Buonasera, everyone, and welcome to the last SmackDown before Night of Champions. Following an extremely disappointing end to RAW and, yes, I’m referring to that bullshit main event (if you don’t trust Sting to do a singles match, then don’t book the match to begin with), things can only really get better from here.
So, hey: SmackDown!
Our show begins with Seth Rollins, and I’m about half-certain that he is the SmackDown General Manager. I mean, he starts off most of the shows; he tends to at least announce matches if not outright make them, and is the most important person who even bothers to show up. Not that I don’t love the image of SmackDown as some wild, anarchic land where matches are laid out and the wrestlers are trusted not to erupt into gang warfare, but it seems like someone probably should be in charge.
Seth promos about how he’s going to beat both Cena and Sting in the same night, break Cena’s spirit and show Sting that his time is up, and Rollins’ time is now…wait a minute: wrong theme music. Later tonight, Seth will be teaming up with Sheamus to face Ambrose and Reigns, and if the Wyatts attack tonight, and Sheamus turns face and becomes Dean and Roman’s partner, that would be a really awesome and sensible idea.
Sheamus shows up as I think it, which means it’s totally happening. He takes issue with Seth making light of him, and makes his vague cash-in threats once again. Dude, this has basically become harassment in the workplace by now; Seth could probably take this shit to HR. Rollins then makes fun of Sheamus’ appearance, which means that Sheamus now has an HR-worthy complaint of his own.
Things get a little heated, but Sheamus cools off quickly, getting the two of them focused on the main event whilst making yet more threats. I’ve never been more in favour of them actually letting the time run out on a Money In The Bank contract. Seriously: just have Sheamus constantly alluding to his approaching cash-in, until one day Triple H comes out and tells him that it’s been a year, and Sheamus needs to give the contract back. I mean…people put off important things every day.
Becky Lynch/Charlotte vs. Paige Pretty Much Sells Me On This
Becky Lynch and Paige show up to the ring, accompanied by Charlotte, ready for a tag-team match. We recap the Paige/Banks match from Monday, potentially fuelling Paige’s approaching heel turn. To be fair, it doesn’t matter who’s face and who’s heel in the Divas Division, as long as they all wrestle each other.
Sasha Banks and Naomi arrive, along with Tamina, and this gets going. Becky throws some uppercuts to Naomi before hip-tossing her and then slamming her back-first onto the mat. A dropkick to the face persuades Naomi to tag Sasha in, but Banks runs right into a couple of arm-drags, then gets her arm wrenched by Lynch. Lynch rolls Sasha up for a few near-falls, but then leap-frogs out of the corner right into a hard kick, killing her momentum before the commercial.
Back from that break, Becky Lynch is tied up in the Tree of Woe, getting stomped as Sasha and Naomi exchange tags. Innovative double-team from the Team BAD members (not sure what to call it; watch the fucking show) and then Banks works Lynch over for a while before another double-team (leapfrog over Sasha onto Lynch’s stomach).
Naomi latches on a headlock, but Becky still almost gets a tag before Naomi puts her down again with a stomp, tagging in Sasha to deliver a big kick for a near-fall. Banks locks in an abdominal stretch in the centre of the ring, mocking Paige as she does so. Becky arm-drags her way out of it, but is still cut off by Sasha Banks, who stops yet another hope spot, and another, before the hot tag is made.
Paige hits a CM Punk-esque high knee to Naomi, then a massive boot to the face. A fisherman suplex is interrupted due to a distraction by Sasha Banks on the apron. Becky pulls her back down to the floor, but Naomi turns the suplex attempt into an inside cradle for the win.
Sensible match, with a hotter hot tag than usual. Paige is definitely on the road to a heel turn, which is no bad thing at all. 2.5 Stars.
Stardust is backstage with another weird promo, but his actually rhymes, and really well. I mean…that was genuinely impressive. And I can’t believe I just applied the word ‘impressive’ to a Stardust promo. Also, why the Ascension is finding this psycho bullshit so easy to go along with is beyond me.
The New Day approaches the ring, ready for Kofi vs. D-Von Dudley. Really? You could have put either of the Dudleys in a singles match, and you chose the one that isn’t Bubba Ray? Have you guys seen TNA? I mean…I haven’t, but I’m aware of what goes on. A bit. Occasionally. When I have to look up one of Blair’s more obscure references.
The New Day give a promo that blows everything that Bray Wyatt has ever said out of the water. About tables. Involving a Shaft reference. How did this whole New Day thing somehow become actually funny? Because I am honestly enjoying these segments now, without a hint of irony
The Dudleys rock up, and I can’t really remember what D-Von was like in the ring as a singles wrestler, mainly because of a guy he had with him called ‘Deacon Batista’. Guess we’ll get a reminder now. Kofi gives D-Von a petition to Save The Tables, and the Dudley breaks it over his knee before pounding on Kingston. Hip toss out of the corner, then a Thesz Press: fairly basic offence so far.
Big E gets a table out from under the ring, and gets jumped by Bubba. Meanwhile, D-Von hits a flapjack to Kofi, before bringing Woods into the ring the hard way. Kofi gets a roll-up off the distraction, and the New Day bail with the table they rescued.
Excellent promo; nothing much to the match. 2 Stars on average.
We get shown a trailer for 12 Rounds III with Dean Ambrose. Honestly, Ambrose deserves a hell of a lot better than this; he’s the perfect example of the weird/gross guy from every single frat movie ever. Surely WWE Films is capable of producing an Animal House-esque comedy which could totally justify his inclusion. In fact, why is WWE so hell-bent on making these godawful action movies when a film more along the lines of Waiting or Super Troopers would far better utilise most of the roster’s abilities? Shit, make the WWE’s version of This Is Spinal Tap: people would want to watch it, and it’s not like you’d incur a tonne of overhead.
We then get a recap of Brie Bella stuffing her bra to look like her sister; I do something similar on the odd weekend. And, credit where credit’s due: Ric Flair managed to not blade for that entire segment, so well done for that. Nikki will be defending her belt at Night of Champions, meaning that if Charlotte does win that match, then she’ll have the prestige of having ended a record-length title reign; Nikki will have the record for a good long while, and the record-holder will be a current WWE employee (because WWE takes pettiness to an art form when it wants to).
The Bellas and Alicia Fox are backstage, planning what sounds like the most decadent party ever. I say that because a) Alicia Fox somehow managed to buy 298 bottles of Champagne and b) Alicia Fox apparently did most of the heavy work, making it seem like the Bellas are recreating the extremely decadent act of having a slave. If Nikki loses the title on Sunday due to a sudden attack white guilt, I’ll accept it. Actually, if she loses the title because she’s nursing an epic hangover after drinking a third of 298 bottles of Champagne, I’ll accept that too. Nikki tries to out-Kardashian the Kardashians, which involves actually name-dropping the Kardashians. META.
Recap of Bray giving a speech, but it’s not about tables, so it’s just not that great. Holy shit: Wyatt Family vs. The New Day: now that’s a fucking feud.
Big Show is walking backstage, and gets handed a file which says ‘confidential’ by the Miz. He looks in it, sighs, and tosses it aside. That file could contain anything but, judging by Show’s reaction, my money’s on graphic nudes of one Mike Mizanin.
That’s The Expression Of A Man Who Just Saw Miz Nudes
Cesaro makes his way out to the ring, followed by the Big Show. This is all about the Big Show knocking Cesaro the fuck out as a side-effect of his quest to rip out the Miz’s throat.
Cesaro starts things off with two massive dropkicks, attacking Show in the corner. Show turns things around with a huge chop to the chest, and then another. Cesaro manages to vine his legs around his arm the third time, hanging the Big Show’s arm up on the ropes. He comes off the top ropes on the arm, then wrenches it, trying to take out the limb early. Big Show tosses Cesaro off him, then squashes him in the corner.
Big Show goes after the leg, dropping all of his weight onto it, then stamps down on the foot. Cesaro’s leg’s wrapped around the ropes, then the knee takes some more punishment. Show applies almost a vertical Boston half-crab, lifting Cesaro right off the floor. Cesaro is able to headscissor his way out of the hold, then hits a bunch of uppercuts, staggering the Big Show. A big knee staggers him even more, and then Cesaro hits a crossbody from the top for a two count.
A running uppercut keeps the momentum in Cesaro’s corner, and both men get to their feet. Big Show attempts a chokeslam, but Cesaro swats the arm away, trying to lock in a crossface whilst standing. He ends up set up for another chokeslam, manages to swing his body out of it, tries to apply the Neutraliser, gets backdropped, lands on his feet and then just gets pancaked to the floor.
Big Show drops the straps, hits the KO Punch and that’s all.
Decent match, really. Would have preferred to see more, but it was still good. 2.5 Stars.
Renee finds Reigns and Ambrose backstage, and asks who the secret partner is, but Roman says no. Dick. Dean manages to not drop any cryptic hints, and this is seriously frustrating, because I have no idea who the guy is.
Kevin Owens Is Punishing Ziggler For Being Part Of A Terrible Storyline
Ah, the wonderful sound that is Kevin Owens’ music. He’ll be facing Dolph Ziggler, in case you guys, you know, need a reason to watch SmackDown. We get a statement from Rusev, because we’re still doing this romance bullshit.
The bell rings and Dolph jumps Owens, getting thrown back by the bigger man. Owens reverses an Irish whip, taking Dolph down. Ziggler slides out of a bodyslam, slides through Owens’ legs and hits a perfect dropkick. Owens catches Ziggler, tries a fallaway slam, gets rolled up, avoids another dropkick and hits a senton for a near-fall: nice sequence.
Owens has control now, tossing Ziggler into the turnbuckle, then whipping him into another with authority. Stomp to the wrist, then another cover. Owens seems pretty vocal tonight, but gets smacked around by Dolph for a moment before cutting him off with a DDT as we head to the break.
We’re back to the action, and Kevin Owens has a sleeper hold cinched in tight on Ziggler. Dolph hits a jawbreaker, then smacks Owens with a back elbow. Owens charges, but misses Ziggler, smashing shoulder-first into the ring post. Dolph hits a stinger splash; there’s a few pinning combinations, and then a Fame Asser for a two count.
Dolph almost gets the Zig-Zag, catches a superkick attempt and hits his DDT for another near-fall. Owens rolls out of the ring, but catches Dolph with a fallaway slam into the barricade when Ziggler pursues him. Dolph does beat the count, so Owens pragmatically takes him back out of the ring and hurls him into the steel post. Oh, so when Kane does it that one time, it’s a DQ, but not now? Fucking bullshit. Ziggler’s thrown into the timekeeper’s area, and beats the count this time at the last second.
Owens stalks Ziggler, and nails him with a superkick, sending him out of the ring again. He follows him, wanting a powerbomb on the outside, but then suddenly Ryback charges the ring, and fucks up Owens’ shit. Owens manages to slide out of a Shell Shocked attempt, heading for the hills.
Good match, although I’m offended by the idea that Dolph needed Ryback to protect him, considering he’s got a PPV match against Rusev on Sunday. Come on. 3 Stars.
Alicia and Brie are backstage, and apparently no-one wanted to come to the Bellabration. Um…did they not hear about the nigh-300 bottles of Champagne? I think the Bellas and the reality TV show they spawned is nothing short of cancer, and I’d go to a party which involved 298 bottles of Champagne.
The WWE airs a Connor’s Cure promo, making me feel a little guilty about that cancer joke. I mean, not guilty enough to go back and edit it, but the shame is there. Also the chances are high that, over the next few weeks, at least one WWE employee will refer to one of their co-workers as a cancer into a microphone, in front of a crowd, whilst being broadcast to billions of people, so I’ll be in the clear.
Nikki shows up backstage for the party, with her desperately current references and little-to-no acting ability. And walks into an empty room, because everyone except her sister and a woman with a fictional history of being insane hates her. Honestly, I’d still be on board with a three-way split of 298 bottles of Champagne; there are worse ways to die.
Team PCB shows up, either because they’re in need of some schadenfreude or they share my opinions on large quantities of Champagne. I mean, Becky’s Irish, so that’s definitely why she’s here. She’s also wearing party hats as shoulderpads, which is pretty wonderful. Charlotte mocks Nikki, and Team PCB leave. This whole segment should just end with Becky and Sheamus having a drinking contest with all of the booze left in the room, Raiders of the Lost Ark style.
Nikki turns around, and Hipster!Adam Rose is there. Instead of getting the party started, which is his whole gimmick, he just tells her that her party sucks. Wow, man: I thought parties were your whole purpose. You were like a party shark; if you stopped partying you would die. Nikki throws the cake, managing to hit Alicia and Brie, before storming out. Rule Number One of Professional Wrestling: if a cake is shown on camera, someone is destined to wear that cake.
Summer shows up to thank Dolph for the earrings. He said it was to be a peace offering, but then implies that it wasn’t…? I really hope this is all mind games, because I really don’t want Ziggler to be a skeeze.
Start The ‘Wyatt Interference Countdown’
Main event time, and you just know we’re headed for some shenanigans in the next fifteen minutes or so. Dean and Rollins tie up to start, exchanging holds before Seth grabs the ropes, then Sheamus gets a blind tag, irritating Rollins. The crowd give him some shit, so he gets on the mic and yells at them. Aw, God bless him: Seth is cracking up on the apron. Sheamus gets back in the ring and gets knocked around by Ambrose before Reigns clotheslines him out of the ring off a tag. Seth’s tossed out as well, getting clotheslined by Roman as Dean leaps out onto Sheamus. We head to a break as the Shield Boys stand tall.
Back to the action, and Seth has Dean in a choke. Ambrose breaks his way out, but gets thrown into the turnbuckle and eats a backbreaker. Sheamus comes in off the tag, further punishing the back of Dean Ambrose, throwing him with some suplexes. Dean nearly gets a small package, but Sheamus hits him with a double axe-handle, then tags in Rollins.
Seth stomps away on Ambrose, hitting a running forearm to his former teammate. He tags Sheamus back in, and the Irishman applies a sleeper, trying to choke Ambrose out. Dean stays alive, still fighting, and manages to reverse a powerbomb attempt into a hurricanrana, sending the Irishman out of the ring. Sheamus dives at Roman as Ambrose crawls towards him, trying to knock him off the apron, but Roman just ducks; Dean hits a neckbreaker and makes the tag to Roman.
Reigns comes in hard and fast, taking it to the now-legal Rollins. Fists, clotheslines, a Samoan Drop, then more clotheslines: Seth’s reeling, but he manages to roll out of a bodyslam, almost nailing Roman with a superkick, but Reigns catches him, driving him down to the mat. Rollins evades a Superman Punch, hanging Reigns up on the ropes, and superkicking him.
Sheamus wants the tag, but then backs out. Seth then grabs his briefcase, holding it hostage, and then tags Sheamus in when he tries to grab it back! Brilliant! Dean dives out onto Sheamus, who takes a Superman Punch and Dirty Deeds back in the ring to finish it!
Fun match, with some good stuff from all four competitors. Absolutely loved Sheamus’ and Rollins’ breakdown. 3 Stars.
We get shown a Wyatt promo at the end, which I choose to believe is interference. And the bastards still don’t tell us who the third man is. I mean, now I’m just pulling for Lesnar. Because that would just be the most fucking awesomest thing ever.
Fun night, really: definitely left a better taste in my mouth than RAW, really. And I’m looking forward to Night of Champions: I think that, with some smarts and some luck, it could be a pretty decent show. Tonight gets 9/10; I’ll see you all after the PPV.
Tags: Adam Rose, alicia fox, Becky Lynch, Big Show, Booker T, Brie Bella, Cesaro, charlotte, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Owens, naomi, Night of Champions, Nikki Bella, Paige, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, ryback, sasha banks, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, tamina, The Dudley Boys, The Miz, The New Day