Hey there, guys. Happy belated Valentine’s Day; hope you all had a great time doing…well, whatever it was you were doing. I’m not seeing my significant other for another week, so I celebrated Valentine’s Day by crafting a damned delicious martini and watching Love Actually. Hopefully you all had a slightly more interesting time. Anyhow, on with the show!
Just Do This. Every Week
Daniel Bryan’s music hits to start us off, and there is some love shown for him in this arena. He’ll be in a tag-team match, because this is SmackDown, and his partners are Christian, because we should probably get our money’s worth out of him, and Sheamus, because if we keep trying hopefully there’ll be a good way to use him. They will be facing the Shield, and I think Creative has probably cottoned onto the fact that the six-man tag match featuring great talents is the standard to which SmackDown should be upheld.
Christian to start off against Rollins, and that brings up the word ‘architect’ from Michael Cole. Bro, does he even design? Rollins takes control, tagging in Reigns. Headbutts to Christian, then Roman catches a crossbody, trying to powerslam Christian; Christian slides out of it and slaps him before tagging in Sheamus. The two big bulls talk trash and then collide, with Sheamus gaining the advantage after a struggle and hitting his rolling fireman’s carry. Knee to the chest gets two for Sheamus, but Reigns hits a knee to the stomach followed by an uppercut and tags in Dean Ambrose. Dean’s scrappy offence holds Sheamus in place, but he runs off the ropes into a brick wall and Sheamus tags in Bryan.
Great ovation for Bryan as he hits the kicks to Ambrose, backing Dean into the corner. Irish whip’s reversed, but Bryan backflips out of the corner and hits his clothesline. Hell of a running dropkick into the corner, followed by a hurricanrana. Yes Lock’s applied, but the Shield and the Not-Shield run in, leading to a stand-off and the crowd’s loving it. Dean teases tying up with Bryan, but then tags in Reigns. The two stare each other down, and then lock up. Bryan hits some kicks into the corner, but Reigns ducks the running dropkick and tags Ambrose in to pick the scraps. Tag to Rollins, and God bless whoever told Seth to stop wearing long sleeves with his outfit. He continues to wear down Bryan, placing him in a sleeper hold, but Bryan breaks out, ducks a splash and tags in Sheamus.
Sheamus is full of energy, knocking Rollins around before lacing him with the forearms and heads up for the diving shoulder, but Ambrose distracts him, Rollins hits the jumping kick and Roman gives the Irishman the coup de grâce with his apron-dropkick. Great sequence to make the Shield seem like a dangerous machine. Dean gets the tag back in the ring, and then Seth, and they continue to work over Sheamus. Tag to Reigns now, who lays a premier beatdown on Sheamus before applying the front-facelock. Cheapshot to Bryan, but Christian distracts Reigns enough for Sheamus to hit the Irish Curse backbreaker and crawl over for the tag. Seth tries to break it up, but Sheamus manages to get the tag. Both Ambrose and Christian in the ring, with Christian firmly in control. Punches in the corner, followed by Christian attempting the slap from outside the ring, but Rollins jumps in and gets slapped instead.
Back in the ring, Christian runs Ambrose’s head into the corner, hits a tornado DDT and goes for the cover. Rollins and Reigns break up the pin, but Bryan hits both men with a double dropkick from the top rope, and then both men with the kicks to the chest. Reigns tries to turn his kick-to-the-head into a powerbomb, but Bryan hurricanranas him out of the ring, ducks a clothesline by Rollins and dives out onto him, only for Rollins to dive out onto Bryan. Christian hits the inverted DDT, ducks a kick from Rollins; Rollins gets Brogue Kicked; Ambrose takes out Sheamus; Christian goes for the Killswitch, rolls out of a back suplex and pushes Ambrose into a Brogue Kick…only for Ambrose to duck and Christian gets clobbered. Spear to Sheamus; Ambrose covers and the Shield win.
What a match. That was a great way to open the show, and everything in that just seemed to flow perfectly. Definitely a recommended match for anyone who didn’t see it. 4 Stars.
I’m Going To Need Another Seven Martinis
Fandango makes his way to the ring, catching a quick peek at Summer Rae’s rack when he takes her down for the dip. Sly, dancing devil. He’ll be facing the Miz, who presumably will find some other way to channel CM Punk without actually being good at wrestling.
Headlock to Miz to start off; he shoots Fandango off the ropes and gets hit with a shoulder block, and then both men run the ropes before Miz dropkicks Fandango in the knee. Corner punches, followed by a kick to the thigh before he runs right into a wicked clothesline from Fandango. Fandango in control here, but Miz hits a backbreaker, only for Fandango to put him back down with a dropkick.
Sleeper hold is fought out of, then Miz rolls out of a back suplex, knocks Fandango down off the ropes and hits his neckbreaker. Miz flaunts his awesomeness, then tries to apply the figure-four, but Fandango kicks him shoulder-first into the post.
Oh God, I know that music. Oh no. No. I’ve been good. Not Santino. Please God, no…ah, hell. Oh, and there’s Emma. Yeah, that’s how you get her over. Summer Rae wins her acting Oscar, Emma’s impersonation of Fandango makes her look like she once pushed a pencil really hard into her ear as a child, and it devolves into the inevitable PG TV catfight. Fandango tosses Miz, gets Cobra’d by Santino, and eats a Skull-Crushing Finale.
Miz is the only one who won in this situation, and even then I’m not sure. The match was sloppy, the interference was annoying and I still have no idea who Emma is or why I should support her childish actions. 1.5 Stars.
Cesaro’s backstage with Not-Renee, as Renee is too busy wondering why Roman Reigns keeps ‘accidentally’ catching her eye and then shuffling off awkwardly (yeah, this is going to be a thing now; you can thank Scott Keith for his take on the Renee/Reigns interaction making me laugh for far too long). Cesaro says he’ll beat Randy Orton tonight, and that means he’ll prove himself to everyone.
Do This Every Week Too
Ooh, been a while since I’ve seen a Fatal Four-Way. This will decide the number one contender for Big E’s IC Championship. First out is Mark Henry, then Rey Mysterio, then Swagger and Kofi. Aw, poor Jack.
Henry flattens Swagger, then Rey, then Kofi. Swagger’s tossed from the ring, then Mysterio and Kofi gang up on Henry, dropkick him to the ground and he rolls out of the ring. Stand-off between Rey ad Kofi; Kofi avoids Rey and hits an elbow. Sunset flip earns Kofi a kick to the side of the head. Swagger trips Rey, catches Kofi, and then gets headscissored out of the ring. Kofi dives out of the ring, taking Swagger out, and then Rey hits the seated-senton from the apron to the outside. Henry’s recovered himself in the ring, and DIVE, MARK, DIVE!! Oh my God, he’s actually going to do it…until Swagger, the fucker, takes him down. Prick.
Swagger Bomb hits once, twice, then Kofi interrupts Jack’s white power pledge. 619 gets shut down with a clothesline and Rey gets taken up to the top rope, but kicks Jack away and hits Rey with a seated-senton, followed by a headscissors, and a wheelbarrow-bulldog. Kofi breaks up the pin, and then dodges a charge from Rey, dropkicks Swagger and puts him down with a leaping clothesline. Boom Drop hits, then Kofi knocks Rey off the apron and boots Swagger.
Jack catches Kofi on the turnbuckle, going for a superplex, but Henry gets Swagger up for a powerbomb and hits it. Rey gets booted by Henry; Henry blasts Kofi down. Swagger slides out of a powerslam, takes Mark out at the knee and slaps on the Patriot Lock. Henry powers out, and gets hit in the gut with a 619, then in the head with Trouble in Paradise. Swagger runs into Rey’s boots, as does Kofi. Swagger German suplexes both Kofi and Rey. Kofi gets tossed out of the ring, and Rey drops Swagger into the ropes. 619’s coming, but Rey runs into Trouble in Paradise. Kofi nearly gets the win, but Henry pulls Rey out of the ring, only for Kofi to kick him in the head.
Kofi tries to skin the cat, but Swagger catches him with the Patriot Lock. Kingston rolls through, tries to get Trouble in Paradise, but Swagger catches the leg and locks the Patriot Lock back in; Kingston taps!
Wow, that was another great match. I don’t know what’s in the water where they are, but these guys entirely delivered. Every one of them made themselves seem like a credible contender, and that does not happen enough in this day and age. Everything here was right. 4 Stars.
Just Promise Me The Usos Won’t Start Dancing
It’s the New Age Outlaws and Goldberfect against the Rhodeses and the Usos. The commentators bring up the Usos wanting some of that sweet tag title gold, which is a good sign. Interesting alliance between Goldberfect and the Outlaws: not sure what the rationale is except that they’re all varying levels of vague dickishness.
Goldust and Billy Gunn start things off, with Goldust knocking Gunn down with a shoulder block and then hitting an inverted atomic block and the Rhodes Uppercut. Armdrag and then Billy escapes, tagging in Road Dogg who gets hip-tossed. Tag in to Cody, who does his ‘beat up an old man’ schtick. Roll-up out of the corner, but Road Dogg kicks out and hits Cody in the stomach and then knocks him down. Cody catches him with a clothesline to put him down, then it’s a tag to Jimmy Uso, then Jey as they drop the double-elbow on Road Dogg. Road Dogg brings Jey into the corner, tagging in Axel. Axel puts Jey down with the dropkick, and then vaults over the top rope to drop the elbow. Jey gets choked in the corner, and then Axel brings him back to tag in Ryback, so the commentators can giggle about his Twitter.
Ryback lays a beatdown on Jey as Cole and Bradshaw both postulate that Ryback’s insane. Chops get exchanged, but Ryback puts Jey down for a sloppy slam. Tag to Billy Gunn now, and he really should wear that headband. Road Dogg’s tagged in as the mugging of Jey Uso continues. Chinlock applied now, then Ryback’s tagged back in. Delayed vertical suplex, followed up by a rest hold, and the completely dead audience means it’s really easy to hear Ryback calling the match; can’t delete the spoken word, big man. Tag to Billy again, who rocks Jey’s head off the turnbuckle. JBL says Billy looks like he did in the Attitude Era. Wow, that receding hairline struck early. Jey dodges a charge, and then tries to make the crawl to his corner and does, making the tag to Jimmy. Jimmy thrust-kicks Ryback off the apron and takes down an oncoming Road Dogg before getting thrown into Axel. Samoan drop to Road Dogg, then a Bubba Bomb to Billy. Both Outlaws get the Samoan Bulldozer, with Axel breaking up the pin on Road Dogg; Cody tosses him out of the ring and then leaps off the top rope onto him. Ryback then flings Cody pretty much at the tech crew and yells ‘STUPID!! STUPID!!’ So, he’s either channelling Calavera from The Magnificent Seven, or someone else who I just can’t think of…
Goldust flips off the apron onto Ryback as Road Dogg gets double-kicked by the Usos. Jimmy heads up as Jey flings himself out onto whoever happens to be in his way, and then the splash from Jimmy seals the deal.
That was a little more lagging than some of the previous matches, but considering the ages of three of the competitors, that’s definitely a given. Still, it was good. The Usos look great right now, and the championships will be on good waists should they go to them. 2.5 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage, and so is Randy Orton, seething at the theft of his catchphrase just now. She asks if Orton thinks he’s been treated unfairly, and he doesn’t get mad or sarcastic because Randy Orton knows all the gossip and doesn’t want to upset Roman Reigns. He says that the Authority want the Viper, and that the Viper is what Cesaro is going to get. Which sounds fair until you realise that is probably what Orton calls his penis.
That Could Be Bray Wyatt Commentating That Match. Would Make No Sense, But It Would Be Better Than Titus
Damien Sandow will be facing off against Darren Young as Titus O’Neill is on commentary. Oh God, who keeps giving this man a microphone? Darren’s fired up to start the match, running the ropes, hitting an atomic drop and clotheslining Sandow and himself out of the ring. Damien takes advantage of Young being distracted by Titus to slam him into the turnbuckle and throw him back into the ring. Young rolls up Sandow for the victory.
Too short to really showcase why we should be excited about Young’s single direction. Still, he look smooth in the ring. 2 Stars.
Titus jumps Young immediately, but gets distracted by the necessity of throwing his jacket and Young takes him down. Titus bails, but loses his trousers in the process. Har-de-har.
Gauntlet: Round 4
It’s main event time as Cesaro makes his way to the ring with Zeb. In Triple H’s no-pants interview with Michael Cole, Hunter goes some way to putting Cesaro over; make of that what you will. Out comes Randy Orton, ready to show his Viper…wait…
Cesaro and Orton lock up, with Cesaro looking for the roll-up. Orton ducks out of the ring and makes his way back in. Roll-up from Orton, who slithers out of the ring again. Back inside, Cesaro takes Randy down with a waistlock, turning him over into the pin, and tosses Orton up and over from the waist. Stomp to Orton; another pin and kick-out. Orton is thrown into the corner and comes out with a clothesline. Uppercut to Cesaro, but he takes exception to that, and shows Orton what a real fucking uppercut looks like, repetitively.
Randy ducks out of the ring, and Cesaro makes the mistake of following him this time, getting thrown into the barricade and clotheslined to the floor. Count gets going as Orton poses on the inside; Cesaro rolls back in at seven and Randy is immediately on the assault. Sleeper hold to Cesaro, but the Swiss Superman back-suplexes his way out of it. Uppercut puts Orton down, and the crowd are behind Cesaro as Orton leaves the ring for a fourth time, this time asking for the doctor to look at his shoulder. When Cesaro goes out to offer his own medical expertise (Dr Cesaro would prescribe more uppercuts), Orton back-suplexes him onto the barricade. Cesaro’s head is bounced off the announce table before they head back into the ring. Sleeper hold applied again, and we have a ‘We, The People’ chant heading through the arena. Cesaro elbows his way out of the sleeper, uppercutting Orton away from him. Orton buts Cesaro back down with a back elbow.
Outside, Orton flings Cesaro into the barricade, but Cesaro comes back and clotheslines Randy right back down. Coming back into the ring, however, Orton tries to go for his vintage DDT, but Cesaro counters and might it be CESARO FUCKING SWING TIME? Ah, no, Orton grabs the ropes and OH, I STAND CORRECTED. Cesaro swings Randy around and around, and the crowd loves it. Orton struggles to his feet, and Cesaro sets him up for the Neutraliser; Randy backdrops Cesaro out of it; Cesaro lands on his feet, and runs right into a powerslam which gets near-fall. Zeb hollers support to his guy, but Orton has him up for his vintage DDT, hitting it. Randy poses for a moment, and then it’s RKO time, but Cesaro counters with an uppercut to the back of Orton’s head. Orton’s staggered, and Cesaro throws him up and hits his Very European Uppercut, but Orton kicks out a hair before the three. Orton pulls himself up in the turnbuckle, counters Cesaro’s charge and hits the dropkick. Randy rocks Cesaro off the post, bringing Cesaro up for the superplex, but Cesaro fights his way out of it, hitting a sunset flip powerbomb, a running uppercut, the Neutraliser and gets the win!
Great match by the two of these guys. JBL said it best: ‘we have seen a young man step into the spotlight’. This was Cesaro’s coming-out party, and he delivered. This was one of those matches which told a story, and both men played their parts extremely well. 3.5 Stars.
What a fantastic SmackDown. Aside from the Miz/Fandango match, everything was fun to watch, and it all just seemed to click together: best one I’ve seen in several weeks; only could have been improved by some Wyatt, but I’m a little biased there. Eight.