It’s Friday morning, so you know what that means: I was doing something else on Thursday night and so didn’t review SmackDown until the next day. That ‘something else’, by the way, was seeing Dara O’Briain live at my City Hall, which is something I’d have missed any amount of SmackDowns for.
Anyway, let’s see what I gave up in order to laugh so much that I hurt. SmackDown is in London still, making it seem like they’ve just pissed about in the capital for three days, making it a really terrible example of a ‘tour’. John Cena comes out, and I wish someone would tell Michael Cole that Cena using that same one move does not mean that he’s ‘continuing to evolve’. It actually means more or less the exact opposite. And what, exactly, is a Russian Chain Match? Once one competitor gets the chain, is the chain then nationalised and a utility that anyone can use? Because I think that’s what happens in a regular chain match.
Cena says that he wants to thank the city of London, and talks up the Cockneys like they’re the most awesome fans ever, rather than rich bastards benefiting from David Cameron’s bullshit politics. Oh, so apparently a Russian Chain Match is basically like a Texas Bullrope match. Well, fuck that previous joke about nationalising chains. I’m keeping it in, though; it was funny. And Cena’s doing the Open Challenge on SmackDown, and it’s like we’re RAW!
Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Natalya come out, and I really hope it’s Nat. Pretty sure women can hold second-tier championships. But Tyson and Cesaro want to trash-talk/trash-fact Cena, and then poo-poo London (which itself is a court martial offence!). They tell Cena that he should retire, and how dare London boo that? Cena challenges either of them to a one-on-one match, which is how he solves all of his problems, and then Daniel Bryan shows up; wow, this is actually looking pretty good.
Bryan asks the audience if Kidd and Cesaro are best champions in the WWE today, and the crowd boos. He asks them if they think it’s Cena, and they still boo. He asks them if he’s the most handsome man in the WWE, and gets a fairly mixed response: they love their hipster beards in London. Bryan challenges Kidd and Cesaro to a tag team match against him and Cena, and it’s on. Michael Cole says ‘let’s try to make this official’, and when has an impromptu tag-team match made on SmackDown at the start of the show not been made official?
I’d Take Bray More Seriously If It Wasn’t For The Trilby
We come back from the break and, surprise surprise, the match is a official. Not like I called it or anything.
R-Truth is in the ring, and Bray Wyatt makes his entrance. He’s got his own digital banner thing now, which is neat, and we dwell on his recent messages, wondering about who they’re intended for. I’d bet a hefty amount that Creative don’t actually know. Michael says ‘maybe it’s R-Truth’, and that would be amazing.
They lock up, with Truth rocking Bray with some hands, hitting a crossbody (sort of), and doing some dancing…before Bray crabwalks. And, let me make this clear, crabwalks for about six seconds, with his face and throat bare inches from Truth’s foot. Someday, someone has to just punt the shit out of his head when he does that, and it needs to lose him the match. The only good use of it I’ve seen was against the Undertaker, and even that was designed to fail.
Truth tries to psyche himself up to fight this fat, hairy dude, and gets knocked down. London starts singing ‘Whole World In His Hands’; R-Truth misses a scissor kick, gets taken down by a sudden crossbody and eats Sister Abigail for the win.
The commentary team kept calling this a ‘rare in-ring appearance’. Firstly: why? And secondly: if it’s a rare appearance, make it worth waiting for. Pretty sure they were fifty-fifty on offence here, and it was still quicker than most squash matches. 1.5 Stars.
Michael’s still cagey about whatever legal action he’ll be taking against Brock Lesnar. Really, I hope this is all a set-up so Lesnar can actually cripple a lawyer on television. And I say that as the son of two lawyers and the brother of a future lawyer (trust me, it’s hard to undertake a PhD and still be the ‘disappointment’ of your family, but I am somehow pulling it off).
Also. I am sitting here with a infuser pot of green tea, a mug of coffee and a genuine carafe of water: I’m not sure how this set-up has evolved, but it’s pretty awesome.
We review the Divas Battle Royal. Always throws me off that Divas don’t have to go over the top rope. And Naomi’s a heel now, which probably puts her out of contention against Nikki Bella. Or not; I like a good heel vs. heel match as much as anyone. Better than face vs. face matches where everyone acts like they’re best friends until shit gets tense.
Apparently the crowd was chanting ‘you fat bastard’ at Big Show, according to someone I work with. I missed that but, if that’s true, well done, Britain.
Roman Reigns has another interview where he somehow manages to make being an indomitable fighting machine seem really boring. And they’re going to talk to Big Show later, and see above where I use the word ‘boring’.
Without A Doubt, Miz’s Greatest Match Ever
Ah hell, Miz is in the ring, and he writes Mizdow’s win off as a fluke. He says that Mizdow is nothing without the Miz; he said he made Mizdow, and is this going to lead to him being Mizdow’s father? Or in the mob? Barrett shows up, probably in a response to the mob allegations. I mean, he looks like he’s broken a leg or two in his time. Wade enjoys being popular for a few minutes, tossing some zingers Miz’s way. He manages to turn it around by attacking Bryan, and even the hometown boy’s the heel against Daniel Bryan.
Miz takes off his sunglasses, turns around, and gets Bull Hammered for the pin.
That was the best match I’ve ever seen involving a combination of the Miz and Bad News Barrett. 3 Stars.
We replay Orton and Rollins proving that neither of them should be trusted with free will. Because who the fuck makes a cage match with no RKOs? Fucking idiots, that’s who. Also, there are no DQs in a steel cage, so what happens if Orton hits it anyway?
Renee interviews Mizdow and Summer Rae. Mizdow is quite the charmer, but this touching scene is interrupted by the Miz, who wants a rematch at Extreme Rules. He also demands that Mizdow stops being the Miz, and Mizdow starts imitating the Miz aggressively! On RAW, they’re going to have a match to decide who gets Miz’s personality. I mean…that’s up there with betting sex with a woman, and WWE used to do that too! Miz makes some comments about Summer, and she smacks him.
Just to clarify, we are going to see Miz bet his own personality and inherent being in a match on Monday. That just happened.
The Most Acrobatic Incarnation Of The Anglo-Irish Wars
Aw yiss, it’s Sheamus vs. Neville time. Have to say, I love Sheamus’ entrance music and lighting. I’m getting used to the hair and facial hair as well; let’s face it, he looked stupid before as well. Neville shows up, and I’m pretty sure he actually has bigger muscles than Sheamus. Sheamus trashtalks Neville, and the crowd boos, because an Irishman isn’t allowed to talk in public in this country. Apparently Neville’s from Newcastle, which is where I’m from, and I love that that got a boo/cheer from this Southern crowd. Sheamus says that he’s from Ireland, which if I remember my history right means that Neville is legally able to put him to work and have sex with his wife. Or that might be Braveheart. Sheamus says that, in Ireland, they don’t like us English bastards. In fairness to Sheamus, we were sort of massive dicks about the whole Ireland/Scotland thing. Even the Welsh rose up against us a time or six, and they’re the fucking Welsh.
If Neville, at some point, eats a potato during this match, the crowd will explode and I will love him forever and ever.
Neville ducks Sheamus a couple of times, then gets backed into a turnbuckle so Sheamus can mess with him. Neville shoves him and takes some shots. Neville scoots under Sheamus’ legs, dropkicks him, leapfrogs over Sheamus and backflips into a corner. Sheamus charges at Neville, running into a big boot, then gets hurricanrana’d out of the ring. Neville hurls himself out of the ring, taking Sheamus out. Back in the ring, Neville goes up top and Sheamus rolls out of the ring. Neville runs out in pursuit, getting bodyslammed on the outside as we go to break.
Back from the commercials, Sheamus has Neville in a headlock. Neville punches his way out, but gets thrown into the corner before Sheamus does that throwing-suplex thing he does. Irish Curse backbreaker takes Neville down. Sheamus yells ‘are you not entertained?!’ and gets a boo, because fuck Javert. Neville hits a jawbreaker to Sheamus, but runs right into an elbow. He ducks a charge, and Sheamus blasts the steel ring post, going right outside of the ring.
Sheamus comes back into the ring, right into some kicks, with Neville stomping on the back of his head. Standing moonsault connects for two. Sheamus kicks Neville’s feet out from under him, and then tosses him out onto the apron. Ten Things of the Whatnow is attempted, but Neville fights back; he dodges a boot, kicking Sheamus in the thigh, and then springboards into the ring to hit a missile dropkick! Massive kick to Sheamus’ temple, and Neville hits the Red Arrow from the second rope, getting a near-fall!
Neville goes up high again, but Sheamus knocks the rope, crotching Neville. Rolling senton’s attempted, but Neville rolls him up for another near-fall. Enzuigiri hits Sheamus in the shoulder, then again in the temple, and Neville clotheslines the Irishman out of the ring. Sheamus catches Neville when he comes out, dumping him on the announce table…for the DQ? The fuck?
Excellent match, and I’d honestly have been okay with Sheamus getting the victory with a sudden Brogue Kick after a lot of near-falls. Neville’s being built beautifully right now: victories over the lower-tier guys which serve as a showcase, with opportunities against bigger guys giving him exposure, making him look like a big deal, putting him in longer, better contests and making sure, early on, that losses don’t matter that much. Really great match. 3.5 Stars.
Post-match, Sheamus picks Neville up and throws him into the ring, carrying him on his shoulder like…(wait for it)…A SACK OF POTATOES!! (it’s okay; my best friend’s Irish). Ziggler interrupts the beat-down, and if this leads to a triple-threat between these three at Extreme Rules, then there’s your match de la noche.
Ziggler gets on the mic and says he knows why Sheamus doesn’t like the English: because they don’t like him either. Well, that and the history of subjugation, slavery, starvation and offensive jokes (although that last one pales in comparison to what we say about the Welsh). Also the fact that the Irish used to hate Britain so much that they blacklisted and almost starved any of their own who joined the UK to fight against, you know, the Nazis. I mean…there’s some layers to that background. Ziggler then says that not even the Irish like Sheamus, probably because his family fought the Nazis.
Dolph says the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him, and he wants a match right now. So…the way to deal with a bully is to wait until he’s beaten up and exhausted, and then stand up to him? I mean…totally the way I’d do it. Sheamus then makes a ‘Kiss Me Arse match’ at Extreme Rules. Whoa, okay, I hope that’s a stipulation and not an actual mechanic of the match. This is going to be crazy homoerotic, and then…oh my God, I’m just going to quote Ziggler for this bit:
“And listen: I am gonna grind you, pull you and stretch you so bad, you won’t know which way is up. And then, in front of the entire world, I’m going to make you kiss your own arse.” – Dolph Ziggler, alleged heterosexual.
I think that might be the gayest thing I’ve ever heard, including any of the dialogue or diagetic noises from Brokeback Mountain, Room in Rome, Blue is the Warmest Colour and Mysterious Skin.
Happy Birthday To Me
Oh yay, it’s Los Matadores vs. The New Day. Okay, look, it was my birthday, like, two weeks ago and I didn’t try this then, but I’m doing it now. My birthday present to myself is to not have to review this match.
The New Day won and they’re stupid. They beat Los Matadores, who are also stupid. El Torito was there, and he’s the stupidest stupid of all. 0 Stars: fuck every gimmick in that match.
We replay Fandango dumping Rosa and having a dance-orgy. Backstage, he’s still dumping Rosa. Has he been dumping her for the past three days? And then the Rosebuds and Adam Rose run past, making this officially the worst break-up ever. Adam Rose then hits on Rosa without even looking at her, which is oddly impressive. Seriously, the fuck is going on this week?
Big Show comes out, and says that people from England suck. I mean, I’m not paraphrasing there: he just said it. He says he’s the greatest giant in history, and that nobody can stop him, especially not that Roman Reigns fella. He answers to nobody but the Authority, who think that Roman’s a threat. We replay the beating Show gave Reigns on Monday. Reigns kept getting up, Show says, and Big Show chose not to end him there. But he’s got a match at Extreme Rules against Roman Reigns: a Last Man Standing. Okay, I can sort of see the sense in that. Although I will admit to holding out for another Stairs Match.
When There’s Only One Championship, Everyone Wants To Be A Contender
This is a triple threat match between Cameron, Alicia Fox and Natalya, following Cameron being the special guest referee last week and screwing the two of them over. At least she had the restraint to wait until the match was over, as it was a fair match.
The bell rings, and it turns out that Alicia and Natalya do not like being jumped from behind, taking it to Cameron before she scoots out of the ring. Alicia tries for a roll-up, nearly gets locked into the Sharpshooter, and then gets knocked out of the ring. Cameron wants a roll-up, takes a clothesline and Alicia breaks up the pin.
Alicia headscissors Natalya, knocking her down and then missing her cartwheel legdrop, taking a dropkick to the face instead. Cameron pulls Natalya out of the ring, slamming her against the wall. She then books it into the ring, punching Alicia, who takes her down with a boot. Alicia then misses a boot in the corner, and gets her head snapped back onto the mat. Cameron goes up high, but gets distracted by Natalya. The three guys who are supposed to be commentating may as well be smoking cigars and rubbing their crotches considering the way they’re actually talking about this match. At least if Renee Young was on commentary she wouldn’t be talking about Divas in steam rooms.
Natalya hits a powerbomb to Alicia, who superplexes Cameron at the same time: all the Divas are down, and then recover, trying to cover each other, until Natalya takes Fox down with a clothesline, sending her out of the ring. Cameron nearly gets a small package, and then another near-fall. The ladies exchange roll-ups, but then Natalya wants a Sharpshooter. Cameron looks to be about to tap, almost getting to the ropes before being pulled away.
Natalya suddenly avoids the scissor kick from Alicia, applying the Sharpshooter to her, until Cameron nearly throws her out of the ring, but gets thrown out instead. Alicia takes Natalya down with her big boot, hitting the scissor kick, but Cameron throws her out of the ring and gets the pin. Fuck’s sake, please say this doesn’t make Cameron number one contender. For God’s sake, I like the Bellas better than I like Cameron.
Good match: really good. With AJ and Paige out of the picture, I think we’re going to see some real opportunities for these Divas, which is only a good thing. Except Cameron. 3 Stars.
Relationships, Am I Right?
Here’s Fandango, getting ready for a match against Adam Rose. I swear, I have reviewed so many matches with these two against each other. Rose takes Fandango down with a shoulder block, then eats a dropkick before getting clotheslined out of the ring. Fandango hurls himself out onto Rose. Rosa suddenly appears, confronting Fandango, and Adam Rose baseball slides him before awkwardly hitting on Rosa. Adam Rose gets distracted by Rosa, who gets on the apron, and then gets rolled up by Fandango.
Man, wrestling break-ups are weird. 1.5 Stars.
Bray Wyatt suddenly appears, and oh my God, he’s feuding with Fandango! Yeah, no, he’s just mumbling more weird stuff to himself. Could this guy, for once, just build a feud with somebody else?
Should Have Got Rollins And Nikki Involved Somehow
Main event time, and the competitors make their way to the ring. Cena gets Kidd in a headlock, is thrown off the ropes and knocks Tyson down. Cesaro tags in, and has a test of strength with Cena, wearing him down at first, and then takes a kick to the shoulder. He manages to batter Cena into his corner, tagging Kidd back in. Tyson tags back out, keeping hold of the leg so Cesaro can stomp Cena.
John’s trying to reach Bryan, but takes an uppercut in the corner, and Kidd’s in now, keeping Cena grounded with a front facelock. Cena fires up, taking both Kidd and Cesaro down, but Tyson pops up past enough to kick him back down. Tyson wants his apron leg drop, but Cena avoids it, trying to reach Bryan, but Cesaro gets there, pulling him back. Cena manages to kick Cesaro all the way out of the ring, crawling across the ring again, but Cesaro reaches him first, taking Bryan off the apron and gutwrenching Cena halfway across the ring.
It’s been all Cesaro and Tyson so far in this match, with Cesaro holding Cena, but John manages to dig deep, hitting a back suplex. Both men are down, with Cena making his way to one of the neutral corners. Cesaro wants a running uppercut, but Cena dives out of the way, leaving Cesaro to blast the ring post. Cena sidesteps Kidd, who runs into the ring and flies straight back out, and crawls over to Bryan…who gets pulled off the apron by Kidd. Solid tag-team wrestling right here.
Cena gets a burst, locking the STF in on Cesaro, only for Tyson to strike for a third time, breaking it up. Cesaro tags in Kidd; Cena surprises him with an Attitude Adjustment attempt, only for Kidd to land on his feet, kick Cena in the stomach and hit a dropkick to the face for two. Kidd tries to punch Bryan, but Daniel blocks the shot, hitting Kidd in return, making him stumble into a backdrop from Cena; Cena launches himself across the ring and gets the tag!
Bryan comes in, taking Cesaro off the apron and then pounding Cesaro in the corner. Dropkick to Cesaro on the floor, then he toe-holds Kidd into the corner. Hurricanrana from the top rope for a near-fall. Bryan laces Kidd with kicks to the chest; Cesaro interferes, gets taken down, and now they’re both getting kicked! Kidd tries for a roll-up, but gets destroyed with a kick to the side of the head. Bryan looks for the Running Knee, only to stop as Natalya gets up on the apron. Come on, Nat, you’re better than that. And stop getting distracted, Bryan; you’re better than that too.
Kidd tries to sneak-attack Bryan, but Daniel dodges, leaving Kidd to blast Natalya. But, you know, even if he’d hit Bryan, it still would have knocked Nat off the apron. Natalya lands in Cesaro’s arms, and that guy is the greatest third wheel ever. Kidd takes the Yes Lock, and Cesaro dumps Natalya on the floor, trying to interfere; he takes an AA as Kidd taps out!
Really great match, with some fantastic tag team wrestling. This has really been a great effect of having the mid-card champions be top guys; fantastic matches which elevated all four of the belts involved. Seriously enjoyed this. 3.5 Stars.
Definitely the best episode of SmackDown I’ve seen in a good long while. What was good was great and what was bad didn’t last long. Had a lot of fun covering this show; hopefully this isn’t just a one-off London thing. Would certainly recommend checking this one out. Nine out of ten.
Tags: Adam Rose, alicia fox, Bad News Barrett, Big Show, Bray Wyatt, byron saxton, Cameron, Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Jerry Lawler, John Cena, London, Los Matadores, Michael Cole, miz, naomi, natalya neidhart, Neville, Paige, R-Truth, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, smackdown, The New Day, Tyson Kidd