Hey there, guys. Well, once again, here we are: a man, a mug of coffee and SmackDown. I mean, a fairly significant portion of Americans are supporting Donald Trump and Mike Pence, whilst Britain’s Prime Minister has dismissed the completely unnecessary and almost frivolous role of, you know, human rights lawyers. But we still have SmackDown.
And on that cheerful note…
Oh shit, is No Mercy this Sunday? God, there are so many PPVs: my WWE Network subscription is really starting to earn my money.
You’d think a battle between evil forces would be more…interesting?
The show’s starting with Bray Wyatt, the man who will one day be remembered for being given an amazing gimmick that he somehow made boring. Oh, he’s actually having a match. Well, aren’t we lucky?
Oh God, no we’re not: he’s facing Kane. Christ, I sat through this shit at Backlash, and I’d been promised Orton for that one. I hate you, Shane McMahon.
Wyatt immediately goes after Kane, stomping him in the corner before Kane realises he’s bigger and stronger and wails on him. Wyatt regains control, knocking Kane about and putting him on the mat for a headlock. Eater of Worlds, Devil’s Favourite Demon…headlock. Inspired.
Kane hits a jawbreaker, and gets knocked right back down. He rolls out of the way of Bray’s back senton, then hits a clothesline in the corner, and another. Sidewalk slam puts Wyatt down, followed up by a DDT. Kane calls for the chokeslam, goozles Wyatt, but takes a ura-nage instead, followed immediately by a back senton which connects this time. Crabwalk, because all WWE talent are seven years old and are scared of that kind of thing.
And apparently Randy Orton has seen enough of this, because he’s on the titantron, upside down. Holy fuck, why is Orton bothering with mind games? Remember when he wanted the title and broke Batista’s arm? Or just punted people into a concussion, or con-chair-toed Ric Flair?
Orton makes some vague threat, which allows Kane to sit up and knock Bray out of the ring. And Bray Wyatt, the Eater of Worlds, decides that he’s going to forfeit the match via count-out. And Kane celebrates the victory, because I guess you’ve got to take the wins where you can get them if you’re a Libertarian.
I mean…the match wasn’t technically bad. I just don’t understand why they did it in the first place. 2 Stars.
Urgh, Baron Corbin is backstage. And apparently Charley, for some reason, wants to engage with him on a conversational level. She says that he’s had an ‘impressive streak of victories’, the lying bitch, and then drops the Swagger Bomb on him. Corbin says that Jack both looks and is dumb, and doesn’t seem to realise that Swagger is literally just off-camera.
Swagger offers to fight Corbin, and Corbin says he does his talking in the ring, despite literally just having an interview backstage, the lying bitch. Basically, we’re getting Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin tonight, although they’ll probably find a way to put that shit on No Mercy as well.
Bray is wandering around backstage, talking to himself. And, if I’m honest, he looks exactly like someone who would walk around aimlessly, talking to himself.
You’d just get a restraining order against Carmella, surely
Here’s Alexa Bliss, who will be facing Nikki Bella in a warm-up match before her title match at No Mercy. I’m not sure whether the longest-reigning Diva’s Champion in history is who I’d go to for a tune-up match, but you’ve got to admire Alexa’s optimism. Except…it probably won’t go that far, because Carmella is on commentary, and that girl is a Nikki-seeking missile.
One of the many things I like about this commentary team, I’ve noticed, is the way they treat their female guests compared to…you know…Jerry Lawler. You know: like they’re actually wrestlers.
Alexa and Nikki circle each other, with Bella getting the waistlock. Alexa elbows her way out, and throws Nikki onto the mat. She wastes too much time taunting her, however, and gets taken down quickly for a cover. Nikki rocks Alexa’s face off her knee, then takes a knee to the stomach from Bliss. Bella’s sent off the ropes, hits a flying shoulder tackle, then dropkicks Bliss out of the ring.
Nikki doesn’t want to let Alexa recover, and pursues her out of the ring. Carmella starts talking some shit at her, so Nikki throws Bliss right the fuck into her before taking the action into the ring. Inside, Alexa gets taken up onto Nikki’s shoulders, but Carmella takes the Bella down for the DQ.
Called that one. 2 Stars.
Becky’s music hits, and the Champ runs out to save the day. Bliss and Carmella try to team up on her, but Nikki recovers fast enough to help out as we go to a commercial break and, obviously, a tag team match.
Yep, when we come back, this situation has been Teddy Longed. Nikki is in the ring with Alexa, in control of the action, but a distraction from Carmella is enough for the number one contender to take control, hitting a variation on a neckbreaker for two. Tag to Carmella, and the two wrench Nikki’s head back to slam it off the mat. Carmella mounts the Bella, smacking her in the face, and then tosses her into a corner.
Bronco Buster in the corner from Carmella (shades of Rey Mysterio!), and tags in Bliss. Bliss applies a sleeper; Nikki breaks out, but runs right into a clothesline. Alexa tags in Carmella after dragging Nikki away from Becky, and the Princess of Staten Island applies a rear chinlock before setting Nikki up in the corner for a second Bronco Buster. Nikki dives out the way, crawls over to Becky, and in comes the champ!
Becky takes Carmella down with arm and leg lariats. Bliss tags in, and runs right into two Bexplexes! Carmella drags Bliss out of the ring, away from a forearm, but Becky leaps out onto Alexa, taking her down before throwing her back into the ring. In the ring, Carmella blindsides Becky with a superkick before getting tackled by Nikki, and chased out of the ring! Alexa heads up to the top, and hits the Twisted Bliss moonsault for a victory over the Champ!
Nice elevating moment for Alexa, with enough cheating to give it some doubt. Looking forward to this on Sunday. 2.5 Stars.
Bray is still backstage, continuously saying ‘randy’. It’s like living with my Grandfather all over again. Oh, and he found a rocking chair. Shit, Bray, steal it. You know how many places sell rocking chairs now? Not enough.
Oh fuck: Orton just pulled down a sliding door and trapped Bray in the room! Hurrah for wacky hi-jinks! Randy delivers a spiel about the hunter being the hunted, when it would be way more in character for him to just say ‘ha ha, fuck you, fatass’. Oh shit, he even put a camera in there! Please say Edge is going to show up and throw basketballs at Wyatt.
Here’s Daniel Bryan with a bunch of Susan G. Komen people. Oh no: not the month of self-righteousness. Every year I forget how painful this is to live through. And yeah: I’m really happy that WWE is bringing awareness to breast cancer and helping with donations towards confronting the problem; it’s just the smug satisfaction that pisses me off. I’ve met people who’ve worked for charities their entire lives who aren’t annoying, so I know it’s possible.
Bryan is here to recognise the five people in the ring who’ve done a huge amount in the fight against breast cancer. He uses the phrase ‘not all heroes wear capes’. Well…obviously. Only fictional ones wear capes, and not even all of them. He says they’re also champions, and so he’s giving them all replica championship belts. If I have my colour-coding right, it’s a replica of the SmackDown Women’s Championship belt. You know, the one with literally no history.
If you play as Goldberg on WWE 2K17, does your character not sell any offence? Can you not put on a good match against Brock Lesnar? Can you end careers with a single kick?
They don’t get buried; they are buried
Here are the Vaudevillains, who will be facing the Hype Bros. Meh.
Mojo starts off against Gotch. They lock up, and Rawley yells that Gotch ‘ain’t hype’, and bodyslams him. He then calls for ‘hammer time’, and dances before dropping an axe handle to Gotch. Ryder tags in, and oh God, the Ascension has just come out onto the ramp. Stop trying to matter.
Arm drag to Gotch, who runs into a pair of knees. English distracts Ryder, who then takes a kick to the back from Gotch. European uppercut to Ryder, then an exploder suplex as English tags in. He hits elbows to Ryder before choking him on the ropes, with Gotch hitting a big boot to the face. Some more blows connect to Ryder for a two count, and then English tags in Gotch…who tags back out after one move. Stellar.
Reverse chinlock from English, then a scoop slam. Ryder rolls out of the way of a knee drop, but Gotch tags in and catches him. Ryder rolls him up; Gotch kicks out but Ryder makes the tag to Rawley! Rawley tackles English, hits the Pounce and then a stinger splash! Fireman’s carry drop puts English down whilst Ryder takes Gotch down. Hype Ryder connects, and the Hype Bros win!
Basically, putting the Pounce in any match is a great way to earn goodwill from me. This actually wasn’t too bad. 2.5 Stars.
Miz and Maryse are in the ring for Miz TV when we come back. Apparently we’ll be looking at “highlights“ of Dolph Ziggler’s career. Couldn’t draw more attention to those quotation marks if I tried. The Miz calls Ziggler out, and Dolph makes his way to the ring.
The Miz introduces the Dolphumentary, and of course the entire thing is just a ridiculous and extended dick move at Dolph’s expense, although with incredible production values. Holy shit, they even show Chavo Guerrero and the Spirit Squad. Miz is absolutely no longer the heel in this feud after this kind of effort.
Dolph is understandably pissed about that three-minute-long insult. He says that he has one magical moment for every ten disappointing ones, which is about the saddest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about themselves. Minus anything that Curt Hawkins has ever said. He says that if he can’t deliver, then he doesn’t belong here, but he’s got one last shred of dignity. I’d believe him, if it wasn’t for the fact he’s betting his career on the Intercontinental Championship.
Dolph says he’s not done yet and the Miz tells him he is. This is really coming off as a man putting down an injured pet sort of thing, which is exactly how I’m going to view the match on Sunday. Miz says he’s got one more thing to raise Dolph’s spirits and…oh my God. My God, that magnificent bastard.
It’s the Spirit Squad.
Well, okay: it’s two of the Spirit Squad, but I’m amazed that any of them are even alive seeing as how Ziggler is considered “the successful one”. Oh wow, one of them’s going bald. They do a ‘Dolph’ chant, which is a new kind of horrifying. Actually, Kenny looks to be in decent shape.
Miz decides the twist the knife a little bit too much, and Ziggler blows his top…and he gets jumped by the Spirit Squad. Holy fuck, he got taken out by the Spirit Squad. That is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. And don’t give me any of that shit about them being the World Tag Team Champions and beating Kane and the Big Show to do it: Dolph got taken out by two of the Spirit Squad.
Actually, Dolph rallies, superkicks the two Spirit Squad members out and almost nails the Miz too. If he loses now, then I think WWE is going to be 100% responsible for Dolph Ziggler’s suicide.
Oh shit, Bray Wyatt’s still in the crate. Has he pissed yet? Is there a designated piss corner? I’d be pissing everywhere. Shit, I’d be naked: Orton couldn’t show it on PG TV. Check and mate, Viper.
I like that we’re doing the Hispanic Heritage thing, but WWE and WCW have had loads of Hispanic wrestlers: why not honour them? Eddie, Rey, Psicosis, Super-Crazy. Those four alone have a hell of a highlight reel between them.
And it’s that weird thing where WWE makes tag team wrestlers fight in singles matches. Like dogs walking on their hind legs, so it is. In this case, it’s Jason Jordan vs. Jimmy Uso, and from what I’ve seen of Jason Jordan, he should be able to bury Jimmy like Triple H on steroids.
Because Triple H has never taken steroids a day in his life.
Jordan opens the match by slamming Jimmy onto the mat and beating the shit out of him. Uso’s sent off the ropes, kicks Jordan but is elevated over the top rope. He jars the neck of Jordan off the ropes, then sleeper-holds him, driving knees into the man’s back as he does so.
Jordan makes his way to his feet, but Jimmy stays on him. Jason reverses a whip into the corner; he catches the Uso and looks to be trying to wheelbarrow him, whilst Jimmy tries to go for a victory roll, but then Jordan counters with a pin of his own…and wins!
Decent for all its length. Props to WWE for not having a bigger guy like Jordan get stuck in that routine: I like that he can do quick pins and amateur wrestling. 2.5 Stars.
Get the fuck out of there, Jordan…ah, Jey already jumped Gable. And Jordan goes out to check on him, and he’s taken out too. Man, the Usos turned into humongous assholes. Luckily, Slater and Rhyno hit the ring to run the Usos off.
Okay, Bray is now just sitting in the rocking chair. Was this his plan all along? He just wanted a quiet night, so let Orton walk him into this pretty comfortable trap? And…and now he’s talking to Abigail. This is some Shining shit.
After the break, Orton’s gone back to check on Bray, probably because Shane heard that one of his employees locked another one in a tiny room with no food and promptly freaked out at all of the potential legal ramifications. I mean…I know that’s not what happened, but it would be fantastic if that’s how it had all gone down.
Anyway, Orton opens the door, I guess hoping that Bray doesn’t immediately attack and/or piss all over him. Aaaaand Bray’s gone. Alright, this is now literally the plot of The Shining. Don’t walk past any pillars, Randy. Also don’t lock yourself in a bathroom you then can’t get out of. Orton actually goes into the room, which is literally how he trapped Bray the first time. He doesn’t get locked in, though. Probably because Bray didn’t think he’d be so stupid as to actually go inside. You showed him, Randy.
We see a clip from Talking Smack, featuring John Cena. I really like the look of this segment; the way they do it seems seriously well done. Also, for that entire Cena interview the words ‘I beat you clean for the Championship’ were absolutely running through Bryan’s head.
Can’t stop the Swag
Oh shit, son: it’s Swagger time. You know who’d not get locked in a room after being lured in there by a rocking chair? Jack Swagger. You know who’d not get jumped by the Usos, even though he had to know it was coming? Jack Swagger. You know who’s far less pathetic than Baron Corbin? My man Swaggles.
Oh, for fuck’s sake: Curt Hawkins has more facts. Here’s a fact: if you gave me the chance to murder Curt Hawkins with my own two hands, with no legal repercussions and completely for free, I’d offer you £500 to be able to use a pair of pliers too.
Anyway, Baron Corbin comes out and this thing gets underway. Jack’s still got the snake insignia on the back of his leotard; is he still a jingoist, or just poor? Both men tie up, neither of them gaining the advantage at first. Finally, Corbin runs over Swagger with a shoulder tackle. They lock up again, with Swagger outwrestling Corbin. He ducks a clothesline, comes off the ropes and hits a shoulder block of his own.
Swagger goes after the leg of a cornered Corbin, but a distraction from the referee allows Baron to hit a hell of a punch, putting Jack on his ass, and he continues to beat the shit out of Swagger as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Corbin is still in control. Swagger’s knee got injured during the break following a fall off the apron. Corbin locks in a chinlock on Swagger, then smacks him in the jaw to put him down again. Swagger finally ducks a clothesline and sends Corbin out through the ropes. Baron comes back, running into a pair of boots, and now Swagger is on the attack, striking him with clothesline after clothesline and slamming him onto the mat!
Swagger goes for the Swagger Bomb; Corbin gets his boots up…and Swagger locks in the Ankle Lock! Corbin is reaching for the ropes, his hands striking the mat…and the ref calls the submission!
Hah, intriguing move. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that one before, which is odd because it’s a pretty decent idea. 2.5 Stars.
I’m completely on JBL’s side; are Ranallo and Otunga blind? I mean, fuck Corbin, but still.
Here’s AJ Styles, ready for a three-way confrontation with Cena and Ambrose. Styles says that SmackDown Live is the land of opportunity: over the past two PPVs, he’s had the chance to beat John Cena and to become the World Champion. At No Mercy, he has the opportunity to beat both Cena and Ambrose at the same time…and that’s as far as he gets, because Ambrose’s music hits, and Dean comes out.
Dean asks what Styles is going to call himself if he does win at No Mercy, and says that he’s become a chump: he took the low road to make things certain. But what Dean’s pissed that Cena couldn’t take that he was about to win the World Championship in front of him, and so interfered in the match to ruin his chances.
This brings out Cena himself, who is about to start talking before Styles tells him to shut up, because everyone already knows what he’s going to say: he’s chasing history and is going to be a sixteen-time World Heavyweight Champion. AJ is apparently offended that Cena would even dream of equalling Flair’s record. Why is this such a sore point for everyone?
Styles says that Cena shouldn’t think about Ric Flair. He should worry about AJ Styles, because Styles doesn’t chase history; he makes it. Cena’s about to talk again, but now it’s Dean’s turn to tell him to stop, because he knows what he’s going to say: that Ambrose screwed Ambrose, to stop complaining and he’s going to make Dean look like a dick for even pointing out that he got screwed.
Dean says that Cena undercuts anyone who’s a threat to him, but he’s not going to do it to Ambrose, because Ambrose outworks him in the ring. Dean wrestled more matches than anyone in the whole company over the last two years and never tried to kiss Cena’s ass and never played by anyone’s rules but his own. He says that he’ll never try to be a copy of John Cena; he’s just going to be Dean Ambrose whilst Cena just plays Cena on TV.
Cena fucking loses it, dives on Ambrose, sends Styles out of the ring and hits an Attitude Adjustment to Ambrose before hoisting the belt. Just when it looks like the show’s going to end, Styles launches himself at Cena, taking him down and punching the shit out of him. Cena goes for the AA, but Styles slides out of it and hits the Phenomenal Forearm. He hoists the belt, and actually makes it out of the ring before Ambrose jumps him and gives him a Dirty Deeds on the steel ramp. Dean hoists the belt up to end the show.
Pretty decent show, with two great talk segments for both the World and Intercontinental Championships. Nothing stellar about any of the matches, but I’m pretty amped up for No Mercy right now. 7/10
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Charley, Daniel Bryan, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kane, Maryse, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, really), Shane McMahon, smackdown, smackdown live, The Ascension, The Hype Bros, The Miz, The Spirit Squad (yeah, the usos, The Vaudevillains