May 22, 2015
WWE ran this week’s edition of SmackDown at the Norfolk Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va., and Payback was completely in the rear-view mirror. With another pay-per-view coming next Sunday, WWE has turned its sights to building that card into what could become an event to remember in 2015.
Storylines were furthered Thursday night, and we had entertaining matches to send us into the second full week to build toward Elimination Chamber. Looking back at March and how abysmal the build was for WrestleMania seems like a different company, as they’ve had two weeks to build toward Elimination Chamber and have hit home run after home run in doing so. I’m probably more excited for this pay-per-view than any other this year so far.
Here are some of the main stories coming out of SmackDown:
We saw the return of Roman Reigns to television conspicuous by his absence on Monday Night Raw earlier this week. Reigns opened the show by lamenting how he didn’t get the job done at Payback, and now is setting his sights on June’s pay-per-view, Money in the Bank. However, Kane had other ideas.
Citing his recent failures, Kane said that Reigns wouldn’t be participating in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. I guess all Reigns had to do was to threaten to severely injure Rollins like Ambrose did and he would’ve had his title match.
I really hope we see Reigns somehow earn his way into that match, because I can absolutely not bear to watch another Reigns/Kane match, let alone that match on pay-per-view. Kane gave Reigns the night off, much like Monday night, but we’d learn later during the show that Reigns didn’t feel like taking two personal days in a row. Reigns appeared during the main event when Rollins and J & J Security were looking to interfere in the Ambrose-Wyatt main event.
Kane then also booked Dean Ambrose in a match [he had playfully interrupted Reigns’ promo and talked about his championship match against Seth Rollins at Elimination Chamber]. That match would be against Bray Wyatt in the main event.
It looks like Dolph Ziggler may have a new manager in Lana. In a backstage segment, Ziggler tried explaining to Lana how he knows she is just using him to make Rusev jealous, but called her a good kisser before his match against King Barrett.
Paige returned and reminded the audience that she won a #1 Contender’s battle royal for the Divas Championship in case anyone had forgotten. I did. The Divas Championship will be defended at Elimination Chamber in a Triple Threat Match with Nikki Bella defending against Paige and Naomi. Naomi began her rise after putting Paige out of action for the last month, so it was a nice storyline arc that came full circle. During her promo Thursday night, Paige controversially referred to Naomi’s new friend, Tamina, as a man, and said she was competing in the wrong division. That’s not exactly PG now, is it?
Eventually Naomi and Tamina attacked Paige in the ring, and really, who didn’t see that coming? The Divas Champion made the save and helped take out Naomi and Tamina. Nikki also exacted a little revenge on Paige and hit her with the Rack Attack after Paige left her laying in the ring during her return on Monday night. At least there’s some continuity for us.
After SmackDown, Nikki had some things to say regarding her Triple Threat Divas Championship match at Elimination Chamber.
After attacking Neville on Monday night, Bo Dallas said that he’s just trying to help Neville become stronger. I’m glad Dallas is healthy again, because I’ve missed his character. He’d be a great fit with The New Day since their character traits are so similar, but I’m not sure that partnership will happen anytime soon.
The new Mega Powers are unstoppable… except for the fact they lost Sunday night on the Payback Kickoff show. Let’s not remember that, shall we? I guess it’s good they’re both getting some television time and entertaining the crowd in the process. They likely won’t be serious contenders for any titles any time soon.
And wow, how far Cody Rhodes’ character of Stardust has fallen. After losing to his brother Goldust at Fastlane in February, Rhodes has been completely lost in the shuffle on WWE television. It’s a shame because he really made the Stardust character something to look forward to watching each week, and now there’s nothing to look forward to. Except maybe his backstage videos before and after his matches.
Stardust's attitude about facing R-Truth changes slightly after their match. https://t.co/Zx3tbOxaIY— WWE (@WWE) May 22, 2015
Four Corners Tag Team Match: Lucha Dragons d. Los Matadores, The Ascension and Cesaro & Tyson Kidd by pinfall after Kalisto pins Diego with a hurricanrana.
Dolph Ziggler d. King Barrett by pinfall via the Zig Zag. Lana clapped for Ziggler after the match on the ramp.
R-Truth d. Stardust by pinfall via his “What’s Up?” finisher.
“Macho” Mandow and Curtis Axel d. Adam Rose and Heath Slater by pinfall via the atomic legdrop by Axel on Slater.
Dean Ambrose d. Bray Wyatt by pinfall via Dirty Deeds. Reigns hit Wyatt with the Superman punch when the referee was distracted, allowing Ambrose to capitalize.