Hey there, ladies and gentlemen. I apologise for this thing going up so late; I’ve been wined and dined kind of consecutively, and my moral character is not strong enough to break away from free alcohol and say ‘well, I guess it’s time to write my review’. But I’m here now, with a nice Kenyan coffee (a very decent region, if you haven’t tried it), and am ready to write this son of a bitch.
Can You Guys Just Pick Your Fucking Jannetty?
We start this thing off with the Real American, who’s still dragging around that flag. Seriously, I’m just reminded of these words from author Terry Pratchett: ‘I’d be very worried if I saw a man singing the national anthem and waving the flag, sir. It’s really a thing foreigners do. We don’t need to show we’re patriotic, sir…we don’t have to make a fuss about being the best. We just know.’ We see RAW, where we got Zeb Coulter’s take on the song America: Fuck Yeah and Jack claiming the ring for America. He’s facing Cesaro, and his siren has been changed from air raid siren to European police siren: if that’s to imply he’s no longer as much as a threat, that’s actually pretty funny.
Both former Real Americans tie up, with Jack getting a waistlock only for Cesaro to outwrestle him. Waistlock takeovers from Swagger, and he goes for the Patriot Lock, only for Cesaro to scramble out of the ring. Back in the ring, the men exchange blows, with Swagger clotheslining Cesaro in the corner. Thumb to the eye by Cesaro, and then a big boot right to the face. Gutwrench suplex to Swagger, and then a sleeper attempt; Swagger forces his way clear, but then runs right into a powerslam off the ropes. Cesaro straddles Jack (ew) and punches him in the face. Swagger ends up holding himself up on the ropes, and Cesaro slaps him. I don’t get why a slap is supposed to annoy someone more than kicking them in the face or gutwrenching them, but apparently Swagger prescribes to that psychology, and strikes Cesaro with an elbow, then a clothesline. Cesaro’s whipped into a corner, then runs into a boot. Cesaro’s in position for a Swagger Bomb, but he pops up, catches Jack’s legs and throws him out of the ring!
Back from a commercial break, Cesaro and Swagger are on the top rope. Cesaro wants a superplex; Jack punches his way clear and jumps…right into an uppercut. Near-fall, and Swagger’s trying to get back into it, but Cesaro’s always one strike ahead…until Swagger catches him and drives him down into the mat. This time the Swagger Bomb hits, but for a two-count only. Cesaro hangs Swagger up on the ropes, and hits a tiger bomb. Cesaro gets distracted by Coulter, and Swagger gets the Patriot Lock…and Cesaro taps out instantly.
So…okay? I mean, yeah, I know Swagger’s getting ready to face Rusev at the big show, but Cesaro tapped to him? And that fast? After a great match with Cena just on Monday? Silly David, expecting logical decisions. Still, can’t really complain about the rest of the match. 2.5 Stars.
After the match, Swagger raises the flag, staring at it with naked lust in his eyes. This preternatural courtship is interrupted by Rusev, who has his own flag with him. I’m waiting for this to go all Michaels/Hart and have Swagger humping the Russian flag, because that is literally how WWE responds to political and global turmoil. She challenges them for a Flag Match at SummerSlam, which fuels my certainty we’ll be seeing some Swag-on-Flag action. Coulter says that Real Americans don’t run from a call to action to defend the country. Unless they’re Orton, who apparently went AWOL that one time. He says that all Real Americans accept this match; as a Real Italian/British/Spanish/possibly Norwegian, I really don’t.
Speak of the dishonourably-discharged devil: it’s Randy Orton. God, could that t-shirt be any more aimed at ten year olds? Orton immediately says he has no issue with Lesnar, and this is what is fucking wrong with Orton right now. What happened to the guy who would RKO people because they happened to be the closest person to him? Why does he not have an issue with every single person ever anymore? Why hasn’t he shivved Heyman yet? But he is going after Roman Reigns, so at least some of that nihilistic desire to injure someone is in still there. We replay his beating of Reigns, and I still think they missed a trick by not having Orton RKO Kane after that chokeslam before turning to Roman. Then have Orton destroy Kane in a match this Monday: ramp up the danger factor. Challenge is made for SummerSlam, which does make sense, really.
The Greatest Trick The Devil Ever Pulled Was Convincing The World He Didn’t Exist
R-Truth is in the ring, and here’s Bo Dallas. Okay, I don’t as a rule love undefeated streaks. If you want to make a storyline out of them and make them a challenge for other people: well and good. But just having them there is a bit of an irritation, and we had Bo, technically Rusev and, if you can believe it, Adam Rose. Bo, I think, is going to be more interesting now we have to move out of the ‘x and Bo’ part of his character, so I’m glad the streak ended. I would, however, say that whoever went to a Creative meeting and said: ‘why not R-Truth?’ should be beaten by a big sack full of doorknobs.
Bo offers a hand, like the stand-up guy he is, and R-Truth attacks him, like the ex-convict he is. Dallas rolls out of the ring and Truth follows him, throwing him back in. Truth misses a splash to the corner, and Bo hits some elbows, but misses a clothesline and nearly gets rolled up. Crossbody from R-Truth, and then Bo manages to drive him into the corner, hitting strikes. The ref tries to make the count in that shrill voice of his, and Bo gets disqualified.
See, more interesting a character now. Match was kind of not really a thing, but all in the service of character development. 1.5 Stars.
After attacking Truth for a good while, Bo gets on the mic and says that Truth got what was coming to him. He says the crowd has not lost faith, because they Bo-lieve in him.
Hence The Saying ‘On A Scale Of “Rosa Mendes” to “AJ Lee”…’
Rosa Mendes is in the ring, and she’ll be facing Divas Champion, AJ Lee. We repeat AJ and Paige’s fight from RAW, and holy shit, I’ve just realised that they look exactly like Elia Martell and Lyanna Stark respectively (I’ve been reading the books again, so be thankful this is the first A Song of Ice and Fire reference I’ve made). Why would Paige pick a fight with the girl who put Punk and Bryan through a table?
AJ applies the Black Widow; Rosa Mendes taps.
Considering we almost saw a Rosa Mendes match, I have no complaints. 1.5 Stars.
AJ skips up the ramp, but then gets girly-pushed off it by Paige. Paige keeps saying ‘she’s fine! She’s fine! She’s overreacting!’, and that actually hauntingly familiar of my time served in clubs. Wow, I’d read the preview of this online and had thought it was some kind of massive assault; apparently not.
Ambrose is backstage, still with his magical healing bandages, and says that he’s sure that Hunter thinks that this handicap match is funny, and that all they want to do is protect Seth Rollins. Dean says that Kane being there doesn’t matter; he’s getting to Rollins tonight.
We get an update that AJ got carried out on a stretcher with a neckbrace. See, Brie Bella would have sued for that.
Does Michael Cole Not Understand Tag Team Wrestling?
Here’s Kane, making his way to the ring. He’s followed by Seth Rollins, and finally Dean Ambrose. We repeat Rollins’ assault on Dean from this past Friday, and Michael calls Seth out on jumping Ambrose when that’s pretty much Dean’s deal as well. I love how Michael will occasionally make such a skewed moral statement that he doesn’t even try to defend it when JBL argues with him.
Ambrose and Kane to start off, but Dean tries to jump Seth and Kane immediately goes after Ambrose. Dean dodges a charge, raining punches down on Kane until he runs into an uppercut. Seth calls for the tag, but Ambrose fights for a moment and runs into a big boot. Seth comes in, stomping Dean and wrenching his shoulder, then working him in the corner. Ambrose comes off the ropes and wrenches back Seth’s head to the mat. Rollins tags out, which is tantamount to setting fire to a baby penguin in Michael Cole’s ethical system. Kane quickly regains control, working on the shoulder and tossing Dean shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Seth taunts Dean on the outside as Kane wraps the shoulder around the post.
Back in the ring, Rollins gets the tag, and would you just look at this depraved motherfucker? Ambrose tries to mount offence, but Rollins is too fresh, working on Ambrose before tagging in Kane. JBL manages to back Michael into having to admit he was either wrong before or wrong now, and can we appreciate this Texan millionaire’s noble crusade for a moment? Big sidewalk slam to Ambrose, and Rollins tags in again. Christ, this guy is actually worse than Hitler. Rollins stalks Ambrose, and tries for a powerbomb, but gets backdropped. Both Rollins and Kane get tossed to the outside, with Dean throwing himself over the ropes at them. Seth gets thrown back in the ring, and Ambrose drop-toeholds Kane into the steps. Dean goes right after Rollins, stomping him into the corner. The ref’s counting, but Dean is channelling Bo Dallas at this stage. He hurls Rollins across the ring by the hair, then Kane drags Ambrose out of the ring, hurling him into the timekeeper’s area. Ambrose comes right back with a chair, clobbering Kane and Rollins, only to get put down with a boot by Kane. Kane tries to chokeslam Dean onto the chair, but Dean reverses to DDT Kane onto it instead; Rollins makes himself scarce and Ambrose beats Kane out of the ring with the chair.
I rather liked this. Ambrose plays the guy you can’t ever count out, with the slightly manic tilt to it. I enjoy how he’ll get so far into a match and then clearly think ‘screw it’. Adds something to the roster. 2.5 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage with Chris Jericho, and we look at the past couple of weeks of him getting the shit kicked out of him. Jericho says that at Battleground it was his night, but he’s since been paying the price. He really pushes the spider metaphor, which is a good way to destroy a metaphor. Plus, can he stop saying ‘let’s get crazy’ and then not getting crazy?
Oops, looks like Stardust got into the adrenochrome again. And Goldust is wearing a hat. Does the Cosmic Key unlock the door to the room they’re locked in so they can actually wrestle? It’s not like I’m not enjoying what Cody’s doing here, but I want to see him interact with…sane people.
Still Not As Bad As What Happened To Lita
Oh God, it’s Fandango, so I know what’s coming next. Yep, Diego and El Torito. Admittedly, Layla looks fairly breathtaking in her matador outfit that actually looks more pirate-y. I will say, this is kind of an elaborate crusade by a pair of women scorned. I suppose he should be happy they haven’t paid someone to give him herpes. You know what’s a thing that happens? That.
Bell rings and Fandango goes right after Diego, knocking his bullfighting ass down. The Matador gets thrown out of the ring, flips back in and Fandango turns it into a backbreaker. El Torito distracts Fandango, and then runs behind Layla and Summer Rae. Diego tries to take advantage of the distraction, but Fandango hangs him up on the ropes. Wow, when did he get so smart? Oh, but then Torito starts dancing with the ladies, and who in the back decided to play the music just then? Backstabber to Fandango, and that’s the match. The stupid, stupid match.
I don’t know who writes these comedy segments, or who they’re directed at. But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get along with any of them. 0.5 Stars.
Ziggler’s The Most Easily-Distracted Man In Wrestling
Oh boy, we’re going to be listening to the epic stylings of the Miz, who has already worn out his welcome in my eyes. But it’s a Del Rio match, so I should be able to drown him out. Alberto’s opponent is Ziggler, Michael calls them ‘two former World Champions’, and I admit that did throw me for a moment. Oh God, and the Miz was the WWE Champion.
Alberto immediately goes on the attack, but Ziggler ducks a clothesline and hits a dropkick, throwing hands to Del Rio. He builds offence, but gets pancaked and Del Rio sleepers him. Dolph jawbreakers his way out, dodges a charge and hits a clothesline and then a stinger splash, following it up with a neckbreaker. Miz says he can’t talk about his future movie projects, probably because they’re so tragic anyone listening would weep themselves to death. Dolph misses the Fameasser and gets German-suplexed for the pin. Superkick misses; the big DDT does not and Miz gets a microphone. Wow, spiffy red trousers on that guy. He says he wants to thank a few people for his success; this would be funnier if he wasn’t actually repeating the same names, which is just lazy writing. Thank the barista who makes the best latte ever, or list the girls who write you fanmail. Be creative, you hacks. Del Rio tries to roll up Ziggler, but it’s only for two; he misses the corner enzuigiri and Ziggler hits the Fameasser for a near-fall. Miz wants to thank Ziggler for giving him the opportunity to beat him, and says he’s not as good as the Miz is. Naturally, Dolph’s ADHD mixed with his easily-roused temper kicks in, and he goes for Miz rather than trying to get a victory over Del Rio. Goddammit, Ziggler. Miz escapes; Ziggler goes back to the ring and gets enzuigiri’d and armbarred and he deserves it. Ziggler taps.
Nice back-and-forth match that was overshadowed by Miz being…well, the Miz. But still, nice match. 2.5 Stars.
Del Rio’s ‘dude, what?’ smile and shrug to Miz is just hilarious. Alberto’s just here to win matches. We get told AJ’s been taken to hospital following Paige’s girly-push.
We recap the Brie/Steph thing from Monday, and I agree it’s an interesting enough storyline, but there better not be any situation during that match when these women actually are allowed to wrestle. Because I can’t imagine anything worse. Oh, and Michael’s Not-Wearing-Pants interview of the week was with Brie. Seems an odd replacement for Triple H; I’m not sure what it means symbolically. Also, how little faith does Steph have in her legion of lawyers that she’d rather fight than let this go to court? Or even try to settle out of court with Brie with their lawyers present? My parents are lawyers, and when I mentioned this situation to them, they honestly could not stop laughing.
In The Interests Of Keeping Rowan Away From SummerSlam
The Wyatt Family make their way to the ring. Bray asks why Jericho came back here. Is it because he knew Bray was waiting for him? Sister Abigail warned Bray about Chris, and that everything he’d say would be an empty promise. Chris Jericho lied to everyone and Bray’s probably going to beat him up for that, I guess.
Jericho shows up, and the Wyatts retreat, leaving Rowan to take care of this. They lock up and Rowan gets backed into the corner, getting headbutted and slapped around. Chris gets tossed under the ropes in front of the Wyatts. Michael says he doesn’t want to be so close to the Wyatts, and of course he does: if they attack him he wins by default. Rowan attacks Chris the second he comes back in the ring, stomping him. Jericho ducks a clothesline, but gets shoved way again and again, getting worked over more in the corner. Ladies and gentlemen: this is Chris Jericho getting crazy. And as I type that, Rowan is low-bridged and Jericho springboard-dropkicks him: damn it. Baseball slide to the Rowan, and Harper trips Chris up on his way back into the ring. The ref kind of catches it, and Harper’s look of wide-eyed innocence crossed with ‘I’ll eat your face’ psychoticness is hilarious. Harper’s ejected from ringside, but pauses so Bray can whisper sweet nothings in his ear.
Back from the break, Rowan was driving his fists into Chris’s head, and then pumphandle backbreakers him. Rowan remains firmly in control, keeping Chris down. Man, you’d think multi-time world champion Chris Jericho would be putting up way, way more of a fight. Finally, Jericho fires up, going after Rowan but gets caught with a crossbody, which Jericho turns into a tornado DDT. Kicks to the gut of Rowan, and Jericho comes off the second rope with a missile dropkick, but Rowan manages to hit a big spinning kick. Big boot to the side of Jericho’s head, but when he tries again he nearly gets rolled up. Step-up enzuigiri to Rowan, and then a dropkick to the head. Lionsault to Rowan’s back, but Rowan kicks out at two. Jericho gets run over by Rowan, and the big man goes for a fallaway slam from the second rope, but Jericho fights back, knocking Rowan down. He comes off the top rope and right into a big boot for a near-fall. Frisky Bearhug to Jericho, who manages to hurl Rowan into the corner, and then hit the Codebreaker for the pin.
Rowan often doesn’t display a great amount of interesting offence, as most of the time it’s stomps and slaps. This was one of those times, but they still managed to tell an interesting story. I assume Harper will be next, and then Bray can win without outside interference. 2.5 Stars.
This was just an okay SmackDown to me. Some parts were good; some parts were funny, but just not enough to make a really compelling show. Seven.
I won’t be here next week, as I shall be sunning myself in Sorrento, but the very talented RHETT DAVIS has agreed to shoulder the burden of that week’s report. I hope you enjoy; I shall certainly be trying to steal some Italian’s computer and check it out. Arrivederci!
Tags: aj lee, alberto del rio, Bo Dallas, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, chris jericho, dean ambrose, Diego, Dolph Ziggler, El Torito, Erick Rowan, Fandango, goldust, jack swagger, kane, Layla, Luke Harper, Paige, R-Truth, randy orton, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, Rosa Mendes, seth rollins, Smackdown, Stardust, Summer Rae, Summerslam, The Miz, WWE, Zeb Coulter