Spain’s SmackDown Report and Review for June 13th 2017: LadderMania!

Columns, Top Story

Hey there, folks. David Spain here with another edition of the Spain SmackDown Report. We are days away from Money in the Bank, and with RAW managing to buck the fuck out of recent expectations with the showdown between Samoa Joe and Brock Lesnar, here’s hoping that tonight’s show will have something competitive to offer.

Well, we have a six-man tag match between the competitors in the Money in the Bank Ladder match. And Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton are meeting face to face fucking finally so that WWE can continue this wonderful tradition of rushing out any kind of World Championship storyline and hope that it’ll be alright on the night. Punjabi Championship Celebration with no interruptions? More of that, please.

But first up: don’t you dare be sour. The New Day is here, complete with a jazz section for their entrance! They will be teaming up with the Fashion Police to take on the Usos and the Colóns, but they want to address the crowd first. They said they couldn’t help coming out to talk in the city that’s going to host next year’s WrestleMania. They promise to take the Tag Team Titles from the Usos and hold onto them until that very PPV.

At this point the Usos interrupt, microphones regrettably in had. They blather incoherently about how this isn’t a game and then do their stupid two-person promo until Breezango make their entrance. Seriously, if you’d told me a couple of months back that I would be really happy to see these two every week I’d have called you a lying whore and probably thrown my coffee at you.

The Fashion Police mock the Usos and call them gross before the Colóns arrive to stick up for the Champs. They quite rightfully make the point that Breezango are actually quite bad at being detectives, and claim that they weren’t behind the trashing of their office. Big E interrupts to start a “New Day Rocks” chant as we go to a commercial break.

The Team of Twins is finally a reality

Once we’re back after what I assume was an ad break-long chant, Jimmy and Fandango are in the ring. Jimmy indicates that he wants to face a member of the New Day, and Fandango obliges by tagging in Kofi Kingston. Jimmy teases locking up before then tagging in Epico Colón. The Usos talk when you don’t want them to and they don’t fight when that’s the best thing about them.

Kofi latches a waistlock onto Epico, who throws an elbow into his face and then hits him with shoulder tackle. Epico runs the ropes, ducking under Kofi’s leapfrogs before rebounding right into a high back elbow. Kofi tags in Xavier Woods, who hits a clothesline and an elbow drop to the downed Epico before tagging in Fandango, who hits an axe-handle to Epico’s arm. The Colón fights back momentarily before he’s taken down by a headscissors. Fandango blocks a sunset flip, hitting Epico with a leg drop before tagging in Tyler Breeze.

Breeze is staggered by an elbow from Epico, then gets kicked hard and bodyslammed by Jey Uso. Jey rocks Tyler with an uppercut before Jimmy tags in to gets some shots in, then tags in Primo. Primo claws at Tyler’s face, who elbows his way free before ducking a clothesline and hitting a huge enzuigiri to the skull of Primo Colón. Woods gets the tag, then allows Tyler to perform a headscissors on him, turning it into a splash onto Primo!

Woods hits a running knee to the back of Primo, then punishes him with knife-edge chops. Primo is able to suddenly turn the tables, lacing Woods with strikes before running right into a big boot and taking a huge clothesline. Epico rushes into the ring but is dispatched with ease; both the New Day and the Usos immediately get in on the action too, with the heels getting ejected with authority as we head to a break.

When we come back, Epico Colón is in control of Tyler Breeze following a sneak attack by the Usos during the commercial break. Epico chokes Breeze on the ropes before Primo launches himself in a senton onto the Prince of Pretty. The Usos then take over with a double team of their own, followed by a Samoan wrecking ball. Jey latches on a headlock, transitioning into a chinlock. Breeze manages to escape using a jawbreaker, but Epico quickly tags in and prevents him from getting far.

Epico hits a delayed vertical suplex, getting a two count before applying a chinlock again. Breeze escapes, but runs blindly into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Primo tags in, but Tyler has no plans of getting caught in a double-team situation and fights both men off, taking both down with a huge clothesline before tagging in Xavier Woods!

Jimmy has also tagged in, but can’t keep up with the flurry of energy that is Woods, who receives a blind tag from Kofi Kingston before diving out onto the Colóns! Kofi takes Jimmy down from the top rope before scoring with the Boom Drop! Trouble in Paradise misses, and Jimmy tries to capitalise with a superkick only for Kofi to catch the boot and connect with a second Trouble in Paradise attempt!

Jey breaks up the pin and is taken out of the ring by Fandango. Primo tags in and tries to catch Kofi with a backstabber, which is countered, then Woods tags in. Up Up Down Down connects, and Xavier Woods gets the pin!

Great opener which went far longer than I thought. Coherent match that didn’t get stale or too out of control. 3 Stars.

Meanwhile, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are having a discussion backstage. AJ appears to be warning Nakamura about Zayn getting way too enthusiatic and excited about teaming up with them. Sami then arrives and is just super-chill about the whole thing, just wanting to talk strategy.

This falls apart immediately as Sami Zayn gets way too involved trying to work things out as Shinsuke just stares at him in confusion and apparent horror. When Zayn finally leaves, Nakamura admits that he quite likes the guy.

In another part of backstage, Dasha is cruelly needling Mojo Rawley about going down like a bitch to Jinder Mahal. He says that the loss was devastating, but part of him is glad that he lost due to how he handles adversity: it’s going to be a springboard for him.

And holy shit, Zack Ryder’s back! Zack Ryder and his ridiculous hair, tan and beard are back! The Hype Bros have been reformed!

Nia Jax vs. Tamina: winner to be the Brock Lesnar of the Women’s Division

Here’s the Women’s Champ Naomi, making her way to the ring. She’s facing Tamina, who pinned her last week off a huge superkick (admittedly following some interference from Lana). And the match doesn’t even start before Lana makes her entrance.

Tamina starts off by absorbing some punishment from Naomi before almost swatting her away. She throws the Champ across the ring twice, then applies a chinlock. Naomi fights her way back to her feet, earning a clubbing blow to the back as a consequence.

Naomi manages to hit two huge roundhouse kicks, but Tamina catches the third and puts her ass back down. She continues to smack Naomi around in the corner, then follows it up with a Samoan Wrecking Ball. Tamina locks Naomi in a sleeper in the centre of the ring before throwing her down to the mat. Huge clothesline floors Naomi, and then she ends up right back in the sleeper hold.

Naomi finally starts fighting back, clocking Tamina upside the head with a kick and following that up with a flurry of them. Tamina manages to catch Naomi’s crossbody attempt, planting her opponent down on the mat before heading up to the top rope. Naomi forces herself back to her feet and stuns Tamina with a Del Rio-esque enzuigiri! The Champ hauls Tamina down from the top and comes down on her with a split-legged moonsault for the win!

Nice work from both women. I hope that we can see Tamina in more of a monster role rather than fading into the background. 2.5 Stars.

Lana jumps Naomi immediately post-match before planting her with a sit-out spinebuster whilst wearing a fucking ballgown. The commentators sell the shit out of it, and that is hopefully an indicator of what she’ll be capable of on Sunday.

Jinder Mahal is walking around backstage before the break, and his smile is far too adorable and disarming for him to be such an angry heel. He looks like he’s just heard a great joke and is really trying to hide it.

People need to be more prepared for the “outta nowhere” element

Following the break, Jinder is announced by the Singh Brothers and makes his way down to the ring. This guy has really awesome entrance visuals: seriously nice work from the boys in the back.

Jinder, back in angry quasi-racist mode, tells everyone to rise and show some respect. He promises to show us that Randy Orton is nothing more than a coward who is afraid of disappointing his family, friends and hometown: hah, what a fucking loser. He says that Orton isn’t out here because he’s scared of Jinder Mahal, and that he’s been ducking Jinder this whole time. Wow, even Jinder’s annoyed with how bullshit the build for this has been.

Jinder speaks in Punjabi, and I like to think that the guy is just saying whatever the hell he wants and assuming that no-one backstage will know, but there’s a hundred million Punjabi speakers in the world and at least one of them would probably snitch on him.

Orton’s music suddenly kicks in, and Jinder sends the Singh Brothers to intercept him, despite Randy’s arrival not being a secret because this whole thing is supposed to be a face-to-face segment. And, of course, Orton slides into the ring from behind and hits his running RKO to Jinder. It is absolutely past time. Randy slithers out of the ring as the Singh Brothers cautiously check on Jinder, then exits through the crowd.

Hope you enjoyed that smidgen of build, because that is your fucking lot.

Backstage, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin are sitting around not talking to each other because they’re way too cool for school. Then Kevin Owens shows up for a morale booster. Both Ziggler and Corbin are absolutely not going to follow Owens’ lead and tell him so, to which Owens replies that he dislikes both of them: master of diplomacy.

KO offers the plan that they decimate the other team tonight, because then the Money in the Bank Ladder match will only have three competitors. Yeah, not how that would work out at all. Still, it makes Corbin and Ziggler stop and think. At the very least, they’re unlikely to turn on each other until the closing moments of the match.

After the break, Orton is walking around backstage until Renee catches him with an Ambush Interview, which is just as surprising as the RKO. He says that he just said everything he needed to say out there with the RKO, because fuck Renee’s job and her inability to extract deep meaning from wrestling moves.

Natalya’s powerbomb’s missing a Batista-style thumbs-down

And it’s time for the second Women’s Division match of the night, pitting Charlotte Flair against Natalya Neidhart. Natalya makes her entrance first, followed by the Queen herself.

Bell rings and both women lock up, having a quick grapple-and-counter exchange and immediately following that up with another: both women playing one-upmanship. Becky is watching the match backstage as Charlotte takes control, locking her opponent in a front facelock. Natalya manages to break out of it, smashing the back of Charlotte’s head off the mat as we go to a commercial break.

When we come back, Natalya is still in control as she sends Charlotte barrelling into the corner. She drags the former Champ to her feet, but is surprised by Charlotte striking her before almost losing from a backslide pin. Charlotte knocks Natalya to the mat with chops, then drops a knee onto her. Exploder suplex plants Neidhart, then Charlotte hits a picture-perfect moonsault to score a near-fall.

Charlotte is elevated onto the apron, but is able to drag Natalya down to the mat by her hair. She wants a second moonsault, but that’s one too many times she’s gone to the well, and Natalya plants her with a sit-out powerbomb which nearly wins the Hart descendant the match. A Sharpshooter attempt is countered by a slap from Charlotte; she follows that up with a pin attempt and then a huge big boot for another near fall.

Natalya attempts a small package, but falls victim to Natural Selection, and Charlotte wins heading into Money in the Bank.

Short match, but it showcased some of the best in the repertoires of these two. Really looking forward to this match on Sunday. 2.5 Stars.

Another edition of Fashion Files, because why would you ever end a good thing? I’d love it if these two were actually responsible for this dialogue.

In a less monochrome part of backstage, Lana is wandering around. Dasha arrives and asks about the controversy she’s created (wrestle-speak for “you’re being an asshole”). Lana says that she’ll crush Naomi at Money in the Bank and become the first ever Ravishing SmackDown Women’s Champion.

Why do they always try to climb the ladder?

Main event time, and let’s see which team will try to devour itself first in this fantastic team-building exercise: the six-man tag match. Both teams make their entrance and the match starts.

Ziggler begins opposite Nakamura. He quickly gets the Artist in a wristlock, but Nakamura escapes and returns the favour in kind. A knee drop sends Dolph rolling into the corner, where he suffers Good Vibrations from Shinsuke. Ziggler manages to send Shinsuke reeling with a huge uppercut and then put him down with a dropkick and tag in Kevin Owens.

Owens comes in hard, beating the hell out of Nakamura before letting Corbin in the match. Corbin works over Shinsuke in the corner before yelling at Zayn and then continuing to choke Nakamura with his foot. Dolph gets the tag, snapmaring Nakamura out of the corner and then putting him in a sleeper, forcing him to see his partners without being able to tag himself out. Nakamura tries to fight back, but only gets his head whipped off the mat. Shinsuke avoids an elbow drop and is able to tag out to AJ Styles.

Styles soon has Dolph staggering with explosive offence, culminating in a pumphandle gutbuster. Ushigoroshi strikes, with Styles almost getting the pin before Owens breaks it up. Sami Zayn hurls KO out of the ring before launching himself in a senton over the top rope over his old rival. AJ wants the Styles Clash, but Dolph reverses it into a DDT for a near fall.

Ziggler and Styles tag out to Corbin and Zayn. Corbin is staggered by a boot from Zayn, ducks as Sami flies over his head from the top rope, then catches him with Deep Six! Nakamura busts up the pin and slides out of the ring as we head to a break. When we return Dolph has Zayn under control, knocking him to the mat with a huge back elbow. Owens tags in to continue the assault on Zayn, stomping all over him.

Snapmare takes Sami down, but he counters Owens’ back senton with a pair of knees to the spine. Owens rallies furiously, dropping Zayn with a DDT and making the tag to Corbin. Baron drives Zayn into the corner and hits measured fists to the face and body. Zayn fights his way back, dodges a charge from Corbin, who is able to dash back into the ring and tackle Sami as the smaller man tries to make the tag! Owens is tagged in, but Zayn fires back again with a Blue Thunder Bomb! Sami crawls towards his corner, but Corbin gets the tag and is able to stop an exhausted Zayn from tagging out again.

Baron throws Sami back into his corner, knocking Dolph off the apron as he does so. A clothesline drops Zayn to his knees, but Sami returns one of his own that puts Corbin on his ass! Sami ducks a charge from Ziggler, sending him out of the ring, then dodges Owens to let him go the same way! Corbin manages to catch Sami, who backflips out of a back suplex and low bridges Baron! Sami’s about to reach his corner when Ziggler and Owens drag Nakamura and Styles off the apron!

Styles punishes Owens on the outside, then hits Corbin with a forearm! Zayn hits an explosive Helluva Kick right in Corbin’s face, and he gets the win! Sami Zayn has beaten Baron Corbin for the third time!

Great match, with some really well thought-out spots. Can’t wait until Sunday. 4 Stars.

Immediately after the match, Ziggler leaps on Styles and starts stomping on everyone. Owens seems to have thrown Nakamura into the barricade, and then drags a ladder into the ring. Ziggler and Owens, working in tandem, smack both Styles and Zayn with the ladder.

With no opponents in the ring, Owens and Ziggler start posturing and shouting each other down, pointing to the suspended briefcase. Suddenly Corbin barrels into the ring and knocks Owens and Ziggler down before mowing KO down with the ladder and blasting Dolph off the apron with it.

Baron sets up the ladder so he can do the completely meaningless and symbolic climb-and-retrieval. Nakamura is able to shove the ladder over however, and then blasts Corbin with the Kinshasa! Nakamura climbs the ladder and takes the briefcase. I have the feeling he’s being set up for a hard fall this weekend.

So, the bad: honestly not that much. The World Championship picture is the most dull thing going on, but WWE seems so ashamed of it that they barely give it any time anyway. The Usos talked again, but I’m steadily becoming numb to it.

The good: matches ranged from solid to great, Lana can do at least one wrestling move and the two Money in the Bank matches look like they’ll be fantastic. Tonight gets 10/10.

David has a jaded and cynical view of wrestling, which complements his jaded and cynical view of practically everything else. He spends his time writing novels and screenplays, lifting heavy things while listening to classical music, and waiting with bated breath for his next opportunity to say "it's Dr. Spain, actually".