Notes In Observance – WWE SmackDown 3/17/16: Cincinnati Educated

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez


“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.






(Aired 3/17/16)

Cincinnati Educated 

– The opening video highlighted Roman Reigns’ Raw return, as he walloped WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H all over ringside, the tech area and a backstage table, reminiscent of Hunter’s attack on him three weeks prior that took him out of action.

– Reigns’ promos are best left short and sweet. His opening in-ring promo (we doubt the pop was actually that big) went down this road, but he came off more as an overconfident heel with the way he bragged about giving another man a beating that required six staples to close a head wound and how he kept saying he did what he did “because he could.” Not sure what we’re supposed to feel for Reigns, but he certainly shows no redeemable babyface qualities. Ironically, cutting the promo so short was a good call because what he said had more impact that way.

– The backstage segment with AJ Styles and WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens was a nice exchange with the two comparing each other to their rivals while also giving Styles some much-needed promo time to establish his thoughts on Chris Jericho’s recent attitude change. Owens’ perspective fit his character when he told Styles he came off too much like Sami Zayn and that friendships didn’t matter in the business, but Championships did. Styles had a good comeback retort when he called Owens a jackass and reminded him of their match together later. Owens’ final line about Styles and Renee Young having the same haircut was funny.

– We’re not sure what this whole Dolph Ziggler-Miz feud is all about. They traded fast wins over each other and now seem to have competitive matches together. There’s no personality amped to this feud, so it’s hard to feel any kind of emotional attachment here. That said, Mauro Ranallo tried to spruce it up a bit by claiming their match was the “Battle Of Ohio” with both guys coming from the state and were both looking to get back on the winning track after losing on Raw. Both guys do have solid in-ring chemistry over the years and we got a taste of that here, ultimately ending with a Ziggler superkick when Miz couldn’t get him to tap out to the Figure Four.

This wasn’t the first time that Dean Ambrose has toured around city landmarks throughout a show, but this one made sense since we were in his hometown of Cincinnati and lord knows they love him here. One promo was cut atop the skyline and the second came from a local bar, drawing connections to the people by growing up on the tough streets and that’s what made him… “him.” After all, you’d have to be a crazy mofo to challenge Brock Lesnar to a street fight and this shed some light on his upbringings and related it to the Mania match. Clever.

– Besides seeing Goldust’s classic “cinematic” entrance (we’re surprised him and Miz never feuded over having similar gimmicks), the match between him and Bubba Ray Dudley did little to excite us. The only memorable parts of here were Bubba trash-talking Goldust, comparing his face-painted freak self to The Usos, who they were feuding with. D-Von also pulled out a table early on as a distraction tactic and later helped out Bubba to win. The post-match interaction was a lot better since it meshed two storylines into one angle, as the heels beat down Goldust, drawing out R-Truth, who tried to save his “partner” (?) and got laid out, which then drew out The Usos, who cleared The Dudley Boyz from the ring. Still would be nice to hear something from The Usos, given that their rivals have repeatedly insulted their family.

– The “Face-To-Face-To-Face” segment between Ric Flair, WWE Divas Champion Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks was hyped throughout the week as one of the show’s selling points and lived up to it. All three ladies have a connection stemming back from NXT when they were practically sisters and “horsewomen” and this segment did enough to draw upon that, with the heel Champion seemingly trying to mend things with her sudden rivals before reverting back to heel mode, making it apparent she only brought Banks and Lynch out there to get them to argue and fight while she could enjoy the view. Banks and Lynch did do that with an entertaining verbal exchange, but they caught on to what Charlotte was doing, which had a priceless facial expression, as they then worked together to clear her from the ring. Also liked the little things, like Lynch’s natural babyface fire contrasting that of Banks and Charlotte’s personalities, while having Banks mention she beat Charlotte for the NXT Women’s Championship and was yet to be pinned on the main roster.

– So, The WWE World Tag Team Champions, The New Day are now tweeners, leaning more towards the babyface side, since feuding with The League Of Nations. New Day’s pre-match promo wasn’t one of their funnier bits, but it worked within the feud’s context, as they brought four bags of garbage to the ring and kicked each one out of the ring, each bag representing a LON member. The King Barrett-Kofi Kingston match was ultimately filler-esque, but at least the finish allowed New Day to get some momentum back by unraveling LON’s extra-man advantage, as Kingston (with help) pulled on Barrett’s tights to win.

– The in-ring segment with Ambrose and The Social Outcasts started with a groan-inducing promo from the annoying (not in the heel way either) quartet arguing about how they’d all win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale (at least some loose hype there) before Ambrose came out to a monster pop and beat all four of them up with a kendo stick before calling out Lesnar on the go-home SmackDown. Oh shoot.

– As advertised, the Owens-Styles main event was good, showing us what they could do in the ring together, yet not giving away too much where this could become a program down the line. MR’s commentary killed it here, as he freshened the scene with proud wrestling jargon that you’d never hear Michael Cole say. Hell, he even name-dropped Hirooki Goto for one of Styles’ maneuvers. Styles’ matches are elevated by MR’s commentary since they both have credibility from Japan and it feels so right. Both guys kept it entertaining in the ring, as they boldly countered each other’s moves before Jericho came out on stage and distracted Styles to fall prey into the Pop-Up Powerbomb, which ended things. Jericho got some more heel heat by attacking Styles further, dropping him again with a Codebreaker, giving him the edge in the feud again after Styles dropped him on Raw. Good ending to the show.






Quick Results

  • Dolph Ziggler def. The Miz via pinfall
  • Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D-Von Dudley) def. Goldust via pinfall
  • Kofi Kingston (w/Big E, Xavier Woods) def. King Barrett (w/Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, Rusev) via pinfall
  • Kevin Owens def. AJ Styles via pinfall

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on March 27, 2016, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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