The very best of evenings to you, people who read about SmackDown here so you don’t have to watch it live. I’m your loyal reviewer, David Spain, here with another instalment of the Spain SmackDown Report.
This past Monday, Masked Kane pinned Seth Rollins in what had better be the closest that Libertarian son of a bitch gets to having another title reign. Just because he’s wearing the mask doesn’t mean that he’s not still Kane. Oh, and there was some thing about Rusev and Lana being engaged: honest to God, I just skipped right over that whole mess. I mean…the entire segment just got fast-forwarded. And I feel great about that.
So, hey: SmackDown!
‘Dick-Face Roman Reigns’ has to be the best thing I’ve typed in a while
Our show kicks right off with Roman Reigns making his way to the ring, fresh off his count-out victory from Monday, like the vicious conqueror he is. If you want to know why Braun Stroman should never, ever be allowed anywhere nearer to a storyline than he is right now, watch the way he sells the Superman Punch and tell me that man doesn’t have ‘Right’ and ‘Left’ written on his boots.
All of which pales in comparison to the love I have for Reigns’ sudden and unexpected cunning which was displayed: ducking out of the ring and then taking a cheap shot when Bray was trying to psyche him out. In the world of professional wrestlers and their characters, that was some Mensa-level shit.
Wait…wait: Roman’s fighting Bo Dallas. Wow, please tell me that he requested this match out of some sick desire to hurt Wyatt’s own family in front of him. I mean…I could actually get behind Dick-Face Roman Reigns. And I realise that there is a better way to phrase that, but like hell I’m going to edit that piece of magic. Bo is spouting off his usual stuff, not even having the decency to drop hints that two of the only three chubby dudes on the roster are related to each other. He still wins me back with his parting shot of ‘Bolieve That’: cheeky bastard.
Reigns backs Dallas into the corner off the lock-up, and Bo comes out swinging, surprisingly. Roman gets control back with a kick right to the face and then a neckbreaker. Bo manages to wriggle his way out of an attempted Samoan Drop, taking a huge uppercut instead, but does manage to get his boots up in the face of Roman’s next charge, sending Reigns staggering away. Forearm to the back of the head off the second rope from Bo, sending Roman to the ground.
Dallas tries to stay on Roman, but the second he grants the guy a little separation, Roman takes his head off with a clothesline and then laces Dallas with clotheslines in the corner. Bo begs off for a few seconds, then even tries to go for a handshake. Roman shakes the hand, gets kicked…and then just Samoan Drops Dallas. Superman Punch floors Bo, and you have to appreciate the video editing that makes a really dumb move look pretty fucking awesome on TV. Fairly Edge-esque Spear by Roman Reigns ends the match.
I have to admit to being a fan of squashes, considering their current scarcity. Could have been squashier, but it was pretty fun. 2.5 Stars.
Roman gets on the mic for an out-of-breath post-match interview. I’m all for intensity, but the guy sounds like he’s trying to talk through an asthma attack. He says that Bray is totes the devil, but he’s Roman Reigns: the usual shtick that guys use when they’re hell-bent on taking Wyatt’s bullshit seriously. Because he’s not the devil; he’s a fat man gripped by a psychotic delusion. Which, I have to imagine, is the scarier option.
Bray shows up onscreen, then says that he’s not coming down to the ring, just like literally every other time he does this.
Oh God, the announcers just reminded me that I’m going to have to watch Lesnar and Undertaker in a cell next weekend. At this point, I’m less surprised by Vince’s desire to televise the death of his oldest employee than I am at Undertaker’s apparent death wish.
A match only Donald Trump would chant ‘U-S-A!’ during
Cesaro’s in the ring, and he’s joined by Neville; they’ll be facing Barrett and Sheamus in a tag team match, with Stardust and the Ascension in the audience. So, it’s just like the match we had on Monday, only a good 30% worse. Fantastic stuff.
Also, when the hell is Sheamus going to cash that motherfucker in?
Neville starts off against Barrett; they circle each other before Neville applies a headlock, gets shot off the ropes and hits a headscissors. He then gets draped across the top rope and has Barrett clubbing away at him before the referee forces a break. Barrett winds up for the big punt, but Neville manages to avoid it, able to kick Barrett around for a spell before Sheamus gets a blind tag. Neville still manages to duck Sheamus, then hurricanranas him over the top rope. Barrett gets sent out as well and Cesaro elevates Neville over the top onto both of them.
Sheamus runs into a kick to the face, then takes a flying crossbody for the near-fall. When we come back from a quick break, Barrett is booting Neville in the face, then he applies a surfboard, transitioning into a sleeper before Neville almost fights out of it; Barrett drives him into his corner and tags in Sheamus for a beat-down. Sheamus slams Neville down onto the mat, then tags in Barrett, because God knows we needed another sleeper hold.
Neville tries to fight back and tag in Cesaro, managing to duck a high knee from Barrett, who crashes and burns in the corner. Cesaro gets the hot tag, and comes in hard for a game called ‘Uppercut the Irish Guy’. This goes on for over a minute, then a dropkick fells Sheamus. Cesaro flips himself over the top rope onto the apron, boots Sheamus in the face, then hops to the ground and uppercuts Barrett off the partition.
Back in the ring, Cesaro hits a springboard spinning uppercut for the near-fall, and then wants the Swing, but Sheamus kicks him away. Sheamus grabs the briefcase; Cesaro ducks the shot and locks him in the Swing anyway…and then Barrett blasts him with a Bull Hammer for the pin.
I kind of like this thing that Sheamus and Barrett have going for them, especially with how sharp they make the dirty finish look. Good match. 2.5 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage with Summer Rae, who is the guest referee for the match tonight between Ziggler and Rusev. Wow, could you guys in wardrobe not find an even smaller shirt for the woman to wear? That’s like a referee bra. Then again, Renee’s outfit has no elbows, so I don’t know what to think about the fashion sensibilities of WWE employees.
We get a flashback of what happened on Monday, which was Summer Rae saying that she’s a strong confident woman who don’t need no man, and have a fucking slap, Rusev. Renee happily approves of this behaviour, so watch the fuck out, Dean.
Apparently Payday is a candy bar that doesn’t need chocolate to get the job done: bullshit.
Oh, speaking of Dean Ambrose, we see a taped segment backstage with Byron Saxton: go ahead and watch it, because it’s actually pretty funny.
A wild Zack Ryder appeared!
Kevin Owens is making his way to the ring, as Ryback sits at ringside, looking intense and…oh my God, Owens is facing Zack Ryder. Holy shit, this is just going to be the night of squash matches, isn’t it?
Zack jumps Owens, which is fucking adorable. I mean, every single bit of offence he gets is evidence that he’s dying of cancer and this match is his ‘Make A Wish’ request. He finally misses an enzuigiri, almost gets a roll-up and then hits a missile dropkick. Okay, now I’m actually worried that Ryder’s got a terminal illness.
He misses a stinger splash, eats a big clothesline and takes a pop-up powerbomb for the finish.
Well, the good news is that Ryder’s not dying. I was generally worried due to, you know, the incredible disparity in offence. 1.5 Stars.
We recap the Kane/Rollins bullshit from Monday. Who’d have thought, in 2015, the Brothers of Destruction would be joint-main eventing a PPV?
Natalya’s walking and texting backstage, which is dangerous, because you never know when you’re going to run into Paige. Wow, even she gives Paige a chance to apologise. Seriously, what has Paige done to deserve this constant benefit of the doubt? She’s an asshole! Why is she getting all of these free passes?!
Paige wants to make it right, which will probably involve something like orphans and fire, after which people will say ‘ah, Paige: what are you like?’. Then everything will freeze, and the credits will start to roll.
Summer Rae: best special guest referee since Daivari
Time for another instalment of Ziggler vs. Rusev. It’s sort of becoming the Ziggler vs. Kingston of 2015, now that Kofi’s actually doing something worthwhile. Summer calls for the bell and Rusev starts kicking the shit out of Ziggler. Summer maintains the count way better than I ever did during my one outing as a wrestling referee, although that is absolutely not saying a lot.
Ziggler fights back for a second, before running right into a dropkick, then gets shot off the apron to slam against the barricade. Summer starts counting Dolph out pretty fairly as well, as Ziggler crawls back in for some more punishment. Headbutts, kicks to the stomach. Sleeper hold locked in, but Dolph breaks out of it with a jawbreaker, keeping Rusev desperately away from him. He gets caught for a fallaway slam, but turns it into a roll-up; Lana fast-counts like nothing I’ve ever seen before, but Rusev manages a kick-out.
Rusev takes issue with the count, which would be a fair reaction if he hadn’t been in a two week fake-engagement with the referee. The distraction allows Dolph to hit a dropkick and a neckbreaker. Fameasser is countered by Rusev, then he catches the superkick and catapults Ziggler into the turnbuckle. Rusev hits a big kick of his own, and Summer refuses to make the count before counting very very slowly. Rusev yells at the ref, and she slaps him (shades of Earl Hebner!) before Dolph hits a Zig-Zag for the win.
Well, I’m not opposed to this whole ‘celebrity scandal’ gimmick being brought to an end; as soon as we kill the Stardust comic book thing, we’re golden. 2 Stars.
Summer Rae presents an argument to Dolph for the two of them having lots of sex. And Dolph turns her down. Not sure if that’s fuelling his supposed heel turn; seems like a fairly rational reaction to this cavalcade of insanity the guy’s been presented with.
Meanwhile, Renee Young is backstage with the Dudley Boyz and Dean Ambrose. She asks if they think they can overcome the New Day. Bubba says that they’re going to be just fine, and tells her to touch Dean. Well, okay…that was odd. D-Von saves it by yelling ‘Oh TESTIFY!!’. Dean then implies that Cincinatti is full of thieves and muggers, which the crowd totally seems to appreciate: shine on, you crazy diamonds. All three then yell ‘BOOM!!’ at Renee, and her exasperated face is, at this stage, pretty easy to empathise with.
How’s getting back in title picture going, Prime Time Players?
Now we’ve got another tag team match, which involves feeding the Prime Time Players to Hobo and Pube Beard. Titus starts off against Stroman, who absorbs everything Titus has and still fucks him right up for a while. Harper tags in, applying the Gator Roll before turning it into a headlock. Titus finally counters with a back suplex, and tags in Darren Young, the poor bastard.
Young actually takes it to Harper, even hitting a neckbreaker on the apron. Stroman gets a blind tag; Darren smashes him in the face anyway, and Stroman just grins at him. Okay, kudos for that moment: that actually creeped me out. Then again, some guy with special needs once tried to run me over on his bike, and that kind of thing leaves some scars on you. Harper catches Young with a superkick, and Stroman puts him out with his bearhug.
This was really short, but considering that Stroman was a part of it, I’m saying that’s a good thing. 1.5 Stars.
Paige is absolutely stealing Kane’s latest gimmick
Charlotte and Becky make their way to the ring, ready for Charlotte’s match against Alicia Fox. Fox takes quick advantage off a Bella distraction, hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and applying a sleeper. Charlotte tries to fight out, but Fox keeps it clamped on, staying tenacious.
Charlotte backs Fox into a corner, trying to break it, but Alicia breaks it herself, tossing the Divas Champion into the corner and catching her with a Northern Lights suplex. Snapmare, and then right back into a sleeper. Charlotte is sent off the ropes, manages to counter a second tilt-a-whirl attempt, landing on her feet, but gets hit in the face with a forearm. Both women go for a big boot, and both boots connect, sending the two of them to the floor.
Charlotte has the edge once they’re up, hitting some chops, a neckbreaker and a spear. Figure Eight is locked in, and Alicia Fox taps.
Hardly a dominant showing for the Divas Champion, but who knows if that means anything? 2 Stars.
The Bellas jump Charlotte and Becky post-match, beating the two of them down. Becky’s tossed through the ropes. Paige then rushes the ring, helping Becky and Charlotte take the Bellas out. I’m anticipating instant acceptance from the entire locker room, as a matter of course.
Backstage, Paige wants to keep the feels train going. In fairness to everyone involved with this, Natalya, Becky and Paige are actually a little less trusting and not immediately welcoming back their new face friend, so that’s fairly realistic. Then some referees and a trainer rush past the three of them…oh my God, someone jumped Natalya.
So…feel free to discount the last couple of sentences there.
Renee Young is still rolling her eyes backstage somewhere
We get a promo for Hell in a Cell, and then it’s time for our main event. The New Day make their way to the ring, then cut a gloating promo about the fact they’ve been on a bit of a tear lately. The Dudley Boyz and Ambrose break it all up, and it’s time for the match.
Kingston locks a headlock in on Bubba Ray, who shoots him off the ropes and hip-tosses him. He tags in D-Von, and they hit a double clothesline and a double elbow drop. Sidewalk slam from D-Von, but he gets driven into the New Day corner. Woods distracts the referee as Langston crotches the Dudley on the steel post. Consecutive Stomps by the New Day (totally what we’re calling that now) for a while; I want the New Day to one day win a match off five minutes of nothing but stomping, just to lock in the heat forever.
Dropkick to the face by Woods for two, then a headlock. Brennan drops a Fifty Shades of Grey reference, the sick son of a bitch, and D-Von catches Woods for a neckbreaker off the second rope! D-Von crawls to his corner of the ring, and here comes Ambrose!
Forearms to everyone, followed by a bulldog. Deans heads up top, kicks an interfering Kofi away, leaps over Xavier, ducks under his arm and dives out onto Kofi! Woods tries to follow and eats a clothesline! Big E tries to toss Dean back inside the ring, but Ambrose reverses direction and lays him out! A standing elbow drop almost puts Woods down back inside the ring, and he takes him up to the top rope.
Double underhook suplex from the top to Xavier Woods, but I think Big E got the tag, and he runs Ambrose over. Dean rolls out of the way of the big splash, however, laying Langston out and tagging in Bubba Ray Dudley! Bubba runs all over Kofi, who’s apparently the legal man now, sending him up for a back drop. Woods runs in and gets taken out by D-Von, who gets taken out by Big E, who takes a missile dropkick from Dean!
Ambrose heads up to the top, but Woods sends him crashing to the outside. Bubba ducks a Trouble in Paradise from Kofi, and the Dudleys hit the 3D! Woods manages to break up the pin, using the trombone to do it for some reason, so that’s DQ.
Match of the night, I’d say. Ambrose looked great here, and that 3D was the best I’ve seen in a long time. Lots of fun. 3 Stars.
Oh shit, Xavier’s nose or mouth has got some real blood coming out of it. He smacks both Dudley Boyz with the trombone again, and that’s that thing fucking broken; they’d better replace that damn thing next week. Shining Wizard and a Trouble in Paradise to Bubba, then whatever you call Kofi and Big E’s finisher to D-Von. Another dominant night for the New Day.
Let me hear you say it: Wyatt feud?
Tonight was decent enough, but it felt like a step down in intensity from the past few weeks. It was all fine enough, but just lacking something. Not sure exactly what. 6/10.
Tags: Becky Lynch, Bella Twins, Bo Dallas, Booker T, Braun Stroman, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro, charlotte, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, dudley boyz, Jerry Lawler, Kane, Kevin Owens, Luke Harper, Neville, Prime Time Players, Renee Young, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, rusev, ryback, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, Stardust, Summer Rae, The Ascension, The New Day, Wade Barrett, Zack Ryder (I'm serious)