Well, it’s Friday morning. I’ve had an interesting week, the stand-out feature being that I finally finished that fucking novel, which I’m now avoiding editing by doing this review instead. I swear, if I never have to Google ‘non-comedic terms for genitalia’ again, that’ll be a measurable improvement in my life.
You’d all better hope that I don’t ever get published, because these reviews will become a vehicle for me to subtly advertise the shit I write, and I think we all know just how well David Spain does subtle.
So, now that that threat is hanging like a naked sword (apparently that is a non-comedic term for genitalia), let’s address some of the frankly weird shit that’s been going on over the past week. Rollins is going to be facing John Cena at SummerSlam, in a match between two men who undeservedly kept their championships at Battleground. The Undertaker has been resurrected, and I swear I don’t even mean to use that word as a reference to his undead persona: he’s fucking fifty years old, which in the wrestling world does basically make you a corpse. I’m not sure if this is some incredible literary irony that the WWE is trying to pull, or if Vince’s arousal at the Breaking of the Streak was such that his only hope of feeling pleasure again in this life will be to watch Brock actually kill the Undertaker in a wrestling ring.
On the bright side, we’ve got a Divas tag match featuring Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens vs. Rusev and Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro. You know what, JT and Widro? Keep your fucking Brock Lesnar and your Undertaker: I’m doing just fine with SmackDown tonight.
This Has To Stop
And hey, Dean Ambrose is here. Wow, everything seems to be going well for this show already, although I acknowledge that it’s been about four minutes. I will say, Dean and Roman’s continuing friendship has been one of the best-written things the WWE has produced in a long time. It’s not a massive storyline, and we’d probably be fine without it, but I genuinely enjoy watching these guys’ interactions and I feel like it’s good enough to recognise that it’s been done really quite well.
Yeah, I just complimented the WWE writers. Up is down, black is white, etc.
Aaaand speaking of white, here comes Sheamus. He’s babbling into a microphone, but who cares, because he’s Mister Money in the Bank and therefore completely irrelevant. He’s laying on the heel promo really thick, and I don’t know if they’re setting up a feud here or just pissing around. Ambrose gets a microphone of his own, and says that Sheamus looks stupid.
Well, obviously that just pisses Sheamus off, like, so so much, and the match is underway. The Irishman drives Dean into the corner before they take the wrestling to the floor. Ambrose gets the better of Sheamus before Sheamus ducks to the outside. He comes back in, hitting a boot to the midsection of Ambrose, starting to beat him down with some strikes. Ambrose catches him on the ropes, then hits a running dropkick, slips out of Sheamus’ bodyslam attempt and then clotheslines Sheamus out of the ring. Dean tries to dive through the ropes on Sheamus, but dives straight into a forearm. When the Irishman tries to take advantage, Ambrose manages to hit a DDT to the floor as we head to the break.
When we’re back, Ambrose is up on the top rope, trying to fight off Sheamus. He succeeds, but the Irishman manages to knock him off the top, seemingly tweaking Ambrose’s knee. A big bodyslam cements Sheamus’ advantage, and then he wraps Dean’s leg around his neck in what looks like an incredibly painful hold. Dean manages to pull himself up to try and smack Sheamus in the face, but Sheamus seems ready for this, and hits a powerbomb to end all resistance.
He follows this up with a half-Boston crab (and no, I don’t know where else the crab came from – waka waka!), twisting Ambrose until the little psycho kicks his way out, and then manages to come off the ropes with his big clothesline, taking Sheamus the fuck down.
Dean sits up, slapping his injured knee because he don’t need no fancy doctorin’. He hits Sheamus with some forearms, tries the bulldog, gets pushed away and nearly rolls Sheamus up. The Irishman wants the Brogue Kick; Ambrose low-bridges him out of the ring and dives out onto him! Back in the ring, he hits his elbow drop to take Sheamus down…ah, for fuck’s sakes, it’s Bray Wyatt. Seriously, can we just fucking stop? Oh, and Luke Harper’s standing on the announce table. Wow: it’s just as uninteresting as it was before. Can Bray just do something good, just once?
Ambrose approaches Harper, then Sheamus suddenly blasts him out of nowhere with the Brogue Kick. Okay: that was actually pretty funny, visually. Sheamus tosses Dean back into the ring, then makes the sign of the cross before hitting Brogue again. Not sure if that makes him Catholic or a Protestant Irish, but it does make him the winner.
Honestly, this was a decent match, but the Wyatt interference was so fucking unnecessary. We’ve just had a month of this, and my entire desire to see Reigns murderkill Bray was due to Bray constantly messing up matches (which he’d not be able to do whilst crippled). And now, joy of joys, he’s interfering in other people’s matches. 2 Stars.
In other news, we’re covering the lacklustre matches between Neville and Stardust like it’s Achilles vs. Hector. Actually, that’s a terrible simile, because I think Hector more or less cheesed it for a while due to Achilles being pissed about him killing his cousin/lover. Damn it, now I want to watch Troy, mostly because the alternative looks like another Neville/Stardust match.
JoJo is backstage with Neville, and if Tamina kept looking at me the way she does at JoJo (I believe that JoJo and I would fare about as well as each other if Tamina decided to get aggressive with either of us) I wouldn’t be smiling quite so much. Neville’s accent is about as strong as it ever has been: I work in a city full of these people, and I have trouble understanding this guy. He calls Stardust a coward and keeps feeding this superhero/supervillain thing.
Oh God, and then the screen behind JoJo flickers and Stardust appears on it, giggling. I know I say this almost every week, but this is the most stupid thing I’ve ever seen.
I Just Can’t Even
Ah, we’re still stuck on stupid after the break, because Adam Rose is in the ring. And he’ll be facing Neville, so I guess we’re just adding stupid to a stupid feud and seeing if double negatives work like that. We’re wasting valuable decent-wrestling time here.
Rose cinches the arm, Neville flips over and wrenches the arm himself. Rose drives him into the corner and stomps him, and Adam Rose getting offence is the WWE’s definition of ‘pissing in the wind’. Snap suplex to Neville, then a sleeper hold. Aw bless: the commentators are discussing Adam Rose’s character. I used to do that, and then the WWE ruined him.
Neville runs into a boot, then Rose hits a hurricanrana, throwing Neville out of the ring. Rose dives through the ropes, right into a right hand: shades of Dean Ambrose! Neville goes on the offence with some kicks, taking Rose down. He charges at Rose, who elevates him onto the apron, but kicks him in the head before moonsaulting onto him.
Back in the ring, Neville heads up to the top and hits the Red Arrow for the win.
This was a pretty simple match with no interference, which is as good as it could be and way better than I expected. 2 Stars.
Ah, hell: Stardust appears on the monitor. He’s stealing Wyatt’s shtick, and I hate that even when Wyatt does it. He babbles incoherently, because that’s what we all want our heels to do, I guess, and nothing happens. Except for more stupid getting tossed onto the stupid, which should really just be taken as read.
We get a feature of Sasha Banks, which is nice opportunity for me to check out what she’s like. Unfortunately, not a lot of footage from NXT: I really do have to check out some of these women’s matches, I know.
Oh, come on! I want my Kevin Owens and Cesaro matches, but you’re giving me Wade Barrett?! Tease! At least, thank God, Wade’s feud with Truth is dead and buried, which are two words I’d also love to apply to R-Truth.
Okay, no: that’s too far. I’d just like all cameras and microphones to break whenever he’s performing, for the rest of his career. Besides, let’s face it: R-Truth is already pretty fucking buried.
Barrett gets on the microphone and uses the word ‘hoopla’. Well, fuck it: he’s earned a promo and a match for that. He heaps adulation on himself for being King of the Ring, which is really reaching back for glory, I think. He says that, if you’re going to come at him, bring it on: he’s just getting started. Oh, no match? Suits me.
Walk Owens Walk
Right, here we go. Kevin Owens makes his way down to the ring, and this is what I’ve been waiting for. I can’t, for the life of me, decide why they let Cena retain here, other than the possibility that WWE Creative has done this for so long that it literally doesn’t know how to do anything else. And they made him fucking tap, which is even more maddening. At least the superkick to Rusev on Monday was pretty funny.
Owens gets on the microphone, and says he’s been hearing three words since his match on Sunday. Was it ‘for fuck’s sake’? Because that’s what I’ve been saying. He says it’s ‘Tap, Owens, Tap’. He says he gave Cena the fight of his career, and he’s fine living to fight another day. He’s got a family who depend on him (what, does his wife not have a job?), and so can’t afford to get an injury. Dude, you may have picked the wrong line of work. Well, at least he’s not an out-and-out cowardly heel: he’s actually coming across as a fairly smart guy.
Owens talks about Summer Rae’s boobs, and that brings Rusev out. Surprising how that tends to work on boyfriends. He hits the ring and pounds on Owens until Owens bails, and we go to a break.
Back with the match, Owens is in control, smacking Rusev around. Rusev fights back, however, hitting a suplex to bring Owens down. Kevin reverses an Irish whip and brings the Bulgarian down with a back elbow, and then keeps Rusev grounded with stomps and kicks. He tries a German suplex, which Rusev reverses into a suplex attempt of his own, which turns into a fallaway slam.
Rusev charges at the cornered Owens, who dodges and hits a superkick before hitting his cannonball. He covers Rusev for two, then hits fists and clotheslines before latching on a sleeper. Rusev tries to punch his way out, but Owens hits the Codebreaker to put an end to that shit. Another sleeper locked in, but Rusev works his way to his feet. Owens throws hands, staggering the Bulgarian Brute, but these seem to fire Rusev back up, and he manages to take Owens down.
Kick to the face staggers Kevin enough for Rusev to hit some kind of back suplex. He runs into an elbow, ducks a clothesline and floors Owens with a spinning heel kick! Rusev’s stalking Owens now, and hits a big kick to the jaw. Now he wants the Accolade, and it looks like he might get it, but Owens rolls to the outside of the ring.
The ref begins the count as Rusev waits on Owens, but he’s not getting back in the ring. Oh, so the guy who can put on great matches isn’t going to wrestle. Seriously, can’t we get Sheamus or Big Show to have this characteristic? I realise it would involve putting focus on Sheamus or Big Show, but it would be worth it just to have them not wrestling.
Sort of saw the ending coming, due to the odd WWE logic of trying to have as few clean finishes on free TV as they possibly can, but it was a pretty good match regardless. 3 Stars.
The Unnamed Interviewer is back! And he’s with Cesaro, who’s excited about facing Seth Rollins despite the fact Rollins is going on to face Cena: there’s a guy who doesn’t know WWE logic. Cesaro also apparently believes in the American Dream, which makes him kind of a dumbass.
Kevin Owens shows up, relentless on his quest to piss off as many people as possible (when he and Seth Rollins feud its going to be a masterclass of trolling). He and Cesaro get into it a little, and these guys can push fucking metaphors, apparently. Well, the Swiss Superman has set himself up a nice piece of interference there: Rollins is probably writing Kevin Owens a thank-you card as we speak.
Stop Trying To Make ‘Brie Mode’ Happen. It’s Not Going To Happen.
And in a world where everything comes down to fuck finishes and walk-outs, here’s the Divas Division to put on fun matches with actual winners. This is Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. the Bella Twins in the next chapter of the three-way power struggle we have here. Honestly, I’m enjoying this storyline so far: it’s not been unnecessarily complex and it’s kept us all interested.
Looks like Nikki is actually going to wrestle tonight as well, and she starts off against Naomi, flipping her over and then hitting a fireman’s carry takeover before wrenching the arm. Naomi slams Nikki back off the mat, then takes her down with a clothesline; Nikki manages to catch her with a spinebuster and makes the tag to Brie.
Double flapjack from the Bella Twins gets two, and then Naomi catches Brie with a kick to the midsection, tagging in Sasha Banks. Brie bails quickly, tagging Nikki in, and the Divas Champion hits a dropkick before vining her legs around Sasha’s throat, wearing her down.
When Sasha breaks out, Nikki reacts fast, applying a headlock, and then tags in Brie for another double-team: a facebuster into a missile dropkick. The Bellas do seem to have raised their game in response to the new arrivals. The move gets two, and Brie gets ready for her her BRIE MODE KNEE. Tamina has other plans, however, and drags Sasha out of the ring. With the referee distracted, she nails Brie with a superkick.
Back from a commercial break, Naomi’s taken over, stomping Brie in the corner. Leg drop to the Bella, after some camera angles which led to us missing whole moves: get a fucking hold of yourself, production; someone actually pays you to do this job. Sasha tags in, choking Brie in the corner with her foot, then hits some knees to the midsection whilst the Bella is draped across the ropes.
Naomi tags in, hitting a snap suplex. Sleeper’s applied, and Nikki tries to gather support for Brie: ARE THEY FACES OR HEELS THIS WEEK?! Sasha tags in as Naomi hits a Bubba Bomb, then smacks Brie across the face before applying a chinlock variation. Brie manages to roll out of it, but Sasha keeps her away from Nikki, driving her into a corner. Naomi comes in, hitting a jawbreaker with her feet before applying another sleeper. Flying forearm to Brie in the corner, but then the Bella elevates Naomi to the apron and then dropkicks to the floor.
Naomi gets back in the ring, but too late: Nikki gets the tag and hits her from every angle. Backdrop to Naomi, then a fist to Sasha. Alabama Slam takes Naomi down, and Nikki’s going from the Rack Attack before Sasha spears her. Brie takes Sasha down and out of the ring, then she and Alicia jump Tamina. Naomi nearly gets a roll-up, but Nikki decks her and hits the Rack Attack for the win.
Good match, and made more interesting by Nikki’s basically-clean win. Just hoping they don’t break up the teams anytime soon. 3 Stars.
The WWE shows us Jake Gyllenhaal’s becoming a boxer to be able to play a boxer for one movie. I mean…I loved the guy forever just for Donnie Darko: this is just more awesome on top of the awesome cake. Man, I want to watch Donnie Darko now.
A Great Example Of What We Should Be Doing Instead Of Cena vs. Rollins
Oh, wait: no I don’t. Because it’s Rollins vs. Cesaro time! Both competitors get to the ring as the commentators reiterate what a fucking weasel Rollins is for having the guts to fight Lesnar. It’s not like he called the Undertaker and said ‘hey, remember how me and the boys beat the shit out of you a couple of years ago and we’ve just not had any contact until then? Well, stay with me here…’
Cesaro heads for Rollins, who immediately bails. Cesaro is ready for this match, and immediately goes for a roll-up when Seth comes back. Rollins wrenches the arm; Cesaro rolls through and does the same. Military press to Rollins, and Cesaro just fucking flings him across the ring. Cesaro misses a charge to the corner, then gets knocked out of the ring with a knee to the back; Rollins dives out onto him and we go to a break.
Back in the ring, Seth has Cesaro in a sleeper, legs wrapped around him too. Cesaro breaks out, but gets flung face-first into the turnbuckle. Clothesline from Rollins, and then a sleeper’s applied. Cesaro lifts Seth up, then manages to hit a back suplex, breaking the hold. Cesaro catches Rollins by surprise, sending him through the ropes, but the Champ lands on his feet. Immediately, Seth heads up to the top, jumps at Cesaro; Cesaro dodges; Rollins rolls through, charges at Cesaro and gets caught with a belly-to-belly suplex!
Running corner uppercuts to Rollins, staggering the fuck out of him. See, I could absolutely buy Cesaro fighting Lesnar if they wanted to do it. I’m actually pissed we’re wasting time on Lesnar and Undertaker when there are ways to use Lesnar that would be insanely awesome: Rollins, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler or even Randy Orton. I’d watch all of those, and happily. Shit: they could have five minutes of Lesnar squashing Rusev, and I’d watch it because it would be something new. And…you know, fucking hilarious.
Seth almost gets a roll-up, but Cesaro just hits one of his ridiculously-strong suplexes. Seth manages to elevate him over the ropes, but gets his head cracked off the turnbuckle. Cesaro hits a crossbody; Seth rolls him through, goes for a roll-up and hits a superkick for two. Rollins tries a powerbomb, but gets flipped over Cesaro; he lands on his feet and runs into a hell of a dropkick.
Cesaro takes Rollins out to the apron, climbing to the second rope, and tries his suplex into the ring. Seth manages to counter, kicking Cesaro in the face and flipping over him for powerbomb in the corner! He nearly gets the Pedigree, but Cesaro reverses him, applying the Sharpshooter! Rollins almost reaches the ropes, so Cesaro applies a crossface instead and moves him into the centre of the ring!
Seth finally manages to reach the ropes. Cesaro tries to pull him away, but Rollins uses the momentum to flip onto his feet and enzuigiri Cesaro in the side of the head. He heads towards Cesaro, and gets hit with the pop-up uppercut!
Rollins then decides to run for it (shades of Kevin Owens!), but Cesaro runs into him with an uppercut on the outside. He tosses Rollins into the ring, kicking him until Rollins drops the championship belt. Cesaro slams Seth to the floor, looking for the Cesaro Swing, but Rollins takes advantage of the ref disposing of the belt to slam his thumb into Cesaro’s eyes. He tosses the Swiss Superman shoulder-first into the turnbuckle, then hits the Pedigree for the ring.
Well, colour me wrong: no interference. Excellent match, though, with great moments from both competitors. 4 Stars.
Ah, now Kevin Owens comes to the ring. Kudos to Seth for his excellent ‘what the hell?’ look as Owens walked past him. Owens pounds on Cesaro, then hits the pop-up powerbomb to end the show. Well, that’s one match at SummerSlam that’s not going to depress me, unlike Cena vs. Rollins and WWE Films’ Remake of The Wrestler where, instead of heart trouble and drug abuse, an old man will die in the ring due to Brock Lesnar.
I enjoyed this SmackDown, as most of the wrestling was pretty great. The quality of matches recently really has seemed to have undergone an improvement, and I am very appreciative of that fact. We just have to hope that the right competitors get placed in the right positions over the next few months, and we could see some really great stuff long-term. Nine out of ten.
Tags: Adam Rose, Bray Wyatt, byron saxton, Cesaro, dean ambrose, jimmy uso, JoJo, Kevin Owens, Luke Harper, naomi, Neville, rusev, sasha banks, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Stardust, Summer Rae, Tamina Snuka, The Bella Twins, Tom Philips, Wade Barrett