Hey there, folks. I’m a new writer for Inside Pulse, going by the name of David Spain. I’ll be responsible for reviewing SmackDown on a weekly basis, which I’m sure will in no way further my already worrying drinking habits. It’s nice to be aboard and I just bet that this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The big blue show starts off with a recap of RAW, like a young child imitating its older sibling out of pure hero-worship. We see the brutality that is the new/old Randy Orton and the abomination that is Brie Bella trying to portray an emotion that isn’t ‘bitch’.
The Acquisition of Big Show’s House by the COOward Triple H
Once that’s out of the way, we get all pyro-ed up and here comes the Big Show, looking subdued which Gods know is better than crying, although a few steps below crazy-eyed. He’s apparently ashamed of himself for doing bad things to good people, which is quite the statement coming from a guy who’s been the stone-cold bastard that Big Show has been over the years. Apparently Trips and Steph are holding the job over Big Show’s head, and you’d think the Largest Athlete in the World would be able to just reach up and grab it. Honestly, Big Show could be talking about being made to walk the streets for money and they wouldn’t have to alter this monologue one bit. Show’s being forced to face the Shield in a three-on-one handicap, and will turn his rage loose on them; they’ll be in the ring with a ‘borderline-lunatic giant’, which is definitely an unsafe work environment.
This workplace-related accusation brings out Trips, who says he’s ashamed of Big Show, and the prostitution implications just keep on…going. Apparently the COO has just bought out Big Show’s mortgage, and I smell a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas to settle this one. If Big Show doesn’t get his emotions in check, Triple H will be living in his house, and that’s a unique threat. Would he bring his children? He adds Orton to the match, because why not put the Face of WWE in the same ring as a borderline-lunatic giant.
We are warned not to try this at home, and I’m wondering whether this includes covering someone’s mortgage and living in their house. Would you then be ‘at home’, really?
Back to the action, and here is Fandango, looking extremely casual in that pink t-shirt. Cole makes the requisite Fandangoing-masturbation reference and then mentions Susan B. Coleman, because that’s the kind of classy partnership the WWE offers these days. Van Dam comes out, and it took Cole saying it for me to remember that he was the number one contender. An ‘RVD’ chant starts up, and Fandango hits a cheap shot interrupting Rob’s taunt. They’re talking up how Van Dam can’t lose a hardcore match, so that’s Del Rio home and dry. Van Dam heads to the outside, and…commercial? Again?
Back from a short break, a thrust kick off the second rope hits Fandango, with Van Dam following up with clotheslines, kicks and a Rolling Thunder. Rob goes up, but Summer Rae crotches him on the rope, and your winner is RVD by RVDQ. Fandango jumps Rob post-match, hitting a sit-out suplex. He goes looking for a weapon but Rodriguez distracts him long enough for Van Dam to get back into it. He tosses Fandango back into the ring and then vaults over the ropes to hit a DDT that comes right out of a Sabu match, minus abattoir levels of blood. Out comes a trash can and Fandango eats a Van Terminator.
There wasn’t much to that, honestly. The hardcore segment at the end fell a bit flat and didn’t exactly set up much excitement for Sunday, though what really could for this feud? 2 Stars.
We get a ‘From The Vault’ match now, and I’m curious as to whether you Americans get these. Is it just Britain? Because I’ve never heard them mentioned on another review site before. It’s the Bushwhackers vs. Rhythm and Blues, and it’s not so bad. In the end, the Honky Tonk Man went for his guitar shot but Butch ducked: DQ and Luke chases off Honky and Valentine with the guitar’s remnants.
And commercials. One of which, strangely, also involved someone shattering a guitar. Hm.
Ryback, Your Anti-Bullying PSA
Ryback’s in the ring, and if he’s getting the jobber entrance then I’m not sure of his chances here. Out comes R-Truth, whose credentials as a number one contender for the IC Title just put another nail in Ryback’s coffin. Match starts and Ryback overpowers Truth until Truth just punches him, knocking him on his ass. Way to make that imposingly large heel look dangerous. Oh God, Heyman tells Ryback ‘he’s bullying you! He’s a bully!’ and that sincerity is honest-to-God beautiful. Ryback comes back, looking pissed because Ryback hates bullies. Then R-Truth dances, determined to win the ‘who has the most two-dimensional gimmick’ contest. A calf kick knocks Ryback over and a missile dropkick from Truth gets one. Scissors kick misses, and Ryback immediately hits the Meathook and Shell Shock for the win.
Well, that seemed kind of abrupt. R-Truth’s repertoire was more or less just punching or kicking continuously. 1.5 stars.
Post-match, Axel jumps Truth, presumably to remind him that they have a programme because hell if I knew. He then askes Truth if he knows who he is. Truth seems confused, and if Axel asked me if I knew who he was I’d have to think about it too. And then mispronounce ‘McGillicutty’.
Del Rio is backstage with Renee Young, and will apparently put RVD in a trash can and ship him to the dump and America sounds hilarious if that sort of thing happens there. Van Dam sends Del Rio the Fandango-imprinted trash can as a present, and Del Rio throws it away angrily. Gripping stuff.
Remember When This Match Was For The World Heavyweight Championship? Ziggler Doesn’t. Because Of His Horrifying Concussion
Del Rio goes out to face Ziggler, and I wonder who will…yeah, no. And Sandow’s on commentary, which is a nice bonus. Quick roll-ups by Ziggler and Del Rio takes control. Cole and JBL try to peer-pressure Sandow into cashing in, and the dialogue is pretty giggle-worthy. Ziggler turns a tilt-a-whirl into a dropkick and knocks Del Rio onto the outside and into a commercial.
Ziggler warns us not to try what he does at home, and I assume he means sexing AJ Lee. In all honesty, my Catholic parents would get mad if I did that under this roof.
Back from break and Del Rio’s in control. If you had the WWE app you could have seen Ziggler play his car-crash-victim role on the outside, which is what you might call a good…selling point. Ziggler scores with a dropkick, but then runs shoulder-first into the ringpost. Back suplex from Del Rio gets two and he locks in a rest hold. Dolph fights out of it, tossing Del Rio onto the apron and dropkicks him to the outside again. Del Rio hangs Ziggler up on the top rope and goes up high but Ziggler catches him with a facebuster from the top rope and that got a good reaction from the crowd. Both men gradually reach their feet and slug it out as Ziggler builds momentum. The fameasser is ducked, the tilt-a-whirl by Del Rio gets two. (JBL: ‘Can I see the contract?’ Sandow: ‘Later, John.’) Del Rio tries to leap off the ropes at Ziggler, very clearly setting himself up to get dropkicked out of the air, which he does. Two-count and both men down. Del Rio hits his double-knee armbreaker and the corner-enzuigiri and gets two. The champ attempts a superplex but Ziggler reverses into a sunset flip powerbomb for two. Sleeper by Ziggler but Del Rio smashes him into the corner, then comes off the second rope to stamp both feet onto Ziggler’s back. Superkick misses, as does the splash and now the superkick connects and looks nasty as hell but Ziggler still kicks out. Del Rio attempts the cross armbreaker, but Ziggler rolls out of it, hits the fameasser and gets the near-fall. Zig Zag is avoided and Del Rio gets the armbreaker locked in and Ziggler taps.
I really enjoyed that. Ziggler sold as well as he ever has and those counter-reversal portions really flowed. Nice also to see Del Rio get a clean win by making a babyface tap. Sandow on commentary is always a winner, of course. 3.5 Stars.
Los Matadores The Explorers
Slater and Mahal are in the ring, and a video from earlier tonight shows that they hate El Torito as much as everyone else, which is good enough for a face turn for me. And out come Los Twatadores and they still have that fucking bull with them. 3MB is unimpressed and I empathise deeply. Lost Matadores start off in control with some double-team moves and Fernando pulls out some decent luchadore action. Mahal gets control after a distraction and tags in Slater. Nice headstand in the corner by Diego which turns into a headscissors takedown. Tag to Diego, who knocks Jinder around for a few moments, and their double finisher gets the three..
It’s one of those matches designed to showcase Los Matadores, and little of what was shown was of interest. Why are little people always thought to be a comedy staple in wrestling? 1 Star.
3MB tries to jump Los Matadores after the match, but they get tossed and El Torito splashes them. Primo and Epico have got to be dead inside right now.
Backstage, Renee Young has the Heyman Guys with her, and asks Heyman what his clients’ chances are. Heyman replies that CM Punk will go down in a blaze of glory and that Truth won’t get the title. Ryback has a hell of a thousand-yard stare on him, I’ve noticed.
Sounds Like A Freaking Tennis Match Up In Here
Aksana is in the ring and out comes Brie Bella. Did you know that she’s engaged? Brie in control with some clotheslines, dropkicks and sex noises. Aksana trips up Bella onto the ropes and stomps her for a while. Some kind of sleeper and then Brie comes back with a facebuster to get the three.
That was nothing much of anything. The noises Brie makes are interesting, although Aksana tried to counter via whooping every so often. 0.5 Stars.
Out comes AJ Lee, saying that she’ll do to Brie just what Orton did to Bryan on RAW. Brie looks…sad, I guess? I really couldn’t tell you. Also, AJ doesn’t know how beards, babies and genetics work, but mentions Brie getting spanked by a doctor, so that promo wasn’t total loss.
That’s So Bray-ven
Big E. Langston’s in the ring, and out comes Kofi Kingston in some fetching orange tights. We recap the strangeness with the Wyatts on RAW, and Langston powers down on Kofi, getting a belly-to-belly throw and the Warrior Splash. Kofi comes back with a kick to Langston between the ropes, but Langston catches the crossbody, gets rolled up by Kofi for…three? Kofi just made pretty short work of someone who occupied quite a bit of Punk’s time earlier this week. Watch out Wyatt, I suppose.
Over too quick to rate, although points to Kofi’s tights and Langston’s splash.
And THEY’RE HERE. Out comes Bray Wyatt, and Kofi challenges him, but Harper and Rowan are behind Kofi already. Wyatt cuts one of his typical promos, and Kofi doesn’t get jumped, thus making the Wyatts WWE’s Jehova’s Witnesses.
Back from commercial, and a match has been made for Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi at Battleground, so apparently Kofi really hates Jehova’s Witnesses. We also see a recap of the Rhodes on RAW, skipping Cole’s line about which jobber gets his son back or whatever.
No Shame In Getting Rescued By Three Guys All Wearing Pink
Here comes the Shield, who are getting into a lot of handicap matches these days. No ambush from the Rhodes Family, as apparently SmackDown isn’t big enough a show to break into and jump your opponents. Orton and Big Show follow. Big Show starts by knocking Ambrose around the ring with chops and headbutts; Rollins gets tagged and receives similar treatment. Big Show tosses Rollins back into the Shield’s corner for him to tag in someone else: nice touch. Reigns accepts the invitation, runs the ropes and gets knocked down with a shoulder tackle. And here comes Orton, who should be able to get in at least some offence, and does before Big Show makes him his bitch as well. I guess failing to satisfy your wife sexually can be frustrating. Ambrose causes a distraction and Orton gets in a kick to the knee, tagging in Rollins who hits his knee off the top rope for one, staying on Show with some boots for two. In comes Reigns with some stomps. Quick tags are the rule so far as Orton comes back in, apparently wiping sweat from his pectorals…what?…and stays on Big Show. Chokeslam attempt on Orton is countered into a DDT for a two count.
In comes Reigns who locks in a headlock, only for it to be countered into a back suplex. Both men back up and Big Show clotheslines Reigns, and hits a spear that looks crappy compared to what we’ve seen Reigns do. Big Show calls for the chokeslam and the other three guys all hit the ring and beat him down, but Big Show is as mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. Ambrose brings a steel chair into the ring but Big Show punches it back into his face, and the bell rings.
I was enjoying that: shame it couldn’t go on longer. We all knew where it was going, but I’d have been happy to have omitted some earlier matches and added the time on here. 2 Stars for brevity.
Rollins comes off the top rope and is caught for a chokeslam but Orton hits him with a chair…which only manages to piss Big Show off and he goes after Orton, but Reigns shows Big Show just how to hit a spear and the giant is down. The Shield hoist up Big Show and he eats an RKO, and Orton tries to bust up Big Show’s neck as well (which if the Miz can throw off like he did will probably only relax Big Show’s joints anyway), but the Usos are against that idea of freelance massage and hit the ring. They brawl with the Shield on the outside, and Orton still has his heart set on easing out those aches and pains via chair-neck therapy, but here comes Bryan in his pink t-shirt of not-being-taken-seriously, knocking the shit out of Orton. He gets the Yes-Lock, but Ambrose interferes so Orton can escape. Ambrose eats a kick to the head and a Goat 2 Sleep for his trouble, and Bryan looks furious to finish the show.
Well, it felt like they spread themselves pretty damn thin there, referring primarily to the Divas’ match and the Kofi/Langston affair. The Ziggler/Del Rio match was a lot of fun, and I wish we could have seen more of the main event. The intensity of Bryan at the end really came across. There was nothing…wrong with this episode, just a feeling of something lacking in general. Call it a four out of ten. And, with that said, ROLL ON BATTLEGROUND.
Tags: 3MB, aj lee, alberto del rio, big show, Brie Bella, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Los Matadores, randy orton, Roman Reigns, seth rollins, Smackdown, Spain's SmackDown Report, The Shield, the usos, triple h, WWE