Yo yo yo (sorry). It’s me, the guy who reviews SmackDown. I am reclining on my couch this evening in mild pain, because I recently have started going to a Mixed Martial Arts class: the latest mad act birthed by my desire to be a vigilante crimefighter. Who reviews SmackDown.
And, as crimefighting would seem to be inadvisable at this present stage, let’s do the other thing.
We start off with a recap of Triple H beating the shit out of Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, because it’s unfair of us to expect him to only get an erection due to Stephanie. And Hunter also gave Dean a title match, because it’s absolutely a trap.
And, true to form, the first guy out through the curtains is Dean Ambrose. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. He gets into the ring and takes a seat, musing on the risk/reward yield of antagonising everyone and everything. Dean actually points out, more or less, that it’s really stupid to imagine that he’s going to get the title. He then throws out a bunch of ideas which are actually pretty decent involving the aftermath of him winning the title, and that really stings because none of them are ever going to happen.
Kevin Owens shows up then, desperate to escape from having to work with Big Show. He says the only reason that Triple H isn’t still beating up Ambrose is because he decided to stop. Although I feel like if he’d kept going, he’d have probably had to stop due to needing food, sleep or the bathroom. Owens says, unlike Ambrose, he’s got no WrestleMania plans, because he’s got no credible challengers for the title. Considering who he’s going to face eventually, that’s a really good assessment.
Kevin tries then tries to jump Dean, who ducks, and smacks the shit out of him with the steel chair he’s sitting on. Ambrose then challenges Owens to a match, because getting crippled is obviously something that happens to other people.
League of Mid-Card
Here come the Usos, who have decided that fighting two over-the-hill dudes has been too much for them, so are going to face Sheamus and Rusev instead. I’d laugh, but these are the pair who used to go out there and destroy Harper and Rowan, so they should actually stand a fair chance. The League of Nations follows them out, and why are all of these guys doing the Cesaro Swing motion? Is he coming back or something?
Sheamus and Jimmy start off first, with Sheamus backing the Samoan into the corner and beating him down. Jimmy comes back with a massive uppercut, chopping him into the corner. Jey tags in and just gets punched the fuck in the face. I don’t know who the evil twin is, but I know who’s the most useless. Rusev gets the tag, bearhugging Jey before shooting him off the ropes and then kicking him. Jey almost catches him with a Samoan drop, but gets sent out of the ring and then kicked off the apron. It must be really difficult for Jimmy, watching someone who looks exactly like him act so pathetic.
We have a quick commercial break before we come back, and yep: Jey’s in a chinlock. I refuse to be surprised. Sheamus hits his weird-ass suplex, then the Ten Beats of the Whatever It Is. I really have to look into the actual names of Sheamus’ moves, which I will do when that man arouses any emotion in me other than apathy and vague disgust. Rusev knocks Jey off the apron, then tosses him back into the ring to pin him for two.
Big kick to Jey, and then Rusev claws at his face. Jey backflips out of a backdrop, gets caught before he can make the tag, but then scores with a huge float-over DDT! Jimmy’s legal, as is Sheamus, and Jimmy is all over Sheamus with uppercuts, a superkick and a Samoan Drop! Samoan Wrecking Ball strikes Sheamus, with Rusev breaking up the pin. Jey hurls his battered carcass at the Bulgarian, which is about all it’s good for, apparently. Rusev misses a charge, getting low-bridged out of the ring, and Jey then dives out onto Barrett and Del Rio: he doesn’t get any praise for that, because they aren’t in the match. Also, Rusev superkicks him, so fuck you, Jey.
Jimmy dives out of the ring onto Rusev, otherwise known as ‘a match participant’. Sheamus leaps off the steps at him, right into a superkick. Right, did Jimmy steal all of Jey’s mojo or something. Back in the ring, Jimmy is going up high, pauses to superkick Barrett, then comes down onto the knees of Sheamus. The Irishman hits the Brogue Kick, and that’s all she wrote.
Pretty standard tag match: solid work. 2.5 Stars.
King squawks about how dominant that match was, despite the fact it was a perfect example of your basic tag-team bout. Then the Dudleys’ music hits, and they make their way to the ring, carrying a table. Jey tries his ‘battered carcass’ offence, but gets tossed into the steel post. The Dudley Boyz set up the table, but then beat up the Usos and kick the table over. Logic, motherfucker: do you speak it?
We see a recap of Stephanie McMahon bizarrely wanting the crowd’s love for the first time in years, and then throwing a hissyfit when she didn’t get it. I don’t know if she was channelling Hilary Clinton or Cersei Lannister: it could have been either.
Best Miz match ever
Here’s Dolph Ziggler, ready to face the Miz. Urgh. Miz makes his way to the ring, taunting Ziggler about his loss to him earlier this week. I’d mock Dolph, but the challenge is gone. As soon as the bell goes, Miz jumps Ziggler, pounding his fist into the face. Boots to the face get a near-fall, and he carries on the assault in the corner before running right into a backslide by Ziggler for the pin.
My only problem with this storyline is it needs to make two former World Champions look really incompetent at the thing they won a World Championship for. 1.5 Stars.
Meanwhile, R-Truth and Goldust are still nervously dancing around the issue. Just fuck already.
Match of the Night
We recap the draw which ended the Becky/Sasha match on Monday, and King compares draws to kissing your sister. I’ve no idea what he’s trying to say, but I’m going to assume he’s made out with blood relatives now. Becky and Sasha make their way to the ring, ready to do this thing again.
Both Divas start off slowly, but when they meet, Sasha immediately throws Becky, and the two break apart. Next, Becky throws Sasha, and they break. Test of strength is next, with Becky forcing Sasha into a bridge, then pinning her. Sasha suddenly springs up into a wheelbarrow victory roll, and then quickly applies the front facelock. Becky picks the leg, hitting two deep armdrags. Sasha ducks a clothesline, but Becky stays on the attack, wrenching the arm, forcing Banks back to the mat in a wristlock. She applies the armbar, which Sasha turns into a pinning position.
Becky tries another hold, but Banks hits forearms to knock her way clear, then runs up to the top rope before hitting a takeover! Sasha runs at Becky, getting caught and placed on the top rope; she returns with a sunset flip; Becky reverses into a pin of her own; both women pop up and both hit a dropkick!
Brief pause in the action, with both women taking a moment. In that moment, however, Charlotte makes an appearance, her music playing as she and her father make their way down to the ring; we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Sasha has Becky’s arms locked; the Irishwoman tries to power out, but gets thrown to the floor, and her arms pinned once again. Becky gets up again, hitting some knees before coming off the ropes with a clothesline. There’s a second clothesline and a dropkick, and then a forearm in the corner. Sasha slides out of the exploder suplex, going for a roll-up; Becky kicks out, catches a leg, and this time she hits the exploder for a near-fall.
Lynch comes off the ropes, hitting two leg drops, missing the third, and Sasha comes right back with a double-knee to the face! There’s another break as both women recover from that exchange, with Charlotte and Ric looking on. Becky suddenly goes for a roll-up, and Sasha counters into the Banks Statement! Lynch wavers for a moment, but manages to grab the rope, keeping the match going.
Becky tries to grab the arm of Sasha Banks, who manages to throw her into the corner before hitting a pair of knees to the face, and then another, getting another near-fall. Sasha’s looking frustrated, showing more emotion than she has in any other match. She hits a big kick to the chest, and then runs into a Cesaro-esque European Uppercut which almost costs her the match!
Becky and Sasha are on their knees, hitting haymakers before they even reach their feet. Becky rolls out of a backslide, hitting a front dropkick to send Sasha out of the ring; Lynch leaps off the apron, missing with a clothesline, before both women hit each other with a lariat, going down on the outside!
Ric gets up and starts WOOO-ing and dancing, and God knows, that’s got to be a scary sight to regain consciousness to. He then WOOOs at both Sasha and Becky, and I don’t even know what to say about that. Both Becky and Sasha look like they feel like beating the shit out of a sixteen-time World Heavyweight Champion, but Charlotte jumps both of them at exactly the same time on the outside. Which is really lucky, because otherwise she’d have just selected her opponent by accident.
That was honestly stellar, limited only by the obvious need for that ending. Although I was half-convinced that we were about to get a definitive winner: it seemed like that kind of match. 4 Stars.
Charlotte beats on both contenders on the outside, and I can’t believe she hasn’t sat down and watched literally every other time a Champion’s tried this, because I’m pretty sure that every single one of those scenarios ended in a Triple Threat. I hope to God that she doesn’t look surprised when it’s announced.
Backstage, Charlotte and Ric are in blissful ignorance of the Triple Threat in their future. Renee Young appears with a VINTAGE AMBUSH INTERVIEW, asking about the shitfuckery that went down. Weirdly enough, she seems to be annoyed at Ric’s involvement, despite the fact that Ric actually didn’t break the rules. Charlotte gets in Renee’s face, but Renee Young, Girl Reporter, drops the Triple Threat bomb right there and then. You don’t fuck with Renee Young.
We recap the Undertaker threatening to murder his own employer’s son. Yeah, but when I do that it’s all ‘disciplinary committee’ this, ‘hostile work environment’ that and ‘child abduction isn’t an appropriate topic for workplace conversations’ malarkey.
I think AJ and Kofi sort of broke physics
The New Day show up to address the threat posed by Y2AJ. And they will be addressing it by not worrying about it in any way whatsoever. Also, Kofi doesn’t know how Jell-O works, and is insistent on the point that Big E can’t either: that exchange honestly made me laugh. They run down Y2AJ and Atlanta, and promise that they will, now and forever, be our Tag Team Champions.
AJ Styles then shows up, and first Becky vs. Sasha and now an AJ match: thank you, God. He’s facing Kofi, and away we go. Styles rolls up Kingston to start, then hits a backbreaker. Kofi hits a forearm, gets leapfrogged and then runs right into a dropkick. Woods distracts Styles with some sweet trombone action, allowing Kingston to jump him…until Styles knocks him away and dives out on Woods. Kofi blindsides him, hitting a baseball slide which knocks Styles into a commercial break.
When we come back, Kofi is wrenching the head of Styles. He then tosses him into the corner, stomping away at him. Oh my God, he actually pretended to be the other members of New Day for the Unicorn Stampede: bless his stupid, stupid hair. He stays on Styles, keeping him pinned down to the mat in a sleeper. Styles tries to rally, but he gets tripped up by Kingston, who heads up to the top rope.
Kofi’s up top, waiting on Styles, and he leaps into a back body drop. I swear, I have never seen that done, ever. Styles goes to town on Kofi, hitting clotheslines, forearms, and a fireman’s carry backbreaker for two! Kofi is sent reeling off a superkick, but still manages to catch Styles with an SOS for two!
Styles makes his way to his feet, ducks a Trouble in Paradise, but scores with the Pele Kick! Kingston manages to backdrop Styles out of the ring, and the referee catches Woods heading up to jump Styles, ejecting both members of New Day. Kingston turns around, and gets caught by the springboard elbow from Styles, and that’s the three!
Good match. Styles’ offence is still an absolute breath of fresh air in these contests; he’s one of the most dynamic movers I’ve seen in a long time. 3 Stars.
Woods and Langston (amazing buddy cop names) immediately stalk Styles, who manages to slide up into the ring and get away. Slick son of a bitch.
Brock Lesnar will be facing Bray Wyatt at WWE Roadblock. Well, now the Ambrose match makes sense. Honestly, it’s a fair solution. Except the Wyatts’ whole ‘titan-hunting’ thing is going really, really badly, considering how awesome a motive that whole thing was.
Bray’s on the monitor backstage, and delivers a good promo. Which would be pretty awesome if A) it wasn’t totally obvious that guy who has a match at Wrestlemania is going to win, and 2) if we’d had more of a chance to see some sweet Wyatt/Heyman promo action. Because that would have been some of the most intense shit we’d ever have seen, and I feel like the WWE is almost being responsible by not showing it to us.
That which does not kill Dean Ambrose only makes him crazier
It’s time for our main event, otherwise known as ‘The Part Where We Watch Dean Ambrose Die’. Kevin and Dean make their way to the ring, and Ambrose latches on quick with a headlock, immediately transitioning into an arm-wrench. Back into a headlock for a takeover, and Owens shoots him off the ropes, getting knocked down by Ambrose. Another headlock takeover from Dean, and Owens gets to his feet, hitting a forearm to the side of Ambrose, who is forced to roll out of the ring to recover.
Ambrose takes his time getting back into the ring, getting behind Owens before hitting a snapmare and starting to wrench back on the arm. Owens bulls out of it once again via a shot to the gut, and he begins to reign stomps down on Ambrose in the corner. Owens keeps working the abdominal region, right before Dean leapfrogs over him, almost executing Dirty Deeds; this time it’s Owen’s turn to escape to the outside, seething as we head to a commercial break.
When we come back, Ambrose is on the top rope. Owens charges; Dean leaps over him, rolling to his feet but immediately feeling the effects of even that. He still almost scores with another Dirty Deeds attempt, only for Owens to use his power to drive Dean into the corner, working the ribs again. Back senton gets a near-fall; Owen’s offence and Ambrose’s selling has been on point throughout.
There’s another beatdown in another corner, and Dean finally fires back with a right before Kevin beats him down again, locking in a seated cobra twist. Ambrose raises himself to his feet, managing to hit a hip toss to Owens. He charges wildly, getting thrown out of the ring for his efforts. Owens follows him, hitting another back senton on the outside before returning to the ring, waiting for his count-out victory.
Dean disappoints, however, beating the count at the last second. Owens throws him back out, and this time hurls Dean right into the barricade. Owens yells at Mauro, who yells back, because Mauro Ranallo is Commentator Jesus. Kev tries to throw Dean back into the ring, but Dean turns it around, taking Owens’ head off with a clothesline! Owens tries to charge at Ambrose, but blasts the post with his shoulder, almost getting rolled up, and now Ambrose is fired up, starting the build the offence against Owens with shots and kicks. Owens reverses a bulldog, only to get low-bridged out of the ring, and Ambrose dives through the ropes on top of him!
Dean tries to head up to the top, but Owens shakes the ropes to knock him off, before nailing Ambrose with a cannonball. Dean kicks out, though, and there’s some frustration beginning to show from Owens. He takes Ambrose back to the top, looking for a superplex, but Dean hammers him ferally, knocking him off the top before taking him down with a standing elbow for two!
Owens rolls out of the ring again, but he catches Ambrose from the latter’s mad dive, slamming him right into the ring apron. He starts undressing the announce table, but Ambrose has rolled back into the ring. Owens follows, avoids Dirty Deeds, goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, gets hurricanrana’d by Ambrose, but still hits the superkick to drop Ambrose. He goes for a third back senton, but lands across the knees of Ambrose! Dean hits Dirty Deeds, and it’s over!
These guys always deliver, but the barely-clinging-to-life angle from Ambrose put some new interest into it. Impressive main event. 3.5 Stars.
All in all, that was a far improved show. Becky and Sasha stole the show with their amazing match, with Owens and Ambrose coming in with a close second. An AJ Styles match was also a very nice treat. Let’s hope we can keep to this standard before WrestleMania. 9/10
Tags: AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, byron saxton, charlotte, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jerry Lawler, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, League Of Nations, Mauro Ranallo, Renee Young, Ric Flair, sasha banks, smackdown, the big show, The Dudley Boyz, The Miz, The New Day, the usos