Hello folks, it’s Wednesday, I’m mostly sober and that must mean it’s time to watch another episode of SmackDown Live so that we might distract ourselves from the pointlessness of our own existences and the inevitability of the grave.
Last week, Kevin Owens demonstrated to Sami Zayn why getting involved in a main event storyline when you’re a midcarder is just a horrible, horrible idea. Shinsuke Nakamura also showed what happens if you spend a month pushing his buttons and being racist: you get your fucking head kicked in.
Because Jinder really needed a win
Post-moment of silence for the victims in Las Vegas, SmackDown kicks off with Renee Young standing in the ring, ready to interview Shinsuke. He makes his way down to the ring, dancing and jiving all the way. Renee asks Nakamura how he feels about Jinders totes-racist comments, and the Artist recites the old sticks-and-stones rhyme as WWE make one of their top faces say that racist remarks aren’t worth being bothered by.
B. A. Star.
Nakamura also drops such gems as “the greatest fear of all is the fear of the unknown”. I’ve actually had horoscopes which offered less generic comments. Before he can say “help, I’m trapped in a fortune cookie factory”, the Singhs arrive to interrupt this interview. They’re here to introduce Jinder Mahal, who is behind Shinsuke and starts putting the boots to him.
Nakamura cannot be fucked with this, so kicks Jinder in the head, fucks up both Singh Brothers and then takes out Jinder with another kick to the head again. The Singhs desperately recover so the World Champion can get in literally any offence, that offence being a sloppy Khallas. There has been no part of this man, this feud or this championship reign which was not staggeringly mediocre.
Take a drink every time Carmella passes up an amazing opportunity to cash in
When we come back, Carmella is in the ring with Ellsworth chained to the post. She’s teaming up with the Women’s Champ, Natalya Neidhart, to take on Becky Lynch and Natalya’s challenger on Sunday: Charlotte. We see a vignette about Carmella teasing a cash-in on Natalya, meaning that it’s not going to happen, and calling Carmella a female dog. I’m not being polite: Natalya literally calls Carmella a female dog and adds “you know what that means”, and it means that Natty probably shouldn’t be encouraged to talk on camera as much as she does.
Becky and Charlotte arrive, and it’s time to rassle. Carmella gets a solid slap across the face of Lynch, who promptly fucks her up all the way to the outside, where Charlotte and Bex hit double baseball slides to take them out. Becky and Charlotte continue to be pretty dominant throughout the break, but a distraction from Natalya allows Carmella to gain some control.
Carmella knocks Becky around for a while, then lets Natalya come in to continue the stomping and sleeper-holding. Lynch tries to rally, managing to charge right into a discus clothesline from Natalya that puts her down some more. Becky suddenly catches Natalya with a roll-up, and the kick-out sends her flying into a tag from Charlotte!
Flair cries havoc all over both her opponents before suplexing Natalya before Carmella breaks up the pin. As Carmella and Becky brawl on the outside, the champ counters a Figure Eight and grasps onto the ropes until they’re separated. Out of the referee’s sight, Carmella whacks the briefcase across Becky’s spine; the distraction allows Natalya to lock her challenger in the Sharphooter, forcing Charlotte to tap out.
Solid match. Carmella’s still not as good as the others, but she is improving and has a decent heel personality. Excited for Sunday’s match. 2.5 Stars.
We get a promo which tries to provide some form of motivation for Kevin Owens being a sociopathic dickhole. And I don’t in the least bit mind him being a sociopathic dickhole; I just feel like there’s no justification for what he’s done and any attempt to rationalise it is a little cold-blooded.
Proud father-to-be Mike Kanellis is in the ring, now wrestling for two. His opponent is, however, the GLORIOUS one, so this will be a lot like the early years of being a parent: a lot of pain, frustration and wondering just…just…WHY.
Bell rings, and Roode and Kanellis lock up. Roode backs Mike into a corner, but Kanellis comes out fighting, smacking Bobby around on the mat. He gets a little too cocky, however, and runs into a spinebuster. Glorious DDT finishes it.
Short, to the point and an effective way to get us to this Sunday. 2 Stars.
And then Dolph Ziggler comes out to wave his over-selling dick around. He’s doing more entrance ideas, because THAT WASN’T GETTING OLD. At least if he did CM Punk people would have been into it. It mostly involves rattles, drums and a pretty neat-looking air horn. And, honestly, the fact that Roode doesn’t beat the sweet shit out of Ziggler the second the blond bastard stepped into the ring implies a hell of a lot of patience on his part.
Dolph promises to bring an awesome entrance to Hell in a Cell, and tells Bobby that, sooner or later, the bell has to ring. He’s saying this literally seconds after Bobby Roode just won a match, by the way.
Bobby gets on the microphone and says that Ziggler’s entrance was horrible and that he’s doing it all wrong. He demonstrates his gloriousness, and as cheesy as it all is I fucking love that music.
The Usos have no sense of due process
Here come the Usos, and apparently they’re here to read the New Day their rights. Okay, the Usos aren’t cops. If they’re anything, because they apparently own a penitentiary, they’re in charge of a privately owned prison. Which means that they shouldn’t be reading people their rights anyway; the New Day should have been read their rights during the arrest.
This is all so wrong.
The Usos laugh about the fact that Hell in a Cell is a terrible match for a team with three members as it means one of them will not be allowed in the cell. This is despite the fact that the Usos selected a Street Fight when they were allowed to pick the match type, making it pretty obvious that both of these teams are pretty stupid.
According to the Usos, Hell in a Cell has a lot of similarities to the Uso Penitentiary. Sounds like someone needs to be on the receiving end of an inspection. They tell the New Day that they’re going to be the five-time champs at Hell in a Cell. Have to say, they’ve really grown both into doing promos and their characters.
Before they can draw the segment to a close, the New Day arrive. They say that usually they’d come out here and try and sell some merchandise, but they’re not in the mood for that. They remind the Usos of all that they’ve managed to accomplish in the short time they’ve been here, and promise that they’re going to leave the Usos laying at Hell in a Cell. The crowd start chanting that the New Day rocks as the teams face off and then carefully back away.
Meanwhile, Jinder Mahal is backstage, determined to get as much of his worthlessness as he can all over this show. He then shows us a flashback to what happened earlier tonight, because with someone that forgettable you’ve really got to make sure that it sticks. He says that Shinsuke underestimated his intelligence, by which Jinder means “attacking from behind and using his friends to distract Nakamura”. I know I joke a lot that wrestlers aren’t generally smart because they’re not, but if Jinder Mahal thinks that that qualifies as intelligence then I’m not sure whether the Singhs are his friends or his designated carers.
Meanwhile, Tye Dillinger wants to get hurt more and more, and even being jobber entranced isn’t enough to dissuade him. He’s facing Baron Corbin, which is to say that Baron Corbin is going to murder him like the creepy-looking hobo he so resembles.
Tye throws some punches, because you may as well die a hero. Corbin shoves him away again and again, but Dillinger’s desire to get crippled tonight is overwhelming. Baron takes control of the match like he takes candy from babies and babies from parents, but suddenly he runs into a superkick that more or less turns off the sun for him.
During the break, whilst I’m distracted and horrified by the amount of cheap and unhealthy food that American TV advertises, Tye Dillinger continues to fend off the inevitable that is death: specifically death at the fists of Baron Corbin. This token resistance lasts for a minute or two before the red mist descends and the Lone Wolf goes for the kill. We come back just as Corbin shoves Dillinger into the steel steps. AJ Styles is backstage watching, with an expression which makes it clear he knows he’s going to watch a young athlete get killed in a few minutes.
Corbin hangs Dillinger up on the ropes and then punches him right in the stomach. And just as the commentators are talking about how fucking awesome and unstoppable Baron Corbin is…Tye Dillinger rolls him up for the win.
I love WWE sometimes.
This was a decent, hard-hitting match, but the finish really elevated my enjoyment of it. 3 Stars.
And then AJ Styles appears onscreen, because there’s a wound that needs salting right now. He says that Corbin has all the ability in the world, but it’s his attitude that keeps screwing him over. He says that nothing’s going to get handed to Baron Corbin here, and he’s going to teach Corbin that shortcuts don’t work with AJ Styles.
Okay, I was kind of assuming they were going to make the match a triple threat after that result, but whatever.
It’s that time of year again
We do a thing with Susan G. Komen now, who must be happy about the partnership with WWE because there’s probably no carcinogens in wrestling (unlike some of their other partnerships). They have Dana Warrior as a spokesperson, because now that he’s dead WWE pretends that they always fucking loved the Ultimate Warrior and didn’t release a documentary dedicated to attacking him for being insane.
I definitely support organisations dedicated to raising money for cancer research, but I live for the day when WWE manages to do a charity segment that isn’t clunky and awkward.
Wonder what Simon Gotch is up to
Aiden English and Rusev are in the ring, and we take a look back at Randy Orton’s terrorist attack on the proud nation of Bulgaria. Rusev addresses Orton, saying that he ruined Rusev Day. He promises us many more Rusev Days, and I would love it if WWE kept that as an annual holiday. Even after Rusev’s retired, we’d still have Rusev Day.
Orton shows up, breaking up Rusev’s speech. English looks pretty amped up for this asskicking he’ll be taking. Rusev provides a distraction to kick things off and English takes advantage, laying into Randy Orton. He almost leaps into an RKO, but is able to shove Orton away and take him down with a dropkick. He gets a minute’s more offence, then gets tossed into an RKO.
Quick way to build Orton up after his loss to Rusev. It’ll be interesting to see a full match between them. 1.5 Stars.
Rusev tries to slide into the ring, but Orton suddenly throws himself down in front of him, staring him down: that looked fucking cool. Rusev backs away, freaked out by this Jungle Book shit.
We take a look back at Sami Zayn’s sole main event exposure as Kevin Owens used his body as a weapon against Shane McMahon. There’s no way I can describe that which would make it sound good.
Shane is backstage, and suddenly Sami’s with him, showing no ill effects from getting destroyed last week. He tries to warn Shane about Kevin Owens’ dark side, stopping just short of calling him “Keyser Söze”. Shane still seems absurdly confident about his chances of taking on a professional wrestler inside Hell of a Cell, disregarding all of Sami’s warnings. He deserves everything he gets.
Shane makes his way down the ramp and into the ring. He says that he’s been waiting to go face-to-face with Kevin Owens for a long time, despite the fact that they’ve had multiple conversations most weeks before all of this kicked off. He calls Kevin Owens out, and KO’s a no-show.
Shane calls Kev a coward for everything he’s done, and for not coming out and facing him now. But at Hell in a Cell, there’ll be nowhere to run or hide. He says that at their Hell in a Cell match, it’s going to be falls count anywhere so Shane has nothing standing in the way of beating some humility into Owens.
Suddenly, Owen’s voice seems to come from nowhere. It turns out he’s in the crowd, making his way down the stairs. He asks Shane what he wants, and Shane invites him to get in the ring. Owens says that he aims to please, but then starts walking away again. The Commissioner calls him a coward, and Owens stops but then walks off again, because he’s not five years old.
Shane then says that if Owens won’t bring the fight, then he’ll bring it to Owens, and races up into the stands after him! We follow Shane backstage as he searches for Owens, and of course KO was waiting for him. Owens goes on the offence, but Shane gives as good as he gets. Kevin gains the advantage, however, and gives Shane a dangerous-looking powerbomb through the table. Christ, that looked nasty.
Owens makes his way down back into the arena towards the ring. He gets a microphone and says that if we think that was bad, then we have no idea what’s coming on Sunday. He says he’s absolutely on board with the falls count anywhere rule. He promises to hurl Shane off the cell on Sunday, and then stops as he sees McMahon coming down to the ring.
Kevin yells at Shane to stop, but then heads out to the crowd after him to continue the assault. Kevin gets in some shots, but Shane surprises him and is able to throw him over the barricade before launching himself over the top at Owens. The brawl continues, with Owens gaining the upper hand but Shane refusing to go down. He works his way back to his feet, but a superkick puts him down on the mat.
Owens looks either furious or constipated as he walks away, but then turns back and gets into the ring. Shane throws some punches, but eats a headbutt from Owens which knocks him down again. Owens hesitates, and then puts him down with the Pop-Up Powerbomb before finally leaving.
The Bad: nothing major. All in all, that was a pretty good lead-in to the PPV. Even Jinder wasn’t as terrible as he has been these past few months.
The Good: Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon told a great story out there, and the New Day and the Usos did the same thing without touching each other. It’s all getting hyped up, and I am excited for Hell in a Cell. 8/10.
Tags: aiden english, Becky Lynch, Bobby Roode, byron saxton, Carmella, charlotte, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Mike Kanellis, natalya neidhart, Randy Orton, Renee Young, rusev, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, The New Day, The Singh Brothers, the usos, Tom Phillips, WWE