The Good, the Great and the Awesome from SmackDown (3/28/14)
Just four days after leaving John Cena beaten and under a sheep mask, Bray Wyatt arrived on SmackDown for a main event date with the World's Largest Athlete, the Big Show.
With just over a week until the biggest match of his career, was Wyatt able to escape Friday night's telecast with a victory, or would Big Show throw a wrench into the charismatic cult leader's plans?
Batista made his return to SmackDown and addressed the fans, Daniel Bryan, Stephanie McMahon and former Evolution teammate Triple H. What would he have to say, and more importantly, what response would The Authority have for the Animal?
The Shield has been riding a tidal wave of momentum heading into its WrestleMania XXX match against Kane and the New Age Outlaws. This week, the trio took on Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal of 3MB as they continue to avenge the beatdown they suffered at the hands of their 'Mania opponents and WWE's top tag teams.
What would Kane and the Outlaws have in store for Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns?
With WrestleMania just nine days away, all of those questions would be answered as SmackDown hit the SyFy network airwaves.
Find out what worked about this week's show right now in the Good, the Great and the Awesome from the March 28 episode of the Friday night staple.
Goldust vs. Fandango
Sure, the match was nothing special, but the mini-feud between Goldust and Fandango heading into the Andre the Giant Battle Royal has made for some entertaining television, especially with the interactions between the golden one and Fandango's dance partner, Summer Rae.
Fandango scored a much-needed win off a distraction from Summer, stopping a downward skid heading into WrestleMania.
No harm, no foul here.
AJ Is in Trouble
At WrestleMania, AJ Lee will defend her Divas Championship against nearly every female performer on the roster, including her friend and bodyguard, Tamina. If the prospects of her leaving New Orleans with her title intact were not bad enough, the fact that Tamina turned on her during Friday's tag match only heightened expectations that the New Jersey native's historic title reign will come to an end on April 6.
With no one to watch her back, AJ will truly be an island onto herself. Whether she can utilize some of the resourcefulness that made her champion in the first place and capitalize on an opportunity remains to be seen. As of now, however, the champion is definitely at a disadvantage heading into the biggest title defense of her career.
The Animal is Unleashed
Sheamus and Batista had a brief encounter Friday night, previewing what could be a fun program down the line, but it was the latter's post-match beatdown of his opponent that earns the segment inclusion in the "great" section of this week's article.
The sunglasses, skinny jeans and designer polo shirts have clouded fans' judgment of Batista, who really needed a strong, violent outburst to remind fans of how dangerous a competitor he can be. While the beating he dealt Sheamus was nothing compared to what Triple H did to Daniel Bryan, it did a nice job adding an edge to Batista heading into his championship bout on April 6.
Showcasing The Shield
Seth Rollins may be the hottest in-ring performer in WWE right now, and he showed why Friday night when he and Dean Ambrose took on 3MB's Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal. Then, on orders by Director of Operations Kane, Rollins and Ambrose picked up a victory in a second match against Ryback and Curtis Axel.
The Shield is surging as WrestleMania quickly approaches, and the group's match with Kane and the New Age Outlaws, should the heels bring their A-games, has the potential to steal the show out from underneath the main events.
The decision to job out Ryback and Axel, who will compete for the Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania, was questionable, but no one really expects them to win the Tag titles on April 6, so it is not as big a booking blunder as it could have been.
Big Show vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt's win over Big Show on Friday night was exactly the kind of win Wyatt needs heading into the biggest match of his career against John Cena at WrestleMania.
Big Show is still protected enough and still treated as one of the elite stars in WWE, to the point that beating him means something. Wyatt planting him with Sister Abigail and picking up a strong pinfall victory over the former WWE and World Heavyweight champion puts him over as a threat to knock off Cena next Sunday night.
There have been a number of criticisms sent Batista's way since he returned to WWE back on January 20. One of them has been his delivery on the microphone, as he's never quite seemed comfortable. That began to change with Monday night's promo, during which Batista insulted Stephanie with some sexual innuendo and was slapped incredibly hard as a result.
Friday night, he continued to find his comfort zone, this time discussing his upcoming match at WrestleMania and voicing his displeasure that his title opportunity is being affected by the addition of either Triple H or Daniel Bryan. He brought up Stephanie and her slap from Monday, stating "of all of my WrestleMania opponents, potential opponents, I think Stephanie hits the hardest. I hope she's not in the triple threat."
This brought out Triple H, who was none to pleased with Batista bringing his wife back into the discussion. Batista responded by telling The Game that the only reason he has the power he has is because of Stephanie. Triple H responded, bringing up the line about the "Reality Era" and warning his former Evolution teammate that he should be less concerned with how he got the power and more concerned with the fact that he does have it.
The meat of the promo, and the purpose of the segment, was for Triple H to bring up the fact that fans had not seen the same Animal they grew accustomed to back in the mid- to late 2000s. The COO asked Batista where that guy was and booked him in a match against Sheamus later in the night.
Bray Wyatt Talks Masks
This week's Wyatt promo centered on the theme of masks and how, when one wears one for too long, it becomes part of them. He said this in reference to Cena, then mentioned how his sword has scarred Cena's soul and that he would slay the giant Big Show with it as well.
More phenomenal work from Wyatt this week.