Happy New Year, folks. It’s the very last SmackDown of 2015, and I’m spending the first day of this bright, spanking new year of 2016 writing its review whilst I wait for the gym to empty of all those optimistic fools who’ve decided that this is the year they keep exercising for more than two weeks.
So, I missed the last couple of RAWs, what with all the awesome Christmas stuff and my buying binge for my very first new apartment, so this I’m sort of going into this blind. Luckily, SmackDown operates at a standard RAW recap capacity of fifty percent at all times, so I’ll not be ignorant for long.
So, for the last time in 2015: hey, SmackDown!
I’m being told that, on RAW, McMahon seems to have declared war against Roman Reigns, using the epic power of racism, pretending to have an injury and getting arrested. What, is 2016 the year we pretend that being obscenely wealthy doesn’t mean anything? Also, this is like the longest recap ever.
Oh, and Cena’s back, I see. And he’s now feuding with the League of Nations as well, and it seems like I missed a pretty fun little clusterfuck. And they’re just giving out title matches on free TV right now: this is the best New Year’s resolution evah.
Alright, SmackDown has officially started, after recapping what felt like the entirety of 2015. Tonight, Ambrose and Reigns will take on Sheamus and Owens in a pretty decent-sounding match.
BUT FIRST, we’ve got some mother. Fucking. New Day. We do another recap of RAW (meaning there’s currently been 80% more RAW that SmackDown footage shown so far). Aaaaand Sin Cara’s injured, so it’s about time we burned that fucking mask once and for all, lest its curse continue to spread.
Woods says that the New Year is their favourite time of year: it’s a very special New Day. It’s a time for celebration, reflection and resolution, but they have no resolutions: they’re perfect. Kinda tough to argue, really. It’s the WWE Universe that needs to change, not them. Because, somehow, they didn’t win a Slammy. And seriously: how did they not win a Slammy? Kingston quotes Kevin Hart’s ‘you gonna learn today’, which seems like a really not-kid-friendly reference.
The New Day then give the WWE Universe some resolutions: they need to wear glasses and hearing aids, so they can see and hear the glory of the New Day; they need to keep a New Day journal, so they can remember everything the New Day ever does ever, and they need to have a song in their hearts every day.
This list of ideas is interrupted by the arrival of the Lucha Dragons, and…they won a fucking Slammy? They’ve had about five matches this year! Sin Cara, despite his arm being in a sling, challenges the New Day to a match against the Lucha Dragons, right here and right now. Oh, but they brought the Dudley Boyz with them, because the Dudleys have been such a fearsome force these past couple of months.
Most definitely a reflection on the previous year
After a quick commercial break, we’re back with the Dudley Boyz and Kalisto against the New Day. D-Von starts off against Woods, headlocking him and taking him over. Woods backs off, then comes back for some punches. Spinning back elbow from D-Von, then a bodyslam, followed up by a leg drop. Bubba then tags in, and the pair hit a double flapjack.
Bubba wrenches Woods’ arm a couple of times, then eats a punch to the face as Woods escapes to tag in Big E. E takes down Bubba with a clothesline, then a belly-to-belly suplex. Kingston tags in to hit a superkick, then runs into a boots and takes a Bionic Elbow. Bodyslam puts Kofi down, and they tag in Kalisto to hit the Wassup. Bubba calls for tables, but the New Day use the distraction to attack Kalisto’s shoulder, taking him out.
Kofi keeps working on the shoulder, then the New Day hit the Unicorn Stomp. Big kick to the ribs from Kofi to Kalisto, who kicks out of the following pin, and Kingston tries to hit a bodyslam, only for Kalisto to roll out of it; he almost gets to his partners, but Langston got the blind tag and puts Kalisto right back down.
Back from a quick break, Kalisto is still your face-in-peril at the hands of Woods. The Lucha Dragon gets taken face-first down to the mat, kicking out at the last second. Kingston comes back in, hitting a leaping stomp to the chest, then Langston hits his big splash, only for a Kalisto to kick out again.
Suddenly, Kalisto is able to avoid a charge, sending Lanston flying out of the ring, and he gets the tag to Bubba Ray Dudley! Bubba sends Woods flying around the ring; D-Von gets the blind tag and they hit a reverse 3D! Spinebuster (which Booker T calls a ‘sidewalk slam’ for some stupid fucking reason) to Woods, and then Kalisto gets up on Bubba’s shoulders, hitting a botched seated Senton, then a tilt-a-whirl DDT! Big E takes a 3D! Kofi eats the Salida Del Sol, and that’s the match!
Pretty solid match. Kalisto is still getting a lot of attention, and his potential rise could be the silver lining of the Sin Cara injury cloud. And, let’s face it, we’re used to Sin Cara injuries. 2.5 Stars.
Xavier Woods then gets powerbombed through a table, giving us the fairytale ending that we deserve.
What an odd pairing
Oh, Goldust is still back. I mean…I guess that’s fine. I have no strong feelings one way or t’other. And he’s facing Tyler Breeze, which is like facing Cody Rhodes from…2011? 2012? During his Dashing period, anyway.
The two lock up; Goldust ducks a punch, gets shot off the ropes, knocks Breeze down and armdrags him. Tyler catches Dust off the ropes with a big kick to the face, knocking the Bizarre One down. He then jerks Goldust’s arm against the rope, targeting it for abuse. He continues to work over the arm and shoulder as the crowd get behind Goldust, who rallies with a big spinebuster to put Breeze down!
Clotheslines from Goldust, building momentum, and then he drops down to hit Breeze with the Rhodes Uppercut, but Tyler beats him to it with a smack to the face. Okay, I like Breeze’s style. Goldust isn’t as much of a fan, however, and plants Breeze with a powerslam.
In the corner, Goldust hits some punches to Tyler’s pretty fucking face, then hits an inverted atomic drop and a clothesline to send Breeze out of the ring. Tyler counters an attempt by Goldust to grab him, shoving the injured arm into the steel post, then capitalises by shoving Goldust into the turnbuckle and pinning him with his feet on the ropes.
I feel like Breeze is going to do well, even if they’re falling back on this ‘I’m such a pretty fucking man’ character. I like how much work he puts in to fighting dirty. 2 Stars.
Summer Rae has an announcement for us. Is Tyler Breeze pregnant? God, I hope he’s pregnant. Oh, wait…he and Summer Rae will not be working together anymore. Because he’s carrying another woman’s child, right? Right?
Apparently the Rock will be at WrestleMania. WWE’s lack of self-confidence is almost tragic.
Bo Dallas sighted! Bo Dallas! And…he’s found Curtis Axel! Holy shit! This is the greatest segment in SmackDown history! Axel is still claiming he was never eliminated from the Royal Rumble match, which means he…can he enter the 2016 Royal Rumble if he’s still in the last one? Bo cheerfully bitches Axel out, then runs into Dolph Ziggler.
Mr Ziggles says that he has a New Year Re-Bo-lution. Bo tells Ziggler that he’s not funny, and he is actually absolutely right. The two of them have a match tonight, which makes it really coincidental that they were in the same corridor at the same time. You can actually still see Axel in the background, and that is probably longer than he’ll be onscreen for the entirety of 2016.
It’s time for another Usos vs. Wyatts classic. It gets so I can’t even dislike the Wyatts as obvious heels when they’re a component of this match…wait, Luke Harper and Braun Stroman? Get fucked, Wyatts. Also, what, did Bray not fancy being a supportive patriarch tonight?
Bell rings, and it’s Harper and Jey. Harper starts off strong, smacking Jey around. Jey ducks some clotheslines, then smacks Luke with an uppercut. Jimmy gets and blind tag, and he and Jey work over Harper for a minute. Jimmy gets distracted by Stroman, and then walks into a hard side slam from Harper, kicking out at two.
Oh Christ, Stroman tags in. He mauls Jimmy with an utter lack of skill and finesse and his stupid fucking face and I hate him. Boot to Jimmy, then a big bodyslam, and then another bodyslam. Oh God, don’t trashtalk, you big stupid bastard. Harper thankfully comes back in, guillotining Jimmy on the ropes and then applying a complicated-looking leg submission: never seen that before.
Braun comes back in, stomping on Jimmy’s head. Jimmy fights back, but just gets thrown over Stroman’s shoulder. Braun wrenches the head, then clotheslines Jimmy. Harper comes back in to get the pin, then stays on the Uso, applying a sleeper. Jimmy is still fighting back, finally hitting a Dragon Whip, but Stroman tags in immediately. But Braun misses a charge and Jey tags in!
Jey knocks Harper all over the place before hitting a Samoan drop, then hits the Samoan Wrecking Ball for two. Harper jabs the throat, but gets low-bridged out of the ring. Stroman came in off a blind tag, but Jey ducks him, flying out of the ring at Harper! Jimmy leaps over Stroman, superkicking him in the face twice, then superkicking Rowan off the apron! Stroman catches a fourth superkick, then chokes out Jimmy for the victory.
Wow, how do you make a Usos/Wyatts match way worse than normal? Put fucking Braun Stroman in there. Jey was magical off that hot tag, though: the Usos definitely deserve those Slammies. 2.5 Stars.
Apparently John Cena coming to SmackDown is a ‘special treat’. Don’t you fucking patronise me, WWE.
I can’t Bo-lieve that gut
Now this is a special treat: Bo Dallas on SmackDown. He’s facing Dolph Ziggler, after their hallway encounter earlier. Bell rings, and the two men lock up. Dolph locks and wrenches the arm, bringing Dallas to his knees, and then turns him over in a headlock, staying on him and rolling him up twice. Bo breaks out of it, applies a headlock, gets shot off the ropes and takes Ziggler down with a shoulder tackle. And cue the motherfucking victory lap.
Back in the ring, Dallas runs right into a dropkick, eats a neckbreaker but dodges the stinger splash and applies another headlock, keeping Dolph down on the mat. Punches to the gut from Ziggler, allowing him to break out, but he runs right back into a back elbow.
Bo slams a couple of back elbows into Ziggler’s skull, but Dolph dodges the third, almost catching Dallas with a roll-up, but Bo kicks out and hits a monster clothesline to retain the momentum. Back suplex for a two count from Bo, and then a third headlock to Ziggler. Big clothesline takes Dolph down once again. He charges at Ziggler, who dodges; Bo runs into the turnbuckle, turns around and BOOM: superkick for the win.
Another good match. Bo’s viciousness is definitely staying, but I really wish we could see some of what made him the longest-reigning NXT Champion sometime. Glad Ziggler’s finally finishing matches with the superkick now. 2.5 Stars.
Man, I regret saying that I didn’t see RAW: they just recapped it again for me. I get it, guys: Vince bad; Roman good; Sheamus meh.
Last main event of 2015 = fuck you, DQ
And speaking of two of those people, it’s time for our last main event of 2015. Reigns, Ambrose, Sheamus and Kevin Owens make their way to the ring; the bell rings and we are underway.
Sheamus and Roman circle each other before locking up. They shove each other around before Reigns locks the arm, and then Sheamus staggers him with an elbow. Roman gets his head rocked off the turnbuckle; he counters an Irish whip and hits a forearm to Sheamus, battering him in the opposite corner. Sheamus gets in a shot of his own, runs into a Samoan drop, counters it and eats a neckbreaker before Roman clotheslines him out of the ring.
Dean Ambrose gets the tag, immediately diving through the ropes onto Sheamus. Back in the ring, Sheamus catches him with a kick and tags out. Now Owens comes in, pounding Dean before Ambrose runs into him with a pair of forearms. Another forearm in the corner and then a bulldog. Dean wants Dirty Deeds; Owens bails and Ambrose follows him right out there, hurling him into the barricade. He goes to powerbomb Owens through the table, but Kevin drives him into the ring apron, and Dean’s floored as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, both Owens and Ambrose are still the legal men, with Owens firmly in control of the situation. Sleeper is applied to Dean as Sheamus and Roman look on. The sleeper transitions into a chinlock, and Ambrose works his way back up to his feet, starting to break out before Owens hits a knee to the gut, driving Dean into the corner so that Sheamus can tag in
Sheamus hits his throwing-suplex, the impact rattling Ambrose. Crossface applied to Ambrose, but he works his way to his feet, throwing fists before running into a big knee, and it’s the Ten Beats of the Stupid. Sheamus goes for White Noise, but nearly gets caught by a roll-up from Ambrose; he tags in Owens, but they nearly lose Ambrose as he hits a sudden flurry. Owens shuts down Ambrose for a second, until Dean comes flying back at him with a clothesline, flooring him. Dean’s still in it; he works his way towards Roman and gets the tag!
Sheamus and Roman are both legal now, with Roman hitting a flying clothesline, then a bunch of clotheslines in the corner. He ducks a clothesline from Sheamus, hitting a Samoan drop and winding up the Superman Punch. Owens interferes, catching a punch to the face; Sheamus nearly rolls Roman up, but takes a Superman Punch to the face instead! Roman is on fire; he wants the Spear, and Owens pulls Roman balls-first into the steel post. Oh, so that’s a disqualification too? Christ.
Good match to end the year on, but it felt pretty rushed. Maybe because they did a second recap? Who can say? Psyched for this Monday, at least. 2.5 Stars.
It looks like the clock’s just arrived at Beatdown o’clock, as Owens and Sheamus hurl Roman into the steel steps, then over the announce table. Suddenly, Dean Ambrose hurls himself onto Sheamus, but takes a superkick from Owens in short order. Owens wants another powerbomb through the table, but Reigns fights off Sheamus and hits a Superman punch to Owens! Ambrose slams Sheamus’ skull off the steel post; Sheamus turns around and eats a spear!
That was a good ending for this year: we got Dean and Roman as IC and World Champion standing tall. The whole show, whilst somewhat short of spectacular, was solid and unwavering in terms of quality. No major complaints at all. 7/10.
Tags: Bo Dallas, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, Curtis Axel, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Goldust, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Owens, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, smackdown, Summer Rae, The Dudley Boyz, The Lucha Dragons, The New Day, the usos, The Wyatt Family, Tyler Breeze, WWE