What’s up, my rabid readership. Hope you all enjoyed WrestleMania and, because I’m a massive fanboy and am actually reading the books now, the new episode of Game of Thrones. I’ve held myself back a little from offering opinions on the Streak until now, knowing that I have this article to write and knowing that I wanted to take a step back and wait until I managed to stop DYING INSIDE.
On the face of it, I think it could have been worse. Like, a lot worse. Sure, they ended the Streak. Okay, well, that’s a moment we’ll never forget, and damn sure a reminder that the WWE has the power to get us emotional. So they let a part-timer do it as opposed to an up-and-comer like Reigns or Wyatt. Well, think about the pressure that whoever ended it would be under. If they failed, then what did the Streak die for? Lesnar came, broke the Streak and left for a while. Breaking the Streak almost certainly got him the dominance factor back that a bunch of losses managed to drag away from him; if he shows up now, twice as threatening. There’s no pressure on someone in his position to capitalise on this win, and therefore a limited number of ways that he could fail. And, at the very end of it, the Undertaker decided to break the Streak. And it was, in every way, his to break.
With all that aside, send in the clowns.
Hey, speaking of clowns, it’s John Cena, who managed, after a deep struggle within himself, to resist any interesting changes to the character he’s been for the past nine years. Whacky poop jokes: that’s what we crave. Cena has apparently been given the job of recapping WrestleMania and RAW, but if it keeps him away from the main event he can keep doing that. He even thanks the crowd for re-writing his lyrics, and Cena manages to stop bullying by literally not being fun to bully. He says the future is now, despite his and Creative’s best attempts. He says that he’s the measuring stick, and if any WWE Superstar wants to be on top, they’ll have to go through him. Fun fact: he tells that to the locker room every single night. And day. And whispers into Cesaro’s ear whilst he sleeps and has had it tattooed on Seth Rollins’ chest.
Thankfully the Wyatts interrupt at this juncture, and Bray demonstrates how to deliver a promo. He says…God, I can’t even describe it. He’s crazy: I can’t recap it! Basically, he mocks Cena for nearly decking him with the chair, and we are continuing this programme. He really can sing quite well.
Battle of the Paul Heyman Guys
Here’s the Big Show and, honestly Lillian, we know how tall and heavy he is. It’s been decades. Apparently Show wants revenge on Cesaro for beating him fair and square. Man, he’s as much as a dick as he was in SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth (make a four week programme out of me ‘not really eliminating’ him in the Royal Rumble, you fat fuck…). Here comes Heyman, and he’s Cesaro’s only hope for retaining an ounce of heeldom. And Cesaro may have got the popularity and talent in the break-up, but it seems like Swagger got the entrance music. And did Heyman just call Cesaro ‘the Next Big Thing’? I remember that name…
Show and Cesaro shake hands to start this thing off, so welcome to Ring of Honour. Tie-up and Cesaro shoves Big Show away as Heyman decides to improve our commentary experience. Big Show returns the favour, shoving down Cesaro, who comes back with an uppercut before getting knocked down with a shoulder block. Cesaro rolls out of the ring, but Show brings him up onto the apron and slaps him across the chest. Show goes out after Cesaro, but the Swiss Superman gains the upper hand with Show still on the apron, attempting to suplex the big man back into the ring. Suplex is blocked, with Cesaro attempting a sunset-flip powerbomb onto the outside, but Big Show crushes Cesaro’s chest with his gargantuan glutes.
Show calls for the KO Punch, but Cesaro ducks out of the ring and goes to Heyman for advice, and Heyman tells Cesaro to ‘take his air’. I think that’s the first time I’ve heard a manager give advice to their client during a match that wasn’t ‘that’s it!’ or ‘stay on him!’, and this is just one of many reasons I love Paul Heyman. Cesaro tries a waistlock, but Big Show beats his way out, working Cesaro over in the corner. Big Slap is intercepted, with Cesaro throwing hands and uppercuts of his own, but he runs into a big backdrop. Big Slap in the corner, and Cesaro seems to have hurt his ankle. Cesaro comes back with uppercuts, but Show puts him down with punches and a headlock. Heyman’s staying really quiet, as Michael and JBL, although I care less about that.
Cesaro manages to boot Big Show and apply a sleeper hold. JBL hints for a Giant Swing, meaning it’s not happening. Show crushes Cesaro in the corner, but Cesaro comes right back with the sleeper, only to get thrown off. Big Show’s fired up, knocking Cesaro from pillar to post and he attempts the chokeslam…which Cesaro counters into another sleeper. Who does he think he is, Randy Orton? Show breaks out again, heading up to the second rope but he misses the elbow drop. Oh Jesus, Cesaro is actually going for the Swing…and then Swagger shows up, applying the Patriot Lock for the DQ.
Well, I went in not expecting much because the Big Show was involved. My prediction proved correct; there were better opponents to showcase Cesaro against post-Mania. The bit with Heyman tutoring Cesaro was a nice tough, though. 2 Stars.
Big Show hurls Swagger out of the ring, only for Cesaro to jump Show, hitting an uppercut to the back of his head, then another uppercut from the second rope. He then hits the Neutraliser, which was pretty awesome (but I wanted the Swiiiiiii-iiiiiiing….)
Oh. God. Why.
We come back to Los Matadores and El Torito, who will apparently be facing Rybaxel. I don’t know who the referee is, but he’s more relevant than anyone actually wrestling. Uno starts off by chopping Ryback, dodging a boot and hitting a dropkick. Ryback charges into a boot, but catches Uno and hits a powerslam. Tag to Axel, who keeps Uno down. Apparently he’s going to fix the glitch in the system that isn’t getting them respect; I don’t know if he means their characters, but I really hope he does. Tag to Ryback as Rybaxel double-team Uno, then Ryback locks in the sleeper.
Uno valiantly fights to his feet and slips out of a suplex, hitting an enzuigiri, but Ryback tags out before Uno can reach Dos. Axel charges at Dos, but Dos dodges; Uno slides between Axel’s legs and gets the tag. Even Michael Cole doesn’t know which Matador this is, so my system of Uno and Dos is actually valid. Dos takes Axel down with elbows, headstands in the corner into a headscissors. Axel runs into an elbow, then gets hit from the second rope with a…yep. Dos vines the leg and hits a DDT, but Ryback breaks up the pin. Ryback’s sent out of the ring and El Torito tries to dive on him, but the Big Guy catches him. Now kill it! Kill it or sell it to JBL! Torito is saved by Dos, but Axel hits his Hangman’s Facebuster for the pin.
Well, nobody died, which I’m not even sure is good or bad. 1.5 Stars.
Rob Van Dam is backstage, and Renee Young is excited to see him. Now Seth and Dean are going to have to spend their evening convincing Roman Reigns that he can compete with an aging, ponytailed stoner. Man, we could put Rob Van Dam opposite Bray Wyatt in a promo-heavy feud and we’d all become Bob Dylan.
If Sandow’s So Smart, Then Why Is This Happening?
Oh man, we’re doing this again? Yep, Sandow wants a rematch against Rob, and wouldn’t you know that there’s nothing else Van Dam can be doing? Bell rings and Rob gets a headlock and tries to roll Sandow up before superkicking him. Sandow nearly gets a roll-up of his own, but Rob hits a kick to the corner, followed by Rolling Thunder. Baseball slide knocks Sandow to the floor, but he dodges a moonsault from the apron and goes on the offense, roaring as he does so.
Back in the ring, Sandow gets a near-fall before continuing his beatdown. The commentators review their ‘Reasons Sandow Sucks’ list, because Van Dam’s the one here with a tonne of potential. Knee drop, then the Elbow of Disdain gets a two-count. Sandow drops an elbow across Van Dam’s throat on the apron, then applies a sleeper in the ring. Rob blocks Sandow’s attempt to rock his head in the corner, kicking him in the face before trying to roll him up. Step-over kick puts Damien down, but he catches Van Dam as he heads up high, attempting a superplex. They struggle on the top rope, but Sandow falls and Rob hits the Five Star Frogsplash.
Fair match. I wonder what RVD’s doing back here, other than collecting the odd paycheck. And things continue to suck for Sandow. 2.5 Stars.
We get a promo for Adam Rose with his rather stunning Barry Scott impression and a gimmick that is going to add nothing to almost any feud he’s placed into. For further reference, see ‘Fandango’ and ‘Los Matadores’.
Hey, it’s Hulk Hogan. And you’d think that would have gotten less weird to type, but it’s still weird. And I love, love that after all the time he spent hyping what an honour winning that Andre The Giant trophy would be, they destroyed it the very next night. It was like an apology wrapped in catharsis with extra Heyman.
Hogan’s apparently here to squee over Bryan’s victory, when we all know he’d never have dropped the title to him thirty years ago. He brings Bryan out, who is a better champ than Orton purely because he can carry two belts in a way I can’t easily mock. This has been the greatest week of Bryan’s life, capped off by the fact that he’s in the ring with Hulk Hogan. He remembers being a fan like us, when the biggest superstar in the world was Hogan. Bryan says that he’s been a Hulkamaniac for as long as he can remember. He asks for them to play Hulk’s music, and the two of them do his ear thing. Okay, as cynical as I am, I hope that this is genuine, because it is heartwarming. They follow it up with the YES chant.
I’M AFRAID I’VE GOT SOME BAD NEWS
Here’s Kofi Kingston, and I have to admit that his stairs-landing at the Battle Royal was absolutely ridiculous. As a reward, he will be defeated tonight by Bad News Barrett. What supervillain did Barrett steal his cloak from? Apparently JBL and I share a love for imitating Wade’s signature ‘Ah’m ufrayd ah’ve gawt sum BAD NYOOZ!!’ in our mirror (being from England, mine is actually fairly convincing). Barrett gets a mic, but Kofi tries to jump him mid-sentence, only for Barrett to just deck him in the face. Barrett says he’s got some bad news, then goes on the attack. Kofi catches him with a springboard dropkick and laces him with kicks, hitting a crossbody from the top. Barrett regains control, tossing Kofi out of the ring, but Kofi skins the cat, ducks the waiting Bull Hammer (which might have been more successful had Barrett not called out ‘BULL HAMMER!!’). Kofi hits a leaping clothesline, then the Boom Drop. He winds up for Trouble In Paradise, but Wade ducks out of the ring.
Kofi gives chase, causing Barrett to re-enter the ring. Kofi follows him, catching a kick and hitting one of his own, but then tries the Trouble In Paradise, spinning right into the Bull Hammer for three.
It might be my love for Barrett, but I enjoyed this. The pace was nice and quick, and there were some nice exchanges to it. Barrett now needs to add ‘u avin a giggle, m8′ and threatening to ‘bash ya fuckin head in, I swear on me mum’ to his verbal repertoire. 2.5 Stars.
Layla Is God
Oh, and just to add to the laundry list of quality on this show, here’s Emma and Santino. See this? This right here? This is why I drink. That and…well, there’s a lot of reasons. But I mainly talk about Emma and Santino in therapy. And what? We get Fandango as well? Oh WWE, you spoil us with your catering talents. Oh, and Santino is now with Layla as opposed to Summer, with no complaints from yours truly.
These two giants of the wrestling world tie up, with Santino taking Fandango over with a judo toss and an arm drag. Fandango puts him down with a punch as Layla gets a chant and Santino does something stupid. Apparently the Marx Brothers used to just write ‘Harpo does something funny’ in their scripts, and I’m pretty sure that all the agents do the same for Santino, except they swap ‘funny’ out for ‘seriously frakking stupid’. Fandango chops Santino, following it up with a back elbow. Santino fires up with punches, splitting down and hitting a hip toss. He then goes to bring out the Cobra, but Layla snatches it away from him! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to type a word against her from this moment on. Fandango rolls up Santino for the three.
I hated most of this, but the ending redeemed damn near all of that. They should bring the Women’s Title back and Layla should get a Sammartino-esque run with it just for that, feuding with Beth Phoenix, AJ, Kharma, Lita and Trish Stratus. 2 Stars.
Fandango throws the Cobra back to Santino, and you fool, that means that he can use it again!
We recap Paige’s winning of the Divas Title, where they managed to mess up one of, like, four moves in the match. We see a little bit of Paige, and seeing as how she’s from Norwich she’s probably the first inbred Divas champion.
Ah, another RAW recap. But hey, Bad News Barrett. And did RAW ever love Bad News Barrett. I love it when someone’s so adored that they boo Mysterio.
Adam Rose promo again. There were people like him at my university and they oddly enough never had the best parties. I liked to party with ridiculously rich people, because they get some really top-notch alcohol and you could wear a suit to those parties (David loves him some suits). Oh, and parties thrown by stand-up comedians, because shit just gets weird.
We recap the Shield’s Big Damn Heroes moment on RAW, and then see their interview on Main Event where Roman is obviously checking out Renee. Just kiss already!
Backstage, Kane, Batista and Orton are listing all of things they have in common. Just kiss already! They tease tension, and I needed Kane to make them all hug it out.
The Shield Is In Your Ring, Powerbombing Your Heels
The Usos make their way to the ring, determined not to let the main-eventers destroy the tag-team scene after it’s been worked on for so long. Bryan joins them and here come those three guys that failed at both WrestleMania and motion pictures (See No Evil felt like seventy years of my life I’ll never get back).
Well, the Usos have new tattoos which makes identifying them impossible again. What’s Samoan for ‘one’ and ‘two’? (Fun fact: ‘tasi’ and ‘lua’). Anyway, Jimmy gets backed into a corner by Batista and ducks a forearm, throwing hands and hitting a kick and an uppercut. Arm wrench and a tag to Jey, who hits a kick to Batista, but runs into a spinebuster. Orton comes in, hitting stomps to the ribs before his pose. He rips off Jey’s bandage, punching him up before tagging in Kane.
Back from an Extreme Rules promo (Daniel Bryan-centric), Kane runs into a boot from Jey in the corner, who jumps from the second rope, right into an uppercut. Tag to Batista, who drives his shoulder into Jey’s ribs. On the outside, he slams a forearm into the face of Jey, tagging in Orton. Orton hits a guillotine on the bottom rope, then taunts Jey as he keeps him from tagging out. He hangs the Uso up on the ropes from an inverted suplex, then hits a nice standing dropkick to Jey before tagging in Kane. The Big Red Bureaucrat gets Jey with a clothesline and a sidewalk slam, then wraps his arms around the ribs. Jey tries to get away, but Kane slams him down using his hair. Orton’s tagged in and coils himself around Jey in a sleeper. Who does he think he is, Cesaro?
Jey fights out again, only to run right into a powerslam. Orton then smacks Jimmy off the apron, because heels gonna heel. This comes back to bite Randy, however, as Jey Samoan Drops the Viper to the mat. Jey’s too far away to make the tag, and Kane catches him…but Kane eats a dragon whip and Bryan gets the tag.
Daniel ‘Two Belts’ Bryan comes off the top to hit Kane with a front dropkick and kips up. Another dropkick knocks Batista off the apron and Bryan fires up after Kane, backflipping over his head and taking him down with a clothesline. Multiple kicks, but Kane ducks the last one, only for Bryan to low-bridge him and dive out on the outside. Batista and Orton take Bryan out on the outside, but the Usos both dive out onto them. They’re all brawling on the outside and the referee is gettin’ real tired of your shit, WWE Superstars.
I thought this was pretty good. Not a whole lot of Bryan in it, but now he’s got the belts we should be lucky to get him on SmackDown at all. 2.5 Stars.
The heels start taking it to the faces, and Orton RKOs one of the Usos as Batista Batista Bombs the other. On the outside, Kane is going to put Bryan through the announce table, but the Shield decide to beat the shit out of him for copyright infringement. They head after Orton and Batista, but the two Evolution bros (Ev-bro-lution?) decide to bail.
Kane, however, has aspirations of suicide (probably something to do with his funeral home being burned down or being a dentist or whatever) and comes back in with a chair, but Bryan hits the CENASLAYER by way of an interception. The Shield are clearly freaked out that Bryan helped them, and have no way to respond to this (Ambrose suggests a triple powerbomb, but Seth says something doesn’t feel right about that. Reigns suggests joining in with the ‘YES’ chants, but Seth tells him to fuck off and die). They decide to compromise by doing the triple powerbomb, but to Kane.
Should have kept hugging Bryan, Kane.
SmackDown doesn’t get a post-WrestleMania episode, which was fairly obvious on this show. I did like several of the matches, though, and Layla tried her damndest to stop the Cobra. Plus, the Shield making the save was pretty awesome here as well. So I’ll give this a seven.
Tags: Adam Rose, Bad News Barrett, batista, big show, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, emma, Erick Rowan, Fandango, jey uso, jimmy uso, john cena, kane, Kofi Kingston, Layla, Los Matadores, Luke Harper, Paul Heyman, randy orton, Renee Young, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, ryback, Rybaxel, Santino Marella, seth rollins, The Shield, the usos, wyatt family