Hey there, guys. It’s me: your charming, sweary host of Spain’s SmackDown Report, back from the sun-drenched shores of Boa Vista and the perpetual dizziness that a twenty-four hour free bar will give you. We’re only a few days out from Elimination Chamber some crazy how, so let’s dive right on into this show and see how they’re going to build up to Sunday.
Our main event tonight will be Randy Orton vs. John Cena. Man, it’s been long enough that I’m looking forward to that. I’m calling an Orton victory just to show a what-if factor, seeing as how it’s unlikely that Cena is taking the Championship out of the Chamber.
Daniel Bryan is here to kick off the action, in his home town no less. The crowd show him a hell of a lot of love, and he stands to absorb it for a moment before saying how good it is to be home. He says that the last time he was here, he was faced with the most difficult decision of his life. But he says that even though this year has hardly been easy, he’s grateful that he’s the GM and can give us all the best show possible. Finally, he says that he’s very grateful that he’s going to be a Dad.
And, because like Miz isn’t going to insult a man’s feotus, here come the Miz and Maryse. The Miz mocks Bryan’s retirement, and suggests that he become a stay-at-home Dad. He says that he doesn’t know why Bryan’s here, seeing as how he can’t wrestle anymore, and Daniel says that not being able to wrestle never stopped the Miz from getting in the ring. Miz gets pissy, accusing Bryan of not respecting him.
And now Baron Corbin, the man whom I’ve recently completely gotten behind, makes his way down to the ring. If he kills the Miz, I’m just going to like the guy even more. Corbin tells Miz that he really needs to learn when to shut up. Miz tries to form an alliance between himself and Baron during the Elimination Chamber. Baron Corbin then puts it to Miz that he could just murderkill him right now and save himself a tonne of effort later.
Bryan seems pretty keen on seeing this, but Miz is then saved by the arrival of Dean Ambrose. He mocks the Miz’s stupid outfit, then tells Corbin that he’s got miles to walk before he’s lived half the life that Ambrose has. Dean says that he’s going to leave the event with two titles, and here comes AJ Styles. He asks if people are going to act sensible now, and says that he’s beaten every active wrestler in the ring.
Styles takes a second to tell the fans to stop cheering for him, then says that he’s getting the Championship back at Elimination Chamber. A brawl looks like it’s in the offing, but Bryan steps in to break things up. He makes a Fatal Four-Way match, because fuck Bray Wyatt if he doesn’t want to come out here too. And that match is right now.
I just imagine Bray and Randy sharing popcorn during this
When we come back from a commercial, the bell rings and the match is underway. Miz tries to tell Corbin that they should work together, who just shakes his head. Miz goes after Ambrose and is tossed out of the ring as Corbin throws Styles out too. Corbin catches Dean off a crossbody, but Ambrose slides out of Corbin’s grip before throwing him out of the ring. The Miz dashes into the ring, trying to take Ambrose unawares, but Dean throws him right back out too.
Styles enters the ring, and almost gets Dirty Deedsed for his trouble. Styles counters with an attempted Styles Clash; Dean lifts Styles up off his feet and dumps him onto the apron, hitting Miz en route. AJ tries to hit the Phenomenal Forearm, but Dean shoves him off the ropes, guillotining him on Styles’ way down to the arena floor. Ambrose goes for a suicide dive, but Corbin drags him out of the ring and hurls him into the steel steps.
Miz attempts to catch Corbin with a wrecking ball dropkick, but he eats a right hand from the Lone Wolf, who sends him back into the ring for more punishment. Styles tries to throw himself over the ropes at Corbin, but flies right into another blow, putting him down too. Dean tries to catch Baron with a bulldog, is thrown into the corner but dives aside at the last second as Corbin blasts the ring post with his shoulder. Miz catches Corbin with a superkick, then Styles with a DDT with Ambrose breaking up the pin.
Miz mocks Bryan’s pose, then unleashes the kicks against Styles and Ambrose. Dean rolls the Miz up and all three trade pins back and forth before Styles and the Miz clothesline each other. Ambrose tries to roll up Corbin, but then they clothesline each other at the same time too! We go to a commercial break, and when we come back, we’ve got Baron Corbin powerbombing the Miz and Styles as they superplex Ambrose! Corbin covers the Miz, who kicks out, then Styles, who also kicks out.
Baron throws Dean out of the ring, then misses a charge at the Miz. Miz kicks away at Corbin in the corner, then hits a running dropkick to Styles before running into Deep Six from Corbin for two! Baron misses a clothesline at Styles, slides out of the ring and then back in, misses another clothesline and eats a Pele Kick! Running forearm puts Corbin down for two! Miz counters a Styles Clash and hits the running knee to AJ for a two!
Ambrose goes after the Miz, hitting him with a clothesline before neckbreaker-ing Styles. Running forearm hits Miz, and Ambrose bulldogs the Miz out of the corner whilst clotheslining Styles at the same time! He knocks Corbin down to the floor and throws himself through the ropes on top of him, then avoids Styles’ dive onto him and hurls the ex-Champ into the barricade! He dumps Miz groin-first onto the barricade, throws Corbin into the ring post and hits a flying elbow drop to Corbin in the ring for two before Styles breaks up the pin!
Dean almost catches Styles with Dirty Deeds, but Styles counters and backflips off the ropes to hit an inverted DDT to Ambrose before the Miz breaks up the pin! Styles counters the Skull-Crushing Finale, then takes the Phenomenal Forearm! Maryse drags the Miz out of the ring, and a distracted Styles takes an End of Days from Corbin, who picks up the pin!
I think that’s an indicator that Corbin’s not going to win on Sunday, but is damn sure going to be a World Champion, perhaps inside of a year. This was an amazing match, and I’ll be thrilled if the Elimination Chamber match is as well-crafted as this. 4 Stars.
Luke Harper is on my monitor, flicking at lightbulbs. Oh great: he’s going to be taking over Bray’s role of delivering menacing and terrible poetry. He says that he’s seen what Orton is for a long time, like he wants a fucking ‘I’m Really Clever’ trophy. He’s challenging Randy Orton to a match at Elimination Chamber. Because that worked out so well the last time.
And right now, we’re interviewing both Natalya and Nikki Bella. Tom Phillips asks if these gals will be able to make up after Elimination Chamber, like we’ve not seen weeks of physical assaults and screaming shit at each other. Nikki says that she and Natalya were once friends, but now she wishes that Natalya had died in the womb or something. Natalya says that she and Nikki have never been friends, that Tom Phillips is fake news and that she’s going to make the Women’s Division great again.
Then they both start yelling at each other, and it’s pretty fucking stupid but at least neither of them have mentioned John Cena yet. Natalya then calls Brie Bella “pregnant” like that’s some kind of insult, and says that after their match Nikki is never going to have a baby. Jesus: Dolph Ziggler’s elbow drops can give a man a heart attack; Natalya Neidhart’s clotheslines will apparently make you shit out your own womb.
Nikki tells Natalya that the only think that Nat’s been good at is wrestling. That probably would be an insult if Natalya wasn’t, you know, a wrestler. And we’ve seen our first John Cena mention of the interview, with Natalya saying that now he’s Champ, he won’t have a lot of time for Nikki. Yep, because a big gold belt makes a man forget about people he loves and quells his interest in vaginas. Shit, Triple H was practically sexually attracted to that World Heavyweight Championship back in the Noughties, and he’s got a couple of kids.
Natalya says that if she wasn’t married, John would end up with her. Somewhere, Tyson Kidd just googled ‘how to tie a rope into a noose’. Nikki leaves the interview, because she gets enough of John at home never mind having to hear about him at her workplace too.
We can only thank God no elbows were unleashed
Apollo Crews is already in the ring, because WWE loves to broadcast the result of the match right from the start. Dolph Ziggler arrives, ready to deal out some elbow-related heart attacks. Bell rings, and Dolph eats a dropkick. Crews drives him into the corner, then hurls him shoulder-first into the ring post. Apollo misses a charge, hitting his shoulder too, and then is brought right back down to earth with a Satellite DDT.
Dolph wants the superkick, but Crews rolls him up and Crews beats Ziggler! Because nothing settles a serious argument and physical assault like a roll-up victory!
I assume there’ll be some sort of match at Elimination Chamber, because otherwise this is going nowhere. 1.5 Stars.
Ziggler takes Crews out and then smacks him with a steel chair. People chant ‘one more time’ because they hated Lawler as much as I do. Kalisto makes the save, but his Salida Del Sol attempt leaves him crotched on the top rope and he takes a chair to the spine. Dolph then chairs Crews again, I guess on either general principle or basic racism.
We get a nice Black History Month clip of some WWE talent talking about Rosa “I’ll Sit Where The Fuck I Want” Parks. Hearing Mark Henry talking so eloquently not about putting people in the Hall of Pain is a little jarring.
Meanwhile, Ziggler is strutting around backstage before he’s stopped by Bryan. He tells Bryan he could beat both Kalisto and Crews at the same time, but hitting them with a chair is just more fun. Bryan, with that keen sense of the appropriate and ironical, makes a handicap match against Team People Republicans Hate for Elimination Chamber.
Pretty sure nobody ever looked at Mickie James and thought ‘Women’s Revolution’
Renee Young is in the ring with a table and some contracts, some someone’s about to get their shit fucked up. Mickie, Alexa, Becky and Naomi arrive, because the only thing that’s better than one contract signing/violent beating are two contract signings/violent beatings. And roughly how many epileptics does Naomi’s entrance kill per month?
Mickie interrupts Renee to say that only she and Alexa are elite athletes in this ring. She says she’s got way more experience than everyone else in the ring, and says that she can take things from here, dismissing Renee. She then goes on to say that this division was built on her passion. Because people cared about Women’s matches that didn’t have some kind of quasi-lesbian shtick before Becky, Charlotte, AJ Lee, Paige and Sasha Banks showed up.
Mickie is really giving off a vibe that’s half-fantasy movie villain, half-sorta drunk cougar mom. It’s not overtly cartoonish, but I’d have trouble taking anyone who talked like that in real life seriously.
Becky says that she respected Mickie before she got Alexa all over her. She points out that Mickie quit when things got too tough and she didn’t have Trish Stratus to stalk. Becky says she’s going through Mickie at Elimination Chamber and putting her back into the past.
Bliss sticks up for Mickie James, saying she beat Trish Stratus. Yeah, but so did Christian and you don’t hear him yelling about it. She then completely ignores Naomi, which is extra-cold during Black History Month. Naomi reminds Alexa that she’s got two wins over her, then plugs WrestleMania for some reason. Oh, it’s in her home town: okay, that actually makes sort of sense.
Naomi then manages to roundhouse kick Alexa over the fucking table: goddamn, that was awesome. The traditional brawl erupts, with only Naomi left standing until she decides to take everyone out with a dive. Becky and Naomi toss their opponents into the ring to finish the job, but Mickie and Alexa skedaddle.
I can’t even
Tag Team Division is getting some love, prior to Elimination Chamber’s Tag Team Turmoil match. I say love: it’s a twelve-man tag team match, which is somewhere around ‘domestic abuse’ on the love scale.
Gable starts off against an Uso, but Aiden English tags himself in. He’s almost rolled up by Gable, but goes after the arm. Gable suplexes himself out of it and goes after Aiden’s arm in return. English regains control, choking Gable on the ropes. Chad is thrown into the corner and squashed by English’s charge. Aiden heads up to the second rope, misses a swanton bomb and takes a flying headscissors takeover from Gable.
Jordan tags in, and American Alpha clear house before Breeze tags himself in. Breezango take out the Vaudevillains before everyone bitches at each other and we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, the Usos are putting the boots to Heath Slater. Viktor tags in to pick up the scraps, applying a sleeper hold. Slater fights his way out, but Viktor contains him and tags in Konor to continue the assault. There’s some aggressive tagging from the Ascension and the Vaudevillains, allowing Slater to tag in Rhyno. Rhyno takes out Viktor in short order, prompting everyone to rush the ring and brawl.
The ring clears, leaving the Vaudevillains alone with American Alpha, who stereo-suplex them before throwing Gable out of the ring onto everyone on the outside. Rhyno gores Konor, but takes a flying knee from Viktor! The Ascension win! What the actual fuck?!
Jesus God, that was the most unexpected thing in the world ever. Infinite Stars.
Here we see Bray realise that brainwashing can wear off
Cena and Orton make their way to the ring, Orton accompanied by Bray Wyatt. Bell rings, and the match is underway. Both men lock up, with Orton latching on a headlock. He’s shot off the ropes and takes a shoulder block from Cena. Now it’s John’s turn to headlock Orton; he gets shot off the ropes and takes Orton down with a shoulder again. Orton counters an Attitude Adjustment attempt, taking Cena down with a shot to the gut and keeping up the strike offence.
European uppercut and a punch lays Cena out for two. There’s a test of strength, but Randy nails Cena with a kick which sends him out of the ring. Orton picks Cena up and hits him in the face before whipping him right into the steel steps. Bray celebrates like he’s unaware that Randy is systematically destroying every last piece of his life for pretty much no other reason than semi-sexual pleasure, and we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Cena has a Five Knuckle Shuffle attempt countered by Orton hitting a kick to his shoulder from the mat. Randy tries for an RKO, slips out of an AA and hits a full nelson slam. Cena’s out on the apron, and Randy wants the Vintage DDT, but Cena is able to dump Orton out over the top rope and onto the floor. He rocks Randy’s head off the steel steps, then picks him up for an Attitude Adjustment on the outside, but Orton slides out and back suplexes Cena onto the table!
Orton throws Cena back into the ring, but walks into a slugfest with the Champ. Cena ducks a blow, hits Orton with the spin-out back suplex, hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle and hits the AA! But Orton kicks out of the Atttitude Adjustment on free TV!
Cena heads up to the top, but Orton catches him and hits a Vintage DDT from the top rope! He stalks Cena, waiting for him to get up, and he hits him with the RKO! But Cena kicks out too! Wyatt’s on his feet and yelling, but Orton just tries an RKO again. Cena blocks the RKO and brings Randy up on his shoulders for the RKO. Orton tries to fight it, leading the ref to getting knocked down in the struggle. Cena latches on the STF in the centre of the ring!
Orton taps out, but there’s no referee! Wyatt rushes Cena with Orton helping, and they go for Sister Abigail’s RKO. Cena counters the double-team, but takes a Sister Abigail to send him rolling out of the ring. And now Luke Harper is rushing to the ring! He and Wyatt stare at each other, and Harper seems to be under Bray’s spell, then clotheslines the fuck out of him! He blocks an RKO, shoves Orton into Cena for the AA, and Cena wins!
This was a good match with some good storytelling. Bray still looks like a real threat despite being a little on the periphery in this. Harper is pretty compelling, and Orton and Cena put on a great show. 3.5 Stars.
This was a good show, with even the Tag Team Turmoil match having a big enough shock for it to be worthwhile. I’m looking forward to the show on Sunday, so this episode did its job well enough. Tonight gets 9/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, apollo crews, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Kalisto, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mickie James, naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, The Ascension, The Miz, WWE