A few days after the uninspired firing of Ziggler, Erick Rowan and Ryback, WWE Smackdown rolled into Laredo, Texas. The show opened with ‘The Architect’ Seth Rollings who is on the cusp of a triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble against the stale, but ever-present face of the company John Cena and the ‘Beast Incarnate’ Brock Lesnar.

The Architect (of what, I’m not sure of) celebrated the return of the Authority then mocked the departure of the three baby faces with his battered briefcase in hand, J&J Security in tow by ringing  the ring-bell in memory of their ‘lacklustre’ careers. The best part of this segment being Jamie Noble giggling like a school girl throughout the bell chimes. WWE’s new (unofficial) face of the company Roman Reigns interrupted through the crowd to confront his former Hound of Justice teammate. Unfortunately for Reigns, the confrontation only highlighted how much more developed Rollins is on the mic than the former Shield Superman. There is a sense that Reigns is too scripted at times, whilst Rollins seems natural, with his mumbles off mic and brilliant facial-reactions, he is far superior to Reigns who gave an obscure wink to the camera?! Although, with that said, there is no denying that both former NXT superstars have a fantastic chemistry in ring. Reigns sent Rollins, Noble and Mercury running up the ramp after a little scuffle, however Kane and Big Show came out and announced that there would be a handicap later on involving ‘The Architect’ Rollins & The Big Slow vs Superman Reigns and anyone who he could convince  to team with him. It was a fun opening segment, but anything that involves the Big Slow trying to be intimidating doesn’t really work as he can hardly move his limbs anymore.

Opening segment

Next up came the resident ‘party animal’ against the giant that is Big E. Big E who has recently become part of the team The New Day deserves better in terms of his athletic ability, unfortunately he struggles to connect to the audience, and will probably always be remembered for the shirt that was worn during the hilariously awkward ‘secret admirer’ segment with Kaitlyn. Anyway, to the match – it was rather lacklustre, Big E beat Adam Rose, and thats about it. The real story here was the attendance of the newest, most exciting tag-team of Cesaro and Kidd ring side scouting The New Day. Hopefully Cesaro and Kidd can resemble something similar to what Cesaro and Chris Hero did in numerous promotions using the alias Kings of Wrestling.

– Big E vs Adam Rose

After this short squash came the Legion of Doom, no – sorry, Demolition. Oh, no sorry again, its The Ascension. They beat ‘local athletes’, (they weren’t even announced as local wrestlers). The problem with the Ascension is, they are obviously two talented wrestlers with great chemistry, as they showed in NXT, but the are badmouthing one of the best tag teams in history, the Legion of Doom without accomplishing anything on the main roster. Even worse is that they are comparing their attire with the Legion, this gives them no originality and just squashed their chance of breaking through as they are going to be labeled a poor mans Legion if WWE creative continue with this angle. Furthermore, their claim of being the best tag team ever feels cheap as they are beating ‘local athletes’ who would struggle in a handicap  2-on-1 match against former WCW Champion David Arquette. The Ascension have plenty of potential, but they need to avoid becoming a rip of of the Legion of Doom.

The Ascension vs local athletes.

Naomi vs Alicia Fox happened. There was a decent big corner splash, a colour clash between the orange top and the obscure blue and black checkered tights and pants, and the worst roll-up I’ve seen since Stone Cold broke his neck. Lets move on.

Naomi vs Alicia Fox

A Bray Wyatt promo aired which began with Wyatt talking about his clashes with Dean Ambrose, the passion and intent that Wyatt has in his promos is second to none. The fact that he has overcome the ‘Husky Harris’ chants with this character is a testament to his ability to pull the crowd into what he is saying, especially when what he saying is sometimes so confusing. However, donning the usual hat and psychedelic shirt he stated that ‘Dean Ambrose is just like the rest of them’. Wyatt then declared that he will walk the winding rode to the Royal Rumble match where ’29 others will fall’. The jump-scare of his promos still gets me. His character is so unorthodox interesting which allows him to be one of the best heels in the PG-era, and he wouldn’t be out of place holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship – which is still such a long-winded name of a belt.

Bray Wyatt promo

The WWE Tag Titles were on the line with the Uso’s defending agains the Dust Brothers (Star and Goldust) and the Miz and his stunt double Damien Mizdow. The WWE Tag Team division has been dominated recently by the Uso’s, they are a very proficient and charismatic team who always deliver with their solid in ring skills. Damien Mizdow, again, was the best thing about this triple threat match, he delivers Miz’s move set better that Miz himself, plus he is red hot with the crowd right now. The relationship between Miz and Mizdow has constantly been funny, but not too goofy throughout the latter part of last year, and will hopefully accumulate to a decent altercation between two adept wrestlers – and I hope Mizdow/Sandow brings back the ‘Your Welcome’ phrase. JBL mentioned that he would love to see The Ascension against some of these teams, which helped to gain some of their stock back, however this match involved the current three best teams in the tag division and was probably the best match of the night. The Uso’s picked up the win to retain their titles when Jimmy Uso pinned Goldust.

WWE Tag Title triple treat match.

What happened next was unbelievable, Sin Cara got a clean win over Bad News Barratt. Yeah, thats correct, the New 5-time Intercontinental champion got off to the worst start possible by losing against Cara. This doesn’t bode well of the championship itself, it has slowly being building its credibility again but for some reason WWE creative books its mid-card champions (except Rusev) to constantly lose, and lose against lower card superstars like Cara. Anyway, Cara’s quick offence made this bout entertaining, and he got a pin after the senton. BNB didn’t take the loss well and attacked Cara with his patented Bull Hammer. For me however, nothing Cara does will be as entertaining as his debut botch entrance.

Sin Cara botched entrance.

Sin Cara vs BNB

Up next was the main event which pitted Roman Reigns against Seth Rollins and Big Show. It looked as though Reigns was going to face the two alone, that was until The Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose got involved – for those of who that are wondering about this nickname, Ambrose is paying homage to his home town Cincinnati, Ohio where the main rock station in town since 1980 has gone by the nickname ‘Lunatic Fringe’ WEBN 102.7 – so we all have to get used to hearing Michael Cole say it 37 times a match. The match became a 2 on 2 tag match, however Rollins and Big Show had some help ringside in the form of; J&J security and Kane who was wearing his Sunday best. The three former Shield members kept the pace quick, whilst the Big Slow adhered to his namesake and slowed the pace down to allow a little rest time. Rollins, Reigns, and in my opinion the best of the three Ambrose are clearly the future of the company. They all have their individual quirks, which made the Shield so fresh and dominant, but individually they are all thriving. Back to the match, Reigns hit a double Superman punch on the security team, and then Ambrose went crazy from the top robe to take out the Authority which allowed Reigns to Spear and pin ‘Mr Money in the Bank’ which could be an early indication for a Wrestlemania main event? We will have to wait to see if that transpires.

Main Event

Overall it was a decent Smackdown, however as Smackdown moves to Thursday and the Royal Rumble draws closer, WWE will need to pick its game up to ensure an exciting Rumble, hopefully a couple of legends will appear in the Rumble, and who knows, maybe the Adam Rose bunny will be DDP in disguise? I doubt it.

Smackdown moving to Thursdays.

– DDP Reveal – see 1:48