Hey there, people (I’ve run out of other collective nouns for you; give it a few weeks and this will get abusive). Hope you’re all doing well; I’ve just beaten a tonne of coursework to the ground with the help of coffee and some moviefilms. And alcohol. Lots of alcohol. But it’s creative writing, for which alcohol is basically steroids.
Anyway, we start off by recapping Dean Ambrose losing the US Championship in a match I did enjoy, despite wondering why Reigns and Rollins didn’t jump in and fuck up everyone’s respective shit. And this was my one misgiving about them becoming faces: they become noble or just stupid. Sure, I understand that Ambrose did jack with the title and it was best to give the cursed item to someone else, but why not make the point that the Shield were banned from ringside? Makes for an easier explanation than them saying: ‘Well, Dean, you were in there against a multi-time former world champion. We thought you had it.’ Blah blah Wyatts, blah blah still Evolution.
In Which We See Dean Ambrose Kick His ‘Worthless Belt’ Habit
We begin tonight with Sheamus. I have no feelings about him having the title other than now really hoping it leads to a feud with Barrett. And my God, just when you thought Dean was clear of the mediocrity pants-holder, they make him have a rematch for it.
Bell rings and they circle each other. Dean tries to trip Sheamus, taking him down and vining the legs, ripping back on the head. It is, by the way, nice to see some more of Ambrose; I’m already well-sold on Reigns and Rollins, and it’s great to see that Dean is very capable of holding his end up. Sheamus applies a headlock, taking Ambrose over. Sheamus is shot off the ropes and hits a shoulder block, then blocks a hip toss and hits a clothesline. Michael keeps referring to a previous US Title reign for Sheamus that I just can’t remember, and that tells you how I feel about Sheamus and the belt in one neat little package. Sheamus is working the arm, despite the fact he has sod-all arm submission finishers. Who does he think he is, the Undertaker? And Michael Cole denies that Ambrose almost never defended the US Championship, despite him almost never doing so. If you wondered about the Shield being faces, there’s the nail in that coffin. Ambrose takes Sheamus down with a Thesz Brawl Press, and both men are out of the ring, with Dean hitting a suplex on the outside. Sheamus comes back, however, hitting the rolling senton.
Back from the break and back in the ring, Dean is trying to fight out of Sheamus’ bullshit arm submissions, hitting a crossbody. Sheamus tries to charge Ambrose into a corner and blasts his shoulder; Dean hits a running dive onto Sheamus on the outside, then hits a shot from the second rope to the leg, and he applies the Figure Four. Shades of Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin! Sheamus manages to get to the ropes, then kicks Ambrose away and gives him the Irish Curse (alcoholism and ginger hair). I got told I ‘looked Irish’ the other day, which is weird because: a) I did not know you could look Irish and 2) I’m Italian. Sheamus then gets Ambrose in the Cloverleaf, thereby throwing away all of the work done to Dean’s arm and pissing it away on the legs. Ambrose gets to the ropes, even using the worked-over arm to do so. Dean’s on the apron, and Sheamus hits his ridiculously-named chest-pounds on his bare stomach (surprisingly decent midsection on Ambrose). Ambrose looks to be going for another rolling senton, but slides out, and his top could not look more like a sports bra. Backslide attempt is countered by Sheamus; he sends Ambrose reeling with a kick, but Dean pendulums off the ropes and hits his clothesline to take him down.
Slugfest between these two, but Ambrose runs right into a Brogue Kick, falling onto the outside. Looks like we’re getting a…nope, Ambrose gets back into the ring! Aaaand gets Brogue Kicked again, because Sheamus recognises resilience but does not reward it.
Good match to start. I’ll say it again: impressed with Ambrose. Sheamus looked damn decent here too against a smaller opponent. 3 Stars.
Roman Reigns will later take on Mark Henry. You may remember him from his not doing anything over the last few years. Seth will also face Batista, which actually has some potential.
Unbeknownst To Cesaro And Barrett, Zeb Lurks Nearby With A Net
We show up and Paul Heyman is at the announce table with Cesaro, which also has potential. Don’t like Cesaro’s music, by the way. Thought I’d say. Ooh, and Bad News Barrett! Three good things in one match! Barrett and Cesaro, here portraying the Unamericans, will face RVD and Langston. Barrett then has bad news about climate change, and he is just so topical. On the topic of Zeb having a list of folks for deportation, I now ship Barrett and Paige (along with Reignee). They’re called ‘Baige’, and it’s hawt.
Barrett starts off against RVD, and Rob gets distracted enough by Cesaro for Wade to jump him, but Van Dam makes short work of Cesaro with two kicks. Wow, RVD’s actually portraying real emotion as he chases Cesaro and gets clotheslined by Barrett. Amazing how Cole can refer to CM Punk without naming him, also. Wade has Rob where he wants him, but stops to make a taunt and gets kicked for his trouble (always happened to me on the SmackDown games). Barrrett and RVD tag out, and we’ve got Langston and Cesaro. Big E hits clotheslines and a belly-to-belly. Cesaro gets slammed as Wade and RVD start mixing it up; Cesaro ducks and Langston gets kicked in the head. Cesaro capitalises with the Neutraliser, and that’s a win.
Heels on the rise. Fun match, if somewhat short. Heyman really seems to bring out the snarky bitch in Michael Cole, I’ve noticed. 2.5 Stars.
We relive Bryan and Kane’s Extreme Rules match in glorious still images. If all of this assault is legal, what would happen if one of them had succeeded in actually murdering the other (in storyline terms, obviously). Are the rules that extreme? Would charges be pressed? Hmmm. Oh, and Kane is still number one contender, because apparently we’re all out of legitimate threats.
Unbeknownst To Lana, Rusev And Kofi, Zeb Lurks Nearby With A Big Net
Heeeeere’s Kofi, and here’s Lana to welcome the man who will be turning Kofi into a fine paste. She talks up Putin like he’s not a Bond villain who was cloned from a dead shark. I’ve said it before and will say it again: WWE should stay away from politics. Also, there was a Eurovision joke in there that would have been topical and relevant; is it because we don’t let you guys play, or because the WWE doesn’t know what ‘topical’ or ‘relevant’ are? Love Rusev’s personalised nameplate, though: small touch, but appreciated.
Rusev starts mauling Kofi in the corner, and Kingston dashes outside the ring and hangs Rusev up on the top, only to get levelled with a kick once he comes back in. Kofi manages to come back from the pendulum kick. Michael Cole then says ‘I don’t like Russia’, and that’s the kind of politics that the WWE should stay away from. Dropkick to Rusev, and Kofi tries to reign down punches; Rusev tries to counter, but gets dropkicked, crossbodied…and slams Kofi like he’s nothing. Accolade applied, and Kofi taps.
Kofi was the next logical step up from Truth, and this is why. Entertaining and gutsy performance, but a decisive loss. Good stuff. 2.5 Stars.
Michael Cole says that Putin will be very happy. Don’t worry, guys, we’ll get them at Eurovision.
The Wyatts show up with a video so fast that, for a second, I thought they were about to feud with Rusev. Bray waxes lyrical about fire, which has got to be comforting for the owners of that arena. He says that where Cena and Bray are going, nobody ever comes back. Jesus God, they’re going to the midcard!
Bolieve video, and I’m a little wary of how much army imagery is in this. I’m hoping that in the interest of balance we’ll be getting shown a lot of friendly fire, war crimes and drone strikes on civilian populations in future promos.
Unbeknownst To Emma, Santino And Layla, Zeb Lurks Nearby With A Really Big Net
And as punishment for my bitchy snark towards war atrocities, I get to review the WWE’s Never-Ending Story, with less dragons and more LAYLA.
Santino starts off against Fandango, who puts him in a headlock and hits a shoulder block. Fast, and I mean fast, arm drags from Santino, and he gets a headlock on Fandango. He’s backed into a corner and eats a hard Irish whip. Fandango comes off the second rope but misses, so Santino tags Emma. Thesz press to Layla, and then a Tarantula! It has been a while. Emmamite Sandwich, and I get it! She gets out her pink cobra, which is actually what I call my…
Santino runs in and gets low-bridged by Fandango, and Layla then MAJESTICALLY rolls up Emma for the pin.
I was actually quite impressed by that flurry from Santino. The rest was all pretty much what I’ve come to expect from these matches that I assume someone probably likes but I don’t know why. 2 Stars.
Fandango and Layla pause on the ramp and look at each other soulfully…and they kiss! And just about now, Curtis is totally good with his gimmick. They are now called Fandayla.
Michael Cole calls what happened with Daniel Bryan, Brie and Kane ‘a scene from a horror movie’, by which I assume he means ‘forgettable, badly-directed and with godawful acting’ (although Insidious: Chapter 2 actually had some laudably creepy moments in it, FYI).
In Which Roman Reigns Tries Not To Get Eaten
It’s time for another Shield match, and it’s Roman Reigns against Mark Henry. Apparently Reigns played football in Canada, so at least Renee knows he’s got manners. They lock up, and Reigns gets thrown into a corner before uppercutting Henry. Henry counters with a knee to the midsection and lots of trash talk. Roman gets tossed before Henry wraps himself around the steel post. Wow, Henry looks more dangerous than he has in years. Roman ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own to take Mark down, hitting another clothesline in the corner before Henry flattens him. Mark heads up to the second rope, but Roman catches him sometime during the three hours it took him to get there. Samoan drop to Henry as Reigns does that thing where he psyches himself up, but looks like he’s having a seizure. Spear ends it.
Slow paced and short, but hard-hitting. The athleticism of Reigns still takes me a little by surprise, I must say. 2 Stars.
Unbeknownst To Diego, Fernando, El Torito, Drew, Jhinder And Hornswoggle, Zeb Lurks Nearby With A REALLY Big Net
Oh, come on, I didn’t even make a joke about war atrocities! Yeah, it’s the 3MB vs. Los Matadores thing I don’t care about. In fact, I care so little about it that I’m going to write down my formula for this match and you can write it yourselves. That’s right: you all just got given homework; you can submit it via the comments section
‘Call the match, joke about the vertically challenged, yell at Michael Cole for making a joke about the vertically challenged, think about making a rape joke but don’t in case it offends people, take a drink, bemoan the fact that this is actually happening, pause everything and play some Skyrim, remember you’re writing a review after slaughtering the population of Whiterun, quickly call the finishers and make a joke about the vertically challenged.’
I think that was probably awful and offensive and I wish everyone involved stubs their little toe very hard against the end of a door. 1 Star.
During that match, Hornswoggle got bitten on the ass by El Torito, so I stand by my decision.
We relive Bryan and Brie not getting a restraining order against Kane. Also, why is Bryan scared of the man he set on fire and beat the shit out of the previous night? And why is Brie ‘so proud’ of Daniel Bryan for committing hideous acts of physical aggression? And why didn’t Bryan just hire a group of tough guys to break Kane’s legs which, if I was champion, I would do to every single contender, starting with the ones who threatened my wife. And why the hell did Bryan not reverse over the prone body of Kane like a sane person?
In Which Rollins Proves That He’s Kind Of Addicted To Jumping Onto People
It’s Batista vs. Rollins time, and Batista is growing a beard that does not all that much for him. Dave drives Rollins into the corner and Seth fights out, dropkicking Batista into the corner, but gets clotheslined from behind. Seth comes back again, dropkicking the big man out of the ring, but Batista dodges the dive and foils Rollins’ attempt at a baseball slide, trapping him in the ring apron and beating him down. Dave gets the ‘You Can’t Wrestle’ chants, just to make him again question his decision to return. Neckbreaker to Rollins, just to prove that he can wrestle, and he slams Seth down. Rollins is tossed again and gets sent into the steps. Chinlock applied, and Rollins fights out, only to get the back of his head slammed off the mat. Batista then sends him face-first into the turnbuckle, and hurls him into the corner. Suplex to Rollins, but when Batista tries to throw him up in the air, he flips onto his feet and throws Dave into the post.
Seth throws himself at Batista, knocking him around in the corner and Rollins catches him off the ropes, hitting a kick to the stomach and nearly getting the Asai DDT, but Batisa counters. Seth’s thrown out onto the apron and catches Batista with a kick. He misses the springboard knee, but rolls through, only to run into a spinebuster. Batista looks to finish it with the Batista Bomb, but Seth fights out, hitting the enzuigiri. Batista’s knocked to the outside as Seth heads up and leaps out to get Batista, but Dave dodges and Seth brains himself on the table so Batista wins by count-out.
This was a good match right here, although the one cloud in the sky is that since that whole thing about Batista refusing to lose to Bryan got out, I have the same feeling every time Batista goes over, which is ‘well, I hope you’re fucking happy’. I know it’s wrong, but I still think it. Oh, and note my ‘noble or stupid’ comment above and apply it to Rollins: take the damn count-out win.
Batista apparently agrees with my view that stupidity should be punished, looking to attack Rollins after the match. Batista Bomb to Seth and no run-in by Reigns or Ambrose. Must hate stupidity too.
Ravioli Ravioli, Give Me The Formuoli
It’s Cena and the Usos vs. the Wyatt Family, and Cena starts off against Rowan, pounding on him in the corner. Suplex to Rowan, and it’s almost nice to see that John’s not a cringing bitch anymore. Apparently on Main Event he told fans to question things, and I’d like to start with the WWE’s logic. Harper gets tagged in, and so Cena beats the bearded shit out of him too. Jey takes a turn at Whack-The-Hobo, then Jimmy does too. Roll-up to Harper, who then gives Jimmy pause with a big shot and tags in Rowan. Erick works over Jimmy in the corner, but then eats an uppercut. Tag to Jey, who gets thrown into corner and ran right over by Rowan. Harper now laying the beatdown on Jey as Michael Cole reminds us that Bray said ‘you can’t fool the children’. Yes you can. Children are extremely easy to fool, which is how we get them to believe in Santa Claus and why we worry about them being abducted.
Harper slingshots Jey into the ropes, tagging in Bray to continue the assault. Spiderwalk from Bray, and it really seems like he’s very vulnerable in that position. And why are people so freaked out about something they made me do in primary school P.E.? Jey tries to run, but Bray catches him, only to run into an uppercut and get low-bridged. Rowan rushes Bray into the ring to tag Harper, and Harper takes out Jey before he gets the tag, doing the Gator Roll. Headlock applied, then a big boot to the face of Jey. Rowan comes in, giving Jey a bodyslam and missing a splash. Jimmy comes in off the tag, knocking the tubby out of Wyatt. Cena smacks Wyatt and Jimmy kicks him, prompting Bray to tag out to Harper; Harper gets his beard practically kicked off as Rowan, Bray and Cena brawl on the outside before Jey takes them out with a splash. That Clothesline lays out Jimmy, and the Wyatt Family gets the win.
Wasn’t expecting that result, but a good match. The Usos really stood out here, I must say. 2.5 Stars.
It’s been a decent SmackDown this week. Some awful comedy mixed in with some great matches. Overall, I think this show merits a seven.
Tags: 3MB, alexander rusev, Bad News Barrett, batista, big e langston, Cesaro, emma, Evolution, Fandango, john cena, Kofi Kingston, Layla, Los Matadores, Mark Henry, Rob Van Dam, Santino Marella, sheamus, Smackdown, The Shield, the usos, The Wyatt Family