Bonjour, friends: it’s time for another exciting instalment of Spain’s SmackDown Report. Last week, Kevin Owens stood up for the working class by beating the billionaire out of Vincent Kennedy McMahon, and I’m absolutely on his side. Vince McMahon thinks that he can run his company like every wrestler is his slave, which makes Kevin Owens more or less Spartacus in this situation.
We see a recap of the beating, along with Stephanie McMahon acting as though Kevin Owens wasn’t just given permission to fuck up any McMahon he wants. And considering what Steph and Vince have been through in WWE storylines alone, why the fuck would she care if Vince gets hurt? That psychopath set Lesnar and Big Show on her, then choked her out with a steel pipe. This is the kind of catharsis most abused kids dream of.
Shane channels all the anger of a brick wall
The live show starts off with Shane McMahon coming to the ring. Despite his undoubtedly murderous rage, he’s still wearing a Connor’s Cure pin, because you can never be that angry. He decries Kevin Owens for beating up his Dad, acting like he’s never done exactly the same but worse. He vocally admires his father for taking a beating like, you know, a seventy year old.
Shane asks Kevin Owens how he’d feel if he had to watch his father get the shit kicked out of him on national TV, and then swears vengeance on behalf of all McMahons (except for Linda, who after this many years of Vince getting his ass kicked could just not give a fuck). Shane uses a lot of purple prose to more or less promise to fuck up KO’s shit, then leaves the ring. Emotional, stirring, mostly stoic stuff.
Oh boy, Aiden English. He sings a little before Orton shows up, because none of that. English tosses a shirt into Randy’s face to start off a beatdown, like the Phantom of the Opera before him. Orton’s whipped across the ring and clotheslines English and powerslams him. Aiden counters the Vintage DDT by running to the outside, but Randy follows him to the outside and tries to find out how much shit he can back suplex English onto.
Suddenly, English backflips out of Orton’s suplex attempt and gives Orton a back suplex of his own onto the announce table as we go to a break. When we come back, Randy’s regained control and is stamping on English’s foot repeatedly. Be. A. Star. English thumbs the man’s eye and takes him down with a dropkick before continuing to try and wear him out with a sleeper hold.
Orton lightly punches his way free, dodges a charge and runs into a boot. English, with all of the genre blindness of a Bond villain, leaps off the top turnbuckle and into an RKO to end whatever this was supposed to be.
Is it an RKO outta nowhere if you see it coming at least five seconds before it happens? 2 Stars.
And there’s not been enough stuff going on to waste out time, so here’s Rusev, probably here to talk to us about visiting his family in Bulgaria some more. He tells Randy how making him look like a bitch at SummerSlam has had a terrible effect on him and promises to beat his ass.
Orton waits on Rusev, and the bell rings? What? It’s a match? Orton’s shoved into English on the apron, then walks into a big kick from Rusev for the pin? What?
Rusev celebrates like Bulgaria actually gives a fuck about the slightest thing he does ever, whilst Orton scowls. I don’t know what the point of that was, and I refuse to care. Like, even for money.
Dear God, Rusev is still celebrating after the break, walking right into an ambush interview from Renee Young: this is how she gets you. Rusev is so excited that it’s actually almost touching.
That was too far
And from one dumb foreign heel to another, with our WWE Champion. He’s out here in a suit, which probably means he’s here to make more poop jokes. Jinder addresses the statements he made last week, and then laughs at Nakamura’s face again. He says that we’re all the real racists and probably believe that the Japanese eat dolphins and cats. Well, they stopped eating cats in the 19th century, but dolphins are still, in every sense of the phrase, on the table.
Is WWE just giving up on Jinder Mahal? Because I refuse to believe anyone actually put effort into coming up with this, and can only assume that this is all an attempt to just rush this feud through to us actually having a WWE Champion capable of putting on an entertaining match. Oh, and then he says that Nakamura always “rooks” the same: Christ. The crowd starts chanting “that’s too far”, and fucking good for them: this has been simultaneously cartoonishly dumb and uncomfortably offensive.
After the break, Shinsuke Nakamura is getting interviewed by Renee Young, because her segments tonight will be of an international flavour. She asks him what his reaction was to that racist nonsense, and he says that it was funny. Way to make your foreign employee give a thumbs up to your godawful comedy, WWE.
Sweet, sweet karma
We get a recap of Baron Corbin being a big, balding baby during the US Championship Open Challenge last week, and also being so irrelevant that he’s unable to affect the outcome of a match by interfering. AJ Styles then makes his way to the ring and grabs himself a microphone.
He starts off by warning Kevin Owens that he done fucked up, son. He then turns his attentions to Baron Corbin, providing a brief soliloquy on the subject of what a fucking loser the Lone Wolf is. Baron shows up to defend his good name, and we get the post-entrance announcements (#BigMotherfuckinMatchFeel).
Corbin immediately jumps Styles when his back’s turned, without the bell even being rung. Dillinger suddenly arrives and starts beating the fuck out of him. Dillinger sends Corbin out of the ring, apparently really screwing up his leg on the way out. Baron can barely stand when he gets back into the ring, but Styles. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck. He hits a forearm and then applies the Calf Crusher, not winning any kind of match but making Baron Corbin his bitch.
After the break, Corbin is limping around backstage when Renee Young approaches with a microphone: he’s wounded prey and can’t outrun her. Baron claims that he feels “violated”, which takes this to an extremely different place. He promises to get even, like the big, strong girl he is.
Carmella’s conspicuous by her absence
Here’s Charlotte Flair, who is currently in the “I like my father” stage of her personality. She thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers during Ric’s illness and recovery. Charlotte says that he’s making a comeback, but she learned a valuable lesson: life is fragile and unexpected. She promises to make every moment count, and before she can somehow transition this into challenging for the Women’s Championship, Natalya arrives to save her the trouble.
Natty is here to host WWE’s first ever celebration of women. Wow, first ever? Have…have they just not known about women until now? Mae Young’s been alive since the birth of Christ at least. But any heel worth her salt knows how to turn a moment of uplifting feminism into a dick move, and Natalya is certainly capable of it: she unveils a picture of herself to represent, you know, all women.
Charlotte challenges Natalya for the Championship, and Becky must have been sprinting through the backstage area, because she shows up right there and then. She tells Nat that she’s a mental case, then tells Charlotte that she’s coming for the belt too. And then Naomi shows up, because “back of the line” stopped meaning anything in WWE about a decade ago.
Naomi wisely attacks Natalya from a “feminism” perspective rather than a “I deserve a title match” one. And then Tamina and Lana arrive, because they remembered that they had this whole storyline they’ve been ignoring. Lana calls Natalya a crazy cat lady, which is quite honestly worth the price of admission. She states that everyone on the ring has had a shot at Natalya’s title except Tamina, even though only Naomi has had an opportunity, and only because she had a rematch clause.
Natalya leaves the ring, promising to be the SmackDown Women’s Champion forever. D-Bry’s music hits, and he had damn sure better be here to challenge for the Championship too. He makes a Fatal Four-Way main event match to crown the new number one contender for a title match at Hell in a Cell. Eh, I’ll take what I can get.
What is Hype may never die
The Hype Bros are in the ring, awaiting the arrival of the New Day. The Usos are on commentary, signalling that we’re not done wringing every possible match out of this feud. And sure: they’ve been great matches, but there are other teams for the New Day to dance with until the next big meet-up. And sure enough, the Usos have already invoked their rematch clause for Hell in a Cell.
Mojo and Big E lock up, then break clean. Rawley reverses an abdominal stretch into one of his own, even giving Big E a little spank to the ribs whilst he’s at it. E breaks out and knocks Mojo down off the ropes, outraged at that sort of personal contact. After a break, the Hype Bros are taking it to Kofi until Mojo misses a charge and gives the steel post the Goldberg treatment. Big E and Ryder get in the ring and Ryder gets thrown all over the shop.
Ryder gets the knees up to counter Big E’s splash, then manages to nail him with the Broski Boot. Kofi breaks up the pin, low-bridges Mojo and dives out onto him. Ryder’s nailed by the Midnight Hour and that’s all she wrote.
Short but fun match, with a great dive from Kofi towards the end. 2.5 Stars.
We take another look back at Vince getting beaten up, because his employees need some masturbation fodder. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens is live via satellite, like Brock Lesnar but much less intense. And either KO doesn’t own an iron or has the ability to immediately make shirts look crumpled just by wearing them, because that is crease city, bitch.
Kevin Owens apologises for his hospitalising of an old man, including stating an apology to the McMahon family. Then he immediately tells Shane that he had coming: ah, Kevin Owens. Classic abuser. He spends a few minutes telling Shane how it’s all his fault and he made KO do it and why does he make him hurt his family members like this? He finishes off by telling Shane he’s going to end him at Hell in a Cell.
Aw, Mojo and Ryder are having a mope backstage. Maybe Baron Corbin can join in. Rawley says that he’s sick and tired of losing and that things have to change. He says they need to do something drastic, and Ryder agrees without Rawley elaborating on what “something drastic” might be.
And that, kids, is how you join a cult.
Oh goodie: Dolph Ziggler’s here to tell us all how fucking great he is. His entrances this week include Triple H, Shawn Michaels and DX. Weird examples to hold up as people who rely on entrances and gimmicks rather than wrestling talent. To give them credit, the crowd determinedly keep chanting for him to do CM Punk. He really needs to impersonate X-Pac.
We get a trailer for WWE 2K18. As long as it’s got a story mode this time, I’m getting it; there’s only so far you can go with “David’s CAW avatar cripples and busts everyone open every week”. I mean…no-one even tried to stop me.
She did it for the Ric
It’s time for our main event, and Becky and Tamina got jobber entranced during the break, so it’s not going to be them getting their hands raised. Naomi’s next, and it’s definitely not going to be her. And then Charlotte, who is releasing a book and was here earlier to talk about her recovering father, and so who is absolutely going to win.
Tamina immediately goes after…well, everyone. Becky’s tossed into Naomi, sending the pair of them out of the ring. Charlotte’s felled with a clothesline as we go to a commercial break, and when we come back Tamina is still standing tall and terrifying. Charlotte manages to slide out of a bodyslam and tries to chop the big gal down. Becky and Naomi pile on, then go after each other as Tamina has to take five.
All three women trade blows until Naomi takes Charlotte and Becky out with a springboard crossbody. Charlotte gets laced with kicks, counters the last one but winds up on the end of a wheelbarrow-jawbreaker. Naomi locks her into the Slay-O-Mission, but Becky interrupts and applies the Disarmer. Tamina breaks that up and lays Becky out with the sidewalk slam. Lynch is able to dodge a charge from Tamina, then kick Naomi in the corner.
Charlotte shoves Becky into Tamina, then spears the Samoan right out of her shoes. Naomi tries to interfere, but Charlotte brings her down to the mat too. She heads up to the top and gets both women with a moonsault, with both women only just kicking out at the last second! She locks the Figure Four in on Naomi, but Becky drops a leg on her and almost pins her!
Tamina Samoan drops Becky, and signals for the Samoan splash. She hits it, and Naomi only just breaks it up. Lana drags Naomi out of the ring, taking a roundhouse kick to the head for her trouble. Tamina knocks Naomi off the apron in turn, then turns around in time to eat a boot from Charlotte that lays her right out, and Charlotte wins!
Great match, even with a predetermined victor. The Women’s Championship is currently far more prestigious than the World Championship. 3.5 Stars.
The Bad: there is no pay-off possible that will justify how godawful Jinder Mahal is as World Champion, and certainly not in this feud. The same goes for Dolph Ziggler’s new bit, which is a waste of time which some matches could desperately use. I’m not sure what’s going on with Rusev, but my hopes aren’t exactly high.
The Good: whilst Shane’s acting leaves a lot to be desired, at least this will be a Hell in a Cell match which is deeply and violently personal. The women’s two segments were the absolute highlight of the show and the match of the night. 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bobby Roode, byron saxton, Carmella, charlotte, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, James Ellsworth, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Lana, natalya neidhart, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, tamina, The Hype Bros, The New Day, The Singh Brothers, Tom Phillips, Tye Dillinger, VInce McMahon, WWE