Hey there folks. Hope everyone’s had a good week and has done some wonderful things with their time. I myself have found out that I live about five minutes away from WhatCulture Wrestling’s offices, so you’ll probably only have a few more of these reviews before Widro calls up with a special assignment for me #HolyWar.
As we all remember from last week, committing felonies gets you some high profile WrestleMania matches. Baron Corbin can try to crush a man’s chest with a forklift and gets an Intercontinental Championship match; Randy Orton can commit arson and grave desecration whilst live-streaming it and gets a World Championship match; AJ Styles can beat the shit out of his boss and get given a main event match where he gets to do it all again
And in the present, Daniel Bryan is pretending to do actual work, but it’s all a cover before Soccer Mom Trucker Hat (AJ Styles) rocks up. Daniel embarks on a nigh-Shakespearean monologue about how much Styles has fucked up now, and tells him that Shane is on his way. AJ says that he’s going to go out and tell the world how it feels to beat up Shane McMahon, and at least it’ll have way less sexual imagery than it does when Vince describes it.
Apparently Mauro Ranallo is sick, but we have David Otunga back because God is dead and we killed Him.
AJ Styles arrives to mixed reaction from the crowd, half of whom have definitely fantasised about assaulting their boss over the past week. Styles says that beating the fuck out of Shane made his heart swell, which is a different organ to the one Vince would pick to swell. He finds the notion of him fighting Shane laughable, which it absolutely is but we’re about to just stand by and let it happen.
AJ says that attending WrestleMania is worth beating a near-fifty year old man for an extended period time, which is the weirdest advert for the Show of Shows I’ve ever heard. Styles then announces that he’s going to go and wait for Shane backstage so that he can jump him again: the old not-surprise surprise attack.
Apparently when Miz is hungry he acquires a genuine sense of morality and love for his fellow man, all of which can be cured by a Snickers. I’m not a psychologist, but even I know that that man needs professional help. But I’m sure a Five-Knuckle Shuffle to the head will be just as useful.
Backstage, Bryan is on the phone to Shane, narcing on Styles’ plans for another surprise beating. See, this is why you don’t get on the microphone and announce an ambush, you silly. Speaking of assault and, I guess, speaking of silly too, Baron Corbin is also here, asking where Ambrose is. I’m not sure if the silly refers to his sleeveless wolf T-shirt or his receding hairline, so let’s call it both.
Corbin wants to know whether Dean has accepted his challenge for an Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania. When he hears that Ambrose isn’t there he says that he’s going to head out to hit the blackjack tables, because that’s how a job works: once you’re done, you get to go gambling. Bryan says that Corbin walked into his office at the wrong time, so he gets a match tonight against Randy Orton. Man, good thing Alexa Bliss didn’t want a word with Bryan just then.
Okay, that actually is pretty dangerous
Here’s American Alpha, who last week were defeated by the Usos and a bunch of footage of Shane McMahon. They’re facing the Usos again, and this time it’s for the Tag Team Titles. Otunga says that this is the most dangerous Usos team he’s ever seen, despite the fact that the Usos used to run over the fucking Wyatt Family like a goddamn steam train.
Bell rings, and Jordan and Jey start things off. Jordan immediately takes the advantage with his mat wrestling, forcing Jey to back off. Jey tags Jimmy in, who immediately gets worked over by Jordan and then Gable as the shorter man tags in. Gable works over the arm, but gets driven into the Usos’ corner. Jey tags in, and immediately gets taken down once again. Most. Dangerous. Usos.
Jey continues to be made to look a fool, but the most dangerous fool Otunga’s ever seen. He finally smacks Gable in the mouth, but Jordan gets tagged in and Alpha clears the damn ring after a flurry of dropkicks. When we go to a break, American Alpha is kicking ass, but when we come back the Usos are in control, our delicate eyes spared the sight of heels taking advantage.
Gable continues to get worked over by one of the Usos: I can’t tell which because it’s post-commercial break and it could be either of them because they’re goddamn identical. Gable dodges a stinger splash, but the other Uso tags in to stop the hot tag. Chad fights him off, then has to take both of them but keeps dodging around, almost getting the tag before Jimmy pulls Jason off the apron. Jey throws Gable out of the ring where Jimmy can clothesline the fuck out of him.
The Usos wait on Gable to get back in the ring, apparently content with a victory even if they don’t get the Championships. It’s not even like they knew he’d make it back in the ring either; he managed to roll in at nine. Tom says that it shows how much the Tag Team Titles mean to American Alpha, so Tom can shut his whore mouth and learn that Championships don’t change hands on a count-out.
Jimmy Uso puts Gable up on the second rope, looking for a German superplex. Gable fights back, so gets his head slammed off the steel ring post and hung up in the tree of woe. He manages to pull himself up at the last second, avoiding Jimmy’s charge and crawling over Jason for the hot tag! Jason catches Jey for a belly-to-belly, then gets the other one. Suplexes and spears for everyone, then an Angle Slam to Jey for two!
Jordan gets Jey on his shoulders with Gable ascending to the top, but Jey slips out of it and shoves Jordan into a superkick from Jimmy! Gable leaps off the top to take Jimmy out with a crossbody, then almost gets rolled up for the win by Jey. Gable eats superkick, then the Samoan Splash, and he fucking kicks out! The absolute madman kicks out!
Both Usos ascend to the top ropes for a double splash, but Jordan shoves one of them down to the floor. Gable catches Jey at the top and takes him right the fuck back down. Bulldog double team strikes, but Jimmy tugs Jason out of the ring. He takes a suplex, then gets kicked off the apron! Crowd’s chanting that this is awesome; Gable takes an Uso out with a moonsault from the top, gets thrown into the crowd by the other! Jordan gets crotched on the ropes, superkicked in the face and it’s over! The Usos are the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions!
Well, we have two legit teams on this show, and I’d happily watch a lengthy feud between both. This really heated up towards the end, but could have gone longer or got going sooner. 3.5 Stars.
AJ Styles is hanging around in a parking lot, waiting for a man to whom he’s told his plan to wander into his clutches. Got to admire that Southern optimism.
Luke Harper is backstage, staring at a lightbulb and talking about Sister Abigail. Oh good, now we’ve got two of them doing this. He says that a new evil roams the earth, and this would probably be more menacing and impressive if we didn’t hear something like this every single week. And Harper’s having a match against Wyatt next week, because I guess he…just remembered that they had problems with each other?
And apparently the Miz and Maryse have requested that they get to show a “lost episode” of Total Bellas. Is that show even old enough to have a lost episode? Are Maryse and Miz just hate-watching every episode of this, except when Maryse leaves and Miz begins creepy-watching it?
Aaaand the episode is Maryse playing both Bella Twins, because of course it is: this is wrestling. Ho ho ho. Maryse gives both Bellas the average intelligence and grace of Eugene. Miz is also playing John Cena, portraying him as a really colourful version of Captain Von Trapp because apparently Brie is not allowed to sing whilst on his property. He does use the phrase “double secret probation” though, and I will cheerfully support any Animal House quotes wherever they occur.
And Nikki wants to get married, because of course she does because women only have value as baby-carriers and you can only get pregnant once you get married. If this was in any way accurate, John Cena could be a horror movie villain.
Are we actually going to see a forklift match at WrestleMania?
And here’s Baron Corbin, which is a real fucking whiplash if I’m honest. I quite like that, after finding out that he wasn’t able to beat up Ambrose some more, he immediately dropped down to the lesser sin of gambling. You have to give it to the man: he works at being a bad person. That being said, he’s fighting Randy Orton, arsonist and grave desecrator, so he’s really the hero here.
The aforementioned pyromaniac makes his own way to the ring. You know, if I was him I’d be really worried about Bray hurling himself at him at any every opportunity, almost like they were in a WrestleMania World Championship feud. Also because Wyatt’s now more powerful now or whatever and is doing blackface: thank you for reminding me, WWE.
Baron and Randy circle each other, then lock up. Orton gets knocked down with a shoulder tackle but almost catches Corbin with an RKO on the rebound. Corbin spends a little time on the outside, then gets back in to smack Orton around in the corner before Randy slams him head-first off the mat and stomps on him. Holy hell, Baron sells the fuck out of every single one of those shots. Orton hits a few uppercuts in the corner as Otunga compares his infiltration of the Wyatts to Donnie Brasco. I’m so angry with that I can’t even…just…just Jesus fuck. Meanwhile, Corbin slams Randy’s head into the steel post and we go to a break so I can calm down.
When we come back, I still hate every bitch word coming out of David Otunga’s bitch mouth, and Baron Corbin is in control of Randy, wrenching Orton’s head around. Orton tries to fight out, throwing Corbin into the corner, but Baron slides out of the ring and races back in to take Orton back down. Randy gets choked on the ropes, because that’s what Daddy likes, and then Baron starts throwing hands which, credit to him, Orton sells the hell out of too.
Randy’s tossed back into the corner, but boots Corbin right in the hairline before firing up. Baron avoids the powerslam, goes for his out-of-the-ring-then-back-into-the-ring clothesline (there’s probably a better name for it) but gets powerslammed. Full nelson slam plants Corbin, who rolls out to the apron. Oh no, child: that is not a good place. Corbin manages to drag Orton out of the ring, but that just leaves Randy with a range of opportunities to kick his ass, and kick his ass he does. Finally, Orton brings Baron back into the ring with a Vintage DDT that must just feel merciful at that stage.
Randy Orton starts hearing voices and thrashing around, which is possibly how Baron scouts the RKO so easily and plants Orton with a Deep Six or, as I think of it, Spinny Happy Fun Time. I do: I really, genuinely do. Orton kicks out and rolls out of the ring, then dodges a charge from Corbin who ends up running right into the steel steps, that goon.
The crowd is very distracted by something on the ramp that we’re not shown, and if it’s Dean Ambrose then he is taking his sweet time. Oh, it is Dean, and he’s standing on a forklift. Baron is distracted enough that Orton scores with the RKO for the win, saluting Ambrose as he does so.
This was another good and important match for Corbin, who I think will be World Champion before 2018: fight me. Both men sold really well here, and the ending allowed Baron to still look strong, if very easily distracted. And, you know, if I’d tried to crush someone to death with a forklift and then they showed up at my place of work, also with a forklift, I’d be a little bit distracted too. 3 Stars.
Orton keeps looking back at Ambrose as he celebrates, because correct him if he’s wrong, but that’s a fucking forklift. Dean eventually gets to the ring and says that Baron’s got his match before hitting a Dirty Deeds to Corbin and leaving again.
And AJ Styles is still in the parking lot, which is how you get run over by Rikishi.
Meanwhile, Renee is asking Randy what he thinks about Bray Wyatt’s lunatic ravings and blatant racism. Orton starts by saying that he literally doesn’t have a reaction, then the lights flicker and Randy, to be honest, just seems wearied by all this. When the lights come back on there’s a bunch of dudes wearing sheep masks surrounding him, because Undertaker’s basically cornered the druid market.
Orton just start throwing punches, which is his natural reaction until he finds a bag to shit in, but thirty-against-one is the dictionary definition of “outnumbered” and they hold him against the wall. And then Bray Wyatt shows up, so it looks like we might see Orton get stabbed here. Except Wyatt just touches him on the shoulder and head with some sort of paddle with a big X on it, which I think means Randy’s officially one of the X-Men now.
Bray says that he’s more powerful than Randy could possibly imagine: a well-known side-effect of burning down someone’s house or slashing them with a lightsaber. He then sings that he’s got the whole world in his hands before the feed cuts out. And therein lies the entire problem of Bray Wyatt in a single segment: it’s like the WWE sets up these actually quite creepy situations that wouldn’t look too out of place in some indie horror movie, but they pull back at the last second and just make it goofy. Hell, just have Orton be dragged off by the Erick Rowans and just hear him start screaming: that’s scary and wouldn’t require any graphic images.
Like, Tom Phillips just changed the subject with a voice that is equal parts cheerful and amused, which should not be a reaction to anything related to Bray Wyatt. Bray is an amazing concept that keeps falling short of expectations because he’s not suitable for a PG environment.
Fandango is going to die. He is going to DIE
Here’s Fandango, ready to get jobbed out to John Cena. Oh, and he’s got Tyler Breeze with him, who is in drag as Nikki Bella.
SO HERE’S FANDANGO, READY TO GET BEATEN TO A BLOODY, CRINGING PULP BY JOHN CENA. Also cross-dressing Tyler Breeze is far scarier than that Bray Wyatt segment.
Fandango gets on the microphone and asks us if we’d fuck Breeze, because he’d fuck Breeze. He’d fuck Breeze so hard. He tickets John Cena, who takes it all pretty well, and then introduces Breezy Bella. John then calls Nikki out, and this is going to be the weirdest catfight ever.
Bell rings, and I guess we’re doing this now. Fandango continuously tickets Cena, because I guess he has a quota to meet and the Chief’s on his ass. Speaking of on his ass, that’s exactly where Cena puts him. Breezy Bella gets into the ring and eats spear from Nikki before the couple hits their double finishers and the dual STFs. Man, the ref just does not give a shit.
Actually kinda funny. 2 Stars.
AJ Styles is still there. No bathroom breaks or nothing.
Alexa has a better WMD than the Big Show
Becky Lynch is in the house, and Natalya is on commentary, I guess as a replacement for Mauro Ranallo. We see a clip of Carmella going on a superkick frenzy from last week, and that is who Becky is facing tonight.
Carmella gets into the ring and runs into a flurry from Becky which sends her right out of the ring. Becky chases her, and Ellsworth tries to get in the way, only for Becky to dodge right past him. He does manage to grab her leg when she’s back inside the ring, which lets Carmella take advantage, right before Natalya enters the ring and takes Carmella’s fucking head off with a clothesline. Mickie and Alexa rush the ring, and we’ve got a brawl! Becky missile-dropkicks Ellsworth; Mickie Mick-Kicks Becky; Bliss goddamn decks Mickie right in the face and stands tall!
Not really a match, but a fun little brawl.
Neville is giving a promo. Yes: that is how everyone in my hometown talks.
And it’s another snippet from the fake Total Bellas thing, with them giving a tour of John Cena’s house. I mean…are they actually in Cena’s house? Because if so, that is an amazing house, but more importantly that means that either Miz and Maryse broke in with a full camera crew, or John was actually curious enough as to what would happen to let them film there. Either way, it paints a confusing picture.
Amazing DDP Yoga reference, and they are pounding the fact that Nikki needs to get married, like now. I mean…even I’m feeling terrible about not getting married, and I’m only twenty-five.
And AJ Styles is still in the parking lot. They’ve finally sent Renee out to ask what in the actual fuck, but Styles notices that a car’s coming and runs to get into place. It’s actually kind of cute that AJ is able to make another instance of violent physical assault seem like “ya’ll wanna check this shit out; hold my beer” kind of fun. He’s so excited!
So Shane’s car pulls up, and AJ hides behind an ambulance, literally in full view of the rear passenger window with his mad ninja skills. Not that it matters, because it’s Rhyno and Heath Slater in the car. I refuse to believe that they get driven anywhere by anyone, so this is clearly a trap. Also, does this mean that AJ has been getting ready every time a car arrives? In a parking lot?
And, back out front, Shane is already here and out on the ramp. Wait, without going through the parking lot? This story is already full of holes.
Shane, sporting a nasty-looking black eye, says that he hears that AJ Styles is looking for him, and that he’s looking for AJ Styles. So in America, you guys look for each other by staying in the same place, waiting for them to come to you? Neat concept.
Backstage, Renee informs Styles that Shane managed to Solid Snake his way past him and into the arena. Upon receiving the news, AJ’s face makes it clear that he’s just seen his own mortality, and it’s in the hands of Shane Goddamn McMahon.
In the ring, Shane says that Styles had a whole host of options other than being a sneak-attacking little bitch, and that AJ can come out here, or Shane is going to have to demonstrate all of the fucked-up shit he can do to people in the backstage area. And if you’ve seen the Attitude Era, then you know that that is some fucked-up fucked-up shit.
AJ makes his way to the curtain, grabbing a microphone and then steps out on the stage. He says that he wants Shane to calm down, and that he needs to understand where Styles is coming from. Styles made a mistake after losing the WrestleMania main event and he went off the deep end. He says that Shane did him a favour, giving him the match at WrestleMania and all.
AJ says that he’s going to be a man, and that he’s going to apologise. Well, that’s a first in the entire history of WWE Heels. Styles steps into the ring…and Shane punches the fuck out of him. Styles bails to the outside, where he drives Styles into the ring apron and then suplexes him into the barricade.
AJ hesitates, then starts tearing apart an announce table. He grabs Shane, but the boss throws him over his shoulder, laying him out over the announce table cover. Shane continues to prepare the table, taking a moment to fuck Styles up with a TV monitor before basically punching him into position on the table.
Shane gets into the ring, then up on the top rope, and he hits the Leap of Faith through the announce table! Shane McMahon just put the Phenomenal One through the announce table! Shane stands tall and POINTS AT THE SIGN to close the show.
Far improved SmackDown from last week. Good ending, with some great matches throughout the show. We’re definitely in build mode now. 8/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, dean ambrose, Fandango, James Ellsworth, jbl, John Cena, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mickie James, natalya neidhart, Nikki Bella, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon, smackdown, The Miz, the usos, Tom Phillips, Tyler Breeze