Hey, all you goobers (yeah, I watched The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie again today, and what of it?). It’s Thursday night, so we’ve got ourselves a SmackDown to…well, I’m going to review it, and about three of you are going to watch it; I know how this thing goes. Hell, I’ve banged out about 6,000 words of my novel today, so you’re all lucky that you’re getting a damned review.
Things start off with a recap of Lesnar getting introduced to the babyface side of things, which involves having to sell offence from fucking Kane of all people. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I love Kane for everything he’s done in this business, but this guy has got to stop being marketed as a threat. But if this means that Seth is going to be taken seriously as a heel champion, sign me the hell up. Even if this does involve a bullshit win at Battleground and then an even grudgier grudge match at SummerSlam.
Rollins actually kicks off the live show, followed by two of his three suit-wearing bitches. And…holy shit! Uso sighting! Jimmy Uso in on commentary! Up is down! Black is white! Zebra crossings retain their original function! Is there no God?
Seth gets all smug about narrowly beating the shit out of Lesnar with 4-on-1 odds. And by the way, Heyman, where the hell were you? I’d bet money that you could’ve handled Mercury and Noble considering how they’ve been treated recently. He’s pushing the narrative about his ridiculously awesome takeover of the WWE, and apparently Joey Mercury masterminded this grand plot, whilst Jamie Noble got three ribs broken. And because this is Lesnar, I have no idea whether that’s kayfabe or not. I’d research it, but…eh, Jamie Noble.
Rollins says that tonight’s episode is dedicated to the ‘courageous Jamie Noble’, and fuck it: that’s this week’s title. Seth then compliments Kane, which I’m surprised didn’t literally kill him. Man, people keep bringing up the mask: just put the fucking thing on, already. But no, Kane gets on the mic to throw some shade. I’m so looking forward to next Monday, when Lesnar shows up and paints the walls of whatever arena they’re in with Kane and Mercury’s blood. And apparently Big Show is still a member of the Authority despite doing precisely dick for them recently, and we’re all really sorry that he got beaten up by Ryback because, shit, he just got beaten up by Ryback.
Kane asks that Ryback show up and presumably take a paddling or whatever creepy sexual thing that this segment’s about to take a turn into. Ryback shows up, because this is not a guy who’s ever walked away from an obvious trap, and Kane asks him to explain his fat-hating shitlord ways. Ryback shows no remorse, leading to a criticism of his morality from Seth Rollins, which is like receiving a lecture entitled ‘Realistic Expectations’ from Adolf Hitler. Ryback then bodyshames Rollins and, holy hell, this guy is a shitlord.
Ryback lays a verbal beatdown on Seth, and sometimes I’m amazed by how much talking is done by dudes who are paid to fight: this isn’t debate club. Kane then puts Ryback in a match with himself, which is apparently a punishment despite the fact that most people would pay good money to put the boots to a Libertarian. Shit, I’m getting ready to put a deposit down on a flat, and I’d sling a few grand towards that opportunity. The Authority walks off, but then Seth gets all pissy by Ryback mentioning Dean Ambrose, putting himself into a match against Ambrose later that night.
Someone Get Rusev A Fedora
Well, Dolph and Lana just got the jobber entrance, although we come back in time to see them kiss and Dolph unfasten Lana’s hair. I mean…really? She spent time on that, and clearly thinks it looks nice like that. Why are you doing that, Dolph? Sheamus then appears, giving us all a masterclass in how not to carry a briefcase, the fucking goon.
Sheamus goes on the attack, beating Dolph down in the corner before Dolph latches on in a sleeper; Sheamus throws him off and ducks a superkick before bailing out of the ring. When Sheamus tries to climb into the ring, he takes a dropkick back out to the floor.
Oh God, I hear a barely-Russian accent, which means that it’s either Rusev or his goddamned glorious lawyer. Ah, for fuck’s sake, it’s Rusev, who has apparently graduated from two crutches to one. Man, now there’s only one for him to dramatically fling places. Rusev begs Lana to come back to him, and Ziggler stops to watch. See, I have a problem with that, because Dolph should absolutely know better. However, if Sheamus came back in the ring, stood next to Ziggler and the two of them watched to see how it all turned out, that would be hysterical.
Rusev says ‘I will kiss you the right way’, and nobody wants to see that. He then switches to Bulgarian, probably so that he can promise some far more X-rated things to her, but she heads back to the ring. Sheamus misses the Brogue Kick, so at least Dolph retains some situational awareness whilst watching distractions. Compared to most other WWE employees, that technically makes him Professor Xavier. He does, however, get hung up on the ropes and kicked out to the floor. We go to a break as Sheamus asks us if we are not entertained, which makes it seem like the show itself said: ‘meh, could be better.’
Back from the break, Ziggler fights his way out of a sleeper, but eats a backbreaker. Sheamus heads up to the top, and Ziggler sprints up after him, hitting a facebuster from the top rope. Both men are down, and when they get up Dolph fires away with some punches; the superkick gets caught, Dolph wants the Fameasser, almost gets powerbombed then nearly rolls Sheamus up for the pin. Sheamus hits a running knee lift, but then runs right into a superkick! Sheamus manages to kick out, and both men are down once again.
Sheamus counters a Zig-Zag, but gets locked into a sleeper. He’s stuck in the centre of the ring, but manages to reach the turnbuckle, slamming Ziggler into it until he’s released. Ziggler’s sitting on the top rope, and then takes a Brogue Kick to the face, which ends it.
Pretty interesting ending, considering. These guys do put on some good matches together, and I’m glad Rusev was really a non-factor in the end. 3 Stars.
Wow, Rusev’s already backstage. Way to give up easy, Stalker O’Reilly. He bellows at a WWE employee, then seems happy to just bellow in general, but then Summer Rae appears, says Lana’s not worth it, and then walks off-camera again. The fuck? Is she supposed to be playing Rusev’s sense of self-respect? Shouldn’t she…I don’t know, elaborate on that statement?
You Can Actually Hear Jimmy Uso’s Jealous Fury
Alicia Fox is in a match, accompanied by the Bella Twins. And she is facing Naomi, accompanied by Tamina Snuka. Now, what’s interesting here is that Jimmy will, at some point during this match, attack Tamina for showing any positive or supportive reaction towards his wife because, as we’ve learned from previous storylines, that’s what Jimmy Uso thinks that love is. Also, looking forward to hearing his reaction to King drooling over his wife like she’s…I don’t know: below the age of consent?
Alicia Fox takes Naomi over, then hits a shoulder tackle. Naomi kips up and gets dropkicked, but then hits a goddamn nice running hurricanrana before running Fox into a turnbuckle via a bulldog. Bodyslam to Alicia, then a leg drop gets a two count.
Sleeper hold to Alicia, who works her way back to her feet, and manages to hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker out of nowhere. She tackles Naomi through the ropes, and they fall out hard onto the floor. They’re okay, however, as Naomi runs Alicia’s back into the turnbuckle, throwing her into the ring. She then gets into it with the Bella Twins, compensating for Ziggler’s earlier lack of distraction, and this somehow ends up with Tamina superkicking one of the Bellas. Oh shit: Jimmy Uso’s about to explode, because goddamn nobody supports Jimmy Uso’s wife except Jimmy Uso.
Naomi and Tamina then take out the second Bella and Jesus, Jimmy: they might as well have just had sex in front of you. Back in the ring, Alicia Fox hits something that might just have been a finisher and gets the win. See, Ziggler? That’s what distraction looks like.
Ah, this was pretty fun. Naomi and Alicia can go, and I got to see some Bellas eat superkicks. What more can a humble wrestling reviewer ask for? 2.5 Stars.
We have a brief recap of the Kevin Owens/John Cena rivalry, just in case you’re a filthy casual. I’m skipping this, because I actually watch the damn show.
Backstage, the New Day is being interviewed by…JoJo? What, did Renee Young refuse to cover a storyline without any white guys? Prime Time Players show up to inject some tension (possibly sexual, possibly not) into the situation, and if you want a really good laugh, watch this interview and see the miracle that is JoJo Offerman trying to act. I mean…I never thought I’d ever say that Total Divas is too good for someone, but…damn.
Titus comments that one of the New Day is going to have to sit the title match out, which would probably inject some tension if that didn’t describe basically every tag-team match the New Day’s been in. Then…holy shit, Bo Dallas has met the New Day. Everyone hit the fucking deck: we cannot handle this level of inspiration. Bo is going to be on a team with them tonight, and we may not survive this one, guys.
Also, Bo can’t clap in time. So, along with the face, that’s a tonne of mental disability jokes I’m way too classy to make.
On that topic, I’ve just stumbled across an article (because I cheat on these reviews with, like, the entire internet) which claims that Christian Grey has autism. And I feel 1) amused, because someone here feels so strongly about a literary theory in shitty erotic literature that they wrote an article about it, and 2) elated, because all of my mean-spirited jokes about Jamie Dornan’s facial expression and general demeanour have just been validated.
Ryback’s Magnum Opus
Well, as payment for that little digression, I get to watch a Ryback match. And…Big Show just jumped him! The beatdown commences before Ryback even sets foot in the ring!
Without a doubt the greatest Ryback match I have ever seen. 5 Stars. 10/10 would recommend.
The beating goes on just long enough to be…well, still pretty freaking hilarious, actually, and no, Big Show, don’t throw him into the ring! That makes it a match! Kane goes for the cover; Ryback kicks out because there is no God, and then fires back because there is a God, but he doesn’t approve of me laughing at articles discussing both neurodevelopmental disorders and masturbatory aids. Spinebuster by Ryback, and this match is just haemorrhaging stars right now. Meathook Clothesline; Big Show distracts Ryback, then breaks up the Shell Shocked attempt for the DQ.
A pale ghost of what could have been. 1.5 Stars.
Kane and Show beat on Ryback, because how dare he be the Intercontinental Champion and try to win matches?
Bo Dallas And The New Day: The WWE Has Weaponised Positivity
The New Day and Bo Dallas are in the ring, and…God, I’m imaging Fifty Shades of Grey with Bo Dallas as Christian Grey. I mean…we could do a Kickstarter for that, right? We’re part of the Inside Pulse crew: we’ve got clout.
They will be facing the Prime Time Players and the Lucha Dragons, and my ability to call a match just plummets when you make the Lucha Dragons a part of it, so don’t expect anything Tolstoy-esque from me on this one.
Kingston starts off against O’Neil, and they are still pushing that Celebrity Dad thing. I mean, what, is it just an award for being a good dad? Because you shouldn’t need a fucking incentive or anything for that. Do they feel like Titus should get a reward for being a wrestler and not beating the shit out of his kids? I suppose the job’s going to leave you with some instincts…
Well, I just imagined Titus putting his kids through a table for a minute, and now Bo’s fighting Darren Young. Interesting fact: the WWE has not made a comical reference to Young’s sexuality this week. Odd that they’d forget. Young’s in control, until Bo and the New Day head outside for a cheeky clap sesh, and we go to the break.
Back from the break. Sin Cara dropkicks Kingston right out of the fucking air, then gets elevated out of the ring as Xavier Woods tags in, and the New Day take out Sin Cara. Xavier Woods yells ‘how’s your brother doing?’ at Jimmy Uso, and what: is he dead or something? Beatdown in the corner by New Day, with Kingston hitting a dropkick to the face of Sin Cara. Langston comes in and applies an abdominal stretch, and Sin Cara suffers being the babyface in peril for a few minutes more before hitting a hurricanrana to Kofi Kingston from the second rope.
Sin Cara tries to reach the corner, and tags in Kalisto. The lucha hits his face-first hurricanrana to Xavier Woods; Dallas breaks up the pin and eats a Gut Check from Young. Langston runs over him and takes a spinebuster from O’Neil, who eats Trouble In Paradise from Kofi, who gets kicked out of the ring by Kalisto who gets almost rolled up by Xavier Woods who swallowed the spider to catch the fly; I don’t know why he swallowed a fly, perhaps he’ll…get hit with a handspring roundhouse kick by Kalisto, who throws himself out on the New Day, then comes back to hit a springboard 450 Splash to Woods for the pin!
Giving this one 3 Stars for the Chain O’ Finishers and Kalisto, who is just wasted in his current role. Get the guy in some higher-profile matches before he slows down.
We take a look back at Bray Wyatt threatening to abduct Roman Reigns’ daughter and…what, exactly, WWE? Because it seems like you’re in danger of writing yourself into a corner with this one. Also, I cannot help but think that by not taking out a restraining order against Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns is using his daughter as both a justification to kill Bray and as bait to draw him out. Well, he doesn’t deserve to be Celebrity Dad of the Year, I’ll tell you that much.
Backstage, Ambrose is getting pissed off on Roman’s behalf, and suggests that they form a two-man lynch mob, look around the arena until they find Wyatt and then cripple him. I mean…that actually sounds like it would solve this problem more or less handily. Roman turns his offer down, which just makes this seem more and more like he’s secretly manipulating both us and Wyatt to justify Bray’s eventual ritual-murder. Oh, and then he finds a creepy message from Bray in his own bag. Because there’s no way he could have put that there to make Wyatt seem like a more pressing threat. I’m telling you guys: Bray’s the real victim here. And also Roman’s daughter, whose father is using her to catch a predator that he himself is driving towards his daughter. You want to see a real father? Watch Finding Nemo.
We then see Roman stomping around backstage, ready to slice Wyatt into little pieces and drop his remains into trashcans around the state in the shape of a double R. He runs into Kane, who actually calls him out on the witch hunt he’s propagating. Kane then kicks Reigns out of the arena, because if Roman’s really worried about his daughter, he’d go and be with her. Roman, for some reason, doesn’t beat the absolute shit out of Kane, and leaves angrily.
Because Roman Was Too Busy Trying To Kill A Fat Guy
Ambrose makes his way out to the ring, followed by Seth Rollins. They start off with some chain wrestling, exchanging holds and counters, before Rollins knocks Ambrose down, then takes an armdrag, and another, and is held in an armlock. Seth fires back with some punches, but then gets clotheslined out of the ring.
Back from the break, Ambrose is trying to get back into the ring, but gets taken down at the leg. Rollins hits a running forearm in the corner to Dean, then wraps his legs in a hold. Dean manages to reach the ropes, breaking the hold, but then his legs get another going-over. Seth hits another corner-forearm to Ambrose, then heads up to the top rope, but Ambrose catches him, hitting a double-underhook suplex from the top rope!
Both men work their way up to their feet, then Dean starts smacking away at Seth, knocking him down a couple of times. Seth counters a bulldog, misses a forearm and almost gets rolled up, but kicks out at two. Ambrose ducks a kick, then slams Seth face-first into the canvas. Seth counters a tornado DDT, hitting a superkick for a count of two. He then heads up to the top rope, hitting crossbody, but Ambrose rolls him through for a near fall!
Neckbreaker by Ambrose, who then heads up to the top. Kane tries to interfere, but gets a boot to the face. Dean jumps over Seth, rolls to his feet, comes off the ropes and dives out onto Kane! Seth tries a dive of his own, but runs into a forearm from Ambrose! Dean climbs up to the top again and hits his elbow to a standing Rollins, but now it’s Mercury up on the apron, distracting referee from making the count! Dean heads at him, but then nearly gets rolled up! Ambrose tries for Dirty Deeds, but then flings Seth right into Mercury, who’s up on the apron again. Dean rolls Seth up, only to get a near fall.
Tornado DDT from the top rope gets another two, with both Ambrose and Rollins down. Dean hammers away on Seth, who then catches him with a kick, then ducks a clothesline, tries to powerbomb Ambrose and then Ambrose hurricanranas himself and Rollins out of the ring! Dean heads up to the top rope, and dives on all three members of the Authority! He throws Seth back into the ring, takes a kick to the head and comes back with a clothesline! Mercury interferes for a final time, distracting Ambrose for long enough for Seth to hit the Pedigree, and that’s the win.
These two can really put on a match: everything was so polished, perfect and fast-paced. Great stuff. 4 Stars.
This was a really great-quality SmackDown, and I felt really entertained throughout. Would definitely recommend tonight’s show as a good example of what the Thursday night show should be like. Nine.
Tags: alicia fox, Big Show, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jamie Noble, Jerry Lawler, jimmy uso, joey mercury, JoJo, Kane, Lana, Lucha Dragons, naomi, Prime Time Players, Roman Reigns, rusev, ryback, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Tamina Snuka, The Bella Twins, The New Day, Tom Philips