It’s a good evening/afternoon/morning (hah…American time…) from me. I have emerged from doing literally nothing all day but coursework and dancing to Goodbye Horses whilst applying lipstick. You know: the usual.
And to kick off SmackDown, here is the Shield, to put down the latest piece of the ‘get beaten up, talk about it, beat the other guys up, talk about it’ puzzle. Seriously: that is this build. Rollins says that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’m pretty sure that my uncle’s coma has actually weakened him significantly. He says they’re angrier, hungrier and more focused than ever. They then show a badass promo of themselves getting the shit kicked out of them; I don’t think the Shield have exactly grasped how ‘propaganda’ works. Ambrose says that they don’t care what happens to them, and asks Evolution how crazy they’re willing to get; Well, one member of Evolution served thirty-eight days in military prison, which I’d argue is pretty fucking crazy. Rollins then feels the need to explain an ‘elimination rules’ match to us all, quite possibly giving away the ending of the match; spoiler tags, Seth. Reigns then makes a threat against the announce tables, like the stone cold psycho he is. I’ve just realised, does the Shield’s feud against Evolution make them creationists?
Later tonight, Barrett will face Sheamus in a professional wrestling adaptation of ‘The Troubles’. And Jimmy Uso will face Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match, in a professional wrestling adaptation of…getting mugged, I guess.
One Of These Days, Kofi; One Of These Days…BOOM, Uppercut!
Cesaro is approaching the ring with Paul Heyman, and the jobber entrance goes to Kofi Kingston. You know: just in case you couldn’t already guess the result. The bell rings, and Cesaro immediately takes Kofi over with a fireman’s carry, wrenching the arm; Kofi rolls out of it and applies a headlock; the two men chain moves fantastically before Cesaro counters an arm drag into a back-breaker. Uppercut drops Kofi, then Cesaro military presses him before hitting a stomp. Man looks hella dominant, and as I type that Kofi leaps to the top rope and hits a dropkick, then hits a springboard clothesline to take Cesaro down. Michael Cole says that this could kickstart Kingston’s…and then actually has to pause for a moment to find the right word for it: sense of purpose? Direction? Nope, it’s ‘comeback’. Big kick to the jaw of Cesaro, and I’ve just realised what a weird choice of opponent Kingston is if Cesaro is warming up to face Sheamus; admittedly I’d love to see Sheamus pin Cesaro after hitting Trouble In Paradise. Kingston runs the ropes, slides out of a backbreaker attempt, springboards back off the top rope…right into an uppercut for Cesaro to get the victory.
Some of the chain wrestling in there was superb; all of that match flowed really nicely. Very on form. 3 Stars.
After the match, Cesaro comes back into the ring to hit the Neutraliser to Kofi. Michael Cole calls it a direct message to Sheamus, and what sort of message is that? ‘I can do this move on guy a lot smaller than you’?
Backstage is Renee Young, and she brings on Bad News Motherfuckin’ Barrett. She tries to ask him about Sunday, but the Manchester Man says that if she thinks his title’s in jeopardy, then HE’S AFRAID HE’S GOT SOME BAD NEWS. He says all RVD has are his hand gestures and desperate attempts to cling to his past. When did the heels start making good points on this show? Barrett then makes the point that the Intercontinental Championship is geographically greater than the US Championship, and he is just a god to me right now. Actually, it’s a good thing the World Heavyweight Championship was combined with the WWE Championship, otherwise the IC title would be its equal in geography if not mass.
Oh Yeah, The Black Diva Steals The Title
Tamina Snuka’s in the ring, and is that what her music sounds like? Huh. And here’s the WWE’s answer to Lyanna Stark: Paige. The ladies tie up, and Paige gets pushed back, but then forces Tamina into the corner, socking it to her. Alicia Fox then comes out, I guess acting crazy, but I’ve seen really crazy people and they wouldn’t do this well in an arena full of people. Tamina benefits from the distraction, but Paige quickly regains control with a crossbody. Alicia Fox is taking selfies with WWE fans, and apparently this is enough to distract Paige; I hope that girl isn’t allowed to drive a car. Tamina hits a headbutt, and then Alicia steals the belt, which again distracts Paige. Seriously? Physical possession of a championship belt does not legally bestow the identity of a champion; if Fox actually stole the belt, Paige would still be the Diva’s champion and wouldn’t have to lug the belt around everywhere. But apparently Paige thinks that Alicia has committed some kind of identity theft, and eats a superkick, which she totally deserves. Paige kicks out as Fox climbs on the announce table, and she’d better not try that on Sunday; Roman Reigns meant business. Paige dodges Tamina, hits clotheslines and dropkick to the face, then knees to the face. She then stops to yell at Alicia, which means Tamina nearly gets the Samoan drop, but Paige manages to hit the Paige Turner and the PTO for the win.
This match was fine, and Alicia’s distractions are actually more entertaining than any of the male wrestlers’. However, it would be nice, just once, for the person we’re rooting for to have the mental discipline to ignore something which is more or less taking place in their peripheral vision. Oh no, might she attack you? Causing you to win via DQ? The horror. 2 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage, interview-cheating on Barrett with Sheamus. She asks the Irishman about Cesaro, and Sheamus says that physically attacking him makes things personal. Well…well, yeah. Renee asks Sheamus about the geography of the mid-card championship situation, and I love so much how this is a thing. Sheamus says he doesn’t know much about continents and countries. Seriously? How is that difficult to grasp?
Bo Dallas Just Wishes Bray Would Stop Pantsing Him In The Locker Room
Oh yay, it’s Xavier Woods. I think I don’t like this guy because he’s doing a PhD, which is something I want to do (which I think would officially make these reviews academic papers). Here comes Bo Dallas, and Michael Cole wishes that he’d go to Bolivia. Jesus, Michael, 60% of people there live under the poverty line. Bo gets on the mic and spouts his crap, which I think is a fair description, and the bell rings. Both men tie up and Bo hits an arm drag and goes out to celebrate. Xavier gets a headlock and hits a dropkick; he tries a waistlock, but Bo sends him through the ropes. Back in the ring, Bo hits a high back suplex, following it up with knees to the face. Xavier rolls out of a headlock, hitting a right hand and some clotheslines. Michael says that it would be embarrassing for Bo to lose to Woods: suck it, Xavier. Woods hits the Honour Roll, and tries to come off the top rope with a crossbody, but Bo hits him with a dropkick in mid-air. Bo-Dog finishes it.
Another good match, and another example of things just flowing nicely along. Bo’s commitment to his gimmick throughout the match is really great to see. 2.5 Stars.
Bo gets on the mic again, and says we’re all winners. I’m pretty sure we’re not, Bo. I’m pretty sure someone out there is right now crying and eating a lot of chocolate. Bo then hugs Xavier Woods, whose ‘please make this stop happening’ face is a thing of beauty.
We look back at RAW, when Bray was trying to punish King for his bullshit morality and misogynist commentary. And I honestly don’t care that JBL immediately got destroyed out there; I love the fact that he was about to get in the ring with Wyatt (in other news, Harper and Rowan were summoned to Wrestler Court this week and were barred from the locker room for forever). And let’s hear it for John Cena, defender of creepy old men.
Now These Guys I Would Send To Bolivia
We relive what I can only describe as the reverse-castration of El Torito and the symbolic castration of Drew McIntyre from this Monday. Torito is in the ring with shears, and if that’s not a dick-severance threat I don’t know what is. Apparently Jinder Mahal will be facing the bull this time, but at least he was never the Chosen One. Torito dropkicks Mahal at the legs and then runs from him until he tries a springboard and misses. Mahal hits a traditional atomic drop as Los Matadores fight on the outside. Torito hits a rolling powerbomb from the top as JBL makes a joke that bears repeating: ‘WCW had a Hair vs Mask match with Billy Kidman and Psicosis; I think Kidman lost and had to take his mask off’. What an anecdote. Oh, and Torito wins with a moonsault.
I’m adding half a star for the use of a non-inverted atomic drop, and a whole star for JBL’s WCW joke. So…1.5 Stars.
Hornswoggle and Torito sort of get into it after the match and Hornswoggle flees from Torito’s shear-related retribution.
An Englishman And An Irishman Walk Into A Bar…
Heyman is on commentary. Michael Cole introduces him, pauses, and then goes ‘hello’, which probably isn’t as funny as I’m currently finding it, but this red wine is hitting me pretty hard. And it’s Sheamus vs. Barrett for our Champion vs. Champion match. Honestly, this is what I’ve wanted to see since both of these guys won their gold, and the fact I get to review it is just the cherry on top. I like the fact that Barrett’s first image on the titantron was blatantly stolen from Skyfall. I think it’s safe to say that, out of the two men, Sheamus is going to put on the better bout of Sunday’s PPV considering their respective opponents, but I feel confident in saying that this match is going to beat both of them.
The bell rings and we’re off. Lock up and both men jockey for position; Sheamus gets a headlock, gets shot off the ropes and takes Wade down with a shoulder block. Barrett goes low with kick, scoring blows; Sheamus comes out of the corner fighting, hitting some strikes of his own before wrenching Barrett’s. Barrett fights back, sends Sheamus into the corner, who comes out to level Wade with a clothesline. Even match so far as Barrett is thrown into the corner, rocks a charging Sheamus with the shoulder, heads up to the top rope, jumps down and suplexes Sheamus. Sheamus tries to go for the chest pounds, but Barrett hits some elbows, knocking the Irishman off the apron and coming off the apron himself with an elbow drop to the outside.
Back in the ring, Barrett takes the fight to Sheamus, but Sheamus blocks a kick, taking Barrett down. Wade’s sent hard into the corner and takes a running senton, getting clotheslined out of the ring. Sheamus crouches on the apron, waits for Barrett to rise, and then hits a flying shoulder block. Barrett is whipped into the steps, but runs over them and kicks them back into Sheamus’ legs before knocking him down with a clothesline.
Back from a commercial break, Barrett’s got Sheamus in a headlock. During the break, Wade hit several kicks to Sheamus’ head whilst holding him in the ropes. Sheamus fights back, hitting axe-handles, a shoulder to the midsection, a Harley Race knee…and runs face-first into a knee, then eats a hard kick from Barrett for a two-count. Sheamus manages to surprise Barrett, hitting the Irish Curse. Clubbing blows to Wade’s chest; White Noise is countered; Brogue Kick’s ducked and Barrett scores with the Winds of Change for the two. Bad News sets up for Waste Land; Sheamus slips out into a crucifix pin; Barrett rolls through; both men to their feet and Brogue Kick for the win!
What a match; perfect back and forth leading up to a brilliant finishing sequence in a PPV-quality bout. Easily 4 Stars.
Sheamus approaches Heyman post-match, who pleads that he has two small children at home and finishes by saying ‘good luck Sunday!’ God, I love Paul sometimes.
Renee is backstage, interviewing Jimmy as he attempts to do what Cena might be able to do. What’s wrong with this picture?
Oh God, They’re Doing The Flag Bit
We recap Rusev beating Ryder and then getting knocked out of the ring by Big E. Langston then comes to the ring, still waving the flag and chanting ‘USA’. Americans do patriotism in a more annoying fashion than any other country. E’s going to face Titus O’Neil in what I assume will be another squash inflicted on Titus’ record. Lana comes out and does her cartoon supervillain bit; if they really wanted to get at Russia, they could bring up their terrible treatment of the LGBT community. You know, because that’s actually a real and serious issue. She brings out Rusev, who has the Russian flag. I’ve decided a lot of the world’s flags need a more interesting design; we should get sigils and badass mottoes and, yep, basically just Game of Thrones it.
Titus jumps Langston, as is kind of his thing (House O’Neil’s Words: ‘U-ruh U-ruh U-ruh U-ruh’). He beats on Big E, hitting more moves than any of his other matches, but Big E then takes control with a belly-to-belly, the splash and the Big Ending (House Langston’s Words: ‘The Straps Are Down’).
Personally, I like a squash match to have more of a protracted beating. That or a one-hit K.O. 2 Stars.
Both Langston and Rusev wave flags after their match. For God’s sake.
We Were Somewhere Outside Barstow, On The Edge Of The Desert, When The Drugs Began To Take Hold…
Recap of Adam Rose’s debut, and him going fucking apeshit at Swagger stealing his giant lemon/costumed sex-slave. Jack and Rose are going to go at it tonight, and they make their way to the ring.
Jack wants to lock up, but Adam Rose would rather prance and gambol around. He offers his lollipop to Swagger, but Jack Just Says No and slaps the drug-dipped candy away. Rose jumps a leg-pick, then gets waistlocked by Swagger; he backs Jack into the corner and whispers something which makes Swagger push him away (this author suspects: ‘would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me hard’). He then leaps into Swagger’s arms and gets thrown away, laughing. Swagger rolls out of the ring and asks Zeb ‘what just happened’. Swagger dives into the ring; Rose dives out. Jack goes out, Rose goes in and attacks Swagger, managing to get an unorthodox pin for the win.
I can sense that these matches are going to be really hard to rate. On a wrestling level, it’s bollocks. On an entertainment level…I don’t know when I’m not going to be entertained by Rose’s shenanigans, but I’m betting it’s not before he offers to suck his opponent’s dick for drug money. 2 Stars.
Recap of Bryan and Stephanie’s showdown, and I’m pretty sure that Bryan could take Stephanie, even with a recently-repaired neck. I mean, he’s knocked other Authority figures around, both in and out of matches, and has attacked Stephanie before, who has also attacked him. If it was me, I’d kick her in the head: send a message. That message being ‘take my belt, get concussed’.
It Would Be Embarrassing If Jimmy Did It And Cena Lost
Here’s the Wyatt Family, and here are the Usos. And John Cena’s not here to back up Jimmy? Um…wow. Asshole. Bray laughs at Jimmy, and then immediately starts with some hard strikes, throwing him to the floor. As he runs off the ropes, he gets calf-kicked by Jimmy and knocked out of the ring, only to get hit with some flying Uso. Wyatt gets to his feet and laughs maniacally, probably at the idea that Jimmy thinks he can win. Jimmy rocks Bray’s head off the barricade, but then gets thrown hard into it himself, several times. Back in the ring, Bray hits his running back-drop, staying on Jimmy, choking him on the ropes.
Back from the break, Bray Wyatt slams into Jimmy in the corner. Uso tries to fight back, but Wyatt’s all over him, hitting a suplex. Jimmy and Bray exchange strikes, and Wyatt comes off the ropes to hit a Samoan drop. Bray tries to hurl himself at Jimmy, who low-bridges him out of the ring. Jimmy runs along the barricade; Bray ducks the flying Uso and walks right into a superkick. Wyatt beats the count, and both men come back into the ring. Bray hits his crossbody and then does his spiderwalk; I’m not sure whether that will do anything to keep Jimmy down. Bray taunts Jey about not helping his brother, and backstage Bo Dallas just burst into tears.
Jimmy gets put on the top rope and Bray climbs up, trying a superplex; Jimmy manages to throw Wyatt down and hit the Superfly Splash. Wyatt manages to beat the count at eight, throwing Jimmy out of the ring and levelling him on the outside. He tries to powerbomb Jimmy on the floor, but Jimmy hits a kick to the temple, then the Samoan wrecking ball into the barricade. Bray gets up at nine as Jey gets jumped by the Wyatts; Jimmy superkicks Bray, tries to Samoan wrecking ball him against the steps, but Bray dodges and hits Sister Abigail for the ten count.
Decent match, but there was never a question of the result. Still, good show by both men. 2.5 Stars.
I thought this was a good show for the go-home. Some great action, some laughs and ADAM ROSE. Along with the wine, made for a very good evening. I’ll give it an eight.
Tags: 3MB, Adam Rose, alexander rusev, alicia fox, Bad News Barrett, big e langston, Bo Dallas, Cesaro, dean ambrose, El Torito, Erick Rowan, Evolution, Hornswoggle, jack swagger, jbl, jey uso, jimmy uso, Jinder Mahal, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Los Matadores, Luke Harper, Michael Cole, Paige, Paul Heyman, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, seth rollins, sheamus, Smackdown, Tamina Snuka, The Shield, the usos, The Wyatt Family, titus o'neil, WWE, xavier woods, Zeb Coulter