WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 25
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 featured many storylines, but in the end, it was all about The Shield.
The trio was set to take on another 11 Superstars in a handicap match, but before the match started, they had taken out six of their opponents to make their odds much better.
Even though The Shield dominated throughout the night, there were more highlights that made the show enjoyable, including a promo from Bray Wyatt and a match between Cesaro and Jack Swagger.
Let's get right into this week's show with the opening segment involving a debate between Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman.
Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman Debate
The opening segment featured a debate between Paul Heyman and Zeb Colter. Why this had to involve Vickie and two podiums is kind of a mystery, as a simple confrontation in the ring would have been just as effective.
It started out with Colter saying Cesaro turned his back on The Real Americans, and Heyman responded by saying his client broke the streak at WrestleMania.
They traded barbs until things broke down, and we saw Heyman and Colter nearly come to blows. The segment was entertaining enough, but I expect these two great managers to have more interaction in the coming weeks.
Some notes from the segment:
- I forget. Who broke the streak?
- This might have been better had it gone on for just a bit longer.
- WWE did not post this video on YouTube, so instead you get to watch Fandango get put through two tables.
Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro
This was a fantastic match featuring two of WWE's most technically gifted Superstars. Literally everything looked good.
These two developed a great chemistry as a team, but they seem almost tailor-made for each other as opponents. They both have incredible power, a wide variety of signature moves and a throwback style.
WWE was smart to give them as much time as it did because they put on a great show. Cesaro got a big pop with the Cesaro Swing and picked up the win with a Neutralizer.
The Shield came out after the match and put Swagger down, who was supposed to be in the 11-on-3 handicap match later in the show.
Some notes from the match:
- The spinning springboard uppercut Cesaro hit was a thing of beauty.
- So was the one he hit off the top rope.
- It's cool that the crowd is beginning to chant for the Cesaro Swing.
- These two need a match at Extreme Rules. This feud deserves it.
Tamina vs. Natalya
There was a lot of physicality in this match, but the longer it went on, the more mistakes we saw.
It began with a nice exchange of mat wrestling, but the only thing that saved the match was some clever editing from WWE's production team.
It's too bad that the two Divas with the best pedigrees and some of the best skills between the ropes never seem to have a good match.
Some notes from the match:
- Nattie's handspring into Tamina's superkick would have looked really cool if it was performed better.
- I already miss AJ.
Jey Uso vs. Curtis Axel
This is probably the best Axel has looked in a singles match since he won the IC title the night he debuted under his new name.
Seeing him actually get a singles win was cool, but the match itself was fun to watch regardless of who won.
This could have gone on longer and been a much better encounter, but the time they did have allowed them to have a very physical match.
Both members of Rybaxel have picked up singles wins over The Usos recently, which makes their feud with The Usos seem like it could actually end in a title change. Time will tell.
Some notes from the match:
- I love how as soon as the bell rang, they were trading hard right hands immediately.
- It's a good sign that the crowd will chant for The Usos without either brother leading them.
The Wyatts vs. Cody and Goldust
Bray Wyatt delivered a promo from inside a steel cage before the match took place, and it was his usual nonsensical awesomeness.
After a break, we saw Cody Rhodes and Goldust take on Erick Rowan and Luke Harper.
I expected more from this match, but that is on me, not the people involved. The Rhodes brothers have been performing at such a high level for so long that when they have a match that doesn't feature a bunch of exciting spots, it falls short.
The fact that it wasn't a show-stopper did not mean it wasn't a good match. The chemistry between the two teams was there, they just needed more time to make this go from good to great.
Goldust accidentally knocked Cody off the top rope, distracting him long enough for Harper to hit a huge clothesline on Goldie to pick up the win.
Some notes from the segment and match:
- I think Rowan has been using the same mask for awhile now. It is getting so beat up.
- At first, I thought WWE was relying on the singing a bit too much with Wyatt, but the more he does, and the more the crowd participates, the better it gets.
- Cody and Goldust's new ring jackets are pretty cool.
- WWE appears to be building toward the Goldust vs. Cody feud we thought we would get at WrestleMania.
The Shield Turns into the nWo
Throughout the night, we saw The Shield systematically eliminate many of the men who were supposed to face the trio in the main event.
These segments all added up to an outstanding story that started in the first match and lasted through the end of the show.
First they took out Jack Swagger, who did not have much chance of surviving the onslaught from the moment The Shield entered the ring.
Then the Hounds of Justice took out 3MB in a backstage fight that was violent and entertaining.
Brad Maddox was also taken out despite not being in the match, but he took one of the hardest hits of the night when Roman Reigns threw him into a brick wall as hard as he could.
And finally, Fandango was taken out with a triple powerbomb off the stage through two tables. Even though you could see the crash pad under the tables, it was still a great spot.
All these attacks reminded me of the early days of the nWo, when Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan would randomly appear and destroy everyone, but this time we don't have the ego of Eric Bischoff to eventually ruin things.
Some notes from the segments:
- Did anyone else laugh really hard when Dean Ambrose attacked Maddox behind the couch? Somehow not seeing what he was doing to Maddox made it more brutal.
- Roman Reigns' little dance to mock Fandango was funny, but the look on Layla's face when she saw The Shield behind Fandango was priceless.
- The way Heath Slater and Roman Reigns stared at each other while Rollins and Ambrose took out the other members of 3MB made Slater look like a bad teammate. Why wouldn't he even attempt to help his buddies? Was he that frozen from fear?
The Shield vs. Whoever Is Left
Michael Cole told us that Curtis Axel was found beaten up backstage during The Shield's entrance, meaning the Hounds of Justice took out more than half their competition before the match even started.
The main event was a lot of fun, and it made The Shield look stronger than ever.
The remaining opponents were Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Ryback, Titus O'Neil and Damien Sandow. Barrett ended up taking off before everything broke down, which was the right play to keep him looking strong as a contender for the IC title.
The Shield picked up the win with ease, but that didn't stop the group from decimating everyone once the match was over.
Some notes from the match:
- The Shield remind me a lot of DC Comics' Suicide Squad in a lot of ways: They are bad guys who sometimes do good things.
- Roman Reigns is like Bronze Tiger, Dean Ambrose is like Shrapnel and Seth Rollins is like Deadshot.
- Have The Shield ever had a bad match? I can't think of a single time the trio didn't entertain everyone in the building.
Final Thoughts and Predictions
This was an above-average episode of SmackDown for a lot of reasons. Almost all the matches were solid, but it was the storyline development that made the show great.
Bray Wyatt's promo, The Shield taking out everyone and the developing feud between Jack Swagger and Cesaro were the major highlights of the night.
Extreme Rules is shaping up to be a great show. Hopefully WWE can live up to the hype it has built for itself.
- Cody and Goldust will continue to have communication issues, but it will be a while before they break up.
- Evolution will get the better of The Shield on Raw next Monday.
- Layla and Summer Rae will have a fight soon. Maybe not a match, but at least a fight.
- Stephanie's apology to Daniel Bryan on Monday will involve Brie Bella in some way.
- Vince McMahon will return to WWE TV right before or right after Extreme Rules.
- John Cena will get the better of Bray Wyatt before their match.
What did you think of this week's SmackDown?
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter: @BR_Doctor.