Smackdown Review – Kane’s Mind Games Continue

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9/24/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters

Dean Ambrose def. Seth Rollins by pinfall; Kane continues to play mind games with the champ

Corporate Kane started off the show in the ring, announcing the night’s card. Rollins interrupted and said that underneath his cheap suit, he’s really the Demon Kane, and everyone knows it. Kane invited Rollins to the ring for what he hoped would be “a productive dialogue,” and again seemed to have no knowledge of Demon Kane’s actions at Night of Champions or Raw. Rollins told Kane that he had lost his mind, and was not fit to be Director of Operations anymore.

Kane booked Rollins and Ambrose for the main event, and the match began with a running dropkick from Ambrose. Rollins went up top and hit a flying knee strike for two. Rollins reversed a tornado DDT into a superkick for another near-fall.

Ambrose fought back with a rebound clothesline, which Rich Brennan called a “Lunatic Lariat” (please don’t let this become a thing). Ambrose took Rollins up top, hitting a superplex from the second rope for a close two-count. Both men exchanged unsuccessful pinning maneuvers, and Ambrose tossed Rollins over the top rope.

Ambrose hit a dive between the ropes, then threw Rollins back in the ring. Ambrose bridged a fisherman’s suplex into a pinning maneuver for another near-fall. Rollins fought back with an enziguiri and a Sling Blade. Rollins took advantage of an out-of-position referee to poke Ambrose in the eye, then hit a bucklebomb.

Flames appeared on the stage, and Kane’s red lighting filled the ring. Kane did not appear, and Ambrose rolled Rollins up from behind to earn a pinfall victory over the champ. Corporate Kane was shown backstage, watching on a monitor and chuckling. Rollins took a mic and warned Kane that he would suffer the same fate as Sting, if he continued to mess with him.

Scott’s Thoughts: The Kane split-personality storyline is fresh and enjoyable so far. I also like the layer of Rollins — the heel — being the voice of reason against a babyface who is losing his grip with reality. The way Corporate Kane was shown chuckling while watching a monitor backstage suggests he is aware of his split personalities after all, but either way it’s a compelling angle.

As for Ambrose, this could be used as a way to add him to the likely Kane/Rollins match at Hell in a Cell, which would make that encounter far more enticing (especially considering Rollins and Ambrose fought at Hell in a Cell last year).

Dolph Ziggler and Ryback def. Kevin Owens and Rusev (w/ Summer Rae) by pinfall

Ziggler landed a dropkick on Rusev, but Rusev responded with a spinning sideslam. Ziggler hit a DDT on Rusev, but Owens hit Ziggler with a running senton. Owens followed up with an inverted atomic drop, and Rusev added a gorilla press slam.

Owens tagged in and showed Rusev how to properly hit a gorilla press slam, tagging him back in and challenging to “slam him right.” Instead, Ziggler hit a slam of his own on Rusev, following up with one on Owens. Both men made hot tags, and Rusev hit a spinning heel kick for two.

Ryback countered a superkick into a spinebuster, but Rusev answered with a successful superkick. Owens walked out, holding his belt high, leaving Rusev alone with Ziggler and Ryback. Ziggler hit a superkick, and Ryback followed with Shell Shocked to get the three-count.

Scott’s Thoughts: As Andrew and I have theorized on the Going Over Podcast, a Ziggler/Owens feud would be a solid IC Title program, and the quicker they move Owens on from Ryback, the better. Perhaps Owens and Ziggler’s mutual involvement here was an early seed planted in that direction.

Paige puts Natalya in her place

Charlotte and Becky Lynch were cutting a white-bread babyface promo when Paige interrupted. Paige said she felt she isn’t getting the recognition she deserves for starting the Divas Revolution, and Natalya entered. Paige called Natalya a crazy cat lady, saying that none of this has anything to do with her.

Natalya said that she considers Paige one of her best friends, and urged her to calm down. Paige said that Nattie let the Divas Revolution pass her by, and she’s just clinging to the younger Divas in an attempt to become relevant again. Paige slapped Nattie and retreated from the ring.

Scott’s Thoughts: I do have to agree with Paige a bit, because Natalya’s recent involvement in this storyline has felt shoehorned at best. Paige is more of a natural heel than a babyface though, so she’s made herself a bit more interesting again with this turn.

Roman Reigns def. Luke Harper by pinfall

Reigns took the action outside early, driving Harper into the barricade, then hitting him with a Drive-By. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a pumphandle suplex, but Harper fought back with a big boot. Harper hit a senton over the top rope, followed by a sitout powerbomb for a near-fall. Reigns answered with a Superman punch and a spear for the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: That was shorter than expected, and therefore less than I hoped for.

New Day def. Neville and The Lucha Dragons by pinfall

Kofi hit Kalisto with a corner dropkick, but Sin Cara took the momentum away with a springboard crossbody and a springboard moonsault on Woods. The Dragons cleared the ring, and Neville and Kalisto climbed the turnbuckles. As Sin Cara hit a plancha, Neville and Kalisto hit tandem moonsaults to knock down all three New Day members. Back in the ring, Woods hit a running kick and pinned Sin Cara.

Scott’s Thoughts: A fun match with a few cool spots, but the finish was awkwardly quick.

Cesaro def. Bo Dallas by pinfall

Cesaro locked in a bodyscissors and flung Bo around the ring, earning a near-fall. Bo yanked the apron cover out from under Cesaro, making him fall onto the apron, flinging him back into the ring for a two-count of his own. Bo followed up with a sidewalk slam, but Cesaro tangled Bo up in a modified crucifix, earning the pinfall.

Scott’s Thoughts: Very cool finish. Cesaro’s moveset never stops growing.