Hey sports fans. It’s my distinct pleasure to cover SmackDown on this: Independence Day. Because you guys are apparently still really smug about that kind of thing, and it doesn’t even matter because Britain is a strong, independent country who don’t need no colony. Although at least we retained our ‘special relationship’, which apparently is the equivalent of political fuck-buddies
As a devil’s advocated-centred counterpoint to you guys actually having fun today, I’ll be writing this review whilst sipping a Newcastle Brown Ale and feasting upon Beef Wellington: the most English of all dishes, due to it possibly being named after a guy who beat seven shades of surrender out of the French (writer’s note: most English food is incredibly awful).
Well, on with the show.
We begin with a recap (sort of like Independence Day itself, I guess) of RAW. Cena’s on top again and is feuding with management, so it might as well be 2006 once again, right down to the video game cover. Also, let me be the first to congratulate Cena on finding a more ridiculous way to wear those belts than Randy Orton: you’ve seen the Championship Shoulderpads; now gaze in amazement at the Championship Bra. Blah blah Triple H, blah blah holding a briefcase, blah blah cold fingers of fear down my spine.
So, I still don’t recognise Rollins’ theme properly, but at least the bitchin’ black suit is stylish enough to excuse the garish gold briefcase. Also just realised that Seth Rollins kind of looks like Sandor Clegane in the right light (fuck the king). He says that he was seconds away from cashing in his briefcase; Cena got lucky, but the clock is still ticking. Seth then quotes Fight Club, furthering my belief that he and Ambrose are actually the same person.
Ambrose shows up, and that doesn’t disprove my theory at all. He says that no matter what happens, he’ll always be there (because he’s Rollins’ Tyler Durden). He says the briefcase is cursed, and that would be an amazing angle. The two of them go at it in the ring, but Orton shows up due to his consistent lack of anything else to do, followed by Roman Reigns, because Orton’s face isn’t getting punched at that particular moment. Ambrose and Roman clear the ring, and it’s nice to see those two actually kept in touch. Triple H arrives and puts Ambrose in a match with Orton and tells Roman if he interferes then he’s not allowed in the Battleground Championship Match. Because banning Reigns from matches has totally worked before and nobody got poisoned.
Okay, honestly, why is Langston suddenly either really intense when it comes to public speaking or constantly having a mild stroke? Ironically, he’s actually not brought his bullshit patriotism with him this week, which I massively appreciate. We see the end of the Cesaro/Kingston match, and it’s actually not a recap, because it only happened on the app; well played, WWE. Heyman comes out and for some reason doesn’t mention the Streak, only introducing Cesaro.
Cesaro boots the shit out of Big E, hurling him out of the ring and into the barricade. Cesaro fights like Big E talks. Langston manages to halt the momentum, throwing Cesaro into the timekeeper’s area. But ain’t nobody got time for that, and Cesaro slams a chair into Big E’s back, and then full-on hurls the timekeeper’s chair at Langston; both current Heyman Guys hate furniture, I guess. Big E’s thrown over the announce table, then into the steps. This is supposed to be a heel thing, I guess, but it’s damn exciting. Langston manages to catch Cesaro and belly-to-belly him. They’re separated, and it takes five refs to hold back Langston, but only one Heyman to hold back Cesaro; Paul’s a beast.
Backstage, Goldust and Stardust have stolen both Bray’s hangout spot and his gimmick of acting like he’s under the influence (but they’re second on his list: right after Adam Rose). The Shield are watching this and thanking God they moved out before these guys moved in.
Roman is backstage, and sullen that he’s getting interviewed by Not-Renee. He says he’s going to concentrate on the battle royal, so screw Ambrose.
This Is What Happens When You Get Independence
Ah, here’s Sheamus: someone from another country who decided to fuck off out from under Britain’s fair rulership. And he’s wearing the United States Championship; yeah, yeah, rub it in. Obviously, since this is Independence Day and he’s entering into a feud with Jack Swagger and this is the greatest opportunity that they’ll ever get to do this, the person who takes the Open Challenge will be Alexander…Del Rio. Well, I suppose Independence Day is about dredging up ancient history, so in a way this is rather fitting.
The Irishman and Mexican circle each other, and I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in the writers for missing a great opportunity, or myself for not expecting that. They brawl in the corner, with Sheamus getting the upper hand, only for Del Rio to snapmare and kick him. Punches to Sheamus in the corner, but Alberto runs into a right hand and a rolling senton. Sheamus drops a knee to the forehead, and then punches away. Michael starts laughing at the time Del Rio was a victim of grand theft auto and criminal damage by Sheamus, because he’s a psychopath. Del Rio levels Sheamus with a clothesline and boots him right in the head. Sheamus recovers, hurling Alberto into a barricade on the outside, but gets thrown into the steps off a reversed Irish whip. Backstabber on the ring apron as we go to the break.
We return as Sheamus hurls himself at Del Rio, sending both of them out of the ring; both men are down as the ref counts, but they get back in in time. Slugfest starts and Sheamus hits some axe-handles before running into a boot, only to hit the Irish Curse backbreaker. It’s funny how this match would work way better on St Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo. Alberto fights back, going for the Cross Armbreaker; Sheamus counters but gets caught in a tornado DDT. Del Rio stays on Sheamus, looking frustrated, and I have to admit I take Mexico’s Greatest Export more seriously after he kicked the fuck out of Bray Wyatt at Money in the Bank. Sheamus catches up to Del Rio on the second rope, and tries a superplex; Alberto fights out and Sheamus delivers the clubbing blows on the top rope as the ref counts as slow as he can. Flying shoulder tackle takes down Del Rio and Sheamus calls for the Brogue; Del Rio ducks and applies the cross armbreaker; Sheamus fights back, applying the Cloverleaf only for Sheamus to reach the ropes. Sheamus almost has Del Rio in an electric chair drop, but Alberto gets the cross armbreaker before Sheamus powerbombs him into the corner; a running charge sends Sheamus shoulder-first into the corner and he eats The Kick That Won Del Rio The World Heavyweight Championship; Del Rio tries for a moonsault, misses, lands on his feet and eats a Brogue Kick for the finish.
Yeah, yeah, fine: decent match. Doesn’t make me any less annoyed, or less aware of the fact that we’ve all seen this coupling frequently. 2 Stars.
We recap and interview between Michael and Daniel Bryan, and oh God, those are his clothes.
Instead Of ‘Injured’, Can We Start Saying ‘Was Dragged Into A Parking Lot By The Wyatts’?
Here’s Bo Dallas, who dedicates his entry into the IC Championship battle royal to Daniel Bryan. He’s facing Diego, because Fernando is…injured. If this keeps up, the only people employed and cleared for action will be John Cena and Randy Orton and oh my God, this was always their plan!
Diego says ‘ole’, as does Bo, and Diego dropkicks him. Bo fights back, taking Diego down and then says ‘yeah baby’. Hah: JeriBo. Diego manages to get some offence, surprisingly, but Bo puts a stop to that by throwing Diego shoulder-first into the turnbuckle, and ends it with the Bo Dog.
Short match, but good whilst it lasted. Obviously, no hint of a secret who was going to win. 2 Stars.
Bo then tries to be inspirational to a dwarf forced to wear a bull costume; JBL supports this, despite having stated multiple times his desire to legally own El Torito. He’s a complicated man. Torito then gores Bo, like the pintsized dickhead that he is. Bo bodyslams El Torito, which according to Michael Cole makes him Satan.
We see the return of Chris Jericho, and it’s like they think we all watch SmackDown, but not RAW. Also, the real victim of this whole situation is the Miz, because he appeared in a movie called The Marine 4.
Jericho is here, in his sparkly jacket, so at least we’re going to see a guy who can give Bray a run for his money on the mic. He gets serious as he talks about getting beaten up by three big dudes with beards (and if you’re going to be serious about anything…). He says that the Wyatts are one of the most dominant forces in the WWE, apparently missing the past three months of them getting Cena’d. He thanks the Wyatts, although does not then request ‘can I have another’. He says the WWE is about survival, and that he can be a little dangerous, because he doesn’t think, look and act like anyone else: he can get a little crazy; he can gets nuts; this is starting to sound like a broadway musical, and then Bray interferences his way in. He mocks the ‘save us’ campaign, telling Chris to save himself.
Chris gets some fighting talk going, but then the Miz shows up. Urgh, he’s like the exact opposite of Bray Wyatt. On the subject, however, of the Miz: rolled-up shirt and jacket sleeves; is that acceptable or a douche move? He says he could have helped Chris against the Wyatts, but says that Jericho tried to hurt his face. The second he gets in the ring, Jericho Codebreakers him. So far, I have to say that if this is the way Jericho plans on behaving in this feud, then I’m in.
What Happens To Your Offensive Ability When You Become The Divas Champion?
Eva Marie is in the ring and Paige is, I think, supposed to be on commentary, but has eschewed the wearing of a headset; we British want no part in your Independence Day festivities, thank you. AJ shows up, and I’d forgotten how big the Divas Title looked on her. Man, Paige deserved to lose for the use of the line ‘this is my house now’ in that accent.
Eva pushes AJ down to the floor, and ohshit.jpg. Wow, she actually throws AJ out of the ring. What’s going on here? AJ’s head gets hit off the turnbuckle and she’s taken down by a clothesline. Finally, she gets the boots up and sleepers Eva Marie; Eva tries to turn it into a sidewalk slam, but AJ applies the Black Widow and that’s the match.
Watch Eva Marie move in the ring, and then watch AJ move in the ring. The difference is that one of them is actually able to; not sure why there was so much of Eva’s inexpert offence on the Diva’s champ, unless they were deliberately referencing Paige’s usual match style. 1 Star.
Paige comes in the ring, applauding, and she shakes hands with AJ Lee, who seems happy to do so. Wow, did the WWE actually manage to make an angle between two women who respect each other and face each other solely due to a shared love of the championship, wrestling and healthy competition? Yeah, I don’t really think so either.
Wow, here’s Damien Sandow dressed as Bruce Springsteen. He is immediately interrupted by Rusev, with his giant flag and fake version of a real Russian medal. Sandow actually goes after Rusev, but gets mauled. Big USA chant as Lana takes the mic. She says that today is America’s birthday, and mocks Independence Day. Hey, at least they didn’t declare independence from you, toots. Swagger’s music starts, and Rusev’s angry face is a thing of hysterical beauty. And imagine how awesome this would be if Rusev was wearing the United States Championship… Zeb trolls the hell out of Lana by stating America’s accomplishments and manages to get a pop for vodka. Yeah, I like this angle so far, although I think that Swagger needs to become the WWE’s version of Sterling Archer to really sell the anti-Russian thing. Lana gets pissy as Swagger and Zeb get in the ring; Coulter looks so damn happy at getting the face treatment. I have to say, this is actually way more fun than I thought it would be; we’ve got duelling ‘We The People’ and ‘USA’ chants going. Rusev gets out of the ring like the massive, muscular pussy that he is. JBL says that Jack Swagger is a dangerous man, and I think Barrett and Ziggler would agree.
Seth Rollins Is Going To Have To Eat Every Fucking Chicken In This Arena
Rollins is on commentary, trying to argue morality and ethics with Michael Cole, which is like trying to build an aircraft carrier entirely out of sand. Randy and Ambrose show up, and ‘Randy Ambrose’ would be an awesome name. Bell rings, and Dean throws punches, knocking Orton around the ring. Punches to Orton in the corner, then a clothesline. Randy manages to take Ambrose down at the injured shoulder, rolling out of the ring. Back in the ring, Dean goes on the attack again, hitting several blows and trying for a suplex, but his shoulder’s too weak and Orton drops him with a dropkick, immediately working the shoulder; Dean rolls out and stomps Orton’s midsection. He traps Randy’s legs and claws back on his face. Orton manages to pull Ambrose into the turnbuckle and hangs Dean’s shoulder up on the ropes. Michael keeps seeming to not understand that it’s not really possible to cheat in a match with no disqualifications; this is actually worse than when he got annoyed at Sandow for winning his ladder match entirely legally. Ambrose tries to punch his way out, and catches Orton with a crossbody; he tries his rebound clothesline but Orton kicks him right out of the ring.
Back from the break, Randy is firmly in control, but runs into a boot from Ambrose in the corner. Michael asks ‘who says Seth Rollins built the Shield’ and JBL points out that Michael did, calling Rollins ‘the architect of the Shield’ for months. That was so satisfying a moment I actually had to check and see if I’d had an orgasm (I had, but it was unrelated, and if you wrote the way I write you’d understand). Ambrose is flung into the turnbuckle. Michael and JBL and Seth all take a moment to talk about how amazing Seth’s suit is, which I appreciate. More turnbuckle trauma to Ambrose’s shoulder, and Dean is back-suplexed onto the barricade. Orton works the arm back in the ring before Ambrose fights out, throwing Orton shoulder-first into the post.
Orton and Dean punch off; Ambrose ducks a clothesline and takes down Randy. Irish whip sends Ambrose into the corner, but he hits a back elbow off the top and clotheslines Orton out of the ring. Seth says he knows Ambrose better than Ambrose knows himself (because they’re the same person) as Dean hurls himself through the ropes onto Randy. Orton eats barricade and gets tossed into the ring, but Ambrose immense attraction to Rollins is too much to resist, and Dean hurls himself at Seth; do it, Dean. Go to him. Don’t try to be anyone else for anyone. He hangs Orton up on the ropes and rolls him up for the near fall. Orton uppercuts Dean, who rebounds with a clothesline, trying for Dirty Deeds; he gets pushed off the ropes and into a powerslam. Vintage DDT attempted by Orton, but he gets thrown over the ropes; Dean tries to go after him, but Seth clobbers him in the shoulder with the briefcase for the DQ.
That wasn’t bad, I guess. I like Ambrose’s style, but when someone’s injured or pretending to be, there’s always going to be limitations to it. 2.5 Stars.
In the ring, Orton and Rollins start attacking Ambrose’s shoulder, but Reigns shows up and pushes Seth off the turnbuckle before Superman Punching Orton. Rollins pulls Randy out of the ring before Roman can spear him.
This was an okay SmackDown; it just wasn’t up to the quality of the last few weeks. High point was definitely Zeb Coulter, and I have never said that before. Six.
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, big e langston, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, Bruce Springsteen, Cesaro, chris jericho, Damien Sandow, dean ambrose, Diego, El Torito, Eva Marie, goldust, jack swagger, jbl, Lana, Los Matadores, Michael Cole, Paige, Paul Heyman, randy orton, Roman Reigns, rusev, seth rollins, sheamus, Smackdown, Stardust, The Miz, triple h, United States Championship, WWE, Zeb Coulter