Hola, sports entertainment fans. David Spain, SmackDown correspondent here. I’m joining you on Good Friday: the day commemorating when Jesus gave his life for all of our sins. In that spirit, nothing shall be judged negatively, as life itself is a gift from God, and nothing else is important in comparison to eternity in paradise. Those of you who believe anything else, please shoulder the burden of calling out whatever crap that gets pulled on this show; my fellow Christians and I will be sitting here, silently worrying about what it means if none of it’s true.
And let’s get on with some SmackDown!
We’re apparently still going on about the Streak ending, and this is the one time you’ll ever see people surprised that an ex-MMA fighter beat up a worse-for-wear guy nearing his fifties. And the only time you’ll see the result of a wrestling match placed on par with the London Bombings in terms of tragedy.
Here’s Triple H, and I can’t believe the one time I missed RAW was the Evolution reunion (yeah, I missed RAW. I was tired from making gumbo. Did I mention I can now make fucking gumbo?). Cole mentions how awesome it was without showing us the clip: that tease.
Hunter gets on the mic, mentioning how he loves watching talent truly succeed. The Shield was what he was most proud of. He gave them power: maybe too much. He says when you have power, you see how far that power can take you on your own. Then you sex the boss’s daughter and go further, although I really hope the Shield know better than to start making advances towards Aurora Rose Levesque. He then drops the lyric ‘line in the sand’, making me squee. And he gives us a recap (let this be noted as one of the few times I haven’t complained about a recap). I have missed these Evolution beat-downs, although seeing them side-by-side with their younger selves is…a little sad.
Triple H says that the Shield were humbled, and that they could move past this if the Shield grovelled. Reigns apparently replied: ‘kings don’t win wars; soldiers do’, so looks like he’s been watching Game of Thrones. Hunter says that they’ve lost their value, and at Extreme Rules it’s to be the Shield vs. Evolution. In a War Games match, right? RIGHT?
I’d Make A Kofi Kingston/Dolph Ziggler Joke, But It’s Been Done A Hundred Times. LIKE THIS MATCH!! 😀
Here comes Big E Langston, owner of the white belt. He will be facing the winner of the Contender Tournament in two weeks, that being either Cesaro, Van Dam, Sheamus or Barrett. Personally, I’m praying for a Barrett title run. And for my soul. Big E appears in a window to discuss this, and did someone put something in his coffee prior to that vignette? He’s facing Alberto Del Rio here, and if something about this seems familiar to you, it’s all of it.
The two men circle each other as Michael Cole brings up that Del Rio lost his first tournament match to Van Dam. Del Rio takes the strikes to Langston, the two men dodge each other and run the ropes until Langston knocks Alberto down with a shoulder tackle. He attempts a backbreaker, but Del Rio fights his way out of that and hits his corner enzuigiri right to Big E’s bean for two. Alberto keeps up the offence, using stomps before locking in a rest hold. Note to the crowd: ‘Let’s go Langston’ is probably more coherent than ‘Let’s go Big E’. Langston rises, hoisting up Del Rio on his back and squashing him in the corner before charging into a pair of boots.
Del Rio runs the ropes and hits a kick to Langston, attacking him in the corner as the commentators review the Intercontinental title’s history. He blasts the corner with his shoulder as Langston ducks the charge, and now Big E’s up and hitting clotheslines, following it up with a belly-to-belly and attempts a Warrior Splash, but Del Rio gets the knees up. Jeez, how disrespectful of Alberto not to take that move.
Back from the break, both men are on the outside. During the break, E speared Del Rio off the apron, practically landing on his head. In the ring, he slams his shoulder into the ring post as Alberto avoids a charge. Big DDT to Langston gets a near-fall. Del Rio heads up to the top rope, throwing himself in a crossbody at Langston, but Big E catches him and slams spine into knee. Alberto gets pancaked, then Langston hits the Warrior Splash. The straps come down, and the crowd goes wild for the unfettering of those chesticles. Big Ending’s nearly served up, but Del Rio slides out into a Backstabber for a really near fall.
Alberto’s ready to end this, trying to lock in the Cross Armbreaker. Langston tries to reach the ropes, managing it, but Del Rio utilises the full five-count, leading the referee to disqualify him. Can he use the five, or just the four? Confused.com.
That was rather entertaining; I like this combination, no matter how often it’s getting dragged out. I didn’t see the finish coming, but you know what else nobody saw coming? Jesus rising from the dead. 2.5 Stars.
Del Rio is livid at losing by disqualification, when he could have just as easily lost via pinfall or deliberately getting counted out. He takes his aggression out on Langston as JBL defends utilising the five-count. Langston manages to come back with the Big Ending, putting Alberto down and keeping him away from any title action for a little longer.
We are asked to welcome Paul Heyman, who rubs salt into the Undertaker wound. Apparently a couple of my co-workers watch wrestling, one of whom had some damn strong feelings about the Streak ending, which she made clear to both me and the little old lady we were serving at the time (on a side note, it’s best not to say ‘undertaker’ too loudly in front of the elderly; they see it as aggression). God, at this point it’s just a pleasure to watch Paul work. This is why the world needs a Wyatt-Heyman verbal exchange.
Apparently we’re going to be examining El Torito and Hornswoggle’s rivalry. This is actually a thing that is happening. You know, Jesus died so that El Torito, Hornswoggle and whoever thought that this thing was a good idea do not automatically burn in hell forever. And I think that was a rash decision. And the two of them are having a match tonight. Wait a second: ‘Reach: the bottom shelf’. Oh, fucking classy, WWE.
Can We Pit Paige Against The Cast Of Made In Chelsea?
Here comes our Divas Champion, Paige, and if she spoke in the actual Norwich accent, nobody would notice Bad News Barrett’s accent. Paige is going to face Tamina at Extreme Rules for the title; looks like AJ’s going to be away for a while. Her opponent, Aksana, grabs the mic and talks some indecipherable smack before blindsiding Paige. Some crowd support for the Divas Champion and there’s the bell.
Aksana quick as a flash with a suplex, but gets backed into corner when she tries for a waistlock, getting battered with elbows. Knees to the face on the apron, but Aksana flattens Paige on the outside with a sudden clothesline. Back in the ring, Paige eats a spinebuster and gets her face slammed off the mat. Chinlock applied to Paige before she gets slammed back off the mat. Aksana then crawls around the ring for some reason, which JBL excuses by saying ‘she’s from Lithuania’; Fawlty Towers reference for the win. Both Paige and Aksana collide off crossbodies, with both women down. Paige fires up, hitting knees and clotheslines and a running dropkick. Wow, that Scorpion Crosslock looks frickin’ painful. Aksana clearly agrees with me, submitting.
Okay, first time seeing Paige in action, and I liked what I saw. Definitely a rougher kind of offence than most Divas, which I think matches her up well with Tamina for her first title defence. This was good. You know what else is good? Good Friday. 2.5 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage with Sheamus, and replays for him the chair-related assault by Batista. Sheamus says that picking up the chair was the easy way out, oh, and he’s telling one of his ridiculous Irish stories now. He also calls Renee ‘fella’, which I don’t think she is.
Just Let Me Fix This Alcohol IV Drip Up…
Yeah, we’re actually doing this. It’s El Torito against Hornswoggle, because since when were the vertically challenge not hysterical? And if Michael and JBL were this emotionally invested in the other matches they called, maybe that would improve their generally lacking commentary.
The bell rings and the two face off as the tension mounts. Torito shoves Hornswoggle; they tie up and Hornswoggle shoves him right back. They circle each other, then it’s Torito with a waistlock, shifting into a headlock. Swoggle shoots him off, but gets knocked down with a shoulder block. Torito runs the ropes, ducks a clothesline, and it’s a hurricanrana to Hornswoggle, following that up with a running dropkick.
Hornswoggle rolls out onto the apron, and blocks a charge from Torito with a shoulder to the gut, then rocks his head off the turnbuckle. He goes up to the first rope and hits the Banzai Drop: shades of Rikishi with that move, but Torito nearly scores the pin as he rolls him up. Hard clothesline from Hornswoggle, paying homage to JBL, then hits a Warrior Splash for two.
We get a sleeper hold, but Torito fights his way to his feet, only to be beaten back down by Hornswoggle. Bodyslam to El Torito, but Hornswoggle’s wasting too much time taunting, and the match nearly ends as he gets rolled up. Hornswoggle’s still in control, sending Torito into the corner, but Torito dodges the charge, winding up for the Gore, and he hits it, following that up with the Bronco Buster. Hornswoggle looks to be out, but Torito’s not going for the pin, instead hitting a moonsault from the top rope, and that’s your three.
Damn it, I really wanted to hate this match. Like, seriously wanted to. Almost needed to. But, honestly? It could have been worse. Not a lot of cringe comedy, some actual wrestling moves and less sleeper holds than a Randy Orton match. As amazing as it is, WWE almost nearly approached the high road here. The real winner here is Peter Dinklage, who was not involved and has a lot of money. 2 Stars.
We get a promo for Mr Rusev. Damn, whoever did his theme music is just spot on.
Oh fuck yes, it’s Bad News Barrett. He calls what we just saw the biggest little match in WWE history. But he’s got some. Mother. Fucking. Bad. News. The fact that the audience applauded it illustrates how dumb the people of Nashville are. How can you not love that face?
They bring on Chick From Rocky IV, who talks foreign at us and introduces Rusev. We get a recap of Xavier Woods getting destroyed, which I shouldn’t find as fun as I do. Why do I hate Xavier Woods. Oh, and Lana can apparently control Rusev, which Michael Cole seems to find a novelty. Misogynist pig.
Rusev takes some blows from Truth, who dodges out of his way in turn, hitting a calf kick and a dropick from the second rope: one count. Big superkick to R-Truth puts him down, then Rusev holds him up, hits some knees to the back, then a fallaway slam. Rusev then slams Truth again, locking in the Accolade. Truth taps.
Simple. Dominant. To the point. Right way to do it. 2 Stars.
Xavier Woods tries to interfere, which makes him pretty stupid for a guy studying for a PhD. Rusev puts him right the fuck down, charging him in the corner and hurling him out of the ring.
We recap the tribute for the Ultimate Warrior. As ever, the video was exactly right for the sad occasion.
Promo for Masked Kane. Seems like a good first opponent for our new champ, and far more so in his masked form.
I’d Make A Kofi Kingston/Dolph Ziggler Joke…Wait…
Here’s Santino with Emma, who will be facing Fandango with LAYLA. Michael tries to work out what the relationship between Santino and Emma is, and has he ever considered that what it is is, in fact, none of his business?
Santino tries some capoeira, and Fandango just punches him to the floor. Santino fires back, reversing an Irish whip, but gets stomped in the head. Suplex to Santino, but Fandango misses a leg drop. Santino split-legs and hits a hip toss and a headbutt. He calls for the Cobra, but Layla steals the Cobra again!! Can I get a knighthood for this woman? Emma jumps her from behind, and how very dare she? Fandango tries to roll up Santino, but Santino rolls out and rolls Fandango up for the three.
They put on a worse match than the vertically challenged duo. Jesus died to save us from hell, but hell followed us to Nashville in the form of this match. But Layla is still terrific. 1 Star.
There’s more stupid comedy after the match, as that is the only kind of comedy Santino and Emma know.
We recap Stephanie McMahon creating a hostile work environment for Kane. And finally, a reason for them carrying that damn mask around. Imagine if Kane took things in a different direction? Got annoyed with Steph? Abducted her? Wore her skin? The moral of the story being not to yell at psychopaths?
Sheamus Is Just Warming Up For Bad News Barrett
Sheamus makes his way to the ring, followed by his opponent, Batista. The bell rings and Sheamus goes right to Batista, hitting kicks and punches before Dave rolls out of the ring, pulling Sheamus out with him and slamming him into a barricade. Back in the ring, Sheamus hits a big clothesline, keeping Batista grounded with stomps and then works him over in the corners. Batista fights back, nailing Sheamus with a clothesline of his own, right before Sheamus returns the favour. Snapmare to Batista, following up with a knee to the back and then Sheamus wrenches the arm back. Dave is held back on the ropes and tastes the clubbing forearms, but he escapes by hanging Sheamus up on the ropes, before Sheamus knocks him to the floor.
Back from the break, Batista slams Sheamus into steel steps, and then the barricade. He slams an elbow into Sheamus’ head from the outside, then both men are back in the ring. As Batista tries to lift Sheamus, the Irishman fires up a little, but Batista manages to drop him face-first into the corner, before introducing his shoulder to the post right afterwards, sending Sheamus to the outside. Batista takes him back into the ring, the slingshots him into the bottom rope, throat-first. He attempts the Batista Bomb, but Sheamus manages to force Batista out of the ring, buying himself some time. Batista tries to rock Sheamus’ shoulder into the corner again, but Sheamus blocks, then pays Batista back in kind, slamming his shoulder into the post.
Sheamus struggles to is feet, dodging a clothesline and hitting an axe-handle, then another. He runs into a knee and Batista attempts a Batisa Bomb, but Sheamus drives him into the corner and slams a knee into his face, then hits a flying knee to follow it up. Clubbing forearms to Batista, following up that with his flying shoulder block from the outside. Sheamus is looking for some White Noise, but Batista slides out, only to be hit with an Irish Curse backbreaker for two.
Sheamus tries for the Cloverleaf, but Batista struggles his way to the ropes, then blocks Sheamus’ charge with a shoulder. Sheamus then catches Dave with a bodyslam, calling for the Brogue Kick; Batista rolls out of the ring. Sheamus follows Batista, throwing him back in the ring and trying for the Brogue again, but Batista ducks and hits the spear. Batista Bomb is attempted again, but Sheamus backdrops out of it and goes up high, only for Batista to crotch him on the ropes. He hits a clothesline to the back of Sheamus’ head, then hits the Batista Bomb for the win.
Very good match. Evenly fought, both men gaining something from it. Nice performance from each man: very enjoyable. 3 Stars.
Interesting week; there seemed to be a varying quality throughout, and I really don’t think the show needed two comedy segments plus a squash. The final match, Heyman and Triple H were all points in its favour, however. I’ll give it a six.
Tags: aksana, alberto del rio, alexander rusev, Bad News Barrett, batista, big e langston, El Torito, emma, Fandango, Hornswoggle, Intercontinental Championship, jbl, kane, Lana, Layla, Michael Cole, Paige, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Renee Young, Santino, sheamus, Smackdown, Tamina Snuka, The Shield, triple h, WWE, xavier woods