Well buonasera, folks. Yep, it’s me: your dear SmackDown reviewer, back in really grey-looking England after a lovely week of tanning, eating better Italian food than I can cook, and getting mistaken for a local lad. Big thank-you to the immensely talented RHETT DAVIS for writing last week’s review; I am extremely grateful for his time and wonderful writing.
Oh joy, it’s the Miz, and we’re still pretending that he has literally anything to do with Hollywood. Oh Christ, we’re doing Miz TV? Hadn’t we just brought back the Highlight Reel? What’s next: Peep Show? Carlito’s Cabana? Miz talks for a while, which is endlessly better than Miz wrestling, but still not great. He says he wants to mentor young talent, and introduces Roman Reigns. I’m actually surprised that Reigns showed up for this, especially as he probably doesn’t know who the Miz is.
Both men sit down in the chairs, meaning that this has stayed a talk show for way longer than any other WWE talk show segment in recent memory. We’re reminded that Miz’s Mom wants herself speared by a studly Samoan (the fanfic’s probably been written), and Miz asks Roman if he’s nervous, because if he loses he’ll forever be known as a guy who couldn’t get it done. Yeah, because we remember things in wrestling. Miz won’t let Roman talk, so Roman just decks him. Shit, that was actually an almost-watchable Miz segment. …I feel dirty.
Roman says that Orton’s known as the Viper, and he’s won a tonne of championships, which Roman respects. He says Orton will have to respect him when he wins at SummerSlam. They replay the punch a bunch of times, which I recommend watching.
He’s A Lumberjack And He’s Okay; He Sleeps All Night And He Swings All Day
Well, here’s Dean Ambrose, still eschewing the purchase of any actual ring attire. Clearly didn’t train at the same place I did, where they frowned on that kind of responsible financial behaviour. We look back at Seth Rollins getting jumped by Ambrose out of a present, like something out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas II: Surprise, Motherfucker. And his opponent is Cesaro; he’s apparently a lumberjack this Sunday which, Monty Python informs me, makes him a transvestite.
Headlock by Cesaro, and he knocks Ambrose down off the ropes, only for Dean to hit a knee and start throwing hands. Cesaro comes back with some hands and uppercuts, and is it just me or does this crowd sound like the arena FX from the video games? Stomps to Ambrose as JBL claims that all homeless people lick windows (they totes do). Ambrose comes back now, hitting a cross-body which Cesaro nearly turns into a bodyslam, only for Dean to slip out of and clothesline Cesaro out of the ring. Vaulting body press takes Cesaro down on the outside, and then it’s back in the ring for more frolicsome fists, but then Cesaro realises, ‘wait, that guy’s shoulder’s injured’. Dean’s thrown into the ring post, suplexed onto the outside and we go to break.
Back to the action, Cesaro’s firmly in control, hitting an uppercut to Dean in the corner. Ambrose fucking launches Cesaro over the top rope, and then missiles himself right out after him. Dean climbs up to the top rope, but Cesaro catches him with a fist. JBL implies that Triple H is Michael Cole’s sugar daddy and I had actually forgotten what this show was like. Ambrose bites Cesaro’s Swiss schnozz, then tornado DDT’s him hard enough that this future lumberjack will have the same cognitive ability as an actual lumberjack. Kickout at two, although I’m willing to believe that was due to air escaping Cesaro’s corpse. Double-underhook hold by Ambrose now, and Cesaro breaks out, hits a big boot, ducks Ambrose’s clothesline and hits one of his own. Ambrose kicks out at two; Cesaro holds up four fingers, which totally proves my lumberjack-related point. Ambrose tries a tornado DDT; Cesaro hits a beautiful counter into an uppercut. Michael tells JBL off for not being unbiased and REALLY, MICHAEL? Small package nearly gets the win, inverted Death Valley Driver from Cesaro gets two and Ambrose comes back with a big clothesline. Lunatic Fringe countered and Dirty Deeds comes out of nowhere.
Very good match; I was impressed with some of the counters shown. Wish I knew what the hell was going on with Cesaro, but this was great. 3 Stars.
Seth Rollins comes out, and I am so unfamiliar with these new entrance themes I honestly couldn’t tell for a moment. Seth says that this Sunday, they go one-on-one (to the power of lumberjack recurring). Rollins explains the rules of a Lumberjack Match, but at least he didn’t say $9.99. He says he’s the future, and that he’s better than bipolar cat-people with rabies (or something).
After the break, Miz is walking backstage with an ice-pack, which is some commendable continuity. Kane is apparently now wearing a suit again, or whatever. Miz grouses for a while, and demands that Roman be banned from Miz TV. But Kane makes a match for Miz vs Reigns. So…is he a good guy? Or a bad guy, because he just made a Miz match?
I Keep Forgetting Two Of These People Are Employed
It’s Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil, and Oh God why. Apparently they made Hogan’s birthday more ridiculous than it already was. Titus is facing Ziggler, who still appears to be the Most Distracted Man in Wrestling. Titus takes Ziggler down early, but gets low-bridged. Ziggler keeps ducking in and out of the ring, then dropkicks Titus, only to get powered into the corner and gets his head rocked off the canvas. Big-time backbreaker to Ziggler for a two. Clothesline to Dolph in the corner, but he runs into a pair of boots. Clothesline and a dropkick to Titus, then a stinger splash in the corner, but Titus hits a big boot for two. Another backbreaker attempt, but Dolph slips out for a Zig-Zag out of nowhere for the win.
This was okay; not like there was much doubt in the result, or at least you’d hope not. 2 Stars.
Hah, You Thought The Wyatts Were Going To Stay Relevant
Well, here’s Mark Henry, and I keep forgetting that he’s employed as well. I hope that this is going to be Luke Harper running through this guy, because otherwise I think we need to send Del Rio to WWE Headquarters for some more slap action. Lillian Garcia looks happy to see Henry, and she is the only, only one. And we get that odd, odd Wyatt Family music again, heralding the arrival of Crazy-Eyes Harper.
They tie up, and neither of them get the better of the exchange. They try it again, and we end up with Henry in the corner. Uppercuts to Henry, then a headlock, but Henry just pushes the scruffy bastard out of the ring. More blows to Henry when Harper comes back, but here’s Henry coming back, running into a knee from Harper, who levels him with a big boot. Stomps to Mark, keeping him on the ground. Big Show starts a ‘Henry’ chant, and don’t you even think about it, Show. Doesn’t seem to be helping, as Harper locks in a sleeper. Henry starts elbowing out, and hits a clothesline. World’s Strongest Slam attempt, and Rowan floors Henry with a big boot for the DQ.
Back from the break, apparently this is now a tag-team match, fuelling the conspiracy theory that they never fired Teddy Long. Big Show is dominating Harper, and hits a big chop to the chest, and another. Harper fights back with an uppercut, but runs into a chokeslam, escaping with a thrust to the throat. Big Show runs right over Harper in the corner and off the ropes. Show calls for the chokeslam and Harper skedaddles; Big Show pursues and Rowan flattens him with a clothesline. The ref yells at Rowan, and he seems dissonantly furious with the big man. Is this about something else? Does Erick Rowan represent the referee’s bearded, abusive mother? Harper bundles Show back into the ring, staying on him before tagging in Rowan. Erick chokes Big Show on the ropes, eliciting more psychological uncertainty in our poor referee. Harper slings Rowan into Big Show and then hits a superkick for the near-fall.
Sleeper hold applied to Big Show, who’s woozy as hell, but recovers, hitting a back suplex to Harper and tagging in Henry; Rowan comes in and gets knocked all around the ring. World’s Strongest Slam set up; Big Show knocks Harper out of the ring and clobbers Rowan before Henry Slams him.
Well, I’m not thrilled about the result, but the Wyatts looked impressive here: practically gutsy during some moments. And if Henry and Big Show have a title shot, I feel like the Usos might be able to make it almost watchable. 2.5 Stars.
More advertising for this throw-down between Brie and Steph that I couldn’t honestly care less about; that’s probably the most accurate way to describe that segment. We get the ‘We’re Not Wearing Pants’ interview with Steph and Cole. Stephanie calls Cole a reporter, which is a heel move and slander. I find it hilarious that people are making a big deal about Steph being out of action for ten years, and not about her being pretty bad at wrestling ten years ago.
AJ, You Saw This On TV This Monday
Hey, a participant in a Divas match at SummerSlam which I have actual expectations of: AJ Lee. She’s facing Eva Marie, whose in-ring abilities are evocative of the Stephanie McMahon of ten years ago. AJ goes after Eva, who ducks out of the ring. She tries to grab that red hair, but gets her feet swept out and dropped back-first onto the apron. Back in the ring, AJ regains control, slamming Eva Marie off the mat and hits a clothesline and a neckbreaker. Big kick to the face, but then Paige’s music starts. She skips out, and AJ flings herself at her, beating the hell out of her. We get the Ziggler/Slater ending from RAW, and then AJ gets kicked in the face by Paige. Wow, she really did use to date Dolph.
This really didn’t get started, and yet there was still somehow too much. 1.5 Stars.
Paige hits the Paige-Turner and then yells ‘I love you!’ at AJ. So, this is a lesbian domestic abuse angle?
I Now Would Like To See Bo vs. Rusev. Seriously.
Here’s our Real American, and is that guy in the crowd seriously holding his hand over his heart? I remember being excited for this Swagger/Rusev thing, and maybe I still would be enjoying it if the whole jingoism thing hadn’t raised its ugly head and some of these audiences really make me worry about what the definition of ‘patriotism’ is in the USA. And here’s Bo Dallas, who I sort of love for reasons I can’t quite define. Swagger slaps on a headlock, then hits a shoulder block. Bo hits knees and punches to Jack’s taped ribs, keeping him down. Swagger, however, manages to get the Patriot Lock, and Bo instantly taps.
Fair enough; I was expecting an actual match, but this was barely adequate too. 1.5 Stars.
Swagger claims the ring for America again, which seems unnecessary because WWE is an American company, and that’s their ring. Lana shows up with Rusev, and Jack is actually chanting ‘USA’ out of time with the crowd. Lana tries to make it seem like a flag match is of global importance rather than just a ladder match’s retarded cousin.
During the break, Bo Dallas gamely tries to lie about tapping out. This. This is what I enjoy about Bo.
Well, Miz Once Beat Orton For The Title…
Here comes Roman Reigns, ready to re-enact some of the more gang-rape-esque scenes from The Shawshank Redemption with Miz playing the part of Andy Dufresne. This does make it seem like Roman passes the time whilst waiting for a fight by finding other fights, which probably hints at a social or psychological disorder. But at least he’s not Sheamus.
Roman backs Miz into the corner and threatens to punch him again; Miz cowers. Wow, this is like watching a kid get bullied and wanting it to happen. Miz gets a headlock, but is then backed into a corner, shoving Roman away and then running. As a formerly bullied kid, I’m pretty sure I was less irritating about it than Miz, honestly. Miz comes back and wrenches Reigns’ arm, then catches him with a kick and then slaps him in the face. Roman gets a look in his eye like he’s going to tear off Miz’s face and wear it to fight Orton on Sunday, so Miz runs again, tries to stomp Reigns once back in the ring, but Roman hauls him out of the ring and hurls Miz into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Miz hangs Roman up on the ropes, then heads up to the top rope…jumping right into a fist to the stomach. Miz actually gets in some offence, working the legs as if there is even a future in including strategy against Reigns. He keeps Roman down, and actually manages to apply the Figure-Four. Jesus, I did not anticipate this. Reigns pulls the legs apart to show what he thinks of Miz’s bullshit attempts at actually wrestling, and a second attempt sends Miz shoulder-first into the turnbuckle. Miz eats a Samoan drop on the way out, then a flying clothesline, then another clothesline in the corner, and an uppercut, then Reigns’ apron dropkick. Roman winds up for the Superman Punch, and Miz bails. Ziggler blocks his entrance on the ramp, distracting Miz long enough that he eats a Superman Punch on the outside. Roman hurls him back into the ring, and then ends it with the spear.
That was actually done entirely right; Roman was always a second away from completely destroying Miz, which is good and honest and fair. Miz’s selling of the Superman Punch was really rather good. 2.5 Stars.
Weirdly, this was a good SmackDown, unless it was the last show before a PPV. Which…embarrassingly…it was. In no way did it feel like SummerSlam was this Sunday, and for that I can only go so high as a seven.
David Spain’s WWE Sex Move of the Week: The ‘Wade Barrett’. Receive climax from partner. Promise to absolutely blow their minds in return before triumphantly roaring, ‘but I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS!!’
Tags: aj lee, big show, Bo Dallas, Brie Bella, Cesaro, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Eva Marie, Heath Slater, jack swagger, John Bradshaw Layfield, kane, Lana, Luke Harper, Mark Henry, Michael Cole, Paige, Roman Reigns, rusev, seth rollins, Smackdown, Stephanie McMahon, Summerslam, The Miz, titus o'neil, Wade Barrett, WWE, wyatt family, Zeb Coulter