Happy Wednesday, everyone. This week’s Spain’s SmackDown Report is brought to you by WWE 2k18: the game that I desperately want to play and yet have not been able to because of my unrelenting schedule. So let’s power through this and I can finally, finally commence the maiming and crippling of any who dare stand before my psychotic avatar.
You don’t say shit about Daniel Bryan
First man out tonight is Daniel Bryan, receiving a raucous reception from his hometown crowd. Tom Phillips has been temporarily replaced by Michael Cole whilst he’s out “on assignment” (Cole’s own words). There’s some vagueness which implicitly situates Tom Phillips currently staring at someone through the scope of a sniper rifle.
Daniel soaks in the approval and love from the crowd, who are making a solid effort to canonise the guy based on applause alone. He announces a six-woman tag team match, in which Lana is apparently going to attempt to wrestle again: God preserve us. Jinder Mahal will be giving us a special announcement, and of course we have Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler: the rematch that…yeah, I can’t even pretend that I care just now.
But now it’s time to address Hell in a Cell, and Bryan puts on his serious face, his serious voice and his serious beard. He says that he’s disappointed in Sami Zayn, which as every child knows is far worse than angry. Bryan starts to talk about how he always used to say good things about Zayn,when Sami comes out. And, honestly, good for him: why are we choosing to vilify one of the only heels who turned for a rational and logical fucking reason.
Bryan is outraged that Sami Zayn looks so pleased with himself, and I’d be pleased too if I was part of the main fucking event finally. Sami claims that he’s still the same guy; he just finally took control of his career. He asks if that makes him a bad guy, and even the crowd chants “no” in response to that. Zayn says he thought that Daniel, anger management nutcase and abusive onscreen boyfriend, would actually understand. Bryan starts to say that they are the same, and Sami immediately denies that. He says that whilst they’re both gifted and were never accepted by management, Bryan always had the support of the fans.
Zayn claims that it was the fans who put Bryan in the main event of WrestleMania, but they never gave that same support to him, who worked just as hard. He says that he no longer cares; he doesn’t have to and it feels incredible. Zayn says that if Bryan had lost his martyr complex and worked smarter, not harder, then maybe he’d still be wrestling now. Goddamn: Sami Zayn flopping his dick on the table early on in the evening.
Sami admits that Bryan was the performer of their whole generation, but now he can’t imagine ever being like him. Daniel might actually cry, which would probably cause this crowd to burn the arena down.
Kevin Owens arrives, and we all know that the words “Kevin Owens” and “dispel tension” have never been found in the same sentence. Owens says that he’s really happy that Sami has brought truth, justice and freedom to his new empire. Owens takes over the job of running down Bryan, and it’s like watching a drunken sailor beat a baby seal to death with the corpse of its mother. Bryan fires back at Kevin, claiming that he resents him for doing the best for the fans, which Owens claims should be pronounced “best for business”.
Owens climaxes by calling Bryan “the Authority”, which is pretty much up there with implying he’s a member of the Manson Family. Zayn jumps in to call him a sell-out, and thanks KO for ensuring that this never happened to him. Bryan leaves the ring, inviting more mockery from the pair of them. This makes the GM stop, and explain that he’s going to round up a lynch mob to string these guys up.
Jinder Mahal’s facial expression makes him look like he had a stroke a few days ago.
We take a look back at Natalya finding a bear, a big stick and bringing the two of them together. Charlotte Flair, in general, is someone I would make a policy of never pissing off.
Tagging in Lana is a very elaborate way of forfeiting the match
The ladies all make their way to the ring, whilst Carmella takes a seat at the commentary table. Naomi and Natalya kick things off, locking up briefly before Naomi beans Natalya in the head with a kick, then takes the Champ down before slapping her across the face. Natalya has a heels’ conference on the outside, and Naomi dives out on all of them.
Back in the ring, Natalya is able to gain the advantage with a kick to the gut, trying to slow her momentum. Naomi fights her way back, making the tag to Becky Lynch. Becky hits a kick to the stomach, taking Natalya down for a leg drop. Neidhart dashes out of the ring to escape the Disarmer, hiding in a commercial.
When we come back, the heel trio are in control of Naomi, and then they tag in Lana: amazing tactics right there. She locks in a sleeper, which Naomi almost elbows her way out of before she’s slammed down to the mat. Lana swings at both Becky and Charlotte, missing Flair but catching Lynch in the face. Charlotte, genius that she is, tries to get into the ring and thereby distracts the referee to the assault on Naomi by all three heels.
Naomi finally frees herself from Lana and makes the tag to Charlotte. The Flair comes in hard and fast, fucking up the Ravishing Russian with a volley of chops. She hits the Flair Knee, then a T-bone suplex before running into a boot from Lana. Lana staggers into a boot from Charlotte by way of reply, and is about to be put into the Figure Eight before Natalya storms the ring, catching Charlotte unaware and hurling her into the corner.
Becky enters the ring, hitting Natalya with a Bexploder. Tamina superkicks Lych right out of the ring; Naomi takes Tamina out with a crossbody and Lana almost rolls Charlotte up for the win. Charlotte kicks out, immediately takes Lana into the Figure Eight and picks up the submission victory!
Good match, though there was a lot of talent there who didn’t get much time. I look forward to more opportunities for Becky and Natalya. 2.5 Stars.
Natalya drags Charlotte out of the ring, throwing her into the barricade before grabbing a chair. Charlotte’s got fuck-all plans of getting caught like that again, and instead boots the Champ in the face and tries to murder her with that same steel chair. Natalya runs for her damn life, leaving the faces to stand tall.
Meanwhile, Bryan is walking around the backstage area, looking for two men whose bodies he can inhabit to wreak his bloody vengeance. And then he runs into Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, so unless this is going to be the most surreal SmackDown ever, then he’s already found two dudes off-screen. Man, that was fast work.
Owens asks if he’s found anyone yet, and Bryan says that fucking everyone wants to get in on this. But instead he’s chosen Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura, which is the SmackDown version of just hiring hitmen.
The newest version of Fashion Files is here, and it’s Pulp Fashion. You know I never even try to attempt describing these things: just watch and laugh as the Ascension is trapped in the room against their will and forced to look at Tyler Breeze dressed up as Mia Wallace.
Holy shit, they recreate the syringe-to-the-chest moment. Pretty ballsy, WWE.
I would have lost some money betting on this
Here comes Baron Corbin, our follicly challenged United States Champion. He’s facing…Sin Cara? Jesus Christ, this is going to be difficult to watch. Baron grabs the microphone and asks if he should make this an Open Challenge match. Everyone wants him to do it, so he naturally doesn’t. What a penis.
Corbin overpowers Sin Cara early on, but then takes a volley of strikes, culminating in a dropkick which knocks him to the outside, and a dive which takes him down! Sin Cara hangs Corbin up on the top rope when he tries to get back in the ring, then dives on him from the top! The referee apparently never interrupted the count when Sin Cara entered and exited the ring, and so Baron Corbin is counted out!
Massively unexpected, and potentially quite interesting. I look forward to seeing what comes of this. Poor, poor, poor Baron Corbin.
Renee Young is backstage with the Usos, asking them about Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. They seem super-confident about their next challengers, who have obviously been waiting and watching for this interview because they show up to interrupt. They put the pair of them on notice, and then do the fake-out handshake thing. Man, no need to be dicks about it.
Another promo for Harper and Rowan, trying to recapture the old Wyatt creepiness. Honestly, WWE has proved that it can’t do horror, and it doesn’t need to in this case: just bring these two back to SmackDown, let them put on some of their high-quality matches with teams like the Usos, New Day and Gable and Benjamin and it’ll be absolutely perfect.
Cole again mentions that Tom Phillips is “on assignment”, which is almost certainly the man’s trigger phrase. He’s watching this show now, and Michael Cole has just delivered instructions for him to garrote a corrupt priest.
I’d pay to see Heyman unload on Jinder Mahal
We see a few clips of Jinder in India, and I can at least be happy for the guy for having what must have been a really great experience. Shame India has only the Great Khali and Jinder Mahal to be proud of re. WWE/World Heavyweight Champions, but they’ll get something better when they send us some competent fucking wrestlers.
Jinder Mahal makes his entrance and Michael Cole says that he’s extremely impressed with him, because Michael Cole is a lying fucking whore. Jinder talks about his experience of being the first Indian WWE Champion (if you don’t count the World Heavyweight Championship being around the deformed waist of the Great Khali). He talks about his experience talking to random young boys, which seems like the sort of behaviour you’d not want to engage in as a celebrity.
Jinder says he’s beaten everyone in championship defences, meaning literally two people, and so he must beat the most dominant force in WWE. At Survivor Series, he’s challenging Brock Lesnar. Holy shit, this is the first time I’ve heard him get cheered. Although now I’m terrified that WWE might actually give Mahal the win, because would you even be surprised at this point?
It’s at this stage that AJ Styles shows up: another prospective great white saviour to defeat this dirty for’n menace. He asks if he actually heard what Jinder said correctly: does he really think that he’s beaten every worthy opponent on SmackDown Live, because he’s never beaten AJ Styles. Jinder doubles down by calling Styles a loser, prompting AJ to lay down a challenge
Mahal claims that Styles wouldn’t be considered worthy in his country (Canada’s meaner than you’d think), and Styles responds by saying that they’re not his country. Okay: not racist by any means, but we’re absolutely going to get there by the end of this feud. Mahal says that Styles is at the back of the line for a Championship opportunity, and is delusional if he thinks he deserves a shot.
Styles can’t be having with this, so beats the shit out of Mahal and the Singhs by way of a response. At least this might keep us from seeing Jinder Mahal somehow beating Brock Lesnar. Seriously: I don’t trust WWE one little bit on this.
Backstage, Jinder shows up to yell at Daniel Bryan, demanding satisfaction. He says that he’s sending out one of the Singhs to fight him next week, which is a weird approach to take to this. Bryan okays it, because tonight has just been fucking weird.
I don’t know what’s happening, but I want it to stop
Here is the GLORIOUS Bobby Roode, whose entrance music is a goddamn fantastic weightlifting tune. Ziggler shows up, sans music and thankfully sans microphone, and we get this thing going.
Ziggler starts off with a few hard strikes, hammering at Roode in the corner. Bobby bulls out of the corner with a huge clothesline, chases Ziggler onto the outside but gets driven into ring apron before he eats a massive dropkick, knocking him into a commercial break.
When we come back, Ziggler has Roode in a sleeper hold. Bobby fights back, punching his way out before running right back into a second sleeper. The Showoff flips out of a back suplex attempt, but gets caught with a slingshot into the corner, leaving both men down. Roode starts firing up, running Ziggler over with clotheslines and strikes before planting Dolph with a ura-nage for a two count.
Bobby leaps off the second rope, gets rolled up by Ziggler for two, tries for the GLORIOUS DDT but gets shut down, counters a superkick and rolls Ziggler up for a near fall. Ziggler sends Roode into the corner, rolls him up with the tights to take the win.
Why? 2 Stars.
Apparently Brock Lesnar is going to respond to Jinder Mahal this coming Monday. Brock, don’t do it: they’re going to fuck you over on this one.
Aiden English is wandering around backstage, just singing. How long has he been doing this? How has he not gotten the shit kicked out of him yet? He gets interrupted by the New Day, who are being all cheerful and whatnot, until Rusev shows up. Rusev is absurdly pleased with himself for someone who’s proved himself utterly irrelevant. He says that it’s not about the New Day, but Rusev Day.
The New Day are totally fine with this, and head off to celebrate Rusev Day. Rusev, rather than taking the most unlikely win ever, decides to be a grouchy dick about it instead. Jesus, no wonder these people find someone new to fight every month.
Kind of hard to disprove Zayn’s theory right now
It’s main event time, and Shinsuke, Randy, Sami and Kevin make their way to the ring. Shinsuke Nakamura starts off against Sami Zayn, both men exchanging holds and counters, jockeying for control. Zayn hops over Shinsuke, arm-drags him and then locks the limb. Shinsuke breaks the hold, then tells Zayn to “come on”. Shinsuke unleashes some strikes, catching Zayn with an enzuigiri which knocks Sami into a corner for Good Vibrations.
Randy tags in, and Sami heads right away from him, tagging in Kevin Owens. Orton looks like a weird mix of every high school shooter if more of them actually grew up. He starts smacking the fuck out of Owens, but runs into a boot before attempting an early RKO. A distraction from Sami allows Owens to assault Orton on the outside, leaving them out there as we head to the commercial break.
When we come back, Shinsuke is laying a beatdown on KO, with Zayn making the save to allow Owens to chop-block Nakamura’s leg. Owens goes after the limb, tagging in Sami Zayn to do the same. Owens and Zayn exchange frequent tags as they go after Nakamura’s leg, then KO latches on a sleeper hold, going back to strike the knee multiple times. Nakamura manages to catch Orton with a big knee to the stomach, but the effort leaves him with no choice but to tag in Orton.
Both Sami and Orton enter the match, with Randy clotheslining Zayn again and again. Zayn counters a powerslam, but then gets suplexed across the ring. Orton heads to the outside to fuck up Owens, getting caught by a baseball slide from Sami as a result. Orton manages to slam a forearm into Sami’s face up on the apron, then looks for the Vintage DDT on the outside!
Sami tries to counter the move, so Orton settles for the consolation prize of putting Sami through the announce table! Back in the ring, Owens manages to catch Orton with a superkick, but gets hurled out of the ring by Nakamura. Zayn wants the Helluva Kick, gets caught by a powerslam and almost takes the three count. Orton tries for the Vintage DDT, but Owens takes Nakamura down on the outside, distracting the ref long enough for Zayn to hit a low blow. Zayn hits the Helluva Kick, and beats Randy Orton!
Well, how likely did you ever think it would be to hear the words “Sami Zayn beats Randy Orton”? Great competitive match which brought out the best in its participants: Shinsuke’s weird offence, Owens’ dickishness, Sami’s new character and Orton’s sadism. 3 Stars.
Backstage, Owens and Zayn are rubbing their victory in Bryan’s face, telling him that they’re too good and asking what’s going to happen to them next week. Bryan says that that’s not up to him; it’s up to Shane McMahon. Owens and Zayn look shocked, because no wrestler could ever be accused of thinking of the long-term consequences.
Owens and Zayn then come out with microphones to be dicks to Nakamura and Orton. You have to admire them: they’re willing to put in the effort to be douches.
So, the bad: this felt quite like a transition episode of SmackDown. Not a huge amount happened, but a lot was arranged. I have no earthly idea why we’re still doing the Ziggler/Roode thing, because no-one cares about anything Dolph does currently.
The good: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens are on track to being the ultimate heels. I’m wary but cautiously optimistic about Lesnar and Jinder meeting, but if Jinder wins I will not have the words to express my blind rage. AJ Styles is as good a man as any to take the belt off Mahal (PLEASE, GOD) and could even lead us to the WrestleMania main event of Styles vs. Nakamura. Overall, 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bobby Roode, Breezango, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Lana, naomi, Natalya, Randy Orton, sami zayn, shinsuke nakamura, Sin Cara, Singh Brothers, smackdown live, tamina, The Ascension, the usos