Buonasera, everyone. It’s me, your humble scribe, David Spain, and as it’s Thursday night and I’ve got a big-ass glass of wine in my hand, that can only mean one thing: SmackDown!
Oh wow: not only has my gym’s temporary closure and Sheamus’ new reign as World Champion put me on a suicide watch, but it’s the Thanksgiving episode of SmackDown? Holy fucking shit, I’m actually going to kill myself, and two thirds of that is the WWE’s fault. I mean, I can understand: I talk a lot of smack about this company and its ridiculous levels of bullshit and poor writing, but I think driving me to taking my own life is a little harsh. And to do it with Sheamus of all people: I almost want to not kill myself out of protest.
Oh, and we’re opening with a Roman Reigns promo? This is just sinister. Oh God, he’s talking about his childhood with the Usos. And just like every other wrestler ever, Roman Reigns and the Usos used to wrestle each other as kids. I really hope this somehow segues into the story of his first homosexual, incestuous threesome, because that’s the only reason I can imagine he’s baring his soul like this.
Damn it, not only does Sheamus’ music hit, but it interrupts Roman before he gets to any of the sexy bits. Sheamus tells Reigns that he’s been talking about being the World Champion longer than he was World Champion. He then lists a whole load of things longer than Roman Reigns’ tenure as champ, and apparently it takes Sheamus five minutes to read the first page of a book. I mean, he’s Irish, so he can’t read. And even if he could, he’d be too drunk anyway.
The audience boos a hell of a lot, but that might just be because it’s Thanksgiving and neither of these guys are American. I mean, I’ve been keeping an eye on the news, and apparently one of your presidential hopefuls is, like, a massive fascist. Sheamus laughs about how Roman lost the strap, and he really makes a big thing about Reigns spearing Triple H. So, what, if Roman had shaken Triple H’s hand, Sheamus wouldn’t have cashed in? What an odd logic.
Roman demands that Sheamus gets into the ring so he can straight-up murder his ass, and God bless him for trying to save us all from paying money to watch Roman vs. Sheamus. And it’s a mark of how awful WWE is right now that they’re booking a fight between a Samoan and an Irishman, and it’s still somehow boring. Sheamus doesn’t go for it, so Roman gives a monologue about what he plans to do to Sheamus at TLC. Spoiler alert: it involves hitting him with a chair and putting him through a table. What kind of moron just reveals a winning strategy like that?
You think the Dudleys are scared of you, Bray? They’re from the Attitude Era.
The Dudley Boyz show up, apparently still embroiled in their feud against the Wyatts. Considering they beat the shit out of those bearded whackjobs before Bray had to cheat to win, I can see why they’d come back for more. Bubba promises that the Wyatts will ‘taste Dudley Wood’, and if I was the Wyatt Family I think I’d be no-showing the match after that little threat.
But apparently Bray’s braver than I am in the face of vaguely-rapey promises, and they show up. Erick Rowan and Braun Stroman are the two competitors, because fuck you for wanting a good match, SmackDown viewers.
Rowan charges at D-Von, who definitely needs to bring back his preacher gimmick for this feud, and gets smacked around. To be honest, if the Dudley Boyz brought Spike back for this, I’d fucking pop. Double suplex as Bubba tags in, and Erick tags in Stroman, and I don’t get why he doesn’t just start every single match, never tag out, and end it in thirty seconds. And to those people who say ‘that’d be boring’, this is boring, and it’s going to be a lot longer.
Braun goes for a test of strength, and then a suckerpunch, because…he forgot that he’s a superstrong freak of nature? Bubba Ray ducks the punch and slaps on a headlock. Stroman struggles, but he can’t break the hold. Bubba then wrenches the arm before getting thrown away, but that much offence against Stroman puts him in the World Title chase as far as I’m concerned.
Clothesline to Bubba, who reels back into the Wyatt corner, then elbows Rowan in the face, because Bubba Ray’s entire character is just: ‘be a dick to everyone’. He dodges a Braun charge, hits two punches and gets clubbed to the ground. Harper then attacks the arm illegally, because he also forgot that Braun Stroman is an undefeated, superstrong freak of nature.
Back from a break, Stroman is working over Bubba’s arm. Why?! You can make people pass out in a sleeper in ten seconds! Then he tags out to Rowan. Why?! Bubba runs right over Rowan, then tags in D-Von, who takes Rowan down and hits a big knee to Stroman. Rowan is taken down with a shoulder block, and Stroman and Bubba both interfere. Both Dudleys tackle Stroman through the ropes, then hit a reverse 3D to Rowan, and now it’s time to GET THE TABLES!!
D-Von and Bubba set up a table, thereby coming off as way more psychotic than the Wyatts, who were more or less obeying the rules of the match, and then Bubba takes a superkick from Harper, who couldn’t stand by and watch such a senseless act of violence.
I’m weirdly amused by the Dudley Boyz only wrestling a certain amount of time before they’re unable to resist getting the tables. Other than that, this was pretty dull. 1.5 Stars.
Stroman chokes out D-Von, then Harper and Rowan chokeslam Bubba through the table. So, the Wyatts are going after every team from the Attitude Era. Holy fuck, can we get a coked-out-of-his-mind Jeff Hardy and a just-regularly-out-of-his-mind Matt Hardy to do a programme against them next? And then the Two-Man Power Trip?
The New Day do a Black Friday promo, and that was definitely intentional. Admittedly, they fucking kill it. Also, what kind of Satanic magic is Xavier Woods using on his hair?
Clearly the ropes disapproved of Paige’s tactics.
Here comes Paige, and apparently performing a submission hold with a limb under the bottom rope isn’t legal. If that is true, then I’ve seen a whole lot of WWE referees not do their jobs properly.
Paige and Becky lock up, with Becky going for a quick roll-up, then two armdrags before kipping up. Apparently Paige’s heel gimmick involves screaming way more than she did before, and it’s already way too annoying. She ducks out onto the apron, then charges Becky, but gets taken down and eats some leg drops for a two count.
Paige tries to back off again, managing to catch Lynch with a kick. She hurls the Irish lass into the turnbuckle, following that with a knee to the face. Fallaway slam puts Becky down hard as we go to a break.
When we come back, Paige is smashing kicks into Becky’s face on the apron, then locks in a hold, wrenching back on Becky’s arms with a boot to the back of the head. Becky tries to escape, but gets pulled head-first to the mat, and Paige continues to wail away on her before using the ropes to stretch her some more.
Becky’s slammed back-first onto the mat, then gets her arms locked again. Big knee to the face in the corner, but Becky almost rolls Paige up off a missed kick. Lynch takes full advantage, hitting a bunch of clotheslines and an exploder suplex. Paige counters, gets rolled up, and Becky looks for the Disarmer; Paige quickly makes it to the ropes, throws Becky throat-first into them, and then rolls her up. You can see her trying to get her feet on the ropes, but she’s too far away; the pin still gets three.
Aside from the botch at the end, that was pretty good. Kind of annoyed at how Becky, with all of her history and experience, is being used as a ‘look how good this other Diva is’ opponent. 2.5 Stars.
Oh no: they’re showing lots of food backstage. I just ate a massive bowl of gumbo: this isn’t good for me. Team BAD are checking out the chow with Kofi, and then Langston rushes in, wearing a chef’s hat and apron, because of course he is. Team BAD seem to be really good pals with the New Day, and I’ll ship the hell out of that. They say that they’re thankful for being the champs, and start dancing and chanting; Team BAD just go with it.
Suddenly, Slater appears, and I guess he thought that, with all of the food around here, this was catering. Seriously, I thought he was dead. He made Slater Slaw, and there’s a bandage in it (it’s not even blue, which is a big kitchen health and safety violation). Then Adam Rose appears, with a pot of rabbit stew, traumatising the New Day, and then the Ascension arrive. They brought desolation and destruction, and the New Day say that’s bullshit: props to them for enforcing the potluck rules. Sweet Christ, Xavier is dressed as the Gobbledy Gooker. I think the New Day just bought about two weeks of goodwill and passes from me.
Oh Yay. This again.
Here’s Alberto Del Rio, and he’s going to face Jack Swagger in a WrestleMania 29 rematch. Yeah, I said it. And is Jack still a jingoistic dickhole, or is it alright as long as he only hates imaginary countries?
Well, let’s get this bullshit over with. Jack and Del Rio lock up against the ropes, and Jack starts throwing hands, shoulder-barging Alberto in the corner. Swagger almost gets a roll-up, but eats a kick to the gut before tackling Alberto, then takes a DDT for two.
Sleeper hold locked in by Alberto, then he smashes Swagger’s head off the mat. Del Rio goes to the second rope, hitting a flying stomp. He then throws some hands at Jack’s head before getting slammed onto the mat, then Jack follows him out of the ring, clotheslining him into the timekeeper’s area. Jack then spots Zeb and approaches him, and are we about to see a heartwarming moment of a man asking his former mentor if he’ll come and be a racist with him. And then Del Rio hits him with a chair.
I’d compare it to their WrestleMania match, but I can’t remember a single detail about it. So…meh. 2 Stars.
In the ring, Jack takes the chair off Del Rio and smacks him with it a couple of times. I know that I’m not thankful that this is a feud.
The Usos are backstage, and then Xavier comes up in his turkey get-up, wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving. The Usos then swear vengeance, which seems like an assholish line of thought to me. Then again, I keep wondering why Draco Malfoy and the Trio were never mature enough to patch things up and make a new start, so I’m clearly not great at getting into this mindset.
So, is this movie about The Miz and Paige both trying to be a mall Santa’s helper? Because that actually seems like a worse job than professional wrestler. And, judging by what happens in this trailer, it comes with the exact same amount of injuries and projected lack of mobility in later life.
I’m not a Chicken; You’re a Turkey
The Lucha Dragons make their way down to the ring, and then the New Day, with Xavier still providing a willing host for the Gobbledy Gooker. Kalisto and Kingston tie up, trading waistlocks and wristlocks. Kalisto tags in Sin Cara and they hit a double-team senton. Kingston breaks away, hitting a hurricanrana from the second rope, only to get rolled up. He tags out to Langston, who beheads Sin Cara with a clothesline.
The New Day dance together, and Sin Cara takes advantage of the distraction to dropkick Big E out of the ring and then dive on him. Kofi manages to distract Sin Cara, and Langston smashes him off the apron as we go to a break.
Back to the action, and the New Day are hitting their stomps. Big kick to the stomach from Kofi, then Big E hits a splash. Good thing that wasn’t Kalisto, because that would be the fucking match right there. Sin Cara dodges a charge, leaving Big E to blast the steel post, and Kalisto comes in off the tag with a flying seated senton. Corkscrew springboard to Kingston, then a spike-a-rana, and a springboard kick to Langston. Kofi rolls Kalisto up , putting his feet on the ropes, and then the Gobbledy Gooker knocks them off the ropes, allowing Kalisto to hit Salida Del Sol for the ring.
Not a bad match. I love the tag title picture at the minute. 2.5 Stars.
The New Day don’t get what’s going on, until one of the Usos comes out with a tied-up Xavier Woods, revealing the other to be in the costume. The Usos and Lucha Dragons take care of the New Day, with the Gobbledy Gooker hitting the Samoan Splash.
Renee is backstage with Ambrose, asking him how he feels about slamming right back down to the mid-card. Dean seems to feel alright about the whole thing, and seems to be pretty confident.
This I can be thankful for.
Kevin Owens comes out to check out the competition, and Tyler Breeze, as they all make their way to the ring. The bell rings, and Dolph chases Tyler, clotheslining him out of the ring before Ambrose rolls him up. Pair of headlock takeovers by both men, and when Ziggler scoots out of the ring, Breeze nails him; he gets dived on by Dean, who then gets blasted by Dolph as we go to a commercial break.
Back from the break, Ambrose is trying to superplex Dolph, until Breeze breaks up the whole thing, stomping on Dean. Kevin Owens is just bullying Rich Brennan, and I say let him get on with that, especially considering his man-crush on Booker T. Breeze stops Dean from hitting his Lunatic Clothesline, with Dolph hitting a superkick to Ambrose’s skull from the outside, then hanging Breeze up on the ropes.
Neckbreaker to Tyler, then a big elbow drop. Dropkick to Tyler, then Dolph catches a flying Ambrose with a kick to the gut and then a Fame Asser. Ziggler wants to channel Shawn Michaels, but Ambrose counters, catapulting him into the turnbuckles. Breeze clotheslines Ambrose, who rebounds and clocks Ziggler with a Lunatic Clothesline. Breeze takes out Dolph, and then gets taken out by a flying elbow from Ambrose.
Dean ducks a clothesline from Dolph, and both men collide with Tyler Breeze. All men are down, working their way to their feet, and Kevin Owens should absolutely rush the ring and attack everyone, thus making no-one the challenger. Ambrose catches another superkick, smacking Ziggler away and dropkicking him. Breeze gets the same treatment, but hits Ambrose with a superkick, and then a eats a superkick from Dean for two.
Ambrose misses a dive at Ziggler, and Dolph manages to hit the ZigZag, only for Breeze to break it up. Breeze wants a suplex; Dolph counters with a roll-up; Breeze rolls Dolph up and hits the Beauty Shout. Ambrose breaks up the Unprettier, hitting Dirty Deeds on Breeze to win.
Without a doubt, the match of the night, and I’m looking forward to this feud more than most. Fast-paced throughout. 3 Stars.
Ambrose and Owens have themselves a little stare-down at ringside, and Dean shoves Owens. Kevin gets in Dean’s face, but stops short of attacking him, apparently aware of the fact that Dean’s an immoral psychopath.
Not a bad SmackDown, compared to a lot of holiday episodes. Most of the matches were uninspired, but the New Day and the main event were on point. 6/10.
Tags: Alberto Del Rio, Becky Lynch, Booker T, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Owens, Paige, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, Sheamus, smackdown, The Dudley Boyz, The Lucha Dragons, The New Day, the usos, The Wyatt Family, Tyler Breeze, Zeb Coulter