Well, happy December. I hope you’ve all got your advent calenders and your decorations, and that there are Christmas puddings being…baked? Stewed? No fucking idea, personally; I hate Christmas puddings, which is odd considering that it’s a dessert that you’re supposed to douse in hard alcohol and set fire to. It sounds like the kind of recipe you’d get from a a mass murderer.
But enough of the jolly Yuletide cliches: there’s a few more weeks until Santa gets his fat arse in gear; the Virgin Mary’s still somewhere on the road to Bethlehem, heavily pregnant and probably seriously pissed off with God for making her go through the actual nine month pregnancy, considering he can create people out of raw nothing – just make a baby, you loon – which means that we need to concentrate on other things.
Like, say, SmackDown!
We start things off with a League of Nations recap, and since Sheamus has become World Champion, I’ve switched from wine to whisky as the official drink of the Spain SmackDown Report. Partially because I’ve got a lot of Irish whisky kicking about the place (definitely the best verb to use in the case of Irish whisky) and I appreciate the appropriateness, but mostly because Sheamus is the WWE World Heavyweight Fucking Champion (I literally added the ‘Fucking’ just for him), and that’s not a reality I can resist trying to alter.
Roman Reigns is in the ring, along with the Usos and Dean Ambrose. So, if the midcard posse is now the League of Nations, then are these guys representing Samoa and the seceded state of Ohio? Roman asks if anyone’s here with their family, and he says that he is too. You know, except for the Rock. And every other Samoan wrestler (it’s not racist if it’s fucking true). He tells the Usos that they’re not just cousins to him, and is this a continuation of the hints of gay, incestuous activity between these three? Because it had better be. Oh, but he says that they’re like brothers. I mean, some might say that makes the sex even more deplorable, but sure.
Roman then introduces Dean, who gets the face pop of the night without actually doing anything. Reigns says that they’ve been friends for a long time, and it was kind of sad when Cena hung around with popular people to try and look better; at least when Roman does it, you can actually believe he would be spending time with these guys anyway. The crowd chants ‘hug it out’, because Philly is apparently always up for some bromance.
Reigns gets serious, and implies that he isn’t to blame for all of his problems. He also says that the League of Nations can’t help Sheamus at TLC, during their no-disqualifications match, because he’s apparently an idiot. Roman then calls Sheamus and the League of Nations out (if I type that stable name enough, I’ll start getting History class flashbacks).
Sheamus and the League of Mostly-Real Nations show up on the ramp, and Sheamus starts joking around. Man, I can’t wait for this lot to start imposing economic sanctions on Roman and the Usos, with written warnings of armed intervention that they’ll never follow up on. The crowd chants ‘USA’, and Sheamus says that they’ve all got their green cards, except for Rusev, causing the Bulgarian to corpse just a little.
Sheamus mocks the amount of time Roman held the title for, and Reigns is unamused, telling him to get into the ring so that he can hatefuck him to death. I mean, it’s implied. Sheamus declines the offer, but tells Roman that there is a match set between him, Del Rio, Rusev and Barrett against the Usos and Ambrose and Reigns.
The New Day arrive, because this is the only way we’re going to get good promos in the main event programme. Xavier says that Reigns is a ruiner, whatever kind of hate-slur that is. One of the Usos tries to get them to get a fight going, but Xavier tells them that the Usos and Ambrose have to beat the New Day to earn the right to be Reigns’ tag team champions, otherwise Roman will be at a 4-on-1 disadvantage.
Neville had better check his fucking privilege
Tyler Breeze has a match against Neville, in probably the best way to find out which of them is the most irrelevant. Ziggler is on commentary, for all the good that could ever do us.
Breeze and Neville lock up; Tyler throws Neville and then poses on the top rope. They lock up again, and Breeze works the arm; Neville flips out of it, and then arm-drags Breeze before posing in the same fashion: standard Geordie banter. Breeze goes after Neville, almost gets rolled up, and then Neville locks the arm.
Cover, then Neville goes back to the arm again, until a punch to the face rattles Neville. Breeze charges, and eats a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, rolling out of the ring. Neville looks like he wants to throw himself out after him, but Summer Rae stands between him and Breeze, and he stops: that patronising, misogynist shitlord; she’s a fucking wrestler too, you know.
We take a quick break as the world despairs at Neville’s sexist stance on female athletes, and when we come back, Tyler Breeze has him in a front facelock. Neville tries to throw him off, finally managing to toss Breeze halfway across the ring. Rich Brennan says that during the break, Breeze took advantage of Neville. He means in wrestling terms, sure, but for a moment I got extremely interested in what doesn’t get broadcast by the WWE.
Neville kicks Breeze to the floor, then hits a low running dropkick before clotheslining him over the ropes and out of the ring. Neville wastes no time, hurling himself out of the ring and onto Breeze. The commentators keep saying that Neville’s had a difficult time adjusting to the WWE from NXT. Well yeah: clearly his sexism will not stand in this organisation. You’re only allowed to patronise women if you’re a McMahon or a member of Creative.
Running shooting star press gets two, and Neville stalks Breeze, but he gets elevated over the top. Neville wants a springboard; Breeze tries to counter with a dropkick, but Neville sees it coming and avoids it, running off the ropes…right into a superkick. Neville kicks out, because one case of a superkick actually ending a match this week is far too much already.
Breeze stomps Neville in the corner, then gets distracted by the referee before eating a superkick himself. Neville heads up to the top and…Breeze ducks out of the ring. Neville follows, throws Breeze back inside, but gets distracted by Summer Rae (because fuck him for not having the decency to hurl his body at her with reckless abandon), allowing Breeze to stagger Neville with a kick and hit the Unprettier for the win.
Good match, but a real blow against feminism. Fucking Neville. 3 Stars.
In other news, it turns out that someone who was occasionally raised by Ric Flair might have a slightly relaxed attitude to the rules. Booker T says ‘it’s in the DNA’, and bullshit, Booker: Charlotte is a product of her fucking environment, which she had the misfortune to be named after. Not that it’s not a nice name, but kids would have to have made a lot of jokes about that. Because what else are you going to do in North Carolina?
JoJo is backstage to interview Becky Lynch, and asks her what she thinks about Charlotte clearly being used by Ric as a host body. Becky says that at least she’s not an asshole, like Paige. The Bellas then arrive, and say that Becky needs to get the fuck out of here with her old-man-taking-over-his-daughter’s-body sci-fi bullshit: Charlotte is literally Hitler. Charlotte then arrives to spread snarky harmony, and every single one of these women literally tower over JoJo. It looks like they’re about to steal her lunch money.
The fuck, Team BAD?
It’s Brie Bella vs. Becky, in the battle to decide whether Charlotte A) is pure evil, or 2) was grown in a vat by Ric Flair to be his viable host body, and her recent cheating is a sign that the TIME OF POSSESSION IS UPON US!!
Becky waistlocks Brie, then gets her with an armdrag. Brie begs off, pretending her ankle is injured, and then Becky dropkicks her out of the ring. Brie hangs Becky up, allowing her to rock her head off the turnbuckle and hit a bulldog.
We see Team BAD backstage, and they’re holding a rainbow coloured pinata, which Naomi is about to whack with a Singapore cane. Okay, so few things: 1) Team BAD hate LGBT rights, 2) the way that Tamina is holding that pinata, it’ll be a fucking miracle if Naomi doesn’t smack her right across the face with that cane, 3) if she does or she does not manage to avoid hitting Tamina, she is definitely going to hit Sasha, who is standing directly in the cane’s path. Is this segment supposed to make us…not worry about Team BAD? Because I feel like if someone who thought that something like this was a good idea won the Divas Championship, they’d probably try to eat it.
We don’t see them take a swing, thank Christ, and Brie dropkicks Becky in the face. She screams ‘Brie Mode’, and hits a knee to the face. Rest hold o’clock, and Becky doesn’t even give me enough time to blast some kneecaps on Resident Evil 4 (I once got through an entire level during a Randy Orton match), and backs Brie into a corner. Exploder suplex gets two, and Becky looks for the Disarmer.
Brie grabs the ropes, and Becky ends up accidentally knocking her into Charlotte. Brie stumbles right back into the Disarmer, but Charlotte has apparently fucking snapped, and dives onto Brie in an attempt to make her and Nikki less-identical twins. That’s a disqualification, which is what Roman seems to think will happen if any of the League of Nations members interferes in his match at TLC, the fucking moron.
This didn’t really get going, or rather it was all crammed into not-very-much time. Still, I’m interested in the fact that Charlotte’s getting all heeled up already, and definitely happy that Becky looks like she’s going to get a title shot. 2 Stars.
Lawler blames Charlotte’s aggression on ‘the Flair in her’. No, King: when she’s found passed out in a pool of Champagne, lying on a mattress of beautiful, naked men that she’s seduced…that’s when we can blame ‘the Flair in her’.
Neville is walking around backstage, and oh dear God, he’s walking right towards a feud with Miz!! Run! RUN, YOU GEORDIE BASTARD!! Miz offers his services in giving Neville a personality. I’d rather Neville just got some help from the cast of Geordie Shore: they’d teach him to drink and tash on and swear like a fucking drunk, horny sailor.
Renee Young is backstage with Renee and Lana, and they watch Lana get injured by Ryback. Renee is a fucking disaster at finding things for couples to do together. Lana says that Ryback doesn’t know what to do with a beautiful woman. Um…clearly he does, Lana. He hits her with some stairs. Ryback dedicates his approaching murder of Ryback to Lana, because that’s how Eastern Europeans do romance. I think. I’m at a party with a Czech friend tomorrow: I’ll ask her.
Thank You New Day
Holy shit, if Big E’s announcements get any more enthusiastic…Jesus, I don’t have the hyperbole for those kind of consequences. This is your six-man tag team match, which will dictate whether Jimmy, Jey and Dean can join Roman in a four-on-four tag team match later, or whether Roman will be at a one-on-four advantage. So, naturally, I’m pulling for the New Day.
Okay, suplexing the monks in Resident Evil 4 is a lot funnier when you play Lesnar’s ‘Suplex City, bitch!’ soundbyte every time you do it. But then, I am a psychopath, and I am really getting through this whisky. I’d say that I don’t have a problem, but I do, and it’s that Sheamus is the WWE World Heavyweight Fucking Champion.
Jimmy or Jey (it doesn’t really matter unless you’re Naomi), starts off against Xavier Woods. Woods gets a headlock; Uso counters with one of his own, and gets taken over by Woods. Uso ducks Woods’ clothesline, then chops him, before tagging in Uso! Uso hits a forearm, covering Woods for two. Stomps to the New Day member before Ambrose tags in to continue the stomps, then tagging out to the other Uso in a parody of the New Day. Roman Reigns is backstage, watching the show, and I hope like hell he taught Team BAD a thing or two about proper pinata etiquette and/or homophobia.
Woods escapes with a big kick to the gut, tagging in Kofi. He takes an armdrag, but manages to rock Uso’s head off the mat. Big E tags in, taking the Uso apart in short order. Woods comes in, hitting a running DDT to Uso, then locks in a rest hold (‘Suplex City, bitch!). Dropkick from Woods, who tags in Big E for the splash, but the Uso moves, tagging in Ambrose!
Ambrose unloads on Langston, hitting him with a crossbody to take him down. He vaults over Big E’s head, taking Langston down before taking out other New Day members on the outside. Big E tries to throw him back insight, but Dean puts on the brakes and hits a clothesline. Back in the ring, Langston is able crotch Ambrose on the ropes, before Kofi tags in and shoves him out to the floor.
When we come back, Ambrose is getting fucking stomped in that corner. He manages to smack Kofi away from him, but still takes a crossbody, and then Xavier’s tagged back in. Big kick to the head rocks Ambrose, then Big E comes in to put him back down. Dean’s still fighting, although a belly-to-belly puts a hole in his defence. Ambrose manages to low-bridge Big E; he rolls through Kofi’s second crossbody attempt and hits the big clothesline!
The Uso comes in, smacking a now-legal Woods around! Kofi interferes and gets taken out, and both Usos hit the Samoan Wrecking Ball to Kofi and Woods. Langston saves Woods after a Samoan Drop, and Dean disposes of him before hurling himself out of the ring; Big E catches him and Jey leaps out onto the three of them! Xavier Woods rolls out of a back suplex, but eats a Dragon Whip! Jimmy goes for the Superfly Splash, but has to take out Kofi. In the confusion, Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise to the knee; Woods follows that up with a Shining Wizard for the win!
Sweet: that’s the only result I wanted. Match was pretty decent too. 2.5 Stars.
The Wyatts wax…creepy and lyrical, I suppose. Whatever makes them happy.
You’re going to need a better ECW Original
Do not adjust your sets: that is Tommy Dreamer and the Dudley Boyz. It’s still, like, a four on three advantage. And Dreamer got choked out. Are they bringing back Spike? They should definitely bring back Spike. From what I’ve seen of how they booked him in ECW, he could probably squash Stroman and it would look fucking badass.
The Wyatts’ ‘DEATH!’ thing starts, and then suddenly R-Truth is standing out on the stage. What…what the fuck? I’m laughing, but did that just happen? The Wyatts’ music starts again, and then the Wyatts actually come out, and Truth’s gone. Fair enough; I love a good joke as much as anyone.
This match is apparently D-Von against Bray Wyatt, so two psycho, quasi-religious folks against each other: makes sense. I feel like Reverend D-Von could absolutely have out-crazied Wyatt if he’d gone with that character.
Wyatt tries to rush D-Von, who starts smacking him around. Wyatt comes back with some punches, but eats a Thesz press and gets beat down in the corner. D-Von’s building momentum, but ends up running right into a hard clothesline. Wyatt throws him into the corner, then scores with a snapmare and there’s a sleeper hold locked in (‘Suplex City, bitch!‘).
D-Von manages to pancake Wyatt, then hits a flying headbutt from the top rope for a two count. D-Von runs into a boot, and…Sister Abigail? Really? Wyatt wins.
Okay, that came out of bumfuck nowhere. 2 Stars.
Bubba and Dreamer go to rush the ring, but Wyatt holds D-Von hostage for another Sister Abigail, holding Bubba and Dreamer back as the Wyatts get a table. Okay, a couple of things: 1) D-Von is already unconscious-ish, and a professional wrestler, so another Sister Abigail here or there shouldn’t be any barrier to Bubba and Tommy getting all EC-Fucking-W on Wyatt, and B) it’s pretty apparent that D-Von’s going to be put through a table if this all goes to plan, so not rushing the ring really seems like the worst of the two options right now.
Suddenly Dreamer, like the fucking genius that he is, grabs two Singapore canes, and he and Bubba rush the ring: that was an underplayed and pretty badass moment. They do pretty well for about five seconds, and then Stroman’s retard-strength comes into play, and he chokes Bubba out. The Wyatts put Dreamer through the table, and the Dudley Boyz and Dreamer are laid out. So…either Spike Dudley or Sabu now, right?
Please, for the love of God, don’t let it be Balls Mahoney.
The Passion of the Roman (which sounds incredibly karmic from a Christian perspective)
The League of Nations make their way to the ring, followed by the man who thinks that a TLC match involves no interference, the dumb fuck. Reigns starts off against Del Rio, and they lock up to no result. Del Rio comes after Roman, sending him off the ropes, and gets a kick to the face before throwing Del Rio into the heel corner: another flash of genius right there, unless he’s waiting for Barrett to tag in before isolating anyone.
Rusev tags himself in, and Roman shoves him away. Yep, that’s the plan. Sheamus tags in now, and manages to jump Roman off a distraction from Barrett. Roman gets stomped in the heel corner, because everyone’s ripping off the New Day right now. Sheamus comes back in, hitting uppercuts. Roman ducks a clothesline, hitting Sheamus with one punch.
Barrett then trips Reigns up, getting himself disqualified from a tag team match. Okay, I have never seen that before: I’m pretty the ref just pulled that particular rule out of his undersized ass. So, I guess everyone is going to get disqualified until Roman is able to beat someone?
Back from a break, Sheamus still has the upper hand against Roman, then tags in Del Rio, who pounds Reigns in the corner. Rusev in now, hitting a big-time back suplex before throwing Roman out of the ring. He distracts the ref so Alberto and Sheamus can put the boots to Reigns on the outside. Sheamus tags himself in, and continues to wreck Roman’s shit at ringside. Shoulder to the gut, then a big knee-lift to the face.
Rusev comes in now, hitting a diving headbutt. Del Rio tags in for a pair of forearms off the top rope, then kicks Roman around in the corner before tagging in Sheamus. Throwing suplex from Sheamus, then a sleeper hold (‘Suplex City, bitch!‘). Hah…these evil, child-kidnapping monks are no match against a bullet to the kneecap and their entire bodyweight landing violently on top of their heads.
Sheamus tries to charge at Roman, but Reigns dodges at the last second, leaving Sheamus to blast the fuck out of the steel post. Sheamus manages to tag to Rusev, who misses some charges of his own and then eats a huge Samoan drop. Rusev wants to tag out to Del Rio, and he gets it, but Roman ducks the Fucking Beautiful Enzuigiri, coming off the ropes with a huge clothesline!
Clotheslines in the corner to Del Rio, then a running boot to the face! Reigns wants a Superman Punch, and delivers one to the interfering Rusev! Del Rio catches Roman unawares with a backstabber, but Reigns just gets the shoulder up. Alberto calls for the cross armbreaker, but Roman throws him away, hitting him with the Spear! Sheamus breaks up the pin, misses the Brogue Kick, and gets clotheslined out of the ring!
Sheamus avoids the Drive By, which still hits Rusev, and hurls Roman at the steps. Reigns leaps over them, hitting a flying clothesline to Sheamus! Rusev tries to throw Roman into the barricade, but the Reigns reverses it, tossing the Bulgarian into the crowd! Del Rio grabs Roman, gets tossed over the announce table, and then Roman dives back into the ring to beat the count!
Okay, that was damn near perfect. Not a technical clinic or anything like it, but in terms of pure storytelling, I am impressed as hell. 1) Roman managed to look like a fucking badass, which is the right thing to do. 2) He didn’t win by pinfall or submission in a match against four (right now) big heels, which made it so much more believable (although that almost-pin against Del Rio was a nice touch). 3) Sheamus didn’t look too weak during their encounters. 4) That flurry at the end was glorious. 4.5 Stars for elegant coherency.
Wade Barrett comes down to the ring, distracting Roman, and Sheamus hits a Brogue Kick to the side of Reigns head that looked fucking gnarly. The League of Nations is looking to impose some motherfucking sanctions on Reigns’ ass, but the Usos and Ambrose rush the ring, beating the multicultural bastards out of the ring.
Rich Brennan says that the League of Nations can’t help Sheamus at TLC. Has the world gone fucking mad?
Alright, that was a pretty sweet episode. The opening segment set up two matches with an interesting stipulation that kept my attention. Charlotte is turning earlier than I thought she might, if that is going to be what’s going on, but as long as she and Becky scrap I’m down with that. Still not sure why the Dudleys haven’t called Spike, and Roman Reigns just turned in one of his best matches in terms of storytelling. 8/10.
Tags: Alberto Del Rio, alicia fox, Becky Lynch, Booker T, Brie Bella, charlotte, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jerry Lawler, JoJo, King Barrett, Lana, Neville, Renee Young, Rich Brennan, Roman Reigns, rusev, Sheamus, smackdown, Summer Rae, The Dudley Boyz, The League of Nations, The New Day, the usos, The Wyatt Family, tommy dreamer, Tyler Breeze