Why hello there. I’m your writer, David Spain, and I’m here to take a break from trying to write a PhD proposal (I rarely justify my actions or writing and am typically incensed when required to) in order to write this review. Honestly, does anyone feel like Battleground is not this weekend?
Here’s Dean Ambrose in some ghastly kind of grey leather jacket. Seriously, I know Roman Reigns took the music and costume, but there has to be some kind of Lost and Found bin he could get some kit from. I know Jinder Mahal’s not using his ring gear right now. We then immediately flashback to this Monday, with Plan ‘Screw The Authority’ not involving some kind of hideous, mostly-gay orgy and that beating of Ambrose which went on just long enough to feel uncomfortable. And, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that saying ‘is that all you got’ rarely stops people beating you up. Getting naked, now, they wouldn’t even want to touch you. Also, love how Champion of Justice John Cena and Ambrose’s former bro Roman Reigns just watched this to see how it might play out.
Ambrose says that all he’s heard for the last two years is that Seth Rollins was the smart one of the Shield. Well…yeah: Ambrose was a whackjob and Reigns was just there to destroy people. But if Seth thought that for one second that the ambush was going to stop Ambrose, then he’s not all that smart. Ambrose is spoiling for a fight, leading me to believe that having the shit kicked out of him turns him on. Seth appears on the big screen and says that without Seth, Dean’s nothing. Also, Seth isn’t only the smart one but the stylish one of the Shield (despite only seeming to own one suit). And the giant-eyebrowed one: wow. Apparently his knee’s got a problem after Monday, so he can’t fight Ambrose. But he says that tonight, Dean’s got a match against…him. The camera pans, revealing ‘him’ to be Kane, and I was honestly holding out for Mae Young’s hand-spawn.
Remember When Tag Matches Happened Only To Settle Opening-Segment Brawls?
Here’s Fandango, and he will be teaming with the Miz. Seriously, pasting that new bit on his entrance video just seems so lazy. Still, I’m reviewing SmackDown, so hey. He’s facing Sheamus, who apparently beat Miz on Main Event as Miz kept covering up his face. Next thing he’ll be having the Sensational Sherri as his manager and facing Shawn Michaels (decades-old reference). Sheamus’ partner is Dolph Ziggler, and this I guess is to hype up that battle royal. Honestly, I’d love to see them do a Hardcore Title with this thing like they did at X8; it would really be a good way to break up the action and would be a reason for us not to have cringe comedy segments.
Miz and Ziggler start off, and Ziggler slaps on a headlock before Miz backs him into the corner and then covers up the face. Someone tell him they’re not real punches. Headlock to Ziggler, who reverses it, gets shot off the ropes, we do a very nice sequence with some rope-running before Miz tries the Figure-Four; Dolph kicks him away and swings for another punch, prompting Miz to run for the tag. Fandango comes in and takes a hip-toss and dropkick. Elbow to Fandango and a tag to Sheamus. Sheamus wants to unify the belts on Sunday, and whilst that would make sense and the mid-card titles might finally end up meaning something, I’d want anyone but Sheamus to wear them (I’m going to regret that ‘anyone’ someday, I know). Knee drop to Fandango before Sheamus gets a wristlock and Fandango fights him into a corner. Michael says that Fandango’s got a vicious streak, and I think honestly it’s more of a sleaze vibe.
Rolling senton attempted, but Fandango slides out and hits some chops to Sheamus, who pays him right back and hurls him out of the ring. Miz comes in, but the threat of punches to him are apparently the equivalent of pepper spray. Sheamus jumps Fandango on the outside and hits a vaulting shoulder block to him on the inside. Tag to Ziggler, who gets the dreaded ‘loves to have fun’ description from Michael. Corner punches and a dropkick to Fandango, and Ziggler really wants to punch Miz in the face. Sheamus comes in and there appears to be some confusion about whether or not they tagged each other, but I think that matters about as much as pinning the wrong Uso. Bodyslam and a hard knee drop to the male dancer, and he manages to slide out of another bodyslam and hang Sheamus up on the ropes. However, he then dances around like a tit (an ancient northern expression) for a while and nearly eats the clubbing blows, but Miz interferes enough that Fandango catches Sheamus with a kick. Another kick drops the Irishman, and Fandango stays on him.
Miz is tagged in and really takes it to Sheamus as the commentators emasculate Miz completely. Sheamus runs into a knee and takes a big boot, and then Miz applies a sleeper. Is Ziggler chewing gum? Seriously, as someone who has nearly choked on chewing gum whilst making notes in a fucking English lecture, that can’t be safe. Big DDT to Sheamus for two, and Fandango’s in off the tag. Miz chokes Sheamus on the ropes as Dolph accidentally distracts the referee, thereby enabling. Fandango hits a dropkick, and then dances; one member of the crowed yells ‘you’ve got to be kidding me!’ and good on you, pal. Fandango takes White Noise and both Ziggler and Miz get tags. Dolph’s hitting everything in sight, and catches Miz with a neckbreaker; Fameasser is narrowly avoided, but Sheamus throws Miz right back into the ring and Ziggler drops the leg onto him. DDT to Miz nearly gets him, but Fandango breaks up the pin. Sheamus measures Miz for a Brogue Kick, but the A-Lister dodges and Fandango takes it. Miz throws Sheamus out of the ring, eats the Zig-Zag and that’s all she wrote.
This was a really good piece of action; the flow at times was great to watch. 3 Stars.
Earl Hebner Never Wore A Striped Bra
Here’s Nikki Bella in a striped bra, because she’s the referee and apparently hates clothes which provide coverage that much. We’re still talking about Brie even though she quit, and Punk never got this kind of attention. Also, Brie’s yelling of ‘I quit’ was probably supposed to sound defiant, but they should have maybe got her to try it out just to check for…you know…hideous awkwardness. The match tonight is between Alicia Fox and Eva Marie, and I guess refereeing that does qualify as ‘punishment’. The ladies tie up and get on the ropes, so Nikki breaks them up. Holy shit, not even a five count. We’re not playing games here, ladies. This happens again, and then Eva Marie gets Fox in a headlock, is shot off the ropes and takes a hip toss. Ava Marie tries to roll Fox up, then trips her legs and tries another pin. It’s awful, but I assumed you all knew that was implied. Eva Marie gets in Nikki’s face, and that is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone try to argue a one-count into a three-count. So, Eva Marie is either irrational, dumb or perceives time three times as fast as the rest of us. She keeps poking Nikki, and she chooses this over the lack of a five count to get tough over? Alicia then decides to remind us that she’s nuts too, and kicks Nikki to the ground so she and Eva can attack her. John Cena doesn’t come out and defend her, putting him on Fandango’s level when it comes to boyfriend quality.
I find it hilarious that Nikki got put in this position and never once wondered if something bad was going to happen. So honestly, and purely for that reason, this gets 2 Stars.
Stardust is backstage, and whoever thought to give him those contact lenses is a master of randomly awesome ideas. I’d love colour contact lenses, but I think prescription ones either don’t exist or are kind of expensive. The usual crazy shenanigans between the Rhodes Brothers, and on the strength of this shit alone, I want to see them take this insanity seriously and feud with the Wyatts.
So, Jericho Can Get Crazy, Huh?
Here’s Chris Jericho, and coming right after him is the Wyatt Family. Chris apparently said that he had the whole world in his hands, which is more or less the equivalent of saying ‘no, you fuck off’. Bray gets on the microphone and says he remembers everything about Chris, and that he’s the biggest hypocrite of them all. Seems like he’s going after Jericho for not saving them like promised. To be fair, I remember him promising to save us from Blandy Snoreton, and he damn sure didn’t do that. Go get him, Bray.
Harper gets into the ring and we’re underway. Luke throws Chris into the corner and then beats him down. Jericho’s held against the ropes, but comes back with chops and a dropkick, laying his own corner beatdown. Harper gains the upper hand, pressing his foot down on Jericho’s head, and then throws hands. Jericho manages to come back, knocking Harper out of the ring and right off the apron as we go to break.
Back to the action, and Jericho’s getting sleepered by Harper. Chris elbows his way out and takes Harper to the corner, punching him until Harper gets a jab to the eye and suplexes Jericho out of the corner. Another sleeper’s locked in; Y2J reaches his feet. Fallaway slam’s attempted by Harper; Jericho tries to roll him up but Harper kicks out and slams an uppercut into Chris’s jaw for two. He guillotines Y2J on the ropes, and Chris rolls out of the ring where Harper drops him onto the barricade. Michael says that there’s ‘no rhyme or reason’ to what Harper does, which is weird because it just looks like he’s wrestling, sort of like everyone else. Gator Roll to Jericho, and then a sleeper.
Jericho rallies somewhat, hitting running strikes until he gets tossed over the top rope, only to scale up to the top rope and hit an axe-handle. Walls of Jericho attempted, but Harper uses his legs to hurl Chris away. Step-up enzuigiri drops Harper for two, and then he gets caught in a sit-out bodyslam. In the corner, he catches Luke with a boot and hits a crossbody for two. He tries a running bulldog, but gets caught by Harper’s big boot, and then the Batista Bomb for the near fall. Harper misses a charge to the corner; Jericho hits the Lionsault and Harper kicks out! Codebreaker gets countered, with another Batista Bomb attempt, which gets turned into the Walls! Rowan tries to interfere, and gets dropkicked off the apron; Harper’s clothesline misses and Harper gets rolled up for three!
Great match, with a lot shown from Harper here. Slightly surprised it was a roll-up victory, considering Jericho is going up against Bray on Sunday, but I suppose Harper’s going to be here longer than Chris. Very enjoyable. 3 Stars.
The Wyatts immediately jump Jericho but, once again, the Usos have to act like they have friends. It’s getting really desperate now, honestly. They clear the ring and the Wyatts retreat.
We relive Zeb and Swagger this Monday teaching us JINGOISM. Zeb runs down Rusev for bringing out the Russian flag, as Swagger stands behind him with the American one. Ladies and gentlemen: your faces…I guess? Wow, listening to Zeb is…honestly, I don’t have a simile. That is how this is. I don’t know if he’s parodying, but then the crowd are cheering the parody, so does that make it somehow serious? This is either the greatest writing ever or sort of unsettling; it’s like when they used Bin Laden’s death so that the Rock and Cena could get a pop. On a side note, nice shirt design for Swagger.
Rusev shows up with Lana, and JBL says something nice about him, so someone has probably reported him to the House Un-American Activities Committee (Wrestler’s Court division). Lana has her usual demagogic schtick. Apparently Rusev’s going to ‘crush all of America’, which sort of proves Lana lives in an eighties action movie. Is that what Russian is for ‘Russia’? Rusev and Swaggles have a flag-waving pissing contest, and I think I’d actually prefer a literal pissing contest (I have my reasons). Swagger’s music plays despite Rusev having the last word and there not being a clear winner of the flag-waving; that is fucking bullshit.
Wow, These Guys Know That There’s A PPV This Sunday
Here’s Alberto Del Rio, who will be taking on Kofi Kingston, who states the winning the IC Championship was the biggest accomplishment of his career. Wow, I hope he doesn’t die soon, because you don’t want that said at your funeral. Del Rio takes the arm, backing Kofi into the corner and kicking him. Kofi comes off the ropes and kicks him back, only to get tossed onto the apron and enzuigiri’d to the floor. Kingston’s thrown into the apron and rolled back into the ring for a sleeper. He struggles to his feet and gets beaten down again and thrown through the ropes. Del Rio tries to Irish whip him into the apron, but Kingston leaps through the ropes, rebounds and hurls himself out of the ring onto Alberto! He hits dropkicks and clotheslines, building momentum with the Boom Drop. He tries Trouble in Paradise and Alberto bails; Kofi chases him; Del Rio rolls back into the ring and kicks him right in the face for two. He measures Kingston, tries for the cross armbreaker; Kofi reverses and hits the S.O.S., but Del Rio grabs the ropes. Alberto hangs up Kingston on the ropes and goes up high, only for Kofi to catch him on the ropes, groining him. Superplex attempt, Del Rio fights off Kingston and slams his boots right into his chest for three.
Really good match: I’d be happy to see more of this pair. Everything just worked so well. 3 Stars.
Backstage, Layla and Summer are probably working up to a make-out session, and then Sleazy McDanceman shows up and tries to get his threesome going. He says he knows they love jewellery, and I hate that my first thought was a ‘pearl necklace’ reference (kids, ask your parents. NOW). But he was talking about the gold, and then calls his arms ‘guns’: oh Johnny. Bo shows up with his grinning comedy gold, and when are going to get Bray giving out relationship advice too? Bo uses the phrase ‘smooth moves and fancy pants’ about Fandango, and I think I love him.
Hah, Women, Am I Right?! *Puffs Giant Cigar*
Summer Rae and Layla are in the ring, and their opponents are AJ and Paige. And it says a lot about how the WWE writers view women in that the two great wrestlers engaged in healthy competition for a championship are on worse terms than the two girls who were fighting over a guy who was cheating on both of them.
Bell rings and Summer dances at AJ before shoving her. Why is everyone trying to bully the woman who took down every competitor on the roster during her last reign? I don’t think you can bully someone like that. AJ kicks her in the back, which seems sensible. Neckbreaker to Summer Rae and she tags in Layla, who gets tripped by Paige. She manages to kick Paige in the face and choke her back on the ropes. Summer in now, and both girls hit kicks to Paige’s face. Paige gets thrown onto the apron, but headbutts Summer and hits knees to the head, knocking Layla down and hitting clotheslines to Summer. AJ tags herself in and, yep, you couldn’t just have two women engage in healthy competition, could you, WWE? Black Widow ends it.
Pretty decent; the dynamic between AJ and Paige was very predictable, but if we get a full-length match I’m sure I can deal. 2 Stars.
I’ve actually seen emo girls make that exact same face Paige is making; that’s like a flashback to every awesome bad decision ever. AJ offers her hand and they hug each other. Because they’re manipulative and female, I suppose.
Backstage, Seth is wearing a suit and Kane shows up. Rollins wants to know that Kane’s going focus on Ambrose, but says he wants a bit of life left in him for Sunday. Kane then threatens Rollins about cashing in on him; aww…he thinks he could win the title…
Dean shows up, still taped up. We relive his Tyler Durden tribute from Monday again, and I wish he’d called Orton ‘Lou’. Kane enters the ring, and Ambrose attacks him from behind, sending Kane out of the ring. He tries to dive out onto him, but Kane stops him with a big hand to the face. Back in the ring, Ambrose takes it to Kane in the corner before getting shoved away. He goes back on the attack, before coming off the top rope into another right hand. Boot to the face of Ambrose and he gets choked on the ropes. Kane works the left arm, keeping Dean down. Ambrose yells random abuse at Kane, because he’s not a smart psychopath. Big clothesline to Dean in the corner, but he gets his feet up on the second try and hits a tornado DDT. Punches to Kane, and then a running knee to the stomach and dropkick on Kane against the ropes. Ambrose goes up high and hits a missile dropkick. He tries to do his pendulum clothesline, but gets goozled. Chokeslam’s reversed and Dean low-bridges Kane, diving out onto him.
On the outside, Kane overpowers Ambrose, hurling him into the steel steps as the ref begins to count. Kane sets Dean up for a tombstone on the steps, but Ambrose pushes him into the ring post. Seth appears out of nowhere and blasts Dean with the suitcase.
Good match; Ambrose played his injured nutjob part very well. 2.5 Stars.
Seth Rollins basically is every Slytherin ever as he and Kane shove the steps into the ring, but Ambrose takes down Rollins. Kane catches Dean, chokeslamming him onto the steel steps. Rollins hits the Curb Stomp, which seems like something you wouldn’t do with a bad knee…and what the hell is he wearing on his feet?
Return to form for this week, with a very, very good show. Nothing which needed discarding or anything which felt overlong: nice comedy and great wrestling. Nine.
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, alicia fox, Bray Wyatt, chris jericho, Cody Rhodes, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Eva Marie, Fandango, goldust, jack swagger, jey uso, jimmy uso, kane, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Layla, Luke Harper, miz, Nikki Bella, Paige, rusev, seth rollins, sheamus, Stardust, Summer Rae, wyatt family, Zeb Coulter