Hello there, folks. We are fast approaching TLC(S), the final PPV of 2014 and right before things start building towards WrestleMania. This is technically the go-home show, but this is also SmackDown, so let’s not expect any miracles, I guess. An announcement: next Friday will fall on a week of me having several days of drinking (run up to Christmas, am I right?), so I figure I’ll add one more: next week will be the second ever SmackDown Report Drinking Game. My current plan is to publish the rules either on the site or the Facebook page in advance, and y’all can get schwasted with me.
Well, the first thing we see is every participant from TLC more or less re-doing the build towards Survivor Series again. I’m sort of happy that Cena’s in a Tables Match, because there’s at least a chance he could lose, and even clean, but part of me just refuses to believe that the WWE is going to resist slapping us in the face with Cena vs. Lesnar IV: We Make Stupid Fucking Decisions.
Oh, speak of the devil and he shall appear. Here’s John Cena on SmackDown. I should probably feel grateful, but I think I still hate the sight (nauseatingly bright colours) and sound (nauseatingly awful jokes) of him, so I’ll pass on the gratitude. Cena grabs the mic and…holy shit, Seth Rollins cuts him off before he can even get a sentence out. I think this is that ‘gratitude’ thing I was talking about. Rollins asks Cena to shut up, raging against ten years of programming revolving around Cena. Wow, the fake crowd noise is just of an awful quality tonight. Rollins proclaims that the future doesn’t exist without him, which could totally set up a sci-fi movie where someone had to go back in time to prevent his assassination and save the universe in the process.
Seth says that Cena’s time is up, and that Rollins’ time is now. I really wish I could believe that, and then it’s undermined by Rollins himself commenting on how he doesn’t have to pin Cena or make him submit, because even he knows he could never do that at a pay-per-view. Cena says that Rollins has become a man; he’s out there by himself and believing that he has a chance, which is what John wants. Cena says that Rollins isn’t ready, and Vince McMahon said that on a podcast, so it must be true. Or he’s a crackpot, out-of-touch, egocentric maniac who should be kept away from any creative decisions with tasers and stun grenades. Cena rubs his ridiculous protectedness in Rollins’ face, and he’s GOING TO BE HERE FOREVER. Seth gets pissed off, saying that he’s the embodiment of the future, and that Cena’s been living in the future since he got here, and that Rollins’ entire career has been leading up to this match. When he wins, it will be the beginning of the end for John Cena; this is a paradigm shift. The crowd chants for Cena, and Rollins rages that he’s sick of it. Cena is going to fade into the background, becoming a memory, and Rollins is going to rise.
Cena tells Rollins that he’s good, but to listen to him: the WWE is John Cena’s life, and that he’s beaten everyone who’s tried to replace him, because of fashion, heart, focus, a lack of faith by the WWE in anyone who isn’t him or a part-timer.
Those were some good promos; the story seems to focus more on the young vs. old deal rather than morality, and that’s always an angle I can become invested in.
Does Sandow Have Any Moral Quandaries About Stunt-Stalking A Victim?
Cesaro and Kidd are in the ring, with Miz and Sandmiz on commentary. We see a clip of Cesaro and Kidd bitching about Mr McMahon showing his poor opinion of almost all of his employees, and I’d like to say that Vince should have focused on how awful a boyfriend Tyson Kidd is, but I remember the Attitude Era and I feel like Vince doesn’t get to have an opinion on relationships. Team Nothing Better To Do will be facing the Usos, and I can sort of guess the winner, because one of those teams has a feud with the champs and a name I didn’t just pull out of my ass. We repeat Jimmy’s megaton punch to Miz’s jaw, which I rewind and re-watch a few times for personal reasons, and then the bell rings.
Miz immediately starts defending his rapey overtures towards Naomi, and if I was Jimmy I’d have at least thought coming to a secret arrangement with my significant other which would basically be us taking full advantage of Miz’s movie star influence whilst leading him on for a year or so, then slapping him with the threat of a sexual harassment lawsuit when his general Mizness started to wear on us. See, you’re all thinking ‘David Spain is a despicable human being’, but remember: we’d be doing this to the Miz. Also, you just read ‘we’d’ in that last sentence and automatically considered yourselves party to this scam, just because the victim would be the Miz: you’re all monsters.
Anyway, Tyson and Jimmy lock up; Kidd slaps on a headlock, gets shot off the ropes, slides underneath Jimmy’s legs and gets knocked down with a shoulder block. Jimmy blocks a hip toss; Tyson backflips and takes a headbutt. Jimmy Uso in control as we look to see Naomi backstage; apparently she watches matches in her ring gear. Jimmy hits an uppercut to Kidd and tags in Jey, who comes off the top to strike the arm.
Tyson bulls Jey into his corner, tagging in Cesaro. Chops to Jey, who chops right back, hauling Cesaro into his own corner and tagging in Jimmy. Jimmy splashes Cesaro in the corner, but the Swiss Superman turns things around with a bodyslam; can we stop cutting to the Miz during a match with four excellent competitors? Jimmy dropkicks Cesaro out of the ring and then launches himself right out onto him. Back in the ring, Cesaro tags in Kidd and pulls Jimmy out to the floor; Tyson beans Jimmy in the head with a kick. Miz gets a phone call from his agent, who’s probably telling him to stop acting all Kurt Angle with Naomi. This does, however, cause Miz to leave, so maybe his agent just told him to go and assault her instead. What the hell, it’s Hollywood.
Back from the break, Jimmy is trying to fight off Cesaro, but eats a big belly-to-belly suplex. Miz probably has Naomi tied to a crucifix right now, with Paul Bearer reading their wedding vows. Kidd comes in, stomping Jimmy and putting on a headlock. Uso tries to break out, but Kidd kicks him in the stomach. Tyson tries his vaulting leg-drop on the apron, but it’s dodged. Desperate times for Jimmy as he tries to tag in his twin, but Cesaro outpaces him, nailing Jey with a boot to send him to the floor. Jimmy backdrops Cesaro, but Jey’s nowhere close, and Jimmy turns around into a running uppercut. Cesaro Swing time, with a tag to Kidd, who finishes the Swing with a leg drop; Jey breaks up the pin and gets tosses by Kidd. Tyson hits his vault-leg drop to Jimmy, who then take a stomp from Cesaro: lot of double-team moves going on here.
Cesaro charges at Jimmy, who dodges, and the Swiss native blasts the post with his shoulder. Dragon whip to Cesaro, and Jimmy tags in Jey. Jey comes in all-ablaze, hitting everything Swiss or emotionally abusive, and nails the former with a Samoan Drop. Samoan Wrecking Ball follows it up, with Kidd breaking up the pin; he tosses Jimmy out, tries to follow him and gets kicked in the face. Cesaro nearly rolls up Jey with his feet on the ropes; Jimmy pushes them off, distracting Cesaro long enough to get his face kicked in by Jey, then a Samoan Splash by Jimmy finishes the job for an Uso victory. Man, doesn’t Miz know he’s supposed to get his surprise-sex attempt in before the match is over?
Good match, once we got the Miz out of the way of the cameras. I don’t even care if Sandow’s out there with him; I wanted to watch the wrestling. Save the bullshit camera angles for anything involving midgets or…or…other midgets. 2.5 Stars.
Oh, speak of the walking lawsuit risk, and he shall appear. Miz and Sandow appear behind Naomi, and try to sweet-talk her. Naomi seems to think that this is about messing with Jimmy, which is a really naïve view for her to have. Miz continues to try to convince her, despite the fact he really doesn’t seem to know anything about the music industry, being just an awful actor. He then leaves without any kind of issue. Man, where was this kind of flirting when Sharmell was employed?
Aw man, Naomi and Jimmy Uso are having some drama backstage. Naomi calls herself a ‘strong woman’, even though she’s never even held the Divas Title, before leaving. Then the Usos have drama of their own. If this turns into a contest for Jimmy’s love, I’ll bet he’s going to pick the one he gets to have sex with, which is going to be an awkward conversation to have with his twin brother.
Oh, Now The Cameras Pay Attention To The Match?
Oh joy, it’s the Bellas. Well, at least it’s a match instead of anything involving a microphone, because I think Nikki Bella and John Cena promos on the same show are what aneurisms are made of. Also, love how the rewind shows that AJ, Paige, Nikki and Bella are able to stand beside each other with no kind of tension for an awards show. Maybe AJ being kissed by two of them, plus the husband and boyfriend of two of them, makes a difference.
Wow, AJ sort of gets around, doesn’t she?
AJ herself is on commentary; how long until all the Slammy winners stop carrying their trophies around? Also, I demand to see at least one photograph of Lesnar holding his (picture not valid if he is inserting or is about to insert it into a person’s body as a crude alternative to a safety deposit box). Nikki Bella will be facing Alicia Fox; let’s see if she remembers that she’s crazy this week.
The ladies lock up, with Nikki applying a headlock; Alicia shoots her off the ropes into a dropkick, then hits an armdrag. JBL and Michael start getting into tiff about the Fabulous Moolah, and that is probably preferable to calling a Bella match. Nikki hits a monkey flip, but Alicia lands on her feet in the corner; she leaps up onto the turnbuckle to avoid Nikki’s charge, but the champ slams a fist across her jaw, knocking her right out of the ring.
Referee starts the count, and remember how they were rebelling last week? Yeah, where did we get with that? Suplex from Nikki and JBL says ‘Regina George’, meaning he’s watched Mean Girls. Nikki wrenches Alicia’s arms back, but the occasionally-crazy-but-not-tonight girl fights back, only to get slammed back-first onto the mat. Another slam to Fox, and Nikki’s got the match well in hand, wrenching the arms again. Alicia manages to throw Nikki off her as Michael, JBL and AJ start bullying Tom. God, you have to feel sorry for the guy at some stage. Alicia drops Nikki with a backbreaker, then slams her head off the turnbuckle. Perfect Northern Lights suplex from Fox, who then gets a knee to the face, courtesy of the Girl Who Can’t Do Facial Expressions. Alicia dodges a charge, then misses a kick, and then eats a forearm. Rack Attack kills it.
Seriously, the best part about the match was the commentary. And I don’t mean just AJ: it was all actually pretty funny. I love it when they forget about morality and ethics and just insult each other and try not to laugh too loud. The match was fine; I tend to phase out during most stuff involving the Bellas. You understand. 2 Stars.
Nikki then decides to punish Alicia again with the Rack Attack. If I remember, like, two months ago correctly, AJ was in mini-feud with Fox, and so really shouldn’t give too much of a fuck.
We relive the Slammy Awards, because we all care so much about what the WWE says that we think, I guess?
Goldust Just Assumes It’s The Nation Of Domination Again
It’s a New Day again, and I swear Big E isn’t able to look happy without also looking horny or high. For all I know, he might be; whatever rocks your cock, dude. And he’s facing Goldust in a PPV preview for this Sunday. Stardust has stolen JBL’s hat and refuses to give it back, and if he’d done that before the bell rang this would already be a five star match.
Unfortunately, the bell rings then, and Goldust immediately begins hammering Big E into a corner; Big E tries to rush him, but eats a powerslam. DDT to Big E in a surprisingly aggressive start by the Bizarre One. Langston throws him off, then laces him with clotheslines and hits a belly-to-belly. He runs the ropes, but gets caught immediately by a powerslam. Big E reverses a Final Cut attempt from Goldust and tries the Big Ending, but Goldust slithers out to the apron, and then blocks Langston’s spear attempt with a knee. Goldust charges again, but this sends him right into a huge clothesline, followed up by the Big Ending for the three.
Decent, if quick. I’m adding half a star for hat shenanigans, because this is my article and not some kind of democracy. Weird to see an aggressive Goldust, especially against a powerhouse like Big E, but then I do like my expectations being subverted. 2.5 Stars.
Good God, we are flashing back to RAW like it featured the Second Coming. On that topic, some poor sweet Methodist lass tried to save me on a bus ride this Wednesday just gone; it’s a damn good thing my poker face is as good as it is, because when she came out with the line ‘and that’s why there’s no such thing as evolution’, my thoughts were so loud that I think the guy in front of me developed brief schizophrenia. And if you’re reading this article, Strangely Deep-Voiced Methodist Girl, when someone tells you that they’re a Roman Catholic, they might consider it slightly rude for you to hand them a pamphlet entitled ‘Are Roman Catholics Actually Christian?’ And they might rant about it a little and make fun of your vaguely mannish voice on their weekly wrestling review.
Because Titus O’Neil Is The Obvious Tune-Up To Rusev
Well, as karmic retribution for that little speech (do Roman Catholics believe in karma? I want to say we do), Titus O’Neil’s in the ring. Fine, I’ll go to confession. He’s wrestling Swagger, who’s still emotionally in pieces about Zeb being physically in pieces. Jack and Titus tussle for a moment, then Titus shoves Swagger, causing the All-American Real American to pummel him, finally knocking him out of the ring. Swagger stands in a precarious spot on the apron to kick Titus, and then pays for it as he gets hurled into the steel post. Back in the ring, O’Neil is in control, hitting a standing fallaway slam; doing that too much is going to destroy his lower back. O’Neil hits a boot to Swagger, and then tries for a side slam, only for Swagger to latch onto the ankle out of nowhere. That’s a nice reversal from Swangle, and the Patriot Lock causes the tap.
Another quick match, but I like that Swagger’s aggressiveness led to his mistake. He looks good, though I doubt Rusev’s first loss is going to be at his hands. 2 Stars.
Even as Swagger celebrates, Rusev and Lana manage to SUMMON THE FLAG whilst not being in or even near the ring. They come out on the stage to revel in their trolling, and Rusev raises the belt as if to say ‘look at this belt’.
Backstage, it looks like Dean Ambrose has either found or stolen a bunch of ladders and is standing underneath them. Is it, like, just one helping of bad luck or more and more for each undefined unit of time he stays under them for? He trashes Wyatt’s image of epic combat between the two, comparing it two dogs fighting each other. I’ve actually seen a dog fight, in Argentina; it gets boring kinda fast. And then you start gambling, and then you nearly starve and then you get guns pointed at you by smugglers and then you pay for a hotel entirely in breakfast cereal. Basically, Wyatt and Ambrose are going to fight, and I should never go abroad again.
Oh Man, Poor Harper…
It’s main event time, and it’s sort of sad to hear the commentary team try to sound enthusiastic about a stairs match. The competitors make their way to the ring and form up. Looks like Kane and Ziggler are going to start, and the Big Red Machine gets shot off the ropes, hitting a shoulder block to Dolph. They do it again, and this time Ziggler hits a dropkick and slams some fists into Kane. Tag to Rowan, who hits a big bodyslam, sending all the heels to the outside in a bitchy huff as we go to break.
When we come back, Rowan is pummelling Big Show; both men spill out to the outside and Redbeard misses a charge at Show to basically run right into the steel post. Genius, remember? In the ring, Big Show stands on Rowan for a bit, then tags in Kane to throw some big hands. Kane then tags in Harper, who applies a sleeper hold. Rowan does manage to break out, but Harper runs right over him, keeping the momentum in his team’s hands. Kane comes in and, yep, fucks it all up by running into a double clothesline.
Rowan manages to tag in Ziggler, who punishes Kane for being such a useless member of any team, organisation or Brotherhood of Destruction. Neckbreaker, just to make sure the lesson is learned, but a Fameasser is caught by Kane, who looks for a powerbomb, and then Ziggler hits a facebuster instead. A distraction from Harper allows Kane to regain control with a big boot for two as we go to another break.
As we return, Ziggler gets guillotined off the second rope by Harper, who tags in Kane. Chants for Ryback as Kane tries to suplex Ziggler, who slips out. Dolph takes Kane out with a dropkick to the knees, and then crawls across the ring to make the tag. Big Show, the new legal man, gets there first, dropping an elbow to Ziggler to stop him in his tracks. Remember when he just wanted to take care of his family? Me neither. Big Show charges at Dolph, but Ziggler hits a dropkick to the knees, sending the Giant flying across the ring. Both men down, centre of the ring (always wanted to say that).
Big Show tries to drag Ziggler back, then catches him for a chokeslam, but Dolph turns it into a sleeper hold! Big Show teases fading, only to hurl Dolph off him and hit the chokeslam…and Dolph kicks out! Can you say future world champ…again? Show winds up the fist, but Dolph ducks and hits the Zig-Zag on Big Show! Ryback starts a chant for himself, which is really selfish, and then gets the tag. Ryback starts destroying Harper, the legal man, who eats a spinebuster hard on the canvas. Kane breaks up the pin, and gets booted in the face by Rowan, who then gets taken out by a tackle courtesy of Big Show. Harper tries for a powerbomb in the ring, but takes a Meathook and then Shellshock: Ryback scores the win for his team.
Ryback may have got the win, but Ziggler was a star in this match. I refuse to believe this isn’t the definitive push, barring acts of supreme stupidity or injury. This match was just very good; a very nice advert for the PPV. 3 Stars.
Kane tries desperately to get the DQ, hitting Ryback with a chair, but is unfortunately too late, so it’s just a post-match beating. Rowan throws Big Show into the stairs on the outside, and Ziggler superkicks Kane to the ground. Ryback nails Kane with the chair as Rowan pushes the ladder into the ring. They run the ladder into Harper and Kane, knocking them out of the ring, and then Ziggler leaps off the ladder to take out all three heels! All speed ahead to the PPV!
Good show, from a go-home perspective. Matches all made sense and were mostly decent advertisements for this Sunday. I’m personally looking forward to it, but then it is quite a unique spectacle in this era. Who knows what we’re in for? Tonight gets an eight.
David’s Movie Recommendation: Ever seen Antichrist? Don’t watch Antichrist. Except watch Antichrist, but know that you’ll wish you hadn’t watched Antichrist. I feel like I can’t be more clear without ruining the shock value of this film, but…goddamn, if it is not the creepiest movie I have ever seen. Think the atmosphere of The Shining, but even more terrifying. I may be about to watch Antichrist again, and then start Facebook chatting Kue and BD because I don’t want to go to sleep tonight; get ready, boys.
Tags: aj lee, alicia fox, big e langston, big show, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Cesaro, Damien Sandow, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, goldust, jack swagger, Jamie Noble, jbl, joey mercury, john cena, kane, Lana, Michael Cole, miz, naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, rusev, ryback, seth rollins, Smackdown, Stardust, The New Day, the usos, titus o'neil, TLC, Tom Philips, Tyson Kidd, WWE