Hola and ciao, my loyal readership. It’s me, your always-eager and occasionally-tipsy SmackDown recapper, here to see just how and possibly even why WWE is trying to ruin SummerSlam.
Monday was apparently a night of firsts, but when you realise exactly how much stuff it’s possible to put the label ‘first’ on, it’s hard to get excited about it. For example, this is the first review I’ve ever written on the Windows 10 operating system. Exciting? Not really. I mean…it’s okay: I’ve not turned up any major flaws. But basically it made it seem like the WWE wanted a compliment for…well, a regular, not-that-great show with the added option that they were being mediocre in a slightly different way than before. Which, admittedly, does appear to be their mission statement as of late.
Also, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion tapped out to the United States Champion. Usually, that sentence would be followed by shock and awe and cries of ‘WOW, THAT SOUNDS NEW AND INTERESTING AND I FOR ONE CERTAINLY WONDER WHERE THEY’RE GOING WITH THIS, BY GEORGE!!’ Until I clarified it by saying ‘the United States Champion, John Cena’. At which point, everyone rolls their eyes and says ‘of fucking course they did that’.
Yes, apparently not content with making Owens tap to Cena at Battleground, in a move that nobody saw coming because nobody actually believed the WWE had its storylines written by drooling seven year olds, now Cena’s made the World Champion tap as well. Because, hey, he’s John Cena! He’s just holding the United States Championship because he wanted it! And, what, you thought Rollins was doing anything other than keeping the belt warm all this time?! What are you crazy kids smoking?!
So, yeah, it seems like Rollins might lose the belt to Cena at SummerSlam, and I’m really kind of bitter about that. But I’m trying to look on the bright side: maybe McMahon’s Undertaker and Lesnar snuff film will be so barbaric that the PPV will be taken off the air before the match can happen. Yes, I’d rather the Undertaker died – actually died – than Cena become World Champ again.
Right, let’s watch SmackDown.
SmackDown kicks off with Seth Rollins, who may as well be running the show for all the times that Triple H and Stephanie have bothered to show up. Hell, Vince McMahon isn’t even backstage SmackDown tapings any more. I think I might actually be the person most invested in this show right now, and my relationship with SmackDown is like being the parent of a sociopathic child: I love it and all, but I can’t help but wish it wasn’t so shit, and I sometimes wonder if doing this will eventually kill me.
Speaking of sociopaths, Rollins has something to say. The crowd’s chanting ‘you tapped out’, and he gets a bit pissy about it. Wow, it’s just like the Kevin Owens promo for some reason. He’s annoyed that the WWE audience never actually notice his positive accomplishments, in favour of ragging on his general dickishness. He says a man can only take so much, and apparently his version of lashing out is breaking Cena’s nose. And, you know, then tapping out. They show us the footage of that again, plus some photos, because KIDS FUCKING LOVE GRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHS OF BROKEN NOSES. Shit, let’s screen Un Chien Andalou next: get some sliced eyeballs up in this bitch.
Rollins compares his nose-breaking incident to a work of art, because he’s a serial killer I guess, and then uses the phrase ‘psychedelic mushrooms’. Is PG-TV just not a thing anymore? Is Lawler about to start yelping about puppies? Is the Divas Revolution going to be settled in a mud-wrestling-bra-and-panties-pillow-fight? What is going on?
Cesaro breaks this shit up, because someone absolutely had to. Honestly, I’ll take anyone over Cena for, like, the rest of my life. He rubs Rollins’ submission in his face, and Seth uses the ‘strategic move’ defence that he borrowed from Kevin Owens. Man, it’s like CTRL-C/CTRL-V feuds in here. These two are having a rematch from last week, and it looks like both guys are in the mood to have it…right now!
Better Feuds Than Cena vs. Rollins: Number 1
Cesaro takes the early advantage, grabbing hold of Seth’s leg and taking him down to the mat. Dragon screw puts him down again, and Cesaro wants the Sharpshooter already. Rollins scoots quickly, heading to the outside. Suddenly Kevin Owens shows up on the entrance ramp, making his way slowly down to the ring. Will he and Cesaro form the new Unamericans? Find out after the break.
Back from the commercial, Seth takes a big backbreaker from Cesaro. Owens is on commentary now as Cesaro uppercuts Seth out of the ring. Rollins heads back inside, pursued by Cesaro, who almost rolls him up with a sunset flip, going for the Sharpshooter again. Rollins creates separation, but then leaps into a fallaway slam-suplex as Owens looks on.
Seth manages to pull Cesaro face-first into the turnbuckle, then hits a running dropkick to the back. Owens calls out Philips’ and King’s biased-ass commentary, and the man is a face in heel’s clothing. Cesaro comes out with some uppercuts, but Seth catches him with a kick to the chest. Sleeper hold’s locked in, until Cesaro uses a back suplex to break his way out.
Cesaro misses an uppercut in the corner, then gets sent out of the ring with a knee to the spine from Rollins. When Seth tries to dive out of the ring, he runs right into an uppercut, and now Cesaro’s back in control, and he wants a Cesaro Swing. Kevin Owens is having none of that, however, and jumps Cesaro to end the match.
Never really got out of the box. 2 Stars.
Heelish beatdown from Owens as King decries him as the Antichrist. Rollins seems to get indignant for a moment – DREAM FEUD IN ACTION – and then they both stomp Cesaro. Goddamnit. Both heels leave, looking smug and ROH-y.
To Be Honest, I Thought The Selection Of Tag Championship Number One Contenders Involved A Seance
Wow, an eight-man tag match featuring the Lucha Dragons. What, were my eyes not moving fast enough or something? I’m going to be having laser surgery, WWE: I need to practice not moving my eyes. Anyway, the Dragons and Los Dumbasses are on one team, the New Day and the Ascension are on the other. The New Day do one of their promos which make them seem like they’re…high? Stupid? In an amateur dramatics theatre troupe? Any of those things, I guess.
The Matador (I don’t think they have distinctive enough identities to even differentiate between them at this point) starts out at against Viktor, taking him out at the legs. Viktor gets toe-holded into the ropes, then the Matador tags in the Matador for a double-team, then he makes the tag to Sin Cara, who locks in an arm wrench. Viktor manages to reach the heel corner, tagging in Konnor for the beatdown save, then tags back in. Sin Cara manages to take out both heels, but is shoved off the top rope by Woods as the referee is distracted.
Back from a break, Kofi is stomping Sin Cara before there’s a bunch of quick tags in the heel corner. They’re all hitting stomps, which makes you wonder: hey, why bother tagging everyone in? Finally, Viktor puts an end to the stomp-fest with a back facelock, then tags in Big E. More quick tags by the heels, with Kingston slamming a foot into Sin Cara as Langston holds him. I swear, Xavier Woods makes being annoying some kind of art form. He’s honestly elevated the trait.
Konnor tags in again, then tags Viktor in for a clothesline-high knee double team. The Matador breaks up the pin, but Viktor is still in full control. Tag to Langston, who brings back the stomping trend, then throws Kingston into Sin Cara for a dropkick. The heel beatdown continues, and Viktor locks a back facelock in again. Sin Cara manages to escape, kicking Viktor in the face and then dodging a Stinger Splash.
Sin Cara wants a tag, and manages to get to Kalisto as Big E’s tagged in on the other side. Missile dropkick to Langston, then a spinning crossbody. He takes out the heels, runs into a knee and hits a handspring-roundhouse kick. Tornado DDT puts Langston down, and when Woods tries to interfere, El Torito hits him with the 619 around the ringpost! That might have been the first non-awful thing that little fucker has ever done.
Konnor grabs El Torito, because even a 619 isn’t enough to atone for his sins, but Los Matadores are all ‘GET THE FUCK OFF OUR BULL’ and dive through the ropes onto him: I actually got a kick out of that, which means this Chianti must be going to work. Kalisto dodges a Trouble in Paradise, tossing Kingston, but then gets run over by Langston, who wants to end this with his and Kingston’s double team. Viktor, however, tags himself in, because he didn’t come this far to definitely win a match.
There’s some confrontation between the New Day and the Ascension, which the faces take advantage of, knocking them to the floor. Viktor is left inside the ring with Kalisto, both men legal, and the Ascension member gets rolled up for the win.
This was quite a dull match, until it all came apart at the end and Kalisto got to show off. In a way, it was perfect tag team strategy from the heels, but that didn’t make for an entertaining match. 2 Stars.
Kevin Owens is walking around backstage, and that damned Unknown Interviewer is there again. I swear, one day, I will find out who he is. Kevin Owens doesn’t want to talk to him, but the Unknown Interviewer then informs Owens that he has a match tonight. Apparently this is news to Kevin Owens, raising questions about why it was left until this late to tell him, why they sent an interviewer to do it and why Kevin Owens even bothered showing up tonight. It’s Owens and Rollins vs. Cesaro and probably Ambrose. Unless it’s Cena.
God, please, don’t let it be Cena.
We get a look at Becky Lynch, and I don’t know what mad God took an Irish woman and put her in an awesome longcoat and steampunk goggles and gave her the passion and skill to be a professional wrestler, but I’d like to buy him a drink.
Hah, they aired a Wyatt promo directly after the Lynch feature, which made it look like she’s joining the Family. I mean…it’d probably be pretty funny if a cheerful Irish woman joined the Wyatts, but it seems unlikely. To be honest, I just want a tonne of Father Ted jokes now that there’s two Irish people on the roster; she can be the Dougal to Sheamus’ Ted.
Better Feuds Than Cena vs. Rollins: Number 2
Rusev shows up to bitch about his ex-girlfriend that he’s so totally over. Seriously, what about this situation makes Summer think that it doesn’t end with Rusev murdering her? Even if it doesn’t, and it just involves her sleeping with Rusev instead…why is she still doing this?!
Jack Swagger interrupts just as things are getting steamy/murder-y (it’s either cock-blocking or GLOCK-blocking), and are y’all ready to relive last year? Boy, I’m not.
I mean, seriously. Someone stop this. Let Rusev kill Summer; I’m betting the WWE would be fine showing that to kids as well.
Swagger ducks a charge and hits armdrags to Rusev before the Bulgarian bails. Because, you know: he’s in the ring with Diet Kurt Angle. He comes back in, and gets taken down with a waistlock before reaching the ropes. Once the hold’s broken, he goes on the attack AND JERRY LAWLER JUST SAID ‘PUPPIES’. FUCK, NO, STOP. I WANT TO GET OFF THE WWE’S WILD RIDE.
Rusev gets some offence in, hitting a suplex and some kicks. Swagger reverses a second suplex, then gets flattened with a clothesline. Rusev is firmly in control, knocking the shit out of Swagger in the corner. Then Jack dodges a charge and nearly locks in the Patriot Lock. He doesn’t let Rusev get away from him, hitting clotheslines and right hands in the corner before the Bulgarian tosses him out onto the apron and then knocks him to the outside.
Back from the break, apparently this match is still going. I’m as shocked as you are. Jack’s in a facelock, courtesy of Rusev. He fights out of it, then catches Rusev with a kick, and then follows up with a bunch of clotheslines. He Swaggerbombs right into a boot from Rusev, but still hits a belly-to-belly suplex. He tries for the Patriot Lock again, turning Rusev over, but Rusev keeps turning and kicks out of it.
The next thing he knows, Swagger’s been nailed by a spinning heel kick, and he’s down. He still almost rolls Rusev up, then does hit the Swagger Bomb for two. Rusev rolls out of the ring as an Oklahoma local yells at him ‘get out of my country!’ Not that you’re proving a stereotype there, genius. Swagger gets driven into the steel post, then takes a superkick in the ring and then Rusev locks in the Accolade for the tap.
Actually, that wasn’t too bad. 2.5 Stars.
Rusev tries to beat on Swagger after the match, but instead gets taken down and put in the Patriot Lock. I’m going to guess America gets to claim that as a win, otherwise Oklahoma will probably riot.
We see a graphic for the upcoming tag team match, and come on: the fourth man’s outline even looks like John Cena.
The Unknown Interviewer interviews Cesaro, who says that he’s fine fighting Rollins and Owens by himself if it means Cena’s not involved. I mean, he didn’t say that last part, but it was implied. And what, is Tyson Kidd dead or something?
Did you know that Owens vs. Stardust is an epic conflict on the same level as Superman vs. Doomsday and…and fucking Ragnarök? Because it so totally is, you guys.
Better Feuds Than Cena HAHAHAHAHAHAno
Oh my sweet dick, it’s R-Truth. And he’s facing Stardust. You know what? No. No: fuck this. Reviewing this would amount to self-harm. Also, King just compared Stardust to Bizarro from Superman, and I don’t have to take that kind of bullshit.
I didn’t watch the match – I listened to Paul Heyman telling the story of how he accidentally listened in on Vince’s phone calls instead. But I still know it would have been a waste of my and your time. You’re welcome.
Sheamus is backstage in a suit, looking like the lovechild of Ron Weasley and an asshole. We look back at him assaulting Orton on Monday, because God yes, let’s keep this feud going, and JoJo asks Sheamus if he was triggered. Sheamus replies that, no, he’s just a big dick. He gets all poetic, and JoJo seems a little intimidated, even though Sheamus somehow managed to be less predatory than Tamina Snuka.
Better Feuds Than Cena vs. Rollins: Numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 And 8
Okay, its time for our main event. The match between Becky Lynch and Nikki Bella was cancelled due to what Nikki cryptically called ‘an emergency’. If that’s a code for ‘my boyfriend’s nose’, then can Cena stop wrecking everything around here? Cesaro shows up, and my vague prediction of his partner being Ambrose was correct. A brawl breaks out and the heels piss off to the outside before charging the ring and getting ejected again.
When the match starts, it’s Ambrose and Rollins; Dean hits a snapmare and then a clothesline. Cesaro tags in, stomping Seth and hitting an uppercut. Owens causes a distraction and Rollins takes control, tagging Owens in for a beatdown: chops, fists and elbows. Rollins comes back in, taking Cesaro down with a clothesline. An enzuigiri takes Cesaro down, then a big elbow from Rollins follows that up. Owens comes in, working Cesaro over on the floor.
A headlock from Owens is countered via a back suplex, then Cesaro dodges a charge. Rollins tags in again, but Cesaro is able to play avoidance long enough to tag in Ambrose, who pounds on Rollins before hitting a bulldog. Owens gets his legs dropkicked out from under him; Ambrose tosses Rollins out of the ring and then dives on him.
Back in the ring, Ambrose heads up to the top rope, takes Owens out and then misses a dive at Rollins. There’s a quick series of moves before Dean ends up slamming Seth face-first into the mat. Ambrose wants a superplex, but Seth counters before Owens causes another distraction, allowing Rollins to hit a powerbomb into the corner for two.
Seth heads up top, hitting a flying knee and then a superkick for a near-fall. Owens gets the tag, taking Cesaro out immediately, and then heads up to the top rope. Ambrose is too quick, rocking the ropes to drop Owens onto the turnbuckle. Dean’s superplex attempts are fought off, with Owens hitting a superplex of his own! Cesaro breaks up the pin, and Owens is distracted enough that Ambrose is able to get the tag.
Cesaro goes right after Owens, hitting uppercut after uppercut before slamming Owens to the ground with almost an Angle Slam. Crossface to Owens, and when Rollins interferes, he gets the Swing! Cesaro locks the Sharpshooter in, but Rollins isn’t legal, so Cesaro blasts Owens out of the ring with a clothesline, falling out himself.
Both Cesaro and Owens are down on the outside, and Seth wants to dive onto them, but Ambrose catches him and finally hits his superplex! He clotheslines Rollins out of the ring, runs into a superkick from Owens, gets tossed up for the pop-up powerbomb but then Cesaro shoves Owens out of position, driving him off the ropes and then rolls him up for the pin!
Great match to finish tonight, with all competitors doing well. 4 Stars.
This wasn’t a great SmackDown, which makes sense considering we’re now below Tough Enough in the rankings. Maybe things will get better once the show’s picked up by the USA network. Tonight gets a seven, mostly due to the final match.
Tags: Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Jerry Lawler, jimmy uso, John Cena, JoJo, Kevin Owens, Los Matadores, Lucha Dragons, Luke Harper, Michael Cole, Neville, Nikki Bella, R-Truth, rusev, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Stardust, Summer Rae, SummerSlam, The Ascension, The New Day, The Prime Time Players, Unknown Interviewer