Felicitations, guys and gals, and welcome to the go-home show review. The headlines this week: I spent my Thursday working in a kitchen which was literally flooding with a mix of corrosive alkaline solution and dirty dish water, so I currently hate everything and everyone but especially attempted comedy segments during wrestling shows. In other news, I’ve started this new thing where I don’t read the spoilers in advance of watching the show, in order to imbue this writing with a more genuine sense of innocent surprise and childlike wonder.
Holy fuckballs, it’s Dean Ambrose. We recap the return of cheap pops (and, coincidentally, Mick Foley) before Dean gets his hands on a microphone. Please don’t make a lot of bad puns; please don’t make a lot of bad puns…Ambrose says he’ll never not get back up: not because he’s indestructible or because he doesn’t get hurt, but because unlike Mick Foley, he’s never been a nice guy. God, now I really want an Ambrose/Foley match. All Ambrose wants: all he can possibly have is revenge on Seth Rollins. Shit, he’s actually selling that idea.
Topless Seth appears onscreen (why did I feel the need to mention the toplessness?) He says Ambrose doesn’t tell him what to do; he’s a strong, independent professional wrestler and he don’t need no man. He mocks Dean for being so invested in the Shield, and then says ‘it was me, Ambrose; it was me all along’. Fuck, that man just won the Attitude Era. He says vengeance is cheap and, like Ambrose, is worthless. What matters is future, and Rollins’ will begin after he disposes of Ambrose. He says he’ll then cash in his briefcase, and considering the last time he tried to do that it was on Brock Fucking Lesnar, I believe him. Ambrose fires up, yelling that the two of them will burn together, but Rollins will perish alone. Sold. Sold on this whole goddamn feud.
Apparently Big Show’s going to address the fact that Rusev, in the fine tradition of Eddie Guerrero, the entire nWo and various WWE referees before him, abided by the tradition ‘if you hop the barricade, you’re a dead motherfucker’ last Monday.
Damien Sandow Is Not Afraid To Commit. Ladies…
Oh lord in heaven, Los Matadores. Seriously: why are they still here? What possible value do they have in this incarnation? Although this situation is mitigated by a) chill Sheamus on commentary and b) Sandmiz having a match. I’d even accept it if they made him the WWE’s version of that character from arcade fighting games, and he just used a different wrestler’s moves and mannerisms every match: one week he’s the Big Show; the next he’s Paige. At some point he can get high and channel anyone from the Hall of Fame. And I’d watch it.
Sandmiz gets thrown into a corner, tosses Matador Uno over his shoulder but gets headscissored. Miz gets a tag, misses a punch and eats some chops and a boot to the face. He hangs Uno up on the ropes. Miz then hits the Clubbing Blows to the chest, leading to mild comedy gold from Sheamus. Awesome Clothesline to Uno, and Sandmiz tags back in, getting drop-toehold…ed on the ropes; Los Dos and Miz tag in, and Dos is all over the Miz, with strikes and a flapjack into the corner; senton to a standing Miz, but Sandmiz breaks up the pin before Uno tosses him. Miz throws out Uno, blocks a backstabber and then applies the Figure Four to Dos, as Sandmiz shoves El Torito down on the outside (best use of the bull ever) and applies the Figure Four to Uno. Dos taps and that’s the match.
Not a massive amount of material from Sandmiz, but I did appreciate the brief Sheamus-ing from Miz and Damien pushing El Torito over. 2.5 Stars.
Sheamus starts making threats, but takes his headset off halfway through, meaning we can’t hear him and, due to the music, neither can Miz. Smart guy, that Irishman. JBL says they need him on commentary more often: yes to that.
Dust Brothers are backstage, assumedly tripping balls again…and then suddenly Bo Dallas is there, and manages to derail and save the segment. That incredible smile.
They Don’t Have Any Ideas For Another Number One Contender For AJ
Alicia Fox is ready for her rematch against the champ, and if she was a guy and Swiss and freakishly strong, this would be a title match (that’s my way of saying that Cesaro has a title shot tonight; the Divas title does not have a really specific list of prerequisites for challengers).
Bell rings and they tie up. AJ wrenches the arm, but eats a forearm from Fox. Headscissors takes Fox down, and I get irritated when AJ brings out that move. Not because I don’t like the move, or athletic women’s matches, but because it always seems like she could lock in the Black Widow right there and game over. Still, willing suspension of disbelief. Fox comes back with a straight slap to the face, and then gets caught with a front facelock. She counters by slamming the champ into the corner and then hits her Northern Lights suplex.
Sleeper hold to AJ Lee, who tries to fight out but gets bodyslammed before she can. Fox chokes her on the ropes as Paige talks shit, but Alicia finally runs into a pair of knees. AJ fires up, but gets distracted as she goes after Paige, recovers, throws Fox into Paige and rolls her up for the win.
Very quick match, but decent. Apparently AJ and Paige were making some noise about how they could do a cell match, which probably isn’t high on the overall agenda of feminism, but still something I’d support. 2 Stars.
Wyatt promo. I really hope that at least one pregnant woman has written ‘IT’S COMING’ on her stomach.
We get shown the ‘We’re Not Wearing Pants’ interview with Michael Cole and the Big Show. Michael says that the Big Show is carrying the weight of an entire country on his shoulders, which still sounds like a shot at how heavy that tubby gent is. And stop calling Rusev ‘Russian’; he’s Bulgarian. Apparently we’re talking about when Rusev defended himself against a man trained to kill other men, who was the aggressor in that particular incident. And if he can’t take one kick to the face without acting like a bitch, is that the kind of soldier you want? And who wears a fucking combat uniform to a wrestling show? Big Show says that the flag is not about fabric and cloth and dye, which is a hundred percent what flags are all about. Big Show calls Rusev out for taking a cheap shot, and just watch how Guerrero hits the guy who knocks him off the ladder. Michael Cole acts like a real journalist for once, and asks Big Show to compare the flag-pulling incidents. Big Show straight up goes ‘I was wrong’, which actually surprised me. I think a wrestler just gave a better fake public apology than most politicians. We let both Show and Cole mutually masturbate over how fucking awesome the American armed forces are for a bit, so I kind of zone out for a bit, and we then go to Hulk Hogan? Oh God, they asked Hogan a question about international relations?! That man still thinks that Nikolai Volkoff is the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union! Well, that’s made this feud even more embarrassing. Big Show promises to knock Rusev out, and at this point I just hope that Brock Lesnar returns for an impromptu match against Rusev, doesn’t mention America even the once, and squashes the shit out of the guy. Seriously: that is my dream of how Rusev’s streak is broken. I would purposelessly feed him to Lesnar if it stopped the spread of patriotism.
You Can’t Do That On Free Television!
As an apology for…whatever anyone wants to call that (I’m going with ‘massive waste of my time’) we’ve got a Ziggler/Cesaro match for the Intercontinental Championship. WWE Creative must be amazing at making up with their partners. Both men make their way to the ring, so whoever our nasally new ring announcer is can do the introductions there for that big match feel.
Bell rings, and both men grapple, jockeying for control until they end up on the ropes. Cesaro waits until Ziggler lets go, then hits a knee. Ziggler is thrown into the corner; Cesaro follows him and hits a monkey flip, only for Dolph to land perfectly on his feet! Hip toss to Cesaro, who almost rolls up Ziggler before he can drop his elbow, but Ziggler counters that, then tries to roll him up again; the men trade pin after pin before Cesaro tries a clothesline, then eats a dropkick. Both men keep reversing Irish whips on the way to the corner, but Cesaro is able to hurl Dolph bodily into the steel post, sending the champ right to the outside as we go to break.
After the commercial break, we come back to find Cesaro in control, gripping Ziggler by the head, then applying a sleeper. Dolph nearly breaks out, but Cesaro applies the sleeper again, but Ziggler is able to reverse into a sleeper of his own; Cesaro tries to back suplex Ziggler; Dolph rolls onto his feet and applies the sleeper again! Cesaro finally breaks things up in the corner, but Ziggler comes right back, hitting and moving to take the Swiss Superman down. He gets caught in a powerbomb position, turning that into a roll-up, and then whirls all the way around Cesaro’s body to apply the sleeper again!
Cesaro smashes Dolph into the corner, and manages to suplex him. Ziggler comes back suddenly, looking for the DDT, but Cesaro slams him to the floor. Dolph nearly gets another roll-up before a big boot puts him down. Perfect double underhook powerbomb from Cesaro gets two as the crowd decrees that this, indeed, is awesome. Cesaro tries for the Swing, but nearly gets rolled up; Dolph tries his superkick; Cesaro catches it and goes for his uppercut! Ziggler spins him around and hits the Zig-Zag for the win!
That, hands down, is the best-wrestled match I’ve ever reviewed. That was a PPV-quality match; you couldn’t relax for a second during it. No hesitation in giving this thing 5 Stars.
Surely A P.A. Has Better Job Security Than Anyone Working For WWE
Well, hope you enjoyed that, because this is not going to be of the same quality at all. Okay, no, you know what? I’m being harsh here. Natalya is great in the ring. Brie and Nikki are not actually that bad; they just get bad press from me because I hate their onscreen personalities, their storylines and their hideous inability to act or even say words. Naomi’s given us a few decent matches; Cameron and Summer Rae can just GTFO. Also, it’s sort of strange that after…well, call it twenty years of apparent torment at each other’s hands, these gals seem to think that one month of personal assistant duty is going to settle everything. Plus, that sort of thing depends on you actually having some imagination and drive for that month; I’d probably get through the first week being a total bastard, and the next three would just involve me shrugging and going ‘I really wasn’t going to do much today. I mean…how are you at making Bolognese? Because if you’re not good, then I’d really rather make it myself.’
Brie starts off against Cameron, elbowing her way out of an arm-wrench, backflipping out of a hold but then getting clotheslined hard. Summer comes in, hitting a clothesline of her own. Brie fires up on the heel Divas, but gets taken down by the numbers. Summer, for God knows what reason, decides to then attack the face Divas, but walks right into a dropkick. Cameron, however, pulls Naomi away from the apron before the tag. Nikki tags in, and ends things with the Torture Rack.
That was okay. Surprised they had Nikki and Brie in the match together, but it was very fleeting and this might just be an indication of a Brie victory. And, looking back, I realised that Brie made no tags; probably didn’t want to show that they had better Divas than her to work with. 2 Stars.
Nikki gets on the microphone, and beat still my heart. Also, isn’t personal assistant to someone who makes, let’s face it, a pretty substantial amount of money a decent job? Something to put on your CV; adds to your skill set; you could get a reference from John Cena. The stipulation should be that the loser has to work in a place which is half-flooded with corrosive alkaline. Anyhow, Nikki calls Brie ‘Cinderbella’, which I want to be annoyed about, but I actually smiled, so damn.
We do ‘Hell in a Cell by the Numbers’, which is actually a lot better than it sounds. Although it’s not as good as a Hell in a Cell match featuring only accountants. And as much as I love Hell in a Cell matches, and I really do, this ‘themed PPV’ thing is killing its mystique. It used to be the one definitive way to a violent, nigh-murderous blood-feud; now we put Orton in a cell with ‘TBA’. Fuck’s sake. Even the Lesnar thing is not making me feel better, because I just can’t believe that the WWE is going to say ‘Cena’s had three matches against Lesnar in this last stretch; maybe the audience wants something new? Oh hell, can you imagine how awesome it would be if we sent in a dangerous, sick bastard of a heel against Lesnar? Man, nobody would know what to expect!’
Apparently Hulk Hogan says that John Cena will always be the champ. Wow, I wonder who he thinks will always be the president.
Oh, I was wondering where our six-man tag match was. But here’s the Usos, followed by Mark Henry; they will face Bo Dallas and the Dust Brothers. How the hell did it take this long for Goldust to get that bitching facepaint? Oh God, Hulk Hogan’s going to be on RAW. It might be because he was well over the hill when I got into the wrestling scene properly, or his ridiculous and frankly desperate overuse currently, but the only joy I get out of seeing him is in an ironic sense.
Henry immediately goes for Bo Dallas, and considering the 0-3 record he has against Dallas I’d watch yourself, Mark. Stardust and Jey come in instead, giving us a taste of whatever tag team magic we’re in for this week. Stardust punches Jey down, but Jey comes back with a headbutt, tagging in Jimmy. Goldust tags in, but gets backdropped. Stardust tries to interfere, but is clotheslined out of the ring; Bo tries a cheap shot, but Henry runs him off as we go to a break.
Back from the break, the Dust Brothers are in control of who I believe is Jimmy; Goldust has him in a sleeper hold. The Dust Brothers say that they’re not science fiction; they’re science fact, which actually would make them just ‘science’, but hey. Goldust ducks one dragon kick, but Jimmy catches him on the rebound, tagging in Mark Henry. Bo runs right into a clothesline and a boot; Goldust is tossed out of the ring! Stardust nearly eats the World’s Strongest Slam, but rolls out of it…only to get kicked in the face by Jey! Jimmy hurls himself out of the ring onto Goldust, but Stardust catches Jey, tripping him so that he slams his face off the apron. In the ring, Bo is caught by Henry and headbutted. Stardust crossbody’s Mark, only to get World’s Strongest Slammed in truth this time. Bo catches Henry, hits the Running Bo-Dog and gets the win! Holy shit.
Good match. I am so happy about Bo getting the win, especially in the relatively clean fashion. 2.5 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage with Dolph Ziggler, and congratulates him on the win, but Cesaro is suddenly right there. I think Cesaro actually sounds more Swedish that Swiss, but then the guy does speak a lot of languages, so some of that’s going to creep in. Apparently members of my own family don’t know what my accent is supposed to be; feel free to check out the Trashy Ring Attire podcast and chime in with whatever the hell I actually sound like. The boys get into it, and Renee’s moving the microphone in time to catch both of their comments is oddly hilarious. We get a 2-out-of-3 falls match for the title at Hell in a Cell. Man, this is shaping up to a damn decent PPV.
Here’s Seth Rollins along with Noble and Mercury, showing up to a ring loaded with a bunch of stuff; it’s like an artist’s impression of Tommy Dreamer’s living room. He says that Ambrose thought he was the only one with a bag of tricks. Seth taught Dean Ambrose everything he knows, including how to make a resuscitation dummy look like Seth Rollins (which must have been a weird lesson; they were definitely high during that). He mocks the ‘you sold out’ chants and says at least he’s a winner. Rollins knows he’s never been in a cell before, but he’s studied under Triple H and knows that there are no rules. We turn to the table, and are…are those bolt-cutters? I mean…I’ve seen One Night Stand 2005, but…bolt-cutters. Rollins picks up the handcuffs, and a good portion of the arena seating gets a little damp as he talks about cuffing Ambrose. He then gets a screwdriver and makes a pun about ‘screw-up’: meh. He turns to what is lead pipe, and says he’ll use it to beat Dean to a pulp, as opposed to stuffing it with explosives and a rag, which would definitely let him beat Ambrose. He picks up the chair, and laughs about how he dissolved the Shield using one of them.
Rollins then yells about how they could settle things right here, right now, and calls Ambrose out. Oh man, RIP in peace, Noble and Mercury. But Dean doesn’t show up. Rollins laughs and says that Dean has always been all talk. Or maybe he’s too smart to show up here. You know what? Where’s Orton? He’s supposed to be pissed at Rollins. Seth says the equivalent of ‘the future’s bright; the future’s Rollins’, and we see him standing on the cell from Monday. But Ambrose is behind Seth when we come back, and wails on him with a kendo stick. Man, he attacked someone during a flashback? Rollins gets thrown into Noble and Mercury as Ambrose cries havoc. But Cruiserweight Security Incorporated gets involved, allowing Seth to level Dean with a clothesline.
Rollins sets up a table, but Ambrose comes back, nearly powerbombing Seth through it before Mercury stops him. Seth bails, leaving Ambrose alone with the two stooges. Clothesline to Noble; DDT to Mercury. Ambrose stares a hole through Seth, and then puts Mercury through a table with an elbow. The crowd chants ‘one more time’, and Dean obliges them with the use of Jamie Noble (JBL: ‘you can’t do that to Jamie Noble! That man once won the lottery!’). Seth strips off the shirt and acts like he’s going to make a move as the crowd actually chants ‘thank you, Ambrose’ in return for the second table spot: what a nice, bloodthirsty group of folks.
Good week, I must say: that’s what a go-home show should feel like. Ziggler and Cesaro definitely had the best match since Cena/Rollins from almost a year ago: maybe even better. Bo getting a win I definitely enjoyed, and the Seth/Dean segments were on point. Everyone aboard the Hell in a Cell train; this week gets an eight.
Tags: aj lee, alicia fox, big show, Bo Dallas, Brie Bella, Cameron, Cesaro, Damien Sandow, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, El Torito, goldust, Hell in a Cell, Jamie Noble, jbl, joey mercury, Los Matadores, Mark Henry, Michael Cole, naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Paige, rusev, seth rollins, sheamus, Smackdown, Stardust, Summer Rae, The Miz, the usos, Tom Philips