Date: March 11, 2022
Location: Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Michael Cole, Pat McAfee
We are rapidly approaching Wrestlemania and the card is probably about half done. There are still a lot of matches left to be set for the card and it would be nice to see one or more of those matches being added this week. WWE has already set up more than a few matches and stories for the show so at least they have something started. Let’s get to it.
We open with a look at Brock Lesnar getting beaten down by the Bloodline at Madison Square Garden, leaving him a bloody mess.
Here is a ticked off Brock Lesnar (who looks perfectly fine and is already back six days after that kind of a beating because taking your time is a lost concept in modern wrestling) who gets right to the point. He doesn’t care about Wrestlemania contracts or WWE Titles (which he throws out of the ring) because all he wants is Reigns’ blood.
Lesnar demands that Reigns get out here but he gets Paul Heyman instead. Heyman says Lesnar wants Reigns….but Reigns isn’t here tonight for Lesnar’s protection. Lesnar: “If Reigns isn’t here, who is going to protect you Paul?” The chase is on (with Heyman running more than he has in years) but Lesnar stops to beat up security, allowing Heyman to escape in a car.
We look back at Sheamus and Ridge Holland destroying Big E.’s ATV.
Sheamus and Holland, still with their sledgehammers, saying they improved the ATV by making it lighter. They want a real fight night tonight and they have someone who wants in on it: Butch, better known as Pete Dunne in a hat (who looks a bit miserable, but that might be Dunne). This is a brilliant idea, because when you have Pete Dunne, a 20 something year old phenom, your best bet is to set him up for Bushwhackers jokes.
New Day vs. Sheamus/Ridge Holland
Butch is here with Sheamus and Ridge. New Day goes after Sheamus before the bell to start so we settle down to Holland taking Kofi down and dropping a knee to the face. Kofi hits a springboard dropkick for two so it’s off to Sheamus vs. Big E. The chase is on and Sheamus catches him with the forearms to the chest. Everything breaks down and Kofi hits a flip dive onto Holland, leaving Big E. to miss the apron splash. A jumping knee drops Big E. and we take a break.
Back with McAfee explaining that we may have known Butch by another name but Sheamus and Holland know him as Butch. My goodness it never ceases to amaze me how this company makes things more complicated than they need to be. Kofi kicks Sheamus down and loads up Trouble in Paradise but a Holland distraction breaks it up. SOS gets two instead with Holland making the save. Big E. misses the dive to the floor and Holland suplexes him ONTO HIS HEAD, leaving him down on the floor. Butch offers a distraction and Sheamus Brogue Kicks Kofi for the pin at 9:25.
Rating: C. The match was pretty good but oh my goodness that suplex was terrifying. These injuries keep happening with Holland and it might be time to take another look at him being in this spot. It keeps happening over and over and that is not something that can continue. What matters is him being ok, because that was absolutely terrifying. As for the match itself, it was hard to focus due to the injury and WWE making Pete Dunne an Oliver Twist cosplayer.
We take a long look at Kevin Owens challenging Steve Austin for Wrestlemania and Austin accepting. It is almost strange to see Austin doing a regular look at the camera promo like this.
Sami Zayn is mad about losing his Intercontinental Title and it is made even worse by seeing a clip of Johnny Knoxville having a banner, featuring Sami’s phone number on a banner. That hasn’t sat well with Sami, but he knows he can overcome Ricochet in his rematch for the Intercontinental Title this week.
Drew McIntyre/Viking Raiders vs. Jinder Mahal/Happy Corbin/Madcap Moss
McIntyre comes to the ring but we see the villains jumping the Raiders in the back. McIntyre slowly walks towards the back and here are Mahal and Shanky to go after him, with Moss and Corbin joining in. That is broken up without much trouble, leaving McIntyre to stare Corbin down. Everyone else gets back up and McIntyre gets caught in the ring, with Corbin laughing in his face. McIntyre fights up and clears the ring, making me wonder why in the world I’m supposed to want to see this match at Wrestlemania. No match of course.
We look at Ronda Rousey beating Sonya Deville last week and then making Charlotte tap out to an ankle lock.
Here is Ronda Rousey for a chat. She is ready for one of the biggest matches of her career at Wrestlemania against Charlotte. Rousey isn’t happy with Charlotte saying she is all about the armbar, because it is like saying Mike Tyson is a one trick pony because he just knocked people out. There are thousands of ways to get to an armbar, but she has spent the last few years refining the ankle lock, as taught to her by her first mentor in wrestling, Kurt Angle.
Cue Charlotte to interrupt, saying that Rousey will be in for the biggest fight of her life. Rousey needs to be worrying about winning on the biggest stage, where she won’t be tapping Charlotte out. Rousey: “Like I already did?” Charlotte calls her a one trick pony so Rousey tells her to bring it, and even offers to let her take off the high heels. Instead Charlotte walks away, with Rousey saying Charlotte is either tapping at Wrestlemania or Rousey is taking her arm home. Talking continues to not be Rousey’s strong suit but she was passable enough here.
We look at Brock Lesnar chasing Paul Heyman off earlier today. Lesnar has left too.
Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura go surfing in their latest Toyota commercial.
Sasha Banks/Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler/Natalya
Carmella and Queen Zelina are watching from ringside as Shayna takes Naomi down by the leg to start. Natalya and Shayna make a wish on Naomi’s legs and Shayna stomps on the ankle. Naomi fights up and makes the tag off to Banks, who comes in with the middle rope Meteora. Banks sends the villains outside and a sliding headscissors sends Natalya into Carmella and Vega’s general direction. Carmella offers a distraction so Zelina can fail at interference, allowing Banks to hit a basement Codebreaker for the pin on Natalya at 3:19.
Rating: C-. I cannot bring myself to care about this title match as it feels like it was thrown together first and then they are trying to make the three teams feel like they matter. They are building up Banks and Naomi after giving them the title shot, much like they are doing with Liv Morgan and Rhea Ripley. It might work if you have strong champions, but that is absolutely not the case with Zelina and Carmella. Baszler continues to be the most “just there” wrestler who could be something more, but that’s WWE for you.
Here are the Usos for a chat. They brag about their 236 day reign as Tag Team Champions, which is almost a year (not exactly) and Roman Reigns’ nearly two year reign as Universal Champion (again, not exactly). Cue Shinsuke Nakamura and Rick Boogs, the latter of whom has a taped up leg and is badly limping. The Usos laugh off the idea of these two wanting a title shot at Wrestlemania, even calling Boogs Peg Leg Pete. They can have the title shot if Boogs can beat Jey right now.
Jey Uso vs. Rick Boogs
Hold on though as Boogs takes off the leg brace and grabs Jey in a vertical suplex, where he kneels down to one knee twice before taking him down. The gorilla press (with eleven reps)….doesn’t do anything as Boogs just drops him down instead of slamming him due to Jimmy’s distraction. Boogs is right back up with the Boogs Cruise for the pin and the title shot at 1:47.
Post match Jimmy breaks the guitar over Boogs’ back to leave him laying.
Intercontinental Title: Sami Zayn vs. Ricochet
Ricochet is defending and hold on a second here as Austin Theory comes out to sit next to Pat McAfee. Before the bell, Theory gets in McAfee’s face and slaps the headset off of his head. McAfee jumps the table, with Cole shouting NOT THIS WAY and DON’T LET HIM GET TO YOU! Some security finally comes out to clear them out, with McAfee leaving commentary. Theory has to be held back and eventually leaves as we’ll have the bell after the break.
We come back with the bell ringing as Cole talks about McAfee going over the line here, because we need a Michael Cole lecture during an Intercontinental Title match. Ricochet snaps off a headscissors to take Sami down but Sami gets in a neck snap across the top rope. Back in and a sitout powerbomb gives Sami two and we hit the chinlock. Ricochet fights up and knees him down before heading up top. That takes too long though and Sami knocks him off the top for a big crash as we take a break.
Back with…actually a look at McAfee vs. Theory, which absolutely needed to be shown full screen during a title match main event. We go back to the actual match with Ricochet reversing a suplex into a hurricanrana for two. The Blue Thunder Bomb gives Sami two and he takes Ricochet up top, only to get punched back down. Sami crotches him on top though and a t-bone superplex sends Ricochet flying. Back up and the Helluva Kick is countered into the Recoil, setting up the 630 to retain the title at 12:46.
Rating: B-. Well thank goodness for that. I was scared that they were going to put the title back on Zayn for the sake of the celebrity match at Wrestlemania, so at least they did something smart for a change. Ricochet has such a track record of inconsistency so it was nice to see them actually letting him stick with it for once. Good match too, which shouldn’t be a surprise.
We cut to the back where Charlotte and Ronda Rousey are fighting next to a car. Security can’t break it up so Charlotte suplexes her onto the car. Charlotte ties up her legs and fishhooks Rousey’s mouth on the hood. One more shot to the face puts Rousey down and she tries to pull herself to her feet to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. There wasn’t much to be seen her in the way of wrestling, which left the show focused on building up stories for Wrestlemania. That makes sense on paper, but then you get to the reality of the matches they have not being very good. Between McAfee and Knoxville being featured players and Lesnar’s big contribution being chasing Heyman out of the arena, this was a show focused on a lot of midcard material. That doesn’t make for a good show and illustrates how much they are focusing on Lesnar vs. Reigns and almost nothing else. They need something else big on Smackdown, and Zayn vs. Knoxville isn’t it.
Sheamus/Ridge Holland b. New Day – Brogue Kick to Kofi Kingston
Sasha Banks/Naomi b. Natalya/Shayna Baszler – Codebreaker to Natalya
Rick Boogs b. Jey Uso – Boogs Cruise
Ricochet b. Sami Zayn – 630
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