Well, it’s me. Back from sunny Malta, where the temperature’s scorching, the local beer is fucking wonderful and I got to read at least two novels per day. Now I’m back to life in Britain, and just what the fuck has been going on while I was away?
The Undertaker managed to somehow not die, despite my increasingly Ides-of-March-esque predictions; Jon Stewart was able to have a PPV-affecting presence and Sting is the new number one contender. Actually, I’m less annoyed about that last one as, honestly, letting Rollins actually get a clean win over Sting would be a fairly decent move in my book. I mean, it’ll never happen that way, but at least Sting is too fragile, worn-out and probably has too few contracted appearances for them to ever let him be World Champion, right?
Ah, for fuck’s sakes: here’s SmackDown.
We get right to the best part of Monday, which was the return of the Dudley Boyz. Well, that and Bo Dallas getting treated like the main character in a play called ‘Getting The Shit Kicked Out Of You’. They’ll be in a match later tonight, and I guess that does make things sort of right between us, WWE.
But first, it’s the Wyatt Family. Let me just say, right now, that I feel so goddamn sorry for Erick Rowan: replaced by a man with a facial expression which makes you want to baby-proof whatever room he’s standing in. He’s like a roided-up Eugene.
Also, I didn’t bother listening to Bray’s creepy-ass monologue from RAW (because this SmackDown marks the beginning of the eighth goddamn hour of WWE programming I’m watching today) but if Sister Abigail gave birth to him, then her birth canal could probably go toe-to-toe with Brock Lesnar.
Oh, but wait: Bray’s going to do a promo right now, just for me. Fucking joy. I spend my time during said-promo wondering if the black sheep mask thing could be considered racism. I also hate the new guy because he’s continuing this Wyatt-Family-being-relevant-but-still-boring bullshit.
Reigns’ music kicks in, and he and Dean make their way through the aisles. How the hell is it possible for so much else to be wrong, but the Roman/Dean relationship to be written so perfectly, week-by-week? Reigns says sure, Forrest Wyatt beat their asses on RAW, but that’s, like, sixty percent of their jobs anyway, so they may as well do it all again.
Reigns and Ambrose get in the ring, facing down Neckbeards United, and there’s something so pointless about all of this when you know that Ambrose’s and Roman’s future title reigns are getting closer and closer with every second. The Wyatts apparently sense this and back off, because the second this feud ends, they’re back to obscurity. Pretty smart, really.
Oh, DAMN IT!! The Unnamed Interviewer is the new commentator, and he says his name before I can mute the TV! Bastard! Apparently his name is ‘Rich Brennan’, which is too difficult for me to make fun of, so you win this round, prick.
Dean Ambrose will later be fighting Sheamus, because fighting a big Irishman is pretty decent preparation for fighting a big mentally-challenged man. Shit, they’re practically synonymous.
Dudleyville vs. The Wasteland
Oh wow, the Dudley Boyz are going to fight the Ascension. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worst for the Wasteland residents, this shit happens.
Bubba Ray starts off against Konnor, and the two men lock up and shove each other around the ring. Bubba backs Konnor into the corner, then tells Konnor that they’re the Dudley Boyz. Man, remember when the Ascension used to rip on legendary tag teams and say that they were better than them? Wouldn’t that be an awesome detail to have added in here? Oh well.
Konnor pounds on Bubba, then runs into the Dudley, who doesn’t go down. Bubba hits a kick to the face, and then takes him down after tagging in D-Von. Konnor manages to gain the advantage, tagging Viktor in, who gets taken down hard by D-Von. Bubba comes back in for a double team sidewalk slam/leg drop. Bionic Elbow from Bubba, and then then Dudleyz hit the Wazzup. Yeah, kids: we all used to say that.
Bubba tells D-Von to GET THE TABLES, and there is so much approval at this that I doubt the ref would even call a DQ. Konnor and Viktor manage to catch the Dudleys off-guard, however, and are able to work over Bubba for about a minute before Konnor gets clotheslined right off his feet. D-Von gets the tag, dealing with both Ascension members handily.
Viktor tries to interfere, but both Ascension members are taken down, and Bubba gets the blind tag to hit a 3D.
The match was basically just okay, but fuck you: that was the Dudley Boyz out there. 4 Stars for some goddamn nostalgia.
It looks like Tables O’Clock, but the New Day come out with signs protesting the Dudleys. Holy shit: ‘Save a Table, Break a Dudley’. That is spectacular, as is ‘#GiveTablesAChance’. I don’t know what Langston’s trying to say with ‘Booty’, but it doesn’t even matter: the Dudleys put Viktor through the table anyway.
N-X-T! N-X-T! N-X-T!
Wow, the quality keeps on coming: it’s Kevin Owens vs. Neville! I can get behind this. They tie up, with Neville getting a headlock and resisting getting shot off. Owens backs him into a corner and misses a right hand, getting hurricanrana’d by Neville and rolling out of the ring. Neville slides out after Owens, but gets clotheslined on the outside. Owens tosses Neville into the ring, then hits a Torture Rack Neckbreaker for two before the commercial.
Back from the break, Owens is firmly in control, hitting a senton and then wrapping in a sleeper hold. Neville gets to his feet and creates some separation, fighting Owens off with some boots, including a hard kick right to the face. Another several kicks floors Owens, then Neville hits a handspring dropkick for a two count.
Neville wants a German Suplex, which gets reversed, but he flips out of a back suplex and hits the German to Owens, who rolls out of the ring! Neville slides out again after him, this time ducking the clothesline and hitting a superkick!
Back in the ring, Neville wants the Red Arrow, but changes tactics when Owens gets to his feet, launching himself over the top rope instead…right into a superkick from Owens! Owens hits the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win.
Solid match, making both guys look great. No complaints about any of this. 3 Stars.
Becky and Charlotte are backstage before running into the Bellas. They laugh about Paige having to be a judge on Tough Enough. They try and turn C and B against P, but it doesn’t work, because Becky and Charlotte aren’t six years old. They then try the same thing on the Bellas, which seems to work, even though it was the Bellas’ idea first. Yeah, why not?
Naomi’s Sneakers Are Hypnotic
Looks like that was right before the match, because Becky and Charlotte come out right now. They’ve got a tag team match against the Bella Twins; I don’t know what Alicia Fox’s excuse for not showing up is, but I know she wasn’t forced to be on Tough Enough.
Team BAD are at ringside, which apparently means that Jimmy Uso has to leave. What, because Sasha, Lawler and Tamina are going to snigger about the two of them having sex the whole way through the match? Because that sounds hilarious and it should have goddamn happened.
Charlotte and Brie kick things off, with Brie tossing Charlotte and locking the arm. Charlotte kips up, reversing the hold before Becky tags herself in and the pair of them hit a double dropkick and a double kip up. Becky locks the arm, but Brie hits an elbow and then a sunset flip to the Irish lass, and now Nikki Bella steps up to the plate.
The Divas Champion and her twin rock Becky’s head back off the mat, but she comes back with a dropkick and some leg drops; Charlotte tags in, but misses the Flair Knee Drop, and Nikki is quick to take advantage, wrenching back on the leg. Nikki charges at Charlotte, but ends up getting elevated right over the top to the outside! Brie tries to stop Charlotte making the tag; Charlotte side-steps to send the Bella crashing through the ropes; Brie manages to pull Becky off the apron and eats a hard right from the Irishwoman.
Nikki knocks Becky off the apron again, but Charlotte takes advantage with a roll-up, into the Charlotte’s Web, and that’s the pin!
Some smart moments in this match, particularly the closing moments. The exciting thing about this whole thing is that any one of the women here seem like ideal number one contenders for the title, which is everything I could have asked for. 3 Stars.
Seth Rollins continues to be my favourite World Champion ever by actually showing up to SmackDown. Hell, you think Sting would do that if he held the gold? Fuck Sting. And let me just say how weird it is that Sting got his title shot when the Authority was yelling about how it was never going to happen on Monday? I mean…they make the matches, and Sting didn’t have any particular reason for getting one, considering his 0-1 WWE record.
Rollins plays the grievance game (a second-favourite to the smug game), and we see the whole ‘Sting Was The Trophy All Along’ flashback. Seth gets all pissy about the whole affair, and says that shit’s on at Night of Champions.
JoJo is backstage with Sheamus, because they just love making that tiny woman interview gigantic-ass men. Sheamus seems to be in an intense mood tonight, by which I mean he just occasionally starts shouting suddenly. And why is everyone saying ‘it is what it is’ tonight? Are they the arc words of this particular episode of SmackDown?
Rusev Might Be Starting To Wonder If It Is Him
Ryback comes out, and King proves my previous point by saying ‘it is what it is’. I feel like it’s probably a conspiracy, just a really stupid one. He’s joined by Dolph Ziggler, and it’ll be interesting to see whether Ryback can give his own tag team partner a concussion; I, for one, believe in him. They will be facing Rusev and Big Show, and Brennan starts accusing Jimmy of being Jey. Holy shit, this guy can stay.
Big Show backs Ryback into a corner, throwing some hurting bombs right off the bat. Ryback don’t take too kindly to that sort of thing, and tackles Big Show right into the corner, only to run into a spear from the giant. A headbutt staggers the Big Guy, and Big Show almost gets a chokeslam, but Ryback leaps out of it and takes Big Show off his feet.
Ryback wants a Meathook, but Big Show gets a spear off a distraction from Rusev. Rusev tags himself in, managing to be a colossal dick about it in the process, and we go to a short break. When we’re back, Rusev in full control of Ryback, and is refusing to tag in the Big Show. Whoa, now he’s faking tagging in the Big Show. Gotta hand it to Rusev: he fucking commits to dickishness.
Ryback starts pounding on Rusev, but gets taken down in short order. Rusev then knocks Dolph off the apron, but his desire to yell at Lana distracts him for long enough for Ryback to hit a spinebuster; both men tag out.
Ziggler laces Big Show with shots until he runs into a bearhug, which he manages to turn into a huge DDT. A superkick knocks Big Show the fuck over for two, but Big Show catches Ziggler in a chokeslam off a second attempt. Ziggler manages to wriggle out of it, taking the giant out at the knees, and then goes for a Fameasser. Big Show manages to catch him again, dropping him face-first. WMD knocks Ziggler out, but then Rusev tags in so that he can apply the Accolade. Because when you’ve got a domination fetish as a professional wrestler, you get it where you find it.
Big Show’s had enough of Rusev, filthy pervert Bulgarian that he is, and decks him. Ziggler gets the pin, and it is what it is.
Well, they didn’t draw that out, which I find commendable. Although, really, actually giving Big Show a reason for switching from face to heel is Tolstoy levels of backstory for him. 3 Stars.
If You Book It, The Wyatts Will Fucking Interfere
We relive a lot of SummerSlam and RAW, but I’ve not got that much more to say about it, so let’s get to the main event. Ambrose and Sheamus get to the ring, and the Irishman wastes no time at all beating Dean down in the corner. Big clothesline takes Ambrose down, and Sheamus tosses him through the ropes and continues to clobber him on the outside.
Dean finally fires back, slamming Sheamus’ head off the table, sending him reeling with a forearm before smashing him into the barricade. Dean throws Sheamus into the ring, then back out, and then launches himself off the table and right into Sheamus! Sheamus finally manages to hurl Ambrose into the barricade, and then hits a bodyslam across the announce table.
Back from the break, Sheamus hits a running knee lift to Ambrose, leaving him laying. A suplex does more damage, and then the Irishman wrenches Dean’s knee around his neck, lifting Ambrose right off the ground. Ambrose writhes in pain, managing to pull himself up, but Sheamus just powerbombs him right back down. Ten Beats of the Whatever slam against Ambrose, and he finally catches a punch, and returns the Ten Beats…for a second, before Sheamus sends him falling out to the floor.
Ambrose is thrown back into the ring, but he swings around and beheads Sheamus with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Ambrose throws hands and chops, and finally takes Sheamus down with forearms and a running bulldog. A roll-up almost catches Sheamus, but Dean runs into a boot, only to dodge Sheamus and send him charging into the ring post.
Ambrose dives out onto Sheamus, then takes him down in the ring with a flying elbow. Sheamus manages to create separation with a knee lift, but Ambrose dodges the Brogue, tries for Dirty Deeds, gets thrown away and rebounds off the ropes for his big clothesline!
Dean wants some more of Sheamus, but then it’s time for some Wyatt interference. God, I haven’t missed that. The three bearded dudes surround the ring, and Ambrose is, understandably, distracted enough that Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick for the win.
Really hard-hitting match, and I think I’ve been successfully numbed to Wyatt interference now. 3.5 Stars.
The Wyatts close in, but Roman’s music hits. Reigns manages to fool them by coming via the entrance ramp, the wily bastard, and nails Harper with a Superman Punch. He stares down Bearded Baby-Face, and then slugs him. The big man doesn’t budge, and just grabs Reigns by the throat, slamming him to the floor. A bearhug puts Reigns back down, then some kind of Crucifix Slam finishes the job.
Well, at least I’m emotionally invested in seeing Roman topple this guy. So I guess there’s that.
All in all, a pretty great SmackDown. Things seem to be looking up, if you ignore the fact that Sting is our number one contender. Which I’m trying to do every single day. 9/10.
Tags: Becky Lynch, Bella Twins, Big Show, Bray Wyatt, charlotte flair, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jerry Lawler, jimmy uso, Kevin Owens, Lana, Luke Harper, naomi, Neville, Night of Champions, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, rusev, ryback, sasha banks, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Summer Rae, SummerSlam, Tamina Snuka, The Ascension, The Dudley Boyz, The New Day, The Wyatt Family