Hey folks. Today’s Report comes at you from the town of St Andrews, where I spent Friday night wearing a tux, using a shisha and kept getting handed glasses of Prosecco. It’s the kind of evening I can certainly recommend, but it is now Saturday and I find myself here with a strong coffee, box o’ chocolates and a laptop. Let’s review.
It’s Vickie And The Kane-Kane-Kane-Kane…
We begin the show with Daniel Bryan’s entrance, and if this is going to be one of those ‘Bryan’s going to wrestle for most of the first hour’ things, I’ll go along with it. We watch the Bryan mini-marathon from RAW, and Kane in a vest is not pleasant. Bryan’s taped up tonight, so look forward to him not winning the title this Sunday. His opponent tonight is Jack Swagger, the number one contender for Big E’s championship.
Bryan starts of defensive, kicking Swagger away from his shoulder. Drop-toehold into a headlock, Jack’s shot off the ropes and runs into a knee. Kicks to Swagger in the corner; Bryan’s sent into the corner, backflips out and hits a clothesline, following that up with two corner dropkicks before Swags bails out.
Bryan hits a baseball slide to Jack on the outside, and then throws himself off the apron at Jack…who catches him and then flings him shoulder-first into the barricade, before straight up gorilla-tossing him into the ring post. Back in the ring, a pin gets two and it’s time for Swagger to work that arm. They’re really displaying the All-American Real American’s power here; either that or I really haven’t noticed that until the past few weeks. Bryan gets slammed, and he is screaming pretty loud. Not quite Melina, but up there.
Bryan gets taken up in the corner, and Jack’s looking for a belly-to-belly from the top. Bryan manages to slide out; Swagger gets himself turned around and runs right into a CENASLAYER for the win.
I thought that was pretty good. I’ve mentioned being impressed with Swagger this past week already, and he and Bryan put on a nice match. Some nice selling from the Yes-Man. 2.5 Stars.
Ah, here comes Vickie and the Kane, and tonight they’re doing the same thing they do every night: putting Bryan in unfair situations. So it’s a Bryan-Cesaro match now and don’t ask me to treat that as a heel move.
Cesaro immediately leaps on Bryan, stomping his Jesus-esque ass in the corner and working over the shoulder on the ring post and the ropes. Bryan manages to drop-toehold Cesaro into the turnbuckle, and now it’s time for Cesaro to find out what getting kicked repeatedly feels like (answer: not all that great). Cesaro, however, manages to come off the second rope and drive Bryan’s head into the mat with his knee: that looked nasty, in a good way.
Back to the shoulder now; every single one of Cesaro’s moves is targeting the exact same place. Bryan tries to catch Cesaro off the second rope, but the Swiss Superman catches him and hits a shoulderbreaker. Bryan tries to work his way back, managing to low-bridge Cesaro and then dives out on top of him. As Bryan throws Cesaro back in the ring, Zeb tries to distract him, allowing Cesaro to boot him off the apron. Swagger approaches with a steel chair, but drops it in surprise when he gets caught. Did he think that he was a ninja? Could that be his new gimmick? Not being a ninja, but thinking he was a ninja? Anyway, Jack gets sent to the showers, as the referee wants this to be a clean match, including the folks at ringside. Zeb argues that Jack smells like a field of roses, but this just earns him a shower too.
Back from break, Cesaro is still working the arm, looking damn fired-up. Cesaro goes up to the top, wanting a superplex, but Bryan punches and headbutts his way out, and then hits a missile dropkick. Kicks to the chest, but Cesaro catches the last one and it’s CESARO FUCKING SWING TIME. Man, I know Bryan’s shorter than most, but that had some velocity.
Bryan rolls out of the ring, but Cesaro throws him right back in; Bryan tries to roll him up, but Cesaro kicks out at the last minute and hits his Very European Uppercut; Bryan kicks out. Cesaro measures Bryan, and then slams an uppercut in the corner; Kane comes in for the chokeslam and the DQ.
I can be a bit iffy on the injured-hero matches; they can go wrong or right. This one went right and just made me look forward to Sunday more, which was of course the point. And I love these two locking up. 3 Stars.
Kane grabs a microphone and steals the ring announcer’s job: that’s what makes him a heel. Cesaro jumps Bryan and hits the Neutraliser: that’s what makes him a heel.
Renee Young is backstage with The Most Dangerous Christian, and all I’ve thought about since hearing that name is Christian being hunted for sport (on an aside, I can recommend the movie The Most Dangerous Game for being a classic example of 1930s movies being unintentionally hysterical). Renee asks him if being a douchebag is going to help him against Sheamus; Christian’s all mad and possibly even…Broody. He says that nobody else is going to do this for him, asking if Renee would do it for him. Book that. Book the hell out of that.
We recap the Wyatts and the Shield teasing a fight before Bray going over all coy, like a bearded Victorian lady. And then the Wyatts going at it with the Shield, like bearded Victorian whores. That simile went wrong somewhere.
And speak of the bearded Victorian whores and they shall appear. Bray says there’s not much else left to say anymore, but then comes out with some verbal stoner magic; they’re going to win, basically.
Bray Wyatt, Saving The PG TV Rating
Back from break, the Rhodeses and Mysterio are in the ring as well, and it’s Rey starting off against Harper. Harper starts off on offence, stomping him down before Mysterio hits the boot and makes the tag; double dropkick as Cody comes in. Harper puts Rhodes down with an uppercut, but Cody hits his catch-up clothesline before Harper catches the leg and puts him down again. Tag to Rowan now, laying the beatdown upon Cody. Cody slides out of a bodyslam, kicks out the knee and tags in Goldust.
Goldust gets Rowan in the corner, goes for a crossbody, but Rowan catches him and hits the fallaway slam. Bray’s in now, knocking Goldust down with a clothesline; his roars really are just another thing that makes him so unique. Bray drops some elbows and chokes Goldust on the ropes before tagging Rowan in, letting him continue the mugging with knees and slams. Harper in now, hitting elbows and putting Goldust in a headlock. Goldust tries to fight his way out, but he gets put down with a back elbow and tastes the Gator Roll. Dust manages to create separation, hitting a sunset flip powerbomb and both men need the tag.
Tag to Cody, who hits his missile dropkick and the Rhodes Uppercut; moonsault and a two-count before Mysterio gets the blind tag. Harper’s sent out of the ring and Rey slide-splashes on top of him, hurricanranas him into the apron and, back in the ring, into position for the 619…before Harper catches him with boot. Bray comes in for the pin, but Rey kicks out. Tag to Rowan, who applies the Frisky Bearhug. Sidewalk slam nearly puts Mysterio away and Harper comes in, continuing to maul Rey. Bray comes in, pancaking Rey in the corner before Rey drops him face-first into the turnbuckle. Rowan’s in, but Rey manages to tag in Goldust, who goes to town on Rowan, hitting an atomic drop and a spinebuster and a flying crossbody. Bray gets tossed out of the ring; Rowan gets tossed into the ropes. 619 and a powerslam, but Harper breaks up the pin and takes Mysterio down on the outside; Cody leaps from the top rope onto Harper, taking out all three men. Bray gets the blind tag, but Goldust focuses on Rowan, teasing the nutsack-punt, but Bray takes him out and hits Sister Abigail for the win.
Another good match. Result was pretty obvious, but they hardly phoned it in and hit some great sequences. 2.5 Stars.
Not-Renee is backstage with Sheamus, and Sheamus says he’s looking forward for a hell of a scrap with this fired-up Christian, which is a great attitude for his character to have.
Apparently Emma is going to be up against Summer Rae in a dance contest. Renee is presenting this, and at least we won’t have to put up with King’s “““jokes”””. Emma says apparently her move is called the ‘Advanced Shopping Trolley’. Oh wow: because she’s quirky and awesome and socially awkward, right? Cole asks how I could not love Emma, and I think I know how and it’s because of bullshit exactly like this. So, Summer Rae actually drops at least one dance move, and then Emma walks around, pumping her arms. Emma wins, and I can’t decide whether the message behind this is that 1) ability doesn’t matter and you’ll win unfairly if people like you, or 2) the WWE thinks it knows what people like and they goddamn know that it’s dance contests. There’s a brawl, if you can call it that, and I die a little inside and stop reviewing this segment. Cole thinks Santino and Emma are ‘cute’ and I think they’re ‘fucking idiotic’.
Can Both Of These Guys’ New Gimmicks Involve Vows Of Silence?
Here’s Ziggler, with Darren Young at ringside. Let’s see if he’s better on the mic than his former partner, although I’ve known people missing the lower portion of their jaw who’d deliver a better promo than Titus. These two men will go against each other at Chamber in the match which will show whether WWE wants a fresh new face or a fresh new heel.
Match begins with Ziggler getting a waistlock, which Titus throws away; Ziggler comes back with a dropkick. Crossbody gets caught by Titus and turned into a backbreaker. Young says payback’s a you-know-what, so that answers the promo question. Titus slaps Ziggler in the corner, then starts wrenching the arm. Jawbreaker rocks Titus, then Ziggler avoids the charge, hits the crossbody and then a splash in the corner, following that up with punches. Neckbreaker by Dolph; the Fameasser’s avoided, then Ziggler eats the big boot.
Oh yay, Darren has got Titus’ whistle and signals a time-out. Titus gets distracted and rolled up by Ziggler.
Well, we were having a good run of matches, then we had this. Colour me not all that interested for this match on Sunday. 1.5 Stars.
Darren runs off, laughing and blowing the whistle. I could support him if he didn’t seem like he’d be really grating to hang out with.
Because Where Else Do You Get To Assert Physical Dominance Over An Old Man?
It’s Jimmy Uso vs. Road Dogg, and finally I won’t have to look for the chest tattoo in a match involving the Usos. Jimmy backs Dogg into the corner, but Road Dogg comes back with punches, rocking Jimmy’s head off the turnbuckle and taking him down with a boot to the skull. Chinlock now, and Jimmy takes some strikes in the corner before the chinlock’s applied again. Jimmy finally gets out of the box with a Samoan Drop, Road Dogg comes back with his punch-flurry, but Jimmy counters with the Bubba Bomb. Samoan Wrecking Ball is teased, but Road Dogg rolls out of the ring and catches Jimmy with a right hand. Back in the ring, a pumphandle slam is attempted, but Jimmy slides out and superkicks Road Dogg for the win.
Decent enough match. Not much else to say. 2 Stars.
The Elimination Chamber’s ‘Those Two Guys’
Sheamus and Christian for your main event. The two men lock up, starting off slow, and Sheamus shows his edge in power, backing Christian into the corner twice. Christian applies a headlock, gets shot off the ropes and knocked down with a shoulder tackle. This time, Christian goes for a waistlock; Sheamus elbows his way out of it and hits another shoulder tackle. Christian looks perturbed and they start again; now Christian slaps Sheamus in the face, and Sheamus comes back looking fired-up, laying in with strikes and attempting a bodyslam before Christian low-bridges him. Christian tries a baseball slide, but Sheamus side-steps it. On the outside, Sheamus catches Christian and hits his rolling fireman’s carry on the outside.
Back from the break, Sheamus has Christian in a headlock, but Christian battles out, hanging Sheamus up on the ropes and tries to slap him, but Sheamus catches the hand and brings him up for the clubbing forearms, but Christian elbows his way out. On the outside, Sheamus drives Christian into the barricade, but gets backdropped over it when he charges again. Christian rips some of the protective padding away, slamming Sheamus’ shoulders and arms into the exposed metal. Back in the ring, Christian goes up top, hitting a missile dropkick and then working the arms again with stomps and then ties the arm up on the ropes. The assault on Sheamus’ limbs continues, with the Irishman selling vocally. Sheamus begins to fight back, only for Christian to try the Killswitch; Sheamus breaks out of it and Christian slaps him. The two men exchange strikes, with Christian heading up to the top, but Sheamus flings him onto the canvas.
As Christian makes his way to his feet, Sheamus clubs way at him with forearms, then smashes him with a knee to the face and hits the bodyslam for a near-fall. Christian manages to create enough separation to hit what I believe is a tornado armbar; that gets two. He hits his slap from the outside, but Sheamus catches him and hits the clubbing forearms, bringing him in for another rolling fireman’s carry, but gets tossed shoulder-first into the steel post. Christian heads up to the second rope again, trying the tornado armbar, but that’s countered into two Irish Curse backbreakers. Sheamus calls for the Brogue Kick, but Christian ducks out of the ring. As Sheamus chases him, Christian lunges at him, but gets caught with a high knee. Sheamus climbs up to the top; Christian brings him down and climbs up himself; back-elbow from Christian; he calls for the Killswitch, Sheamus counters with White Noise for the win.
A surprisingly good match; these guys really did put on a back-and-forth performance. Another great advert for this Sunday. 3 Stars.
After the match, Christian jumps Sheamus, but then it fades out. Still an asshole, then.
That was a good SmackDown. Shame we had the Titus match and the dance contest to drag it down, but you still couldn’t hide the quality. I’ll give that a seven, and I’ll see you on the other side of Elimination Chamber.
Tags: Antonio Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, christian, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, Dolph Ziggler, Elimination Chamber, emma, Erick Rowan, Fandango, goldust, jack swagger, jimmy uso, kane, Luke Harper, New Age Outlaws, Real Americans, Renee Young, rey mysterio, road dogg, Santino Marella, sheamus, Smackdown, Summer Rae, the usos, titus o'neill, Vickie Guerrero, WWE, wyatt family, Zeb Coulter