Smackdown was taped on the same night as Raw this week as the superstars have a busy weekend preparing for WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield introduce the show as Dolph Ziggler makes his way to the ring to face-off against Titus O’Neill in a preview of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Ziggler started with a waist lock on Titus who responded with a hip toss to get out of the hold. Titus then slammed Ziggler and followed with a leg drop for a near fall.
“The Show Off” hit a cross body followed by a series of punches and a neckbreaker out of the corner. The momentum was then shifted as Ziggler just grazed Titus with the Famouser before Titus hits a boot to the head for a two count. The match ended when Ziggler recovered from Titus’ backbreaker by hitting the Zig Zag for the win.
Renee Young and Jerry Lawler are shown at the WWE Superstore in New Orleans and they mention that they were shocked to see The Shield laid out in the ring by Kane and The New Age Outlaws. The Shield responded by saying that last year’s WrestleMania was a dream and that a win like that immortalised the team. Dean Ambrose continued to state that they were underdogs like the 1980 Olympic Hockey team but this year they are like the New York Yankees or LA Lakers.
The Hounds Seek Justice
Seth Rollins said that even though they got ambushed, it does not happen very often and that Kane had some tricks up his sleeve and they paid the price for not being any wiser. Seth said that nonetheless they are there talking and walking, ready for revenge at WrestleMania. Ambrose went on to say that he was a fan of his opponents when he was younger and that now he’s looking to demolish them in New Orleans. Roman Reigns concluded that Kane made the biggest mistake by crossing The Shield as his team may bend but they certainly will not break.
Smackdown continued with Michael Cole hosting a sit down interview with Stephanie McMahon. Cole asked Stephanie if she would admit that she was wrong about Daniel Bryan if he defeats Triple H at WrestleMania and 75,000 people are doing the “Yes” chant. Stephanie responded by mocking Cole and said that Bryan is a pea compared to her husband and that he will squash him. She stated that she feels sorry for those fans that will have their hopes and dreams crushed as Triple H will demolish Bryan and then go on to become the new WWE World Champion.
Another interview was up next as Booker T sat down with Batista to talk about the main event that will take place on Sunday. Batista talked about his Royal Rumble win, his turn on the fans and how they are going to have to deal with the fact that he’s going to be the new WWE World Champion. “The Animal” went on to say that WrestleMania is a massive deal as fans will be travelling from around the whole world but he doesn’t care what they think or want. Batista stated that he’s not afraid of Randy Orton, Triple H or Daniel Bryan as he’s prepared to shatter all of them in aid of closing the show as the winner.
We get back into the in-ring action next as The Real Americans take on Los Matadores to prepare for their turmoil match at WrestleMania for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Cesaro dominated over the Matadores with support from the crowd, which consisted of many European fans that travelled down ahead of WrestleMania. The momentum is however shifted as Zeb Colter slaps Cesaro to spur him on, which infuriated his client. Diego hit the Snake Eyes onto Cesaro followed by a Senton splash and a pin but Jack Swagger managed to get the save. Swagger is then sent over the top rope but Cesaro sees and boots Fernando off the apron. The Swiss native is now charged and catches Diego with the swing before landing an impactful Neutraliser for the win. The Real Americans go into WrestleMania in the best way possible with a win over their rivals but could blow it with interior frictions.
Booker T also interviewed Randy Orton to get his thoughts before defending his WWE World Championship. Booker asked Orton what the fans should expect at the main event against Batista and either Triple H or Bryan. “The Viper” said that he will be standing tall when the smoke is cleared and the dust is settled as he is better than off of the other guys. Orton concluded that it doesn’t matter who he faces as he will nonetheless have both titles still in his hands heading out of the show.
Hulkamania Runs Wild
Hulk Hogan’s music hits to send the fans into a frenzy as red and yellow lights and banners covered the arena. “The Hulkster” said that it’s great to be back on Smackdown after being away for so many years. Hogan mentioned that he has countless WrestleMania memories from WrestleMania 1 where he teamed up with MR T to Wrestlemania 18 where he stole the show with The Rock. Hogan then highlighted WrestleMania 3 where he picked up Andre the Giant and caused one of the greatest moments in WWE history, which is why he feels it’s so important for him to hand over the trophy for the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Hogan wraps up the show by stating the winner of the thirty men will receive immortality following the win and asks “Watcha gonna do? When Hulkamania and the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal runs wild on you?”
This week’s Smackdown only featured two matches as the WWE concentrate on preparing for the biggest show of the year. The two matches were strong and along with the interesting interviews that took place really helped set the fans up for Sunday night. The interviews were very similar to those included in the famous Austin vs Rock promos of WrestleMania 17 where Austin said he must win at the big stage. WrestleMania 30 is going to one the biggest of all time and this Smackdown helped set the stage for extravaganza.