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The Wyatts' Big Week Gets Bigger
March 30, 2014

by PyroFalkon
Master of the PyroFalkon Multimedia Empire, Incorporated
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I've said in precaps before that I always aim to talk about non-wrestling stuff in these italicized sections, but I have to be honest: other than my slow-going but kickass strategy guide for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 on IGN, my entire week has been all about wrestling in general and WrestleMania in particular.

I blame the WWE Network, which I finally managed to find time to enjoy. I forgot how amazing professional wrestling can be when done right. I just wanted to show my girlfriend Undertaker/Shawn from WrestleMania 25 since she'd never seen it (blasphemy!), and that turned into a marathon of specific matches and moments that I had either missed or wanted to relive.

I also happened to pick up WWE 2K14 since I got my tax refund finally, which features a “30 years of WrestleMania” mode. My knowledge of WrestleMania is somewhat lacking: I never watched any WrestleMania prior to 9 (except for the Savage/Steamboat match in WrestleMania 3), and I skipped a bunch during that period where I had fallen out of wrestling for about five years. I think some time, I'm going to marathon all WrestleManias... say, 30 days of 30 WrestleManias, something like that. It'd be a fun month.

I have a bunch more thoughts on all things WWE, especially the network, but I don't have a tremendous amount of time tonight. I still have to finish my WrestleMania preview column, which will be on the site in lieu of a SmackDown recap next week. Let's roll...

Segment 1: It's Batista out to start the show tonight, once again wearing his grandpa hat as he hits the ring. Bats is salty that we begged him to come back ever since he left, but now that he's finally back, we're booing him. It pisses him off, and he's not sorry about it.

He kicks it to a replay of Monday, when Stephanie McMahon slapped him, and he speared Randy Orton to get out his aggression. Bats finds it funny that he speared Orton, but is sure that no one is going to be laughing after WrestleMania once he wins the WWE World Heavyweight Title... and he's not worried about any of his potential opponents, since Stephanie totally hits harder than any of them.

Triple H then hits the ring, all smiles. The guys passive-aggressively bicker about the upcoming match, especially since they have a history together. Bats points out that Trips has never beaten him; Trips counters that that was a long time ago. In the intervening years, Trips has still been in WWE, while Bats has been “getting his feet rubbed by his assistant in Hollywood.” Trips wonders if Bats even still “The Animal,” since he's not really accomplished anything since he's been back. (I'd argue that winning the Royal Rumble should count, but whatever.) So Trips is going to give Bats a chance to show us what he can do by booking him against Sheamus tonight.

Segment 2 [Tag Match]: The Shield (w/ Roman Reigns) defeats 3MB (w/ Heath Slater) by pin. Pretty much an extended squash, Seth Rollins and Jinder Mahal get started, and Rollins has all the offense. Quick tags keep Mahal contained. Mahal gets a break after a few exchanges, and he keeps Rollins a very time-compressed face in peril sequence. Five seconds later (it seems), Rollins gets a hot tag. Ambrose destroys everyone and doesn't look back, concluding with his finisher, the “Dirty Deeds,” which is a front Russian leg sweep essentially, just with some extra theatrics. [Ed. Note: I always thought it basically a bulldog/side-Russian combo. And more importantly: with that, both the non-Reigns members of the Shield got names for their finishers in the same week. Coincidence? I think not.]

Post-Segment 2: Immediately after the match, Kane's pyros go off, and our Director of Operations pops out flanked by the New Age Outlaws. Kane says that he and the NAO will so totally kick their asses at WrestleMania, and they won't have to ambush them... unlike what Shield did to their next opponents.

Wait, what? Looks like they've got a second match... against Rybaxel. After ads, of course.

Segment 3 [Tag Match]: The Shield (w/ Roman Reigns) defeats Rybaxel by pin. Another extended squash, we come back from commercials as the match is in progress. Ambrose is beating the hell out of Curtis Axel. It doesn't last long as Ambrose is flung into the heels' corner, where they cut the ring in half. About a minute later, Rollins gets the hot tag and cleans house, taking Axel to school. During the sequence, Axel had a prayer as he flung Rollins to the apron but held on. Axel tried a spear just to send him to ringside, but Rollins dodged it, then did one of his trademark physics-breaking enziguris, allowing his foot to get over the top rope despite the fact that he was basically facing the opposite direction. That was followed by a suicide no-hands plancha to both heels, then another physics-breaking enziguri, followed by a curb stomp. [Ed. Note: Tsk tsk. Now it's the "Peace of Mind." Or possibly "Piece of Mind," if you want to get punny.]

After the match, The Shield stares straight at Kane and company, then sends a message by Reigns hitting Ryback with a Superman Punch and a triple powerbomb.

Segment 4 [Singles Match]: Sin Cara reverse-squashes Damien Sandow by flash pin. This match existed so WWE could pimp its crossover cartoon with Scooby Doo. That is a sentence that should not be.

Segment 5: Renee Young interviews Big Show, who says (in a super-serious voice) that the Wyatt Family is so totally intimidating. See, Show is facing Bray Wyatt tonight, and his punchline is awful: “I guess [because they're intimidating] I have a giant problem on my hands. But, then again... so do they.” Ugh.

Segment 6 [Singles Match]: Fandango (w/ Summer Rae) defeats Goldust by flash pin. Early offense by Fandango, with a few hope spots by Goldust. All the offense is pretty calm and nothing noteworthy, though it seemed they went for rest holds way too early. Goldust's hope sequence took the fight outside, where Summer Rae tried to run interference. It didn't quite work out at first for her, but she did slow him down as he tried to get in the ring. That delay allowed Fanny to quickly roll him up and win. Lame finish, subpar match.

Segment 7 [Singles Match]: Sheamus defeats Batista by disqualification. Bats with chickenshit heel tactics to start out, so he's able to take advantage with a cheap shot kick. From there, Bats goes punchy-kicky as he starts the heel beatdown sequence. Sheamus gets a breather and hits the 10 of Clubs, followed by a running power slam, which is pretty impressive on a guy Batista's size. However, Sheamus can't hit the Brogue Kick since Bats bails to the time keeper's area. When Sheamus goes to follow, Bats whaps him with a chair.

Bats continues the assault and even chokes Sheamus with the chair, then flings him face-first into the ring post, which Sheamus sells like a gun shot. Bats drags his unconscious body to the ring, then hits the Batista Bomb. JBL points out that that sequence will be totally legal in a triple threat match.

After the match, Bats gets a mic to declare that he is so totally going to win the title at WrestleMania. Deal with it.

Segment 8: Bray Wyatt says a bunch of crazy shit.

Segment 9 [Tag Match]: The Bella Twins defeat AJ & Tamina by pin. Subpar match overall, but the Bellas brought their ring-capable selves this time.

Brie starts with AJ, and the Bellas have all the offense early. Nikki soon takes a tag and her opening move is a rebound enziguri, which isn't a thing I realized Nikki could do. Nikki in fact gets all the offense until Tamina tags herself in behind Nikki's back, and Tamina levels her with a Samoan Drop. AJ tags back in there, but isn't able to keep Nikki contained, so Tamina tags back in and beheads Nikki with a clothesline.

Nikki then makes the hot tag, and Brie contains Tamina. The crowd doesn't really care until Brie starts screaming at the top of her lungs, which totally works; a middle rope missile dropkick works even better. AJ bitches out Tamina for not doing better, so Tamina shoves her, forces a tag, then shoves her into the ring. AJ is offended, and Brie puts her down with a sit-out facebuster.

AJ cries for a moment, then looks sadly at Tamina, who just glares back. Hm.

Segment 10: In an “early today,” Santino Marella and Emma had a date. Emma, finally breaking her silence, says that Santino is totally just a friend. Santino tries to tell her that she's hot, but instead spits wine all over her then vomits, thankfully off her and off-camera. Pretend this funny, and pretend harder that you give a shit!

Segment 11 [Singles Match]: Jack Swagger (w/ Antonio Cesaro & Zeb Colter) defeats Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) by pin. Swagger gets one power move in, then gets thrown out of the ring on his ass, and Jimmy follows up by a flying dive over the top rope, following by a flying cross body from the top rope. Good lord, I wish I had his energy.

Jimmy continues the beatdown, even doing a top rope corkscrew dive, which is nuts coming from a dude that big. But when Jimmy tries the running hip check, Swagger counters with a low spear to the knee. Swagger then applies the Patriot Lock, and Jimmy can't break it.

The whole match lasted under two minutes, but this is a very rare instance of the crazy pace being for the better.

Cut Scene: Michael Cole pimps WWE 2K14 and says it's awesome for getting into the whole WrestleMania thing. I'm a little scared that he retroactively read my mind.

Segment 12 [Singles Match]: Mark Henry defeats The Miz by pin. Domination by Henry early, but when he tries a Samoan Drop, Miz slips it and goes for leg kicks. From there, it's all leg-targeted offense to keep Henry cut down to size. Once Henry is able to defend against that, he goes back to the power and keeps Miz contained to pretty much no crowd reaction.

When Henry tried a second rope splash, Miz rolled out of the way, then went back to the leg. He wanted a Figure Four, but Henry pushed him off and leaned against the top rope to get a breath. Miz ran over and dumped him over the top rope, then pointed to the WrestleMania sign: looks like Miz can totally eliminate him at the battle royal!

...Or not, since Henry responds by pulling his ass out of the ring and flinging him into the steps and the barricade. Henry stops selling the knee entirely, throws Miz back in the ring, and hits the World's Strongest Slam.

Segment 13: As Rick mentioned on Monday, the latest inductee into the Hall of Fame will be Razor Ramon... the gimmick, not Scott Hall, for some reason. [Ed. Note: I'm STILL baffled by this, since even Paul Bearer's induction video included acknowledgement of his blonde/Percy Pringle past, instead of pretending he never existed outside of WWE. The best excuse I've heard is that WWE intends to one day induct the nWo/Outsiders together, and he'll be "Scott Hall" there. So if that's true, brace for "Diesel" getting inducted as a singles, some day, too.]

Segment 14 [Singles Match]: Bray Wyatt (w/ Wyatt Family) defeats Big Show by pin. Bray opened the match by trying a cheap shot off a distraction by Luke Harper, but that didn't work at all. The fans started in with a halfhearted “Let's go Wyatt!” chant. Show ignored it and shoved Bray out of the ring, and he took a rather sick and violent fall since he went through the ropes and didn't catch himself. His brothers checked on him, but he seemed fine.

Bray got back in the ring and immediately got his ass handed to him with punches, headbutts, and other power moves. Bray was able to get in some attacks and even take Show down. Bray hit his hip drop, but when he went for the pin, Show powered out by pretty much flinging him across the ring. Bray took some distance and did his crab walk, but he took so long that Show was able to behead him with a clothesline.

Bray brushed it off though and whipped Show to the corner, then charged twice. He hit the first, but Show tried to counter the second with a big boot. Bray caught the ankle though, then dropped down to hyper-extend the knee with his shoulder. Bray followed up by a running jumping forearm.

Rowan then jumped up on the north apron for no reason, so referee John Cone went to deal with him. It gave Harper a chance to kick Show's face off from west ringside. Bray then picked up Show, hit the Sister Abigail, and made the pin.

Holy shit. Bray gains some massive credibility from that, and they work on the creepy factor by crawling and posing over Show's body.

Final Thoughts: Except for the main event, I couldn't help but feel this one was a phoned in episode, as if WrestleMania was this Sunday instead of next Sunday. Nothing really happened here... well, and the AJ/Tamina situation furthered, which is fine. But otherwise, this one was a real snoozer and not worth watching.

I'm done for the night, especially since I'm wiped out and need to hit the sack early. I'll let Rick drop and editor's note here about UD's fate in the Elite Eight [Ed. Note: nah. Why relieve bad memories?], and otherwise I'll see you next week for my WrestleMania preview column!

Episode Grade: C-


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