It’s time for some SmackDown, y’all. I’m your reviewer, David Spain, sitting here with the best part of a bottle of red wine, a chocolate orange and what little patience I am able to muster for the kind of bullshit we’ve come to expect from the blue show.
So hey: SmackDown!
Mauro Ranallo’s voice starts things off, making everything seem like it’s going to be alright. And then there’s Miz’s music, because God is dead and your parents never loved you. He’s here to attach himself to the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn angle tonight, like some sort of human incarnation of herpes, only a good one-and-a-half times as irritating. He introduces Sami Zayn, who comes out to the ring. Jerry Lawler hates him, so I guess Sami and I will get on just fine.
Miz says that the WWE Universe wants to know who Sami Zayn is, because there is no wrestling but the WWE. I don’t know if Vince genuinely believes that, or he’s some sort of psychotic narcissist. Miz cuts Zayn off before he can answer, and asks about Owens. Apparently, Zayn and Owens had some kind of epic bromance that you needed the internet to appreciate, but then Owens revealed that Zayn really wasted the thirteen years of effort that he put into the friendship. Miz says there’s two sides to every story, and yeah, but one of those sides is typically based on lies, misinformation and alcohol-related-forgetfulness, DEBBIE.
Kevin shows up, and he seems reluctant to get into the ring, lest he get Miz TV on him. Owens says that what was really personal was Sami Zayn wanting revenge for Kevin Owens’ physical assault. Well, Owens does demonstrate a few signs of being a sociopath, so maybe nothing he does is personal. Basically, Zayn’s getting a title shot, and Owens thinks that Zayn, who has wrestled one WWE match ever, doesn’t deserve it.
Zayn casually trashes the set of Miz TV, like a goddamn hero, and tells Kev to get into the ring so that he can beat the shit out of him. Owens, for some reason, isn’t keen, so heads off to the back, only to get cut off by Neville. Wow, it’s like an NXT reunion (also starring an asshole). Neville’s a little riled up, and holy God, that brings back every single instance of being yelled at by a pissed-off Geordie. And I’ve worked in kitchens, and yelling’s the only language chefs understand. He also wants a title, because people from Newcastle are like magpies, in that they like to steal shiny shit.
Miz interjects himself into the situation, saying that he deserves a shot at the title. Every time he makes that claim, a bishop gets molested. Zayn tells him to feck off, and then beats the shit out of the Miz after the latter tried to attack him. We head to a commercial break.
Three-quarters of this match is goddamn perfect
During the commercials, every WWE employee joined hands, sang songs and sacrificed a baby goat to resurrect the tormented soul of Teddy Long, asking him, in his wisdom, to resolve this conflict. And Teddy Long spake thusly: ‘HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE, PLAYAS. IF Y’ALL WANNA MIX IT UP, WE GONNA DO IT RIGHT. SO, IT’S GOING TO BE KEVIN OWENS AND THE MIZ VERSUS NEVILLE AND SAMI ZAYN…IN…A TAG TEAM MATCH! HOLLA!’ And then the apparition vanished, leaving both peace and dread in its absence.
Zayn and the Miz start off with a lock-up. Zayn works the arm before Miz rolls out, reversing the hold. Zayn re-reverses it, flipping Miz over and barring the arm before tagging in Neville. Neville takes his shot, then tags out again. Then Zayn does the exact same thing, tagging Neville in again. Miz wrenches back on Neville’s hair, allowing him to drive Neville into his corner, tagging Owens in.
Owens is sent off the ropes, shoulder-tackling Neville. Neville kips up, however, and punches Owens in the face. Owens pursues the Geordie into the corner, but Neville back-flips over him, ducks a clothesline and hits a hurricanrana. Zayn tags in, and Owens tags the hell out. The Miz takes a deep armdrag, sends Zayn off the ropes, and takes a second.
Zayn tags Neville in, slamming Miz and allowing Neville to corkscrew moonsault off his back for two. Miz is still able to send Neville out of the ring, tagging Owens in. Owens is distracted by Zayn, allowing Neville to gain an advantage. Miz low-bridges Neville, however, sending him right out into another commercial break.
When we come back, Owens pins Neville for two before tagging the Miz in. Miz retains control, whilst Kevin Owens attacks him from the outside. Neville almost fights his way to the tag, but Miz uses the man’s hair to drag him to the floor. He locks the arm, wrenching it back as he pushes against the head. Zayn fires up the crowd for Neville, who almost looks as though he’s going to make it, but Miz catches him with his back/neckbreaker for the near-fall.
Miz goes for a boot to Neville’s face, almost gets rolled up, and then takes Neville’s head off with a clothesline. Neville’s still alive, however, and he sends Miz out of the ring before taggin in Sami Zayn! Miz catches Zayn with a boot, but still takes a clothesline. Huge springboard crossbody onto Miz, and then Zayn sends punch after punch into Miz’s face before hitting a tornado DDT from the top rope! Miz winds up in front of Owens, and Zayn is perfectly happy to let the tag happen. So, of course, Owens fucks off.
Miz almost rolls up a distracted Zayn, but then realises that Owens has left him alone. Zayn catches Miz with an T-Bone suplex into the corner, then hits a huge boot for the win.
I really haven’t seen enough of Zayn on WWE TV to be as sold on him as I am on Rollins, Neville and Owens: I’ll check out some of his matches before April, but it seems as though he’s being kept under wraps a little. 2.5 Stars.
OH YAY MORE GOLDUST AND TRUTH COMEDY. MY FAVOURITE THING EVER. OH AND NOW IT’S ABOUT POOP, WHICH MAKES IT EVEN BETTER. I like to think that I’m not a vindictive man, but I really hope that whoever wrote this segment wakes up tomorrow, and there’s a horse’s head in their bed, like in The Godfather. Only it’s attached to the horse’s body. And the horse is still alive. And the horse is a tiger. And it’s on fire, so the house burns down with the victim’s family still inside.
We recap the Triple H/Dean Ambrose tease of a way better WrestleMania main event. Are we supposed to hate Triple H more for robbing us of a better match? Because I feel like that’s almost as though the WWE has realised their mistake, but is just going to beat us around the face with that mistake whilst yelling: ‘YOU’LL CHEER FOR WHO WE SAY YOU’LL CHEER FOR!!’ I mean, this might be in poor taste, but Vince McMahon’s inevitable death due to an overdose of supplements and steroids is going to have a bit of a silver lining, right?
Somewhere, Paige and Natalya are wondering ‘what the hell?’
Here’s Brie Bella, who’s started a programme with Lana. I really don’t have much to say about this, because I don’t really care. We’ve got a lot of really awesome women wrestlers on the roster, and none of them are involved. Also, does Lana wear that outfit now because Rusev likes to pretend that he’s sodomising Dolph Ziggler during their loveplay? Because I sort of automatically assume that.
Summer Rae will be facing Brie tonight, with Lana sitting on the announce table. That’s a risky move, Lana: King’s not exactly known for his sexual refinement. Brie and Summer lock up, and Byron asks Lana what her problem is with Brie Bella; Lana tells him that she’s watching the match, and at least someone is except me. And I would like to freely and guiltlessly volunteer that I would switch over to something else if I wasn’t tasked with reviewing it. I mean…I do have my once-a-year ‘Fuck This Shit’ excuse, but I’m saving that for now: Eva Marie’s still employed.
Summer Rae throws Brie out of the ring, and then tosses her into a barricade. Lana apparently made some disparaging comments about Brie Bella’s husband, and I believe that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Especially not whilst their own husband looks like Rusev and likes his wife to look like Ziggler. In fact, Rusev should not legally be allowed to live in a glass house, the fugly bastard.
Summer covers Brie, and then locks in a modified cobra clutch. And yes, it is disconcerting to hear Lawler’s commentary whilst realising that he’s addressing every word of it to Lana’s ass. Brie works her way up, and gets thrown for a third time: for everyone who keeps telling me that Summer is an actual wrestler, this is not helping your case. Summer runs into a pair of boots, takes a missile dropkick, and then Brie kicks her.
Summer dodges Brie mode, almost gets a cover, then almost gets rolled up, and then Brie locks in the crossface, paying homage to either her husband or Chris Benoit: who can say which?
I literally had more fun imagining Rusev having sex with Lana whilst she pretended to be Dolph Ziggler than watching this match. Even during those moments when my mind wandered and Lana actually turned into Ziggler. 1 Star.
Lana mocks Brie on the outside, so Brie smacks Summer in the face before hitting Brie Mode. Lana then gets into the ring and takes out Brie with a facebuster, because who the fuck attacks a proxy when the actual object of your fury is less than a foot from you?
We take a look back at the psychotic, suicidal maniac known as Shane McMahon. I mean…if I was the child of a billionaire, I would employ other people to do this sort of thing for me. And Vince actually does employ people to do this for him, so I have no idea why Shane insists on doing this. I mean, I am so happy that he does, but still.
We then recap Chris Jericho not being able, in good conscience, to hold AJ Styles back on the singles scene, and ending Y2AJ on Monday. Chris is here in the ring, with a Y2AJ t-shirt and a trash-can. Talk about your grand gestures. Also, if the WWE stopped selling Y2AJ shirts now, and destroyed all of the ones they had in stock, they would become the most cult-esque pieces of merchandise ever: imagine owning a t-shirt made for a tag team who were together for less than a month? I sort of want one now, just in case they’re ever worth something.
Chris is here because he wants to air his grievances in a safe space, and apparently his safe space is an arena full of people booing him. Because Chris Jericho doesn’t like the easy way out. Basically, he feels like people didn’t give him enough respect, which is…like…fifty percent of every heel’s motivation. But he rattles off a list of what he’s done which, if nothing else, makes you realise that Chris Jericho is pretty fucking phenomenal. You know: in case the pro-wrestler/rock star/film actor wasn’t enough of a clue.
Jericho feels like we chose AJ Styles over him, and I hope like hell his wife never leaves him if that’s how he responds to rejection. He says that Styles is going to burn out, and Chris will just stand there and laugh. He then fills the garbage can with lighter fluid, and adds the t-shirt to it. Oh shit, is he going to try and summon Teddy Long again? Because that is not the ceremony required for that. But he’s just burning the Y2AJ t-shirt. In a hundred years, that thing could have been worth millions, but that son of a bitch just fucking burned it. Fucker.
Chris says that Y2AJ is officially over. Wait, so does every team break-up require the burning of a team t-shirt? Are the Rockers still legally a tag-team? Does the Legion of Doom continue on from BEYOND THE GRAVE?
Ryback just creepin’
It’s the Lucha Dragons vs. Sheamus and Barrett. Sheamus shoves Kalisto away, and Kalisto is clubbed around the ring before hanging Sheamus up and hitting springboard hurricanrana. Sin Cara tags in, immediately getting beaten down before being able to kick Sheamus down, then flipping Sin Cara onto the Irishman, forcing Sheamus to duck out of the ring to avoid the assault. In the back, Ryback is watching the match on a monitor, pretending to be Goldberg. Fucking wishes he was Goldberg. Sheamus comes back into the ring, bulling back at Kalisto. Barrett distracts the luchador, allowing Sheamus to send him off the apron and into a commercial.
When we come back, Barrett is beating on Kalisto, who is draped over the apron, and then kicks him back down to the mat. Headlock by Barrett, and Kalisto fights back. You ever feel like ‘Kalisto’ sounds like the perfect name for a tropical drink? Barrett beats Kalisto back down, and Sheamus tags in. The beating continues from Sheamus, and he yells ‘THIS IS SPARTA’. Well, that’s a dated reference and Sheamus has really got to stop making them.
Barrett comes back in to hit a suplex, and then tags Sheamus in. Sheamus mocks Kalisto, getting kicked for his trouble; Kalisto flips out of a back suplex, and then dodges Sheamus’ charge, and the Irishman goes full-speed into the corner! Critical time for the Lucha Dragons, and Kalisto crawls over to Sin Cara. Sheamus tags in Barrett instead of stopping Kalisto, which makes him an idiot’s idiot, because Sin Cara tags in as well.
Sin Cara comes off the top, felling Barrett. Springboard crossbody, then a springboard elbow. Sin Cara’s elevated over the top, but low-bridges Barrett out, and then dives out onto him. Springboard moonsault almost gets the win, but Sheamus breaks up the pin; Sin Cara disposes of him before Kalisto dives out onto him. Sin Cara looks to be heading up to nail Barrett with the Senton, but Rusev shoves him down to the mat, allowing Barrett to win off the Bull Hammer.
This was okay. Not wild for the match against the New Day, other than seeing a rare heel vs. heel match. 2 Stars.
The League of Nation’s celebration looks like something a child would do if that child was also drunk and sugar-high at the same time. And I should know, having once accidentally gotten a young cousin drunk at our Grandfather’s funeral (it’s what Granddad would have wanted).
JoJo approaches Ryback backstage, asking him his opinion. Ryback seems to be edging closer and closer towards being a eugenics-advocating heel, which would, admittedly, be novel.
Recap of Shane putting the boots to indie wrestlers disguised as security men. So, if one Undertaker equals six unknowns…maybe Shane’s got a chance?
Renee Young is also backstage, with the Usos. She asks them about the Dudley Boyz, and the Usos fondly remember the Dudleys putting dudes through tables. But now, because they’re not putting people through furniture anymore, the Usos don’t respect them. Dolph and Ambrose join the conversation, and Dolph continues to play the victim, and it’s weird that the WWE would use him so dreadfully, and then tell him to moan in an interview about being treated dreadfully: this is Triple H vs. Ambrose all over again. Ambrose tells them not to worry about the Authority, because there’s no way they came to this show.
Rusev’s watching this match, eyes dimmed with lust
It’s main event time, and the Wyatts are making their way to the ring. We take a look back at Brock Lesnar getting eliminated from the Rumble and then walking away like a little bitch, because that’d be his exact reaction in that situation. Instead of, say, laying waste to that entire ring of wrestlers? Or showing up on RAW the next night and hunting down and hospitalising each and every Wyatt member backstage, manhunter-style? Instead, Brock Lesnar was literally not paid enough money to care about it.
The Usos, Ziggler and Ambrose also make their way to the ring, and let’s get this thing underway. Dean starts off against Harper, locking up and then working the big man’s arm. Dean’s shot off a headlock, then sent right into a shoulder tackle. Harper runs the ropes, and then takes a deep armdrag from Dean. Dolph tags in, hitting an axe-handle to the arm of Harper, then a dropkick. Jimmy Uso tags in, attacking the arm from the top, and then Jey comes in, hitting Harper in the corner with a splash. Harper ducks out of the ring, and we head to a break.
When we come back, Jey Uso is in trouble, and WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED THAT IT’S JEY? Harper hits a huge chop to the corner, then another big slap to the chest. Jey manages to hit an uppercut, tagging in Ziggler. Dolph hits a dropkick, then a stinger splash, but Rowan runs him over with a clothesline before Harper tags out to Bray Wyatt. Bray wrecks Dolph’s shit, whilst King says of Dolph’s interaction with Stephanie McMahon: ‘You don’t speak to a lady like that’. Oh, I’m sorry, are we expected to take advice on women from Jerry Lawler now? What’s next: should I take a class on resource management and food distribution taught by Kim Jong Un?
Braun Stroman tags in, continuing the general shit-wrecking. I’d call his moves, but they’d all be some variation of ‘Braun hits Dolph and also he looks like something made by a scientist who wanted to fuck giant, bearded, muscular babies’. Harper tags in before Stroman can somehow botch remaining upright, applying a headlock to Ziggler. Dolph fights back, but Harper catches his dropkick attempt, catapulting Ziggler right into the bottom rope. Ziggler falls out of the ring, and just beats the count to come back inside.
Ziggler suddenly strikes with a sunset flip powerbomb, then his huge DDT, slowly making his way over to his corner. He tags in Jey Uso, and WHY WOULD YOU TAG IN JEY USO? Admittedly, he does take it to Harper, hitting him with superkicks and then a Samoan Drop. Harper blocks a Samoan Wrecking Ball, before Jimmy superkicks him, and the Usos hit stereo-Wrecking Balls before Jey throws himself out of the ring at Harper.
Back in the ring, Jey climbs the turnbuckle, going for the Samoan Splash, but Harper gets the knees up and WELL DONE, JEY. Jey manages to tag in Ambrose; Harper tags in Rowan, and Dean takes him down with a crossbody and a bulldog. Ambrose climbs the top rope, jumps over Rowan and hits a neckbreaker, and then climbs up top again, this time hitting the elbow. Harper breaks up the pin, and gets nailed by Jimmy’s dragon kick enzuigiri; Bray takes Jimmy down with the Ura-nage; Ziggler superkicks Bray out of the ring, and then superkicks Stroman once, twice, and then runs into a clothesline! Stroman catches Jey off the top rope, choking him out before Ziggler and Ambrose attack.
Ambrose dodges Stroman, who blasts the steel post, and almost gets rolled up by Rowan! He kicks out, gets sent into the ropes, pendulums back, ducks a spinning kick and scores with Dirty Deeds! That’s the match!
Fun one, especially the sequence at the end. Dean certainly looks unstoppable, even if his quest is doomed to failure. Still a good match. 3 Stars.
This was a pretty decent SmackDown, all in all. I’m not exactly enthused with the idea of Roadblock, but I’m sure we’ll get through it. I’d say that Reigns had best get back and help build towards WrestleMania, but unless he’s bringing back his total badass characterisation too, I don’t really care one way or the other. 8/10
Tags: Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, byron saxton, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Owens, Lana, League Of Nations, Mauro Ranallo, Neville, rusev, sami zayn, Sheamus, smackdown, Summer Rae, The Lucha Dragons, The Miz, the usos, The Wyatt Family, Wade Barrett, WWE