The Good, the Great and the Awesome from WWE SmackDown 5/16/14
The May 16 episode of SmackDown has come and gone, and the spotlight was shined brightly on the continuation of the John Cena-Bray Wyatt program.
Cena accepted Wyatt's challenge for a Last Man Standing match before turning his attention to Erick Rowan, who Wyatt handpicked to face the leader of the Cenation in the night's main event. Despite a valiant effort by Rowan to win one for his "family," Cena overcame the big man's onslaught and scored a victory to end Wyatt's week on a sour note.
Elsewhere on the show, Sheamus and Cesaro picked up dominant victories while Dolph Ziggler had Batista reeling before a cheap low blow brought his momentum to a halt.
With Payback right around the corner and half of the roster in Europe, WWE presented an entertaining broadcast, even if it was lacking in star power.
What was the best of the best from Friday's show?
Find out now!
Damien Sandow has been on an epic losing streak since failing in his attempt to cash in Money in the Bank back in October. He has lost to comedy midcarders, been humiliated and embarrassed in quick squashes against more established stars and has largely been at the bottom of the barrel in terms of importance.
What must be very real frustration on the part of the performer is bleeding over into storyline. Sandow portrays a wrestler who believes he is being held down and punished by management.
He has attempted to speak his mind and air his grievances, but Sandow has had the microphone cut off on him twice. Comparisons will be made between Sandow's promos and CM Punk's famous "pipebomb," but Sandow is not quite the talker the former WWE champion is, and his words sound like they are scripted.
That said, it should still be interesting to see what Sandow has to say when given the opportunity, and this storyline could ignite a flame under him that carries the Superstar to the next level of competition.
The Swiss Superman destroyed R-Truth Friday night, collecting another win as he continues his dominant 2014.
Truth is at a point in his career where he is much better suited for putting young talent over. Given that he is still a popular midcard star with a solid catchphrase, he will remain over without being negatively affected by the defeats.
One cannot help but wonder where Cesaro is headed with Payback right around the corner. Is he primed to face Rob Van Dam in the culmination of their feud, or is a match with Sheamus for the United States title in the cards following the events of last Tuesday's match on Main Event?
One thing is for certain: It feels as though he has lost a bit of momentum since WrestleMania. Simply having Paul Heyman as one's manager is good enough to help him get over with the audience, but creative must maintain Cesaro's push or he will fall by the wayside the same way Ryback and Curtis Axel did.
John Cena vs. Erick Rowan
The main event of this week's show was a great battle between two powerful Superstars.
Rowan, who often finds himself criticized for being the lesser of the three Wyatt Family members, was particularly impressive and wrestled a very competent match against the top star in the industry. A unique worker who uses different power holds and moves than most other big men, Rowan shined in his first real singles opportunity.
Cena did an excellent job of making Rowan look great while remaining true to his Superman-like character.
Cena's win gives him a second straight victory over The Wyatt Family this week, setting the stage for what should be entertaining payback from Bray and crew this Monday on Raw.
The Usos vs. The Brotherhood
The slow heel turn of Cody Rhodes continued on SmackDown. He used cheap shots to try to deliver a win for his team but ultimately was on the receiving end of the top-rope splash for his troubles.
The Usos scored a big tag team victory and continue their dominant title reign, but Rhodes comes one loss closer to his breaking point. A match that may seem largely irrelevant may, in the long run, prove to be incredibly important for Rhodes and his future.
Dolph Ziggler wins again!
WWE's resident "Showoff" continued his winning ways Friday night, scoring a big disqualification win over Batista.
Sure, he was left lying in a heap by the end of the segment, but he still managed to escape the week with three consecutive victories and the greatest winning streak in wrestling (which means Brock Lesnar will return Monday night to conquer said streak and give Paul Heyman something new to brag about).
In all seriousness, Ziggler has been the recipient of so many start-and-stop pushes over the last two years that it is hard to get overly excited about this latest tease. Still, any time someone who works as hard as the former World Heavyweight champion does is given the opportunity to have a fairly successful week, his longtime fans are likely to rejoice.
His performance against Batista Friday night was very good and helped The Animal have one of his better matches since returning. From a logic standpoint, the fact that Batista had to resort to a low blow just goes to show how much of a threat he perceived Ziggler to be. As a result, fans see him the same way.
Whether Ziggler can continue to garner momentum and maybe step up in the wake of the Daniel Bryan injury remains to be seen. If this week is any indication, however, he is more than capable of doing so if given the opportunity.
The Sheamus character has been the subject of much criticism over the last two years, most of it directed at his comedic nature and lack of character development. As fans witnessed Friday, however, one way to rehabilitate the character's image is to have him tear through the competition.
Titus O'Neil ran his mouth prior to his match against the Celtic Warrior, drawing the ire of the audience. Once the bell rang, however, he was felled with a Brogue Kick and had his shoulders pinned to the mat in quick fashion.
The Brogue Kick is one of those finishing moves that can be executed from any position and can pop a crowd in the process. The creative team could easily help Sheamus recover by booking him as a no-nonsense competitor who unleashes his finish in short order.