Hey there folks. It’s me: your polite and foul-mouthed reviewer, here to cover another episode of SmackDown. Apologies for the lack of a review from last week; some shit was going down on the website and it nigh-impossible to post the damn thing. Suffice to say that it was the greatest thing I’ve ever written and would have bred peace and cooperation between people of all colours, creeds and nations from now until the end of time.
Anyway, let’s move on from that and turn towards the present, and this week’s episode of SmackDown.
Wow, no backstage segment. That’s a first for this generation of this show. I rather liked that little preview and the examination of issues it provided. Ah well.
Daniel Bryan is in the ring with the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Or it could honestly be any of the other three belts that look more or less exactly like that one. It’s like four people chose to play as the same character in a video game. Bryan talks up the Six Pack Challenge which is coming at Backlash, but tonight we’re having a six-woman tag team match as a preview. Before that, however, we’re having what he calls a ‘forum’, which is about the least-wrestlingy thing I’ve ever heard said on this show.
Becky comes out first, being one of the favourites to win the whole thing. She actually admits that she was surprised that Bryan didn’t say Nikki’s name first, which of course makes Bryan plug Total Bellas. Apparently Total Divas wasn’t an absolute wash, so this might be not terrible as well. Wouldn’t know; not tuning in.
Bryan asks Becky what winning the Championship would mean to her, and she talks about all of her struggles to get here, only to get interrupted by Natalya, so she can come out and be a bitch for a while. She says that SmackDown Live should have been her show, but she has to put up with seeing…Becky’s hair? This is some shitty motivation for any heel. Oh, and Alexa Bliss just sort of showed up without any music.
Bliss calls out both women for just moaning about how hard they’ve got it, and then turns on Bryan, saying that he’s nothing more than a Bella trophy husband. Flying Knee, Daniel. Flying Knee to the face. And now Carmella’s here, pretending to be street, and it didn’t take long for them all to start arguing. Hah, women, right?
Natalya points out that Becky’s trying to turn them on each other, and they square up for a beatdown, which Bryan seems ridiculously chill with. Naomi and Nikki come out, and there’s a really brief brawl in which Natalya lays Nikki the fuck out with a forearm to the face. Heels are ejected and the faces stand tall in the ring.
Dean Ambrose is backstage, stealing coffee from interns and putting enough sugar in it to give a small nation diabetes.
Bryan is backstage, arguing with Shane about who should have to deal with the Women’s Division because neither of them want to. Speaking of things you don’t want to have to deal with, the Miz is here to try and have a feud with a guy who’s not medically cleared to wrestle. Bryan insinuates that Miz is a giant pussy and tells him that if he’s not willing to defend the title, he should just surrender it. Miz storms off, right out to the ring.
Ziggler needs to be shot for crimes against fashion
Miz gets into the ring, and this is our first match of the night. He’ll be facing Apollo Crews, with Dolph Ziggler at ringside. Dolph is on Talking Smack after this, and tries to drum up interest by asking us to imagine him with a live microphone in front of him. Weirdly, it still feels like that would be boring.
Miz latches onto Crews with a headlock, gets sent off the ropes and takes a big shoulder tackle. He backs away for a spell before trying a waistlock; Crews counters with his own, taking Miz to the mat before applying a facelock. Miz backs Crews into a corner, breaking clean before hitting some punches and kicks in the corner. He tries a headlock takeover, but Crews blocks it through sheer strength. Apollo applies his own headlock, is sent off the ropes, ducks under the Miz on one pass, flips right over him on the second, vaults over a charging Miz and then dropkicks him square in the face.
Miz ducks right out of the ring, then ducks away from Apollo’s attempt to dive over the ropes and onto him. Crews lands on the apron and backflips onto the Miz, knocking him down on the outside as we head to a commercial break. When we come back, Miz has gained control, with Crews on one knee. Apollo does try to rally, almost rolling Miz up, but he takes the back/neckbreaker for a two count.
Miz stays on Crews, pressing his knee into the younger man’s face in the corner. He takes Crews into the centre of the ring, planting the knee into the back and wrenching back on Crews’ arms. Crews fights back, sunset flipping the Miz, but runs right into a big boot to send him down to the floor. Running corner clothesline from the Miz, who heads up top, and jumps right into a belly-to-belly! Both men are down as the referee starts his count.
At six, both men reach their feet, and Miz runs into a back elbow. Clotheslines from Crews, then a boot to the face and a stinger splash; flying clothesline puts Miz down with authority, and Apollo kips up! Miz is taken up for a back suplex, but he elbows himself free and ducks out of the ring, deciding to punch Ziggler in the face whilst he’s out there. Crews misses a baseball slide, and Miz strikes, driving Crews into Ziggler, then into the ring post, and then sends Apollo back into the ring to finish him with the Skull-Crushing Finale.
Solid match, especially the opening. I’m quite looking forward to the match at Backlash. 2.5 Stars.
Ziggler is in the ring with the Intercontinental Championship, and challenges Miz to come in and get it. Instead, Miz sends Maryse in to collect it. Ziggler actually lets her take it rather than just picking it up again or giving Maryse a superkick.
Renee Young is at her sports centre-esque desk with AJ Styles, and she asks him how it felt to have his nuts unsurgically destroyed by a ring rope. Styles, against all the laws of comedy and men, is not speaking in a comically high and squeaky voice; I wouldn’t even have been mad about that. Instead, he’s really angry with a minority production crew worker, saying that he’s going to break his headset, tell Vince that it was him and get him fired. So, just to sum up: A) AJ Styles is a racist, B) AJ Styles is an asshole and C) AJ Styles is unaware that that segment was actually being recorded, and apparently thinks that Renee just wanted to have a conversation whilst pretending to look at a camera.
We see a promo for American Alpha, telling us to bow down to our new Tag Team Division kings. Then the Usos are interviewed about their upcoming match against them. See, that would have been a great finale, but I don’t mind getting a chance to review it.
Oh yay, another Bray Wyatt slam poetry session. I swear, there has got to be a countdown going on how long before this guy shows up with a Walmart-bought katana and a pillow with a cartoon woman printed on it. He’s already got the facial hair, stupid hat and the pretensions of being a philosopher whilst acting dark and edgy inside. He still wants to fight Randy Orton, despite the fact that Orton once deliberately broke a man’s arm on live television.
Natalya’s voice sounds like she smokes a whole pack backstage
Here’s our six-women tag team match, pitting Becky, Nikki and Naomi against Natalya, Carmella and Alexa. All six of these women will be in the Six Pack Challenge on Sunday, and it’s Naomi and Alexa starting things off. Alexa shoves Naomi in the face, and promptly suffers for it with a barrage of kicks from her opponent, ending with a huge roundhouse kick to the head. Alexa tags the hell out, letting Carmella try her luck.
Waistlock takedown takes Carmella to the mat, and then Naomi wrenches the arm, tagging in Becky to continue the hold. Carmella rolls out, trying to pin Becky, then trades holds before getting put in a facelock. Becky ducks a clothesline, rolling Carmella up again, and then tags in Becky, holding onto Carmella until the Princess of Staten Island is able to make a break for it, sprinting out of the ring as fast as she can.
When we come back from a break, Naomi has just tagged in Becky, who takes Carmella down with a bunch of clotheslines, then hits a forearm into the corner and gives Carmella the Bexploder Suplex. Carmella tosses her out onto the apron, and Bliss and Natalya take her down to the outside, out of the ref’s field of vision. Carmella sends her back inside, keeping her grounded and away from her partners.
Carmella chokes Becky on the ropes, then tags in Natalya to slam Becky’s head off the mat. Sleeper hold’s applied by the Queen of Harts; Becky throws her off and almost escapes, but Natalya uses her strength to drive Lynch back into her corner, now tagging in Alexa Bliss. Bliss and Natalya yank on Becky’s legs, and then Bliss chokes her on the ropes herself before driving her foot into the back of Lynch’s skull. She applies a sleeper hold of her own, but Becky fights back and rolls her up…only to eat a knee right in the kisser.
Natalya gets the tag, and snapmares Becky out of the corner before hitting a dropkick to the back. She knocks Nikki off the apron, then hits a sit-out bodyslam to Becky; Lynch kicks out at two, and Natalya quickly applies a front facelock, only to get rolled up in a small package by Becky. Neckbreaker to Becky Lynch, and Natalya holds her on the ground, taunting the others on the apron. She locks in a headlock, but Becky fights back, hitting a kick to the face and then almost rolls Natalya up again. Natalya ducks an enzuigiri and tags in Bliss, who misses an elbow drop; Becky tags in Nikki!
Nikki explodes with clotheslines to Alexa, misses a forearm in the corner but hits a back elbow and a flying kick from the second rope. Jawbreaker from Bliss, and Carmella enters the match. She approaches Nikki carelessly, but takes a Samoan drop from the Bella! Natalya lays Nikki out with a clothesline, but takes a pair of boots to the face from Naomi! Bliss throws out Naomi and hits a load of knees to Nikki’s gut. Becky dispatches Alexa, but Carmella has swooped in and she’s locked Nikki into the Code of Silence! Nikki taps out!
Unexpected result, but a great match. Big win for Carmella, and a sign of good things to come on Sunday. 3 Stars.
American Alpha could probably beat Brock Lesnar
Oh shit: right out of one awesome tag match and into another. It’s the Usos vs. American Alpha! I’ve been looking forward to this since Gable and Jordan showed up here, and I hope like hell this one delivers.
The Usos start off with some handshakes, but then immediately jump Jordan after the bell rings. Sloppy Samoan Drop puts Jordan down, but Gable is able to low-bridge one of the Usos, sending him crashing and burning to the floor. Spear by Jordan to the remaining Uso, and…no way: Grand Amplitude! The count! The three! It’s over!
Holy fuck: I’m not even that mad. So, American Alpha just beat the Usos in the most definitive manner I’ve ever seen. Not even Strowman and Harper managed that dominant a victory. WWE seems to be going all in on these two, and I still have trouble believing that just happened. 2.5 Stars, because that entertained the hell out of me.
The Usos get back into the ring, and are actually decent enough to congratulate American Alpha…oh wait, they’re beating the shit out of them. To be fair, why would American Alpha agree to shake their hands a second time? Jordan’s sent shoulder first into the steel post, and the Usos then double-team Gable’s leg before hitting a splash to the other: that guy is now injured as fuck. Oh my God: are Heath Slater and Rhyno going to take the Tag Team Championships? What have the Usos unleashed?
Apparently, we’ll get a medical update on Gable by the end of the night. Oh yeah: he dead.
Orton is backstage, and gets interviewed about no longer being a predator. They’ve really got to stop throwing that word out there, because I just keep giggling. Orton then literally tells a story about some starving guy who shoots a rabbit and then gets bitten by a snake. Tell me about the rabbits, Randy.
Meanwhile, Fandango is in the ring, and apparently Tyler Breeze is in Dubai, looking for silks for their outfits. So…does the WWE pay him to do that? Do they give Breezango an expense account? And then Fandango gets literally just some lady with a bunch of tattoos from the audience to dance with him. She dances about a bazillion times better than I can, but Fandango hates it and she storms off. And then Fandango asks for anyone else to dance with him; Kane comes out, chokeslams him and leaves. Oh golly gee, let’s please make this a trend forever and ever without changing any details.
Meanwhile, AJ Styles breaks a guy’s phone backstage. Is this going to end with him getting the shit kicked out of him by all of the non-wrestling employees? But Dean was stealing people’s coffee backstage earlier; is this some kind of deep message about how Dean and AJ are just as bad as each other, and cheering on either of them is just a distraction from the awful truth? Probably not.
WWE is working with a charity which raises money to fight paediatric cancer and which is named after a dead child. From a joke perspective, not even touching this one. Plus cancer got my Gran, so fuck cancer.
Speaking of cancer, we’re still getting Curt Hawkins Facts. Here’s a fact, Hawkins: I would pay decent money to cut off your hands and force you to eat them.
Do you believe in miracles?
You know what’s better than Curt Hawkins, though? Yeah, literally anything. And, in that category, here’s Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley, who will be facing Heath Slater and Rhyno, now the absolute favourites to be the SmackDown Tag Team Champions. The camera shows what is apparently Heath Slater’s family in the front row. So…are any of them actually Slater’s kids? Did WWE recruit red-headed child actors? Why is one boy in dungarees and vest, but two of the other boys are in suits? I am just beyond puzzled.
Ryder and Slater start off against each other, officially making this the Tale of Two Jobbers (100% less guillotines). Slater slaps on a headlock, is shot off the ropes and hits a shoulder block. He runs the ropes again, catching Ryder with an atomic drop and a clothesline, but then charges into a pair of knees and takes a missile dropkick for one.
Ryder tags in Rawley, who throws Ryder into Slater before hitting a chopblock. Rawely backdrops Slater, then clotheslines him out of the ring. He tags in Ryder, who hits a pair of boot to Slater on the outside whilst Rawley clotheslines Rhyno. After a break, Rawley is still in control, keeping Slater away from Rhyno. Slater ducks a stinger splash, crawls across the ring, and here’s Rhyno!
Rhyno knocks Ryder all over the fucking place, hitting a spear in the corner. Ryder fires back before getting straight-up murdered by a spinebuster, but Rawley makes the save. Slater tags himself in and low-bridges Rawley outta there, and Mojo takes a clothesline from Rhyno as payback. Meanwhile, Ryder rolls up Slater, but Heath kicks out! He takes a drop toehold into turnbuckle, but Rhyno drags Slater out of the way of the Broski Boot! Rhyno tags in! GORE! HEATH SLATER AND RHYNO ARE GOING TO BACKLASH!
What a rollercoaster. 2.5 Stars.
We replay the Usos’ assault on American Alpha, in the same tone as if it was a school shooting. And then the Usos show up, babbling aggressive nonsense. Wow, even Renee looks as though she can’t be bothered with this.
Here’s Dean Ambrose, making his way to the ring, followed by AJ Styles. This is apparently…a formal discussion, I guess? Dean tells Charly Caruso to beat it in case, like the Women’s Division forum, this degenerates into a brawl. Ambrose then gives AJ a bowling participation trophy, telling him it’s the only trophy he’ll ever get from him.
Styles gets pissy, and says that Ambrose has no idea who he’s dealing with and he should stop treating AJ Styles like a joke. In answer, Dean plays the testicular torsion clip from last week, because he’s a wascally wabbit. Styles plays the ‘I Beat John Cena’, which I guess we should really start getting used to now, and says he’s taking the Championship on Sunday. He says that Cena took him seriously, and Cena still got beaten. He then says that Ambrose is not John Cena.
Dean agrees, but then says that Styles beat Cena in a wrestling match; Dean Ambrose doesn’t have wrestling matches, but battles. He says that the one match that he and Styles have had was won by him, but he’s not walking around with AJ Styles’ jockstrap tied to his arm. He says there are no trophies for second place around here.
Styles then just nails Ambrose in the nuts, and smashes the bowling trophy before leaving. Wow, really? That’s the last bit of build to Backlash? Okay…
That was mostly a really decent show. The heel turn from the Usos was expected, but the viciousness of it was not. The six-women tag match was the match of the night, and I’m obviously thrilled with Slater and Rhyno’s win. The only thing that let a good show down was Ambrose and Styles, oddly, but their match this Sunday should more than make up for it. 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, apollo crews, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Heath Slater, Hype Bros, jbl, Kane, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mojo Rawley, naomi, natalya neidhart, Nikki Bella, Renee Young, Rhyno, Shane McMahon, smackdown, The Miz, the usos, WWE