Hello there, folks. Well, it’s been a weird few days. Brock Lesnar got absolutely stomped by Goldberg. There have been debates on whether or not figures connected to the Donald Trump Presidency are or are not actual Nazis. And the British Government has announced its intention to ban access to pornography depicting sexual acts which are regarded (by God only knows whom) as ‘unconventional’. So America, you may have a government small enough to fit inside your vagina, but we have a Prime Minister who truly and deeply cares about what we stroke it to.
Speaking about things that someone, somewhere probably masturbates to: SmackDown.
Well, my Survivor Series picks were wrong in almost every respect. The only one I even picked correctly was that RAW would win the tag team match. Still, not being able to guess what was going to happen was a nice return to the uncertainty I used to feel when I started watching wrestling. You know, back when my debates about what would happen at PPVs took place in the school playground, not with a bunch of dudes on the internet.
Shane McMahon is here to kick off SmackDown, after what was almost an assassination attempt by Roman Reigns (that’s what the McMahon family gets for putting the US Championship on him). Shane gets a nice ‘you still got it’ chant, and says that he wants to congratulate Team RAW for putting up such a great challenge. He mentions them all by name, and of course Roman gets the biggest boo of the list. Shane says he needs to thank two individuals whom he thought would be the most difficult: Bray and Randy. He starts to discuss Styles’ and Ambrose’s problems on Sunday when Dean interrupts him, making his way to the ring.
Ambrose asks why Shane’s so down: they won, after all. Shane’s not in a joking mood, and he accuses Dean of not caring about the match result when he helped triple-powerbomb Styles through the announce table. Ambrose ducks the criticism like an asshole, instead inviting James Ellsworth to come down to the ring. James Ellsworth is in a neck brace, just so we all get that being hurled off a stage through tables is detrimental to one’s health. Dean ruins the surprise that Shane was saving for Ellsworth, telling him that he’s being offered a contract for SmackDown Live. Jesus, as what?
Shane tells Dean that he’s got the night off, which Ambrose seems to accept quite happily. Then Shane tells him he has to leave the building, which apparently Dean’s not so cool with. What, was he going to just hang around when he had the whole night off? Is Dean’s life that empty?
As Dean reluctantly leaves, Styles comes out to protest…everything, I guess? He tells Shane that Ambrose should be kicked off SmackDown Live, and like Bryan and Shane would dare throw away someone so popular. Styles also rails against the idea of James Ellsworth getting a contract, saying he doesn’t deserve it. I mean…Styles has got a solid point there. He then challenges Ellsworth to a Ladder Match that night, and it’s like he hasn’t yet got how this is going to end. If Ellsworth wins, then he gets a contract; if not, then life goes back to normal.
Shane is decent enough to tell Ellsworth that he doesn’t have to do this (because Shane’s the fucking boss and all), but Ellsworth actually tells Styles that he’s already beaten him twice, and that he’ll happily do it on one condition: if he wins, then he not only gets a contract, but he also gets a future World Championship opportunity. Oh Jesus, they are actually crazy enough to give him one, aren’t they?
The Miz and Maryse are backstage, getting photographed for some reason. Bryan shows up, telling him to get moving. The Miz demands some gratitude from Bryan for keeping the belt from Sami Zayn, though Bryan tells him that the manner in which he won humiliated SmackDown. But someone who didn’t humiliate SmackDown on Sunday was Kalisto, and seeing as he got screwed out of his Cruiserweight Championship opportunity by Baron Corbin, he’ll get a United States Championship opportunity tonight.
After the break, Shane and Dean are backstage. Ambrose is really showing how someone with his personality would actually be a serious chore to spend time around: nice realism there, WWE.
Kalisto is already in the ring, and may as well be counting the seconds down until Baron Corbin leaps onto him again. Miz shows up, making his way down the ramp towards this championship contest. Both men lock up, with Miz controlling the arm; Kalisto counters, flipping the Miz over for a one count. Waistlock by Kalisto, who backflips under a clothesline and tries to roll the Miz up a couple of times before low-bridging him out of the ring and diving through the ropes onto him!
After a break, Miz is in control as he stomps Kalisto in the corner. Kalisto ducks a charge, evading Miz before kicking him in the face. Springboard seated senton from the luchador, followed by springboard spinning crossbody. The Miz goes for a powerbomb, which Kalisto reverses into a hurricanrana. Spike-a-rana gets a near-fall, and then Kalisto heads up to the top rope. The camera suddenly shows the crowd, which is weird because there’s absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happening. Kalisto dives off the top, but rolls right to his feet, knocking Baron Corbin (who just suddenly appeared) off the apron. Miz hits the Skull-Crushing Finale, and that’s the end of that.
I really hope that Bryan remembers that Corbin deserves to be punished too, and that the punishment is having his legs hacked off. 2 Stars.
Baron Corbin hits the End of Days to Kalisto and then storms off. And suddenly Ziggler’s on the entrance ramp and superkicks the Miz. He doesn’t superkick Maryse, despite the fact that she’s been the one costing him all of his matches.
Bryan and Shane are backstage, having a joint head-shake at what they’ve just seen. Alexa Bliss then shows up, demanding her rematch. Becky appears as well, so she’s clearly just been stalking Alexa this whole evening, and tells the challenger that she’ll get her rematch at TLC. And then Natalya arrives, and she still thinks that she’s the coach or something, even though there’s no Team SmackDown anymore.
Nat blames Becky for losing, and the entire thing devolves into bickering until Shane makes a match between Natalya and Becky. Nat’s still using song lyrics to threaten and inspire people, although Alexa’s reaction to it is hilarious. Oh, and Dean is still somehow in the building. Honestly, this should just lead to a street fight between Shane and Ambrose; it makes as much sense as anything else going on around here.
In another part of the building, Baron Corbin is walking around backstage, and gets a surprisingly long way before Bryan intercepts him. Bryan tells Corbin that what he’s doing is stupid and reckless, by which I believe he means actually being a professional wrestler and crippling his future self for money. Baron says that he is the bigger picture, which is somehow even less true than a regular lie. Bryan rewards Corbin’s bullshit with a match against Kane.
Tag Team Turmoil is definitely the title of at least one porn movie
Meanwhile, the Hype Bros and the Ascension are in the ring. Wow, they both got jobber entrances. This is apparently the first part of a Tag Team Turmoil match, with the winners getting a shot at Slater and Rhyno for the championships.
The Ascension starts the match by jumping both Ryder and Rawley, hurling Mojo into the barricade. Ryder tries to rally, but is sent out of the ring as well. Konor tags in, clotheslining Ryder on the outside before taking him back into the ring. Viktor enters the match, wrenching on Zack’s face before tagging in Konor. Ryder eventually reverses a double suplex into neckbreakers, then Rawley rushes the ring, taking out Konor and then hitting the Hype Ryder to Viktor. Hype Bros win the first round.
Breezango rush the ring and get tossed out of it before Ryder dives out onto them. After the break, the Hype Bros are still in control, with Ryder hitting a missile dropkick to Breeze. Fandango interferes, allowing himself and Breeze to double-team Ryder for the pin.
Next up is American Alpha, who take Breeze out on the outside. Fandango tries to steal a pin on Gable, then hangs him up on the top rope before booting him off it. Breeze tags in, but Gable counters their double-team, pinning Fandango to advance.
The Vaudevillains are next, and get pinned in seconds. Remember when they were effective heels?
The Usos are next in line, and they take their time getting to the ring. Yeah, because you wouldn’t want to catch American Alpha by surprise or anything. Jey and Gable lock up and break before a commercial. When we come back, the Usos have clearly been putting the hurt on Jordan, who looks to be in a bad way. Headbutt to Jordan, and then Jimmy locks in a sleeper hold. Jordan tries to power out, but Jey is able to tag in, double-suplexing Jordan for a two count.
Jey locks in a sleeper of his own, holding Jason Jordan down. He tags in Jimmy, who hits a running forearm to Jordan’s jaw. Jey tags back in, hitting a superkick to the gut before rocking Jordan with a right hand to the face. The Usos for a double back suplex, but Jason counters, sending the Usos to the floor and tagging in Gable!
Gable suplexes Jimmy all over the shop before hitting a top rope clothesline to Jey. Jimmy eats a German suplex for a near fall, and Gable follows the Usos to the outside. He’s shoved into the steel post, and back in the ring the Usos hit him with a pendulum backbreaker for a near fall. Jey goes for a Samoan Drop, but Gable slides out, getting a blind tag to Jordan. American Alpha hits the avalanche bulldog, only for Jimmy to break up the pin.
Gable and Jimmy are thrown out of the ring, whilst Jey knocks Jordan to the mat with a superkick. Jordan counters the Samoan splash, lifting his knees up to catch Jey on the way down. He goes for a cradle pin; Jey kicks out and both men are down.
Jason makes the tag, but Jimmy takes Gable out on the outside. The Usos go after Jordan, under the belief that he’s the legal man, but Gable dashes back into the ring, clearing house. Jey is taken up for Grand Amplitude, and American Alpha get another win over the Usos.
And apparently the Wyatt Family is part of this tournament as well. I’m not so sure I’d consider the belts held by Rhyno and Slater. Bray says that they’ll get their chance at American Alpha next week, and then the Wyatts vanish.
This was fun: a mix of good wrestling fast eliminations. Probably for the best that the Wyatts wait until next week; there was a danger of this going on for too long. 3 Stars.
Daniel Bryan is backstage with James Ellsworth, trying to talk him out of his one-sided suicide pact with AJ Styles. Oh, and Ambrose is back, now dressed as a Mountie. Dean actually seems pretty tickled by this, but then Shane shows up and blows his top. Dean vs. Shane at WrestleMania: make it happen.
Called that too
Natalya Neidhart is in the ring, awaiting the Women’s Championship. Alexa Bliss is at ringside, just in case this thing is in danger of having a clean finish. Nat takes Backy over with a headlock, kipping up before mocking Becky. Becky headlocks Natalya in return, and Nat slaps her across the face. Becky hammers Nat with right hands, is elevated onto the apron and is taken from the top rope into a sit-out powerbomb before we go to a break.
When we return, Natalya has Becky in a vicious-looking abdominal stretch. Becky escapes, but takes Nat’s discus clothesline to put her down on the mat. Bodyslam from Natalya gets two, but Becky counters a suplex into an inside cradle for two, then keeps booting Nat in the face before clotheslining her and hitting the leg lariat. Forearm strikes Natalya in the corner; she counters the kick, but almost gets taken into the Disarmer. Natalya counters the Disarmer into a roll-up, but then eats a Bexploder suplex.
Nat rocks Becky’s head off the turnbuckle, and transitions from a roll-up into the Disarmer. Natalya taps, and that’s the match.
Not bad, although nothing like the match these two could put on given the opportunity. I hope they do give Nat a title opportunity soon. 2.5 Stars.
Becky barely has a chance to celebrate before Bliss blindsides and DDTs her. People really need to start expecting to be attacked by wrestlers they’re currently feuding with, seriously.
We get shown a Black Friday promo with the Hype Bros. This would be so dumb if it wasn’t for Mojo Rawley, who is genuinely good at being funny. The promo ends with them stealing a bunch of merchandise, because morality is for singles wrestlers.
Bryan is on the phone backstage, when Miz shows up with a bag of ice on his face. He demands that Dolph Ziggler gets suspended, and that’s going to set a dangerous precedent considering how many bitches get jumped on a weekly basis. Bryan instead makes a Ladder Match between Dolph and Miz at TLC for the Intercontinental Championship, promising both the Miz and the audience that this is the very last time.
We get shown footage of the women’s locker room, which is a really sketchy sentence when I read it back to myself. Carmella is chatting on the phone, and then Nikki shows up to snatch it out of her hand. Oh great: that time of year when a wrestler is jumped from behind and decides that they are now a detective. Nikki accuses Carmella of attacking her, which is a really sound assumption based on the evidence.
Carmella’s defence is actually pretty good: she’s never attacked Nikki without taking credit for it, so why now? She says that there are loads of people with a motive, and then insults Nikki for receiving help with how to pursue this case from one of the prime suspects. Nikki tells Carmella that they have a No DQ match at TLC, which is hardly standard police procedure.
Kalisto, you do not need this feud
Here’s Kane, and if the Gods are good then he’s about to literally murder that balding sack of shit, Baron Corbin. Speaking of balding sacks of shit, here’s Baron Corbin.
Corbin is goozled by Kane, then runs into a big boot. Kane beats him down in the corner, but Baron Corbin knocks him down with a right before laying on a beatdown of his own. Kane returns the punch, runs into a boot, and then Corbin ducks out of the ring, then back inside, knocking Kane off the apron. Kalisto runs in, attacking Corbin before Kane gets back into the ring, chokeslamming the Lone Wolf.
Always love seeing Corbin get hurt, so this should be good for 2 Stars.
Kalisto grabs a chair, chasing Corbin from the ring. For some reason, Corbin then decides that getting back into the ring is a solid idea, and Kalisto tosses him the chair before kicking it into his face. Smart, Corbin: real smart.
Oh God no
James Ellsworth is in the ring when we come back, and then AJ Styles makes his entrance. He tells Ellsworth to try and hit him, and then starts beating the shit out of the poor guy. Styles grabs a ladder, trying to set it up in the ring, but Ellsworth grabs it from the outside, hanging on until Styles jerks him into the apron. AJ then climbs the ladder, only for Ellsworth to grab his leg. Oh, James. You stupid brave bastard.
Styles slams Ellsworth’s back into his knee, and then hangs him up from the ladder before kicking him a bunch of times. AJ then sets the ladder up over Ellsworth, starting to climb. Suddenly, Dean rushes into the ring, dressed as a hockey player. He goes right after Styles, clotheslining him out of the ring. He tries to revive Ellsworth, telling him to go up the ladder. Styles suddenly take Dean out with the Phenomenal Forearm, and starts climbing the ladder again.
Ellsworth suddenly grabs the ladder and tips it over! Styles is sent out of the ring! Ellsworth starts to climb the ladder, and then comes back down to lay AJ out with Sweet Chin Music! Styles has his foot caught in the ropes! Ellsworth gets the contract! James Ellsworth is officially granted a World Championship opportunity!
This is going to stop being funny eventually, but not just yet. Still really enjoying the Ellsworth experiment. 3 Stars.
Cue a very over-the-top celebration from Ellsworth and Ambrose. God knows what’s going to happen at the actual title match.
This was a pretty fun SmackDown, with the theme of everything getting out of hand. A nice way to transition from the forced unity of Survivor Series to the mayhem of TLC. 8/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Ascension, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Daniel Bryan, Dave Otunga, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Hype Bros, James Ellsworth, jbl, Kalisto, Kane, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, The Miz, the usos, The Vaudevillains, The Wyatt Family, Tom Philips, WWE