What’s up, WWE fans? Hope you’re all enjoying the summer weather; my house is so hot Frodo and Sam keep trying to throw the One Ring through my bedroom window. And yet I’m still drinking hot coffee. Hmm.
We start, but of course, with a recap of RAW. Honestly, it’s like parents rubbing the older sibling’s achievements in the younger one’s face sometimes. And yeah, Lesnar’s back. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to go into these things without already knowing about it, but that would require there not being an internet, and then I wouldn’t know about things like this. And sure, I find this a fairly intriguing direction. I just wish Lesnar didn’t have such a sparse schedule that his holding the belts seemed so very unlikely. But I think Heyman’s promo has more than justified this angle. And I have to admit, I read that ‘oh my God’ moment of Lesnar shaking Triple H’s hand as Brock just not remembering who Triple H was. Try it; it works.
Sexually, This Is Referred To As ‘The Old Switch-er-oo’
We’ve got the Usos here, and what a show they and the Wyatts put on last Sunday. Let’s see if Rybaxel can live up to that benchmark; wow, I typed that without giggling. Ryback and Jey lock up, with Ryback getting shot off the ropes and hitting a shoulder tackle, then reversing Jey’s hip toss into one of his own. Splash from the Big Guy misses; tag to Jimmy and the Usos hit headbutts. Chops to Ryback from Jimmy, then punches in the corner before Ryback powers out, knocking Jimmy right down. Tag to Axel, and he runs right into an armdrag; fuck’s sake, Curtis. Headlock by Axel; he gets shot off and hits a shoulder tackle. Jimmy’s gets a waistlock, but Ryback catches the blind tag, only for Jimmy to knock him right off the apron. Axel clotheslines Jimmy right out after him, and Ryback tackles him on the outside.
We get a warning not to try wrestling at home, which I used to do all the time and never get hurt. Back from that, Ryback is chopping Jimmy in the corner; maybe we shouldn’t try getting chopped at home. Jimmy fights back, but Ryback drives him into the heel corner, tagging in Axel. Michael references the forming of the Nation of Domination 2.0, and it’s like they’ve made a whole stable for Rusev to feud with. Jimmy gets caught with a clothesline to the back of the head from Axel. Tag to Ryback, splashing Jimmy and putting the Uso in a sleeper. Jimmy comes back with punches, misses the dragon whip the first time, but hits it the second time: tag to Axel; tag to Jey. Jey’s knocking Axel all over and around, staggering him with an uppercut and hitting a running front dropkick; Samoan wrecking ball; Samoan drop. Ryback breaks up a pin, gets thrown out of the ring and Jey splashes onto him!
Axel has worked his way back to his feet and dropkicks Jey to the floor. Jimmy rushes over, and for a moment looks like he’s whispering to Jey, but it looks like they’re doing Twin Magic. Axel predictably picks the wrong Uso, despite the fact he’s even lying sort of on top of the legal twin; Rybaxel doesn’t deserve to win now. Back in the ring, Axel gets rolled up for the three. Actually kind of funny, until you realise that Jimmy has totally pulled that shit on Naomi.
Good match, but not enough to interest me in Rybaxel challenging. After the Wyatts, it would be nice to try and keep up the quality. I say get the Dusts in. 2 Stars.
We’re apparently all still reeling that physically assaulting someone live on camera and in front of thousands of witnesses might get you taken into custody. Or is it that a rich person got arrested? Because that was probably more surprising.
Backstage Miz signs some kid’s magazine without being asked. That needs to escalate to the point where he grabs someone’s copy of War and Peace and signs that too.
Miz comes out, not dressed for action: thank God for small mercies. And surely being in any movie ending with the number ‘4′, even as the protagonist, does not make you a movie star. Miz rubs in the fact that he’s our champ, and wants to give an acceptance speech. Wow, and Miz’s Dad is here. Come on, Orton, where the hell are you? Miz’s Mum is just…just awful. Randy, switch targets; switch targets! She then says that her favourite WWE star is Roman Reigns; that’s borderline emotional abuse.
Bo Dallas shows up to cheerfully bring an end this bullshit. He says Miz won the battle royal because he Bo-lieved. I swear, I can’t see this guy as a heel; he’s actually too loveable. Ziggler shows up, and it’s weird for him to stick his nose into something he’s actually sort of involved in. Wait, is he gushing about himself being able to eliminate Sheamus? Jesus… Bo tells him to Bo-lieve, then Dolph shoves Bo and attacks Miz. Bo then attacks Dolph from behind, knocking him out of the ring. Michael Cole calls it a cheap shot, and did he not see Dolph start that?
Orton Has To Attack At Least One Parent
Back from the break, it’s an impromptu match between Dolph and Bo Dallas. Bo drops knees and fists to Ziggler. Miz is on commentary, and that is about as vaguely irritating as it sounds. Bo knocks Dolph down with a back elbow, then wrenches the head. Michael comments that the interview with Miz’s Mum seemed scripted, and there are a lot of other words which would have worked there. Ziggler’s head gets rocked off the mat as Cole starts mocking Miz’s Mother; I support him in that endeavour. Big clothesline to Ziggler for two. Irish whip is reversed, sending Bo into the corner; a back elbow sends him reeling right into a big DDT for two.
Bo rolls out of the ring; Ziggler throws him back in but then threatens kicking Miz in the face, which apparently gives Miz a mild epileptic fit. Fameasser misses; Bo nearly rolls him up but the next Fameasser hits for a near-fall. At least Michael didn’t try to justify Ziggler’s actions, actually. Mizstraction leaves Ziggler open for a roll-up for three.
Nice to see that Bo’s starting to move up the ranks, like Rusev. I’d like to think his proximity to the championship is a promising sign; who can say? Also, second match of the night ending via cheating? 2.5 Stars.
After the match, Ziggler kicks Bo in the face out of apparently nothing but sheer dickishness/frustration at somehow getting distracted. Miz then shoves Dolph into the ring post.
Renee Young is backstage, and can we all applaud her for calling Triple H out on not going to be with his wife on Monday? Is it wrong that she is my favourite character in this whole menagerie? She’s with Roman Reigns backstage, so here’s hoping for more cute moments. She asks him about taking out Plan A; Roman carries on his and Ambrose’s grand tradition of calling Triple H ‘daddy’, and says he’s fine being a wanted man. He says tonight Del Rio better have a plan, because he’s got the punch. Which, let’s face it, he’s probably poisoned.
Sexually, This Is Referred To As ‘Kinky’
Here’s Dean Ambrose, and he’s still going with his ‘just stepped out of a movie set in the fifties’ look. Following him is Cesaro, and if there was justice in the world, Lesnar would appear and destroy him to show what happens when you dump Heyman. Then he’d go after Ryback and Axel too.
Ambrose starts off with some punches, backing Cesaro into the corner. Cesaro comes back, but knocks his shoulder into the turnbuckle, prompting Ambrose to go back after him. Snap suplex to Cesaro, and Ambrose heads outside, pulling out some chairs. Cesaro manages to recover, however, knocking Dean off the apron. He pulls out a kendo stick, but misses his swing and Ambrose clotheslines him into the timekeeper’s area. Ambrose has the ring bell and slams it right off Cesaro’s head. He tries the same trick with the kendo stick, but Cesaro catches him in mid-air with his own, dropping him.
Back from commercials, Cesaro is choking Ambrose with a kendo stick. During the break, Dean got gutwrenched onto a chair. Ambrose bites Cesaro, breaking the hold but earning a shot to the back with the cane. Bodyslam to Ambrose over two chairs, and then Cesaro uses the kendo stick to wrench Ambrose’s head back, and then swings it into Ambrose twice; on the third time, Dean catches the cane, gets bounced off the ropes and manages to clothesline Cesaro to the floor. Cesaro grabs a chair, but Ambrose beats him to the punch with the cane, then uses it to deliver a Russian leg sweep. He then tries to suplex Cesaro onto the chairs; Cesaro tries to reverse, takes a chair to the stomach and gets suplexed onto the upright chair!
Ambrose leaps off the top to slam a chair into Cesaro’s arm, and then misses a charge, blasting the turnbuckle with his shoulder. Cesaro tries to smash Ambrose’s arm with a chair, but Dean dodges and throws himself out onto Cesaro, taking him down. Dean throws a tonne more chairs into the ring, making him the average ECW audience member. Cesaro’s thrown back into the ring, but then Rollins jumps Ambrose, only for him to get clotheslined over the barricade. Ambrose turns back to Cesaro, but gets crotched on the top rope, and then suplexed from the apron onto a giant pile of chairs on the canvas…and Ambose kicks out at two! Dean catches Cesaro with a small package out of nowhere, and gets the three!
Pretty good for a no-DQ. Some spots I’d never seen before, and some (like the last suplex move) that you could only do with one or other of the competitors. Rather enjoyed. 2.5 Stars.
Seth jumps the fuck out of Dean post-match, letting Cesaro hit the Neutraliser. He asks when Ambrose is going to learn to stay down, and I’m guessing when it stops winning him matches. Curb Stomp to Ambrose, and Seth’s just looking more and more ripped lately.
We’re taking a look at AJ and Paige, and I guess a feud between two women who respected each other as worthy opponents but who just had to find out who find out who the better wrestler was really has been done to death. I guess I should be grateful that at least this has nothing to do with Total Divas, but that’s like being grateful not to be constantly getting punched in the face.
Women by WWE
Naomi makes her way down to the ring, having rid herself of the Cameron-shaped millstone around her neck. She’s facing Evil Paige, and it has honestly just occurred to me how fucked up the moralities of everyone in the WWE except John Cena, Rey Mysterio and Rob Van Dam are. Seriously: in the real world we’d have labelled these people with words all ending in ‘-opath’ and have them under observation, lest their basic and ingrained system of human ethics suddenly fucking flipped again. And we’d have probably sectioned Cena as well, for the good of everyone else’s mental health.
That whole rant actually felt really good, so I’m not deleting it in case that reverses the effect. Paige apparently skips now and…oh yay, grabbing a microphone. She says that she and AJ are still friends, and that she likes AJ and Naomi. Oh, I get it: crazy and hysterical woman. Let’s lock her in a room with yellow wallpaper; that seems to work. And…Cameron shows up, distracting Naomi so Paige can hit the Rampaige (urgh) and the PTO for the tap.
See, I want to get annoyed, but there’s been a fair lack of crap on this show so far, so I can’t get pissed about what this was done to make time for. YET. Still, would have kind of liked a match. Also, third match of the night with a tainted win? 1 Star.
Paige skips off, and Cameron attacks Naomi. And, let’s be clear, did so using a fucking snapmare takeover. Naomi turns it around, because she’s only taken three moves, but then still gets shoved off the turnbuckle to the floor. Jesus, are we going to have three women’s matches at SummerSlam? Someone from the crowd shouts ‘you’re not even that cute or good-looking’: cold. Cameron yells that she’s here to make a statement: I predict it’s that she’s terrible at everything.
Backstage, Goldust has a…plasma lamp? God, I had one of those: did not know not to touch metal whilst using it, but soon learned. This is like a fairly tame Hunter S. Thompson trip. Cody is actually coming off like the kind of guy who would ritualistically kill people as opposed to a comedy character; I say roll with that.
Sexually, This Is Referred To As…Um…
Oh lord, is R-Truth still here? Don’t get me wrong: I just…hate him. The Wyatts show up, and I feel like this should lead to Xavier Woods and Friends feuding with the Wyatt Family. And an alliance between the Wyatts and Rusev. And simmering yet awkward sexual tension between Bray and Lana.
Turns out that Bray will be taking on Truth; R-Truth actually shows some fire, landing some shots before getting knocked down. Wyatt clubs Truth down, and he comes back knock Bray down. Truth then breakdances, because it just seems like the perfect time, I guess. Wyatt spiderwalks, and I actually congratulate myself for seeing that one coming. Although I’d argue that spiderwalking in a fight severely limits your offensive capabilities, your range of movement and your capacity to either dodge or block, and if your opponent doesn’t take the opportunity to kick you in your face, heart, stomach or nuts then he shouldn’t be fighting anyone. JBL asks ‘who wouldn’t stop in their tracks?’ Me, JBL; I’d be busy stamping on Bray’s throat. Bray hits that badass crossbody of his, and stalks R-Truth before pancaking him in the corner. Hard-looking Sister Abigail gets the win.
Short and sweet. I’m not bored of the spiderwalk, per se, but more everyone’s reaction to it. 2 Stars.
We get a RAW Rebound of Steph getting arrested. And she got charged with resisting arrest? I’d argue she protested arrest, but she let them cuff her and left with them. Did she manage to temporarily escape the detectives’ hybrid en route? I could believe that.
As Miz’s Parents Are Led To The Viper-Proof Shelter
Good reception for Roman as he makes his way to the ring. This match came sort of out of left field, but I like it. Although I’m alive to the possibility that this is just so Orton can jump him. It’s also fun to pretend Lillian introduces Del Rio in Spanish because she doesn’t think he can speak English.
Plenty of time for this match, which makes for a nice change. Reigns ties up with Alberto and backs him into a corner. Del Rio has his strike countered and is beaten down for a moment before getting a kick right to the leg and working over Reigns’ arm early. I have to say, since we watched him damn near concuss Bray Wyatt, I’ve actually warmed to Alberto quite a bit. He just needs direction, and a motivation that isn’t ‘I’m foreign and sort of a jerk. And rich. Am I still rich?’ He tries the cross armbreaker, but Reigns pushes him out of the ring, looking more offended than anything else.
Back from the break, Reigns is in control. He sends Del Rio off the ropes, hitting a Samoan drop and clotheslining him out of the ring. Reigns gets Alberto on his shoulders, but gets thrown into the post; Del Rio wraps his arm around the steel and goes after it. He looks vicious tonight, as Michael mentions as well. Back in the ring, however, Reigns regains control for a moment, but Del Rio unbalances Roman, hanging him in the Tree of Woe before dropping the boots to his chest: that looks like it absolutely kills, and I dread the day when someone’s chest actually gets caved in with that. Reigns rolls out of the ring, coughing heavily. Alberto slams the arm off the steel steps and rolls Roman in for a pin attempt. Unsuccessful, he goes right back to the arm.
Reigns tries to fight out again, only to eat the corner enzuigiri. Again, Del Rio stays right on the arm, keeping Roman to the mat. Reigns does manage to gain his feet, powering Alberto right into the corner, only for Del Rio to hang the cross armbreaker over the ropes! Roman manages to break the hold by slamming a fist right into Alberto’s face and knocking him to the floor. Reigns hurls Del Rio into apron, barricade and announce table before tossing him back in the ring; he ducks Alberto’s clothesline; hits one of his own. Reigns runs into three knee strikes from Del Rio, but still manages to drop him with a clothesline! Roman tries his apron dropkick, but Alberto dodges! That’s the first time I remember seeing anyone counter that in any way, and Del Rio dropkicks Reigns right through the ropes, stomping him down.
Tree of Woe for Reigns once again, and Del Rio kicks him. Off the charge, however, Roman lifts himself up so Alberto blasts the turnbuckle, and then hits his apron dropkick! Superman Punch winds up, and he hits it. Reigns stalks Del Rio for the spear, and he hits it for the win.
This was impressive. Roman, of course, is the nigh-implacable dominance machine, but Del Rio actually came across as a major challenge. The moves and counters weren’t quite Rollins/Bryan level, but they were innovative and the whole match was just very enjoyable. 3 Stars.
Holy hell, no run in from Orton. Then again, if Miz’s parents couldn’t lure him out, what would?
I liked this SmackDown. Very little to get annoyed about, and the time was more or less used well. That said, the absence of major figures is starting to become noticeable; having Orton or Cena on the show occasionally would be a good move; I’ll suffer through it somehow. Eight for tonight.
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, Cameron, Cesaro, Curtis Axel, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, jbl, Michael Cole, naomi, Paige, Paul Heyman, R-Truth, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, ryback, Rybaxel, seth rollins, Smackdown, The Miz, usos, WWE, wyatt family