Well, it’s been a week since I started watching Game of Thrones, and I finished season three last night. Let’s all mourn the fact that life is meaningless until April. Plus, you know, all the characters what died. Well, in the absence of a series I’m currently following (unless you count Coronation Street, which I’ll bet you don’t), let’s watch SmackDown. My Grandma’s sitting in the same room as me as I watch this, so I’ll make a note of her own contributions too.
The Role Of Aaron Paul Will Be Played By Del Rio. ¡PERRA!
We start off with Christian in the ring. Unless this is just a British re-cut thing again. We get the recap of Christian not letting this dead feud die properly, making him a pretty heely heel. Christian will be taking on Ziggler as Del Rio is at ringside. I was as disappointed as any of you that Aaron Paul did not distract Alberto with a ‘Yo, bitch!’ on Monday; damn shame.
Bell rings and they tie up, Ziggler scoring a shoulder block and then twirling his hips seductively. Christian responds with a slap, Ziggler runs the ropes and hits a fast clothesline. Another slap to Christian, which is about thirty percent of his offence, honestly, and Ziggler takes him down for a brawl, dropping elbows. Both men head to the outside, with Christian getting the better of Ziggler and catapulting him into the steel steps; don’t remember seeing that before.
Ziggler beats the count, and Christian keeps him down in the ring, choking him on the ropes and dropping him with a back elbow as the Show-Off attempts a flurry. Ziggler nearly scores with a roll-up, but Christian puts him right back down with a clothesline before tossing him out of the ring. Del Rio motions for Christian to continue, and it’s nice to see a Canadian doing a Mexican’s labour. Christian throws Dolph into the ring, then hits a missile dropkick, locking in a headlock. Ziggler keeps trying to get out of the slump, but Christian stays well on top of him, guillotining the lighter blonde on the ropes. There’s probably less inspiring things to listen to than this commentary, but I honestly could not say what it is. Probably the Magna Carta in Belgian. Dolph catches Christian with a stunner, but can’t take advantage…until Christian tries to spring off the second rope and Ziggler catches him with a hell of a dropkick.
Fourth quarter time, and Ziggler is rocking out on Christian: clotheslines, punches and a neckbreaker for two. Killswitch attempted, Zig-Zag ducked and Dolph scores with a DDT for a near-fall. Christian tries to pin Dolph with his feet on the ropes, but apparently this ref’s vision is 20/20. Another Zig-Zag attempt fails; Christian climbs high and tries for a DDT, but Ziggler counters to hit a facebuster from the top rope. Alberto climbs up onto the announce table for an Aaron Paul tribute as Cole and JBL pass him up the methelamine and Christian gets the Killswitch for three.
Decent enough match; shame the feud couldn’t be these two as opposed to what we’ve got. Still, enjoyable. 2.5 Stars.
Renee is suddenly there out of nowhere, asking why Christian hates Sheamus so much. Christian is about to answer, most likely to give a well-reasoned and politically-sensitive response, but Sheamus’ music hits, so let’s just fight about things, shall we? The brawl commences and Christian ducks a Brogue Kick to roll out of the ring and run away. Man, even injured Sheamus is tougher than Christian. What a feud.
Here’s Batista, dressed as Ryback. Yeah, I said it. He says last week he stood in the ring and asked a very simple question: where’s my cow? Or, alternatively, where have all the real men in the WWE gone, but the subtext was there. He says all the real men have gone to Dolph Ziggler, and that’s a damned rude assumption. He says last Monday, he got another of our heroes in Daniel Bryan. He claims to have beaten him. He says that he’s our superhero, and this is really hard to watch with my Grandmother talking over the promos. Daniel Bryan shows up, and the WWE’s already shown that Batista can’t match him in the ring, so let’s add on the mic to that list as well.
Bryan asks if Batista thinks he’s a hero, and Batista says that Bryan is simply a fan in the locker room. David’s Grandma: ‘I think this is stupid, this. Don’t you?’ Bryan gets in a shot about the skinny jeans (can’t believe I missed that) and calls Batista out on not being able to beat him without three other people. He says Batista should be embarrassed that a ‘fan’ nearly beat him. Batista says to never presume what he thinks. I’m presuming right now, and it’s ‘WHY DO PEOPLE HATE ME?!’ He says that once he stepped foot back in the WWE, it became his universe, and he’ll end Bryan’s existence inside it. Bryan goes back to the douchey attire Batista’s rocking; Batista goes for the clothesline and the exchange ends with him getting dropkicked out of the ring. The fuck are they booking this guy? Kane comes out; Batista takes down a distracted Bryan and the two bald guys beat the man with enough hair for the both of them…and then the Big Show comes out? Um…sure. Kane and Dave bail, because…well…yep.
Vickie shows up, and my Grandmother is actually giving me judgemental looks right now. A tag team match is made to appease the ghost of Teddy Long. Everybody say the sacred words: holla holla holla.
Just Waiting For Rybaxel To Break Up Too
Goldberfect is in the ring, and Ryback looks pissed that Batista stole his clothes and got his douche all over them. They’ll be rolling over for the Usos this evening, and it was nice in the face of the supposed high-jacking that the Chicago crowd could appreciate a great moment on Monday for the Usos. Axel drags Jey to his corner, immediately tagging in Ryback, because allowing Ryback to start a match is heresy. Jey hits headbutts and chops before tagging in Jimmy and both men light up Ryback with more chops. Ryback hits the knee, gets shot off the ropes and a blind tag from Axel, who low-bridges Jimmy and assaults him on the outside. Back in the ring, a knee to the head drops Jimmy, and Axel tags Ryback before vaulting over the ropes to drop an elbow. Ryback slaps on an arm-lock and heads up to the second rope, basically falling onto nothing as Jimmy moves and gets the tag. Jey in hard and fast, hitting kicks and a Bubba Bomb and a Samoan drop on Ryback, following that up with a Samoan wrecking ball. Axel’s taken to the outside and both Usos hit the stereo superkick on Ryback, one then splashing on Axel on the outside and the other getting the three on Ryback following another splash.
I enjoyed that, but I’ve loved the Usos for the past couple of years. Looking forward to seeing who can be their first feud, and this was a good sign of their ability to work with various teams. 2 Stars.
Not-Renee is backstage with Kane, and he asks the Libertarian about the situation in general. Kane answers in his middle-management persona, until he says he’ll rip the man’s beard off and shove it down his throat; that’s CEO talk.
Can’t Even Look At Grandma Right Now
Eva Marie and Natalya are in the ring, facing AJ and Tamina. Eva starts off against Tamina, who shoves her around and puts her into a headlock, but Eva gets a headlock of her own and takes her down with an armdrag before Tamina wrestles back control again. Tag to AJ, who hits a back-elbow and tags Tamina back in. Tags traded again. Michael calls what AJ and Tamina has a ‘unique relationship’ which is pretty sad considering that the rest of us would call that ‘friendship’. Headlock to AJ as Grandma questions me about my future prospects and possible careers out of nowhere; that’s what I call a fucking heel-turn. Eva manages to escape and gets the tag, with Natalya hitting snap-suplexes and a bodyslam. My God: wrestling. Tamina breaks up a pin and Natalya takes Tamina down with a clothesline; AJ tries a roll-up, but Natalya turns it into a Sharpshooter for the win.
No accident that everything about this match became ten times better once Eva Marie got out of there. I think Natalya and AJ should just go to WrestleMania and get given enough time to do it right. 1.5 Stars.
Recap of Paul Bearer’s Hall of Fame announcement; Grandma seems to approve of him, which is nice in an odd way.
Seems like it’s time for the Shield Summit, as Reigns and Ambrose make their way to the ring alone. Ambrose says they can handle getting beaten up, but he can’t tolerate being lied to by someone he trusts. David’s Grandma: ‘What a load of drivel this is. Really. When you think about it.’ Ambrose calls out Rollins, and here he comes. Oh God, he’s coming out from the staging. Like an animal. Roman says this had better be good. Rollins says the Shield hasn’t been the Shield for some time, and he sacrificed himself for the greater good; Dean scoffs at this. Seth says that by making Roman and Dean both pissed at him, he’s basically succeeded in his plan. He says the Shield can split and be fine, but ‘fine’ isn’t good enough. Ambrose shoves Rollins down, making Roman push down Ambrose. Seth says he knows what’ll make him feel better, and it’s apparently channelling Christian over the side of Ambrose’s face, then says Ambrose should get it out of his system. So Ambrose punches the taste out of Rollins’ mouth as Roman looks adorably perplexed. It’s make or break time as Seth asks if they’re done or done. Reigns approaches, and joins fists. As, after a moment, does Ambrose. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if this was now solved and the storyline ended here? And the moral of it was that facing your problems and addressing issues is key to fixing things?
Fightin’ Around The World With Sheamus
Here’s Sheamus, facing Del Rio. They lock up, wrestling on the ropes and separating. They next exchange strikes, with Sheamus getting the better of the exchange and clotheslining Del Rio out of there. Del Rio ducks a flying Sheamus off the apron and Sheamus hits the rolling senton on the outside. Alberto’s tossed into the barricade and then thrown back into the ring. Stomps and knees abound to Del Rio now, until he rolls back out to the outside, then catches Sheamus when he follows him, throwing him arm-first into the steel steps, which are apparently filling in for the Spanish Announce Table tonight. Dropkick to the arm against the steel steps, and we go to a break (hah) with Sheamus growling in pain.
We come back as Del Rio hits his vintage enziguiri on Sheamus, knocking him to the mat. He locks the arm, but Sheamus reaches his feet, fighting back. Del Rio tries a dropkick, but Sheamus ducks aside, leaving Del Rio stumbling and getting knocked down by a clothesline on the apron. Sheamus builds up a head of steam here, hitting a tilt-a-whirl for two. Alberto gets hooked on the ropes, and apparently Sheamus has renamed the clubbing forearms to something so stupid that this recap will not mention it (yes, I didn’t catch the fucking name), and Alberto is so offended by this rebranding that he hangs Sheamus’ bad arm on the ropes, buying himself some time and superkicking Sheamus for a near-fall. Del Rio signals for the corss-armbreaker, but Sheamus counters, hitting a high knee and the Irish Curse backbreaker. Del Rio catches Sheamus, managing to lock in the cross-armbreaker, but Sheamus powers out, lifting him up for a powerbomb. Unfortunately, the armbreaker’s locked back in again; Sheamus gets his feet on the ropes for the break. The ref gets all up in Del Rio’s business suddenly, and Sheamus scores with the Brogue Kick and the win. I call shenanigans.
A good match for these two, especially since it’s one we’ve seen a lot before. Sheamus’ injury definitely added a dimension to it, although he still won pretty decisively for a guy with notable arm damage. 2.5 Stars.
Sheamus is celebrating in the ring, when suddenly he’s interrupted by the Wyatts. Um…Bray gives another one of his promos which makes me wish him and Eddie Izzard could do a programme together (‘I’m not joining your Family; you’re covered in bees!’).
Backstage, Batista is getting dressed as Not-Renee walks in on him. Batista mumbles his way through a promo and walks away; I swear I didn’t get a lot of that.
Here’s the girl who Rusev Khal Drogo-s every goddamn night, and she’s done something all-too-Princess-Leia-ish with her hair; is that for the incest subtext? Rusev rises on a podium as he gives his speech, which means him and Barrett literally need to have a race, and I refuse to admit I’m misusing ‘literally’ in this scenario.
Apparently we’re recapping the Emma/Santino/Fandango/Summer Raw/incredibly stupid segment of RAW. Dear God, it’s worse when it’s nostalgia.
Renee is backstage with Big Show and Daniel Bryan, and asks Bryan his reaction to Batista’s earlier, inaudible comments. Bryan manages to bring this right back around to Triple H, and I’m fine with that match, but we honestly get it, Bryan; you’re allowed to have other conversations if you want to. Both men bitch about skinny jeans and, you know, on some guys (not me, admittedly) I feel like they look fair enough. Big Show shouldn’t be involved here, as he detracts from the appearance of ‘serious business’. Renee does look cute via a height comparison, though.
Three Big Guys And A Beard
Kane, Batista, Big Show and Bryan get down to the ring. In their We’re Not Wearing Pants interview, Triple H says he’s not afraid of Daniel Bryan. He also told Michael not to steal glances. Kane and Bryan lock up, and Kane takes control quickly with an uppercut and a back-elbow, but Bryan takes him down with a Thesz press and laces him with kicks in the corner. Tag to Big Show, who launches Bryan at Kane and then goes to work on the Big Red Stooge in the corner. Man, remember when these guys were tag-team partners and chokeslammed Batista onto a car? Those were some good times. Kane manages to dropkick Big Show at the knee, then tags in Batista so Big Show can double-suplex both men. Tag now to Bryan as both men roll out of the ring, and he dives right out onto them.
Batista comes back into the ring and his met by kicks before Bryan tags in Big Show. Bodyslam to Batista, then an elbow. Big chop in the corner, and aren’t you glad you came back, Batista? Dave fights his way back, but Big Show bodyslams him again before walking over him. The assault continues, ending in a tag to Bryan, exchanging chops for kicks. Bryan backflips out of the corner, hitting a clothesline and then dropkicking Kane off the apron before going right back to the task of kicking Dave’s left pec into the fourth row. Batista ducks the final kick, managing to hit a spinebuster for two. Tag to Kane, coming in hot against Bryan. Superplex is set up, but Bryan blocks it, headbutting Kane off the top and hitting a missile dropkick. Big Show calls for the tag as Batista comes into the match, and JBL raises an excellent point: Triple H, as an executive, shouldn’t be within a hundred yards of physical interaction with his employees. Bryan’s clearly trying to lure him into a lawsuit. Batista takes Bryan down with a clothesline, then throwing him into a corner so Bryan can Shawn-Michaels it. Bryan tries to fight back, but eats a spear. Batista Bomb attempted, but Bryan slides out, clocks Batista with a head and gets the tag. Big Show knocks Kane around, hitting a spear and tagging in Bryan for the flying headbutt. Batista breaks up the pin and Big Show goes after him. Kane catches Bryan out of the corner for a chokeslam; Bryan tries to turn it into a roll-up. As Kane struggles, Big Show casually clocks him with a KO Punch, letting Bryan roll him up for the win.
Interesting match; again Bryan completely out-wrestles Batista and looks dominant. Who can say where this is leading? 2.5 Stars.
Well, it’s been an okay SmackDown, although I’d call this one of the episodes in which the non-action segments were superior to those involving wrestling. Not a great indicator in a show you’d primarily think of as the wrestling one, but you never know what’s around the corner. I think this show merits a six, really.
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, alexander rusev, batista, big show, christian, Curtis Axel, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Eva Marie, Goldberfect, kane, Natalya, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, ryback, Rybaxel, seth rollins, sheamus, tamina, The Shield, the usos, Vickie Guerrero