What up, readers? After five years in academia, I graduated with my Masters degree in creative writing on Wednesday, which means that this will be the first SmackDown Report written by David Spain, M.A. Actually, this is one of two Masters degrees I have, so I’m technically David Spain, M.A.2 (or, if you like, David Spain, M.A.M.A, which just sounds godawfully Freudian). So, let us all hope that, in line with my academically-proven ability to write shit, that this show will be both high-brow and imbued with the sense of wonder and class that Dante Alighieri himself would weep to review.
Oh for fuck’s sake, it’s Santino Marella. And he’s the General Manager tonight? Go to hell, universe; go right to hell.
We recap RAW this past week, which I didn’t see, but I did read some rather wonderful reviews about it. Seems like WWE might actually have a back door out of a fourth Brock vs. Cena match, and that is the greatest Christmas present anyone could ever have given me. Michael Cole teases Tom for seemingly little-to-no reason, in line with his on-air persona as a bit of a dickhead.
Harper’s Just Giving Ziggler A Helping Hand
Dolph Ziggler shows up, and do you think he’s more surprised that this whole thing still appears to be going his way than we are? It’s another IC Title match against the champ, Harper, who shows up: the eyes on the titantron are creepy in an extremely surreal way. Last week, Ziggler won via count-out and then managed to reverse the post-match beating: that’s about as well as you can do without winning the title. Nasally Announcer does the BIG MATCH FEEL ring announcement, and let’s get this thing underway.
Harper drives Ziggler into the corner and hits some strikes, following it up by slamming his head against the turnbuckle. Ziggler twists away and hits some fists, but Harper powers right back into control, coming off the ropes to hit a shoulder block. He runs the ropes, catches a leap-frogging Ziggler, kicks out of a roll-up and dodges a dropkick. Stomp to the face of a downed Ziggler as we’re reminded that next week is the Slammy Awards: urgh in general to that sentiment. Dolph fights out of a suplex, hitting a neckbreaker and staying right on Harper. Luke Harper throws off a DDT attempt, knocking Ziggler right back down to the mat. It’s the champ’s ballgame right now, and a year ago, would we have thought that Harper holding a singles belt before Bray was likely? Harper is hung up on the ropes, but comes right back with a big boot, sending Ziggler off the apron to the floor.
Back from a commercial break, Harper has Dolph in a sleeper, but Ziggler manages to break the hold with a jawbreaker, and then dodges a charging Harper, sending the mountain man into the steel post, shoulder-first. Both men reach their feet, and Ziggler hits a standing dropkick, then a stinger splash into the corner; he ducks a boot and hits the DDT for two! The champ ducks away from the Fameasser, catches a superkick and hits one of his own for another near-fall! Harper measures Ziggler, charges and hits a big elbow in the corner. Dolph, however, manages to hit a Fameasser out of nowhere for two, then climbs up top, levelling Harper with a crossbody.
Both men down, and once up, Harper tries for a powerbomb; Ziggler rolls through for a cover and then hits a superkick for another two! Harper strikes with a kick as Ziggler raises him up, and apparently that connected to the little Ziggles for the DQ. Damn, Ziggler sells a low-blow like nobody else.
With Harper and Ziggler involved, you know this was going to be a great match. Their PPV bout could well be match of the night, and either man is a good choice to carry the championship. Everything works for me with this programme. 3 Stars.
Harper heads out of the ring and pulls out a ladder. Oh God, Ziggler and Swagger flashbacks; Ziggler and Swagger flashbacks! Harper sets the ladder down in the ring, then makes as if he’s about to powerbomb Ziggler on the ladder, but Ziggler reverses the attempt to, you know, sever his spine with a facebuster onto the ladder to stand tall once again. And apparently fuck the moral high ground, because he then tosses the ladder right out to smack Harper in the face again.
Oh hell, Santino comes out again. God, remember when he was the Milan Miracle? No? Oh, well…good, I guess. He then makes a ladder match for the title at the PPV. If these matches are decided by whatever the wrestlers pick up first, imagine if the ring crew just stocked dildos under there one week.
After a look at tag team turmoil from this Monday, we’re back with Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show and J and J Security in the ring. Rollins says he hates Christmas, because we don’t have enough reasons to boo him, but he does like TLC. Although we also have a ‘Stairs Match’, whatever the fuck that is and for whatever reason. Seth’s meeting Cena in a Tables Match, and remember Sheamus winning the WWE Championship? No? Oh, well…good, I guess. Seth’s excited by taking things away from Cena, which along with the spandex confirms a lot of fanfictions as ‘creepily accurate’.
Rollins keeps clinging to the image of ‘demolition derby’, which doesn’t translate well to a British audience, as we don’t have those things (I also had to get Widro to explain just what in the hell “Thanksgiving” was earlier this week). Seth throws out the phrase ‘splinters in his butt’, and I’m not rewinding to hear any form of context, because at this stage it’s easier to assume that he’s some sort of colossal pervert. He hands the microphone to Big Show, before Rollins just talking violates the new UK pornography laws (apparently our government doesn’t believe in female ejaculation, which is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard). Big Show says this is his first Steel Stairs match, because it took until 2014 for someone with so stupid a suggestion inside of them to rise to a position of creative authority. Show then flails about with the stairs on the outside, demonstrating how godawful the match is going to be ahead of time. He says that playing classical guitar won’t prepare Erick Rowan for this match, and I honestly didn’t think that it would.
Kane then gets in on this, talking about Ryback in his strange, politician-y way. He’ll feed Ryback more…chairs! Santino then interrupts, and this show is so Marella-heavy I might just start drinking in some kind of mental escape attempt. He makes a match tonight for Rowan and Ryback vs. Show and Rollins. All I want really is for Santino to mistake Rusev for Koslov. Seriously, that is all I want from him.
We see Miz creepily hitting on Naomi (the “creepily” is not because of how he did it, but because he’s the Miz) backstage and then Jimmy Uso punching him right in the face: surprisingly hardcore-looking. Please tell me that this is going to end in Miz saying he wants to have that kind of bestiality sex with Naomi, because if so, then I’ll watch the hell out of this feud. Apparently Jey will be wrestling the Miz in Jimmy’s place, so way to be the Brie of that twinship, Jim.
Big E Langston Will DESTROY YOU, SUPERMAN!!
Well, here’s Cesaro and Kidd in the ring; I guess I’m not complaining about that. And here’s the New Day, fresh off their victory over TBU last week. I also appreciate that other people apparently don’t know what Woods is supposed to bring to the team either. On RAW, the New Day took their first defeat, which damn sure didn’t take too long. It looks like they’ll be up against the Dust Brothers pretty soon, which is a clash of ideologies if I’ve ever heard of one. Woods and Kofi are up, and Xavier gets his arm wrenched by Cesaro, before reversing it and tagging Kingston in. Kofi tags Woods back in, and he clotheslines Cesaro.
The Swiss Superman manages to regain the momentum, tagging Kidd in. Woods’ PhD head gets rocked off the turnbuckle before Cesaro comes back in. Sleeper hold to Xavier, who gets thrown into the heel corner, dodges both men and tags in Kofi. Kingston is all ablaze, taking Kidd down left and right before hitting the Boom Drop. Kidd ducks Trouble in Paradise, takes the SOS and Cesaro breaks up the pin. Woods kicks Cesaro in the head; Kofi throws him out and rolls out of a back suplex. Xavier gets the tag; Kofi backbreakers Kidd and Woods finishes him off with a sick-looking stomp to the head.
I’m actually kind of glad the New Day don’t have an undefeated streak to protect; they can get right in and focus on the group. This match was pretty decent, even though I’d rather see Cesaro and Kidd get pushed (although not as a tag team: no no no). 2.5 Stars.
The Dust Brothers show up onscreen, and Bray’s definitely been hooking them up again. They say that darkness will fall on the New Day. Xavier gets surprisingly pissy at the babbling of two crackheads and gets all gospel preacher, followed by Kofi and Big E doing the same thing. Okay, Langston is either pretending to be a Superman villain or is horrendously aroused, but it’s entertaining so keep it coming.
Backstage, Naomi has received a bunch of fake-looking roses from Jimmy…oh snap; it was the Miz! And Jimmy throws them on the ground! On the bright side, we didn’t see that sitcom cliché where the guy goes ‘oh yeah, the flowers; I totally got them for you…’; on the darker side of things, Miz’s Angle-esque rape attempt is right around the corner, and even Sandow providing stunt-double/sign language for the deaf back-up to that scene will not make it in any way acceptable.
JBL defends the future-rapist before we have a look back at Zeb Coulter having been assaulted backstage and Jack Swagger thinking this is a good reason to repeat his programme from SummerSlam. Although I’d rather Swagger gave Rusev his first pinfall loss rather than Cena.
Shit’s All About That Rocking Chair Now
Ambrose shows up to the ring and takes the mic. He tells us he really enjoyed beating up that rocking chair; he says it gave him sick pleasure, and I’m not sure breaking a piece of furniture is the kind of edgy flavour the WWE should be looking into. I mean…Bray can probably buy another chair. Blah blah, destroy, blah, just get to the TLC match. Rusev and Lana shows up, and I can’t not love these guys ever since I saw this picture. Lana says that Rusev ain’t doing shit tonight and shows us a video: it’s Jack Swagger clutching Coulter as Zeb cries ‘don’t touch me! Don’t touch me!’ Um…ew? Oh, and Swagger beating up Rusev, which is less creepy. Lana says you’re all a country of opportunists and cowards and trigger-happy cops. Rusev goes off on one, and yet still sounds less weird than Big E Langston. Ambrose says he stopped listening a while back, and tells Lana to stop flirting with him; he’s not into that kind of bestiality sex. He’s going to fight Rusev, but Wyatt jumps him, demanding justice for his rocking chair.
Wyatt heads under the ring for a chair; Ambrose leaps on him, but Bray overpowers him and then goes to town on the furniture-destroying bastard with the steel. He ends it by slamming the chair off the stairs into Ambrose’s throat; he’d better not pull any of that stairs shit at the PPV, or Big Show and Rowan will be pretty pissed off. Some guys dressed as medics (what, you afraid of the truth?) get Ambrose on a stretcher as some referees back Wyatt away, yelling at him. Badass, ring officials, badass.
Honestly, What Is Maryse Thinking Right Now?
Miz and Sandmiz enter the ring, and Miz wants to know what the matter is with Jimmy. Is it insecurity? Jealousy? The ever-looming threat of non-consensual Miztercourse? He references Kim Kardashian’s naked and creepily-shiny photoshoot, which seems rather not family-friendly, and then suggests that his friend might be able to take nude photos of Naomi as well, and this is like every single one of those creepy Omegle conversations you hear about.
The Usos come down to the ring, and Jimmy sort of looks like he wants to peel Miz’s skin off with his teeth. But this is Jey’s fight for whatever reason; that makes Jimmy the little sister of this sibling team. Jimmy keeps trying to get into the ring, like Don Corleone just told him to ‘act like a man’. The ref boots him out, also like a man, and Miz and Jey get to it.
Miz hits a hip toss, and then a boot to the face and sleeper. Jey reverses into a sleeper of his own, gets shot into the corner, leapfrogs over Miz and hits a Samoan toss of his own. Michael is lampooning Miz, and do you remember when he thought of Miz like the son he never had? No? Oh, well…good, I guess. Miz avoids the Samoan Wrecking Ball, rolling onto the apron, but gets brought inside the hard way. And Sandmiz brings himself in the hard way, distracting Jey so Miz can hit the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win!
Okay, you know what? I often get pissy about distraction-wins, because it makes the wrestlers look seriously frickin’ dumb. But I don’t think any one of us would not be distracted by Sandmiz doing something like that, so I liked it. The passion that Jimmy put into the start of the match made it seem a little different than your average one-member-from-each-team match, which is another point in its favour. 2.5 Stars.
Oh Paige, Do I Miss You
Aw man, Naomi has to go out and wrestle after…oh, wait, it wasn’t her husband who lost just now. And she’s wrestling Brie Bella, and now that the Bellas have the title (no, it doesn’t matter which one) this company acts like it’s important? Bell rings, and Brie wrenches Naomi’s arm. Naomi gets shot off the ropes and takes Brie down, only to eat a dropkick from the second rope; the cameramen have decided that the match is less important than videoing the girls who aren’t wrestling, so bear with me.
Loving Naomi’s funky socks, I must say, and she eats at knee to the stomach, then the face. Chinlock gets fought out of by Naomi, but she takes a clothesline and gets put in another chinlock. Can’t decide whether AJ (on commentary) is crazy or is acting crazy, and I’ve just realised that all of these women are in a relationship or are married to their co-workers: office romance happens even if you don’t actually work in an office. Naomi takes Brie down a bunch of times, kips up and Brie escapes out of the ring to be with her sister, so Naomi baseball slides both of them. She heads up top; Nikki tries to distract her; AJ takes her out; Brie gets rolled up by Naomi and that’s three!
Well, the part of the match I actually saw was okay. Naomi’s a decent wrestler; I remember a time when I thought she might take the belt from AJ. The Bella Twins’ acting, facial expressions and general talking is pretty much the worst thing ever, and I’d really be happier if they could keep that stuff on Total Divas, which I do not review. 1.5 Stars for unhelpful camera angles and Brie’s inability to pout.
Santino’s backstage, and after the Bellas, I’ll take it. He seems to be getting to grips with the terrible burden that is politics, but then we pull out and he’s talking to the Bunny. Rabbits only have one thing on their minds, Santino (grass). Santino’s speech is actually pretty Airplane!-esque, so I’ll repeat this snippet: ‘your enemies, they become friends. Your friends? They become strangers. The people in catering? They become your third cousins twice removed.’ I giggled a little. He tells the Bunny to be careful what he wishes for, and not to touch his face. Okay…that was actually fine.
Seth Rollins is backstage, and he and Kane are trying to ensure that Big Show’s a team player. Big Show says that the three of them are really selfish, so team playing isn’t going to work, but all they need to care about is crushing Ryback and Rowan. Fairly pragmatic, big man.
DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING? SINGING THE SONG OF ANGRY MEN…
Ryback, Rowan, Rollins and Big Show make their way to the ring, and we get to it. Rowan and Rollins start things off, with Rowan backing Seth into the corner and chopping him before bodily hurling him across the ring. He runs Rollins headfirst into the turnbuckle, and Rollins sprints away to the Big Show, although doesn’t tag out. They lock up again, and Erick backs Rollins into his corner, tagging in Ryback. Ryback remains in full control, taking Rollins from corner to corner, but Seth leapfrogs over him and takes back the momentum for a few strikes, and then Ryback bulls his way back, charging at Seth before running right into a nice dropkick. We go to break as Ryback lies there, dazed.
Back from the commercial break, Big Show has tagged in and has the match firmly in hand, keeping Ryback either floored or in retreat. Rowan, that goddamn genius, stands pretty much slack-jawed on the apron. Big Show tries for a chokeslam, but Ryback lunges away, tagging in Rowan. The Red-Bearded one hits Show three times before he goes down, then goes right through Mercury and Noble on the outside before Big Show flattens him. In the ring, Rowan is down, and Rollins gets the tag, taking it to the former Wyatt Family member. JBL and Michael make some darkly comedic remarks about the fate of the Spanish Announce Table at TLC, and Rowan tries to rally, but Rollins hits a kick, managing to tag in Big Show.
The Giant is in complete control, trash-talking Rowan before hitting a huge DDT. He stands on Rowan’s head, and then bodyslams him to the mat before missing an elbow drop. Crowd’s chanting ‘Feed Me More’ as Rowan crawls towards the Big Guy, and Ryback and Rollins get the tag simultaneously. Ryback is all over Seth, before Rollins tries to roll the Big Guy up, only for Ryback to hold the ropes and send Rollins rollin’ away. Clothesline to the Seth misses, and Rollins manages to turn a sideslam into a crucifix pin! Ryback charges; Rollins drop-toeholds him into the turnbuckle. A springboard towards Ryback misses, and the Big Guy hits a huge bodyslam for two!
Looks like it’s time to FINISH IT, and Ryback hauls Rollins up for Shell Shock, only for Mercury and Noble to get up on the apron; Ryback sends them right back down to the floor. Rollins tries for a roll-up, and then hits a superkick for another near-fall. Curb Stomp misses, but Ryback’s spinebuster connects. He calls for the Meathook, but pauses to knock Kane’s ass off the apron, and then turns into Rollins’ ‘Whatever The Fuck That’s Called’ kick. Kane tries to get in the ring, but the referee is fed the fuck up with the Big Red DQ Risk ending matches prematurely, and he boots him! These refs are like GODS tonight! More refs rally to that referee’s cause, and it’s like a zebra-costumed Les Miserables! Seth Rollins gets a tag, but the referee didn’t see it, and declares Big Show not to be the legal man! Up is down! Black is white, meaning that the referee’s shirts are still correctly colour coded! Big Show might cry again! Rowan boots Big Show down to the floor! Ryback levels Rollins with the Meathook! Shell Shock gets the win!
Wow, that got totally wild towards the end. I mean, I think I got a little carried away with my total love for the referees, but they have been badasses for the majority of this show. Shit, that ending deserves 3 Stars.
Apparently Joey Mercury is able to carry Rollins on his shoulders whilst running. Wow, badasses all up in this bitch. And then Tom ruins it by saying ‘tables, ladders, chairs and stairs!‘ Fuck you, Tom; I hope Miz starts feeling an inordinate amount of lust towards you.
This was a fun show, and I say that knowing full well that the first thing we saw of it was Santino Marella’s stupid, stupid face. But they even managed to make one of his segments funny. Whatever McMahon might say, and even with the absence of Bryan, Punk and Del Rio, the current roster is capable of good, even great matches, and that showed tonight. Eight.
I know I usually finish the review with a movie recommendation, partly because I love writing and watching movies and partly because that whole ‘WWE-themed sex positions’ shtick was good for, like four weeks at best. But this week, in honour of creative writing-related activities, I’m going to take things in a literary direction. I’m currently taking a break from re-reading Lord of the Rings (and thinking ‘shit, people here are way nicer than that bunch in Westeros’) and have found myself in possession of a novel called After My Own Heart by Sophia Blackwell, which really is an incredible read. So, rather than my usual recommendation of almost-pornographic European movies (I’m not sure if I’ve recommended those yet, but if not, they’re on their way) and films you’ve already seen (I mean, if you haven’t already watched Sunshine then I don’t think I can help you any more), I’m recommending this novel and linking it so y’all can just click instead of typing, like a goddamn animal. And that’s the last time I’ll do this until my own bloody stuff starts getting published *drops mic*.
Tags: aj lee, big e langston, big show, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Cesaro, Damien Mizdow, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Intercontinental Championship, Jamie Noble, jbl, joey mercury, john cena, kane, Kofi Kingston, Lana, Luke Harper, Michael Cole, naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Referees, rusev, ryback, Santino Marella, seth rollins, Smackdown, The Miz, The New Day, the usos, Tom Philips, Tyson Kidd, WWE, xavier woods, Zeb Coulter