Hello everyone. It’s time for another instalment of the ever-eloquent and occasionally ridiculous Spain’s SmackDown Report. I am your faithful reviewer, David Spain, and I’ve spent the last couple of days powering through the entire series of Our Friends in the North, so am therefore an emotional fucking wreck. I’m also thinking all of this in a Geordie accent, which could well lead to problems if I have to at any point quote AJ Styles.
We get a brief recap of Shane McMahon putting the boots, fists and teeth to Kevin Owens and actually getting held to account for it. We don’t get to see the aftermath of this, which was every WWE talent seeking legal advice re. who they’re allowed to hit and be hit by without getting suspended.
Kevin Owens knows literally nothing about the law
On the actual show, Kevin Owens makes his way to the ring and welcomes us to the Kevin Owens Show, which apparently is what we’re calling this show now. I’ll have to fix the title. He claims that he didn’t fight the late-forties man who was beating him into a cringing, bleeding mass because of his respect for authority, which I sort of feel is a weird thought to have in your head during said-beating: “if only I didn’t respect the chain of command so damn much”.
Owens goes on to say that he’s suing everyone in the WWE, which he absolutely can’t do, unless he gets exactly whatever his sociopathic mind comes up with. The list apparently involves firing Sami Zayn, making Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton wear the same suit at the same time (YES) and getting rid of the Fashion Files (NO). But before his one-man banana republic dictatorship can really get rolling, he wants to talk to Vince McMahon.
But instead of Vince, Shane’s music plays. Kev freaks out, but it’s actually Dolph Ziggler. Owens is super into it, and the heels have a nice little laugh together about it. Then Daniel Bryan comes out, heading to the ring. Ten to one he just asks Kevin Owens to make “let Daniel Bryan wrestle” part of his demands and leaves.
But, as it turns out, Bryan’s just here to remind KO that he doesn’t run the show: Daniel Bryan does. Owens tells Daniel that, under the merciful Kevin Owens regime, he will begin life anew as a janitor. Bryan makes a crack about Owens’ weight, which feels like the kind of thing you should also get in trouble for as a superior. He also promises that Vince is going to be here very soon, that tease. Bryan warns Owens that he won’t like what Vinnie Mac has to say, and Owens rebuts this by promising that Vince isn’t going to like what KO has to say either.
But right now, it’s time for the first of three title matches we’re having tonight: AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger for the United States Championship. Both men make their way out, and we get the belt raise (but no post-entrance announcements? Where my big match feel at?) and both men start chain wrestling at a furious pace, ending with Dillinger snapping Styles’ head forward before running into a standing dropkick.
Both men keep jockeying for control, and both end up on the apron. Dillinger is able to shove AJ into the ring post, letting him fall to the outside as we break for commercials. When we return, Styles powerbombs Tye Dillinger out of a corner and starts slugging away at him. The Pele Kick misses, but a flying clothesline connects, allowing Styles to catch his breath a little.
Tye runs into a forearm and is in perfect position to eat a second, Phenomenaler one, when Baron Corbin sprints to the ring, just in time to take the Forearm instead, that greedy bitch. Dillinger almost rolls Styles up, they trade attempts at finishers and Dillinger connects with the Tye-Breaker! Styles only just gets the shoulder up. Dillinger gets to his feet, dragging Styles up, but gets caught in the Calf-Crusher! Dillinger taps out, leaving AJ Styles still the United States Champion.
Good if quick match with a nice near-fall and flurry at the end. I am a little worried about how much of a bitch Corbin’s looking like recently. 3 Stars.
Tye and AJ shake hands at the end…and then Baron Corbin attacks both men on the outside, laying Styles out with the End of Days. He grabs a microphone and declares himself the next Open Challenger.
Bulgarians are weird
Dasha is backstage, asking Rusev about his holidays. I mean…literally, that’s what she’s doing. Motherfuckers are getting sued left and right, but Rusev’s apparently been to fucking Bulgaria so let’s all have a cuppa and a nice natter.
Apparently Rusev’s family ostracised him for his loss against Randy Orton, which is some cold Bulgarian bullshit. I mean, mine would disown me if they saw me out in the street with a coat on, but Newcastle plays by different rules.
Anyway, Rusev’s going to earn his family’s respect and love by beating someone up, which I’m just going to roll with and assume that that’s how relationships work in Bulgaria. And seeing as how Rusev is the one person from Bulgaria I have any contact at all with, it seems to be 100% representative.
This was just uncomfortable to sit through
Here’s Jinder Mahal crew feat. the Singh Brothers. Today Jinder is wearing a green suit, and it shouldn’t work but somehow the bastard just makes it work. The man looks good in a green suit and it’s giving me weird feelings.
Jinder starts by talking about Nakamura, discussing his experience, charisma and his slick, sexy bod. He promises to get inside Nakamura’s head, and then shows a photo of Shinsuke mid-flail to laugh at how dumb he looks. Jinder gets a good one minute of material out of this before laughing about poop: perhaps not the least hypocritical insult from a guy claiming to represent the country leading the world in open defecation. That’s right, bitches: I researched poop.
He then claims that Shinsuke rips off other people’s gimmicks: God forbid that such a thing should ever happen in WWE. And then he says “Gojira” because this whole thing wasn’t weird enough. Oh wait, he was trying to prove that the audience is racist! Wow, this is the most freaking out-there social commentary I’ve ever sat through: so much so that I have nothing to unfavourably compare it to.
Kevin Owens is going to bankrupt WWE in a week
Kevin Owens is talking to someone backstage, apparently making demands of someone for the future. The guy’s taking it down affably enough until KO actually runs out of ideas and wanders away to abuse poor, scruffy Sami Zayn. He asks if Sami remembers a promise made years ago about getting to WWE, which is just a kind of mean way for him to mock Zayn about firing him.
Zayn tells Owens that he’d rather live in poverty forever than ever work for Kevin Owens, which is a damning assessment of KO’s management capabilities.
The streetest fight to ever fight a street
Here’s New Day, ready for their WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships match. Only Kofi and Big E go to the ring, as apparently they want to do this street fight the honourable way. The Usos arrive, still just as dumb for requesting this match be a street fight in the first place.
The shit’s on immediately, and with the Usos down the New Day set up a table on the outside. The Usos manage to take out Kofi with a backdrop on the outside and then immediately go to work on Big E, making him their focus as we head to a commercial break. During the ads, they have been fucking Big E over with pretty much everything they can hold, but E dodges a charge from one Uso and his opponent slams right into the steel chair set up in the corner.
E tries to bodyslam the other Uso, gets shoved in the path of a chair flying right at him; he catches the chair but winds up on the receiving end of a big superkick that fucking floors him, only just getting the shoulder up. Jimmy heads to the outside to smack Kofi Kingston around a little bit, then tosses his brother a kendo stick so they can both take turns caning a black man like it’s some kind of game. Oh look, now they’re tying him up in the ropes before they cane him.
Kofi makes the save with a bunch of kicks, because what the actual fuck is that. He canes both Usos to the point that he breaks the fucking stick. One of the Usos manages to catch the broken cane and gets tossed out of the damn ring; the other gets a chair in the face. Kofi stomps the chair into Jimmy Uso’s face and tosses him out of the ring before diving out in a trust fall…and the Usos catch him and throw him into the barricade!
Big E belly-to-bellys Jey and then starts beating the fuck out of Jimmy. Back in the ring, Jimmy eats a ura-nage, and Jey gets another belly-to-belly! Both men take a splash from Big E. Jey slides out of the Big Ending, and Jimmy rolls Big E up and superkicks him before running into the Big Ending, with Jey just breaking up the pin. Big E eats a superkick, then an enzuigiri and then a double superkick! The Usos head up to the corners and want the double splash, but Kofi shoves Jey Uso right through the table on the outside! Jimmy runs into Trouble In Paradise and then takes the Midnight Hour! The New Day win!
Awesome match: absolute classic. No criticism here: 5 Stars.
Carmella being on commentary guaranteed no cash in
And from one title match right into another one, we’ve got Naomi vs. Natalya. Both gals are in the ring, so we get the announcements (BigMatchFeel) and get this shit on the road. Carmella’s on commentary; Ellsworth’s on a leash and it’s time to go!
Champion and challenger feel each other out with some grapple and reverse games before Naomi unleashes the flurry of kicks before beaning Natalya in the side of the head with a boot. Natalya gets hit with a big slap to the face, but is able to dump her challenger face-first into the turnbuckle from the wheelbarrow position, standing tall as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Natalya has Naomi in a headlock. The challenger elbows her way free, runs the ropes and both women collide with each other in stereo crossbodies. Naomi goes back to the literally-kick-Natalya-to-death well before hitting her with a hurricanrana and another kick. She sets Natty up on the ropes and hits a leg drop for a cover. Split-legged moonsault misses; Naomi kicks Natalya out of the ring off a Sharpshooter attempt and the champ comes face to face with Miss Money in the Bank.
Naomi can’t believe that Natalya’s ignoring her, so throws herself out of the ring, only to hit Carmellsworth instead. Natalya shoves her challenger face-first into the ringpost and then bundles her back in the ring and applies the Sharpshooter! Naomi is in big trouble…and she taps out.
Far too rapid after that last belter of title match. Looks like we’re definitely moving onto a new challenger. 2.5 Stars.
Aiden English is singing in what I think is Latin backstage when Kevin Owens shows up to be a giant bag of dicks. He offers English the chance to sing his new theme tune, and like any starving artist English is all up on that sweet exposure gig.
Nothing like mocking the dead to get you over
Oh, speaking of a giant bag of dicks: here’s Dolph Ziggler. He rants about how every other wrestler in the world is worthless compared to him in his glorious blondness. He promises us something special tonight…and comes out as Bayley. Is this going to lead to all the people he’s insulting giving him a curbstomp party, because eventually that’s going to be all the catharsis we’re going to get.
Jesus, next up is the Ultimate Warrior. That’s a turn onto Bad Taste junction if ever there was one. Hey, at least the entrance actually gets him into the ring for once, though the imitation is less than flawless considering he doesn’t start yelling a lot of homophobic statements. He rants for a little more and then fucks off. Wow, what an exciting and original storyline for this totally-not-wasted talent.
Say it ain’t so, bro
Speaking of exciting and original, here are the Hype Bros. I don’t even know if that’s sarcasm: I’m tired and extremely sober. They are facing Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, who have no entrance video which makes them second-class citizens as far as this media-obsessed world is concerned.
Chad and Mojo start off with Rawley letting his freak flag fly. Chad can’t be having with that, and tags in Benjamin. Shelton slams Mojo’s shoulder into the turnbuckle and takes him to the mat, wrenching the arm around. The two men slug it out before Benjamin catches Mojo with a dragon whip. Mojo’s able to regain the advantage and tag in Ryder, who takes Benjamin over in a facebuster.
Gable comes in to break up the pin, and dodges Mojo Rawley’s torpedo-esque charge at him, letting the strange, shaved individual slam right into the post. Ryder dumps Gable out of the ring and fells Shelton with a missile dropkick. He wants the Rough Ryder, but Benjamin stops him in his tracks with a huge spinebuster. He brings Ryder up into a powerslam position, and then Gable tags in, springboarding off the ropes to take Ryder right back down to the mat and get the win.
Not that much of a display, considering this is supposed to be the showing-off of a new team. 2 Stars.
Zack Ryder refuses to shake hands after the match, because this isn’t Ring of Honor. Mojo, Chad and Shelton act as though he’s just tried to make a convincing argument for eugenics.
And that’s the last we’ll hear about lawsuits on this show
Here’s Kevin Owens, striding around the ring looking restless. He doesn’t have to wait long before Vince McMahon makes his arrival, striding his way towards the ring to join Kev. Owens addresses Vince in a pretty confident manner, and claims that the boss is intimidated by him. Vince corrects Owens, saying that it’s more that he’s nauseated.
McMahon runs down a laundry list of things which Owens has done, otherwise known as the “Kevin Owens is a Bag of Dicks” list. Vince tells Owens that the reason he didn’t fight back last week was because he was busy getting his ass kicked. He asks Owens how he can have any respect at all when looks in the mirror, mocking him for embarking on an admittedly-bullshit lawsuit.
Vince promises that, if the lawsuit is filed, then Owens will be fired. I honestly don’t know enough about the law, and damn sure not enough about whatever law that WWE claims to follow, but that already seems sketchy as fuck. And I write that knowing that this is, inevitably, going to end up being settled as a wrestling match because it would be frankly ridiculous if it didn’t.
McMahon waves his chequered past of being dragged into lawsuit after lawsuit in Owens’ face like a big willy, telling KO that the law was written for people like him: billionaires. Oh God, I’m going to end up supporting Kevin Owens in this feud, aren’t I? This already smells wrong. Vince promises that by the time the lawsuit is ever heard, Kevin Owens will be bankrupt.
Owens reminds Vince that Shane assaulted him, and Vince agrees that that did indeed happen, and reminds KO that he suspended him for that incident. Well, he says he suspended Shane because he didn’t finish the job. Wow, so you can get suspended by Vince McMahon for not committing murder live on television. I have no idea what logic is being employed here, but I’m pretty sure that this is the sort of thing nobody should be admitting on TV.
Vince then says that he’s going to reinstate Shane, because fuck Kevin Owens’ lawsuit: instead we’re having a wrestling match. What did I fucking tell you? Shane McMahon will face Kevin Owens inside a Hell in a Cell, because that is what justice is in the WWE. You have no rights and your fate is in the hands of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Owens wants Vince to promise him that he’ll face no punishment for beating a McMahon to bloody pulp, which Vinnie Mac agrees to. They shake on it, for an uncomfortably long time, and then Kevin Owens headbutts Vince so hard that he busts the guy open.
Well, holy shit. I saw that one coming and it was still shocking.
Vince gets up and takes a swing at Kevin, because nobody has ever once accused him of being intelligent. Owens knocks his septuagenarian ass down, following that up with a kick to the ribs. A referee is pleading for Vince McMahon’s life and health, but Kevin Owens answers only to the voices in his head and superkicks Vince in the face and heads up to the top rope.
Adam Pierce is suddenly in the ring, shielding McMahon’s body with his own as he roars at Kevin to get down and not be so stupid. He does wuss out at the last second, admittedly, and Owens hits the frog splash to the Chairman of the Board.
Owens retreats up the ramp, coming face to face with a furious Stephanie. If he’d gone the extra mile and drilled her in the face too, I’d actually be backing him in this feud, my love for Shane be damned. Vince refuses to get on a stretcher, instead demanding that he walk out and make this super-awkward for everyone.
The bad: the Women’s Championship match deserved more time, and could easily have taken the place of the throwaway tag team match we had afterwards. Not sure why Stephanie glared at Owens if that was going to be the sum total of their interactions, but at least they didn’t do that bit where she slaps someone who could literally murder her with their bare hands and they do nothing in response. Jinder Mahal’s promo was the worst thing he’s ever done, and that is up against literally everything else he’s ever done.
The good: everything else. Two great title matches and a lot of plans made for Hell in a Cell. The Tag Team Championship match takes the cake, but the Owens/McMahon segment was a close second. 9/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Bobby Roode, byron saxton, Carmella, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Gable and Benjamin, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, naomi, Natalya, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, The Hype Bros, The New Day, The Singh Brothers, the usos, Tom Phillips, Tye Dillinger, VInce McMahon