Hey there, peeps. I was just feeling like an honest-to-Gods adult there for a moment, what with getting up at six, hitting the gym at seven and buying a fucking cast-iron pot, motherfuckers, so I decided to review some professional wrestling instead, because I’m not ready to go full adult.
Also, re. being a full adult: I need vodka recommendations. Like, classy, expensive vodka that you’d actually be happy drinking on the rocks because you can barely taste it. Sound off in the comments, per favore, and help David achieve his dream of running an actual bar out of the cupboard under the stairs.
And now: SmackDown.
Well, we get some kind of promo for Cena vs. Ambrose tonight. That should be a pretty sweet match, and as a starter we’re getting Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz, with the title on the line! Fuck, let’s stop just talking about it and get to it!
The show proper starts off with Daniel Bryan in the ring. I saw a really well-done horror movie called The Invitation (featuring Daario Naharis) a few days ago, and the lead actor looked and sounded so like Bryan I had to actually check IMDB. Let me tell you: when an actor in a horror movie is played by or could pass for a WWE wrestler, you absolutely stop worrying about them. Also, watch The Invitation: one of the increasing number of quality horror movies we have today.
Also watch VVitch, because holy fucking shit.
Anyway, Bryan’s here because we’re going to have a contract signing. He says that part of the New Era is going to involve no brawls during these things, and you can fuck right off with that, Bryan. Where do you think this is, North Korea?
Bryan calls Becky out, and she makes her way to the ring, all smiles. In fairness, if my number one contender was Alexa Bliss, I’d be feeling pretty fucking chill right now. I mean…gal’s got, like, three actual moves. Bliss herself shows up too, and we see a clip of the match where she earned her opportunity, showcasing the talents of women who’d put on a way better match than she will.
Bliss mocks Becky’s appearance, because Alexa Bliss’ personality was created in a lab out of DVDs of Clueless, Mean Girls and…I guess a movie from the Fifties? Probably most movies from the Fifties? Bliss tells Becky that she doesn’t fit the role of Champion. She says that her role in life is to be someone who succeeds, then fails miserably. Holy fuck, that was actually pretty mean.
Bliss tells Becky that she knows that, because she wasn’t born to be a Champion; she was born to be a loser. Wow, this makes you long for the crooning mediocrity of a Bray Wyatt promo. Becky tells a story of her sad beginnings and getting inspired by television, and says that she worked to get where she is, and she’s not losing the Championship to Bliss at No Mercy.
Alexa mocks Becky’s speech, and says that she was always destined for second place, whereas Bliss was apparently born to be a Champion. Not even going to ask how, because this is the kind of promo that doesn’t really have to make sense; the audience will boo or cheer as long as you get the tone right.
Bliss then nails Becky in the face with the clipboard on the table, which apparently really fucking hurts, then signs her name, throws the clipboard at Becky, and then flips the table onto her. And Bryan…Bryan just fucking stands there. Jesus, Daniel; these women are professional athletes, not delicate flowers. How injured even are you? Becky catches Bliss as she tries to walk out, beats on her a little, and then returns to the ring and signs her own name.
The Usos are backstage, dressed like either gang members or basketball players. They’ll be facing American Alpha, who are dressed like professional wrestlers.
After the break, Daniel Bryan is walking backstage, looking for some other fights to not break up. He runs into The Miz, who apparently has a problem: a problem called Dolph Ziggler. God, we all have that problem. Bryan offers to cancel the title defence, but that also means cancelling Miz’s new contract. What actually is in Miz’s new contract? What exact perks could possibly exist for him? I’m trying to think of a joke, but all my brain is giving me is the word ‘dildos’ over and over again.
Miz’s contract gave him, like, ten percent more dildos.
That’s all I’ve got; I’m fucking tired.
I didn’t come here to feel, WWE
Here are the Usos, and Mauro Ranallo immediately draws intention to the fashion disaster that is them, the sassy, bespectacled bitch. They’re facing American Alpha, who the Usos managed to injure two weeks ago, thereby saving them from the shame of losing to the team of Heath Slater and Rhyno. They recorded an angry promo backstage, which is something to see from two guys who aren’t that talented at displaying anger.
The bell rings, and if this is another squash match then I’d be too amused to even be mad. Gable takes Jimmy down, pounding on him, then fucks Jey up when he tries to come in. T-Bone suplex to Jimmy, then Gable works on the leg of Jimmy before bringing Jordan in to do the exact same thing. Rhyno and Slater are watching backstage, eating Cheese Whiz. Alright, I have to ask about this: seriously, America? “Processed cheese sauce”? I mean…Jesus, I don’t have the words.
Double dropkicks to both Usos, but Gable is elevated onto the apron, and a distraction Jey allows Jimmy to tie Gable’s injured leg up in the ropes, letting him and Jey go after it as we go to another break.
When we come back, Jimmy is in control of Gable, wrenching Chad’s knee around his in the centre of the ring. He then throws Gable into the corner, attacking the leg in the ropes once again. Gable manages to dispose of both Usos, crawls across the ring, and makes the tag to Jordan! Jordan takes out both Usos with belly-to-bellies! Spears to both Usos, then another suplex to Jey for two!
Jordan sets Jey up on the top rope, wanting another belly-to-belly from the top! Jey fights him off twice, getting a blind tag from Jimmy. He superkicks Jordan; Jimmy hits the Samoan Splash, and Gable breaks up the pin!
Jey throws Gable out of the ring, and then takes a leg-capture suplex from Jordan. Jordan eats a superkick from Jimmy, and then runs him the fuck over with a clothesline! JBL heartily approves this clotheslining offence as Jordan crawls to Gable, but Gable’s leg is fucked up. Jordan refuses to make the tag! Jordan knocks Jimmy off the apron, is hoisted up into Jey’s Samoan splash, but turns it into a sunset flip for two! Superkick to Jordan, and Jey takes out Gable at the knee! Double superkick to Jordan, and Jey hits the Samoan splash for the win!
What a story. That’s some of the most emotional tag team wrestling I’ve ever seen, and Jordan refusing to let Gable in the match was fucking genius. If that was much longer, with a couple more fake-outs, that’d be PPV quality. 4 Stars.
Backstage, Slater and Rhyno are discussing how to get the fans on their side. Rhyno is the straight man all of us deserve. Then the Usos show up to talk some smack, and that’s not a smart move when you’re as exhausted as the Usos both look. If Slater hits one of the Usos with his belt, the roof would blow off that place. Rhyno actually manages to back them both off, because you don’t fuck with a guy who willingly steps into a ring with Sabu.
WWE’s doing some promos about Hispanic Heritage month, which is cool. Have to admit, I did hear the guitars and worried that I was going to receive another promo about how beautiful Puerto Rico is.
Jack Swagger is on commentary and, for his sins (mainly his World Heavyweight Championship run), he’s going to be subjected to a Baron Corbin match. At what point does justice go too far?
Baron Corbin is here to face Apollo Crews after laying an asskicking on him last week. I cannot believe that we’re feeding Crews to Corbin to build a feud for Jack Swagger. In no universe, other than the one Vince McMahon inhabits alone but for a tear-stained photograph of his father, does this make the slightest bit of sense.
Crews goes after Corbin, punching and dropkicking him in the face. Fallaway slam sends the much larger Corbin flying, and Crews follows him to the outside. Apollo sends Corbin flying into the barricade, then kicks him right the fuck in the head with an enzuigiri.
Corbin fires back with an uppercut and then dropkick of his own, this time sending Crews to the outside. He drapes Crews over the barricade and slams forearms into his head. Back in the ring, he wraps Crews’ body around the steel post and slams his feet into. End of Days finishes it.
That was the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever seen, with the exception of Baron Corbin himself, who looks like a meth addict not committed enough to become emaciated. 1 Star.
Corbin yells at Jack Swagger after the match. If it wasn’t for the fact that I enjoy ironically loving Swagger, I’d be refusing to cover this feud. It’d be like punching a bird flu-ridden baby penguin.
Speaking of diseases, here is Curt Hawkins. If I could either have a real lightsaber, save one child in Africa from starvation or disease, or unsurgically remove Curt Hawkins’ face with a rusted scalpel, then I would take the lightsaber, lend it to the African child, and pay them a huge amount of money to murder Curt Hawkins. Because, sometimes, you can have it all.
Oh, and the money to pay the African child for their
murder great service to all of mankind would come from me allowing scientists to examine the one and only lightsaber in existence in exchange for a certain amount of financial consideration. Keep up.
Naomi and Nikki are backstage, and walk right into an ambush interview by Charley. Naomi says that she feels amazing and confident every Tuesday, because she’s not letting anything get in her way. She’s going to take Natalya down tonight, just as Nikki plans to finish off Carmella.
Renee Young is backstage with Dolph Ziggler, asking him if this time, just maybe, he might actually accomplish something. He says that he might just, possibly.
We do not appreciate the Miz enough
Ziggler makes his way out to the ring, followed by The Miz and Maryse. This is apparently Ziggler’s last chance ever at the Intercontinental Championship, and I would just love to believe that that was in any way true at all. Because Dolph Ziggler is just the poster boy for running in place.
We the announcements one both competitors are in the ring (#BigMatchFeel), and we’re underway. Dolph takes Miz down at the leg for a quick cover, then sleepers the Champ until Miz grabs the ropes. Waistlock takeover into a cover, and then Miz manages to escape to the outside. Dolph gives chase back into the ring, and is then back on the Miz, sleepering him again before Miz is able to get back out of the ring.
Ziggler chases Miz, ducks a surprise clothesline and takes the Miz down with a clothesline of his own. Maryse yells at Dolph, somehow distracting him enough for Miz to hit three dropkicks, sending Ziggler to the outside. Miz continues the attack out there, hurling Dolph into the barricade before sending him back into the ring. Miz heads up to the top turnbuckle, coming off with a double axe handle to put Ziggler down again.
Miz wants the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Ziggler elbows his way clear. Dolph tries to come back with a superkick, but Miz catches the foot, blocks one DDT and then another, dumping Ziggler face-first on the floor. Miz mocks Bryan by doing first his taunt and then the buzzsaw kicks. Dolph catches the last one and then beats the shit out of Miz on the mat, only for the Champ to throw him right into the turnbuckles, following that up with a big boot to the face for a two count.
Miz wrenches Ziggler’s arms behind his back, wrapping Dolph’s spine around his knee. Dolph reverses the hold, then breaks out of it. He ducks a clothesline, hitting several of his own, then a stinger splash. Miz is almost caught by a neckbreaker, but he’s able to force Ziggler shoulder-first into the steel post, buying himself time to catch his breath.
Two running dropkicks into the corner from Miz, followed up by the Awesome Clothesline. He heads up to the top again, but leaps right into a beautiful dropkick from Ziggler! That gets two, and both men are down on the floor. Ziggler beats Miz to his feet, but Miz is able to reverse his Fameasser; Dolph counters another Skull-Crushing Finale attempt, and then hits his DDT for another near-fall! Miz is down, and Ziggler wants the superkick. Miz ducks away from the foot, but Ziggler clotheslines both the Miz and himself out of the ring, dumping the pair of them into a commercial break.
When we come back, Ziggler has Miz on the second rope, looking for a superplex. Miz fights back, looking for a sunset flip powerbomb, slingshotting Ziggler off the ropes before hitting a sit-out powerbomb for two! Miz goes after the leg now, but is caught in a sleeper when he looks for the Figure Four! He reaches the ropes and is able to boot Ziggler in the face to put him down again. A third Skull-Crushing Finale attempt allows Ziggler to victory roll the Miz for a near fall, and then he hits the Fame Asser for an even nearer one!
Miz counters a Zig Zag, runs into an uppercut, and distracts the ref so that Maryse can go for the perfume again! The referee catches her, and Maryse has been ejected from ringside! Ziggler rolls up the Miz, who rolls it through, but Ziggler kicks out! Zig Zag connects, but the Miz kicks out of it! Miz kicks out of the Zig Zag! He rolls out to the outside, trying to crawl away, and now he’s trying to run out of there with the belt! Ziggler catches him, and hurls him into the steel steps. Ziggler sends the Miz back into the ring, still holding the belt. The ref takes the belt out of the ring, and the Miz sprays Ziggler in the eyes with the perfume! Miz hits the Skull-Crushing Finale, and the Miz wins!
Wow. More matches like this, please. Another bout which wouldn’t have looked out of place on a PPV, even with the dirty finish. Probably should have done the switch here; I think they’re pushing it a bit much if they do plan to have Dolph take the belt at No Mercy. Still, great match. 4 Stars.
Remember when I said Orton vs. Bray would be a good feud? I was wrong.
We all need to cool down after that, so here’s an Erick Rowan match. He’s facing Randy Orton, and unless this instantly ends with an RKO, then it’s not going to be pretty.
Orton apparently read my mind, because he immediately goes for the RKO! Good man yourself, Randy. It doesn’t connect, however, and he gets powerslammed by Rowan. Fists and elbows are rained down on the Viper by Rowan, but Orton fights his way back out of the corner. Rowan shuts him down, even hitting a dropkick that sends Randy out of the ring.
Orton’s head is slammed off the steel steps, and Rowan sends him back into the ring. Randy catches Rowan on his way back inside, and hits the Vintage DDT. RKO connects this time, and that’s all she wrote.
Really the best way to do this match. Lots of savagery by Rowan, but have Orton end it in about three moves. 2 Stars.
The lights go out, and when they come back on Erick Rowan is gone. I wish I had the power to make Erick Rowan vanish without a trace. And then Bray Wyatt appears on the screen and talks about how the two of them are so alike and yet so different: standard “deep” heel stuff. He also calls himself God, and if I was God, I would use my powers to be as unlike Bray Wyatt as possible, so I don’t believe him.
Carmella is the worst fucking tag team partner
Wow, jobber entrances for Natalya, Carmella and Nikki. Guess Naomi’s the star of this match. How many people has Naomi’s entrance helped discover their latent epilepsy?
Natalya attacks Naomi even though Nikki’s legal. The Bella gets Natalya up on her shoulders, but a distraction from Carmella allows Nat to slip out of it and apply the Sharpshooter…only for Carmella to drag Nikki out of the ring and slam her into the barricade, leading to the DQ.
Wait, so women aren’t allowed to be thrown into barricades, but it’s fine and dandy if you’re Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin or the Miz? What kind of sexist bullshit is this now? 1 Star
AJ Styles is backstage, getting interviewed by Charley. He says the only way that anyone’s taking his title away is if Ambrose or Cena pin each other at No Mercy. He’s looking forward to watching the two of them beat the shit out of each other…
Now imagine this, plus AJ Styles
…right now! Here’s Dean Ambrose and John Cena, and could we be in for one more great match tonight? We’ll see.
John and Dean circle each other before locking up, and Dean gains the advantage with a headlock, an armlock and a headlock takeover. Cena sends Ambrose off the ropes, but is taken down with a shoulder tackle and has to back into the corner: out of the ordinary. The pair go at each other again, and now Cena has a side headlock, taking Dean to their knees. Ambrose sends Cena off the ropes, and it’s his turn to be tackled. Cena goes for the AA; Ambrose slides out and goes for Dirty Deeds, but Cena counters with another headlock takeover. Cena’s sent off the ropes and hits another tackle. He whips Ambrose into the corner, misses a charge and blasts the ring post, falling into a commercial.
When we come back, Ambrose slides out of another Attitude Adjustment attempt, jabbing and chopping at Cena. Headbutt connects, and Cena eats some forearms. He reverses an Irish whip, but Ambrose runs over him with a clothesline. Forearm and a bulldog connects, courtesy of Ambrose, and now Dean’s looking for Dirty Deeds, but the STF is locked in! Ambrose crawls to the ropes, quickly reaching them, and the hold is broken.
Dean’s able to topple Cena to the outside, gaining himself some time before he dives through the ropes to take Cena out. He sends John back inside, then climbs to the top rope. He flies off the top with his standing elbow drop, but Cena rolls through, takes him up and hits the Attitude Adjustment…and Ambrose kicks out of it!
Cena goes for a second AA, but Dean catches him out of nowhere with Dirty Deeds! Cena kicks out in turn, and both men are down on the mat, struggling to reach their feet. Cena sends a punch at Ambrose, who fires back. Both men are punching away; Ambrose goes for the Lunatic Lariat; Cena takes him up for another AA, and Ambrose rolls through…Ambrose got him! Ambrose just pinned John Cena clean!
Would not have called that, but what a great way to bring Ambrose’s stock up higher. Whether he wins back the belt or not, that is a hell of an accolade and a huge measure of WWE’s faith in him. 3 Stars.
Styles suddenly erupts out of the crowd, and lays Cena out with the Phenomenal Forearm! He dashes into the ring and lays Ambrose out with a Pele Kick!
Bryan comes out, and says that Dean Ambrose was promised a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, and that he’s going to get it next week! Styles is infuriated, and goes to finish the job on Ambrose, but Dean is ready for him, and he lays AJ out with Dirty Deeds! Ambrose stands tall to end the show, with a Championship opportunity next week!
What a fantastic show. Whilst the title match was the high point, so much of this delivered. 10/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, apollo crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, curt hawkins, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Heath Slater, Jack Swagger, jbl, John Cena, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Randy Orton, Renee Young, Rhyno, Shane McMahon, smackdown, smackdown live, The Miz, WWE