A brief note as we begin: my old English teacher and my cousin bet me I couldn’t get certain words into this article. So…that’s happening. Also, I missed the Slammy Awards due to this week being like a day in Bill Murray’s life towards the end of Groundhog Day. And now that I’ve typed that, I just want to spend this report reviewing Groundhog Day. Still, we’ll soldier on; hopefully SmackDown’s got something to recommend it.
What If All Companies Hired Like The Wyatts?
Well, Daniel Bryan is approaching the ring for a match. Good way to start. And here’s the Wyatts. Oh, SmackDown. Erick Rowan will be stepping up to the plate, meaning that if Daniel loses he’s getting dragged out to a parking lot again. Rowan immediately takes the roughneck offense to Mr Slammy. Bryan ducks a clothesline, coming back with strikes only for Rowan to knock him down hard. Bodyslam by Rowan, followed up by a Frisky Bearhug. Bryan tries to fight his way out of it, and does, hitting elbows before his crossbody is caught by Rowan, who turns it into a fallaway slam. Bryan is pancaked into the corner for two; it’s interesting that they’re letting Rowan dominate this match from the start. A charge to the corner allows Rowan’s face to meet Bryan’s boot, and Bryan hits a dropkick from the second rope and starts Hulking Up, hitting his volley of kicks before knocking Harper off the apron and diving out onto him before low-bridging Rowan. He tries to dive out again, but Bray grabs his feet, tripping him. The referee sees it, which pretty much makes him a superhero in terms of WWE referees, and calls for the DQ.
Far too short, but there was nothing to dislike about the content that was there. Not much else to say, other than to question why the ref doesn’t use his supervision to spy on the Divas. 2 Stars.
Harper and Rowan immediately come in for the assault, but Bryan ducks and dives, before sliding out of the ring and nailing Bray with a CenaSlayer! (and yes, I’m calling it the CenaSlayer).
Apparently Orton is going to apologise for knocking Stephanie down without trying to molest her, thereby destroying her confidence in her appearance.
Santa: The Biggest Border-Hopper Of Them All
Back from break, the Real Americans race to the ring, and when Cesaro hurls his flag, it hits the championships hoisted above the ring. SUBTEXT. Facing them are the tag team champions, but they wait for Zeb to make a hate speech, because the Rhodeses were raised by a Texan and taught to listen whilst bigotry is spouted. The crux of the speech is that Zeb hates Santa, so he’ll be getting visited thrice by ghosts on Christmas Eve. Goldust and Cesaro lock up, with Goldust hitting a shoulder tackle and an armdrag before tagging in Cody. Elbow to Cesaro from the top rope, but Cesaro takes control to tag in Swagger. Quick tags are the name of the game here, with Swagger taking Cody into the neutral corners. Cody dodges the Swagger Bomb and trips Jack into the corner so that he can tag in Goldust.
Goldust hits clotheslines, the Rhodes Uppercut and the atomic drop, but misses the big boot to Swagger. Cesaro makes the blind tag as Swagger is spinebuster-ed by Goldust, and tosses the painted man out of the ring before clotheslining him on the outside as we go to break.
When we come back, Swagger has full control of Goldust, hitting him with shoulder-thrusts in the corner as the Real Americans continue to make quick tags. Swagger locks him a sleeper, which Goldust fights out of, leaps off the second rope and knocks skulls with Swagger. Both men get the tag and Cody immediately unloads on Cesaro, hitting fists, knees, clotheslines. He rolls up Cesaro for two, hits the Rhodes Uppercut and the Alabama Slam. The pin is counted, but Cesaro reaches the bottom rope. Cody misses a Disaster Kick; Cesaro tries to hit the Cesaro Swing, but Goldust interferes; Goldust is thrown out of the ring and Cody hits the Disaster Kick this time. Swagger breaks up the pin, tries to toss Cody and is tossed out himself, before Cesaro is thrown out onto Swagger. Cody splashes onto Jack on the outside from the top rope and goes up for a moonsault on Cesaro, now in the ring. Swagger interferes, which provides Cesaro with the kairos (HAH) he needs; he yanks Rhodes off the top rope, right into an Uppercut for the three!
The last segment of that match was what I adore in tag matches: reversals and guys coming out of nowhere to change the content. Could have gone on longer, and I wish it had, but very good. 3 Stars.
We get a promo package for the Unification Match this Sunday, which I thought was a rather wonderful advert, even for something I’m not wild about seeing. The rivalry actually makes sense; I just wish Orton looked like he had a hope in hell against Cena. That’s my main problem with how Cena is presented: everyone he faces is instantly less of a threat because they’re facing John Cena. Bryan and Punk are the last two guys to face him when I remember actually thinking ‘Cena could genuinely lose’. Orton just does not evoke that, and if it seemed like he could beat Cena, I’d be far more likely to get behind our World Heavyweight Champion.
Anyway, soapbox moment over. We recap Hunico beating Del Rio with a rolling powerbomb that looks like it caved in the back of Alberto’s skull and a senton bomb that missed by a country mile. Change the wrestler, not the gimmick, I guess.
We’re joined by Bad News Barrett, now with detachable gavel accessory. He’s still a less-biased source of facts than the Daily Mail.
Sandow Used Run. ‘Can’t Escape!’ Sandow Used Run. ‘Got Away Safely!’
Sexual Chocolate is in the ring and Big E Langston is on commentary. Damien Sandow approaches the ring to get dismembered. Sandow is immediately shoved down by Mark. Not cowed, Sandow slaps a headlock on Henry aaaaand knocked down. Both wrestlers trade control before Henry gets his boot up damn high to hit Sandow in the face and knock him out of the ring. The ref starts the count and Sandow is smart enough to realise that fighting the World’s Strongest Man is a poor decision. Henry wins by count-out.
Nothing here I can comment on, really.
Post-match, Langston shoves Sandow back into the ring to meet his maker (that is not to imply that Sandow was once a disembodied hand). Henry throws Sandow into Langston, which Langston blames Sandow for. Well, like you’d argue.
‘It’s Not About Total Divas on Sunday’: Lies Natalya Says
Back from the adverts, AJ Lee is skipping, Tamina is pouty, the Bellas are irrelevant and Natalya’s on commentary. That about sums it up. Tamina will start off against Nikki, who brings her under control with a headscissors takedown. AJ leaps into the fray, but Nikki takes her down too before Tamina throws her halfway across the ring. Suplex to Nikki and Tamina hits some hard strikes and the Samoan Drop. AJ comes into the ring to pick up the scraps, but Nikki kicks out. AJ locks a sleeper into Nikki, who manages to throw her off. AJ then charges at Nikki, only to hit the corner hard as Nikki ducks out of the way and tags in Brie. Brie comes in strong, hitting clotheslines and dropkicks to AJ before knocking Tamina off the apron. She then hits a knee to the face of AJ and climbs up to the second rope. Missile dropkick nearly gets the pin, but Tamina breaks it up. The Bellas throw the Snukette out, but AJ locks the Black Widow into Brie and makes her tap, which thankfully shuts Natalya up. Not because I have enmity towards Natalya, but because I have a terrible headache and her voice is…unhelpful.
That match was just okay. I think that Tamina could be more of a bulldozer, but it’s nice to see AJ get a pin considering she’s holding up her end of a feud between her and the cast of Total Divas. 1.5 Stars.
Well, here comes John Cena. We get yet another guarantee of one champion, and repeated promises shouldn’t make me this sceptical. John builds up the match, which would be a whole lot easier if it was going to take place at WrestleMania rather than a show that UK viewers are getting for free. Cena then remembers when he and Orton were friends and I get Batista flashing up in my head for some reason…Cena says that Orton doesn’t like to be hit too much. So then why did he become a wrestler? Cena says that he’ll keep going, whereas Orton will take the easy way out because he hasn’t got the nuts. John ends by saying that the champ is here and leaves. Good promo: simple and to the point.
Dean Ambrose Discusses Santa Claus And Spontaneous Combustion
We revisit the Shield attacking Punk, and speak of the devil and they will appear. The Shield are coming down the ramp as Rollins and Reigns get set to take on the Usos. Did Seth just use the ring-entrance animation from WWE SmackDown 4: Shut Your Mouth? Back from a brief break, Dean’s on the mic again: I appreciate this decision. Wow, the Usos are loud tonight, and I love the new shirts. Jimmy and Rollins start off the match, locking up before Jimmy puts Seth in a headlock. Jimmy’s shot off the ropes and comes back with some hard strikes before tagging in Jey. Clothesline to Rollins as Michael quizzes Dean on the Shield’s cracks…wait. Jimmy is tagged back in, locking Rollins’ arm before Roman is tagged in and begins to dismantle Jimmy. Rollins is tagged back in as the Shield stay on Jimmy. Jey gets a blind tag, and both Usos both punch Rollins, double-kick Reigns, toss Reigns out of the ring and send Rollins out to follow him.
Back from the break, Rollins is in control of Jimmy. Jimmy attempts a backslide, but Rollins kicks out and tags in Roman. Flying clothesline from Reigns and Jimmy kicks out. Sleeper hold to Jimmy as Dean threatens to sprout wings or antlers. No, really. Ambrose then says that JBL could spontaneously combust, prompting JBL to say calmly ‘that would be terrible for commentary’, before giving the greatest aside glance I’ve ever seen. Dean then moves on to talk about Santa Claus, and I swear I could listen to this forever. Back in the ring, Jimmy rocks Roman’s jaw, but it’s all for naught as Reigns brings him down with a clothesline. Rollins is tagged in, but gets low-bridged by Jimmy, who then hits a DDT that just spikes Reigns. Rollins tries to stop Jimmy, but Jey is tagged in and comes into the match on fire. Clotheslines and kicks and inarticulate screaming abound before Jey knocks Roman off the apron and gets a near-fall on Rollins from one hell of a Samoan Drop. Jey winds up for the superkick, sends an interfering Roman out of the ring, counters whatever Rollins tries to do and superkicks him. Jey goes up high, but Seth rolls out of the ring…so Jey splashes onto him from the outside. Jimmy throws Jey aside to take the spear from Reigns instead; that was surprisingly touching. Jey tries to avenge Jimmy with a kick (which is how you avenge properly), but Roman catches the leg and Rollins blasts Jey and rocks his skull off the ring post. Jey barely makes it back into the ring, just in time for Rollins to stomp his head. Seth signals for the Go 2 Sleep, but turns it into a way to set up Jey for the spear from Reigns for the three.
Great match, just great. The Shield continue to impress, like they have from day one. The Usos also were a treat to watch and the crowd really rallies behind these guys; I could definitely see them carrying the tag titles soon. 3.5 Stars.
CM Punk interrupts to broadcast from the Shield’s usual hangout spot in the basement (again, the Wyatts are just out of shot, wondering where Reigns and Rollins are and why Dean looks so scruffy today). Punk says that if he’s going down, the Shield’s going down with him. He says to Believe in the Best in the World.
Ryback Regrets Losing Paul Heyman Right About…Now
Big Show will be taking on Ryback here, and we are shown the Fatal Four-Way tag match for the titles this Sunday. Big Show immediately knocks down Ryback, slapping him across the pecs multiple times. Ryback fights back, but gets clotheslined and squashed into the corner…before Ryback spinebusters him to the mat, pulling down the straps. Ryback then goes for the Meathook, gets Chokeslammed…and that’s it.
Can we decide what to do with Ryback? Please? This match had very little to it at all. 1.5 Stars.
Axel tries to jump the Big Show afterwards, out of some strange death-wish, and gets 619-ed and Knockout Punched. End scene.
Oops, here are the Wyatts backstage (Punk and the Shield are off-camera: Punk is Tweeting about unrelated events; the Shield are regretting letting anybody know about this place). Wyatt seems to feel betrayed by Bryan and also seems to be high off his sizeable tits. Seems like the job offer’s been retracted.
Knocking Out Kofi: The Newest WWE Trend
Alberto gets to the ring; Kofi nearly gets to the ring before Miz jumps him and hits the Skull-Crushing Finale. Apparently the superstars are as bored with Kingston wrestling everyone as…everyone.
We recap Michael Cole’s weekly ‘Ask The COO Questions’ obsession. This would be much improved if each man could only speak if they were holding a conch. Triple H seems irked by someone beating up Stephanie who isn’t him or Austin or Vince; physically abusing Steph’s apparently a rare honour: the next step up from world champion, but one below breaking the Streak.
We join Orton in the ring, and I’m hoping like hell that this is prelude to him going full-psychotic and creating a mountain of unconscious Authority figures to close the show. He asks Triple H to come out, and out Trips does come, but he’s not wearing a tie. Probably some business attire-related floccinaucinihilipilification (HAHA). Orton says that what happened to Stephanie was an accident, deciding to omit the phrase ‘you know, this time‘. The footage is shown and the crowd chants ‘YES’, because Oregon just loves women getting knocked out. We see the same thing again in slow-motion, and showing a guy his wife getting beaten up multiple times from different angles and at different speeds is a unique way of apologising; I personally like Randy’s style. The crowd chants for Bryan, because now they know it’s his fault they love him even more. Triple H says that he could fire Orton, because screw the Unification Match they’ve been dreaming about for so long. But he won’t do that; for this one time, he’ll accept the apology. Punt him, Randy. Punt his face off.
Orton then gets all jelly about Triple H standing near Cena, because he looks more threatening as an insecure girlfriend. Triple H trolls Orton one last time, and leaves.
What? That’s it? No vicious attack from Orton? No return of the Viper? We’re pointing out that Orton is a whiny baby and not making him then seem psychotic and dangerous? Wow, colour me intrigued for Sunday’s main event.
This show bounced around a lot. Several portions seem rushed, and I don’t see why we needed a Sin Cara match recap with all of the RAW stuff there was already. I’m entirely not sold on the Unification Match, but considering it’s had one month’s build and one competitor’s character is, in essence, ‘grizzling bitch’, I don’t see how that’s my fault. The tag matches, however, brought the show back up to what I will generously call a seven.