The Good, the Great and the Awesome from SmackDown 6/6/14
Monday Night Raw ended with the shocking betrayal of Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns by Shield teammate Seth Rollins. The brutal assault of those two men, set up by someone they considered a brother, sent shockwaves across the wrestling world.
How could Rollins perpetrate such an underhanded backstabbing?
More importantly: Why would he do such a thing?
Fans hoped they would get their answer Friday night as SmackDown hit the airwaves.
With Triple H by his side, Rollins would address the WWE Universe. Would the men, women and children watching around the world get the answers they so desperately wanted? Would either Ambrose or Reigns make an appearance?
Fans would find out the answers to those questions.
Elsewhere on the program, Bray Wyatt returned to WWE television for the first time since losing to John Cena in a Last Man Standing match at Payback—an instant classic. With egg on his face and the need to win back favor with those who believed in him to end Cena's reign over WWE, Wyatt would surely have plenty to say.
The Usos were in action, Rusev looked to add another name to his list of conquered Superstars and Alicia Fox tried to rebound from her disappointing night at Payback by taking on Natalya.
Relive and review SmackDown now with the best of the best from the June 6 show.
The Usos vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
If the year ended right now, the Usos would be contenders for the title of wrestler(s) of the year. The quality of their work since January has been consistently great, and Friday night on SmackDown, they wrestled another quality match—this time against the rapidly improving RybAxel.
The villainous team had the WWE Tag Team Champions on the ropes, but Jimmy and Jey fought back en route to a hard-fought victory.
The brothers will now turn their attention to Luke Harper and Erick Rowan of the Wyatt Family, who are assuredly in the championship hunt following their non-title victory over the twins Monday night on Raw.
Where that leaves Ryback and Axel is a bit of a mystery. The team has grown exponentially over the last two months and has developed some truly impressive chemistry. There is a great deal of potential with RybAxel, an old-school wrestling tag team that shows shades of the underrated early-'90s duo Power and Glory.
Whether that potential is ever realized via title push or not remains to be seen.
Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett vs. Cesaro
The Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental Championship was a match that, based on quality alone, probably deserves to be in the "Great" section of this slideshow.
At some point, though, the story has to catch up to the in-ring action. Otherwise, fans are left with a bunch of really good matches between really good wrestlers for no real reason at all.
Sure, Cesaro attacked Barrett and Van Dam to set this one up, but why were any of these guys fighting with one another in the first place? They were fighting over championships, but was their conflict any deeper than that?
There is absolutely no storytelling or character development going on with any of the three guys involved Friday night—or with Sheamus, for that matter. As a result, the company is running the risk of killing any heat those competitors—especially Barrett and Cesaro—may have built since WrestleMania.
Big Show Fails to Adapt
Regardless of how he has been portrayed so far in 2014, the fact is that Big Show is a multiple-time WWE and World Heavyweight Champion. The 7'0", 425-pound giant's monstrous stature and Hall of Fame resume makes it all the more meaningful when The World's Largest Athlete is taken down.
Friday night on SmackDown, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton felled the giant, leaving him lying in a heap following a vicious assault.
It was exactly what the new-look Evolution needed to make a statement and prove to fans that Rollins and Orton, two men who had been heated rivals as early as five days ago, could work together and be extremely dangerous in doing so.
Cementing the group as a force of nature following two straight pay-per-view losses is key. Rollins' air of danger and unpredictability should give Evolution the element it was sorely lacking.
Bray Wyatt's Promo
The Reaper of Souls returned to SmackDown after Sunday's loss to John Cena and referenced Sister Abigail in doing so.
"She used to warn me about this evil place," he said. "Those sharks, they are the ones that are going to help you realize that death is real."
"There's nothing left to fear. Brothers and sisters, I am reborn. Join me," he ended, a look of joy on his face.
What being reborn means for the character and anyone he opposes in the weeks and months to come remains a mystery. For now, it should be interesting to see in what direction the character heads and if a potential babyface turn awaits.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins
The opening match of the night was a stellar display of athleticism as Rollins and Ziggler tore the house down.
Ziggler, who is presented as a main-event star on SmackDown but an also-ran on Raw, nearly upset the former architect of The Shield on several occasions, a fact that was backed up by tremendous facial expressions and body language from Triple H.
Ultimately, Rollins scored the win following a strong corner powerbomb and the Curb Stomp, but Ziggler again proved his ability to work the a variety of competitors, regardless of wrestling ability or star power.
Why the company continues to book Ziggler like a top star on SmackDown but not on Raw is absolutely perplexing. He has risen to the occasion so many times when paired with guys at the very top of the card. But regardless of his performances in those matches, come Monday night, he is back to laying down for guys like Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro or Bad News Barrett again.
Rollins, on the other hand, is off to a hot start with his heel turn. He cut a promo, wrestled a great match and was treated like a star. Half of any great push is the fans' willingness to accept a wrestler as a star and as long as the company keeps pushing him as such, he should have no trouble.