WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 4
Every week on Bleacher Report, I take an in-depth look at SmackDown to recap the action, offer analysis and grade the matches, segments and anything else that takes place on the show. I also provide some predictions on the direction of storylines.
This week's show was light on the action and heavy on the WrestleMania content, but a lot of what we saw was new, which kept things interesting.
The only two matches featured Dolph Ziggler taking on Titus O'Neil and The Real Americans taking on Los Matadores.
There was plenty of the same videos we have been seeing for weeks, but a few interviews really helped push the matches the Superstars were involved in.
Let's get right into the action with Dolph Ziggler taking on Titus O'Neil.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Titus O'Neil
This was an interesting pairing. These two have had very little interaction with one another, and a feud between them might be something fresh. But this was probably a one-off match.
One clear miscommunication led to a slightly botched fame-asser, but Cole recovered nicely by making it seem like Titus meant to avoid it.
Other than that, this was a solid match. Titus had control for most of the bout, but Ziggler had little flurries of offense here and there and he managed to hit the Zig Zag out of nowhere to pick up the win.
Ziggler sold well for Titus, but the big man held his own in the ring. Titus could be a very entertaining heel if WWE allows him to let loose a bit more, but ever since his turn he has toned it down.
Some notes from the match:
- When Titus ran into a pair of boots from Ziggler he went down like a ton of bricks. I think he caught it a little more than intended.
- Titus is very good at making the fans part of the match by talking trash to them.
- It's hard to tell if Titus was supposed to avoid the fame-asser or not, but it looked sloppy regardless.
The Real Americans vs. Los Matadores
We have seen this matchup many times before, so there were no high expectations going in. Luckily, this match ended up being very good.
Los Matadores and The Real Americans were given a lot of time, allowing just about every move in their collective arsenal to be hit at one point.
Cesaro was especially brutal early on with a series of uppercuts in the corner that would take a normal man's head off.
The Real Americans controlled a lot of the match and ended up getting the win. They looked very strong in this match, and seeing them win the titles on Sunday would not be a shock.
The Usos haven't had the belts all that long, but WWE might want to throw a few title changes our way at WrestleMania.
Some notes from the match:
- I honestly have no idea which Matador is Diego and which one is Fernando. I can tell the Usos apart because Jey has a tattoo on his chest, and the Bella twins can also be identified very easily, but Los Matadores are an enigma.
- It was surprising to see the heel team control most of the match and get the win. The crowd seemed like they were into both teams, which always makes for a fun show.
- Antonio Cesaro is such a throwback. He would have done extremely well in the '70s or '80s.
Hulk Hogan Promo
This was all very typical Hulk Hogan stuff. If you like him, you enjoyed his promo. Likewise for the reverse.
Hogan did his duty of promoting WrestleMania and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with his usual enthusiasm.
Hogan looks good for all he has been through with his back issues, but don't expect him in the ring anytime soon.
Some notes from the Segment:
- Hogan said "Brother" four times.
- He said "Maniacs" three times, but he never said Hulkamaniacs.
- Hopefully Andre's Battle Royal lives up to all this hype. Maybe WWE felt they owed us for the way the Royal Rumble ended.
WrestleMania has gone from a one-night pay-per-view to a week-long convention. It's a huge deal to the host city when it comes to pure revenue.
Throughout the show we were sent over to Renee Young and Jerry Lawler, who were at the site of WrestleMania XXX with their own giant desk right in front of the main Axxess area.
Renee Young is a natural behind the table. She deserves a chance to announce on Main Event so that her talents can be heard by more of the WWE fanbase than just the NXT audience. The way she played off Jerry Lawler made it seem as if they had been working together for years.
The best parts of the coverage were the new video packages and interviews that hyped WrestleMania. Much of the content had not been shown before this episode of SmackDown, which made the lack of much live wrestling more bearable.
Among the best segments were Randy Orton being interviewed by Booker T, and The Shield giving an interview about their match at WrestleMania.
Both interviews were spliced with music and the footage setting up these matches, but they did not feel like the standard video package. They were well-edited interviews, which made them much more interesting.
Both Orton and The Shield played it calmer than usual. They were portraying more realistic versions of these characters outside the ring, and that gave their words more weight.
The Batista interview was also a highlight. Booker T and Batista discussed how the fans reacted to his return, and him winning of the Royal Rumble, in a very real conversation.
The match at Mania was hyped, as it should be, but all these interviews felt much more genuine than the average backstage promo.
Overall Grade for WM30 Coverage: B+
Final Thoughts and Predictions
Even though we only had two matches, this was not a bad show as a whole. Both matches were entertaining, but a lot of the new WrestleMania hype content was very interesting.
It's easy to understand WWE's logic in the way they booked SmackDown. Having just a couple of matches, a big speech from Hogan and lots of WrestleMania coverage was a good way to promote the event.
Instead of the usual Post-Show, we were treated to an hour-long special about the legends of WrestleMania with Michael Cole leading a panel of JBL, Mick Foley and Ric Flair. This was an interesting show and worth a look if you have the WWE Network.
Ric Flair got extremely emotional after watching a video package about himself and then talking about his retirement. You can tell that he really loves the business.
There was obviously an NXT exhibition match happening behind the panel, which made for a few funny sounds while they were talking.
WrestleMania is going to be huge. WWE has a chance to make the fans very happy or very angry. It will be interesting to see which way they go.
This week's predictions will all be about the outcomes of WrestleMania matches.
Predictions for WrestleMania XXX:
- The Usos will retain their titles in the fatal-4-way match on the Pre-Show.
- Naomi will win the Divas title in the 14-Diva match.
- Daniel Bryan will defeat Triple H.
- The Shield will defeat Kane and The New Age Outlaws.
- The Undertaker will defeat Brock Lesnar.
- Bray Wyatt will defeat John Cena.
- Dolph Ziggler will win the Andre Battle Royal.
- Daniel Bryan will win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
What are your predictions for WrestleMania XXX?
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.