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WWE Smackdown results: Dean Ambrose turns water into wine against The Vintner

Ambrose

AJ Styles def. Heath Slater w/ Social Outcasts by pinfall

The Outcasts truly are the Caucasian New Day; pre-match promos are absolutely obligatory even when there is nothing funny or interesting to say. The Andre The Giant Battle Royale fodder babble about how there is only one of AJ and four of them. Curtis Axel creatively dubs his group the “Phenomenal Four” (Rose: “You must have really racked your brains for that one…”), before Bo Dallas one-ups him with the pun-derful (Mauro’s words) “Four-nomenal”.

These two only got five minutes to do their thing, but the so-called Crimson Werewolf managed to get in plenty of offence in that time. AJ’s shine was quickly cut off by interference from Axel, who tripped him on the apron to allow Slater to assume control.

Slater’s heat drills home why the company only sees him as enhancement talent and nothing more; all kicks, knees, chinlocks and stomps. Unfortunately this offensive offence takes up the majority of the match; AJ’s comeback is as brief as his shine and most notable for Jerry Lawler’s excitement prior to Mauro Ranallo’s inevitable call of the ushigoroshi.

The finish saw AJ hit the Pele Kick to a meddling Adam Rose on the apron (which Lawler later refers to as the “miso soup dropkick” during the replays), followed by the unfortunately monikered Phenomenal Forearm for the three count.

- We then cut live to Renee and Robo-Byron at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, where they are primed to hit us with all the hype and video packages we can handle. Renee asks Byron if he ever thought that Shane McMahon would make his return to the WWE. Someone then presses the button to enact Byron’s pre-programmed response, thus leading us into the talking heads hype video for Shane/Taker on Sunday night.

- A very brief mention of NXT’s Takeover show on Friday night prefaces another Renee/Byron discussion, where the latter bleeps and bloops about Ambrose’s lack of fear. Quoth the Robot: “Imagine you’re in a neighbourhood, right? And you know Brock Lesnar’s coming to town and you turn off the lights….you hide under the bed! Ambrose is the guy sitting under his porch saying ‘Hey, come to my house, Brock! Come over here!’”. Gremlins in the system, I guess.

- Props to Motorhead (now sans head) are delivered for the use of their “Sympathy For The Devil” track for ‘Mania. Robo-Byron opines that listening to it is likely to get one’s “HEAD in the game”. Data trying to understand humour springs to mind.

- A recap of the Reigns/Authority capers from RAW airs, followed by a video package seeking to explain Snoop Dogg’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. WWE is now truly a “doggy dogg world” apparently. Yes, that was the actual last line of the package.

D-Von Dudley w/Bubba Ray def. Jey Uso w/Jimmy by pinfall

Another five minute match here, with the aim of teeing up Sunday’s pre-show match for “tag team supremacy” (presumably). Jey starts us off by punching D-Von “like he’s full of candy” in the corner, according to Mauro.

Quickly into the heat as Jey gets posted and cracked with a Bubba right hand while the ref is distracted. D-Von lays down his usual offence, before missing a top rope diving headbutt to allow Jey back into the contest.

Said comeback culminates in a superplex attempt from the Uso. Jimmy dives off the steps to prevent Bubba from meddling again, but can’t stop D-Von from clumsily escaping, tripping Jey and hitting Ron "Damn" Simmons’ spinebuster for the pin. Mauro tells us that D-Von has dubbed the move the RDS in Simmons’ honour. Nice.

- Renee and Byron stay hyped by previewing the Divas title match and bigging up the WWE 24 documentary on Daniel Bryan’s final day as a professional wrestler. They then throw to a recap video of Kofi Kingston’s victory over Alberto Del Rio on RAW, followed by Coach’s appearance to hype Sportscenter’s all day ‘Mania coverage.

- Final video package of the night centres around the oh-so-cold WWE title program, culminating with a match graphic that does not yet reflect the rumoured no-DQ stipulation; a well-established crutch for the most insecure man in professional wrestling. Hey, at least he can say he main evented the biggest Wrestlemania of all time…

Dean Ambrose def. Erick Rowan by pinfall

The Vintner enters the arena with his pals Bray and Braun, who rather confusingly disappear to the back before the match starts. This is a good tune-up match for Dean on paper, given Rowan’s extensive no holds barred experience against the legendary Brody Hoofer back in the day.

This, for my money, was unquestionably Rowan’s best singles match in the WWE; comfortably outstripping anything from his unfortunate babyface run two years ago. It went 15 minutes, if you include the action during the commercial break, and remained engaging throughout.

Dean has the advantage leading into said break courtesy of a flying clothesline from the apron, but Rowan is in control when we get back; channeling Lucha Underground’s Matanza with a big spinning powerslam.

Dean’s comeback starts off the back of Erick’s deadly signature double noogie, but he’s quickly cut off by a big boot and a spinning forearm from the second rope. Alas, Rowan is silly enough to go to the well a second time, which allows Dean to scurry over and hit a massive superplex!

The workrate continues as Rowan bumps to the outside off a dropkick, before eating a tope suicida and a top rope elbow. There’s also a nice spot in the nearfalls segment where Dean escapes a pumphandle slam attempt and looks for his stupid seesaw clothesline, only to get creamed with a uranage sideslam for two.

The finish sees Rowan get frustrated after his spinning heel kick fails to put the lunatic away. He slaps Dean repeatedly, ordering him to stay down, until Dean eventually hits the ropes, pops back with the seesaw clothesline and then finishes with the Dirty Deeds to send him on his way to Dallas.

- The show closes with Stone Cold Steve Austin flapping his gums backstage with a member of WWE staff ahead of his impending live podcast with Mick Foley.

Final Thoughts

Pretty lame show if you watched it live, given that it only contained 20 minutes of actual wrestling and served to function mainly as a two-hour Wrestlemania hype vehicle. The main event was surprisingly good though; credit to Dean for pulling a good match out of such an opponent and to Rowan for playing his part.