Hey there, SmackDown fans. Post-Extreme Rules, and we’ve already started on the road to Money in the Bank: with five of the competitors already decided, this looks like it could be quite the event. Tonight, the Blue Show will host not only a United States Championship match, as Kalisto invokes his rematch clause, but an Intercontinental Championship match as Cesaro takes on the Miz.
So, hey: SmackDown!
We start things off with Michael Cole in the ring, which is obviously the greatest way ever to kick off SmackDown. He has the Money in the Bank briefcase next to him, and I would love to see what would happen if Cole just opened it up and signed his name on the contract before anyone could stop him. If he’s here to announce his participation in the match, I won’t even be mad, quite honestly.
But Cole is here to interview people, because those other things I suggested would be insane. The interviewee is Dean Ambrose, who is here to promo in the face of danger. He shrugs off the dangers of a Ladder Match, which I guess is fair considering he almost got thumbtacked on Sunday. Before the interview can go further, Kevin Owens shows up to yell at Michael Cole for existing. He drives Cole off, and then mocks Ambrose for daring to have hopes and aspirations, but Sami Zayn makes an appearance. Are the participants all just lined up in Gorilla position?
Zayn taunts Owens for not winning his last Ladder Match, and tells him that he’s not going to let KO distract him anymore: now he wants the briefcase, and no-one is going to stop him. This brings out Alberto Del Rio, who says that at least he’s been Mister Money in the Bank. He actually isn’t in the match, and has to face Zack Ryder to earn his spot. Zayn says as much, but turning your back on Kevin Owens is like dropping the soap, and his ass gets jumped. Brawl breaks out, and Zayn almost Helluva Kicks Ambrose due to Owens moving out of the way. He looks shocked by his almost-mistake, and it’s every man for himself, you ginger nut. Dean then tries to Dirty Deeds Zayn, as if to illustrate this point for him. And Alberto Del Rio’s music plays, despite him doing less than Michael Cole.
If Vince could literally butcher Ryder and make his family eat him, he would
When we come back, Del Rio is in the ring, and Ryder shows up. In his ‘I’m So Awesome and Inspirational’ pre-match interview, Ryder actually advertises the WWE Network. I mean…there are no words.
Del Rio immediately goes after Ryder, taking him down after a brief exchange. Snap suplex to Ryder, followed by Del Rio choking him on the ropes. Ryder takes a boot to the head, and Del Rio is in full control. Ryder tries to fight back, but gets shut down. Suddenly, he manages to flapjack Alberto, sending him out of the ring and hitting him with the wrecking ball dropkick, followed up by a neckbreaker on the arena floor.
When we come back from a break, Del Rio has Ryder in a sleeper in the centre of the ring. Ryder manages to counter with a facebuster off the ropes, then hits Del Rio with the knees. He misses a missile dropkick, and takes a superkick in return. Alberto goes for the Cross Armbreaker, but Ryder counters with a jawbreaker, and a Broski Boot gets a near-fall! Ryder stalks Del Rio, but is sent face-first into the corner. He’s put into the Tree of Woe, but he avoids the stomp and hits the Rough Ryder! Del Rio rolls out of the ring to avoid the pin; Ryder rolls him back into the ring and gets caught in the Cross Armbreaker! Ryder taps!
When does WWE Creative lock Ryder in a room with a pistol containing a single bullet? Match was decent. 2.5 Stars
It’s Enzo and Cass! Enzo barely gets halfway through his promo before the Dudley Boyz show up, so Amore just turns it all onto them. Cass challenges the pair of them to a match, and the Dudleys accept…but not tonight. They’re going to do this on RAW, because I guess SmackDown isn’t good enough for them. I mean…that’s fair.
Renee Young is backstage with Rusev and Lana. Rusev says he don’t sweat Kalisto, and is going to break him tonight.
Still better than being Zack Ryder
Speaking of, here’s the former United States Champion now: Kalisto, along with Rusev. Bell rings, the match is announced and we’re underway. Kalisto immediately attacks, taking Rusev down with kicks and headscissors. He springboards at Rusev, but gets headbutted out of the air and right into a commercial break.
When we come back, Rusev is well in control, bodyslamming Kalisto. Kalisto tries to bodyslam Rusev, because he’s taken a few too many shots to the head in his time. Rusev tries another slam; Kalisto slides out of it and…he fucking bodyslams Rusev! Rusev misses a charge, gets rolled up and just kicks out! Kalisto’s on a roll, hitting a springboard corkscrew moonsault and the spike-a-rana for two! Rusev heads to the outside, and eats a springboard moonsault from the challenger!
Back in the ring, Kalisto tries to hit the Salida Del Sol, but is hung up in the Tree of Woe. He avoids a diving headbutt attempt which leaves Rusev reeling, but gets taken down hard off the top rope. Rusev misses another charge; Kalisto goes for the 450 Splash, but Rusev gets the knees up! Huge kick to the back of Kalisto’s head, and now the Accolade is locked in and wrenched back: Kalisto has no choice but to tap.
I liked this dynamic. Kalisto is shown as a badass underdog who hits harder than Rey Mysterio ever used to, whilst Rusev is too much of a monster for it to matter. Fun match. 3 Stars.
Rusev wants to destroy Kalisto, but…Titus O’Neill comes out to back him off? He challenges the Bulgarian to a title match, which Rusev declines because he’s, you know, not retarded.
In other news, Charlotte finally dropped Ric Flair. I mean, she’s going to be having Dana Brooke at ringside, most likely, but that doesn’t take anything away from the Women’s Division as a whole, because at least it’s an actual current-era employee in the role: so goddamn happy about this whole situation.
Also, why is everyone, including the women Ric and Charlotte have screwed over, treating Ric as a sympathetic figure? He didn’t suddenly not help Charlotte to victory in all of those matches.
Natalya Neidhart = secret superhero
Looks like it’s Dana’s turn to wrestle tonight, with Charlotte joining the team on commentary. I can absolutely see this pairing of Charlotte and Dana working, from my admittedly limited knowledge of their careers. Dana will be facing Nat, and I want to go back in time and tell the David Spain who was having to review matches involving Cameron and Eva Marie that it would all be okay.
Nat starts things off with a headlock takeover, whilst King lays into Charlotte about her treatment of Ric, speaking as man who has been treated badly by females much younger than himself. Brooke gets back to a vertical base, only for Nat to beat her down in a corner. Brooke clotheslines Nat to the mat, but misses an elbow drop and gets locked in the Sharpshooter. Charlotte makes the save for a DQ victory for Charlotte.
Way to make Dana look incompetent. 1 Star.
Natalya locks Charlotte in the Sharpshooter, and actually does an admirable job of holding off both women for a surprisingly long time: that was some John Cena shit right there. The numbers game catches up with her, however, and Charlotte and Dana lay on a beatdown and stand tall.
We recap how sucky the last few days have been for AJ Styles. Plus, Roman Reigns can’t retain a championship without the Usos helping him, because Vince can book champions in his sleep and that’s exactly what he’s doing.
Renee is backstage with Styles, who is wearing the Trucker Cap of Sadness. She asks him what his reason, nay, justification for living is. He says that almost-but-not-quite beating Reigns isn’t doing too badly, and now he’ll have to think of what to do next. I hear Zack Ryder’s full of ideas.
URGH. The Golden Truth is here, and their entrance is as dumb and half-hearted as this entire storyline. But, you know, I promised that I was going to suck it up and actually review this stuff, and there’s proof of me doing so in one of my comment sections, so that’s me backed into a corner.
On the plus side, this literally can’t get any worse.
And, on another plus side, they are facing Breezango which, apart from having a really dumb name, is actually a tag team of two skilled individuals which makes so much sense. So I guess I’ll just regard Golden Truth as an acceptable price to be paid for this duo existing.
Breeze and Truth lock up, with Truth getting the better of the exchange, knocking Tyler down twice and taking him over in a headlock. Fandango tags in, and Breezango gets the better of Truth with a dropkick. Truth drops the dancer with a kick of his own, and tries to get to Goldust; Fandango knocks him off the apron. R-Truth tries to win free, and does, but Goldust isn’t there to tag in. Off a distraction from Goldust then trying to insert himself into the match, Breeze hits the Supermodel Kick, and that’s the win.
Fine: not horrible. I’ll be an adult about this from now on. 2 Stars.
Goldust and R-Truth are backstage, trying to psyche each other up, and then Breezango shows up to insult them. They’re like high school jocks, but far, far, far more obsessed with skincare and hair products.
And, like the apology I never knew I wanted, here’s Seth Rollins. And, despite his desperate claims of heelishness on Monday, the crowd is welcoming him back like Julius Caesar post-Gaul conquest (which I guess would make Roman Reigns Cicero?). Seth says that he’s back, and he can’t imagine a better way to cap off an awesome week than to come back to SmackDown. You know, because he was a World Champion who actually hung out here.
He asks the crowd if they missed him, getting a decent enough response from the adults in the audience…and then tells them all to shove it and walks off. Yeah, because being a charming, witty asshole is going to make adult wrestling fans hate you.
Miz, you son of a bitch
Here’s Cesaro, with his stripper clothes and chrome dome. He will be facing the Miz in a return match from Monday night: on RAW, he defeated the Intercontinental Champion in order to gain a place in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match; tonight, he will attempt to wrest the championship away from the Miz.
The Miz makes his entrance, accompanied by Maryse, and Eden announces both Champion and challenger. The belt’s raised above ref’s head, and this Championship match is underway. Both men tie up in the centre of the ring, and Cesaro ends the combination wrestling with a straight slap to the face. A standing dropkick tumbles the Miz out of the ring, with Cesaro hitting cannonball to lay him out as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Miz has grasped the offence, attacking Cesaro’s shoulder and then catapulting the Swiss Superman’s throat into the bottom rope. A baseball slide sends Cesaro out of the ring, but Miz pays for following Cesaro out, getting his head rocked off the ring apron. Miz still recovers quickly, attacking the shoulder once again to regain control.
Backslide by the Miz gets two, but Cesaro counters neckbreaker with a volley of uppercuts. Miz finally catches Cesaro with a boot, but just eats a lifting European uppercut to get a two count. Crowd’s chanting for Cesaro, who eats a DDT for a near fall. Miz starts trying to undo the turnbuckle, getting admonished by the ref, and the distraction allows Maryse to undo it. Miz tries to smash Cesaro into it, but Cesaro fires back with an other uppercut, putting an end to that hope.
Miz reverses the Neutraliser, looking for a Figure Four, but Cesaro rolls him up! Predictably, the referee is blind to everything and anything in this world that is not a loose turnbuckle, so doesn’t make the count for ages. Cesaro argues with the referee just long enough that Miz is able to roll him up, grabbing the tights…but Cesaro reverses it into a Sharpshooter in the centre of the ring!
Miz makes it to the ropes, with Cesaro holding on until three. Miz won’t release the ropes, and pulls Cesaro out of the ring; Cesaro uppercuts him and goes for the Swing, but Miz rolls right back out of the ring. He grabs the title and starts heading out of the arena, but Cesaro catches him with an uppercut and sends him back into the ring. A diving crossbody almost gets the win, but Miz dodges a charge by Cesaro, sending the Swissman into the exposed turnbuckle, and hitting the Skull-Crushing Finale for the win!
Good match, and better than the previous US Title contest. I really am loving Miz’s role as a midcard heel right now, after years of hating him for entirely the wrong reasons. 3 Stars.
This was a solid show: nothing incredible, but nothing awful either. Just a good, sensible approach. 7/10.