It’s me again, here on another Thursday night when I could be…well, actually not that much, because I live in a seriously dead town. I mean…I could be watching South Park, I guess. Or finally making a start on The Sopranos. Shit, I could be working on my PhD even.
But hey, SmackDown!
What’s the betting Ben Carson gets confused and declares war on Mexamerica in one of that moron’s more lucid fucking moments?
We start things off with the arrival of Alberto Del Rio and his fake nation. Man, I’m glad I got to write that. Zeb gets on the microphone and says he’s not in a good mood, and we need to listen. This is kind of like those lectures my Granddad used to give me, only Zeb’s talking about a place that doesn’t exist. So…it’s sort of like the lectures my Granddad used to give me after his accident.
Apparently hate is banned in Mexamerica, so that does sound like a magical fucking place. Unless it’s a police state and there’s such a thing as thought crime. Oh shit, does Adam Rose have citizenship there? Zeb says there’s hate in all of us, and is he trying to rile us up or make us introspective? Because I can’t do both at once.
Del Rio is going to be facing Neville, and we’ve really not been taking the foreign policies of the sovereign nation of Mexamerica into account yet here at Inside Pulse. This is the second of two clashes that Del Rio has had with Neville, which hints at some definite tension between Mexamerica and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Whether this tension has its origins in trade, racial prejudice or the fact that Vince McMahon is paying these two to fight is uncertain, but if it’s the third one, then we can’t ignore the fact that Vince is playing both sides with the apparent aim of national collapse, that psychotic son of a bitch.
Neville and Del Rio lock up, with Alberto backing the Geordie into the corner and releasing him. Del Rio then goes for a test of strength, but then lashes out with some kicks and then hits a suplex. Neville fires back, but eats a snapmare and kick to the back for two. Del Rio climbs up onto the second rope, pounding fists into Neville’s face. Neville comes off the ropes to hit a kick to Del Rio, then hits a headscissors takedown, with a standing moonsault for two! Del Rio just kills Neville’s growing momentum out of nowhere with the backstabber, and we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Del Rio is stomping on Neville, then wrenches back on the younger man’s head. Neville gets to his feet, but Del Rio stays on the offence. He runs into a back elbow, then a boot, then Neville slides out of a bodyslam, kicking Del Rio off his feet! Del Rio bails to the outside, and Neville pursues, moonsaulting out onto him from the top rope!
After a brief period with both men down, Neville tosses Alberto back into the ring and follows him. Del Rio catches him with a backbreaker attempt, which Neville avoids, but he still gets shoved into the corner. An enzuigiri by Del Rio misses, and a spike-a-rana almost pins Del Rio! Neville heads up to the top, dives over a rising Del Rio and then heads for the corner again. This time, however, Alberto catches him in the tree of woe, then hits his finisher for the win.
This match was alright, but I hate Del Rio’s new finisher already. Someone on the roster has to use the superkick to actually win a match; his cross armbreaker is far, far better. Why the hell are we being subjected to this contrived bullshit? 2 Stars.
Post-match, Del Rio nails Neville with a superkick and then applies the cross armbreaker, because the WWE is watching me and hates me.
Suddenly, Jack Swagger’s music hits, and Jack charges the ring. The two stare each other down as everyone who remembers their WrestleMania 29 match commits seppuku. Neville’s going to do it too, but because his career has plummeted so far that he just got saved by Jack fucking Swagger. Del Rio backs away from the conflict, and let the discussions begin on whether this makes Jack Swagger a racist.
For the purposes of me having to review less Jack Swagger matches, yes: yes he is. Sing out, ye Social Justice Warriors. His matches are a breach of human rights anyway.
The facepaint the Usos wear really needs to read: ‘JIMMY’ and ‘JEY’
The Ascension makes its way to the ring, sans Stardust, to be fed to the returning Usos. On the one hand, I’m irritated that the WWE has abandoned whatever it has planned for the whole ‘Cosmic Wasteland’ stable in order to job two-thirds of it out tonight, but on the other hand, I’m thrilled that the WWE has abandoned whatever it has planned for the whole ‘Cosmic Wasteland’ stable in order to job two-thirds of it out tonight. So I’m conflicted, really.
Jimmy gets his arm wrenched by Viktor, then counters that into a headlock, gets shot off the ropes and…breakdances for a moment and then chops Viktor. Inspired. Konan interferes, allowing Viktor to dump him to the outside where Konan can kick him in the face.
Back in the ring, Konan tags in and hits a big spinebuster to Jimmy, getting two, then locks in a headlock. Jimmy manages to catch Konan with a kick, then hits a dragon whip. Jey gets the tag, and begins kicking the shit out of the now-legal Viktor. Samoan Drop puts him down, then a Samoan wrecking ball. Konan interferes, tossing Jey into a corner, and then trying to put Jimmy down too. He takes a double superkick, as does Viktor, and then Jey hits a splash for the win.
Your standard ‘he’s back’ soapy titwank. At least they are back, so we can start having tag team matches without the Dudley Boyz. 2 Stars.
There’s a lot of beard in that corner
We get a recap of the Wyatts beating two forty/fifty year old dudes whilst having a four-to-one advantage, like nobody else could do that. And now it’s time for a traditional Survivor Series match, because they’re going to kill this concept before it’s even time for it. They’ll be facing two tag teams less important than the Usos, those teams being the Prime Time Players and the Lucha Dragons.
Darren Young starts off against Erick Rowan and gets taken down fast. Young hits a forearm, then runs into a shoulder tackle. Harper tags in, runs into a boot and eats and enzuigiri. Guys, just tag in Stroman. It’s like the winning strategy. O’Neill tags in and drops Harper with a suplex and a leg drop, then tags Young back in. Darren hits a neckbreaker, then smacks away at Harper before getting freaked out by Stroman’s ridiculously stupid face. And you know what? He gets a pass for that.
Superkick drops Young, then Bray comes in and stomps him before tagging in Rowan, who applies a sleeper and then knocks Darren down before tagging in Harper. Guys, you know how this is an elimination match? Do you want to fucking eliminate a guy? Rowan tags back in, dropping an elbow to Young and beating him down before bringing Bray back in. Bray drops him with a clothesline, and then tags in Stroman.
Young hangs Stroman up on the ropes, then hits some shoulders to the guns. Stroman catches him on the top rope, chokes him out and dumps him on the outside. Young doesn’t make his way back into the ring to break the count, and I can only imagine that this means that Stroman has developed some kind of super-sleeper under laboratory conditions, because I’ve never seen Randy Orton knock a guy out with any kind of sleeper and I’ve seen enough of them to know that.
Titus goes out to check on Darren, and Stroman jumps him because fuck Titus O’Neill’s amazing parenting and inspirational speeches. When we come back from a commercial break, the Wyatts are now beating down Titus. O’Neill does rally for a second against Harper, but Harper tackles him and tags in Bray, who gets taken to the ground by a huge clothesline from Titus. Just to remind you, Bray Wyatt has the power of the Undertaker and Kane inside him, but just sold a clothesline from Titus O’Neill. I swear to God, WWE.
Titus tags out, and Sin Cara gets into the ring, cracking a kick to the skull of Harper then hitting some headscissors and a springboard moonsault before diving out onto Rowan! Holy shit, Sin Cara actually looks awesome when big guys sell for him. A dropkick knocks Bray off the apron, which would absolutely happen to the Undertaker, and then Stroman’s hideous face distracts Sin Cara, but he still hits a DDT before Rowan interferes. Kalisto ejects Rowan from the match whilst Sin Cara gets to his feet. Harper reverses a hurricanrana and nails Sin Cara with the Discus Clothesline for the pin.
Kalisto flies around the ring, knocking Harper around until he runs right into him and gets thrown halfway across the ring. Rowan tags in and hits a pumphandle backbreaker before fisting Kalisto (I’m not going to refer to it as being anything else). Suddenly, Kalisto hits a tornado DDT, then hurricanranas Rowan out of the ring. Bray distracts the referee as Kalisto crawls over to Titus, and Harper and Stroman jump Titus because of course the unstoppable Wyatt Family needs to cheat.
Kalisto attacks, sending Rowan out of the ring, kicking Harper in the head and then dropping him with the spike-a-rana. Then Bray comes in, totally illegally, and takes a handspring-roundhouse, falling out of the ring. Shades of the fucking Undertaker, am I right? Rowan suddenly catches Kalisto with an almost-Pounce, and a pumphandle slam finishes Kalisto.
Titus O’Neill is left against all four Wyatts, and this is hopefully the closest thing you’ll ever see to the cast of Duck Dynasty doing what they’ve always wanted to do. Rowan starts things off, headbutting Titus, who powers his way out before going after all the Wyatts, because every second he stays conscious is basically a blessing and a miracle. He takes down Harper with a bodyslam, and I feel like Titus would not have been in this situation if he’d had partners who were actually on his level.
Harper gets squashed in the corner, then powerslammed for two. Really, Titus should just grab a chair, because he can either take a loss flat on his back or by caving in Erick Rowan’s skull, and that’s almost not even a choice. Clash of the Titus catches Harper, but Rowan and Bray pile on Titus, delivering a beatdown. Braun stays out, because if there’s one guy on the roster who could botch a beatdown, it’s Babyface McPubebeard. Also, if the referee had any guts whatsoever, Bray and Rowan would have just been eliminated; Titus could then cover Harper and…actually, get squashed by Stroman. Shit, there is literally no way Titus can win this match.
Stroman then tags in, and you can hear the disgust in Booker T’s voice as he commentates this Deep South wet dream (referring to the racist undertones, not to Stroman – just so we’re absolutely clear on that point). Titus actually staggers Stroman, but then runs into a clothesline. The sleeper hold knocks O’Neill out (listen closely and you can hear Randy Orton crying), then Bray tags in to hit Sister Abigail and get the pin.
Seems like a few bad decisions were made there. First, if Bray is crazy-powerful now, then he should be portrayed as being different, not the same old Bray Wyatt we’ve known and tolerated for several years. Two, you could have done without burying not one but two tag teams. Three, Braun Stroman’s parents, for looking like whatever they look like and deciding to bring a child into the world. Fucking savages. 2 Stars.
Renee is backstage to interview Dean Ambrose, and every interview they have now that I know that they’re a couple just comes off as her trying to get him to have a serious conversation about where they’re going and Dean refusing to admit that he’s not in college any more. Dean babbles for a while, and then Kevin Owens shows up and demands that Ambrose stops annoying Renee. Whoa, dude: neckbeard’s not a good look on you. Dean makes it obvious he wants the IC Title and the two of them are having a match later tonight.
Also, Kevin Owens looks weirdly small next to Dean.
The best lone example of the King of the Ring curse
King Barrett makes his way to the ring, meaning that there are three former King of the Ring winners at ringside. Ryback shows up, and we see a promo where he looks like he’s been edging for approximately nine whole hours, and it worries me slightly that that’s the first simile I came up with.
Barrett and Ryback lock up, with Ryback backing Barrett into the ropes before they separate, then Barrett chucks him through the ropes, knocks him out of the ring and bashes him off two of the steel ring posts. Whoa, did that just happen?
Back in the ring, a big boot knocks Ryback down for two. Ryback muscles back, but gets caught in the Winds of Change for another two count. Sleeper hold is applied, and I just refuse to believe that Barrett doesn’t manage to knock Ryback out with that move. Ryback manages to turn that into Shellshocked, and wins.
Okay, I think that was three entire moves of offence from Ryback, and he won. Not sure what to make of that. 2 Stars.
We recap Team BAD giving Natalya another reason to regret coming back to active competition, and they’re backstage with Renee Young. It’s kind of creepy how proud these three look of themselves right after seeing a video of themselves committing three-on-one assault to a helpless opponent.
Sasha says they were just giving Natalya the attention she wanted, coming off like the worst kind of parent. And apparently Natalya issued a challenge via Facebook (and I’m surprised that every current feud hasn’t begun this way) against the leader of Team BAD. Team BAD claim that they know what Natalya’s up to, and Sasha implies that she’s the leader. Tamina and Naomi look a bit put out, and I don’t know why Tamina ever thought that she was the leader. I mean, I don’t even know what it is Tamina does, superkicks aside.
Superkicks are all she’s good for
Team BAD make their way out to the ring, and to compound injury with insult, Natalya got the jobber’s entrance. Both Sasha and Naomi start arguing…and Tamina gets in the ring. NO! NO! SHE DOESN’T EVEN TALK! STOP ENABLING HER!
Natalya, infuriated at this level of BS, goes right after Tamina, who shoves her way out of a headlock, then busts out of a waistlock before wrenching the arm. Natalya reverses, but gets shoved to the floor again. Sasha distracts Natalya, then Tamina surprises her with a bodyslam before dropping a knee on her.
Tamina misses a leg drop, eating a dropkick to the face, but Naomi distracts Natalya long enough for Tamina to score with a superkick. She chokes Nat on the ropes, and Naomi scores a cheap shot as the referee’s distracted. Natalya breaks out of Tamina’s hold, but then gets beheaded with a clothesline. Hard Irish whip sends Natalya to the floor, but a charge by Tamina sends her running into a Discus Clothesline! Natalya tries to apply the Sharpshooter, gets distracted by Sasha again (you’d think at some point she’d be able to tune people out) and takes a huge Samoan Drop.
Tamina heads up for the Third-Degree-Murder-Splash, but jumps right into a pair of boots and gets rolled up for three.
Well, I’m sure Natalya feels like a roll-up victory just made up for everything. Seriously, you could have had her just beat the shit out of Tamina; I thought that’s why Tamina had the match in the first place. Also, if Tamina can’t do a splash convincingly, and she absolutely can’t, then maybe she just shouldn’t. That was Vickie Guerrero-levels of high-flying. 2 Stars.
Never seen a guy keep his nuts there before
Replay of the Survivor Series match from RAW, and now it’s time for Owens vs. Ambrose. The two men lock up, with Owens locking the arm. Ambrose rolls through, applies an arm lock, and Owens grabs the rope for the break. Headlock takeover by Ambrose, but Owens counters with a headlock and then yells ‘my headlock’s better than yours!’ Ah, there’s the Steen banter I’ve been looking for. Arm drags from Ambrose, and Owens ducks out of the ring as we go to a break.
Back in the ring, Ambrose has Owens’ arm locked, torturing the hand. Owens nails Dean with a forearm, beating him in the corners with fists and chops. Dean ducks a chop, hitting some of his own, then blasts Owens with a crossbody. A clothesline sends Owens out to the outside, and Ambrose follows him, chucking him right into the barricade.
Owens escapes into the ring, and hangs Dean up on the ropes before hurling him into the barricade in return, then waits on him in the ring. Ambrose gets back in on six, taking a big clothesline and a back senton from Owens. Sleeper hold by Owens, somehow not knocking Ambrose out cold in four seconds. Dean fights out, but comes off the ropes into a gutbuster.
Owens heads up to the second rope, getting caught by Ambrose, and Dean scores with a superplex! Ambrose gets up, hitting a running forearm and then stunning Owens with a tornado DDT for two. Deans heads up high, hitting his standing elbow drop from the top for two. Owens sends Dean off the ropes, catches his crossbody attempt, and slams him for another near-fall.
Owens tries a superplex of his own, but Dean clubs him away and hits a missile dropkick. Owens hangs Dean up on the ropes, then goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Ambrose hops over his head, eats a superkick, and then hits his Lunatic Clothesline! Dean sets up Dirty Deeds with a kick to the gut, but Owens makes out that it was a nut shot. The ref calls for the DQ, because Kevin Owens is the most trustworthy dude ever.
Best match of the night, even with a non-clean finish. Loving this feud already. 3 Stars.
Dean launches himself through the ropes, and throws Owens back into the ring. Owens rolls back out, and Dean dives out on him again before Kevin flees the arena.
This was an entertaining enough SmackDown, but the matches were, on the whole, of fairly poor quality. Definite come-down after a sweet run of shows. 6/10.
Tags: Alberto Del Rio, Booker T, dean ambrose, Jack Swagger, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Owens, King Barrett, natalya neidhart, Neville, Renee Young, Rich Brennan, ryback, smackdown, Tamina Snuka, Team BAD, The Ascension, The Lucha Dragons, The Prime Time Players, the usos, The Wyatt Family, Zeb Coulter