Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review

Having been away for two weeks, leaving you in the capable hands of Erin and James, I have had more than enough time to reflect on the current state of affairs. You see, SmackDown has a limited roster at this current time and you could be forgiven for believing you’re witnessing the same matches every week, because to be frank, you are. To counteract this feeling of repetitiveness the Creative team at WWE have taken it upon themselves to add in stipulations like extra chairs and two out of three falls to create the false idea that these feuds are going somewhere. Again, to be frank, they are not. So come with me and we’ll be in a world of pure replication as I take a look back at last night’s SmackDown Live.

The real A-listers // wwe.com

This week’s show started with another edition of Miz TV with John Cena as the guest. Miz ordered that Cena’s mic be muted and he proceeded to lambast him for all the times he has stepped in his way on his path to a world title. In what was a very impassioned promo from the Miz he went on to call Cena a hypocrite for calling The Rock out for leaving the WWE for Hollywood when Cena, himself, is in the progression of doing the same. The fans chanting, “you sold out”, which Miz encouraged. In an equally heartfelt rant Cena mocked Miz for bringing up the same criticisms others have and, in fact, wanted to face Undertaker if it would have been allowed. The 16x Champ then accused Miz of infringing upon other peoples gimmicks, naming The Rock, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles as examples. Surely Cena knows all wrestlers “borrow” ideas from others to create themselves?

Will they get married? No, no they wont. // wwe.com

As Cena was about to leave, Maryse refused and said he was half the man her husband is, slapping him in the process. In response Nikki Bella came charging down the ramp before Miz and Maryse escaped. With Nikki threatening to “break” Maryse the stage is set for these couples to go head to head in a mixed tag match at WrestleMania. The match itself may not be golden but the build up in the coming weeks surely will be.

Matches where very little happened:

– The issues between Becky Lynch and Mickie James continue with the pair facing each other in a 2 out of 3 falls match. Why? I don’t know. With the score tied at 1-1 Alexa Bliss made her way to the ring to attempt to interfere on behalf of her ally, James. Yet, the former was knocked off her perch inadvertently by James when Lynch rolled her into the dis-arm-her to score the 2-1 victory. Time will tell but I think there will be two separate Fatal 4 Way matches at WrestleMania for the SmackDown and Raw Women’s Championships.

– Dean Ambrose was scheduled to face Curt Hawkins but hit him with a Dirty Deeds before the match even started. Ambrose, being the whacky guy he is, grabbed a mic and refused to let Jeremy Baron Corbin push him around. You know, because he’s unhinged and what not? Backstage, Corbin assured Ambrose he is going to inflict pain like he’s never endured before. Something I say to your mom on a regular basis.

– Chairs were a legal requirement for a match between Dolph Ziggler and Apollo Crews. Ziggler won because chairs are his best friend at the moment.

The better parts of the show:

Just before the opening titles for the show a backstage segment saw SmackDown management review the footage of last week’s no1 contender Battle Royal. In short, AJ Styles and Luke Harper allegedly hit the ground at the same time resulting in a re-match between the two scheduled for last night. Clearly, it was Harper who hit the ground first but, as I imagine, the creative team needed more time to determine if Harper was “over” enough with the fans in order to allow him to advance to the SmackDown main event at WrestleMania. Despite Styles’ best efforts to convince Daniel Bryan that he should rightfully be in the main event the match went ahead as planned.

“Canonbaaaaaaaall!” // wwe.com

An otherwise brilliant match between Styles and Harper ended in controversial circumstances. After a Phenomenal Forearm to Harper, Styles pinned him for a three count, except, Harper’s foot was on the bottom rope. This went unnoticed by the official who called the match but in stepped the prodigal son, Shane O’Mac, to restart the match in fairness of the correct decision. Enraged, Styles argued with the Mac Daddy Jr. As Harper looked to catch Styles off-guard, the former threw a mean looking kick, that missed Styles and smacked McMahon square in the face. Using the distraction, Styles threw Harper into the ring post and back into the ring. He followed up with a springboard 450 splash and won the match… Again.

The closing segment of the show witnessed Bray Wyatt cutting a promo on the No.1 Contender, Styles, for his WWE Championship. Or so he thought. As the cult leader briefly mentioned the name of Orton the Viper appeared on screen from what appeared to be the Wyatt’s family Villa in the south of France. In a rather dark segment to say the least Orton announced what we had all been waiting for. In a Trojan horse story, Orton was waiting for the right moment to destroy the family from within. Orton, whilst pouring gasoline inside the building, went on to claim he was about to destroy the evil that remains of Sister Abigail, somehow claiming that the mysterious being was buried underneath the floor he was about to set ablaze. It had been his plan all along to become the master which left Wyatt in a hysterical fit of tears. The Viper did his trademark pose in front of the compound as he set it alight when the show faded to black.

Sister Abigail will rise again // wwe.com

This incredible ending to the show was unlike anything we have seen on SmackDown for a long while. The remote location setting gave it the feel of those parking lot scenes of the attitude era. It was exciting and further fuelled the most entertaining story on WWE programming. Though the grand reveal of Orton being a snake in the grass seemed to quick it will more than likely only get better in the coming weeks as it culminates at the Granddaddy of them all on April 2nd.

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver

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