Hey there, guys. I apologise for this being a little later than usual. As some of you may already know, Great Britain held a referendum yesterday on whether or not we wanted to leave the European Union. And, after months of campaigning marred by fear, misinformation and abuse on both sides, the decision was narrowly made that we would, indeed, leave. Since that decision was made known, the value of our currency has dropped tremendously, and several parts of the country want to separate from other bits of it. Right now, nobody can guess what’s in our future, but most forecasts seem to predict hard times ahead.
The worst part about all of this has been seeing how ugly the debate managed to become. From bigotry, jingoism, out-and-out racism, classist sneering, the denouncement of anyone who didn’t agree with one’s point of view as an idiot and even a political assassination, it’s been an incredibly distressing preview of what could become our future.
We’ve also had several reports (although the truthfulness of them is unconfirmed) of many people who either didn’t vote or, bizarrely, voted against their own inclinations because they thought their vote ‘wouldn’t matter’ and that Remain was always going to win. I assume that a good portion of my readership is based in America, and so I want to pass this on: don’t think ‘it couldn’t happen here’. Don’t assume that your vote won’t matter, that you can’t make a difference or that it’s over before it starts. Because hearing about people doing just that is really not making this situation any easier to deal with.
And for God’s sake, love each other, because there’s definitely enough ill-feeling and division going on right now.
It’s still weird hearing Seth Rollin’s horrifying music again, but so good seeing him back. And now that everyone knows that The Guy was on The Juice, it’s going to be fun watching two guys try to build a Triple Threat match. Seth opens by calling our parents liars, because he’s a natural heel. He says that hard work doesn’t pay off, which is a hell of a thing for someone making the kind of money he has to say. I feel like if I was one of the top stars in the WWE, my hard work wouldn’t have paid off pretty damn well. He says that he’s not stressed about the Triple Threat match, even if it’s total bullshit and he shouldn’t have to do it, and he’ll prove that he’s the best member of the Shield by throwing an open challenge.
Sami Zayn comes out, and props to Rollins for not looking SURPRISED AND FULL OF REGRET, which always seems to happen when a heel pulls this shit and someone who isn’t Zack Ryder shows up. He just mocks Zayn for his homoerotic tension with Owens, and seems to be just getting started when Dean Ambrose emerges. Okay, seeing that belt on his shoulder is still not normal yet. He brings out the set for the Ambrose Asylum and sets it up in seconds, which you couldn’t do with the Highlight Reel.
Dean welcomes Zayn, who is downright giddy to be on the show, and Seth, who looks like he’s trying to melt Ambrose with his glare. Rollins mouths off at Ambrose, who tells him that if he doesn’t shut up, he’ll never be a guest on the show again. Zayn is set to have the match right now, and Ambrose supports him in that position. Seth throws one of his patented hissyfits and stomps out of the ring: I’ve missed him sulking.
Oh my God, Jerry Lawler’s not here! He’s been replaced by David Otunga! Life is suddenly worth living again! God, I’ll feel really guilty if Lawler’s dead.
Battle of the Vignettes
Alberto Del Rio makes his way to the ring. He’ll be taking on Cesaro, because Creative’s worked out that any combination of the Money in the Bank sextet just works. Del Rio has a little pre-match vignette in which he talks intensely, which means he’ll probably win, I guess. Cesaro shows up, and he has a vignette of his own, so it’s anyone’s game.
Del Rio starts off aggressive out of the box, kicking and stomping Cesaro in the corner. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to Cesaro, but Alberto smacktalks for too long and eats three of them in return. Big uppercut to the corner, followed by the uppercut train. Cesaro wants a swing, but Del Rio ducks to the outside before it can happen. Cesaro doesn’t let up, getting up on the apron and hitting running senton to take Alberto down! Del Rio’s sent back into the ring, but he catches Cesaro on the apron, hanging his shoulder up on the ropes before hitting his Fucking Beautiful Enzuigiri, dumping the Swiss Superman to the outside as we head to a commercial break.
When we come back, Alberto hops off the top rope, laying Cesaro out with a double axe handle to the shoulder for a two count. David Otunga manages to link attacks on the arm to Del Rio’s Cross Armbreaker finisher, just in case you thought he was an idiot. A sudden uppercut sends Del Rio reeling, but he manages to hang Cesaro over the top rope in the Cross Armbreaker, putting him down again. He comes off the top rope again…directly into an uppercut from Cesaro!
Both men are down, and both are slow to beat the ten count. As they regain their feet, they start slugging it out. Cesaro gets the better of the exchange, and lays a huge amount of uppercuts on Del Rio in the corner! Cesaro is sent off the ropes, ducks a clothesline, and hits a springboard uppercut for two! Cesaro stalks Del Rio, sets him up for the swing but eats a thumb to the eye, and then hits a double stomp to the stomach. Del Rio is taken up for a suplex, but he shifts himself around and cracks Cesaro with the Backstabber for two! A superkick gets another near fall, and Alberto charges, only for Cesaro to put him up on the turnbuckle and hit a dropkick!
The Swiss Superman heads up into high-risk territory with Del Rio, only for the Mexican to shove him down into the Tree of Woe position. It looks like it’s all over, but suddenly Cesaro grasps Del Rio and pulls him down off the top! Cesaro dives, misses, and now Del Rio has the Cross Armbreaker…no, Cesaro turns it into the Neutraliser! Cesaro wins!
Really good match out of the box: either man could have won and this would have been great. 3 Stars.
Beboppy Lashley vs. Rocksteady
Here comes Sheamus, whose recent accomplishments are losing to Apollo Crews and being in a Michael Bay movie. I mean, I’d kill myself, but I guess he’s got a better perspective than me. Here comes Apollo Crews, and people have seemed down on this guy recently: I’m still in favour of him, but time will tell.
Bell rings, and we’re underway. Sheamus starts off by clubbing Apollo into a corner, only for the former-NXT talent to hammer him back before taking them both out of the ring with a crossbody. On the outside, Apollo hurls Sheamus into the steel steps, then sends him back into the ring, hitting a stinger splash in the corner and another crossbody.
Crews runs into a pair of knees, eats a couple of punches, but counters with an enzuigiri and a moonsault for two. He runs into a knee to the gut, and gets taken down again by Sheamus before eating the Ten Beats of the Irish Word. Sheamus tries to suplex Crews back into the ring, but Apollo slides out of it, low-bridging Sheamus out of the ring and he hits a clothesline off the apron! Apollo is kicking ass tonight…until right that second now, when he takes a rolling backbreaker. I swear, I curse wrestlers with these reviews.
Sheamus sets up the steel steps for some mischief, but Apollo saves himself with a dropkick. He sends the Irishman back into the ring, but takes too much time getting back in himself, allowing Sheamus to kick him in the face. A Brogue Kick to the back of the head sends Apollo into the steel steps, and he can’t beat the ten count back into the ring. Sheamus looks cheerful, and I’d make a grim prophecy about Brexit, but Sheamus has an Irish passport and works in the USA, so is actually in a decent position, relatively.
Not a bad match, and I can understand the result. No problems here. 2 Stars.
There’s going to be a draft on the July 19th episode of SmackDown. The Women’s Division were annoyed that they were included in it, but then realised that they were thinking of something different.
Backstage, the Club is being all American History X, and then the Usos show up to be…the Usos, I guess? Then Jimmy challenges AJ Styles to a singles match. So, AJ’s whole deal is beating up wrestlers who are out of their depth in singles matches and who are on a level way below him?
Jimmy Uso = basically Cena
Apparently so, because that match is now. There is also a thunderstorm going on outside, which’ll make it seem way more impressive. Otherwise I was totally going to bust out the Phil Collins again. We go to a break, and when we come back they’re already wrestling. Jimmy ducks a headlock from AJ, applies one of his own, gets shot off the ropes and takes AJ down. Styles trips up Jimmy, applying a headlock again. This time he wrenches the arm, which Jimmy reverses, blocking Styles’ counter to apply a headlock against the mat. AJ backs him into a corner, but ends up getting chopped in there himself. He sends Jimmy into a corner again, but runs into an uppercut and gets clotheslined out of the ring.
Baseball slide to Styles, who blocks it, and slams Jimmy’s head off the steel steps. Styles rolls back into the ring, waiting on Jimmy Uso. Jimmy beats the count, getting beat down by AJ for his trouble. He’s catapulted throat-first into the bottom rope, and Styles has taken control in this contest. He applies a reverse chinlock, keeping Jimmy grounded in the centre of the ring. The Uso fights out with an uppercut and an enzuigiri, but eats a Pele Kick in return. Styles charges; Jimmy is able to elevate him out onto the apron; Styles goes for the Forearm, but gets kicked onto the ropes, getting taken down.
Both men reach their feet throwing punches, but Jimmy makes it his game with some kicks, followed up with a Samoan drop for two. Styles is in the corner, and Jimmy goes for the Samoan wrecking ball. AJ dodges it, but runs right into a superkick for two. Suddenly Gallows and Anderson are on the outside, knocking the sweet fuck out of Jey. Jimmy dives out onto them, but turns right into a springboard forearm from Styles on the outside. Back in the ring, Styles connects with a second Phenomenal Forearm for the pinfall victory.
Nice display of Jimmy’s skills, even with the result in no doubt. 3 Stars.
But you concuss one guy…
The New Day’s here, ready for a match. We replay their interaction with Bray and the Wyatts from Monday, which promises an entertaining rivalry. They’re facing the Vaudevillains, who are apparently on permanent jobber entrance, the poor bastards.
Kofi starts off, getting his arm wrenched by Gotch. He outwrestles the Vaudevillain, but English comes in off a blind tag, clubbing Kofi to the mat. Tag to Gotch for a double chop and a double punch, and English is brought back in. He works Kofi over the corner, hitting a running back elbow. He runs right into a pair of boots on his second attempt, however, and Kingston reaches Big E for a tag.
Big E belly-to-bellys Gotch three times, then hits the Warrior Splash. He stalks Gotch, sends English out of the ring to get taken out by Kofi, counters a roll-up and tags in Kofi for their finisher and the emphatic win.
Sucks to be the Vaudevillains right now. 2 Stars.
The Wyatts appear on the screen, and did I mention how much I missed Bray’s slam poetry? No? I didn’t? That’s because slam poetry is a garbage art form for garbage people. The New Day look freaked out, because when a bunch of backwoods hillbillies pick a fight with some black guys, they have a history of meaning business.
Advert for the new Independence Day movie.
That’s not fucking funny.
Bob Backlund’s still crazy, and Darren Young is, for some reason, still taking his advice. I’d find this more amusing if the majority of the elderly in my country hadn’t voted Leave.
Some random guy with a microphone is backstage with Sami Zayn, asking him if he wishes he knew how to quit Kevin Owens. Zayn says that his career won’t move forward if he can’t get away from Owens, and this is turning into a serious divorce.
Charlotte and Natalya are backstage, and they run into Renee. Charlotte says that Dana’s proved herself, and she must be graded on a curve because she’s done jack and shit. Renee brings up Sasha Banks, and Charlotte says that she doesn’t matter. Dana says that playtime’s over, because she’s off the fucking chain.
No sympathy for Becky, personally
Here’s Becky Lynch. I wonder what she thinks about the probable reunification of Ireland in the wake of Brexit. See? This is relevant. She is facing Dana Brooke, and I swear: I wish I could get behind her, but she’s just not impressed me yet. Which, honestly, is great: I love that we’re in a position to say that WWE women’s talent who know how to wrestle are the rule, not the exception.
Oh, and Natalya’s a douchenozzle now. As long as she’s performing. Brooke starts off strong, hitting knees to the gut. She works her over some more in the turnbuckle, targeting the stomach before choking her on the ropes. Becky backs her off with a kick and comes out of the corner swinging. Dana ducks a clothesline, but eats an inverted DDT. Charlotte gets up on the apron, Dana rolls Becky up off the distraction and that, weirdly, is it.
See, this is why I’m not yet impressed by Dana: we’ve seen fuck all from her. 1.5 Stars.
Becky puts down Dana, but takes a big boot from Charlotte. Sasha arrives, entering the ring, and Charlotte doesn’t back down…for about five seconds, before ducking out of the ring. Dana tries to pull a fast one, but suffers the Banks Statement for her trouble. We could be looking at our next Women’s Champ, and that is exciting.
Seth’s backstage, and runs into Dean, who tries to accompany him out to the ring before Rollins power-walks away. Okay, this is actually going to be brilliant without Reigns.
Just your average SmackDown dream match
Here’s Seth Rollins, ready for action. Ambrose is on commentary, because he is going to milk the fuck out of this title reign. Seth gets in his face, and Dean seems cool with it, which is a real change of attitude from a year or so ago. Sami arrives, and it’s on.
Seth shoves Sami away to start, and they circle each other. Headlock by Rollins; he’s sent off the ropes and knocks Zayn down before chilling out in the corner. Zayn takes another headlock, sends Seth off the ropes and this time hits some arm drags. Rollins puts him on the apron; Zayn comes back and hits a headscissors takedown before punching and chopping Rollins in the corner. Seth elevates Zayn onto the apron again, and catches him with a punch when he tries to springboard back inside.
On the outside, he rocks Zayn’s skull off the announce table before sending him back into the ring. We take a commercial break, and when we come back, Rollins is still in control, putting the boots to Zayn in the corner. Sami blocks a suplex, but then takes a Falcon’s Arrow for two. Rollins hits a running forearm in the corner, and Zayn is looking glassy-eyed. He tales a second, and Rollins takes him down off the ropes for two. Seth looks like he’s enjoying himself, kicking Sami around.
Rollins runs right into a hard clothesline, and Zayn is firing himself up, firing off punches to Seth in the corner. Rollins scoots out of the ring, pausing to glare at Ambrose before Zayn takes him down on the outside with a clothesline. He hustles Rollins back into the ring, and comes off the turnbuckle with a crossbody for two! Seth ducks onto the apron, and counters a suplex back inside. He counters the Blue Thunder Bomb, but then takes it on the second attempt for two!
Zayn stalks Rollins for the Helluva Kick, but runs directly into a dropkick. He’s powerbombed neck-first into the corner, but catches a superkick, rolling Rollins up for a near fall! Seth wants the Pedigree; Zayn counters with a tornado DDT! Seth rolls out of the way of a Helluva Kick, ducking out of the ring, but eats a swanton bomb out of the ring. Back in the ring, Seth hits a surprise Pedigree, and that’s all she wrote.
Another great match for tonight, with a really good display from both men. Loved this. 3 Stars.
Rollins gets in Dean’s face after the match, and lays him out with a surprise attack. Unfortunately, he walks away before finishing the job, and has to narrowly escape Dirty Deeds from Ambrose in the ring. Both men stare each other down as Seth retreats up the entrance ramp.
Some seriously great events tonight: we must be getting ready for the live shows. Awesome show. 9/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alberto Del Rio, apollo crews, byron saxton, Cesaro, charlotte, Dana Brooke, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Jerry Lawler, jey uso, jimmy uso, Mauro Ranallo, natalya neidhart, Renee Young, sami zayn, sasha banks, seth rollins, Sheamus, smackdown, The Club, the usos