Hello there, boys and girls. It’s me, that guy what does SmackDown reviews. Admittedly, I’m resentful of that fact right now, because I’ve just started my dream of building a house in Skyrim and am so close to becoming a medieval architect, which I assume probably was a thing once upon a time.
Anyway, I figure I can bash this thing out and then get back to creating my dark palace…I mean, let’s watch some wrestling, right?!
Act one, scene one. Interior. Arena – evening. There are crowds; there is cheering. Some godawful entrance music starts and Seth Rollins walks down the entrance ramp, scowling. Okay, Rollins has just picked up a steel chair before entering the ring. Did he just gear up for a promo? Is he going to follow in Hunter’s footsteps and deliver a twenty minute promo, but isn’t able to stand for that long?
Ah, the chair is a visual aid. Don’t you fucking talk down to me, Rollins. Anyway, it’s a chair very much like the one he used to break up the Shield. He says that, since that day, the only question he’s asked is ‘Why, Rollins, Why?’. I doubt that’s the only question, Seth. His goal was to be the very best ever in this industry. Well, maybe he should stop running away and cheating in literally every single match. He talks about all of the stuff that he’s done with a tonne of help from other people, from winning the Money In The Bank Ladder Match to him beating Reigns and Lesnar. Okay, Rollins: you’re not the first guy to think of cashing in the Money In The Bank. Stop acting smart about that.
Rollins brings up Brock Lesnar, and legend has it that if you say ‘Brock Lesnar’ three times in the mirror with a lit candle, then Lesnar appears and murders you with his bare hands and a lighted candle. Rollins turns his attention to Ambrose, telling us that he’s not the real champion, just in case we didn’t have the rules of belt-ownership explained enough to us during that Intercontinental Championship thing. Seth finishes by saying he doesn’t need anyone: specifically not the only people who’ve ever been interested in helping him. Why is this guy considered smart again?
Dean appears on the titantron, calling bullshit on more or less everything Seth said. He says that he’s pretty much the rightful champ after Elimination Chamber, but the Authority wants to protect their investment. Actually…why? Why does the Authority care about Seth? He’s the worst guy to work with ever; he has zero chance of accomplishing anything by himself; he is easily tricked into terrible situations…seriously, why not get someone else? I mean, not Dean and probably not Roman, but back Barrett or Sheamus: they’re probably smart enough to toe the company line if it meant they got to be World Champ. The fact that the Authority is sticking with Rollins as their guy is actually a terrible flaw in their judgement. So, what we have here is an idiot, protected by idiots, who’s enough of an idiot to constantly anger his benefactor-idiots, who are idiotic enough to continuously look past his idiocy.
Dear lord, why are the announcers accusing Dean Ambrose of being crazy?
Hah: Kevin Owens is putting on an NXT Championship Open on SmackDown tonight. Second SmackDown appearance in a row: I think I might love Kevin Owens.
At Least There’s Not Fourteen Guys In This Match
Well, none of the tag team division died in a hysterical accident last Sunday and, yes, that’s why I was watching that match. When Kalisto went on top of the cage, I genuinely thought I was about to watch our generation’s Owen Hart. But this is a Triple Threat Tag Team match, catering to the apparent ADD of this audience and mocking my inability to review a match with too many participants. This match will take place between the Prime Time Players, the Ascension and the Lucha Dragons, and I have to wonder in which desert the Usos have been buried.
Sin Cara and Darren Young lock up, and we get some obligatory chain wrestling, which I appreciate. Kalisto tags in, and the Lucha Dragons lay some double team offence before Young takes Kalisto down with a clothesline and a leg drop. Viktor tags himself in, hitting an elbow to Kalisto. Here’s Konnor, but he takes a handspring kick-to-the-side-of-the-head, falling out of the ring. Viktor tries to get the jump on Kalisto and gets thrown out as well, and the Lucha Dragons dive out onto them before we go to break.
Once we get back from the break, it seems that being thrown out of the ring only makes Konnor stronger!! He hits an inverted electric chair drop to Kalisto, and then tags in Viktor. Elbow from Viktor, then he tags in Konnor for a half-Boston-crab/leg drop manoeuvre. Quick tags here, with Viktor back in, laying a hurting on Kalisto. He runs into a knee, however, and Kalisto hits a form of hurricanrana to escape the beatdown. Byron compares him to Sonic the Hedgehog and I sort of remember that Sonic could jump really far and high and run super-fast, and neither of those things has anything to do with Kalisto: a lucha wrestler. If Kalisto won matches by straight-up jumping on his opponents’ heads, breaking them and allowing a small animal to escape from their mangled body, he’d be just like Sonic.
Kalisto almost makes a tag, but Konnor attacks Sin Cara, and the Ascension hit a double team before Young breaks up the pin. Konnor chucks him back out of the ring, turning his attention towards Kalisto. Kalisto manages to escape a delayed vertical suplex, somersaults away from danger (I mean, he actually does that) and Titus tags in! Titus fucks up everyone’s shit for a few moments, even hurling Kalisto at Konnor to send both of them out of the ring. Viktor almost rolls O’Neil up; Titus kicks out and hits his pumphandle slam for the win: the Prime Time Players are your number one contenders.
Fair play to the tag team division for doing that two nights after a freaking Chamber match. I liked this, and I’d like to see Darren and Titus have a serious shot at the belts. Maybe next month, Ascension. Maybe next month…2.5 Stars.
Backstage, Renee gets the reactions from the New Day. And their reaction is: mindless cheerfulness. God, can you imagine sex with these characters? Kane shows up, in his ‘Gonna Screw Up Yo’ Day’ mode. He puts Kofi in a match against Neville, because he hates physics.
Okay, Sonic: just because you can do twenty-five flavours of milkshake does not mean you should.
Stardust Is More Or Less The Perfect Opponent To Prepare You For Big Show
Ryback’s out here, and if Kofi vs. Neville is going to break physics, then Ryback vs. Big Show will break…pretty much every bone in either of their bodies. The Big Guy will be facing Stardust, who plays keepaway for a while before Ryback armdrags him. The beatdown ensues, before Ryback runs into a boot from Stardust, staggering him. Ryback still nearly hits a bodyslam, but Stardust wriggles out and hits a neckbreaker. He stays on Ryback, keeping the Big Guy down. This lasts all of…a moment, and then Stardust leaps into a spinebuster, which is a really dumb thing to do. Meathook. Shell Shocked. Pin.
This was a fast and dominant match for Ryback: by far the best approach to employ for him. I’ll be interested in seeing what he can do now that he (finally) has a championship. 2 Stars.
Paige is walking down a hallway. Do the wrestlers ever wonder why random cameramen keep recording them at what must seem like an odd time to them? Do they take it as a form of foreshadowing or do they get super-paranoid and conduct lengthy sweeps of the arena bathrooms before taking a leak? I’m analysing this too much: I know.
We recap the Bellas being heels again, except it’s more like they just kept being heels because there was never any evidence that they were faces in the first place. I’d call out the ref on not noticing Twin Magic, but to be honest it has been years since they last did it. So…kudos to WWE Creative for accidentally not being responsible for sloppy writing.
Okay, Renee Young is now conducting interview on the entrance ramp? Did she get bored backstage? Is she trying to break through the glass ceiling? Did the New Day stink up her last interview spot with their toxic positivity? Maybe all three. She brings out Paige, and that woman has the oddest walk sometimes. Renee brings up Paige’s loss on Monday, because Renee Young doesn’t spare your feelings. Paige says that things are never going to change. Okay, Paige: it’s not like you’ve been wrestling Seth Rollins. If Dean Ambrose isn’t complaining, you’re not allowed to either.
Paige draws the wrestler/Diva distinction, making her the definitive face in the feud. She tells us that we have the power to change her world, so she’s on an NSA watch list now. And then…Paige walks backstage again. Wait…then why have the interview on the entrance ramp?!
Backstage, Luke Harper is pacing and ranting. Oh, good. Another useless weekly backstage segment. I was just not-missing Goldust and Stardust doing this same thing. Erick Rowan’s with him, and the only thing worth saying about this is that it manages to skirt between vaguely threatening and kind of homoerotic. Like all the best promos.
Not Sure What I Was Expecting, Really
Here’s Kevin Owens, ready to put the NXT Championship on the line, here on SmackDown. I’m taking that as validation: I don’t care what y’all think.
Kevin Owens gets on the mic and says he needs no introduction: we know who he is. Man, this guy keeps bringing up his kid all the time. We get it, Kevin: you can prove that you have had sex. Move on. He says that John Cena is delusional, because he believes his own promos. Well, most of his promos are about poop, so…Kev might have a point. Also, Owens saying that ‘never give up’ is not a thing rings a little hollow considering what he must have gone through to get here. He says that he’s here to rid the world of John Cena’s propaganda, but tonight it’s time for an NXT Championship Open Challenge Match. If Seth Rollins came out, that would make this the greatest SmackDown ever…
Ah, it’s Zack Ryder. Wow, you think he’d learn eventually. King defends John Cena, and even though it makes sense, Lawler saying it makes my mind refuse to recognise it as true.
Owens immediately starts beating on Ryder, who actually gets some offence. Owens ducks out of the ring, and I almost put my fist through my laptop, but it was a trap to lure Ryder in to kick the shit out of him. And it fucking better have been that, WWE. Not every heel has to be terrified of whichever face they’re…facing. Back in the ring, boot to Ryder’s face, but Owens runs into a pair of knees, takes a missile dropkick…and hits a superkick. Pop-up powerbomb ends it.
Zack Ryder got way too much offence in. 1.5 Stars.
Owens beats down Ryder after the match, as if to create a greater offence-average. King berates him in his ridiculously annoying fashion. How long do I have to put up with this guy, seriously?
Renee’s backstage with Sheamus. What happened to the entrance ramp, Renee? She calls Roman Reigns the favourite for the Money In The Bank Ladder Match, because this isn’t about your feelings. Sheamus gets defensive, promising to take Reigns down.
Wow, the Tough Enough phone app (which I still can’t believe is a thing) is pretty blatant when it comes to bodyshaming. Guys, you employ Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens and Kane: let’s not get elitist.
I Like To Think That’s How Neville Fights In Real Life
It’s time for Neville vs. Kofi, and that second glass of wine is not going to be an aid to calling this match. Neville comes down to the ring as we see a snippet of him getting interviewed. I swear, guys, I hear that accent every single day. Imagine living in my world. Kofi shows up, flanked in an off-balance fashion by Xavier Woods and Big E Langston.
Bell rings, and Kofi goes on the attack quick. Neville leapfrogs, handsprings and crossbodies Kingston. Tilt-a-whirl to Kofi, who manages to drag Neville outside the ring to where Woods and Langston can maul him. Neville manages to kick out of a pin attempt before we go to break.
Back to the action, Neville is trying to fight back, but Kofi hits an inverted suplex to put an end to that. He then backhands Neville across the face: goddamn that looked rough. This seems to fire Neville up as he starts beating the shit out of Kofi. Xavier yells ‘I’m gonna make gravity remember you!’, which is actually a pretty decent line. Neville hits a missile dropkick, then a standing shooting star press. Kofi begs off, before pulling Neville into the corner face-first. Kofi charges, gets caught by Neville, and then Neville hits a tornado DDT! Neville sets up for the Red Arrow, but Langston pulls Kofi out of the ring as Woods provides a distraction.
Neville decides ‘fuck it’ and moonsaults onto Langston and Kofi. He sends Kingston back into the ring, dodges an attack by Xavier Woods, then rolls up Kofi. A kick-out sends him into Langston, who he decks off the apron, and then he pins Kofi for the win!
This was fun, although I’m surprised Kofi didn’t bring some more athleticism to the table. Maybe they thought having one of them be grounded would make for a more solid match: who knows? Still, great final moments. 3 Stars.
Oh God, it’s Miz TV. How is this still a thing? Miz brings out Lana, and maybe he’ll ask her how she feels about being unable to survive without a man. And about the absurdly short skirts. Seriously, WWE. I mean…2015.
We review the footage of Rusev getting slapped and broken up with, then then the injury announcement. Man, are they trying to make us feel sorry for Rusev? Miz seems to feel that Lana’s being a friendzoning bitch, and says that she was just using Rusev. Wow, along with the accent impersonation, Miz is reaching new levels of dickittude. Lana says that Miz’s questions might make her leave or slap him. Usually, I’d call that some pretty bad writing, but I’ll take Miz getting slapped any day.
Oh, but the Miz has a special super secret suprise guest, and it’s Rusev. Because like it was going to be anyone else. So, what? Rusev wants to crush all of America apart from fake talk show hosts who offer him sympathy? Or did he really love The Marine IV?
Rusev said he’s a broken man; he has no excuses. He was raised differently, and he thought he didn’t need Lana. Wow, this is uncomfortably sad. And I don’t mean in the tragic way, either: more the pathetic type. Rusev begs for one more chance, and it would be more impactful (probably) if he had a voice which could do emotions other than ‘stoic’, ‘furious’ and ‘Russian’. Lana turns the freak down and walks off, which leads to him breaking down pretty damn quickly.
Okay, Dolph Ziggler’s just shown up. Is he about to attack an injured Rusev? Ah, no: he just shows up to walk off with Lana. Well, as long as she has a man so she doesn’t go wanton and want the vote or anything like that.
Seriously, Why Does Sheamus Keep Quoting Gladiator?
Main event time, and Reigns and Sheamus get to the ring as we go over their badassery from earlier this week. They lock up, both jockeying for position, and then Reigns takes Sheamus down with a shoulder block. He’s showing signs of injury, though, and takes a knee to the stomach from Sheamus. He rolls to the outside, clotheslining Sheamus when the Irishman follows him, but Sheamus manages to beat the hell out of him out in the announce area regardless.
Back from the break, Sheamus is taking it to Reigns, who is looking haggard. Reigns manages to boot Sheamus in the face, but takes a rolling senton to shut him back down again. Sheamus takes Reigns out onto the apron, laying some fists into the man’s ribs, but he gets hung up on the top rope and pounded by Reigns. Roman tries to hit his apron dropkick, but Sheamus dodges, letting Reigns hurt himself even more.
Sheamus throws Reigns into a corner, but then misses a charge, blasting the steel post with his shoulder! Sheamus is sent out of the ring; he tries to grab Reigns’ leg, but Roman pulls him right into the ring post! Back in the ring, Sheamus gets clotheslined a bunch of times as Reigns builds steam. Sheamus manages to kick him in the face, reverses a Samoan drop and sends Roman to the outside. Reigns manages to rally, hitting his apron dropkick this time and then a Samoan drop back in the ring.
Kane’s music hits, and he and Mercury and Noble approach the ring. Sheamus nearly gets a roll-up, but Roman kicks out. Reigns then takes an Irish Curse backbreaker, but ducks the Brogue Kick to hit the Superman Punch! Kane rushes the ring and ends things with a big boot.
Okay, not sure why the Authority cares about a match with no actual meaning to it beyond pride but, as we’ve established, they’re not that bright. Match was kind of meh, really. 2 Stars.
Reigns fights his way out of a chokeslam, but Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick…and then Kane chokeslams Sheamus? What the hell? Ah, and the Kane announces his participation into the Money In The Bank Ladder match. Oh God, Kane, you’re like a thousand years old or something. He chokeslams Reigns to fool us all into thinking he has the vaguest chance of a shot.
This was an okay SmackDown. Nothing truly spectacular about it, although it was the cool-down after a PPV, so I wasn’t expecting much. Six.
Tags: Brie Bella, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, John Cena, Kane, Kevin Owens, Lana, Lucha Dragons, Luke Harper, money in the bank, Neville, Nikki Bella, Paige, Prime Time Players, Renee Young, Roman Reigns, rusev, ryback, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Stardust, The Ascension, The Miz, The New Day, zack ryder