack on Neville leads to an interview with Renee Young. Bo proceeds to give a promo equating Neville to a bird and, honestly, I though his promo was much creepier than his brother's earlier. Neville might bring the darkness out of Bo. I cannot wait to see it.
This episode was a little promo heavy. Since the WWE has the Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank coming up very soon, I will forgive it, as quite a bit was progressed on this show. If Monday nights have become Monday Night Rollins (and they have), I'm glad Smackdown has become the home of Ambreigns. Keep it up, WWE.
That's all for this week, Cagesiders. Let me know what you thought of the slow in comment section.