Hey there, folks. We’re a bare few days away from Survivor Series, and this is the final SmackDown stop-off on the way there. I’m your SmackDown reviewer, David Spain, and let’s get right to it.
We get a really nice video package which showcases some of the awesome moments in SmackDown history. They just had to put the Boogeyman in there, didn’t they? This is the 900th episode of SmackDown and I’m quite excited: not every night you get Edge and the Undertaker on the show.
The show starts, as a special really should, with Shane and Bryan. And, look, I love Shane. I truly, honestly do. And I’m happy as hell that he’s around so much now. But that motherfucker is wearing a vest, suit jacket and tie with baggy jeans and sneakers, and there is something extremely wrong with all of that.
Shane welcomes us all to SmackDown Live, but forgets to apologise for his lack of fashion sense. Bryan gets us ready for some of the cool shit we can expect tonight. If Bryan goes off-script and hits Taker with a flying knee I will pop so fucking much. You know Vince would make the match. He let Shane fight the guy, after all.
Miz had better fucking cheat at Survivor Series
But we’re kicking things off first with the Intercontinental Championship match. This match has Survivor Series implications: if Miz should win the title, then it’ll be him who gets into the ring against Zayn on Sunday. Miz and Maryse make their way to the ring, followed by Ziggler.
We get the post-entrance announcements (#BigMatchFeel), and then we kick things off. Dolph and Miz circle each other before locking up and trading holds, starting off slow. Ziggler goes for a takedown and a quick pin before the Miz abandons wrestling, hitting a kick to the gut, almost gets superkicked before countering a DDT. His neckbreaker is reversed by Ziggler, as is an attempt at the Figure Four and the Skull-Crushing Finale. He shies away from a second superkick before we get a quick break.
When we come back, the Miz charges at a cornered Ziggler, is elevated over the top, tries to come off the top rope and leaps right into a dropkick from Dolph. Both men are down, with Ziggler getting to his feet first using the ropes. Miz runs into a back elbow, but is still able to hit his back/neckbreaker for a two count. Miz locks Ziggler’s legs around his, wrenching back on his face before stomping on his knees. Miz continues to work the legs of Ziggler, clearly hoping that the Figure Four has a part to play.
Miz sends Dolph into the corner, but the Champ ducks away from the Awesome Clothesline. Ziggler hits clotheslines of his own, then the Stinger Splash. Miz goes for another neckbreaker, but Dolph counters with one of his own before locking in a tight sleeper hold. Miz gets his foot on the ropes, forcing the break; backstage, Alexa Bliss just punched the wall. Dolph rolls the Miz up, but runs into a big boot. Miz tries to use the ropes for his pin, but the ref spots him, offering Miz an opportunity to be really distracted and just wander into a Fame-Asser from Dolph. Miz just kicks out before three, and it’s time for another break.
Back to the action, and Dolph and Miz are slugging each other. Dolph goes for the ZigZag, but Miz grabs the ropes, then mocks Bryan with his pose and his kicks. Dolph tries to roll the Miz up, but Miz hits the Running Knee and then the Skull-Crushing Finale, but Dolph still kicks out! And now Miz wants the Figure Four; Dolph tries to counter with his DDT, counters Miz’s own, hits the ZigZag but Miz beats the count with one foot on the bottom rope.
Dolph reaches his feet, calling for the Superkick, and suddenly the Spirit Squad are up on the ring apron! Dolph kicks Mikey and Kenny, but this allows Dolph to lock in the Figure Four in the centre of the ring! Ziggler somehow manages to reach the ropes, rolls up the Miz, but Maryse pushes the pin over to allow the Miz to win the Championship!
Well, thanks for stopping me from seeing an awesome match, guys; I was looking forward to seeing Ziggler/Zayn. Also, was this past month a huge prank on Dolph? Match was fantastic, though. 4 Stars.
Alexa Bliss is backstage, arguing her case to Daniel Bryan. Interesting juxtaposition, really. Bryan at least does say that the ref’s decision is final, unlike that Triple H bullshit from a couple of years back. Daniel says that Bliss will get her rematch, and then Natalya shows up to teach her through spoken-word song lyrics. You know, actually having Nat act like a real coach might have been a pretty cool sequence, but I guess this really lame joke is fine too. Alexa storms off, vocally unable to believe that this is happening.
What the hell is a Lorcan?
Some dude called Oney Lorcan is in the ring, and he’ll be facing Kalisto. I’m praying that Baron Corbin is not going to interrupt this match, partly because I can’t be having with that ugly bastard having any kind of focus or storyline, but also because I hope he’s either dead or injured or grieving over a brutally-murdered family member.
Kalisto will be facing Bryan Kendrick for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, and I’m hoping like hell that he loses. I don’t want us to give away the Intercontinental Championship in that kind of trade. I think it’s pretty obvious why: because apparently the Intercontinental Championship is considered a fair price for not only the Cruiserweight Championship, but the entire Cruiserweight Division, which I don’t care too much about at the moment either.
Lorcan hits a Cesaro-esque running uppercut, and then another one. Half nelson suplex ends Kalisto flying, and I feel like I might have underestimated Oney Lorcan. You know who I like him better than? Baron Corbin. Lorcan runs into a kick, but Kalisto slips off a springboard to allow Lorcan to take advantage. Kalisto quickly hits the Salida Del Sol to finish things.
Wow, I spent more text ranting about the Cruiserweight Division and Baron Corbin than I did covering the match. Poor Lorcan. 2 Stars.
The SmackDown Tag Team Team is backstage, wishing they had a less stupid-sounding name. Slater and Rhyno show up to deliver a speech, and apparently these guys co-exist pretty well with each other. Heath Slater has got them a motivational speaker…and it’s King Booker. Fuck you: that’s funny.
Booker slides right back into his royal role, making one of the Usos corpse like crazy before the Fashion Police show up. Okay, scratch what I said about co-existence, because these guys just ruined all of that. Booker hits them with a promo to scare them both off, and the rest of the team start chanting for him. That was pretty great, actually.
Carmella, you neckbreaking slut
Whilst Booker T is making sure that everyone in the Tag Team Team is working together, the Women’s Team is just going to have a match against each other in order to foster bad feeling. I get that it actually gives them more time and some narrative tension, but it does seem like a bit of a stereotype.
Nikki Bella is in the ring, waiting for Carmella. It’ll actually be a novelty for her to see Carmella approaching rather than suddenly having her smash right into her. Carmella gets into the ring, and away we go. Both women lock up, rolling against the ropes for a while before Carmella grabs Nikki’s hair, forcing the break.
Carmella mocks Nikki with the ‘You Can’t See Me’ pose, and Nikki chases her out from and around the ring, allowing Carmella to gain the advantage when she gets back inside. Nikki seizes it back, however, taking a facebuster and a suplex before Carmella ducks out of the ring, hitting a neckbreaker off the apron. Nikki manages to beat the count and kick out of Carmella’s pin, but she’s hurt.
Carmella applies a sleeper against the ropes for the five count, then lays Nikki out with a superkick for two. She locks in another sleeper, keeping Nikki down in the centre of the ring. Nikki manages to drive Carmella into a corner to break the hold, but the Princess of Staten Island keeps going right after the neck. Another third sleeper is applied, then Carmella runs Nikki’s head into her boot and chokes her in the corner.
Carmella misses a bronco buster, and both women are down. Suddenly, Charlotte is coming down the stairs to take a seat, having bought a ticket. Nikki is appropriately distracted like this, like it’s some kind of law, as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Nikki Alabama Slams Carmella, then hits a corner clothesline and a springboard enzuigiri. She throws Carmella into the barricade, and then decks Charlotte! She drags the RAW Women’s Champ into the ring and starts wailing on her, but now all of the RAW team is on Nikki, beating her down. Carmella actually runs in to help Nikki and gets the shit kicked out of her, but the rest of Team SmackDown hits the ring too! We’ve got a brawl! Nia Jax manages to throw herself through the barricade; Naomi springboards out onto Team RAW, and the home team stands tall!
Genuinely didn’t see an invasion coming for the Women’s Teams, and it was great that they did it. Nice job having Carmella actually trying to help Nikki; it definitely evoked memories of CM Punk trying to save Cena during the original Nexus Invasion. Match itself had its brutal moments too. 3 Stars.
We see a preview for the new series Shooter. It’s about twenty seconds long, but those twenty seconds were stuffed chock full of cliche, badly acted and terribly written. Looks Godawful.
You’d think folks would be a little more pissed at the Usos, but hey…
Looks like Heath Slater is actually a little smarter than whoever keeps putting team members in matches against each other, because he’s having the rest of the SmackDown Tag Team Team face everyone they beat to become part of the team. You know: a sensible way to bond the team and to give them a straightforward victory to boost their confidence. Holy crap, Slater is smarter than Mick Foley and Stephanie.
American Alpha starts off against Aiden English before one of the Usos tag themselves in and starts beating the shit out of Mikey. The next Uso comes in to punish the guy more. Gotch tags in before the Usos swap places again, hitting a suplex. Mojo Rawley tags in, taking it to the shoulder of Gotch. He catches and slams Gotch before hitting a seated senton.
Zack Ryder tags in, hitting a neckbreaker to Gotch. He tags Rawley back in, who takes chops from Gotch which just seem to hype him up. Ryder comes back inside, but gets his eyes raked by Gotch, who tags in Viktor to run over Ryder for a little. Ryder manages to hit Viktor with the knees and then a missile dropkick before clotheslining him out of the ring. Konor takes the wrecking ball dropkick in Viktor’s place, letting Viktor take advantage as we go to a break.
When we come back, Konor is in control, but Ryder dodges two charges and starts crawling over to American Alpha. He gets the tag to Gable, who takes a bodyslam from Mosh. Gable rallies, taking down both Mosh and Thrash. Jordan joins him in the ring, but the Spirit Squad take him out, only to get jumped by Breezango, who are tossed by the Ascension, who are eliminated by the Hype Bros! The Vaudevillains are taken out by the Hype Bros as well, with Rawley and Ryder taking themselves out of the ring in doing so. Only the Usos are left in the ring, and they dive over the ring rope that Gable pulls down for them! Grand Amplitude hits in the ring, and that’s all she wrote.
That was really fun, and a heartwarming moment of cohesiveness in a month which has been mostly marked by infighting. 2.5 Stars.
It’s time for the main segment of the evening, and here’s Edge! He’s grown his hair out a little, as well as falling victim to the lumberjack beard craze. After a while, it’ll just be the hipsters doing it, which is exactly what those bastards want.
Edge gets right back into it, and I’ve missed that guy. From the age of six until…well, probably about now, he was the definition of ‘cool’ for me. He says that he’s already had a vested interest in SmackDown over RAW, and asks for the Team to show up. Seeing Bray show up and have to act, to a point, like a genuine human being is still a lot funnier than it should be.
Shane is still wearing that fucking outfit, too.
Edge decides to show AJ Styles how to really be a douche, and fakes him out by shaking Ellsworth’s hand instead of his. Ellsworth takes this as an opportunity to ask if he can do a five second pose. Poor Bray and Randy: not able to react to any of this beyond stoic aloofness. Styles rants a little at Edge, and tells him to interview someone who matters on the team.
Edge picks Randy, because their bromance cannot and never will die. Edge even references Rated RKO, just to make Bray a little jealous. And then he insults the Wyatts, because Edge is just a huge dick. And then he mocks Randy, because fucking Edge, man. Bray tries to creep Edge out, which I think only works if you’re someone he’s allowed to set the Wyatts on; Edge just turns to Shane to ask him what the fuck.
Shane drops all pretences, and says that none of these people are going to be friends; they just have to hold it together for a solid half an hour; forty-five minutes tops. He tries to give them a rousing speech, which Styles predictably hijacks in order to insult Dean Ambrose. Serious driveby, bro.
Dean defends his actions and says that he’ll be a team player, but right afterwards he’s coming right back after Styles. Just as they’re squaring up to fight, the lights go out and gong tolls. Which, considering when it did so, makes Undertaker seem like a Dad hearing his kids fighting and breaking it up with a ‘for fuck’s sake‘. Also, is Undertaker the kind of guy we want to settle things out there? Because four of the people in that ring are former WrestleMania opponents of his, and another one helped put him through a table. Holy crap, AJ Styles is actually the person in that ring he’s on best terms with.
Undertaker makes his entrance, during which time I make and eat a three course meal, polishing it off with cheeses, coffee, brandy and a cigar. When I wake up the next morning, he’s just getting inside the ring, and goes eye-to-eye with Shane. Still not forgiven him for trying to kill you with a cell-dive, huh, Deadman? But then he says that there’s no man better suited to be Commissioner of SmackDown than the man without fear. Bull and shit, I’m afraid; there are a lot more important qualifications to run an section of a multi-million dollar sports entertainment show than not having any fear. But I guess the Undertaker wouldn’t know anything about that, being a walking voodoo corpse or whatever.
Undertaker says that it’s not just about WrestleMania for him. Wait, he can’t be becoming an active talent again. Is he suicidal or something? He says that Survivor Series was where he was born, and SmackDown was always his home. Which, he says, brings him to the second reason that he’s out here.
Taker says that, at this year’s Survivor Series, there’s no reason to fear failure, but they will need to fear the Deadman. Man, even Styles doesn’t have a wiseass remark to follow that. Undertaker finishes things off by saying that Team RAW had better Rest In Peace.
Cool segment, but I feel like I’d rather be on Team RAW right now. Stephanie may be a total bitch, but she’s not threatening her team with the Undertaker for losing. Also, does the Undertaker’s threat extend to Shane? Or is he just able to be relaxed about the whole thing? Seems unfair if that is the case.
Plus, I’m pretty sure that Orton, Bray, Ambrose and Styles could take the Undertaker if they worked together. They should have done that tonight, actually: it’d be both a great teamwork exercise and a reminder to a fifty-one year old man that threatening athletes in the prime of their physical prowess is a dumb fucking idea.
This was a really good SmackDown. No bad matches; they marked the anniversary episode nicely and I feel seriously amped up for Survivor Series. Plus Edge and the Undertaker made it a very special occasion. 10/10/
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Becky Lynch, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Edge, Heath Slater, jbl, Kalisto, King Booker, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Oney Lorcan, Randy Orton, Rhyno, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, smackdown, smackdown live, The Fashion Police, The Hype Bros, The Miz, The Undertaker, the usos, WWE