Hey there, guys. I’m your SmackDown recapper, David Spain, who has spent the entirety of the day trying to do his research and swearing to never drink again. Or, at least, to stick to one kind of drink next time instead of going through four beers and then saying: ‘you know what sounds like an amazing plan? Cocktails.’
But hey: SmackDown!
We start off with literally-just-pictures of the Undertaker getting
dragged into a parking lot Wyatt-napped on Sunday, with Rich Brennan trying to narrate it in a serious tone, but it’s not exactly material that lends itself to a dramatic reading. Also, I’m pretty sure they did not ‘carry out the soul’ of the Undertaker, Rich. I’m pretty sure they just carried him out, like we saw them doing.
Well, it seems like they’re committing to this storyline. I’m hoping like hell it’s not going to end at Survivor Series with another loss for Bray, because the guy does not have that many chances left. Someone was writing on some website that this is setting up an Undertaker/Stroman match at WrestleMania. There are so many things I would rather see happen than that, up to and including my own family’s death by ebola.
We get to the show, and Bray is onscreen, stroking the Undertaker’s hat like he thinks it’s a kitty. Face it, the guy is off his nut on drugs. Basically, their life-force fuels his and, honestly? Heard way shittier premises from this company. Bray challenges any three men to take on the Wyatt Family, and pulls Kane’s mask out of his pocket. Stroman tells us to run, and he is just child-molester creepy.
Out in the arena, Roman Reigns music hits, and he makes his way out to the ring: our new number one contender. Forgive me for not holding out hope just yet, but I think his hour will come at WrestleMania. But I have to admit, his popularity resurrection has been nothing short of impressive, with the kind of slow build that I’ve enjoyed watching.
Roman says that, since day one, his goal has been to win the World Championship. Lots of people have gotten in his way, meaning that two people have gotten in his way. Roman has gotten better on the microphone, but I still think there’s no need for him to talk. Kevin Owens apparently agrees with me, because his music hits and he shows up, microphone in hand.
Owens claims that Reigns’ victory was a fluke, and that he got lucky. Owens was a second away from winning the match in his own right. Owens and Reigns are apparently going to be having a match, and I can so be up for this. Roman defends his win, and he is definitely better at delivering monologue than he is conducting a dialogue. He tells Owens to get in the ring and fight, and Owens seems ready do oblige him.
Disappointed that Owens isn’t rocking a costume
Owens and Reigns go nose-to-nose for a second, then lock up. Owens applies a headlock, comes off the ropes and runs into Reigns, who doesn’t go down. Now Roman cinches in a headlock, is shot off the ropes and can’t take Owens down. Higher voices in the crowd are chanting for Roman; the lower voices are all Owens as they lock up again. This time when Owens comes off the ropes, Roman ducks and clotheslines him.
Owens tries to create separation out of the ring, but Reigns won’t let him get away. Kevin Owens then tries a kick to the gut, which Reigns catches, punishing him with a neckbreaker as we head to a commercial break. When we come back, Reigns is still well in control, kicking Owens square in the mush. He slams his head off the turnbuckle before hitting a back suplex, sending Owens rolling out onto the apron.
Roman goes to retrieve Owens, but the wily Canadian hangs Reigns up on the ropes and then blasts him right out of the ring. Owens looks to retain the advantage, hurling Reigns into the barricade and then following that up with a fallaway slam, also into the barricade, before taking the action back into the ring for a near-fall.
Owens stomps away on Reigns for a few minutes, but Reigns just backs him the fuck off with some offence out of nowhere. He tries a powerbomb, but Owens flips him over his head and hits a superkick for two. A clothesline in the corner sets Roman up for the cannonball, but Reigns explodes out of the corner with a flying clothesline for two. He sets up for the Superman Punch, but Owens remembers an urgent appointment he has somewhere where there are no Superman Punches, and takes a walk.
Reigns grabs Owens and throws him back into the ring, but Owens is able to surprise him with a German suplex, getting another near-fall. Owens wants another suplex, but Reigns lifts him up for a Samoan Drop before putting him up on the turnbuckle instead. Owens counters a superplex, but takes a Superman Punch instead, falling out to the floor!
The ref makes the count, which Reigns seems okay with, like a true warrior. Owens then walks out through the crowd, and I guess Roman doesn’t mind him doing that this time. For some reason.
Pretty good, but nowhere near as good as a match with these two could be. 2.5 Stars.
Renee Young is backstage, dressed as a fairy, but still the most professional person in this business. Dean then shows up, exasperating his girlfriend like only someone as nuts as he can. He’s up for getting the shit kicked out of him by some Wyatt Family members, and heads off to look for a partner.
Then Bo Dallas appears behind Renee, dressed as a ghost and calling himself ‘Boo Dallas’. Bless his little cotton socks. He’s embarking on a mission to scare someone tonight, and I can absolutely get behind that undertaking.
Because ‘Fatal Four-Way’ didn’t sound creepy enough?
Dudley Boyz are in the house, for something called a ‘Tag Team Terror Four Corners Match’. I have no clue what that means, but I’m almost certain it’s going to be very, very stupid. They’re facing the Ascension, the Lucha Dragons and Barrett and Sheamus. The New Day then show up, because they make more or less everything better just by being there. Also, if Big E gets any more enthusiastic with his opening announcement, he’ll annihilate the entire West Coast.
The New Day are wearing unicorn headbands, and then take the teams in the ring to task for not wearing Halloween costumes. They get on commentary, and Sheamus starts off against Kalisto. Kalisto tries to chop down the big Irishman, to no effect, but then a tilt-a-whirl headscissors does some decent damage. Barrett tags in, and is focused more on the Dudleys than Kalisto. The luchador decides that, if he’s going to be ignored, he’ll be ignored on the apron, and tags in Bubba.
Barrett shoves Bubba, who pounds on him and then Sheamus. New Day has taken over commentary as the Dudleys take on Barrett and then the Ascension, as the Dudley Boyz and the Lucha Dragons clear the ring. We go to a commercial break.
When we come back, the New Day has apparently annoyed Bubba enough that he’s trying to attack them, and then the New Day demand that Rich take off his headset and stop commentating. Meanwhile, D-Von drops a knee to Wade, then takes him down with a spinning back elbow. Kalisto tags in and goes up to the top, but Viktor knocks him down to the canvas, allowing Barrett to drag him to the corner and tag in Sheamus.
Sheamus hits a tonne of stomps, then a big suplex slam to Kalisto. Jawbreaker rocks Sheamus, allowing the Ascension to catch a blind tag. They hit a combination catapult/spinebuster double-team for two, then Konnor tags in, only to run into a boot, then the steel post.
Viktor and Sin Cara get the tags, and Sin Cara is on fire, taking down everyone and moonsaulting onto Viktor. Konnor distracts Sin Cara enough that Viktor almost catches him with a powerbomb, but the Lucha Dragon turns it into a hurricanrana cradle. Sheamus and Barrett interfere, then get jumped by the Dudley Boyz and eat a double Wassup featuring the Lucha Dragons! The Dudleys toss the Lucha Dragons over the top and onto the Ascension!
Sheamus and Barrett strike again, and this match has lost all structure. Sheamus gets his head rocked off the barricade and the Dudleys drive him and Barrett off. Inside the ring, Kalisto hits the Salida Del Sol for the win over Viktor!
Fun match, and nowhere near as dumb as I’d expected. Interesting dynamic between the Dudley Boyz and the Sheamus/Barrett Alliance: wonder what it could all lead to. 2.5 Stars.
Dean is prowling around backstage, and finds Cesaro. He thinks that Cesaro is dressed as the Transporter, James Bond or Lex Luthor, but it turns out that Cesaro is just a stylish motherfucker. Cesaro is psyched to fight a bunch of creepy-looking dudes with bad hygiene, and I guess he’s got to get his kicks somehow, the sick fuck. He then drops a Freddy Krueger reference, which reminds me: I saw an eight year old boy dressed up as Krueger a week ago. I mean…it was one of those moments where your shock and disapproval is totally overtaken by pure admiration, and then you realise that you’re staring at an eight year old and then it’s just awkward.
Then Boo Dallas tries his luck, but Cesaro swings dudes and doesn’t afraid of anything.
Alas, Poor Mr Ziggles
Recap of Tyler Breeze putting the boots to Dolph, which Creative apparently thought was a great advert of his move set. And, when I say ‘putting the boots to’, I mean a lot of stomps and a spinning kick: just diverse fucking material. Also, I sort of feel like Ziggler is in the last position to give anyone shit over their gimmick, considering he’s been a male cheerleader and a stripper/gigolo/fashion victim.
This is apparently a Halloween street fight, and whilst probably not a classic, it does promise some entertainment. Dolph is dressed as Nikki Sixx, and Miz is dressed as Miz, which I think is actually the better costume by default. Also, nobody’s ever going to beat the year that Tommy Dreamer wrestled a match dressed as Paul Heyman; I can’t believe there isn’t more of that sort of thing.
Miz kicks the carved pumpkins off the ring apron, either because he’s a heel or because he doesn’t want either him or Dolph to trip on them and get injured. Dolph runs the ropes and gets tossed, but skins the cat back inside as Miz picks up a tiny lightsaber and Dolph picks up a Singapore cane painted as a candy corn. Miz then extends the lightsaber, and then takes a huge beating from the cane.
Miz bails out of the ring, tries to drown Ziggler in a the apple-bobbing pot, but Dolph decides to try and save the world and drown Miz instead. Miz clings to life, like the selfish cancer that he is, and Dolph puts a pumpkin on his head and throws him back in the ring. Ziggler superkicks Miz in the pumpkin-face, destroying the pumpkin and sending Miz out of the ring: that was actually a really good visual.
On the outside, Miz is pissed that he’s going to be smelling of pumpkin all night, and throws Ziggler into the steps and over the announce table. Back in the ring, Miz takes the cane and wrecks Dolph’s leg with it, before using the steel post and then a steel chair to fucking demolish it. Miz tries for a Figure Four, but Dolph rolls him up for the win!
That came out of nowhere, and they really didn’t use the props all that much, but it was pretty good whilst it lasted. Does this mean that Dolph’s injured again? 2.5 Stars.
Tyler Breeze then shows up, and Dolph is apparently way too concerned with glaring at him than hobbling away. Well, at least we might find out Breeze’s finishing move now. Dolph keeps lobbing punches at Breeze, but a shot with the cane soon shuts that shit down, and Breeze starts another massively uninspired beatdown. I mean…I’d probably use a surplus of kicks and punches in a fight, but I’m not a professional wrestler. Remember when Johnny Nitro was reinvented as John Morrisson, and they dedicated a whole match to him basically being in demo mode?
Natalya’s ringwear is like what normal people wear for Halloween
Well, after a whole lot of effort on her part, Paige has finally been recognised as a douche. After, you know, beating the shit out of two other people when her first physical assault just…just didn’t get her the notoriety she wanted.
She comes down to the ring, and Natalya is going to be in a match with her. And, in her interview, Natalya admits she has no proof who attacked her. So…wait, wait…someone who is, for the purpose of this show, trained to fight, wasn’t even able to identify her assailant when she got attacked? I mean…you had no way of knowing if she looked, sounded or smelled like Paige? This is worse than when Shawn Michaels had to enhance video footage to realise that it was Triple H who jumped him, after Triple H had Pedigree’d him the week before. You know, after being best friends for years. Jesus.
Well, Paige superkicks the shit out of Natalya to start things off, although I really can’t be sure that it was Paige, obviously. Beatdown commences, with Paige throat-stomping Nat in the corner. Paige comes off the ropes, but runs right into the Neidhart clothesline, then takes a German suplex from Natalya.
Suddenly, Team BAD show up, and Sasha and Naomi start mocking Natalya. Paige scores with the Rampaige off the distraction, and that’s the match.
Not that much of anything. 2 Stars.
Team BAD get into the ring, and I really feel like Natalya’s been having a really terrible return since getting back. Tamina hits a superkick, and the ref is just…watching all of this happen. Dude, you should actually be doing something about this. Everyone hits their finishers, and I guess we’ve got a feud going. Well, we wanted Sasha.
Ambrose is backstage once again, and spots Ryback working out. Ryback then approaches Dean and says he wants in. Wait…did Ryback know that Ambrose was going to be in that room, and decided to lift weights before a wrestling match? Has he been stalking Ambrose, dragging a barbell along with him? I have so many questions.
It’s Alberto Del Rio time, and I hate this Amexico or Mexirica or Mexamerica or whatever the fuck it’s called more than any other gimmick going on right now. But it’s worth it to have Del Rio back, even if he does look like Don Eladio from Breaking Bad. Except he’s facing R-Truth: wait, I found a gimmick I hate more, and it’s R-Truth.
Del Rio jumps Truth and starts stomping him, but takes a calf kick and some clotheslines. Gordbuster suplex to Del Rio, but Alberto catches him with an armbar takedown and a clothesline. He heads up to the top, but Truth catches him, only for Del Rio to hang him up in the Tree of Woe. Stomp to the inverted R-Truth ends the match.
Well, that was about as short as I’d want an R-Truth match to be. 1.5 Stars.
It’s the return of Boo Dallas! He’s trying to scare Mark Henry, and actually succeeds, but then Henry knocks him out. Perfection.
Face of Beard Challenge
It’s main event time, and all six competitors get to the ring as Bray watches from the entrance ramp. Ryback starts off against Harper, running him over with a shoulder block. Harper comes back with a kick, slides out of a bodyslam and gets shoved down to the mat. Harper tags in Stroman, and I love this as a tactic: just tag the guy in every so often and then pick up the scraps when he’s done. Although I think we’re about to see two guys give each other concussions at the same time.
The Big Guy punches the Bigger Guy, then tries a suplex, but gets driven into the corner. Stroman manages to not botch a suplex, which I’m forced to say is impressive on his part, and we go to a break so we can keep all the subsequent botches off-screen.
When we come back, Rowan bodyslams Ryback and tags Harper in to hit a plancha. Ryback gets beat down in the corner, and Rowan comes back with a snapmare and a sleeper. Back elbow puts the Big Guy down, but Ryback comes back with a big-time spinebuster. He needs a hot tag, and gets one to Ambrose!
Dean comes in like a house of fire, hitting a running forearm and a bulldog to Rowan before dropkicking Harper off the apron and diving out onto him. He low-bridges Rowan out, and then drops an elbow on both of them from the top! Ambrose sends Rowan back into the ring, kicks Harper in the face and jumps over Erick Rowan…but gets nailed with a big kick.
Stroman calls for the tag, and misses a charge at Ambrose, blasting the ringpost shoulder-first. Dean tags in Cesaro as Harper also gets a tag, and this shit’s on. Cesaro clotheslines Harper and boots Erick in the face. Running Uppercuts hit Harper twice, and then Cesaro dropkicks him off the top rope and hits a flying knee! Running Uppercut to Rowan against the barricade, then to Harper!
Back in the ring, he hits a boot to the face of Harper and climbs up. Harper tries to catch him, but Cesaro leaps out of his way and hits a torture rack slam for two! Crossface is then applied, with Harper in the centre of the ring. The big man rolls over, but Cesaro goes with the momentum, keeping the hold on! Stroman drags Cesaro out of the ring, but Ambrose leaps out of the ring, staggering him, and then Ryback hits him like a fucking cruise missile, blasting both men right over the announce table!
Crossbody to Harper gets a near-fall, and then the crossface is locked in again! Rowan breaks it up, before Ambrose clotheslines the fuck out of him! Superkick from Harper to Ambrose! Corkscrew uppercut to Harper from Cesaro! The crowd is going nuts, and it’s CESARO FUCKING SWING TIME!! Oh shit, wait, Stroman just flipped the fucking announce table; Bray smacks Cesaro out of the ref’s view, and Harper scores the win with a discus clothesline.
Definitely the best match of the night. Harper is a great worker; they used Stroman extremely sparingly and effectively and Rowan was decent filler. Ryback, like Stroman, was used to really good effect – especially with that fucking tackle to Braun near the climax – Ambrose was stellar as always, and Cesaro was goddamn magnificent. I hope the Wyatt Family keeps making these challenges, because this was a seriously good main event with a fun, show-length lead-up. 3.5 Stars.
It’s a Halloween show, so I went in not expecting much. In most cases, that was the right instinct, but the main event more than made up for it. I’m actually pretty interested in this Wyatt programme, so that also had a factor. 7/10.
Tags: Boo Dallas, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, dudley boyz, Jerry Lawler, Kane, Kevin Owens, Lucha Dragons, miz, naomi, natalya neidhart, New Day, Paige, Renee Young, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, ryback, sasha banks, Sheamus, smackdown, Summer Rae, tamina, The Ascension, The Undertaker, Tyler Breeze, Wade Barrett, Wyatt Family