WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 11

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2014

WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 11

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    Credit: WWE.com

    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.

    We are still less than a week out from WrestleMania, but a lot of the energy created by the event has gone away, and we are starting to get back to normal.

    This was quite possibly the biggest week for wrestling news in many years, for reasons both happy and sad. The best things we saw were Daniel Bryan winning the title and Cesaro joining Paul Heyman.

    The Undertaker's streak finally coming to an end was unexpected and controversial, but Warrior's passing was the worst news of the week.

    SmackDown was filmed before news broke about Warrior's passing, so WWE was only able to put up a graphic, but Michael Cole spoke while the grahic was on-screen and said Raw would be devoted to Warrior's memory.

    Let's take a look at what went down on SmackDown this week.

John Cena and Bray Wyatt

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    This was a fantastic way to start the show this week. John Cena recapped literally every big event from WrestleMania and Raw in just a couple of minutes before he gave one of the best promos he has given in a while.

    Cena looked straight into the camera and talked about being the measuring stick in WWE. Cena finally embracing his status as the top guy in WWE will let him be a little more cocky in his promos.

    Cena got big because he was brash and straight forward. He turned into a pretty repetitive talker for a few years, but now he seems to be back on the right path.

    If WWE won't turn him heel, then this is the next best thing.

    Soon we saw The Wyatt Family come on the big screen, and they made it clear that things were not done between them and Cena.

    Luke Harper spoke more words on WWE television in this promo than he has in any other promo before. He really showed a lot in a very small amount of time.

    Bray Wyatt did his usual awesome job, and the way he implied that he will work harder to bring out the monster in Cena makes it pretty obvious that they will be in a very brutal match at Extreme Rules.

    Grade: A

    Some notes from the segment:

    • It's hard to tell if the crowd was on Cena's side or if editing was involved, but he had quite a bit more cheers during his entrance.
    • Luke Harper is so much better than he is allowed to be right now. Wyatt is the star of the group, but Harper has been making sure he stands out with innovative offense and increasing mic time.
    • Wyatt's singing and the arm waving are really catching on. Sometimes the crowd can't help but love a heel when they are as good as Wyatt is. We've seen it with many heels in the past. They start getting babyface reactions and eventually they just become one.

Cesaro vs. Big Show

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    In a match that was better than expected, Cesaro proved that he is capable of just about anything. Big Show is the largest Superstars in WWE today, and Cesaro got him up for the Neutralizer. We were robbed of a Big Swing by Jack Swagger's interference, but we will likely see it if they have another match.

    Big Show broke up the Patriot Lock and knocked Swagger from the ring, but Cesaro wasn't as thankful as you would think.

    Paul Heyman delivered a promo during Cesaro's entire entrance, so there was no music used. Cesaro will probably debut a new entrance song soon, but having Heyman just talk during his entrance would actually be pretty cool.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the match:

    • JBL asked, "What did you do to get Cesaro to leave Zeb Colter?"
    • Heyman responded: "I explained to him that my name was Paul Heyman, and he signed instantly."
    • Heyman is so good on the mic that it almost seems strange that he couldn't get Curtis Axel over.
    • The clean handshake in the beginning of the match was a nice touch.

Los Matadores vs. Rybaxel

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    This was a decent match with one exception that I will phrase in a question: How is El Torito diving onto Ryback during the match not an automatic disqualification for Los Matadores? The ref was staring right at him.

    But it all worked out in the end. Rybaxel got the win when Axel hit his finisher on one of the bull fighters to pick up the victory.

    Rybaxel have developed into a good team. Axel's technical skills mesh well with Ryback's power like so many other tag teams we have seen in the past. They aren't as exciting as some of the other teams yet, but they are getting there.

    Grade: C

    Some notes from the match:

    • Seriously, how were Los Matdores not DQ'd immediately? That's just poor officiating and booking.
    • Axel's finisher is terrible. He does it well, but it's almost as bad as the Killswitch, which I still argue is the worst finisher in WWE today. Christian is awesome, though.
    • JBL bounces between liking El Torito and hating him too much.

Damien Sandow vs. RVD

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    RVD's return is great and all, but without a storyline or feud, what's the point?

    This match was entertaining enough. The pace never really slowed down, and Sandow looked like a halfway credible heel again, but he still got the loss.

    Sandow's booking is such a mystery. This is guy who used to get mic time two to three times a week and won the Money in the Bank briefcase. Now he doesn't even get to talk during his entrance.

    While the match was good, there just wasn't anything to get excited about.

    Grade: C+

    Some notes from the match:

    • Missing the standing moonsault from the apron to the floor is a risky move for anyone but RVD.
    • RVD might be the biggest offender of having "Five Moves of Doom."

Hulk Hogan and Daniel Bryan

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    This is one of those segments that is kind of fun to watch on TV but is way more fun in person.

    Hulk Hogan came out to talk about WrestleMania and then brought out Daniel Bryan. Bryan gave Hogan a bunch of compliments, and then they both did Hogan's signatures poses to the crowd with Hogan's theme song playing.

    This segment felt a little forced, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

    Grade: B-

    Some notes from the segment:

    • Hulk Hogan said "brother" five times in the first minute.
    • Seeing Hogan still get massive responses from a very judgmental WWE audience is great. The crowds have become so opinionated in recent years, and they often don't like an old-timer coming back, but Hogan will always be welcomed in WWE.
    • Am I the only one who finds it funny that the graphic of Bryan with his belts shows him with the bandage on his shoulder?

Kofi Kingston vs. Bad News Barrett

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    This match had a great opening and a great finish, but the action in the middle was pretty ordinary stuff for these two.

    Barrett grabbed a mic after the bell, and Kofi tried to come at him only to get a straight right to the face from Barrett.

    Kofi was going for Trouble in Paradise when Barrett took him out with the Bull Hammer right as Kofi was coming around for the kick.

    It's great to see Barrett back in the ring getting wins over solid midcard stars like Mysterio and Kofi.

    Grade: B

    Some notes from the match:

    • Barrett seems to be having fun with his new gimmick. There is a little pep in his step, and he smiles a lot more.
    • Barrett's new cape is pretty sweet, I think. I don't know what constitutes a cool cape.

Fandango vs. Santino

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    Fandango is done with Summer Rae and has moved on to Layla. It's hard to tell if this is an upgrade or a downgrade.

    This was a quick match that saw Fandango pick up the win with a roll-up after Layla stole the Cobra from Santino before he could use it.

    Grade: C-

    Some notes from the match:

    • Is JBL being serious? Is "Twerking" really a word in the dictionary now? Now I'm just depressed.
    • Why did Santino smell the Cobra when Fandango threw it back to him?
    • And why did he make Emma smell it?
    • WWE has called up two Divas in the past couple months with Emma and Paige. The Divas division is getting pretty big. I wouldn't be shocked if a few of the less successful Divas were released to free up some space.
    • The trend has always been that there are cuts made after WrestleMania, and with all the recent call-ups, it seems more likely now than ever.
    • The crowd already forgot about Fandangoing again.

The Usos and Daniel Bryan vs. Kane, Batista and Randy Orton

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    The main event of the evening was a solid outing by all six men, but The Shield stole the show at the end by saving Daniel Bryan from a Chokeslam through the table and delivering a Triple Powerbomb to Kane while Randy Orton and Batista watched from the ramp.

    The Usos were taken out before The Shield intervened, so they were not part of the celebration that closed the show, but they got in their usual dose of exciting maneuvers.

    WWE is really capitalizing well off the popularity of The Shield and Daniel Bryan. I have a feeling we will be seeing all four of them for many years.

    Grade: B+

Final Thoughts and Predictions

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    This was a good episode of SmackDown. Nothing close to the caliber of Raw, but it was a decent show for an average Friday.

    One of the bigger highlights of the night was the Neutralizer Cesaro delivered to Big Show. JBL is right when he says Cesaro is, pound for pound, the strongest athlete in WWE.

    The segments featuring Daniel Bryan with Hulk Hogan and John Cena with Bray Wyatt were entertaining, and the main event had an exciting conclusion.


    • Summer Rae will not turn babyface just because Fandango broke up with her.
    • Rybaxel will be involved in the next tag title match.
    • At least one Superstar will wear Warrior-style face paint on Monday.
    • Langston or Ambrose will lose their titles at Extreme Rules.
    • Paige will drop the NXT women's title at the next set of tapings.

    What did you think of this week's SmackDown?

    Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.