Welcome to WWE SmackDown, beaming to you from London; enjoy it while it lasts, WWE, because when UKIP wins and starts its crusade, we won’t be letting anyone who isn’t white, British and reliant on ‘common sense’ rather than ‘actual facts’ into these sceptered isles.
Jimmy Hart’s in the ring, introducing Hulk Hogan. Either my drugs or the time machine worked, or there had better be a good reason to be rolling these guys out here. And it had better not be that either of them are going to be in a match. Quite a loud ‘Hogan’ chant in London, admittedly. Hogan says it’s great to be in London, just like the old days, and then plugs Legends House. Oh, so Hogan’s doing commercials, like other celebrities of roughly his age.
Hogan says that tonight’s not about looking back, and you certainly could have fooled me considering the two eighties icons in the ring, but the future. He says the WWE is bigger and better than it’s ever been, which must be in the same way that, say, $11.27 is bigger and better than, say, $20. He says they’re already on the road to next year’s WrestleMania, which is still a shorter build than 29 had. Whatcha gonna do when the Legends House, the WWE Network and Hulkamania run wild on you? I imagine I’ll sell my stock to Lemelson Capital.
And as Christ was apparently resurrected after his death, so shall Dolph Ziggler have a rematch with Batista: no holds barred. I can only imagine Ziggler offended someone in organised crime, and they’re a huge wrestling fan.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Batista II: Die Harder
Apparently Ziggler demanded a match against someone who physically mutilated him last week, in retaliation to said-mutilation. This is like the logic behind every decision made in 47 Ronin. Batista drives Dolph into a corner but gets punched out and eats a dropkick. Kicks to Batista, choking him with his foot, but Batista drops him with a spinebuster off the ropes for a two. Batista heads out of the ring, grabbing a chair, but Ziggler snatches the chair off him. He tries to strike the big man, but Dave grabs him and smashes him into the announce table, then the apron, which is how he’s going to teach Ziggler the definition of ‘hindsight’. Batista winds up for a spear, but Ziggler side-steps and sends him right into the barricade. A clothesline sends both men into the timekeeper’s area, and I shouldn’t giggle when I read that back, but I most certainly did.
Back from the break, the timekeeper has regained his personal space as Batista hurls Ziggler into the barricade. Ziggler fires up again, smacking Batista’s beard off the announce table, then tries to punch it off. Batista almost gets a bodyslam, but Dolph slides out, only to get clotheslined. Back from a second break, Batista tries to smash Ziggler with a chair, but what do we say to the God of Death? Not today: Ziggler ducks, grabs the chair again and laces the big bastard with it. He rolls the dead weight of Batista into the ring, only for Dave to roll right back out the other side: that’s our Batista! Ziggler follows him, knocking Batista down on the outside, then hurls him into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Ziggler hits his splash, then actually ties Batista’s arms up in the ropes before punching him; I do enjoy a bit of tasty continuity. Neckbreaker takes Dave down, then Ziggler hits his big DDT. Let me take this opportunity to remind you that the guy who’s getting beaten by Ziggler is the muscle of a power stable who have a PPV match next week. Hurricanrana nearly turns into a Batista Bomb, but Dolph catches him with a Fame-Asser for a near fall.
Batista rolls out of the ring again; JBL calls it a ‘veteran instinct’, because everyone who isn’t a veteran just kind of sits there and drools at times like this. Ziggler puts Batista down with a baseball slide, and continues to lace him with punches. Cole actually got taken down by Batista going over the announce table, but went down still commentating: imagine this man in a war zone. Ziggler is honestly using Cole’s corpse to prop up Batista’s body: sick fuck. Batista tries to Batista Bomb Ziggler on the steps, but Ziggler hits a low blow, only to miss a running Fame-Asser on the steel steps, apparently injuring his leg. Michael Cole, the real victim of the night, has nothing but disdain for Dolph as Batista wins with a spear.
Okay, that was entertaining. Probably for some of the wrong reasons, but entertaining nonetheless. 3 Stars.
JBL asks if we don’t think Evolution is ready for a no holds barred match, and on the evidence of this match they’ll get beaten down a lot and then will take advantage of their opponents injuring themselves. Sound strategy. Oh, and Batista then hits Ziggler with the Batista Bomb, which is what you fucking get for making him touch Michael Cole.
We get a Bo Dallas promo, and as someone who despises vague inspirational buzz-phrases, I think the two of us are going to get along just fine.
This Isn’t What The Suffragettes Fought Against, But Probably Should Have Been
Here’s Nikki Bella, who will be handing the wrestling side of things so her twin can glare angrily at Stephanie McMahon even harder. She also has Referee Of The Year, Eva Marie, with her. They’ll be facing the Funkadactyls, in what’s known in Britain as a ‘Something For The Dads‘ match. Oh, and Summer Rae’s the special guest referee. Michael Cole says that there’s a tonne of intrigue in this match, and I just couldn’t face a world where that was true. We replay Summer Rae’s workplace sexual harassment of Fandango and her workplace bullying of LAYLA; apparently nobody on Total Divas likes Summer Rae, which is just…just a shocker.
Nikki starts off against Naomi, with Nikki hitting a fireman’s carry to wrench the arm. Kip up by Naomi, she gets whipped into the corner and kicks Nikki away. She attempts a Bubba Bomb, but Nikki fights out and hits a knee-facebuster. Summer Rae intentionally doesn’t make the count, because everyone in Creative apparently hates their bitch ex-wife. Double suplex from the Funkadactyls as Cameron tags in, hitting a terrible running facebuster, then eats a running dropkick.
Nikki tags in Eva Marie, which is a heel turn. Summer Rae refuses to make the count, so I guess they’re in a ‘Who’s The Worst Referee’ contest. Women, amIright?! *lights massive cigar and goes to play a round of golf*. Cameron gets an awful roll-up, and Summer Rae fast-counts it.
This was amusing insofar as it showed what the ‘‘‘‘‘drama””’ on Total Divas is like and also shows how far the WWE has to go when it comes to their female talent. Also Cameron managed to botch practically everything and none of them can act, so there’s that. 1 Star.
You Got Bo-ned. Wait…
Here’s Bo Dallas, and it’s time to see if those promos I’ve been sitting through for weeks has been worth it. I know, right; what could be? JBL certainly seems to be excited about it, and this guy doesn’t even have a midget. You can, however, definitely see the resemblance to Bray. He says he’s living proof that dreams do come true, and I’ll withhold judgement on that score until I see the extent of this gimmick. He says the most beautiful things in the world can only be felt in the heart, and all we have to do is ‘Bo-lieve’. Sounds simple enough, except Bo-lieve is not a real verb, therefore we cannot do it.
His opponent is Sin Cara, whose dream is probably not to be jobbing: should have Bo-lieved. They lock up, with Bo hitting an arm-drag and acting like someone just force-fed him ecstasy. Sin Cara rolls out of an arm-wrench, but Bo takes him over in a headlock, locking the arm. Sin Cara shoots him off, but gets ran-through by Dallas, who clotheslines him in the corner. Suplex to Sin Cara, then some knees dropped to the face. He’s successfully making this crowd turn on him; Sin Cara nearly gets a couple of pins, sending Bo Dallas into the corner hard. Chop to the chest, followed by Cara negotiating a backdrop to land on the apron, springboarding off the top rope to hit a headbutt, with another springboard into a splash. Handspring elbow puts Dallas down; he runs into an elbow from Sin Cara, then a kick. Sin Cara misses with a flying attack; Bo puts him down with a big clothesline, and then pins Sin with the Stratusfaction.
This was my first time seeing Bo in action, and I was happy with what he brought to the match. His gimmick certainly seems well-poised to grate on everyone around him, and he’s certainly expressive. Hopefully he can be as handled as well as his brother (a sentence that is weird as hell in any other context). 2.5 Stars.
After the match, Bo congratulates Sin Cara and tries to inspire him. Okay, I like it: really nice touch. Will we one day see his grinning, inspired cult fight the Wyatts’ singing child army? I’d buy that PPV.
We’re back from the break with the Wyatts in the ring. Brays on a chair and on the mic; he says he can feel us and hear us calling out to him. He says we don’t have to see the horrible things of the world, but evil is a very real thing. It’s called Summer Rae. Bray says we’ve become prisoners of our society, and when we raise an eyebrow, Cena’s sent in to reassure us. From a Nineteen Eighty-Four perspective, Bray’s seriously the babyface in this feud. Bray probably would have broken out of Room 101 and strangled every member of the Inner Party personally. Stay there and have sex with Julia, Winston Smith; Bray Wyatt’s got this shit. Actually, give Julia to Bray; you don’t deserve her.
We replay the beat-down of Cena on Monday. Bray says he knows that John’s scared, as he recruited the Usos to fall on the front lines. Honestly, when was the last time you heard a heel who wasn’t CM Punk talk and thought to yourself: ‘that’s actually a good point’? Bray makes some boasts along the lines of ‘the night is dark and full of terrors, and they’re all me’. And then speaks Dothraki or Klingon or Latin and starts singing. London, a city of football fans, are willing to sing pretty much anything, so join in.
An Irishman Performing For Englishmen? Like The 1800s All Over Again.
Heyman and Cesaro are on commentary. We show Cesaro’s dick move to Sheamus as the US Champ and Alberto Del Rio get into the ring. Cesaro then distracts Sheamus, allowing Del Rio to jump him. Sheamus quickly regains the advantage, whacking away at Del Rio in the corner. Alberto manages to hit a snapmare and a kick, only for Sheamus to fire back. Cesaro is speaking Italian to Michael Cole, and I should have understood more of that than I did. Cole actually intentionally mistranslates it, which is a kinda shitty move for a journalist to pull. Sheamus continues to beat on Del Rio, who catches him with an elbow, only to get caught in return to a running senton and gets clotheslined out of the ring. On the outside, Alberto shoves Sheamus into the apron and hits his step-up enzuigiri.
Back from the break, Del Rio climbs up high and comes down with a fist to Sheamus, then locks in sleeper before Sheamus misses a charge and blasts the corner. The trainer runs over, because working on Michael Cole and Ziggler has given him an inflated sense of importance, but Del Rio jumps on Sheamus to ensure that no medical attention can be given. Cesaro makes the point that people in Britain don’t like Sheamus and, honestly, we’re kind of jealous of the Irish’s fun-loving attitudes, their accents, their charm, their prowess with the ladies and, yes, still a little pissed about that whole uprising they had. You know: it’s complicated. Del Rio keeps Sheamus down as we go to another break.
Back to the action, and both men are down, but the United States Champ rises to his feet, sending Del Rio over the ropes, but Alberto lands on the apron and hangs up Sheamus. Sheamus comes back, however, with axe-handles, but Del Rio gets a backstabber. He misses the superkick and nearly gets caught with a roll-up, and Sheamus slams him with the Irish Curse. I actually had a dream last night that I was hanging out with a child who looked exactly like Sheamus: that honestly happened in my subconscious. Alberto slides out of a running senton and ducks a Brogue Kick, hitting a kick of his own to drop Sheamus, but the Irishman kicks out. Del Rio slaps Sheamus, but misses his charge and winds up on the apron so Sheamus can club the crap out of him. Del Rio again counters the running senton, locking in the cross-armbreaker. Sheamus tries to work his way over to ropes, using his feet to force a break. Cesaro tries to get involved and eats a right hand; Sheamus hits a spinning bodyslam, and then Cesaro grabs him, throwing him into the steps and hitting what Cole wonderfully calls a ‘Post-Steps Neutraliser’. Fantastic.
I really liked this match. These two have had some great bouts before, and this had a little more to it than your average SmackDown contest. 3 Stars.
Vickie’s in the ring, but she’s here to announce the debut of ADAM ROSE. I’m sold on this guy for what I’m certain are immature reasons. Although I’d happily replace his music with ‘TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!’ Vickie welcomes him to SmackDown, and he asks her if she’s a lemon, or a rosebud. Vickie doesn’t understand this hip lingo of the drug youth, and insists that she’s not a member of a lemonparty…wait… She gets mad, even though Adam Rose offers her his mollypop. His crowd of followers that only Adam Rose can see then carry her away. Now I’m hoping that Adam Rose leads his army of stoned-to-the-gills wasters on an unbalanced crusade against Wyatt’s child cult.
Renee Young is backstage with the Usos, who are still freaked out at Adam Rose’s Fear and Loathing moment. They say that they’re a real family, unlike the Wyatts. These guys must be assholes to adopted people. They then introduce John Cena, who spouts gibberish in the traditional, annoying sense of the word, in contrast to how Bray, Bo and Adam Rose do it. He says that any fool can run their mouth, and he’s the living proof of that. And can someone tell me what that chest-pound thing is? Other than a red light?
Why Bo-Lieve When You Can Bray-Live?
Here are the Usos, with their blood-relative elitism. And here’s Cena, with his terrible jokes. He’s not saying them, but they’re in there. The Wyatts follow them to the ring, and the bell rings. Harper starts off against Jey, sending him into the corner only to run into a boot. He strikes back with a right, but Jimmy gets a blind tag, coming in on a double-team only for Harper to stop him cold with a big shove. Rowan comes in, and Jimmy ducks a clothesline, heading after Rowan, driving him into the corner and tagging in Jey. They keep Rowan in the corner, and Jimmy comes in now, eventually taking Erick over the top rope with a crossbody. We go to break as the Wyatts regroup.
Back from the break, the Wyatts get back up and Rowan comes into the ring, running Jimmy’s head into the turnbuckle and tagging in Luke. Jimmy hits some strikes, tagging Jey in. Jey gets shoved back, gets a waistlock on Harper, but is backed into a corner and knocked down. Tag to Rowan; he tries a bodyslam, but Jey rolls him up in a pinning attempt; Rowan kicks out and Jey tags in Jimmy. Jimmy takes Rowan down into the corner, but is shut down again by powerful blow. Harper comes in and Jimmy catches him with a kick, only for Luke Harper to hurl him into the middle rope, neck-first.
Rowan’s back in now, with a bodyslam to Jimmy. He drives his fists into the Uso’s head as the crowd begins to sing ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’. Harper tags himself in, dropping elbows on Jimmy. Jimmy nearly gets a dragon whip to Harper, who manages to kick the Uso right out of the air as a counter. Clubbing blows to Jimmy’s back in the corner, only for Jimmy to kick Harper away and hit his corkscrew moonsault.
Jimmy gets the tag to Jey, who comes in hot, hitting crossbodies and clotheslines to Rowan. Big kick and a bigger Samoan drop, then he ducks Harper to hit the Samoan wrecking ball to Rowan, only to walk right into Harper’s big boot. Jimmy takes Harper out with a big kick of his own, diving through the ropes at him onto the outside. In the ring, Rowan gains his feet, missing a charge and driving himself out of the ring. Jey launches himself over the corner and ring post, taking out Rowan and then Harper with a leaping clothesline, driving Rowan into barricade on the rebound. In the ring, Jey heads up for the Samoan Splash, but Bray shoves him off the top rope for the DQ.
I like matches with the Usos. I like matches with the Wyatts. Do the math (actually, as we’re in Britain, do the maths). Both of these teams are a real pleasure to watch, and this was no exception to the rule. 3 Stars.
Cena runs into the ring, hitting an AA to the big man. Wyatt and Cena stare each other down; Bray gets up on the apron, but then gets back down. But…but why would he climb up…?
This was a fun show. Some better-than-average matches, along with some seriously entertaining moments. The Wyatt/Cena thing seemed like a last-show-before-the-PPV thing, but I’m sure they’ll have something for us next week. I’ll give this week an eight.
Tags: Adam Rose, alberto del rio, batista, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Eva Marie, Funkadactyls, Hulk Hogan, jimmy hart, john cena, Luke Harper, Nikki Bella, Paul Heyman, Payback, sheamus, sin cara, Smackdown, Summer Rae, the usos, Vickie Guerrero, WWE, wyatt family