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Smackdown: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Bryan?

By Aaron Wood Feb 5, 2015 - 6:38 PM print

Smackdown opened with Miz TV and The Miz's guest was one half of this year's Wrestlemania main event. And no, obviously not the Brock Lesnar half. Now, I speak of course about Daniel Bryan. Oh yes. He is. He must be. I mean, it's not exactly official yet, but after RAW where Roman Reigns was made to look so weak and bad and then HHH's podcast interview where he essentially said "If Daniel Bryan's fans piss and moan enough we'll sling him in any major show you like", there is only one conclusion. Daniel Bryan is facing Brock Lesnar.

And indeed, on RAW, even after the, frankly, appalling opening segment(s) where Roman was put into a no-win situations either from a character or fan reaction standpoint, there would a clear story to help Roman at that point. Bryan loses to Seth Rollins and thusly, The Authority screws him over and then Roman defeats Rollins to keep his Mania spot. But no, they had Bryan win, which then leaves Reigns in yet another no-win situation. On top of that, they had Reigns lose his first match by pinfall without rhyme or reason to Big Show with no note of it being the case.

Because 1 of 2 things happen at Fast Lane. If Bryan wins, Reigns is shit outta luck. If Reigns wins, the fans will utterly reject the match and him even more than they do now because that's Bryan out of the Mania title picture, and it was bad enough he was going up against the popular-heel Brock Lesnar in the first place. So, the lesser of the 2 evils is that Bryan wins and goes to Mania, while Roman turns heel and hopefully get a good heel push to in some way make up for the complete shitshow that is WWE creative capitulating to inter a guy they didn't want in the picture to fuck up the story they were telling just because Vince McMahon won't just admit he was getting Reigns all wrong in what he was giving him to say

All things considered, Reigns should probably just turn heel right now no matter what. He's getting booed something fierce against bryan anyway. Probably is no matter what against Lesnar. The only logic left in the storyline is to have Reigns be the heel to the piece. May as well make it official. Either way, babyface Roman Reigns is dead in the damn water.

And I mean, if you still don't believe me when I say that Bryan is going to Mania, which one of these scenarios post-Miz TV says "Mania main eventer" build? A mid-show match against The Miz? Or a 3-on-1 handicap match against The Authority, which you then actually win (albeit get beaten down when a certain not-a-babyface-Reigns doesn't save you). Because Reigns got the former and Seattle McBeardy the latter. More on that shortly though.

Also, by the by, the whole internal logic is out of whack of why they set this match up. So Rock got involved at the Royal Rumble and "helped" Reigns to pick up the win, but that wasn't fair and you want a fair winner? Fair enough. If you aren't doing a title match or an Elimination Chamber match, it's best to put the shot on the line as the big prize of the show.

But if that's the set up, why did Daniel Bryan get to be involved? Nothing The Rock did prevented Bryan's victory. Why has Rollins been allowed to get involved, putting aside for a moment the later reveal that this was a ploy by HHH & Steph to pit Reigns & Bryan against each other to manoeuvre Seth into the picture instead? He wasn't even in the match! No, literally only one person had their chances of winning the Royal Rumble diminished by The Rock's involvement. Rusev. On the live Smackdown last week, they did a promo about him being PISSSSSSSED at what happened at the Rumble. So where were he and Lana on Monday?

Anyway, Miz TV... Miz came out with Damien Mizdow, now his PA as of RAW, and had him sit by the announcers rather than in the ring with him. Bryan came out first, followed by Roman Reigns. Who promptly gave Miz the Superman Punch. Again. (This has happened before, if you'll recall). And to be fair to Roman and his babyface reaction, the crowd popped huge for it happening. They very much enjoyed seeing it. They even had a chant prepared. It went "YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!"! Oh wait... Sorry 'bout your damn luck, Reigns.

Reigns said that Bryan thought he was gonna slide right into his spot. But he went through 29 guys to get his Mania main event, and wouldn't mind about going through one more. And he was gonna beat Bryan at Fast Lane. But that said, Roman quite liked the idea of doing it there and then.

Bryan motioned to speak, but then dropped the mic and dumped the chair. But before fists could be thrown, Seth Rollins' music played. he had a bone to pick with both men as Bryan knew as well as the fans did, Seth was on the verge of winning, but thanks to the "coward" that was Roman Reigns, he was screwed. But it didn't matter what happened at Fast Lane or at Wrestlemania, because he still had the future in his hands.

"Told you guys I could make it form the dressing room all the way out here with my eyes shut!"

So in that in mind, he had to inform Bryan that would be facing J & J Security. This amused Bryan until Seth noted that he was in the match as well. After the break, we were backstage with Renee Young as she brought in The Miz. He was angered by what happened, naturally. He complained about not being in the Mania main event while Reigns was. And he'd prove it if Reigns accepted his challenge for later.

And I guess it was accepted, as the match ended up taking place. Miz got to cut a promo in the ring before Roman came out, saying he'd punched Miz out for the last time and told Roman that if he was going to Mania, face someone who had done it. And as it goes, Miz got the jump on Roman, punching him off the apron as Roman was getting in before sending Reigns into the steel steps. Miz continued his assault early when the bell rang, although Miz came back after blocking a charge and then a big boot.

And now it looks like Miz wants to try and play a Bulgarian living in Russia. But alas, Mizdow doesn't have the boobs for it...

The problem is that, really, this went on a few minutes too long. This should have been far more clincial and "easy" than it ended up being for a guy that is supposedly going to Wrestlemania. That said, for a guy who in reality won't go to the Mania main event, this was a perfectly fine match. Personally, I'd have lopped off 3 minutes of Miz offence and given about a minute back in Reigns dominance. Reigns started a comeback, although Miz cut him off, but in a nice spot, where Miz looked for his short DDT, Reigns blocked it and herked him up for the Samoan Drop before the Superman Punch and Spear.

And so that too us later to the main event as Roman's usurper, Daniel Bryan faced Seth Rollins, Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury, the latter pair wrestling in their shirts and slacks. Given that they aren't doing matches regularly, I won't complain about that. That said, what didn't need to happen was them stripping down of their jackets and ties while coming out. Bryan out-wrestled and embarrassed J & J early on, but the trio took control when Rollins pulled Noble out of the path of a corner dropkick.

Naturally, once the heels were on top, the neck was the focus of their abuse. This went on until the three decided to set Bryan up for a Powerbomb by Rollins off the middle rope. However, Bryan turned that into a Frankensteiner and started on his comeback. he took Rollins out with a suicide dive before hitting J & J with a missile dropkick. He hit the kicks to both men until Rollins came in, although he was sent back out again, with Noble following right after. This left Mercury, but when Seth ran distraction on the running knee, Joey got a roll up for 2. However, Bryan turned that into the Yes Lock for the submission win.

Bryan scooted out the ring before the numbers game could catch up with him. However, while the number in the ring were evaded, there was another number still backstage to worry about as Kane came out and attacked Bryan. Kane brought Bryan to the ring for the sacrifice, where Kane hit TWO chokeslams on Bryan before Seth instructed them to set Bryan up for the Curbstomp, which was duly delivered, the heels celebrating as the show ended.

"I got the message from Justin Roberts. He's ordered us to choke him with your tie..."

And Roman Reigns was nowhere to be seen. Which doesn't exactly make him a cheerable babyface. Sad thing is, no-one was actually chanting for him to come out and help. They've begged for Cena to do it at times like that. Nope. Nothing for Roman. Then again, given that Cena never helps anyone either, maybe, just maybe, Roman will be the next big career babyface after all...

So that was 2 matches. The rest of the show was purely another 5 of the things. The other "main" match was the opener, which was a tag team match, which saw the dysfunctional pair of Goldust & Stardust taking on what looks like the new team of Dolph Ziggler & Ryback. You know how they are a new team? Dolph has a weight belt with "The Lil' Guy" on it. So The Big Guy & The Lil' Guy! they got to cut an inset promo where they essentially said that The authority could keep dishing out the punishment as they were going nowhere. Ziggler said that as for Goldust & Stardust, it was too bad that THEY were too good. Ryback said "Feed US More".

This match pretty effectively served it's two masters. Getting Ryback & Ziggler going as a tandem, working well in a couple of spots and doing some stuff that suggested they were still gelling, particularly both of them going for something on a downed Stardust. The Dusts then took control during the break and worked over Ryback.


Ryback came back and was able to tag in Ziggler. Ziggler was in control until a Beautiful Disaster saw them both down. Goldust wanted the tag, and he got it in the form of getting slapped in the chest, before Stardust took a hike. The distraction to Goldust allowed Ziggler to hit a superkick, serving Goldust up for the Shell Shock to give the new duo a win.

After having been embarrassed on RAW by The Bella Twins when they spray painted Paige with what was called "spray tanner" but was clearly black spray paint, she had a rematch with Alicia Fox on this show. Before the match, she spoke with Renee, showing that she didn't wash all of it off her, saying that she didn't get embarrassed easily, but she was on Monday. But she was pale and not a conformist, but she would embarrass them when she beat Nikki.

Like all people from Norwich, Paige doesn't wash...

Alicia took control of the match by summarily dumping Paige to the floor, with a nasty looking landing leading to an 8 count. But as with most of the matches on this show, it didn't last all that long and soon Paige made her comeback and won by tapout with the PTO as the Bellas watched on a monitor backstage.

Now, while that was something of a follow up to what happened on RAW, the rest of the show played out pretty much like "What should have happened on RAW". For instance, Rusev was supposed to face Erick Rowan in a match on RAW, but what happened instead was Rowan got his ass handed to him before the match could get started. This time however, the match happened.

See Miz...That's how it's done...

It went as you would expect. Rowan started hot, Rusev took control, Rowan came back with power moves, but Rusev kicked out the leg from under Rowan when he was raining in some mounted shots before hitting the superkick and locking on The Accolade, forcing Rowan to tap out, leaving the hold on for a short while after the bell to seemingly send a message to Cena. And the flag blew down properly this time...

Also on the show, Dean Ambrose was supposed to face Curtis Axel in a match on RAW, but what happened instead was Axel got his ass handed to him before the match could get started. This time however, the match happened. Hey, if they are going to do the same angle twice on the same show, I'm gonna write the same thing twice.

Curtis Axel was in the ring, once again complaining about how he wasn't eliminated from the Royal Rumble match. Of course, what everyone who smugly says that (and further, claim Axel technically won it) like that have a point fail to take into account is that Axel didn't enter the match (and you can't say spots haven't been stolen like that before) and that a second man was never eliminated from the match either. Roman Reigns. Not that it's done him much good. Anyway, Axel was in the ring claiming he should be heading to Mania and wanted to get #Axelmania going.


So suffice to say when Ambrose came out, while Ambrose got on offence for a short time including tossing Ambrose over the top rope, Ambrose would end up winning pretty quickly after Axel distracted himself by staring down Michael Cole. After the match, Bad News Barrett appeared on the TitanTron. On the monitor behind him was written BNZ. You know, like TMZ. And that's because he had breaking news. Ambrose wasn't getting an IC Title match because he was too much of a lunatic.

The other match on the show was actually, essentially, a repeat of something that happened on Superstars. No, seriously. It's one thing to mimic RAW. That's the A-Show. It was another to follow stuff up from Main Event. That was in the middle at the time. BUT SUPERSTARS?!?!?! Not only do I not know what day that is on now, so this could actually have come first) but also, that's essentially an International only show.

Ha! And they said they made me worse when they made me a flamenco dancer!"

Anyway, what happened on Superstars was that Adam Rose was set to face Fandango, but when he did the crowd surf, the Rosebuds ended up dropping him, and then he lost the match to Fandango when it happened. So on Smackdown, they were set to have a rematch (or maybe pre-match). But once again, The Rosebuds tumbled to the floor when Rose fell back onto them, and then, after beating them all up, Fandango won in a short match after hitting "The Last Dance", which is his top rope leg drop.

Dolph Ziggler & Ryback def. Goldust & Stardust
Dean Ambrose def. Curtis Axel
Fandango def. Adam Rose
Roman Reigns def. The Miz
Rusev def. Erick Rowan
Paige def. Alicia Fox
Daniel Bryan def. Seth Rollins, Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury in a 3-on-1 handicap match

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JG col

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