Well well well…looks like SmackDown’s the big show this week. And I’d laugh, but I have to review this instead of reading The World of Ice and Fire so, literally, fuck you, WWE. Well, I guess we get to watch Big Show vs. Roman Reigns come to an end. Unfortunately, we also have to watch a Casket Match. Which is just…
Oh, speaking of ‘meh’, it’s Triple H. Also, the version of this show that I am watching has some kind of awful interference, so it looks like Hunter is walking out of hell, which makes his entrance slightly more epic. Trips says ‘welcome to Monday Night Raw!’, which still makes him more aware and up-to-date than everyone who had a hand in last week’s Rumble. He crows about still broadcasting on Monday, even though that was just interviews and re-runs. Triple H then brags that the WWE Network reached one million subscribers this week, and is he doing that thing where the week starts on Sunday morning? Because I heard about that whole #Cancel thing.
Oh, looks like we’re addressing ‘the controversy’ now. Only Hunter then makes a load of ball jokes about the Superbowl, and I’m lost. But he hints that he will be taking action at Fast Lane on his problem, and that apparently means he’s going to confront Sting. Oh yay, more old guys doing stuff; it’ll be just like being at the coffee shop where I work (our clientele is old and wrinkly and we like it like that). I thought for a second there that Trips was actually defending the Royal Rumble match, which would be, like, Cannibal Holocaust levels of evil. But he says that there was controversy in that match, and I thought controversy created cash? Well, fair play to the WWE for pretending that they didn’t absolutely fuck the fuck up; did someone sedate Mr McMahon in order for this to happen?
We see an actual video recap of the Rumble, and the fact that they’re not using still photos with the sound effects shows how worthless that match was. It’s basically RAW. Hunter then says that, this Monday, he’s going to put an end to the controversy with…an announcement. Oh yay, more Triple H promos; it’ll be just like being at the coffee shop where I work (he shows up about thrice a week and shoots on our pastry chef). This announcement-related threat brings out Roman Reigns, and who knows: maybe they can actually save his character. Roman gets on the microphone and defends himself through the thunderous boos of the crowd. Man, he is so close to saying the words ‘deal with it’ right now. Triple H basically bails out of the ring and lets the Big Show make his entrance, so I guess we’re having ourselves a match.
Can Big Show Even Be Regarded As A Threat Now?
Damn it; I reloaded the video and now it no longer looks like SmackDown is being broadcast out of Tartarus; I was enjoying that. Reigns ducks a punch and evades for a moment, but then gets backed into a corner and punched. He avoids a charge from Show, and then hits some strikes of his own. Roman then tries to suplex the Giant, which seems like a really dumb thing to try; Big Show agrees, hitting a suplex of his own and hitting a bodyslam. Meanwhile, the commentators are not backing away from the fact that we all hated the end of the Rumble. Seriously, is WWE no longer doing revisionist history? Because I feel like they sneaked that policy by.
Reigns is down on the floor as Show stalks him, but when Roman regains his feet he hits a couple of punches before running into a straight shoulder block. Headbutt puts Roman down again, and the correct way to get us to support Reigns would be for him to have just decimated the Big Show in minutes. You know, so it looked like he had a chance in hell against Lesnar. As I type that, Roman is hurled across the ring: on to WrestleMania. And as I type that, Roman gets in some shots, and actually clotheslines Big Show out of the ring as we go to the break.
When we come back from the commercial, however, Reigns is getting worked over by the Big Show something fierce, after eating a spear off-screen. Show is targeting Roman’s leg for some reason, and then does that weird thing where he lifts the guy up his thigh, which he must have used for sex at least once. Also, someone’s apparently written to Twitter: ‘So excited for this casket match!!! #SmackDown’. @Cgbeachgirl14, are you a real person? And, if you are, is the WWE currently holding a gun to your head whilst you sit in front of a laptop? Because I can’t imagine any other possibilities, honestly. Reigns reaches the ropes and manages to headscissor Big Show out onto the outside. You’re really rubbing the Rumble in, aren’t you, WWE? Reigns hits his apron dropkick; the Big Show throws him back into the ring. Roman’s on one leg, but hits one, two, and three clotheslines, finally getting Big Show down on his third attempt. Samoan Drop takes Big Show off his feet the hard way, and when the giant ducks the outside, Reigns hurls himself off the apron at him in a flying clothesline. Byron says that this is what Reigns is going to have to do to beat Brock Lesnar: wrestle a boring match?
Both men scramble back into the ring, and Reigns tries the Superman Punch, only to get chokeslammed for a two-count. Big Show climbs up to the top rope, and when has that ever worked for him? Reigns manages to Superman Punch him, and then does so again before throwing Show down to the floor. Spear ends things, and Reigns is the winner.
We seem to be continuing in the ‘meh’ line of things for a while. Big Show probably wasn’t the guy to look to for an enjoyable match, and it would have worked better between these two if Reigns had just ripped Show apart. This was honestly just okay. 2 Stars.
Vince McMahon is here to bribe you into un-cancelling your Network subscription by not charging you for it. They interrupted Reigns’ victory celebration to do that, which is the kind of symbolism I could write an academic essay about.
Took a break there because my girlfriend told me that the trailer for Game of Thrones season five is out. As a book-reader, I don’t recognise half of the stuff that was in there, and I am so incredibly hype.
Oh, and Arnie’s going into the Hall of Fame. Why not.
Here comes Seth Rollins, who basically gets a pass to do whatever the hell he wants after that Triple Threat match. He seems high on himself, saying that he almost got the job done on Cena, and broke Lesnar’s ribs. Hell, Rollins is a fucking badass, going on the evidence. He then raises the briefcase, and the clock is ticking on that thing: I don’t know if I’m more hype for GoT or a Rollins cash-in. He challenges someone to come out and try to kick his ass, and Ryback immediately takes him up on the invitation.
The Big Guy gets into the ring, only to get mobbed by Cruiserweight Security so Rollins can slam a dropkick into his face. Rowan runs out for the save, and takes down J and J. Seth kicks him off the apron and goes back to Ryback, and here comes Ziggler; Rollins cuts him off and hurls him into the announce table; Ryback nearly catches Rollins for Shell-Shocked, but Cruiserweight Security manages to strike again, bailing Seth out. Rowan catches the two of them, only for Rollins to try and save them. The three heels bail, after a seriously energetic segment.
Kane is backstage, rubbing a casket like it’s his willy. He’s also talking about hurting Bryan and putting him in the casket, furthering the willy metaphor.
John Cena will later address (read: make slightly racist and poop-related jokes about) Rusev. Kiss that undefeated streak goodbye, you big Bulgarian bitch.
Wow, They Are Trying To Apologise For The Rumble, Aren’t They?
Usos in the house, along with Naomi, and…Jey Uso is facing Tyson Kidd. Sweet mother of potential feuds: this I can get behind. Kidd backs Jey into a corner, but runs into an uppercut. Jey gets his legs kicked right out from under him, and then Tyson pins one leg down under the ring apron and stomps it. He locks the leg until Jey smacks him away, but goes right back to stomping on it. Okay, so is Byron a heel, like JBL? Who, by the way, I never regarded as a heel so much as someone with a lot of optimism and faith in other heels. Kidd gets thrown out of the ring, but dashes back up onto the apron…and gets smacked right back down. Jey goes to throw himself out at Kidd, who manages to make the Samoan run right into a kick.
Kidd comes back into the ring, only to eat a big-time Samoan drop. Jey calls for the Samoan Wrecking Ball, only for Cesaro to get up on the apron and Jey takes a swing at him before Jimmy takes him out. Kidd hits a dropkick to the knee, hits what’s probably his finisher and gets the ring.
Ah, so on board for this programme. Although it’ll be weird, loving both teams, but feeling sorry for Natalya. Wish this one had been longer. 2.5 Stars.
Kane’s still staring at his willy casket.
Rusev’s in the ring, striding around and muttering like a really bad actor. He manages to garble that he should have won the Royal Rumble because…he lost? Lana babbles in Russian, and Rusev says he should be facing Lesnar at WrestleMania. Oh my God, can we book that? I’d watch that ironically. Rusev bitches about his inevitable and approaching Cena-ing, and says that John Cena is a loser. Them’s fightin’ words, motherfucker, and here comes Cena with some fightin’ jokes.
Cena gets into the ring, and says that Rusev better shut his mouth, and needs a lesson in respect. He gets all defensive about being called a loser, and says that he’s the Face that Runs the Place, then comments on Rusev’s bush and Lana’s breasts. He also drops a Tinder reference, which makes this an oddly adult promo, and then challenges Rusev to throw down. Lana’s all like, ‘leave him, Rusev; he’s not worth it!’ and for a moment it looks like Rusev’s about to lose his weekly blowjob in order to fight Cena. Rusev finally does retreat, and Cena then makes a whole load of ‘ho’ jokes about Lana. Fucking classy, by the way, WWE. Just…just fucking classy.
Looks like Paige will be facing Nikki Bella after the former’s entirely stationary performance at the PPV. Paige is backstage with Renee, and calls her ‘Renay-nay’, which has me laughing a little. Then the Bellas show up to Bella up the segment. They make a bunch of bitchy comments about Paige’s skin, because the WWE knows how women talk and think, right? Paige throws a suckerpunch, and I do love it when faces do that, but the Bellas manage to beat her up in short order, leaving her laying.
Brother vs. Brother?
Goldust and Stardust are here, doing their best to restrain themselves from hurling themselves into the audience and running amok in murderous, crack-addict fashion. And…they’re facing the Ascension? Oh, holy shit, I was preparing myself for the New Day: thank you, Wrestling Gods.
Stardust and Goldust argue about who gets to start, and it’s Stardust up against Viktor. Stardust tries a roll-up, then reverses a hip toss to toss Viktor instead. Waistlock by Viktor; Stardust elbows his way out of it, and then gets put in a full nelson. Dust does break out and smacks Konnor, but Viktor blindsides him and tags Konnor in. Konnor stomps Stardust, then hits a European uppercut before choking him on the ropes. Tag back to Viktor, who hits a bodyslam. Fist drop gets two, then it’s a chinlock. Allow me to say again how glad I am that this match did not feature the New Day. Tag to Konnor, and Goldust is yet to get into this contest. Konnor tries a back suplex, but Stardust rolls out of it, hits the Rhodes Uppercut and tags in the Bizarre One.
Goldust comes in hard and fast, taking down the now-legal Viktor. Rhodes Uppercut from Goldust, then an inverted atomic drop and a boot. Powerslam levels Viktor, then Goldust hits another Rhodes Uppercut to Viktor. Stardust then hits a blind tag and tries to go for the Disaster Kick, but Konnor shoves him down. Konnor is tagged in, takes out Goldust, and they hit the Fall of Man.
Looks like Stardust vs. Goldust could be a WrestleMania match. Remember when we were talking about that match six years ago? And, you know, I’ll still take it. Nice dominance from the Ascension here: glad they’re up with the bigger teams. 2.5 Stars.
Some magician is backstage, amazing the people in catering, and then Miz2 shows up. The magician is apparently a fan of Sandow, which pisses off the Miz. See, I’m not happy with this match at WrestleMania. Also, Sandow’s free will seems to be overridden by his need to imitate the Miz. Perhaps that’s a statement about our own helplessness. Maybe I should stop doing academic research before writing this review. Wait…wait, is the magician breaking the rules of the Magic Circle and revealing his tricks? Doesn’t that get him shanked by the Magician Mafia (the Magifia?). He then pranks the Miz and hits him with an egg. Wow, that guy actually was pretty badass.
Bray Wyatt is in some steamy, cloudy location: possibly a steam room. Man, I really hope they’re filming all his promos in a steam room. An occupied steam room, for added awkwardness. Basically he does that same one promo that is the poetry that emo kid in your class wrote in their journal which made everyone think that they were going to be the next school shooter. If he ever comes out of the closet, he has to do it in this exact same way. Hell, this is how he should announce his engagement.
Yay, A Casket Match. This Is So Awesome, You Guys…
Kane makes his way to the bring, and did they make him bring the casket to the ring? The fuck, ring crew? Daniel Bryan shows up, and I’m surprised they didn’t make him bring out a change of turnbuckle pads.
The crowd is firmly in Bryan’s corner as the competitors feel each other out. Bryan kicks Kane several times in the corner, but the Big Red Machine powers out, bodyslamming Bryan and hitting a dropkick to the face. Bryan fights off an attempt to put him in the casket, then rolls out of a back suplex and hits a lot of kicks to the back of Kane’s thigh; he tries to roll Kane into the casket, but Kane fights back, only to take a drop-toehold into the corner. He goes up to hit punches, but Kane keeps shoving him away. Bryan reverse a chokeslam, ducks a clothesline and then gets pressed; he rolls out and is nearly able to charge Kane into the casket, but the Director of Operations dodges to the side, stayin’ alive as we head to a commercial.
When we come back, Kane has Bryan’s head pinned under the apron, raining blows down on him. He tries to suplex Bryan into the casket, landing him on the apron and trying to kick him, in. Bryan is almost inside, but kicks Kane away, running right into a big boot as he re-enters the ring. King gives his opinion that Kane is so big that he might not fit into the casket: well, thank you very much, Lawler; I’m sure that nobody considered that until you just said it. Daniel eats a clothesline in the corner, then takes a sidewalk slam before fighting off another casket attempt, actually skinning the cat to almost headscissor Kane into it. Okay, seriously, guys on commentary: can we stop acting like a casket is an inherently scary object? It’s not like Bryan or Kane is claustrophobic; it’s not like they’ve hidden a rapist clown inside it. Man up. Bryan flies from the top rope, taking Kane out on the outside and slamming fists into Kane’s face. He tries again from the apron, but the Big Red Machine catches him, slamming his spine into the steel post and booting Bryan into the casket. Kane tries to close the lid, but Byran is fighting back, using his legs to leverage the casket open. He finally creates separation, flying at Kane, but takes an uppercut to lay him out as we go to another break.
We come back as Bryan takes a big DDT, and it’s really nice of him to act like Kane is in any way relevant right now. What a great guy. Kane tries to push Bryan into the coffin again, choking him with his foot. Bryan gets away, but just takes more punishment from Kane. A clothesline levels him, but he manages to backflip out of the corner and hit a clothesline of his own. Bryan’s starting his comeback, hulking up and kicking Kane. He winds up for the kick to the head; Kane shoves him away, but gets low-bridged and Bryan flies out onto him. Strikes to Kane’s legs again, and Bryan hits a big running dropkick. He then grabs his neck, just to make us feel bad about enjoying his wrestling style, and then punches Kane up some more. He tries the running dropkick again, but Kane elevates him over to the timekeeper’s area, and then hurls him over the announce table. Lawler loses his headset, and that’s some straight-up face tactics, Kane. He smashes Bryan with a chair and then pulls him over to the casket, slamming Bryan’s head into the open lid.
They get on the apron, and Kane wants a tombstone, but Bryan slides out, hanging him up on the top rope. Bryan hits two dropkicks, but on the third attempt Kane hits a chokeslam! Bryan gets rolled into the casket, but then kicks Kane in the head and locks the Yes-Lock into Kane in the casket. Kane blocks the lid shutting, and Bryan immediately laces him with kicks until Kane smacks him in the face and clotheslines him in the ring. Tombstone is reversed, as is the Yes-Lock, as is a chokeslam; Kane is thrown out onto the apron, gets kicked in the head and takes a CenaSlayer to get knocked into the casket and the lid shuts!
Okay, that was pretty good. They focused the match tightly around the casket, which they needed to do, and it worked well. Far better than I thought that would be. 3 Stars.
We then get a repeat of the Triple H announcement, and are we seriously interrupting post-match celebrations in this fashion?
Fair show, but no real stand-out matches. The casket match was the best by default rather than anything else. Still, some good feuds are being set up, and that’s what I care about more. This week gets a six.
David’s Movie Recommendation: I’ve been on a real horror movie kick as of late, mainly because I found out I had not, in fact, ‘seen the only good ones already’. And in this vein, I have to recommend Eden Lake. It might not translate wonderfully to an American audience, but if you’re a middle-class Brit like me, that shit is just terrifying. Plus, Michael Fassbender and that drunken asshole Cookie from Skins is in it. One of the more bleak horror films I’ve ever seen.
Tags: Big Show, byron saxton, Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Goldust, Jamie Noble, Jerry Lawler, joey mercury, John Cena, Kane, Konnor, Lana, Michael Cole, miz, Mizdow, naomi, natalya neidhart, Roman Reigns, rusev, ryback, seth rollins, smackdown, Stardust, The Ascension, The Uso's, Triple H, Tyson Kidd, Viktor, VInce McMahon