February 26, 2015
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First In-Ring Segment:
Daniel Bryan comes out to a major reception from the Atlanta crowd. Bryan screams NO! NO! NO!. He reminds the fans that he said no because he was frustrated because he wasn’t getting any opportunities or having anybody on his corner. Bryan said that he was wrong because the people were his biggest driving force to prove his detractors wrong and main event WrestleMania 30. Bryan said most people don’t get second opportunities and he did at Fast Lane. He said that he will not main event this year’s WrestleMania. He said he’s not giving up hope and he has big plans for WrestleMania. Bad News Barrett comes out and says that he has some bad news for him and says that nobody wants to hear Daniel Bryan sob sorry. Barrett says that Bryan shouldn’t have a WrestleMania moment. Barrett brings up Ambrose stealing his Intercontinental Championship. Barrett warns Bryan to get out of the ring and then Dean Ambrose comes out. Barrett and Ambrose strat brawling and Barrett gets the advantage. The Intercontinental Title is left alone in the ring with Bryan. Bryan picks it up and Barrett gets back in the ring and begs Bryan to give back his title. Barrett gets it back and gets knocked down from Dean Ambrose. Ambrose picks up the title and Bryan cheerleads YES! chants.
Josh’s Reaction: Pretty solid segment. Bryan showed alot of heart in his promo and i’m interested in seeing what Bryan does at WrestleMania this year. I digged the Bad News Barrett promo. Putting some bigger spotlight on the title and acknowledging the fact that his title was stolen. Wouldn’t take much out of this segment as far Bryan being included in the Intercontinental Title match picture at WrestleMania. It’s on SmackDown and I just don’t see Bryan in that match. Ambrose and Barrett was decent, but as these road to WrestleMania continues, Bad News Barrett needs to standout. Overall good segment to start off the show.
Grade for this Segment: 84/100 B
First Match: Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz w/Damien Mizdow
Miz takes off his glasses. Lock up, off the ropes and a roll up by Ambrose gets two count. Slam by Ambrose, elbow drop follows and the cover gets two count. To the corner and chops by Ambrose connect. Miz battles back and his the neck breaker combo, and the cover gets two count. Miz works a chinlock, Ambrose works to his feet and escapes. Off the ropes, boot to Miz and then rights follow. Ambrose slams Miz to the corner and lays in the boots. Corner forearm smash and then a bulldog connects for Ambrose. He heads up top and Barrett is out to steal his title back. Ambrose stops him, Miz then tries to hit the skull-crushing finale, but Ambrose escapes and hits the jawbreaker lariat. Barrett runs away with his title as Ambrose hits dirty deeds for the win. Barrett leaves with the title as Ambrose looks on.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Josh’s Reaction: I understood the point of that match. Good on Bad News Barrett point to get his title back instead of making the Intercontinental Championship look like the old-school Hardcore Championship. I wished that the match went a little bit longer I think Miz & Ambrose can put on a reallly good match with each other. It was funny though Bad News Barrett was running for his life.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 78/100 C+
Bad News Barrett Backstage Interview:
Renee Young tries to interview Bad News Barrett. Barrett calls Young a blondie. Barrett says that he’s tired of dealing with that lunatic Dean Ambrose and he has his focus on beating the goat Daniel Bryan tonight. Barrett says that he’s the rightful Intercontinental Champion and he has the title in his clutches and nobody will take this title away from him.
Second Match: Naomi w/The Usos vs. Natalya w/Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Natalya was actually limping to the ring, selling the fall from Raw. Lock up to begin, side headlock takedown by Natalya. Naomi works to her feet, off the ropes and a shoulder block by Natalya. Counters follow, and Naomi with a cradle for two count. Trip by Natalya, Naomi kips up and they have a stand off. Trip by Natalya, but then Naomi with a head scissors takedown. Natalya powers to her feet, spins Naomi around but Naomi gets a sunset flip. Natalya right out, both off the ropes and they collide as they both tried a cross body block. They work to their feet, leg kicks by Naomi to the injured leg of Natalya. The men brawl at ringside, with the Usos getting the better of things. The ref checks on Natalya, who then levels Naomi with a clothesline and scored the win.
Josh’s Reaction: Props go out to Naomi and Natalya. Didn’t have a 15 minute match, but way better and longer than the nonsense on Raw. Really good match between Naomi and Natalya who are severley underrated. Like the inclusion with The Usos and Kidd & Cesaro brawling with each other. It allowed the heel Natalya to play posse on take advantage of Naomi being distracted.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 88/100 B+
Rusev says that the United States Championship is the symbol of a real championship. Rusev says that he’s the true american champion. Lana ask the crowd if they know what a real american champion is? They mocked Cena, noting that Cena was like every other American and gave up when things got rough. Rusev reminded the crowd that he was their American Champion. Lana said she was surprised that Cena wanted more of Rusev, and Rusev said that he doesn’t have to agree to anyone’s terms. Lana then showed a message from Vladimir Putin on the big screen, which was written in Russian. She said Putin praised Rusev as a hero and praising his victory. Rusev vowed to defend the title at WrestleMania against a deserving opponent, one that deserved the title shot. Jack Swagger came out for another beating. Swagger claimed Rusev was afraid of Cena, and that real Americans here surrounded him in Atlanta. Swagger attacked, but got laid out with the superkick and then Rusev applied the accolade to make him tap. The Russian flag dropped as Rusev and Lana celebrated.
Josh’s Reaction: Really good promo from both Rusev & Lana. I think Rusev continues to breakout from the rest of the main roster with his promo’s. Rusev should not be taken for granted or be under estimated. I think Rusev has really proven his detractors wrong and couldn’t be happy for the guy. He made alot of great points he doesn’t need to prove anything to John Cena or anybody. Rusev is the champion he plays to beat of his own drum well maybe Mr. Putin, but you get what I mean. I thought Lana was just as good as Rusev’s. Wonder if Lana is a good wrestler cause if she is oh boy she maybe a way bigger star than she already is. Swagger promo was okay and I understood they wanted to use a old rival to continue to add heat towards Rusev. Rusev continues to be the guy with the biggest momentum heading towards WrestleMania.
Grade for this Promo: 93/100 A
Third Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett
Bryan shoots for and gets a single leg, but then Barrett kicks him away. Knee to the gut by Barrett, sends Bryan to the corner and lays in the boots. Whip to the opposite corner, but Bryan drop toeholds Barrett into the buckle and lays in kicks and then uppercuts. Bryan works the knee and then looks for the surfboard; Barrett fights it off so Bryan does the double stomp on the legs. Barrett fight back with boots and a snap suplex, the cover gets two count. Bryan fires back with some uppercuts and kicks, off the ropes and runs into the winds of change, and Barrett covers for two count. Barrett tosses Bryan to the floor, and Barrett celebrates with the IC Title as we head to commercial. Back from commercial as Barrett works over Bryan in the ropes and then covers for two count. Barrett works a chinlock to try and keep Bryan grounded, but Bryan gets to his feet and escapes for a moment, but eats an elbow to the head.
Counter out of the corner for Bryan, he fires up and lays in the kicks to Barrett and covers for two count. Leg kicks by Bryan, shotgun dropkick connects. He goes for another, but Barrett avoids it and Bryan crashes in the corner. Barrett’s title fell to the floor and gets distracted as he goes to get it. He places it back in the corner and Bryan connects with a running dropkick and then a suicide dive. Back into the ring they go, Bryan up top and Barrett crotches him. Barrett snags up Bryan for wasteland, Bryan counters into the YES lock and Barrett tries to make it to the ropes. Truth then sneaks up on the IC Title and hides it under his shirt. Barrett makes the ropes and Bryan has to break. Sidekick by Barrett follows, and then posts Bryan. Barrett sets for the bull hammer, but Bryan connects with the running knee and pins Barrett. Truth is happy for Bryan, who celebrates his victory. Barrett makes it to his feet and looks for his title, but it has disappeared. Barrett is pissed as he searches for the title and questions Truth about the title. Barrett looks completely depressed now.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Josh’s Reaction: Before I get to the match I just have to say that R-Truth needs to replace JBL whenever JBL leaves the WWE or when R-Truth retires from in-ring competition. I was literally crying on the floor laughing to constant Coach references directed towards Byron Saxton. The match with Barrett and Bryan was really. Very phsyical and good back and forth action probably up there right now for WWE match of the week. I spoke about this on our Raw article and I’m happy while Truth is giving us tremendous commentary at the same time he’s doing something I wish other people from the main roster was doing. Truth is taking advantage of wins that matter no mattter if it’s on Raw, Main Event, Superstars or even SmackDown. If you beat a champion in a non title match you have every right to go face a champion and if you don’t get the opportunity automatically you go out there and you state your claim towards being the contender for the championship you are going after. Really good business and kinda feel bad Barrett does continue to lose these non title matches, but at the same time you have to understand especially looking back at his previous title reigns he’s a heel and his character is over so it’s fine for him to lose matches here and there. Rough night at the office though for one Bad News Barrett.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 96/100 A
Roman Reigns Promo:
Byron Saxton interviewed Roman Reigns earlier in the day. We get highlights of Heyman on Raw, explaining that while he would normally back Reigns that there is no way Reigns can defeat Lesnar. Reigns vowed to train hard and watch tapes to be prepared for the Lesnar match. He then added that he thought about seeking the advice of his family, who has performed on the big stage of WrestleMania, but he likes to do things on his own. Reigns then says that he can defeat Lesnar, and will prove it at WrestleMania.
Josh’s Reaction: I thought that this one of Reigns’ better promos to be honest with you. I like the guy I have no problems with him like everybody else does. Is it too much too soon maybe, but at the same time I’m down with the fact they are trying to make news stars whether people like it or not.
Grade for this Promo: 89/100 B+
Dean Ambrose & R-Truth Backstage Segment:
Backstage Ambrose meets with Truth and wants the IC Title back. Truth gives it back and jokes that there were two title changes on Smackdown tonight.
Fourth Match: Curtis Axel vs. Fandango w/Rosa Mendes
Curtis Axel makes his entrance. Axel says not to turn the channel, and discusses not being eliminated from the Rumble match. He’s the new Rumble Iron Man, being in there 32 days and 7 hours. He even has a countdown clock. He then says he will win the Andre the Giant battle royal and chants AXELMANIA several times. Fandango with a go behind and then eats an elbow. Axel lays the boots to him, and then tosses Fandango over the top rope and celebrates. Axel points to the Mania sign, and Fandango in and rolls him up for two count. Suplex by Fandango, up top, leg drop connects and that is all.
Josh’s Reaction: Not much to say about the match I know if both characters were treated with more seriousness then you would have a better match than that, but I thought it was good comedy attempt from Axel with the AxelMania. Is Fandango a face? If he is he needs to put away this dancer gimmick and go back to being Johnny Curtis.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 71/100 C-
The Miz & Damien Mizdow Segment:
Sandow filming his commercial, and then Miz interrupts and says he has done a horrible job. Miz mocks him and makes bad jokes. Miz tells the director to pick the Miz for this job, and the director says they’d love to use Miz and hands him a script. Miz tosses it and says he doesn’t need it. Miz dismisses Sandow and calls for makeup.
Grade for this Segment: 85/100 B
We found out that Bad News Barrett will defend his WWE Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania in a multiple opponent Ladder Match.
We see the highlight package on Sting that we saw on Raw.
Fifth Match: Adam Rose vs. Goldust
Rose attacks at the bell, taking Goldust to the corner and laying in rights and kicks. Chops follow, off the ropes and Goldust with the uppercut. Chops by Goldust now, to the corner and a snap slam by Goldust follows and that gets two count. Enziguri by Rose, he heads up top, leaps over Goldust, but then Goldust catches him with the final cut and that is all. Post match, a Rosebud dressed as a Monkey attacks Goldust. It’s Stardust in disguise, I am shocked. He beats down Goldust and tosses him into the ring and works him over with mounted rights. Stardust tosses Goldust to the corner and then hits Cross Rhodes and stands tall.
Josh’s Reaction: Can’t say much about the match I like that the WWE is contiuing to have guys make announcements about them participating in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania. I liked the attack from Stardust kinda came out of no where and it’s good story telling and this Gold/Stardust feud continues to be one of the most interesting storylines heading towards WrestleMania.
Grade for this Match/Storyline: 75/100 C
Bray Wyatt Promo:
Bray asks if his words mean anything to the dead man and questions if he hears him. Bray says he is not just a man, he is the serpent, and even the bravest rat can outrun the fangs of the snake for so long. Your ignorance mocks him, how long can you hide from him? Bray would go to the darkest depths to see his face. Time is ticking and WrestleMania approaches, show yourself dead man, “fine me, find me”.
Grade for this Promo: 92/100 A-
Sixth Match: The Authority vs. Erick Rowan, Dolph Ziggler and Ryback
Kane and Rowan to begin. Kane works the arm, side headlock now and then off the ropes and they shoulder block each other and no one budges. Rowan then gets a shoulder block and takes Kane down. Off the ropes and a sack of shit slam by Rowan follows. Off the second rope with the back spinning elbow, and the cover gets two count. Kane slammed to the corner, Ziggler tags in and Kane cuts him off. Ziggler then counters a suplex, dropkick follows and the cover gets two count. Kane takes Ziggler to the corner, Rollins tags in and delivers rights to Ziggler. Off the ropes and a boot by Ziggler, corner splash connects and then the neck breaker follows. Elbow drop by Ziggler, and the cover gets one count. Rollins counters the fameasser, and the roll up by Rollins gets two count. Big Show tags in, applies a cobra clutch to Ziggler and then slams him down as we head to a commercial. Back from commercial as Kane works over Ziggler and applies a chinlock. Ziggler works to his feet, but Kane drops him with a right but then misses an elbow drop. Ziggler fires up, but then runs into a big boot. Rollins tags in and covers Ziggler for two count. Rights by Rollins follow and another cover gets two count.
Tag to Show, head butts to Ziggler follow and then goes for the Vader corner splash. He connects, but Ziggler kicks out at two count. Show picks up Ziggler and slams him to the corner, but runs into a boot by Ziggler. Fameasser connects and both men are down. Kane in, stops the tag for moment as he takes out Rowan, but eats a DDT from Ziggler. Tag by Ziggler to THE BIG GUY! Ryback in and works over Rollins, off the ropes and a Thesz press and slams to the mat follow. Overhead belly-to-belly by Ryback, and then runs into a boot by Rollins. Press into a powerslam by Ryback follows, and looks for the clothesline. That connects, and then he takes out J&J. Shell shock try on Rollins, he also grabs Mercury and has them both up, but Show makes the save. Rowan is back and does the Cactus clothesline, and both go to the floor. A suicide dive by Rollins wipes out Rowan, back into the ring he goes and he heads to the second rope. He leaps off, caught by Ryback and Kane is in to make the save, but Ziggler takes Kane out. Rollins tosses him to the floor and superkicks Ryback. He looks for the curb stomp, Rowan tosses on Noble and that distracts Rollins. SUPERKICK by Ziggler, and then Ryback snatches him up and connects with shell shock, and that is all.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback
Josh’s Reaction: Way better match than their previous one at FastLane. The good guys finally got one over The Authority. Fun match to end a fun edition of SmackDown.
Grade for this Match: 93/100 A
Josh’s Grade for WWE SmackDown: 85/100
Follow Josh Lopez on Twitter @VoiceOfTruth94