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May 08, 2015

Your WWE SmackDown rundown: Seth Rollins gains the edge as the last man standing

Wrestling WWE
050815_smackdown_WWE Smackdown/WWE

This week's SmackDown took place in Ottawa.

After a huge Monday Night Raw in Montreal, WWE traveled to the Canadian capital of Ottawa to continue the road to Payback, WWE’s next pay-per-view. Just over one week away, Payback’s Fatal Four Way main event took center stage on SmackDown as the contract signing took place with all members of the match being involved.

Also, we had a good tag-team match between two under-appreciated teams before the main event, a handful of good backstage promos from each of the participants in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Fatal Four Way at Payback, and a little dissension among Los Matadores, which was somewhat surprising. And, yes, there were plenty of Cinco de Mayo jokes to go around, however ridiculous they may be. It was a pretty entertaining episode, and didn’t feel as boring as some of the most recent episodes have been.

Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:

We officially have the first main event in WWE pay-per-view history in which all three former members of The Shield will be involved, as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins, and former partners Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose will vie for the championship along with Randy Orton. The WWE was rumored to want to wait until next year’s WrestleMania to put all three Shield alumni in a Triple Threat main event for the championship, but it's seemed to pull the trigger sooner with Orton added to the mix.

I still think Ambrose remains the odd man out in this match and ultimately takes the pin, but there are rumors floating around that we could see a Shield reunion at Payback with Reigns and Ambrose both turning on Orton, becoming heels with Rollins. I don’t hate the idea, but I’m not sure if that would do Rollins any good. He’s been gold ever since his heel turn last June, and putting Reigns and Ambrose back with him might water him down a bit since he’s already saddled with the bad Authority storyline.

It only took five or so minutes for Kane to introduce all the superstars in the Fatal Four Way match at Payback for the contract signing, but I think putting this in the main event segment of SmackDown was a good idea, simply because of the predictability of it all becoming one giant train wreck. And it delivered.

Ambrose called dibs on the table after setting it up in the corner before throwing Mercury into it in the corner in a somewhat funny moment after Mercury slid down the table back onto the mat. Then, all hell broke loose. The four superstars each hit moves on the inside and outside of the ring before Rollins got the better of everybody and stood tall in the ring with his championship to end the program.

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The new WWE King of the Ring, Bad News Barrett, opened the show in the ring with the longest-reigning king in WWE, Jerry Lawler. Of course, Barrett had to act like a bully to Lawler before Dolph Ziggler appeared to try to put Barrett in his place. Like clockwork, the match was turned into a tag team match with the same booking WWE uses almost on a weekly basis – one superstar interferes, another comes in for the save, book tag match. It’s become the go-to lazy booking decision when WWE is trying to fill up television time. While I love all the talents involved, this was nothing more than a way to fill space. Neville was probably the only superstar to benefit from this match because he needs the television time the most. And Barrett loses – again – on television, and again after winning a tournament where he is now billed as the King of the Ring. This company is not afraid at all to have Barrett lose and lose some more.

Tyson Kidd and Cesaro continue to get loud cheers from the crowd, so Thursday night their partner was Ryback in a Six-Man Tag match. We got this beautiful trifecta of suplexes before Bray Wyatt distracted Ryback and co., leading to a New Day victory.

Yeah, that was also a cool move. Kidd and Cesaro are really growing on me, as is The New Day. I’m not sure if it’s just fool’s luck, but I’d love to see a series of matches for the Tag Team titles between both teams before their feud ends.

Lana continued to undergo a character change on television, and pleaded with the fans to not cheer for her because it angered Rusev. Not a few seconds later, Rusev’s music hit and he stormed to the ring and ordered Lana to go backstage, exactly like he did on Raw Monday night before cutting a promo on United States Champion, John Cena. Rusev promised he would get revenge on Cena and take back the United States championship, and that he would meet face-to-face with Cena for a confrontation this Monday night on Raw.

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Match rundown

     • Dolph Ziggler vs. King Barrett ended in a disqualification after Sheamus interfered and attacked Ziggler. Neville ran down to save Ziggler and a new match was made – a tag match including all four superstars.

     • Dolph Ziggler and Neville d. King Barrett and Sheamus by pinfall after Ziggler pinned Barrett via the Zig Zag.

     • Luke Harper d. Fandango by pinfall via a huge clothesline. Erick Rowan appeared and came down to the ring after the match, only to assault Fandango. Hopefully this will reunite the former Wyatt Family members as they’re both in need of some heat.

     • WWE Tag Team Champions, The New Day d. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Ryback by pinfall after Kofi Kingston pinned Kidd via a schoolboy.

     • Naomi [with Tamina Snuka] d. Emma by pinfall via the Rear View. Both Naomi and Tamina then attacked Emma after the match and Tamina gave her some Sweet Chin Music.

     • The Lucha Dragons d. Los Matadores by pinfall via a small package in a pretty entertaining match. Los Matadores showed some dissension after the match.