Good evening, WWE fans; it’s Friday night and we’re all here for the same reason. Well, I’m here because I got offered a position to write about SmackDown and consider myself professional enough to actually do so; I don’t know you guys’ deals are. It has been a long day full of coffee, shopping and writing a modern-day adaptation of 120 Days of Sodom set in a small café, so I’m quite looking forward to sitting back and watching some wrestling.
Recap from last week of the Cena/Rollins match. I found their singles match from late December far superior, but then that was a straight match and this is all mixed up with story. Speaking of mixed up with story, does anyone over the age of eleven believe that Roman Reigns is walking out of Battleground with the belt? Seriously, I think WWE has found some form of reverse-foreshadowing; it’s like how you know that there won’t be a Money in the Bank cash-in if the commentators allude to it. Weeks of dominance = loss at the PPV.
Wow, starting our show tonight are Lana and Rusev. Aw, he holds the ropes open for her, and not even in that creepy way that Scott Steiner used to. Lana gets on the mic, and I think she’s implying that Roman Reigns is impotent. Fighting fucking words, Lana, and I’m not at all surprised that this brings Roman out; you don’t say that a man’s swimmers don’t swim. Roman gets chants, and he says he’s sure that Lana would love to stare at him all night. So, for those keeping score at home, Roman now drugs and harasses women at his place of work. He says that he’s a businessman, so this is all clearly building up to him being the WWE’s Patrick Bateman. He says that this is his ring, even though the WWE probably owns it, and laughs at the idea that a mid-carder has a chance against a man allowed to say ‘bitch’ on RAW. Lana clearly thinks that Roman is James Bond, because she’s spouting every 80’s action movie Russian line she’s got, and Reigns decides that he says when the main event happens, and it’s going to be now. Wow, he really doesn’t know what his job is.
Oh, here’s Charles Robinson, telling us all we can’t have fun ever and we’ll have to wait. What is this, tantric wrestling? Lana agrees with her fellow petite blonde, and the husky not-actually-a-Ruski leaves the ring. Meanwhile, Roman begins plotting to either poison or inappropriately proposition Charles Robinson, which is his go-to response to everything.
Oh Yay, Another Double Divas Match PPV
Cameron is already in the ring, checking herself out in a mirror. Seriously, she’s about to fight someone for money; in what world does that matter? Paige and AJ will be going up against each other at Battleground in a match which will hopefully be of, you know, match length. Hell, throw Natalya into this thing next time around and let all of the other Divas get on with their TV show.
Bell rings, but Cameron wants AJ to wait so she can apply lip balm; okay, I do do that before I fight. She then jumps on top of AJ and starts doing random can’t-really-wrestle offence. She tries to apply lip balm to the Divas Champion, which should probably constitute use of a foreign object, but like the referee is paying any attention at all. JBL actually raises that same point; look at me, thinking like a millionaire. Cameron holds AJ’s arms in a submission, until AJ rolls her up for a two-count and eats a dropkick. Who does she think she is: Paige? Cameron keeps shoving AJ, who basically Hulks Up, hitting a running clothesline and a neckbreaker. Skippety skip around the ring, then AJ hits a spinning kick for another two-count. Cameron makes herself scarce, backing away from the ring, and Natalya throws her back in the ring. The referee doesn’t call for the DQ, because literally fuck everything, I guess? AJ rolls her up; Cameron rolls through and takes a Shining Wizard to the mush for the three.
None too bad, although I’m surprised that Cameron was in control for so much. Seriously; do Divas Champions take a while to get going during a match? Nice to see AJ back in action, and looking forward to her match proper with Paige. 2 Stars.
Here’s Renee Young, who asks Randy Orton about Kane hating him. Orton says he doesn’t care about what Kane says: only what he does. He says he’s walking out of Battleground with the championship, and calls himself ‘the Legendkiller’ as he goes out to face Jericho. Oh, I remember: back when Orton was in any way sort of interesting.
Adam Rose Is The Drug Habits Of Every WWE Employee From The 90’s In One Body
Here’s the sleaziest male dancer in WWE, with the radiant Layla in tow. And following Fandango is the Psychotic Narcotic Posse, featuring Summer Rae now, I guess. I do like how Adam Rose apparently stumbled mindlessly into this situation and probably still doesn’t know what’s going on or what his real name is (it’s ‘Adam Rose’). Also, isn’t Dolph with Summer? Or did he escape this hell?
The bell rings, and the pitting of a man who thinks he’s a professional dancer against the man who thinks his hand is a Smurf will now begin. They tie up, and Adam Rose gets a headlock and leapfrogs over Fandango when he’s shot off the ropes; Fandango takes him down hard but Layla and Summer are fighting on the outside. Fandango tries to grab boob under the pretence of breaking it up, and gets whacked in the face by one of his growing secret harem. Fandango is counted out.
Meh. A star for Adam Rose existing. 1 Star.
Summer seems happy about this, leading me to question what her motivations are supposed to be. Does she want Fandango? Does she want Adam Rose? Does she want Ziggler? The Bunny? #SummerAll? Adam Rose offers Fandango his mollypop, but the dancer slaps it away and immediately takes a Party Foul because do you fucking know how difficult those things are to get hold off?!
Bray Wyatt’s in a promo for Battleground, and uses the phrase ‘chaos reigns’ which makes me remember Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist: do not watch that movie if you’re not a fan of genital mutilation. And now Bray Wyatt and genital mutilation are inexorably linked in my mind.
Renee is backstage with Chris Jericho and more or less says ‘Orton, yeah, sure, but apparently you’re facing Bray in a few weeks’. Correct reaction, Renee. Jericho says that it’s the first time ever that Jericho will face Bray. Well…I mean…yeah. Jericho has fun with animal metaphors before walking off.
Seriously: What Do Slater And Titus Even Have To Talk About?
Titus O’Neil and Heath Slater are in the ring, about to face the Usos. So, two guys who we were surprised weren’t victims of the Red WWEdding vs. the Tag Team Champs. Could be a classic.
Heath distracts one of the Usos, and apparently pinning the wrong twin in a tag match is totally a big deal, but twins switching around to win a match in that way is just great strategy. Titus jumps on Jimmy, clotheslining him, and then tags in Slater. Jimmy comes back with some strikes, but Slater hits a kick to the face, knocking him down and slapping on a sleeper. Heath runs into a Samoan Drop; Titus runs in and gets immediately kicked back out by Jey. Heath tosses out Jey, gets kicked by Jimmy and eats the splash from Jey for the pin.
Quick match, but I don’t think we’d expect a hard-fought victory in this scenario. 2 Stars.
Not-Renee is in the ring, and asks them about the 2-out-of-3-falls tag match. They awkwardly pretend to do commentary and God, this is mortifying. JBL and Michael pretend that it was funny, and sometimes I feel sorry for those two.
Honest To God, I Was Expecting An Evolution Run-In
Almost like it’s an apology for the Usos trying comedy, we’ve got Orton vs Jericho. Chris comes down first, but before Orton shows up, the Wyatts hijack the titantron. Bray sings ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’, and that regrettably does not lead to a sing-off. Orton shows up, and let’s rassle.
The veterans circle, and then lock up. Headlock by Orton; he’s shot off the ropes and takes Chris down before taking a dropkick. Orton’s thrown off the ropes but bails out of the ring. He climbs back in, but Jericho hits a springboard dropkick, knocking Randy right into a commercial.
We come back as Jericho’s choking Orton on the ropes, hitting the running knee for a two-count. Orton comes back, clotheslining Jericho in the corner and choking him in his own right. Chops from Jericho, and he throws Orton into the corner before launching himself at Randy, who dodges to send Chris right out to the floor! That angle looked awesome. On the outside, Y2J is thrown into the steel steps by Orton, and then takes a back suplex to the barricade. In the ring, Orton poses, nearly getting rolled-up for it, and clotheslines Jericho.
Sleeper hold by Randy Orton, and Jericho works his way to his feet, breaking out to hit some chops, but Orton retains control, slamming the back of Orton’s head into the mat. Another sleeper to Jericho, just in case you forgot you were watching a Randy Orton match, but Jericho hits some chops. They exchange strikes; Jericho comes off the ropes and takes down Orton. Orton throws Jericho over the ropes; he lands on the apron and comes off the top rope with a big elbow to Randy.
Walls of Jericho attempted now; Orton’s not going down easy, kicking Jericho away and hitting a powerslam for two. Chris is thrown into the corner, leapfrogs over Orton and hits his step-up enzuigiri for a near-fall. Big clothesline to Orton in the corner, and Jericho goes up high, only for Orton to hit the ropes to crotch Chris on the turnbuckle. He goes up as well, attempting a superplex, but Jericho’s blocking him, headbutting him to the mat. Flying crossbody gets another near-fall, and Chris chops away before Orton hits his backbreaker, trying to follow it up with a Vintage DDT, but Jericho reverses it into the Walls! Randy manages to reach the ropes and low-bridges Jericho; Chris tries to come right back up, but eats a knee and then the Vintage DDT. Orton sets up for the RKO and Jericho reverses, hitting the Lionsault! And we get Wyatt Interference, which is enough to distract Jericho enough that Orton hits the RKO for three.
Good match: nice blast from the past. Would be very interested to see the Viper against the Wyatts; his character would be a nice thing to throw against them. 3 Stars.
The Closest To A Lesbian Scene We’ll Get, Until The Sexual Tension Proves Too Much For AJ And Paige
Oh, we get Double Fandango tonight, in his fucking pimp ref shirt. Layla’s already in the ring, and here comes Summer Rae, teaching us the meaning of ‘cleavage window’. I mean…I’ve just never seen it that blatant. Layla snogs Fandango, and then Summer does. Okay, which McMahon did Curtis donate a kidney to?
Bell rings and Layla tries to go at Summer, but Fandango picks her up and stops her…and then does the same to Summer. And then he dances, because fucking Fandango, man. Then both girls start beating him up, because…they just finally realised what a skeeze he is? Fandango yells ‘I made you!’, which is hilarious to me because I’m a little drunk. Layla and Summer have a stare-down, and then have a dance-off…and then dance with each other. Actually, I’m kind of fine with that, as it’s the best possible ending to all of this.
Goldust Is The Stardust-Whisperer
Curtis Axel is in the ring, with Ryback on the outside. And then Goldust and Stardust come down, because these four guys are the only ones who can wrestle each other. I have to say, Cody is goddamn selling Stardust. Never let it be said that this man does not throw himself entirely into role.
Goldust and Axel tie up; Goldust takes Axel down with a shoulder block, shoots him back off the ropes and then gets him with an uppercut. Axel leans back through the ropes, getting Dust to back off, and takes him down with a clothesline to the back of the head. Stardust is up on the apron, doing some showboating for the crowd, and Goldust nearly catches Axel with a small package. A fist to the face puts Goldust down, and then a dropkick sends him out of the ring.
On the outside, Stardust gets up on the table and lounges, honestly, seductively. Axel gets into Stardust’s face, like he’s a Texan trucker and Stardust’s an effeminate gentleman. Goldust jumps Axel, throwing him back in the ring, as Stardust walks off wearing JBL’s hat. Is there some kind of law that bad things happen to the hat now? Rhodes Uppercut and an inverted atomic drop to Axel, who then reverses an Irish whip but runs right into a powerslam. Axel tries the Perfectplex, but Goldust reverses and the Final Cut ends things.
Decent enough and with a really good flow to it, but the focus was on Stardust (and rightfully so, really). 2.5 Stars.
Ryback immediately jumps Goldust, going for Shellshock, but Stardust dives into the ring and blows glitter into Ryback’s face. Apparently this is that new, special mace glitter that’s going around, because Ryback is all over the shop and then gets low-bridged as Stardust cackles like a maniac. God, this gimmick is hilariously weird.
That’s Our Bo!
Oh, jeez, El Torito. And Diego, as Fernando is still being dragged into a parking lot by the Wyatts. Their opponent is Bo Dallas, and his victory lap knock-down of El Torito from Monday has to be a .gif by now. He says he’s going to be handicapable, which is enough to crack me up again. He says that all of us are his tag team partners, and I shouldn’t be wrestling; I’m kinda drunk.
Bo starts off against Diego; Diego avoids the first contact, and then gets Bo in a headlock. He ducks Bo twice as he’s shot off, and then sweeps the legs out for a cover. Diego locks the arm, but Bo fights out, throwing hands in the corner. Diego’s thrown off the ropes, but rolls over Bo’s back and hits a dropkick. Bo tries to attack El Torito, who avoids him, and then dodges a charge from Diego, hitting the Bo Dog.
Another quick match, but at least El Torito was in no way involved, so hey. 2 Stars.
Bo grabs El Torito, and throws him in the ring. He acts a bit shocked, and sort of prods Torito with his foot before Bo Dogging him. I approve.
Russia vs. Samoa In Canada!
Rusev gets to the ring, followed by Roman Reigns, who still hasn’t learned the route to the Gorilla position. We recap his throwdown with Kane, and I love the name ‘Fit Finlay’: from a British perspective it’s like they’re constantly commenting on his sexiness.
The bell rings, and they tie up, testing each other’s strength. They separate, and then Rusev comes back with muay thai kicks, taking Reigns into the corner. Roman punches his way right out, sending Rusev into the opposite corner and then uppercutting Rusev out of the ring and off the apron. Lana holds Rusev back on the outside as we go to commercial.
Back from break, Rusev’s pinching a nerve in Roman’s neck, but Roman fights back momentarily, before Rusev puts him down with a spinning heel kick. Kicks to the corner, and then a big kick to the face sends Reigns to the mat. Rusev hits chops and headbutts to the head of Roman, before slamming the back of his head back off the canvas. Reigns hits a headbutt of his own, but Rusev gets another strike to the midsection, and then sends Reigns hard into the corner.
Kicks right to the stomach of the floored Reigns, and then Rusev goes right back to gripping the shoulders. Finally, Reigns explodes out of it, laying down strikes, and slamming a clothesline into Rusev, who doesn’t go down until a flying clothesline hits him. A Samoan drop puts him down again, harder, and then Reigns hits his running apron kick right to Rusev’s face. Roman winds up for the Superman Punch, slamming it into Rusev’s face, and the gets ready for the spear, but then Randy Orton comes out of nowhere, hanging Reigns up on the ropes for the DQ.
I rather liked this; always nice when you’ve got two guys who are running hot getting to go at each other. Shame we weren’t allowed a real result, but still. 2.5 Stars.
Rusev tries to attack Reigns after the match, but merely ends up helping Reigns express-deliver a Superman Punch to Orton’s jaw. A big kick floors Roman, and he goes to apply the Accolade…but Lana’s not allowing it. Well, that’s unexpected. Maybe she’s got a headache. Oh, she’s leaving Reigns to Orton, because she probably knows what’s about to happen…oh, wow…Orton actually manages to hit the RKO. And we actually end the show without Roman standing extremely dominant. I’m actually surprised.
This show definitely had its ups and downs, and the contrasts were stark. Orton vs. Jericho was clearly the match of the night, and I’m of the belief the Usos need to be shot if they persist in trying comedy. Seven.
Tags: Adam Rose, aj lee, Bray Wyatt, Cameron, Charles Robinson, chris jericho, Fandango, kane, Lana, Layla, naomi, Paige, randy orton, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, rusev, Smackdown, Summer Rae, WWE