Greetings and salutations, loyal readers. Today is October 1st, which is a very special day indeed. Yes, today was the first day of my three year PhD course, which means that, to my knowledge, Inside Pulse is now the first wrestling review website to have a PhD student as a regular contributor.
In the grand scheme of things, this means more or less nothing (although when I’m actually awarded with the doctorate, these reviews will all be reclassified as ‘academic journals’), but I do have this picture to show for it:
And hey, SmackDown!
We relive Kane’s comedic genius, WWE’s ridiculously attractive HR employee and Seth having literally no respect for the decisions reached by any and all HR departments (which he and I have in common). I frigging loved the beatdown to Kane from Seth, considering it’s all I’ve ever wanted from Rollins losing his mind like that. What I didn’t like was Kane no-selling the shit out of it. We know that Kane’s an inhuman monster; this could have at least been saved for this coming Monday. Or, hey, tonight.
The show proper starts with Rollins striding out, cutting off his own music in order to deliver another anti-Kane declamation. And let’s face it: Seth is absolutely right. Steph and Trips pretty much know it too, even if they’re apparently way too scared of Kane to admit it. I mean, I hope that’s not the actual reason, because even with all of the grievances I could and do hold against Triple H, having him fear Kane would be pretty damn laughable.
Seth calls Kane out, and Middle-Management Kane comes out in crutches, saying that he’s lost his smile since Rollins beat the hell out of his ankle. Rollins gets even more annoyed, and yells at Kane to stop lying about this Jekyll and Hyde shit. He says that Kane could only be doing this because A) Kane thinks he’s stupid enough to fall for it, which he’s definitely not, or B) Kane’s a sodding nutter.
Kane responds that he’s not crazy; Rollins is crazy, then does his terrifying-yet-heartwarming smile. Seth then demands to know how he keeps getting attacked, and Kane at least then acknowledges that the attacks are happening. Because we really had not touched on that yet. He stops short of actually going ‘yeah, it’s totes me’, and says that Seth is a ‘negative nancy’. Damn, Kane. He then teams Rollins up with the New Day: damn, Kane. They’ll be facing the Dudley Boyz and ‘The Demon’. Seriously, how is Kane getting away with this shit?
Rollins starts protesting, but then gets all crafty and says that the only way he’ll do it is if Kane sits at ringside for the match. Kane agrees. Well, I’m now pretty interested for the main event. Touché, WWE.
So, they’re just not letting Tamina talk
The Bellas make their way to the ring, followed by…Team BAD. Nice to know they’ve not been lost in the shuffle. Team BAD has mics, and now they want to talk about how they started the Divas Revolution. Apart from Tamina, who doesn’t talk. Sasha says that it doesn’t matter who started it, which is basically all you need to be able to say to be a primary school teacher.
Well, smart points to Team BAD: it actually doesn’t matter. Brie shoves Sasha, who shoves her back and then gets slapped. Holy shit: bad move, Brie. Sasha jumps the hell out of Brie and the fucking slaps her. I mean…watch the tape and listen to that sound: I winced. Brie, somehow not dead, gets her head smacked off a turnbuckle, then is able to fight Sasha off before hitting her with the Yes-Kicks. She almost gets rolled up off the last one, and then she tags in Naomi, holding Brie so that Naomi can leapfrog onto the Bella’s stomach.
Brie slides out of a bodyslam attempt, then starts taking the fight to Naomi before tagging out to Nikki. Naomi slides out of the ring rather than face both women, and Tamina, who got the blind tag, beheads both Bellas with a double clothesline. Tamina almost gets the Samoan drop on Brie, who slides out of it and tags in Nikki (who I thought had tagged in already, but whatever). Nikki tries to shoulder-tackle Tamina, but can’t, so then just slugs her in the mouth. Whoa: Nikki’s looking ripped right now.
Tamina shoulder-tackles Nikki, then hits her Samoan Drop. She wants the Third Degree Homicide Splash, but Alicia and Brie drag Nikki out of the ring as we head to the break. When we come back, Naomi sends Nikki off the ropes, trying to hit her with the Rear View, but Nikki stops herself, then elevates Naomi over the top. Naomi manages to fight of interference from both Fox and Brie, only for Nikki to wallop her with a forearm and start stomping away. Alicia and Brie pull Naomi out to the outside, adding yet more damage.
Alicia Fox tags in, coming off the top to strike the trapped arm of Naomi. Naomi manages to reverse a tilt-a-whirl, landing on her feet, but women run each other over with clotheslines. Naomi crawls to the corner, but Brie tags in first, and takes Tamina down from the top rope. Sasha bails in time, then hops back up to the apron and gets the tag, taking Nikki right down, then Alicia and Brie, then Nikki again. Pair of knees to the face of Nikki Bella, who then catches Sasha by surprise, almost getting the victory.
Sasha pulls Nikki off the ropes, hitting a pair of knees to the stomach this time, and almost getting the three before Alicia Fox breaks up the pin. Naomi tries to deal with her, but eats a big boot to the mouth. Tamina hits Fox with a superkick, then gets tossed out of the ring by Brie. Sasha tosses Brie, then turns right into a big forearm from Nikki. Rack Attack is attempted, interrupted by Tamina and then turned into the Bank Statement! Brie tries to help, but is pulled out of the ring and superkicked by the rest of Team BAD! Nikki taps!
Great match, and without a PCB member in sight. Nice to see Team BAD in the spotlight again. 3 Stars.
Seth is walking around backstage, and then comes across the New Day, who clap and play a trombone at him. Seth looks like he wishes he was dead, which is a fair reaction. Looks like Kane is still on his mind. Big E Langston should not be that beautifully muscular and that funny. They tell Rollins that he can exorcise his demons by being positive…and they actually manage to psyche Seth up. Okay, I don’t really give a damn what else happens tonight: that was amazing.
JoJo is backstage with Becky Lynch (who almost doesn’t tower over her) and Charlotte (who absolutely does). We replay the clip of Paige storming out, even though she was supposed to be a jerk anyway, and then attacking Natalya. So…are we sure she’s a jerk now? JoJo asks if PCB can get back in sync. What? No! Why is everyone so willing to hand Paige second and third chances? What makes her different to every other WWE employee?
Paige then shows up to make things awkward, because she’s a heel now. Paige and Becky have an accent-off, and then Charlotte drops an ultimatum. CB leaves P, as does JJ, and then Paige walks right into Natalya, who looks A) shorter than I remember, and B) pissed. She tells Paige that if she disrespects her again, then she’ll be sorry. Not to labour the point, but that’s just another second chance. Has Paige brought a child back to life recently? Because that’s the only reason I can imagine for this level of accommodation.
Watch it for the Sit-Out Bodyslam
Ryback makes his way to the ring for his Intercontinental Championshop rematch, followed by the champ himself, Kevin Owens. I mean, if Rollins somehow got his hands on all the US Championship in a few days’ time, then it would be the best crop of champions I’ve seen in a long time: Charlotte, Owens, Rollins, New Day and Rollins.
Owens’ mockery of Ryback is definitely reason enough for him to have that belt. Like Punk, the guy puts a hell of a lot of effort into the little things. When the bell rings, Owens bails out of the ring, but Ryback chases him, punching him right back into the ring. Kevin gets to his feet and is able to take the fight to Ryback for a moment, before running into a bodyslam: not a typical transition.
Ryback goes for a press slam; Owens slides out of it and goes for a suplex; Ryback blocks it and hits a delayed suplex of his own. Owens is getting pounded away on in the corner, but when Ryback is backed off by the ref, he recovers enough to hang the Big Guy up on the ropes, then clothesline him. He tries for another clothesline, but gets Thesz pressed by Ryback. Owens manages to avoid a wild charge by Ryback, who blasts the turnbuckle with his shoulder and eats a DDT for a near fall.
After a brief commercial break, Owens is still in control, shutting Ryback down with a back elbow and hitting a running back senton. Sleeper hold to Ryback, then a neckbreaker. Owens has slowed the pace right down, contrasting to the faster pace that Ryback tends to employ. Ryback does manage to fight off another sleeper, and gets tossed into a corner. Owens takes far too long to charge at him however, and gets caught in a belly-to-belly from Ryback.
Ryback’s gotten some measure of control back now, hitting Owens left right and centre before hitting a…sit-out bodyslam? Innovative move from Ryback right there: I am impressed. Owens isn’t, however, and slaps Ryback right across the face. This enrages the Big Guy, who attacks Owens viciously, managing to run right into a kick as he does so. That gets two, and when Kevin Owens looks for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, it gets turned into a spinebuster from Ryback!
A Meathook Clothesline takes Owens down, and it looks to be all over but for Shell-Shocked. He gets him up, but Owens grabs the ropes, managing to get himself out of the ring. Ryback pursues Owens, and both big men lay each other out with a clothesline apiece. Cue this piece of commentating genius from King: ‘A count-out doesn’t help anyone…except Kevin Owens.’ What a fucking pro. Ryback does get into the ring, and Owens actually looks like he wants to go back in too, but thinks better of it at a count of nine, instead taking the count-out.
This was very enjoyable. Kevin Owens continues to perform at a very high standard, whilst Ryback really seems to be on an upward curve. Moment of the match had to be the sit-out bodyslam: can’t remember the last time I’ve seen that move. Good stuff. 3 Stars.
Ryback, hilariously, doesn’t look angry until Eden announces that Owens is still the champ. There’s a brawl right afterwards, which ends in Owens eating another Meathook and then getting Shell-Shocked. Looks like we could be seeing another rematch. I can see the sense of making it no DQ: Owens would probably thrive in that environment, and it allows Ryback to hide any weaknesses in his game that would still be apparent in a straight match.
King makes a joke about dating Taylor Swift, and I hope to hell she never hears about it, because that’s the kind of shit that does immeasurable damage to your sex drive. It did to mine, and I have not that much in common with Miss Swift.
We take a look back at the Big Show/Brock Lesnar feud over the years, and I have to admit that the Survivor Series 2002 match between the two of them is still one of my favourite matches ever. I don’t care that it was about seven minutes long: it was the first time I’d ever seen Big Show getting manhandled like that, and it’s still way more impressive than anything Cena’s ever done with him.
It’s a sad case of affairs when I’m not excited to see Neville
Oh Jesus, we’re still doing Stardust vs. Neville. I mean…that match should be pretty fantastic in theory, but the Stardust gimmick has more or less finished with jumping on top of my last nerve and is now using it to garotte my brain. The only good thing to come out of this is that the Ascension might be able to use the storyline to actually gain some prestige (them being so low on the totem pole that this shit actually seems like an improvement for them). Also, I think Konnor’s stolen Kane’s old contact lens.
It’s a six-man tag match, and Sin Cara starts off against Viktor. Viktor applies a headlock, then takes Sin Cara down to the mat. The luchador works his way to his feet, but gets clubbed back down by Viktor. The Ascension member goes for a powerbomb, rebounding Sin Cara off the top rope, but the masked man turns it into a hurricanrana, reverses a hip-toss into a cradle and then gets backed into the corner as Stardust tags in.
Springboard armdrag unbalances Stardust, and Sin Cara makes the tag to Neville, for a double hip-toss and then an hip-toss/senton. Shooting Star Press from Neville, who is distracted by Viktor for long enough for Stardust to jump him. He wants to cripple Neville’s legs against the post, but the Lucha Dragons back him off as we go to a break.
Back with the action, Neville is still the legal man, now facing off against Viktor, staggering him with kicks. He puts Viktor up on the top rope, but Stardust causes another distraction (by throwing his glove at him, which I think means the two of them must now fight a duel). Viktor is quick to take advantage, hitting a sit-out bodyslam from the top rope! Your move, Ryback.
Sin Cara breaks up the cover, and Viktor drags Neville over to his corner, tagging Stardust in to continue the assault. Stardust taunts and attacks the Dragons, which allows Neville to fight his way back with jawbreaker. He dodges an elbow, leaps over a charging Stardust and tries to make his way…to the tag to Kalisto!
Kalisto spends a minute or so abusing gravity so hard that gravity wishes it could forget him. I mean…I almost hope this guy never becomes a singles star, because I don’t think I could handle calling a match filled with this kind of offence. Stardust almost gets him up for whatever stupid name his finisher has now, but Kalisto turns that into a tornado DDT. Viktor breaks up the pin, only for Sin Cara and Neville to take care of him. Stardust hits the Disaster Kick to Neville, sending him to the outside.
Stardust and Kalisto are both the legal men still. Kalisto is up in a powerbomb position; Konnor gets the blind tag from Stardust; Kalisto hops off the shoulders, not realising that a tag’s been made. Stardust is then dragged out of the ring by Neville, and eats a superkick, because we’ve not fulfilled our nightly quota of superkicks just yet, I guess. Konnor then gets Kalisto up, dumping him face-first into the corner. Kalisto rallies, however, and manages to hit the
D-d-d-d-Dudley Dog! Salida Del Sol to end the match.
Good match, even if I do hate this feud. I mean…can we get rid of Stardust? Keep Cody and give him a decent gimmick, but this has to end. Also, I miss Spike Dudley now. 2.5 Stars.
We relive the Wyatt/Reigns match, reinforcing the fact that WWE is afraid of clean finishes. Admittedly, Wyatt hitting a dude with another dude was pretty perfect, and Roman’s spear to end things was fucking decent.
Here comes Bray Wyatt, so I’m going to phase out a little, because if I want to hear shitty poetry, I’ll write it myself. And then get pissed off with myself, because who can’t write fucking poetry? I’ve got a Master’s in Creative Writing, and I literally cannot write poetry.
Bray reflects on getting his fat ass handed to him on Monday, and apparently he was trying to prove that Reigns was mortal by beating him. I mean…I’m pretty sure that Reigns isn’t immortal, and does Wyatt taking an ass-whupping mean that he now thinks that Roman is actually immortal? Because that’s what we get when we follow your fucked-up logic, Bray.
Oh goody: Wyatt’s had another epiphany. Jesus, the guy comes to some new realisation every single week. I mean…it’s usually a new rationale about why he has to smack a bitch, but still.
Roman’s music hits, probably because he’s getting tired of Bray’s ever-growing list of reasons why Bray needs to punch him. Reigns then comes down to the ring, and the commentators seem genuinely concerned that he’s alone, despite the fact that Roman has faced Brock Lesnar and still lives.
Holy shit, Roman Reigns is immortal.
Roman gets on the apron, and Bray sends Harper and Pubebeard to stand either side of him. Reigns then gets into the ring, and now I’m starting to worry, because this is something that you’d only do if you were either dying of lung cancer or believed that you were immortal. So, at this stage, Bray, Roman and I believe that Roman Reigns is immortal. Wow, this review has taken just the weirdest turn, and I should really be doing PhD research right now.
Reigns steps forward, and he and Bray have a stare-down. Man, please let this end in a kiss. I’d buy every piece of WWE merchandise there is and would ever be if these two kissed right now. It wouldn’t even do anything for me; I’d just get a massive kick out of it.
Bray tries to say something, but Roman snatches the mic away from him, continuing his trend of snatching things away from people. He then says ‘Hell in a Cell’. Wait, the match or the PPV? Bray steps closer to Roman (kiss kiss kiss!), and seems to accept. Roman then backs away, and leaves the ring. Well…that was way more civil than it had any right to be. Bray then yells ‘I hope you’re willing to die!’ Aw man, are they going to make him wrestle a match against Strowman first (that was a joke about Strowman being dangerously green, rather than freakish big and strong)?
Write your way out of this one, WWE
When we come back, Rollins has just received the jobber entrance treatment, which is fucking weird considering that he’s the World Champion. The New Day then show up, and Rollins is sadly back to just being irritated by them; I loved the fact that he was briefly totally into them. Kane is clapping at ringside, and I’m almost afraid to have him and Kevin Owens in the same place at the same time.
The Dudley Boyz then emerge, followed by…let’s see now…nobody shows up. Okay, now you all have to watch this, just to look at the fucking look that Seth is giving Kane during this bit. I need to stop being so amused by everything, but that facial expression pretty much finished me. I’m also honestly quite amused that Kane is just going ‘fuck it; I guess the Demon just isn’t showing up tonight’. I mean…it makes total sense, but Kane could not be getting any more ballsy with this psychological abuse.
Well, D-Von and Kofi lock up, and Kingston is shoved away by D-Von. Langston comes in and, off a slap-related distraction by Kingston, gets the advantage for a second. D-Von fights his way out, leading to a face-off as everyone gets in the ring. We go to a break.
Back from the commercial, the New Day is in full control of D-Von. Rollins even gets in on the trombone-assisted stomping , just giving me more reasons to love this man forever and ever. He even does the clothesline dropkick! Damn, I just love it when singles competitors really get involved with an established tag team. Neckbreaker drops D-Von, and Seth tosses him out of the ring.
Kane approaches D-Von, and Rollins dives out onto him. Aw, for fuck’s sake, Seth: you were safe as long as he was out there in a suit! Actually, fair play to Rollins: he’s now a little worried that Kane is leaving. He tags in Langston, following Kane and demanding that he goes back into the chair. Kane then turns, gives Rollins a really disturbing grin, and then heads backstage. Okay: that whole bit was worth it for that moment. That looked like it came out of a fucking horror movie.
Back in the ring, Bubba’s now the legal man and is dealing with the New Day pretty handily. He hip-tosses Rollins out of the ring before getting run over by Langston; D-Von deals with the New Day, throwing them out of the ring and diving out onto them. Kofi is still in the ring, as is Bubba…and here comes Demon Kane. Seth tries to run, but gets A) caught, and B) the shit kicked out of him.
Kane tries to chokeslam Rollins, who slides out of it and bails. He does know that he eventually will have to fight that guy, right? Kingston, who has been watching all of this in confusion (‘why is the World Champ running away from fucking Kane?’), turns around and eats a 3D for the win.
Great match, with some stand-out moments. Honestly, smart handling of the whole Kane-transition thing: that smile was genuinely chilling. 3 Stars.
Kane enters the ring and picks up the belt. You get your fucking hands off that, Glen. You don’t fucking touch it. Bubba walks up to Kane, and tries to raise his hand, but then Kane clearly has a flashback of exactly how many tables those bi-racial bastards have put him through over the years. He chokeslams both Dudley Boyz, then Kofi and Langston, and then tombstones Woods!
Seth watches in horror as Kane hoists the belt and brings the flames as we finish for the night.
Well, that was a good night. They intrigued me earlier on with the main event announcement; the matches were all pretty solid and they did a grand job with the whole Bray/Roman thing. 8/10.
Tags: alicia fox, Becky Lynch, Booker T, Braun Stroman, Bray Wyatt, charlotte, dudley boyz, Jerry Lawler, JoJo, Kane, Kevin Owens, Lucha Dragons, Luke Harper, Natalya, Neville, Paige, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, ryback, seth rollins, smackdown, Stardust, The Ascension, The Bella Twins, The New Day