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Smackdown: Yes, Actually Reviewing The Pre-Mania Show This Year

By Aaron Wood Mar 27, 2015 - 7:47 PM print

So, this week, for the last 5 years, as Smackdown has been screwy and taking place from Wrestlemania itself, I've been allowed the indulgence of doing a little themed column, making up a Wrestlemania based on an idea, be it celebrity involvement or the shortest Wrestlemania time wise. I did have an idea for this year, but it's not going to happen. Simply because I've been way too busy and tired and to put in the leg work for it.

But basically it was "UNDERRATEDMANIA", because frankly, for whatever reason, a LOT of people are very much sleeping on this year's show. It's going to suck! It will be a bad show! The card is terrible! Wah Wah Generic Daniel Bryan Isn't King Of The Universe Complaint Wah Wah Wah! But frankly, the card is pretty damn good, using the same figures, I'd be hard pushed to come up with a better one. Sure, the build has not been the best. Quite poor a number of weeks, actually, but that doesn't equate to Sunday being bad.

By the way, just on a side note, this will be the fifth Wrestlemania Daniel Bryan has been at. And how many title matches has he been involved in at those five Manias? Five. Indeed, only him facing HHH last year before going onto win the WWE Title keeps it from being that ALL his Mania matches were title matches. Not even Hulk Hogan can boast a streak like that.

Anyway, I think this year's show is going to be just spiffy. There's a lot to look forward to. HHH & Sting should have a great match. First time we've seen Undertaker in a year so we want to see how he looks and moves. And now that the streak is gone, him summarily winning is no longer a given. I think he will win, but it's just as possible Wyatt will. I'm very much looking forward to Cena vs. Rusev. The ladder match will be very likely gangbusters and IF Finn Balor is the one advancing form this NXT Tournament (this is being written before that happens), THAT ENTRANCE at Mania. Don't care if he wins it. Don't care if that is his main roster debut and he's hanging around. That entrance. At Wrestlemania. Fuck. Yes.

My only wonder about it is that, logically speaking, it's a very babyface-win heavy show in the main matches. There's 4 babyfaces to three heels in the ladder match, and I suspect Bryan is winning that. Orton should get his revenge (again) on Rollins in theory. And if there's a Mania cash in to be done, the guy cashing in usually loses to set it up in a "He's been on the show and lost so the fans won't expect him out again..." sort of way. Undertaker should win. If it's not the NXT guy, then chances are Ryback wins the Battle Royal. Or Sheamus if he returns here (although I suspect it will be on Monday and as a heel). Cena should finally vanquish Rusev and do the old Captain America thing. That said, I can see Rusev getting the win back again at Extreme Rules. Undertaker very probably wins. Sting definitely wins.

And there's a babyface winner in the main event. Be it Brock Lesnar who is treated like a babyface, or Roman Reigns who is the actual babyface. Or is there? Because the idea that they pull a Mania X7/Survivor Series 2002 deal where Heyman drops Lesnar like a bad habit and sides with Reigns has been picking up momentum. Especially now as Lesnar needs something to do as he's hanging around.

Just a word on Lesnar, if I may. I find it humourous that Lesnar re-signing with WWE was celebrated like it was and acted as if it were a major coup. Now, in theory, this is entirely right. It was a major coup and should be celebrated that he's staying with WWE and not going back to MMA, as it very much seemed like it would. That was, until Lesnar flat out said that he WAS going back to MMA, had been training for a couple of months for it and then realised that he didn't have it mentally anymore and was staying with WWE's huge offer (to remain part time). You know, flat out admitting that WWE was his second choice career move and wasn't good enough for MMA.

And the cognitive dissonance between when Lesnar does and (more often) doesn't show up still amuses me. It's all tongue-baths and praise for him when he's around, but if he's not around for a few weeks (especially if no-one is acting like he's Pootchie and asking where he is) and it's all "The champion is never on TV! There's been no defence this month, way to de-value the belt!"

Anyway, the fact that he's staying certainly adds a big wrinkle to the finish of the main event, as if he was going or even if he wasn't confirmed as staying, the ONLY finish the WWE could do was a clean Reigns win, no matter the reaction. Now? There is some doubt. That said, I would still go with Reigns. Losing probably does irreparable damage to him and I've always been an advocate for sticking it out. And let's face it, what everyone is hung up about isn't really Roman Reigns. He's just the cipher for Vince's promo writing, and he's giving Roman shit to work with.

So yeah, personally, I think Wrestlemania is going to be very good. Might not be X7 good, but very much worth your time. And yeah, it means I'm actually reviewing the final Smackdown before Mania this year. Shame that it meant nothing. It was recorded on Monday after RAW and the arena segments amounted to three parts. The only really half-way important one of these came halfway through the show when AJ Lee came out for a promo. We had seen her and Paige's rocky partnership dissolve on RAW thanks to Bella meddling.

She said we had seen AJ for a long time. She's been a Diva. She's been a GM. She's been a whore everyone's girlfriend. But most importantly, she's been the longest reigning Divas champion of all time. She loves the title, but so does Paige. And The Bellas had a plan Monday and it worked. Now, she was going to fight The Bellas on Sunday. Only question was, was she doing it alone?

Paige came out to give her answer. She said AJ wasn't fooling anyone. It'd been nearly a year since she beat AJ for the title, and she doesn't want Paige to have it back. AJ said she wanted it, but as far as Sunday, they had to be on the same page. Paige wondered if AJ was just gonna screw her over. AJ said she hated losing, and so did Paige. So they could not let "The Kardashians" win. Paige agreed, suggesting they ditch the "frenemies" thing and become tag partners.

Someone needs to tell Paige to stop sucking lemons before she goes out there...

Nikki & Brie came out. Nikki said they didn't care what AJ & Paige wanted to call themselves as they had a bond that Paige & AJ could never have. Yes, Nikki has done hurtful things to her. But Brie had forgiven Nikki and they were sisters. Nikki said she prayed AJ never won it again because she would never defend it. Hell, she's worked few shows that Brock Lesnar this year. And Nikki had been running this town while AJ was on holiday sipping virgin margaritas. Brie said everyone wanted to be a Bella.

AJ mockingly agreed before Paige said they preferred to be the freaks, geeks misfits and oddballs. And the ones unafraid to be themselves. AJ promised to kick their ass. Nikki said she preferred not labelling herself, but what she was going to do was to offer them out to a fight there and then. She was held back by Brie before Nikki said "We'll see you bitches at Wrestlemania". It was fine enough, but not as great as it was made out to be. Seems by #GiveDivasAChance, all some folks meant was a promo segment where they said "bitches" and could reference Brock Lesnar.

There were 2 matches on the show, opening and closing. The opener was a Fatal Four Way match featuring a guy from each tag team involved in the Tag Title match on Sunday, namely Jimmy Uso, Big E, Cesaro & Fernando. The announce team here was just Cole & Lawler in the first two man booth in a LONG time. Big E dominated early before he ended up outside with Cesaro. Fernando hit a suicide dive onto them, only for Uso to dive out onto the trio.

Uh, dude, we're outnumbered here? Where the hell is Kofi???

They had a nicely unique take on the "tower of doom" spot as Cesaro grabbed Fernando for the suplex over the ropes. Uso joined Cesaro on the middle rope to help. Big E then grabbed Cesaro & Uso to German suplex them both. Fernando hit a combo DDT & Downward Spiral on Big E & Uso. Cesaro caught a missile dropkick from Fernando and swung him around before catapulting him into Uso and then Langston. Cesaro wanted the Neutralizer on Big E, but Fernando gave him a Backstabber. Big E scooped Cesaro up for the Big Ending, but Uso superkicked him, so Cesaro took the Big Ending in the process. Fernando got dumped out and Jimmy hit a Superfly Splash off the top onto Cesaro for the win. Fun match.

The main event saw a bunch of guys get together for an 8-man tag as Roman Reigns, Mark Henry, Daniel Bryan & John Cena (yes, Cena showed up on Smackdown and it's the most meaningless one of the year) against Big Show, Kane, Bray Wyatt & Seth Rollins. Roman started the match for his team against Seth Rollins, and had a bright start of it, including run against Wyatt & Kane. Big Show tagged in, but at this point, Henry wanted in and Reigns was happy to oblige. Unfortunately for his team, this proved to be a bad move on Henry's part as the heels took control of things.

Cena tagged in during the break and was going to work on Wyatt, but Kane ran distraction, and this allowed the bad guys to retake control of the match. Cena managed to create some separation he backdropped a charging Rollins out of the ring, managing to make a tag to Daniel Bryan to bring him in for the first time in the match. Bryan ran wild on Rollins until J & J got involved, allowing Seth to get the drop on him and hit an enziguri. Big Show tagged in, but after knocking Roman off the apron, Reigns came back and hit the Superman Punch as he lined up a chokeslam. He then speared Wyatt & Kane. Roman splashed Show, Henry splashed Show, Cena hit the AA and Bryan finished him off with the running knee. The show ended with the victors celebrating Daniel Bryan-style.

"So...I'll probably be hearing you all do this when I face Brock on Sunday..."

The rest of the show occurred from Wrestlemania Fan Axxess with Renee Young & Byron Saxton essentially throwing it to hype videos and other things. They showed Brock Lesnar's announcement on ESPN that he was staying with WWE, a really neat video intertwining the history of the IC Title and the ladder match at Wrestlemania. The best of these, in my opinion, was the one for Bray Wyatt & Undertaker. Awesome hype video.

Jimmy Uso def. Cesaro, Fernando & Big E in a Fatal Four Way match
Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, John Cena & Mark Henry def. Seth Rollins, Big Show, Kane & Bray Wyatt in an eight-man tag match.

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