We’re on the road to Elimination Chamber and gathering momentum. Tonight we will see Randy Orton take on Christian in the second part of his gauntlet match and Bray Wyatt pits his particular brand of weird against the Bizarre One himself: Goldust.
This Needs To Be A Jeremy Kyle-Resolved Issue
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns are about to take on Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler as Seth Rollins joins our commentary team at ringside. If Michael Cole refers to Rollins as ‘the Architect’ once more, I swear to God, I will…complain about it more. Here. Cole shows Rollins a flashback, and how is Seth even seeing that? Do they beam it into his brain? Because I’d buy that. Anyway, Shield break-up and Rollins says ‘asinine’, which earns him his place on commentary.
Ambrose and Kofi lock up, trading holds to start off. I think the crowd is chanting for Rollins as Kofi hits a splash and tags in Dolph for a double armdrag. Ambrose takes control back for a second, but Ziggler knocks him down and lays down some elbows. Michael’s playing the journalist, and I wonder if he was this annoying in a war zone: ‘Mr Landmine, you’re eluding the question. Are you on the verge of an explosion?’ Here comes Roman, hitting a hard uppercut and choking Ziggler on the ropes. Tag to Ambrose as Rollins takes exception to Cole’s insolence. Ziggler hits a dropkick and hits the tag.
Kofi comes in hitting everything in sight, but Ambrose hangs him up on the ropes and Reigns hits his apron-dropkick; I laugh every time I see that because it just looks like he’s having fun. Kofi’s stuck in the Shield’s corner as Ambrose comes in for the heel beatdown, then back to Reigns. Suplex gets two and Kofi tries to fight his way out of the sleeper, but Roman hits a high elbow to put him right back down again. Ambrose now, laying in a front facelock. Rollins namedrops 3MB, and please make that a feud. Nice double-underhook suplex from Ambrose for two, then a chinlock. Both men go high, with Ambrose looking for the super-double-underhook suplex, but Kingston knocks him down and hits a high crossbody. A kick to the back of the head puts Ambrose down long enough for Kingston to make a tag.
In comes Ziggler, with a crossbody, dropkick and stinger splash to Roman, following it up with a neckbreaker. Fameasser countered into a slam, and Roman calls for the Superman Punch. Ambrose looks like he’s about to make the tag, but Reigns catches him. Kofi jumps Ambrose and Roman just rolls his eyes at it: perfect. DDT from Ziggler catches Reigns as Ambrose disposes of Kofi. Zig-Zag countered into the Superman Punch, then a spear that Ziggler sells like mad. Reigns then tags in Ambrose, because he’s all speared out. Ambrose gets the three count.
Interesting. I love Reigns’ facial expressions. Rollins was decent on commentary, but Ambrose is certainly my favourite of the Shield to take the booth. Nice match; I just wish that the WWE knew what subtlety was and didn’t have to telegraph tension from a mile away. 2.5 Stars.
We get some Wyatt-esque static and the lights go down: ohshitson.jpg. Harper’s onscreen, still whistling; he hasn’t stopped since Monday. Bray takes focus, mocking the Shield for having marital discord. Then he goes all creepy, which the Shield no-sell. God, I honestly don’t care who wins this: just take my money and let those six rock the hell out.
Daniel Bryan makes his way to the ring and takes the microphone. He says he doesn’t want to be the Face of the WWE; he just wants to be him. He takes issue with Kane pretending that CM Punk no longer exists and acting like they’ve been feuding all this time, calling the libertarian bastard out. Kane shows up, and Bryan tries to make him come to the ring. Kane says no, for ‘tis better to give than to receive (aka: better to give an apology than to receive a concussion). Daniel brings up their past, getting very passionate about hugging. Go to him, Kane! Hug him, you fool! Kane turns down Bryan’s offer of a reconciliation, which is really sad when you’re drinking decent red wine. He also turns down a fight with Bryan, but does make a match between Bryan and Antonio Cesaro, which really ought to make Kane a face.
WWE’s Grand Plan To Break Up EVERY SINGLE FRIENDSHIP
Nikki Bella will be going up against AJ Lee, with Nikki taking control early, dumping AJ into a corner. Bodyslam from Nikki, but AJ dodges a charge and locks in the sleeper. Nikki squashes AJ in the corner, but gets kicked in the back for her trouble. Nikki rocks AJ’s face off her knee, hitting some clotheslines and a backdrop which looks like it went the wrong way for AJ’s back. Tamina tries to get involved, with Brie adding her two cents, but Nikki throws AJ into Brie by accident, getting distracted enough for AJ to kick the rope into her windpipe and locks Nikki in the Black Widow. Tap out.
Fair enough. Nikki’s clotheslines aren’t great, but nothing really bad about this match. She does seem to be being pushed as the more powerful Bella: guess they match up to their boyfriends in that regard. Hope AJ didn’t land too badly on her back. 2 Stars.
We recap the breakdown of the Prime Time Players, and they don’t show Titus’ disregard for the English language and actual coherent sentences.
Titus is backstage, and his heel persona wears a vest and tie: classy. He brings on Renee to interview him, and he is just a little awkward on the microphone. Darren Young jumps his nicely-dressed ass and leaves him laying…and then dives on him again: pretty funny, actually.
After a promo where Stephanie McMahon proves that dollhouses aren’t shit compared to an ELIMINATION CHAMBER, we cut back to Renee Young with Alberto Del Rio. Titus is still on the ground, just out of shot. Occasionally Darren comes back to hit him some more. We recap Del Rio being the bitch in his feud. Only he says he’s a tamer. And apparently he feeds puppies milk from saucers. Fightin’ talk.
During the commercial break, British viewers are reminded that sex with someone who doesn’t want to have it is rape. So…either a tonne of rapists here or nobody owns a dictionary.
Because Fans Would Never Pay For This Match
It’s Bryan vs. Cesaro in a match I’ve been told steals the show. So, let’s get to it. Both men lock up, trading holds. Cesaro powers Bryan into a corner, chopping and tossing him. Bryan counters, lacing Cesaro with kicks and knees. Cesaro knees Bryan back and hits an uppercut. Bryan bridges out of a pin, and Cesaro goes from that to a hurricanrana. Cesaro catches a kick, driving Bryan into the mat and putting Bryan in a headlock. Shoulder block off the ropes. Armdrag and then an arm-scissor to Cesaro. Antonio hoists him up, still attached to his arm, and slams him.
Suplex to Bryan, then a sleeper which Bryan fights out of. Backflip out of the corner, then a clothesline. Running dropkick to the corner, then a Frankensteiner. Kicks to the chest follow, but Antonio turns the last into a roll-up. Bryan kicks out and tries to go for the Yes-Lock, but Cesaro hits him with a spinning backbreaker, putting him down. He hangs Bryan up on the ropes and hits the uppercut from the outside. Guillotine to Bryan on the bottom rope for a two. Double underhook suplex, then a sleeper hold.
Bryan gets a sunset flip, but Cesaro kicks out and hits the jumping stomp. Running uppercut to Bryan in the corner gets two. Daniel tries to fight out, but gets hit with a big boot before low-bridging Cesaro out of the ring. Cesaro dodges a flying knee that hits Swagger, then Bryan dodges a Cesaro, which hits the barricade. Back in the ring, Bryan comes off the top rope, right into an uppercut. Cesaro Swing is countered, with Bryan rolling Cesaro up, but a brutal clothesline sends Bryan back down. Neutraliser almost gets countered into the Yes Lock, but Cesaro counters. Bryan the hits a headscissors, which turns into the Yes Lock in mid-air; Cesaro taps out.
Great match. Extremely even, making Cesaro look really good as well as, obviously, Bryan. Nothing bad to say about this at all. 4 Stars.
Kane comes out, and it’s not too late to hug…but Cesaro attacks Bryan, hitting the Neutraliser. Then a chokeslam to Bryan. How the hell is Kane even supposed to be keeping his job? Is the Authority evil? Can I have some decorum?
Renee Young is backstage, and does Orton insist on just having two belts to build his shoulder muscles? He says he’ll beat everyone and win the Elimination Chamber match.
And Bored With Sheamus Again
Oh, here’s Sheamus. Apparently being active is just too much, so here’s a match with Ryback so he can be injured again for a while. The two big men lock up, with Sheamus getting sent off the ropes to knock Ryback down. Axel tries to get involved, and Sheamus disregards him, just like the rest of us. He rolls Ryback over on his shoulders, and then goes out to Brogue Kick Axel. Decent use of his time. He then slams his forearms across Ryback’s chest, but Ryback brings Sheamus back into the ring and slams him. Hard Irish whip to the turnbuckle. Bodyslam. Modified sleeper locked in on Sheamus. Sheamus gets to his feet, but Ryback puts him down again with another power move that I have no idea what it is.
Oh God, Ryback’s going up top. WrestleMania XIX flashbacks…WrestleMania XIX flashbacks…oh, he misses the splash. But sells it more than Lesnar’s broken neck. Sheamus fights his way back with punches and blows. He slides out of a gorilla press and bodyslams Ryback. Sheamus calls for the Brogue, but Ryback powerbombs him as a counter. Now Ryback calls for the Meathook, but the Brogue Kick strikes and puts him down for three.
That was pretty good. I had my reservations, but I quite enjoyed it. Forgot how athletic Sheamus can be. 2.5 Stars.
In his ‘We’re Not Wearing Pants’ interview with Cole, Triple H discusses the Randy Orton gauntlet, with Hunter saying that this is to make talent better and so Orton can prove himself.
In A Match To See Who Can Make The Other Guy Corpse First
Goldust is in the ring, awaiting the arrival of…Bray Wyatt? I’ll take it. They circle each other, with Bray coming out with more offence, doing his spider thing. Goldust looks more perplexed than creeped out, and then he throws hands before Wyatt hits him with the crossbody and attacks him on the outside. Bray slithers back into the ring, taking it to Goldust. Back elbow to Wyatt, with both men down; Goldust’s now on offence, hitting the Rhodes Uppercut and a hurricanrana from the top. Spinebuster from Goldust and Bray rolls to the outside before Dust sentons out on him. The Wyatts attack Cody, allowing Bray to jump the distracted Goldust. Sister Abigail puts it down.
Another good match. I think I’ve always wanted to see this, and I’m glad I have. It was a fun spectacle. 2.5 Stars.
Oh, and the Shield, in the backstage location where CM Punk is currently observing radio silence from. Ambrose takes the ball of crazy that Bray threw at them and hurls it back, with input from Rollins and Reigns to the effect of ‘we’re going to kick your ass, fat man’. Bray bellows back at the screen. Man, this is going to rule.
Gauntlet: Round 2
Both Orton and Christian approach the ring and get to tussling. Headlock by Orton, followed up by a shoulder block, returned by Christian. Orton goes on the assault, looking vicious on the offence. Christian manages to toss him out of the ring, but crashes and burns on his vault out as Orton ducks away. Back elbow to Orton, with Christian dumping Orton back out and coming off the top to actually hit him this time.
Orton comes back in the ring, and then ducks back out again to grab a microphone. What? Is this ‘try to out-crazy each other night’? Because he’s not going to beat Bray. Anyway, Orton comes back into the ring and starts getting beat on by Christian. He tries to bail, but Christian catches him, knocking him around in the corner. JBL: ‘We’re all in Des Moines, Michael!’ Christian tries to bash Orton’s legs or nuts on the ring post, but Randy hauls him back into the steel, then backdrops him on the barricade. Hard Irish whips to the corners, and then a standing dropkick from Orton for two. Back suplex to Orton from Christian, then slaps to the face and punches in the corner. Clothesline from Orton out of the corner, but Christian slides out of the ring and hangs Randy’s arm up on the ropes.
Flying crossbody from Christian gets two, then a flying back elbow from the second rope. Killswitch is teased, but countered into a powerslam from Orton, who then throws Christian shoulder-first into the corner. Orton’s Vintage DDT is avoided; Christian jumps out of the ring and slaps his face. Christian goes for the frogsplash, but misses. Vintage DDT and Orton calls for the RKO. Countered into a backslide, then Killswitch attempt, but Orton shoves him away and catches a leaping Christian with the RKO for the three. Ladies and gentleman: the most dangerous Christian we’ve ever see.
Good match. Not the one I’d have ended on, but I understand the significance of this gauntlet. Still a decent one, though. 2.5 Stars.
Well, this was a great SmackDown. Lots to like and no really noticeable low points. Hats off to a great showing from Bryan and Cesaro in particular. Tonight gets an eight.
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, Antonio Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, christian, Cody Rhodes, Curtis Axel, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, goldust, jack swagger, kane, Kofi Kingston, Luke Harper, Nikki Bella, randy orton, Real Americans, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, ryback, seth rollins, sheamus, Tamina Snuka, The Shield, titus o'neill, triple h, wyatt family, Zeb Coulter