We’re in Kansas tonight, so I’ll be crowbarring in as many Wizard of Oz references as I can, because that is literally everything British people know about Kansas. SmackDown begins with a review of the last few weeks of the Shield vs. Evolution, although they missed out last episode’s guerrilla tactics the Shield used against every mid-carder that ever carded a mid. And Dean Ambrose will be defending his United States Championship against Alberto Del Rio, Ryback and Curtis Axel tonight, which is basically offering Ambrose the opportunity not to carry around a heavy chunk of useless metal and leather.
If I Only Had A Bray…
Oops, here’s Bray Wyatt and his two spare beards. I wish JBL and Michael would stop acting like Bray’s not allowed out of the cage if he loses. I’m fairly sure that would be illegal, actually. The Wyatts pace around as the Usos show up, marking another classic misuse of the tag-team titles. And here’s Sheamus, in a classic demonstration of his willingness to have a fight with anyone and everyone. I find it endearing, although it probably makes him a psychopath.
We’re underway with Jey Uso vs. Luke Harper, and Harper is on offence before Jey gets in some kicks and an uppercut, knocking Mr Hobo 2014 down with a shoulder block. Tag to Sheamus, trading blows with Harper, who drives him into the Wyatt corner and tags in Rowan. So it’s Sheamus vs. Upside-Down Sheamus: the winner to take all of the hair. Erick keeps Sheamus down before making the tag back to Harper; Sheamus comes back, hitting a rolling senton to Harper, followed by a knee-drop. Luke Harper, however, comes back with a big right hand, tagging Rowan in, but Sheamus gets him with a knee-lift and takes himself and Rowan out of the ring with a crossbody.
Back from a break, Harper has control of Sheamus, keeping him away from the Usos. First tag to Bray Wyatt, and he stomps on the Irishman pretty ferally. Clothesline to Sheamus in the corner, then he tags out to Rowan, who continues the assault with a bodyslam and tags out to Harper, who drops Sheamus with a superkick. Luke Harper takes out one of the Usos off the apron, but walks right into an Irish Curse Backbreaker and gets the hot tag to Jimmy Uso. Jimmy knocks Harper this way and that, taking him down with a Samoan Drop and a dragon whip. Rowan tries to interfere and gets low-bridged, then Jimmy hits the Samoan wrecking ball on Harper, knocks Wyatt down, but misses the corkscrew moonsault.
Bodyslam to Jimmy Uso from Harper, but Jey interferes, only to get tossed by Rowan, who gets Brogue Kicked by Sheamus, who gets tossed by Jimmy. Bray gets the blind tag and surprises Jimmy with Sister Abigail for the win.
Luke Harper really handled most of this match, but was impressive doing so. I love the Usos against most teams and Bray being in there always adds a bit of special to a match. Good start to the night: 2.5 Stars.
The Wyatts exit the ring peaceably, until Jimmy decides to hell with that and throws himself out onto Harper and Rowan. Dick move, Jim. Bray takes exception to such douchebaggery, hurling the Uso into the barricade, and then Sheamus gets involved, only to be hurled into the steps by the Wyatts. In the ring, Harper clotheslines the fuck out of Jey, which will hopefully teach the Usos to lose gracefully in future.
Promo for Adam Rose. How I ended up doing such a 180 on this guy, I do not know, but I can’t wait until Monday night.
Ah, shit-fuck; 3MB and Los Matadores alert. Plus Vickie. We’re doing a contract signing for something called a ‘wee-L-C match’ between Hornswoggle and El Torito, representing the Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild respectively. I can only assume that the WWE as a whole is being blackmailed by someone with a dwarfism fetish: probably JBL. Heath Slater says that Hornswoggle has some demands, and if Slater was committed to his bullshit gimmick, he’d have called it a ‘rider’. His first demand is for all-green mini M&Ms, which is actually pretty funny. He wants 3MB’s greatest hits playing whilst he trains, but then El Torito interrupts, and that thing can fucking talk? According to Uno, he said ‘when you mess with the bull, you get the horns’. Hackles are raised, but Vickie isn’t in the mood for any of their shit and cracks a midget joke: classic Vickie.
Hornswoggle signs the contract, El Torito signs with his boot and someone in creative has just signed their career’s suicide note. Hornswoggle say he will always be the bigger man, and that thing can fucking talk? Apparently he wasn’t talking about penises, much to JBL’s silent displeasure, but instead raises his chair, as does El Torito. Both men keep displaying their Napoleon Complexes in the name of low-brow entertainment, and the fight is on. Hornswoggle gets gored out of the ring, Los Matadores toss 3MB, and Torito sentons out on top of them. Apparently we’re all set for Sunday but, truly, who is the beast and who is the man?
‘Fly, RVD! Fly!’
We recap the tournament final from Monday where what can only be described as a logical and moral clusterfuck dragged RVD into Swagger and Cesaro’s conflict. As a consequence, Rob faces Swagger tonight. The triple threat match at Extreme Rules is going to be an elimination match, which is a little different. Before the guys can get started, here comes Cesaro and Heyman out to ringside.
Swagger jumps RVD right after the bell, hitting knees in the corner as Paul gets on commentary. Swagger hits the Swagger Bomb for two, as Heyman takes Cole to task for mediocre commentary. Rob hits his step-over kick, knocking Jack out of the ring, which Swagger uses to punch Cesaro in his face. Jack dodges a moonsault off the apron, levelling Swagger with a boot. Cesaro grabs Swagger’s boot on his way into the ring, distracting him long enough that Van Dam hits him with a heel kick. Five-Star Frogsplash hits and secures the victory.
Super-short is what that was, but good while it lasted. 2 Stars.
Cesaro predictably attacks Rob as Van Dam had his back turned, hitting the Neutraliser. RVD deserved it for believing in common human decency.
Ding-Dong, Woods And Truth Are Dead
R-Truth gets the jobber treatment and here comes Lana to do the announcing for Rusev. Goddamn foreigners taking Lillian’s job. Also, I really miss Lana saying ‘America Rise’. 1) It was a really good tagline and 2) she sounded insanely sinister whilst saying it.
Rusev shoves R-Truth into a corner, beating whatever the Bulgarian is for ‘shite’ out of him. Truth tries to fight back, sliding off Rusev’s shoulders and knocking him out of the ring with kicks. Rusev, taking a page from Jack Swagger’s playbook, uses this as a way to punch Xavier Woods, and then catches R-Truth as he launches himself out of the ring at Rusev, slamming Truth into the apron. Xavier Woods interferes, knocking Rusev out of the ring with a double dropkick before hitting him with a senton out of the ring.
Rusev continues to look dominant, and I can’t wait until he gets past guys like Truth and Woods. You know what feud I want to see? Cesaro vs. Rusev. 2 Stars.
Here’s Daniel Bryan, getting ready for a challenger who nobody believes will win even when the champ’s got a damaged neck. That is the situation we’re in for our main event. He gets chants, but is super-serial, you guys. He says that we’re all the same, and I object, because I don’t look like Hobo-Jesus. Bryan says it’s because we overcome insurmountable odds every day, and how difficult does he believe my life is, generally? He also says we take care of our families, and at least one abused kid saw that and feels worse than ever. Bryan is going to walk in and out of Extreme Rules as champion, but this is apparently about way more than the championship. He’s furious and says that this is a war, but I guarantee he’ll get the clean win, celebrate and that’s the end of that. He could always go after Kane’s family, but I think the Undertaker already killed them. Bryan says that the Devil’s Favourite Demon is going home, and I hear there’s no place like it!
Kane appears on the screen in an undisclosed location, having bribed the Wyatts and the Shield for the use of the place by letting them try on his corporate trousers. He then shows a video package of him beating up Bryan. They’re really trying to make us believe that Kane’s a threat, aren’t they? He says he’s only begun to show the depths of his depravity, which could be construed as a rape threat, but I’m pretty sure Kane only carries out sexual intercourse with dead bodies and Lita. Bryan rips off his neck brace, which seems hideously counterintuitive, and Kane laughs in a way that should probably sound evil, but actually sounds more like someone’s just whispered a very dirty joke to him at a funeral: you shouldn’t laugh, but it’s jolly and loud when you do.
Let’s Send Kitty Pryde Back In Time And Make This Not Have Happened
Mr Ziggles is here, looking very happy to not be Damien Sandow, because Damien Sandow is still dressed as Magneto. God, they’re going to make him wrestle in the costume? Poor guy. Plus, couldn’t we have got Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart on RAW instead of Jean Valjean? Couldn’t we have replaced all of RAW with the two of them doing Waiting For Godot? Used the Shield as the other three characters?
Hip toss to Magneto, who drives Ziggler into the corner. Irish whip reversed by Ziggler, stinger splash and a neckbreaker. Cole just told us not to confuse this Magneto with the one in X-Men. Usually I’d call him out on that, but now I have images of Damien Sandow shooting Nazis in a bar and that’s too funny to get mad about. Magneto hangs Ziggler up on the ropes, hitting a somersault neckbreaker for two, then continues to beat him down in the corner. Suplex attempt into a small package for two, but Magneto comes back with a hard clothesline. Ziggler breaks out of a sleeper, but Magneto hits a Russian leg-sweep and the Elbow of Disdain. Ziggler comes back, but Magneto manages to hold him back, making me wonder how many metal objects Dolph is able to hold inside his body, boots or trunks. Dropkick, Zig-Zag and, mercifully, the end.
Jesus. 2 Stars.
If I Only Had A Gimmick That Didn’t Suck…
Here’s Big E Langston, who’s set for a match at Extreme Rules against Bad News Barrett. And I’ve just realised that not many of these matches actually have…extreme rules. Langston’s facing Titus O’Neil, who can beat on a man for a good two minutes and then get beaten in one move. So…you know. A challenge.
Takedown by Big E, then a shoulder block. Titus slides out of a bodyslam and manages (finally) to get clotheslined out of the ring. Sheamus would have already won by now. Langston gets tossed over the table and Titus beats him down whilst yelling ‘TITUS!!’ constantly. The beatdown continues in the ring, consisting mostly of punches and stomps. Titus then hits a backbreaker, and refuses to listen to the five-count, so is disqualified.
Not really sure what to make of that. Maybe Titus is getting a heel push, so many months too late. Although I would be on board if they renamed him ‘Titus Andronicus’. For reasons. 1 Star.
Aaaand then Big E beats the honest hell out of Titus, so disregard what I wrote about ‘heel push’. I was talking crazy; I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was young and stupid and was dumb enough to believe. Apparently Titus’ gimmick is now ‘make someone so mad they physically destroy me in a humiliating display’.
Promo for the steel cage match this weekend. I wonder what any of the travel people thought when Bray Wyatt asked them to book plane tickets for thirty children this Monday. Seems like you’d ask some questions, or at least have an awkward conversation with Triple H about it.
Backstage, Bray Wyatt plays us a recording of children singing, and does so on an actual record player. Fucking hipster. He then laughs about his underage shenanigans and I want to make a Game of Thrones reference, but David Spain doesn’t tell book spoilers; he just threatens book spoilers as a way of getting what he wants.
Sierra Hotel India Echo Lima Delta Brain Heart Courage Home
Here comes Dean Ambrose, with Rollins and Reigns making an appearance at the top of the steps before leaving. Paycheck earned. Del Rio and Rybaxel show up as well, all determined to slather their mediocrity over the United States Championship, whereas Dean’s defended that title so few times he’s forgotten how title defences work and still thinks these guys are here to mug him for his bling.
The guys make their move on Dean, who tries to take it to him but gets beaten down. Axel yells ‘where your buddies at?’, and I swear this guy learned to be a heel from eighties movies. Dean gets thrown out of the ring and Axel tries a roll-up on Del Rio. Ryback asks ‘what are you doing?’, so Del Rio’s going to have to sit down with him and explain how Fatal Four-Way matches work, but he decides to roll Ryback up instead. Alberto gets tossed as Rybaxel goes nose-to-nose, but then Dean jumps them, because the tag-team division can’t afford another break-up. Headbutt and a kick to Axel, but he gets spinebustered by Ryback and tossed out. Rybaxel starts facing down Del Rio, but he’s held more belts than both of them and none of them were the Intercontinental Championship, so he’ll be fine.
Back from the break, Rybaxel are beating the crap out of Del Rio. Dean’s chilling on the outside as Del Rio manages to hit a backstabber, but Ambrose breaks up the pin. Axel hits a knee to the face of Alberto, but Dean breaks the pin. Rybacks up now, beating Dean down and throwing him out again. This time, they follow him, throwing him into the barricade; Del Rio takes Ryback out on the outside and he faces of with Axel in the ring. Tilt-a-whirl to Axel; German suplex to Ryback and Dean’s back in the ring, lacing Alberto with punches and takes him down with a Thesz Press. Slap to Ryback, then a low-bridge, but Dean turns into a kick to the arm from Del Rio, but catches him with a knee on the ropes, then a dropkick. Axel takes Dean down, then tries a Perfectplex, but Ambrose comes off the ropes with a huge clothesline for two.
Ryback drags Ambrose out of the ring, throwing him into the timekeeper’s area. Alberto hits him with a step-up enzuigiri on the apron, knocking him back down, and then walks right into a Perfectplex for two! Axel gets Del Rio up to the second rope, but gets tossed down and is hung up in the Tree of Woe before Del Rio stomps on him. Alberto covers him, but Axel grabs the rope. Action is flowing thick and fast here; Del Rio winds up for the big kick, but Axel ducks; Ryback runs in with the Meathook, but Del Rio ducks and Ryback nails Axel! Cross-armbreaker to Ryback! Ryback gets Del Rio up on his shoulders and hits Shellshock! Axel drags Ryback out of the ring to break it up! Dean Ambrose rolls up Axel and retains!
I entirely take back any mediocrity-slathering-related comments about any of these competitors. That was an awesome match: everything I look for in a multi-person bout. Not a bad moment here at all, and any of these guys would have to deserved to be champ at the end. 4 Stars.
Ryback and Axel start beating down on Dean after the match, but a ringside-ban means jack-shit once the match is over, so here come Rollins and Reigns. Axel’s tossed; Ryback’s speared; Rollin throws himself over the top onto Axel, then throws him back in for a Superman Punch. The Shield then celebrate with a Triple Powerbomb, which is how real men celebrate.
All in all, a very good SmackDown. Sure, some parts were very dumb, but even they had bits you could kind of laugh at. And what was good was pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to Extreme Rules, and I hope you all enjoy it too. Tonight gets an eight; see you next week!
Tags: 3MB, Adam Rose, alberto del rio, alexander rusev, big e langston, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, El Torito, Erick Rowan, Hornswoggle, jack swagger, jbl, john cena, kane, Lana, Los Matadores, Luke Harper, Magneto, Michael Cole, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, ryback, seth rollins, sheamus, Smackdown, The Shield, the usos, titus o'neil, Vickie Guerrero, WWE, wyatt family, xavier woods, Zeb Coulter