This week's episode of WWE SmackDown, airing on the SyFy Network on May 7, 2015, generated from Ottowa, Ontario, Canada. This week's show centered around the contract signing for the Fatal 4 Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Payback. For full results of the show click here.
Let's get right into it, shall we?
The Architect Returns
Since his alignment with the Authority, Seth Rollins has not made many friends. One could say he has only done the opposite, in fact. The story thus far leading into Payback seems to be how Rollins would be able to slither out of his next title defense as champion with three of his mortal enemies all gunning for him. Tonight at the contract signing, Rollins provided a small window into exactly how it can be done.
Before the contract signing, Renee Young spent time interviewing each of the participants in the Payback main event. Dean Ambrose talked about chaos in the main event of Payback, something the Authority has not factored into their plans. He states perhaps the last person (himself) expected to win walks out with the title. He claimed that no one would be happy to see him at the contract signing.
Later in the night, Young speaks with Roman Reigns, asking him if he is conflicted heading into the Payback main event. He states that he is not, seeing as how he has been enemies with Randy Orton forever and he hates everything about Seth Rollins. He goes on to state that while he knows Dean Ambrose will claw and fight to win the title, it won't be enough because Reigns will bring the biggest fight anyone has ever seen and he looks forward to punching anyone in the mouth to win championship gold.
When Young speaks with Randy Orton about his odds in the Payback main event, Orton states that he has a simple strategy to win. He intends on hitting anyone who is close to him. He will drop anyone he has to, be it Rollins, Reigns, Ambrose, Kane, J&J, Triple H, or even Mr. McMahon, in order to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion once again. He says he isn't concerned that he's facing the three former members of the Shield. They should be concerned about making it to Payback.
When Young interviews Seth Rollins, one has to wonder who his Payback opponent really is. After making sure to correct Young and state that it is indeed his WWE WHC title, Rollins spends his entire time in the interview lambasting and attacking the Director of Operations, Kane, and very little time on his opponents. It gives the impression that Rollins has underestimated the situation at Payback and, instead, is focusing on the wrong target.
Of course, this all changes once the actual contract signing occurs. Kane is present as a representative for the Authority (but really he's just there for the eventual brawl) and introduces all four competitors for the Payback main event. Orton, Reigns, and Ambrose all come down, get into the ring, and have seats in the ring. Rollins, along with J&J Security, remain at the entrance ramp at first, playing up on the Rollins character's obviously reluctant to fight any of his own battles.
This looks to be a typical back and forth of words when Ambrose grabs a microphone and drops that Justin Beiber line about Rollins from RAW over a week ago, much to the crowd's delight. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the exact moment "the Architect" arrives in the segment. Rollins grabs a microphone, stating that he isn't a real big fan of Ambrose's sense of humor but it was much better than listening to Roman Reigns attempt to form sentences.
I have admit, as a Reigns mark, that made me laugh. Reigns made some reply about kicking Rollins' ass, I think. I don't know. I was too busy regaining my composure after that Rollins' line. And he was not done, not by a long shot. After attempting not to come down to the ring, stating that Kane could sign for him, Rollins actually showed more balls than he has in a long time. He not only came down to the ring with J&J Security, he talked smack about all his opponents.
Rollins first called Ambrose a "low rent Roddy Piper", giving the credit for this thought to Roman Reigns. I mean, that's what he used to say about his "brother" when they were in the Shield, according to Rollins. But Ambrose wasn't any nicer in his opinions of his former Shield partner, as he thinks Roman Reigns couldn't "wrestle his way out of wet paper bag". Orton was not left unscathed, as he let Orton know that Ambrose and Reigns both feel that Orton is spoiled and would have never made it in the WWE if it weren't for his father.
Rollins was the perfect instigator in this segment, with his opponents and with Kane. He stirred the pot by saying things to his opponents that would piss them off, and gave credit of the content to other competitors in the match. Now, some people would say, "Why would these guys listen to Rollins? Why believe him?" It's simple. Each man knows that they were close to Rollins at one point and it is entirely possible that those things in fact were said.
The inevitable brawl started when Ambrose claimed dibs on the table by propping it into the corner. I thought that spot was fun but it would have been better if the table had actually broken when Joey Mercury was thrown into it. The way the brawl played out further showed the brilliance of the Architect. At one point, Reigns goes for a Spear on Rollins but he moves and Ambrose is in the way. Reigns goes out of his way not to hit Ambrose but it happens anyway when Rollins sends Reigns into Ambrose.
This accidental encounter leads to Ambrose and Reigns arguing in the ring before Ambrose eats an RKO. Repaying the favor from Monday, Reigns immediately reacts and Superman Punches Orton, which leaves the door open for Rollins to take out Reigns and stand tall to close the show. Seth Rollins was perfect during the contract signing. This segment definitely foreshadows exactly how Rollins intends on retaining the WWE WHC, without anyone's help, just like he told everyone.
Rollins may go back to the chicken heel that hides behind Mommy Steph and Daddy H on the next RAW but, for the contract signing, we got the Architect, and it was glorious.
Confession time. Wade Barrett/Bad News Barrett/now King Barrett does absolutely nothing for me. Neither does the King of the Ring gimmick. The last time I found any enjoyment from a King of the Ring was during the King Booker run on SmackDown many years ago and I have never found Barrett very entertaining. His segment with Jerry "the King" Lawler served it purpose of getting heat on Barrett, I suppose, but it really fell flat until Dolph Ziggler arrived to challenge Barrett to a match.
Ziggler and Barrett had a nice little match until Sheamus decided he wanted to get involved to cause a disqualification. When Sheamus and Barrett started a beat down on Ziggler, Neville made the save and the spirit of Teddy Long booked a tag team match between the four men. Neville was the face in peril for a majority of the match, setting up Ziggler for a hot tag and an eventual pin on the newly crowned King.
This segment did nothing to really advance the on-going story with Ziggler, Sheamus, Barrett, and Neville, as is the case most times on SmackDown. The tag match was fun, however, and it's always nice to see Ziggler get a win. Also, the more I see Neville on the main roster, the more I feel that superhero gimmick would actually fit him, if done well. But this is the WWE so . . . yeah.
Luke Harper took on Fandango on SmackDown this week. Not much of note as far as the match goes, although I loved Harper mocking his opponent before serving a big boot for him to eat. The story here centers around the surprising and confusing beat down of Fandango by none other than Eric Rowan. Harper did not join in, only watching, much like he did last week when Bray Wyatt attacked Ryback. Whatever is going on, at least Rowan is getting television time.
All the Rest
- Lana came out to give a promo but the only thing she really got to say was, "Please do not cheer for me because Rusev doesn't like it". Or something like that. Then Rusev came out and dismissed her before cutting his own promo about his upcoming U.S. title opportunity against John Cena in an I Quit match. It's official, folks. Lana is the new Sable, a helpless little valet who just wants to be cheered. Excuse me while I throw up, please.
- Wyatt continues to play mind games with Ryback as evident during the Six Man tag match between Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and Ryback and the New Day. And, to paraphrase my man Big E, it is becoming apparent that not only does the New Day have the Brass Ring Club's number, but they've got it on speed dial. That fact aside, I do enjoy how Cesaro and Kidd have incorporated the New Day clap into a "New Day stomp" in the corner, which Ryback happily did as well. The lights going out caused confusion during the tag match and Kofi "Grabbing Dem Tights" Kingston picked up the victory for his team. I clap because New Day rocks. They're winning!
- Naomi worked a tolerable match against Emma, who is a jobber on the main roster. The more I see of the new Naomi, the more I feel as if this has nothing to do with giving her an opportunity and everything to do with giving someone heat to go against the all-of-a-sudden face Bella Twins. Kudos to Naomi for embracing the turn, though. She seems so nice in real life and is very convincing in her role. In ring, however, something is off with her for me. In all honesty, I'd rather Tamina were doing the in-ring work with Naomi as her manager.
- Is it just me or does anyone else think Los Matadores will be future endeavored once the Lucha Dragons get over? Is there really a need for two characterless masked Latino tag teams, especially when everyone watching knows Primo and Epico have basically zero chance of ever being champions? That is the only thing I got from watching these two teams wrestle: One team is here to take the other's spot.
For the most part, SmackDown was SmackDown. Some things happened but not really because this is not RAW and everyone knows that's where the big stories come from. Take away the contract signing and this review would have been much shorter. However, the contract signing was EVERYTHING and totally swayed my rating of the show.
Overall rating: C+
Main event segment rating: A -
Seeing the Architect again: Priceless
That was my take on SmackDown this week, Cagesiders! Agree or disagree in the comment section. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on the show.