Hey guys. First off, allow me to apologise for this being up later than usual; I was otherwise employed picking my younger sister up from university. Finally: a drinking buddy actually living in the same house as me. Second off, allow me to apologise for the dreadful pun I’ve decided I’m about to make.
Let’s get SmackDown to business.
We get a recap of the horrifying smugness that is the Authority having something good happen to them; their announcements of Stephanie’s pregnancies to family and friends must have been fucking irritating. But we’re not getting Stretcher Match featuring Kane, and I’m all kinds of fine with that. Plus, you know, we’re not going to watch Bryan seriously injure himself in said match.
We open up with the belts hanging above the ring, and I don’t think I could take a finish in which one wrestler takes one and another gets the other: contrived coincidences are my kryptonite. Ambrose and Roman emerge, and I hope we get to hear more of Ambrose’s poetic musings on mutilation. Dean makes a lot of card game metaphors, and then says he’s shutting down the Seth Rollins business for good. Well, like anything under control of the McMahons, I’m sure stock speculation will kill it in time. Reigns then takes the mic and threatens Randy Orton, and I’m amazed anyone has the energy to keep directing any emotion whatsoever at Randy Orton. He then calls Triple H Orton’s ‘Daddy’, which is disturbingly close to my fanfiction.
Trips, realising that whatever follows this is not going to be kid-friendly (spoiler alert: it really isn’t), gets the titantron and says that the Shield aren’t both going to be able to qualify, so he flips a coin and says that Dean Ambrose gets to qualify, if he can beat Bray Wyatt with Roman and the Wyatts banned from ringside. Golly gee, I sure do hope nobody who isn’t those three guys gets involved. Triple H then announces that Roman’s going to face Bad News Barrett, coupled with the worst attempt at an English accent since the Sherman Brothers handed Dick Van Dyke a pinstripe suit and told him to dance with cartoon penguins. And now I’m imagining Dick Van Dyke dancing to Barrett’s music: it’s awe-inspiring.
You’d Thing 3MB Would Have Learned By Now
Barrett and Roman circle each other to begin, finally locking up and exchanging holds. Reigns is shot off the ropes and shoulder-tackles Barrett, blocking a hip toss to deliver a back suplex. Irish whip sends Wade into the corner, and he catches a charging Roman with his knee, working him over. Roman’s sent off the ropes, but grabs Barrett and suplexes him. Wade regains control with a punch to the midsection as JBL and Cole make references which remind me that this is the only sport I’ve ever watched. Irish whip’s reversed, sending Barrett into a corner to rebound into a clothesline, after which Roman gets up on the ropes and punches him (just to confirm that he really is a face), before sending Barrett right out of the ring.
The ref makes the count as some guys in the stands shout out other numbers: whatever makes you happy, I guess. Reigns eventually gets bored and heads out to grab Wade, who tries to mount offence but gets beaten down on the outside. See, this is totally how the Intercontinental Champion should be used: a punching bag for anyone more important. Barrett catches Reigns on the apron with a kick, throwing him into the barricade and calling for the ref to count; Roman makes it back in at eight, and Barrett chokes him on the ropes, hitting knee-strikes and a boot to the face. Roman fights out of Barrett’s sleeper, but gets caught up on the turnbuckle from a failed crossbody and Barrett goes right after him again. Neckbreaker to Reigns, following knees and boots. Apparently if you lie within earshot of Michael Cole once, he’ll never trust you again and will assume that you are Satan, which is vastly hypocritical considering what a douchebag he used to be during the Miz Months.
Samoan drop from Reigns, then some big clotheslines and an uppercut, followed up by Reigns’ apron dropkick. Superman Punch floors Barrett, and Roman sets up for a spear, but is then distracted by the approach of 3MB, and the look of honest disbelief on his face is, I would, say, highly justified. DQ imminent.
Nothing technically stunning about this match, and I’d like to stop the mid-card champs being used as expendable opponents, but it was good enough. 2.5 Stars.
3MB jump Roman in what can only be called their swansong. Enjoy every second of touching an actual main-eventer, you guys. And then Reigns wakes up, clearing the ring, hurling Jinder Mahal into his future endeavours, spearing Drew into unemployment and just plain spearing Slater right out of the air. Badass.
Rowan Wrestles Like He Makes Love: Pull Their Hair And Finish Abruptly
We’ve got Usos in the house, and I swear that someone out there knows who the number one contenders are, but they are damned coy about stepping forward. It will be Jey Uso vs. Erick Rowan; I love single Usos matches, because I don’t have to wait for Michael to tell me which one of the twins is in the ring.
The bell rings, and Rowan is immediately on offence, chasing Jey until the Uso low-bridges the big man and dives on top of him. Back in the ring, uppercut to Erick, who quickly overpowers Jey to put him down, but misses a splash. Was God going through a Looney Toons fixation when he designed this man? No part of his face could not belong to a cartoon. Jey comes back with a kick and an uppercut, then a clothesline and dragon whip. Samoan drop attempted, but Rowan slips out and manages to throw Jey off the top of a turnbuckle by his hair. Rock Bottom-ish, and that…actually gets the pin. Why the hell not?
Was not expecting that ending, although I was not aware that was Rowan’s finisher. Still, that was quick, even though the Wyatts have proved themselves capable of taking down the champs. 2 Stars.
Bo’s A Goofy Goober, Yeah. You’re a Goofy Goober, Yeah. We’re All Goofy Goobers, Yeah.
It’s time to Bo-Lieve as Bo Dallas will take on R-Truth. I guess that we’re going to see a lot of double-duty from our jobbers over the coming months. I hear that Vince isn’t high on Bo right now, and I’m not saying that I’m overawed with the guy, but I’d like to make the point that Vince once believed that good television was his Bell’s Palsy impression. R-Truth managed to duck WWE’s George R.R. Martin tribute, as did Xavier Woods, because Rusev needs people to crush and apparently prefers them African-American. Bo Dallas dances to Truth’s music, which should be a sin, and then tries to get in on some mic action, which kills the mood. Ah, that socially awkward guy you can’t take to parties…
Bo does a street handshake as opposed to a regular one, which hints at some prejudice under that Barbie Doll smile. They circle each other, with Truth applying a headlock, gets shot off the ropes and hits a tackle. Bo is infuriated by Truth’s dancing and, honestly, so am I by now, but he still eats a hip toss. Waistlock by Bo, then a forearm to the face, and he yells ‘he was attacking me’. In…in a fucking wrestling match, Bo? R-Truth punches Dallas in the face for being really really stupid, but Bo knocks him down and hits a suplex and a knee to the face. Bo wrenches the head, grabbing R-Truth’s hair to slam him to the mat, but runs into a calf kick. Inverted suplex slam to Bo, who dodges the Scissors Kick and hits the Bo Dog for the win.
I guess R-Truth is a small step-up. I think the thing is with Rusev and Bo is we’re seeing really similar opponents, which gives an air of repetition. This match was pretty good. 2.5 Stars.
After the match, Bo shakes hands with R-Truth and hugs him. I was sure that when he leaned in he was going to kiss Truth on the cheek, and I’m worried because I have no idea where that thought came from. Hm.
Heyman and Cesaro are in the ring, and Heyman says he’s here to translate for Cesaro, which is fairly patronising of Heyman, as Cesaro speaks English. Oh, but he’s refusing to speak English, and apparently Heyman speaks German. The things you learn. Cesaro’s here to fight with Sheamus, who will use a roll-up in a fight like the total bitch he is. This challenge to Sheamus’ willing to beat someone he barely knows into bloody unconsciousness summons the Irishman, and the match is on.
Cesaro starts the action with some uppercuts and fists into the corner, and Sheamus comes right back with kicks and forearms. Cesaro again takes control with a boot to Sheamus in the corner, and then floors him a punch. Sheamus counters a hip toss and smashes Cesaro down with a clothesline, and these two men are just beating the hell out of each other already. Suplex from Sheamus, then forearms to the back. Cesaro manages to manoeuver Sheamus into the corner, choking him against the ropes before hitting him with a back suplex. Sheamus fights back yet again, and will continue to do so until the magic words our spoken: ‘Time, gentlemen! Haven’t you lot got any homes to go to?’ Both men spill out over the top rope; it seems that Cesaro has done some damage to his knee.
Back from a commercial break, Cesaro is throwing knees into the face of Sheamus, his knees clearly totally fine. Sheamus tries to hit his clubbing forearms to the chest, but Cesaro fights out of it until Sheamus just clotheslines him instead, only for Cesaro to grab Sheamus’ leg and pull hard to the outside. Back in the ring, stomps to the chest of Sheamus and then a headlock by Cesaro, putting Sheamus down as he tries to fight out. He wrenches the Irishman back on the ropes, and then goes back to throwing hands, then a boot. Cesaro is firmly in control, and then Sheamus starts yelling at him to hit him more: unusual strategy. High knee to Sheamus, who smashes Cesaro in the face, knocking him off the turnbuckle. He hangs Sheamus up on the ropes, but the Irishman’s fired up, hitting axe-handles and high knees, then the clubbing forearms to the chest. Irish Curse hits for two, and Cesaro slides out of White Noise, hitting a big uppercut. Again, Sheamus keeps wanting Cesaro to punch him, and this is some Opus Dei shit right here, until Sheamus hits the rolling senton to put Cesaro down. He signals for the Brogue Kick, and Heyman causes a distraction; Cesaro runs into a back-elbow and manages to roll Sheamus up from a bodyslam position for the win.
Definitely the best match so far: a rough brawl with an ending which made really good sense. 3 Stars.
Here’s Bray Wyatt, talking about his dream home for a second and then turns it into another one of his acid flashbacks. Plot twist: Sister Abigail turns out to be Wyatt’s dealer. Bigger plot twist: she also sells to Adam Rose. The Wyatts must be lonely in their undisclosed location: the Shield’s split up; Punk’s gone and Bryan’s recovering. They need some roomies.
Don’t Be A Lemon; Be A Rosebud, Old Sport
In the ring is Fandango and Layla. So, I watched milk-pouring thing, and in this whole situation, Summer Rae seems like a giant bitch. Apparently Layla was rubbing her relationship in Summer’s face, which I don’t actually remember hearing about, so it seems like Summer Rae thought that physical assault was a positive step. Although it would be easier to defend Layla if she hadn’t then done the exact same thing. JBL says that where he comes from, dropping a box of kitty litter on someone is a fighting event: is that like the Texas glove-slap?
Oh, and here’s ADAM ROSE and the Psychotic Narcotic Posse. Fandango twirls and the men tie up, only for their eyes to meet and for Fandango to dance and Adam Rose to prance. Aw. And then Fandango goes on the assault, rocking Rose’s head off the turnbuckle and hitting back elbow. Michael says that JBL is rabbiphobic, which I think means he’s afraid of Rabbis. Oy. Suplex to Rose and Fandango heads up top, going for his leg drop, but suddenly Rose’s adrenochrome kicks in, and he rolls to his feet, hitting his Party Foul. And if you were seeing the things that he was seeing, you’d understand his reasons.
As with most of Rose’s matches so far, it’s about the spectacle. I am a big fan of that spectacle (because I read a tonne of stuff into it and get giggly), but from a wrestling fan standpoint, that’s a 1.5 Star match.
It turns out that Summer Rae is in the chicken mask (possible erotic fanfic involving Erick Rowan…), and her being allied with Adam Rose makes me seriously conflicted. She jumps Layla as Fandango and Charles Robinson cop a feel. So, Summer’s a psycho, but is now associated with Adam Rose; this isn’t Layla’s fault, but she’s not associated with Adam Rose.
Don’t make me choose.
The Hell’s Feuding With Who?
Here’s Jack Swagger, and joining him is Big E; looks like an American athlete is a step down from a Russian one. Swagger immediately clotheslines Big E, throwing him shoulder-first into the turnbuckle and then into the barricade. Wait, what the what? Swagger decapitates Big E with a clothesline and I am horribly confused. Front facelock to Langston, and then Swagger charges at Big E, only to get backdropped over the top rope and then laced with clotheslines in the ring. That’s better. Belly-to-belly from Big E, and then the Warrior Splash. Straps come down, and then Lana’s music hits. She speaks Russian, which apparently hypnotises Big E into ignoring the fact that he’s in a match. Langston gets hit with a big boot, which he deserves. Oh, and here’s Zeb Motherfuckin’ Coulter, telling the Busty Ruski to get herself and her short skirt out of here. Oh, did I call this rivalry way back when? Believe I did. Lana actually leaves, because she don’t want none of Zeb Coulter. Swagger Bomb gets Jack caught for the Big Ending and Langston wins, despite demonstrating himself to be an idiot when it comes to obvious distractions.
Over quick, although the hint of a Swagger/Rusev storyline and the intensity Swagger showed was promising. I’m taking a harder line on people who forget that they’re in a match, because I don’t think anyone is really that debilitatingly stupid. 2 Stars.
Bray and Rose’s Dealer Also Supplies To Alicia
So apparently we’re dealing with the aftermath of Aksana making terrible decisions when it comes to choosing a friend. Alicia offers her hand to Aksana, who slaps her in the face, so Fox is probably blind now. Hip toss to Alicia, then clotheslines. Apparently Fox said that she and Alicia are friends to the end, so it’s fitting that this match airs after Aksana was let go. Snap suplex by Aksana, and she drops an elbow. Alicia hits a forearm to the face, but misses the scissors kick, and Aksana nails her with a spinebuster, only to splash onto Fox’s raised knees. Northern Lights suplex from Fox gets two, then a sleeper hold (because even the crazy ones do that). Aksana backs her into the corner, but gets hit with…you know, even the commentators didn’t know what that was, and they get paid to know.
Fair match, although the Divas have recently given me reason to expect a higher standard (and I’m very happy to be able to say that). 1.5 Stars.
We recap Seth’s explanation for his chronic bout of assholishness, when the writers could be bothered to give him one. I like the fact he wears a black suit, just so you know he’s evil.
Crazy And Crazier
Both Bray and Ambrose get themselves to the ring as I begin the countdown until Rollins interferes. Bray shoves Ambrose, aware that he’s found the one guy he can’t creep out, so Ambrose smashes him with some punches, only for Bray to wipe him out with a clothesline. Dean hammers back with some punches and headbutts, taking Wyatt down with a crossbody and hitting some serious stomps in the corner. Uppercut from Bray catches Dean Ambrose, but he takes Bray down with what looked like a neckbreaker and hits his dropkick into the ropes on Bray. Bray’s on the outside and Ambrose tries to vault onto him, but Wyatt catches him and Rock Bottoms him onto the apron.
Back from the break, Bray’s in control, wrenching Ambrose’s arm off the apron. In the ring, Dean suddenly surprises Wyatt with a hard DDT, but the injured shoulder makes it hard to capitalise. He fights Bray with one hand, who throws him shoulder-first into the post. For a guy who lives in a swamp, Bray’s pants are just dazzlingly white. Boot to the side of Ambrose’s head, then some headbutts. Roll-up, and Dean kicks out, and then Bray pinches Dean’s nerves (either that or he’s massaging him). Bodyslam to Ambrose, who rolls out of the way of Wyatt’s back senton and onto the apron. Dean blocks Bray’s attempt to concuss him off the ringpost, but gets caught on the second rope and Wyatt tries a superplex with Ambrose blocking it. Headbutts to Wyatt, who gets knocked down; Dean leaps down into what looks like a chokeslam, but he fights his way out, only to get uppercutted, but rebounds into a clothesline.
Ambrose has apparently taken fighting lessons from Sheamus, because he’s daring Bray to hit him. That said, his facial expression is a masterpiece. The psychopaths exchange shots, with Ambrose hitting the canvas face-first, catching Bray in the corner and then launching himself out of the ring at him. Both men back in the ring; Ambrose nearly gets the win with a roll-up; Bray runs into a pair of knees; Ambrose comes off the top with a front dropkick for two. Bray manages to hit his crossbody, only for Dean to kick out. Suplex is reversed by Ambrose into a small package and he hits Dirty Deeds! And there’s Seth Rollins on the announce table, taunting Dean Ambrose; Dean runs right at him, but he gets a pass because he’s fucking nuts. Wyatt is smart enough to ignore Rollins and hits Sister Abigail to Dean.
Really good match; definitely would love to see a singles storyline between these two. Bray Wyatt my favourite for Money In The Bank? Oh yes… 3 Stars.
Bray’s ‘oh you’ look to Seth was definitely the funniest moment of that whole thing.
Good show this week. Good enough, in fact, that I will give it an Eight.
Tags: 3MB, Adam Rose, aksana, alicia fox, Bad News Barrett, big e langston, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, dean ambrose, Drew McIntyre, Erick Rowan, Fandango, Heath Slater, jack swagger, jbl, jey uso, Jinder Mahal, Lana, Layla, Michael Cole, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Roman Reigns, rusev, seth rollins, sheamus, Summer Rae, triple h, wyatt family, Zeb Coulter