We kick off the last SmackDown before Royal Rumble, and instead of Michael Cole we are joined by Josh Matthews with JBL. I myself am joined by chocolate biscuits and red wine: that’s how I roll.
Come On, Zeb. You Got Hit In The Face, Not The Legs
Zeb and White Power are in the ring, and Mr Whiskers cuts a promo on both Big Show and Rey Mysterio, terming them ‘The Border-Hopping Bullies’. Wow. PGTV bites down hard sometimes. And, for once, the crowd doesn’t join in with the ‘We, The People’ bit. Rey and Big Show get it down to the ring. Josh calls Rey a favourite for the Rumble, and I miss Michael Cole. Oh, and we’re still amazed that a smaller guy can get thrown by…screw it.
Big Show starts against Swagger, and oh my God: that really huge guy is overpowering the smaller guy! Do you believe in miracles?! Yeah, typical Big Show offence, knocking Cesaro all around the ring and, eventually, out of it. JBL says the match between Show and Lesnar is going to be ugly; we’re of one mind there. Rey gets the tag, sentons Cesaro and headscissors Swagger into the barricade. Crowd’s dead. Swagger gets tagged in, overpowering Rey and I’m worried about how much they’re overdoing this Goliath and David story. Rey manages to headscissor Swagger into the ropes, but Cesaro catches a 619 attempt into a tilt-a-whirl and the two Real Americans beat Rey down in the corner and send him slip-slop-sliding out of the ring.
Cesaro picks Rey up and puts him into the ring, looking impressive. A ‘Big Show’ chant is started spontaneously by around fifty people, or that’s what it sounds like. Rey rolls Cesaro up, but Cesaro kicks out and hits the Swing. Swagger in now, beating Rey down until he runs into a hurricanrana, sending him face-first into the turnbuckle. Rey tries to make a tag, but Swagger catches him, tagging in Cesaro only for both men to eat a DDT, courtesy of Mysterio.
Big Show’s tagged in, taking out both Real Americans with ease, at one point hip-tossing both men on one arm. Swagger’s tossed out of the ring; 619 to Cesaro; knock-out punch and a splash gets the three. Josh asks how Lesnar should prepare for the Big Show: watch tapes of their matches from 2002-2003 and do much the same thing.
This was just okay; something seemed off, and it wasn’t just Josh’s unhelpful comments. The double hip-toss is worth looking at, though. 1.5 Stars.
Oh, here’s Heyman. Oh, and is Lesnar not here on SmackDown? And even Heyman’s making a big deal out of what Big Show’s done. He is a GIANT. Am I the only guy who sees this? Lesnar’s going to destroy Big Show, blah blah standard promo.
Heel Turn No-One Cares About Vs. Heel Turn No-One Cares About.
It’s Brodus Clay vs. the Miz, but before the match even starts, Barrett’s music hits and he rises from the ground like a phallic metaphor. He tells us about the ten-man main event, but he’s afraid he’s got some BAD NEWS. He says we have to suffer from the worst match in WWE history. And shit, he’s right. Barrett starts chanting ‘Miz is awful’ as the match starts. Brodus gets the better of Miz, but Barrett keeps heckling through the microphone. I don’t even know if this is supposed to be heel thing; I’m personally loving it. Miz hits a DDT and wins, but I only have eyes for Barrett’s majestic antics, I’m afraid.
This match was barely there, but it wasn’t the focus. Barrett was entertaining, but needs to speak more and be more acerbic. On entertainment value overall, it’s a 2.5.
Miz wants himself some of Barrett, but he can’t scale the sheer wall of Mount Freudian Symbol.
Slightly Disappointed That Tamina Is Not Still Covered In Cake
AJ will be facing Cameron tonight, seemingly unimpressed with the Funkadactyls’ dancing. AJ starts off on offence, throwing Cameron onto the mat and whacking her head off the turnbuckle. Cameron catches a charge with the boots, however, and starts knocking AJ down, hitting awful clotheslines and a dropkick. She drops the split-legdrop onto AJ, and then baseball-slides Tamina. AJ gets a roll-up, but Cameron kicks out; Shining Wizard gets AJ the win.
Fair match. I hate Cameron’s clotheslines with an almost-religious zeal, but nothing really wrong here. 2 Stars.
Well, Tamina’s apparently a huge bitch, so attacks Cameron. Naomi takes exception to this and knocks Tamina out of the ring before hitting AJ with the Rear View and the Bubba Bomb. She actually then goes for a cover for a second before snapping out of it, which prompted a laugh from me.
We show a replay of Batista showing up. According to JBL and Josh it was awesome; according to the crowd reaction, it was pretty dull.
The Shield’s backstage, whilst Punk and the Wyatts are trying to work out via a show of hands whether Bryan’s still allowed to hang out with them all. This is your typical ‘there’s three of us, but we’re all going to win the Rumble’ promo, but then Roman says he’s going to win and neither of the other two speak up. Awkward sauce.
I Can’t Believe That Axel Is The Least-Stupid Element Of This Match
Ah, it’s Goldberfect and…no. No. No. Nonono. Dammit, Widro, I thought you were lying. Yes, it’s Los Matadores and their pet person. I would never wish Ryback-inflicted injury upon anyone, but looking at Torito, I can imagine my emotional detachment.
Ryback starts off against Los 1, pressing him into a bodyslam and then a leg-drop. Los Matadores are wearing black masks which actually makes them look almost slightly less than 100% ridiculous. On a foggy day. Tag to Microsoft Axel (I’m sorry: that was the wine joking) as the commentators bash Ryback and Axel bashes Los 1. It’s all Goldberfect until now as Ryback’s tagged in and splashes Los 1. Los 1 tries to fight out, but Ryback beats him down and comes off the second rope…into a pair of boots. Tag to Axel and Los 2 gets the tag, coming in hard and fast, knocking Axel around. DDT gets the near-fall, but Ryback breaks it up and throws out Los 1. Los 2 dropkicks Ryback out and Axel picks up the pin.
Well, nothing went wrong. Yes, that is the best thing I can say about this match. Hornswoggle didn’t make a surprise return. Ryback didn’t get naked. My wine isn’t corked. You take what you can get. 2 Stars.
El Torito hurricanranas Axel out of the ring, apparently out of revenge for Axel winning. Los Whichever and Torito then dive out onto Axel and Ryback. Ryback looks psychotically furious; that’s the face of a man who’d punch a elderly mermaid to death.
CM Punk is walking around backstage, looking for Bryan so he can tell him that it’s not him; it’s Punk, the Shield and the Wyatts. They’re buddies with Bryan; they’re just not…Backstage Buddies with him.
After the break, Punk makes his way to the ring as we replay the chokeslam to Punk last week and Punk’s attack to Kane on RAW. I’m almost getting used to Kane with hair. Punk addresses himself being the number one entry, citing conspiracy. He says you’d think the Authority would know him better than this; he’s motivated. He almost flubs the phrase ‘WWE World Heavyweight Champion’, which proves how dumb a name it is. Punk says he’s never won the Rumble before, and that he will ensure that he’s the last man standing.
Kane comes out at this, saying that he wishes Punk the best of luck, and says he’s got 0.000000186% chance of winning. Did his calculations include the fact that one of the contestants is Kofi Kingston? Punk says to never tell him the odds, which was an excellent line to use, and says that it’s sad to see what’s become of Kane: the Authority’s Favourite Dentist…um…Statistician. He says people have won from number one before, and that he’s the Best in the World.
Recap of the issues between the Wyatts and Bryan. So, did Bella just take Bryan back? After those few weeks of him vanishing? The woman’s either a saint or needs some self-affirmation.
Probably Would Have Made More Of A Statement If Bray Had Been Wrestling, But Sure
The Prime Time Players are in the ring, awaiting the arrival of the Wyatts, who make their presence known. Harper stars off against Darren Young, with Harper dropping Young with a boot before tagging Rowan in. Fallaway slam from Rowan, then a tag to Harper, who boots Titus off the apron. That Clothesline to Young, and that’s the decisive victory.
I enjoy the odd squash match, and this looked harsh and intimidating. 2 Stars.
Bray steps into the ring, delivering Sister Abigail to Young. I don’t know where Titus is, but he’s definitely not getting involved. Bray gets on his mic, saying he’ll change the world, and that They will be able to deny him no more. Bryan’s music hits, and he steps onto the staging. He tells us to listen to the people, who luckily start a YES chant. Bryan says that Bray will be trapped in the prison of his madness. Wait, is Bryan still mad? Did Doctor Shelby con the WWE?
He Beat Orton, So Fandango Is A Logical Progression
Kofi comes to the ring to face Fandango as a little window shows him saying that he’s going to win the Rumble. Wow. I don’t even have it in me to make fun of that.
Headlock by Fandango; Kofi shoots him off and takes a shoulder block. Fandango runs the ropes and eats a back elbow before getting tossed out of the ring. Oh, and there’s Emma, whoever the hell Emma is. Fandango side-steps Kofi and knocks him down on the outside. Back in the ring, Fandango sends Kofi into the corner, but Kofi hits a missile dropkick and then comes at Fandango with strikes and dropkicks. Fandango suddenly catches Kofi with a kick to the head and climbs up to the top. Kofi gets up, ducks under Fandango and then hits the Trouble In Paradise for the win.
This was nicely done; these men put on an athletic show. 2.5 Stars.
We get a little promo for the championship match at the Rumble as Josh tries to sell Orton and Cena as each other’s shadow archetype. I’m not saying the case isn’t there; I’m just saying this match probably can’t be saved by anything.
The Shield show up for the match as it’s main event time, and are joined by the Outlaws. Apparently the Outlaws consider themselves one of the two most unstoppable factions in the history of the WWE. Well, that’s the results of their drug test without any of that peeing-in-a-cup nonsense. Langston and the Rhodeses make their way to the ring, joining the Usos.
It’s Seth and Jimmy starting out, the match, as Jimmy hits the shoulder block, runs the ropes and hits a Bubba Bomb. Tag to Jey, dropping the double elbows on Rollins. Rollins punches Jey to the mat, tagging in Ambrose who gets a kick and a punch before getting knocked to the mat. Tags between the Usos, then to Langston: Jesus, he’s fast. Shoulder thrusts to Ambrose, then a backdrop and backbreakers to Ambrose. Ambrose manages to get the boots into Langston’s face and tag in Reigns, who hits a flying clothesline to take Langston down. Reigns stomps Langston down in the corner before tagging in Ambrose, who throws hands at Langston before running into a belly-to-belly.
Tag to Cody, who takes Ambrose out with a missle dropkick. Rollins comes in and gets backdropped and a Rhodes Uppercut, but avoids the Disaster Kick and is instead sent out of the ring. Billy’s gotten the blind tag and takes Cody out with a clothesline, stomping him down. Billy stays on Cody, then tags in Road Dogg, who throws hands and stomps Cody in the corner. Tag to Ambrose, and Dean clotheslines Cody for two. He locks in a sleeper and Cody jawbreakers his way out, but there’s the tag to Rollins, who stays on Rhodes, twisting his head around. Corner-roll-up gets two, but Rollins knocks him back down. Billy in now, laying down the strikes and slapping on a sleeper.
Reigns comes in, beating Cody down and keeping him isolated. Ambrose back in with a spinning backdrop. They head up to the top for a super back suplex, but Cody fights his way out. Rollins, tagged in tries to do stop Cody, but can’t. Reigns takes the tag and eats a moonsault. Goldust gets the tag, as does Road Dogg, so it’s WrestleMania XV 2: Electric Boogaloo. Rhodes Uppercut to Road Dogg, then a spinebuster and a hurricanrana to Billy Gunn. Road Dogg throws hands, but takes a powerslam, then Rollins the high knee to Goldust. Langston goes to hit the Big Ending on Rollins, but Reigns spears him. The Uso hit a kick and a splash to Reigns and one Uso dives onto the Shield on the outside; the other takes a FameAsser from Billy Gunn, who then eats a Disaster Kick. Cody takes a pumphandle slam from Road Dogg, who then gets rolled up by Goldust before everyone hits the ring at once. DQ.
There was a lot to like here, and I certainly enjoyed it. Everyone did a good job, and the sequence at the end just really seemed to flow perfectly. 3 Stars.
Chaos reigns as Rybaxel and R-Truth and all the other mid-carders join the impromptu Rumble. Punk’s music hits, and he comes out looking ready for a fight, and he joins in. We finish with the mass brawl as our Rumble trailer.
I thought this was a pretty middling show, but Bad News Barrett, the main event and the brawl at the end brought the score up to a seven. I think it’s safe to say that they could show pretty much anything as build, and I’d still watch the Rumble, so I’m a little less invested in the preceding weeks. Still, this had some decent stuff.
Tags: aj lee, Antonio Cesaro, big e langston, big show, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, brodus clay, Cameron, cm punk, Cody Rhodes, Curtis Axel, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Diego, Erick Rowan, Fandango, Fernando, Goldberfect, goldust, jack swagger, jey uso, jimmy uso, kane, Kofi Kingston, Los Matadores, Luke Harper, naomi, New Age Outlaws, Paul Heyman, Prime Time Players, Real Americans, rey mysterio, Road Dogg Jesse James, Roman Reigns, ryback, Rybaxel, seth rollins, Smackdown, Summer Rae, Tamina Snuka, The Miz, The Shield, the usos, Wade Barrett, WWE, wyatt family, Zeb Coulter