Happy Halloween, SmackDown fans. It’s time for all of the ghosts, ghouls and goblins to run wild around the streets and demand sweets from exhausted homeowners. It’s also time to see what’s going on on SmackDown Live, with the ever-present threat of an invasion from the RAW superstars now that Kurt Angle’s job is in jeopardy.
Plus now that Randy Orton, the Survivor Series Jesus, is on SmackDown Live‘s team, they’d better be coming over there with the express purpose of assassinating him, because that’s how you win this match.
Why would you ever brainstorm with wrestlers?
Kicking us off this week is Shane McMahon again, who is almost certainly going to announce his entry into the Survivor Series match because Sami Zayn was fucking right about him. The crowd seem to love him, fools that they are.
Shane says that lots of people are asking why SmackDown decided to be assholes last Monday, and he says that it’s because this show has always been seen by RAW as the inferior brand, from top to bottom. He says there was one thing SmackDown could do to change that: put together a brilliant roster, put Bryan in charge and go live. But that wans’t enough, so Shane called a team meeting with the brain trust known as “the SmackDown wrestlers” and was somehow unfazed when their action plan was “beat people up”.
Shane thanks everyone who watches SmackDown Live, and don’t fucking taint me like that, McMahon. He says that this show and team are all about heart, but not everyone’s like that. He talks about him getting taken out by Kane, and does win some points back by referencing Team Hell No, and says that there’s going to be hell to pay for how Bryan was almost certainly set up.
Shane says that Kurt, Braun and the other three are going to have to deal with Randy Orton, three guys we’ve not picked yet and…yep, Shane McMahon. Called that a good seven minutes ahead of time.
All this tight-grabbing and not a hint of crack
And now it’s time to find out who’s going to be the third man in the match, because the man approaching the ring is GLORIOUS. It’s time for our two-out-of-three falls match featuring Roode vs. Ziggler.
Both men get to the ring, and start off with an exchange of holds. Ziggler takes advantage, going for some quick covers before latching on a headlock, then knocks Roode down with a shoulder tackle. Bobby lashes out in return, catches a kick he baits Dolph into making and almost hits the Glorious DDT. Dolph is able to quickly counter, driving Roode into the corner.
Bobby bulls out of there, running Ziggler over with a clothesline. Dolph runs into a pair of boots, then gets taken to the mat by a flying neckbreaker from the top, only barely kicking out. Roode stays completely in control, smacking Ziggler around before throwing him over the top rope to the outside.
At ringside, Ziggler is able to seize control, but only briefly before Roode hurls him hard into a barricade. Back in the ring, Dolph fires off a shotgun-esque superkick, and he pins Bobby Roode! Post a quick commercial break…it’s now one fall each? Jesus Christ, WWE. Basically, Roode rolled Ziggler up after smashing his head into the steel post. Might have been nice to see that but whatever.
Meanwhile, Dolph and Bobby are teeing off against each other until Roode slams Dolph down to the mat for two. Roode stalks Ziggler, looks for the Glorious DDT, gets rolled up, rolls Ziggler up in return and then gets planted by a DDT from Ziggler, but he gets the shoulder up! Now it’s Dolph stalking Roode; the Zig-Zag goes awry and Dolph eats a spinebuster! Roode wants the DDT, but Ziggler counters into the Zig-Zag, only for Roode to kick out!
Ziggler takes a minute to be frustrated before deciding that everything always worked out for Shawn Michaels, tuning up the band. Roode ducks the kick, rolling up Ziggler, who rolls up Roode, who manages to grab onto Ziggler and…Glorious DDT nets Roode the win!
Best match I’ve seen out of Roode thus far on SmackDown, and it really was good. As much fun as Ziggler is, I’m excited to see Bobby mix it up with some others and get to know him a lot better. 3 Stars.
Renee pops in to ask the guy to ask how he feels about being on Survivor Series and being that fucking shredded for a man in his forties. Roode lists the virtues that his fellow SmackDown Live teammates will need, including “compassion” on that list. Holy shit: Bobby Roode may be a warrior, but he has a gentle and noble soul within him. Or he just fucked up saying “competitiveness” and “passion” and managed to pull out a fantastic portmanteau as a result. Either way, stop making Bobby Roode say people words.
He also says “SmackDown up, RAW down”, which I guess are the limits of his non-fuck-upable vocabulary.
Meanwhile, the New Day are the first groups of people actually dressed up, passing out sweets backstage. Woods is Jimmy Hart, Kofi Kingston is Brother Love and Big E is Akeem the African Dream. Goddamn, New Day, you absolute treasures.
Rusev and English totes don’t approve of this, pointing out that any of the people they give sweets to could be RAW spies: red agents if you will. Woods is fucking outraged that Rusev thinks they aren’t ready to string up Sheamus and crucify Cesaro at a moment’s notice, and becomes even more so when Rusev has the Baltics to criticise Halloween.
Rusev pours the candy out on the floor and stomps on it, which is the kind of antagonism I’ve come to expect from Mr Wilson in Dennis the Menace. Big E is fucking furious, and challenges Rusev to a match.
Elsewhere, Becky Lynch is backstage with the ladies and Ellsworth, giving the troops some rousing cliches. She says they’ve no idea when RAW is going to retaliate, so the best thing to do moving forward is to be as paranoid as possible and probably shower together for safety.
The team actually seem to be all aboard with this, and then Natalya shows up to be a bitch and sow dissension. That’s some fucking treasonous activity and they should probably just cave her skull in now before she does any more damage.
That was like watching someone get mugged by a Mariachi band
Speaking of bitches, here’s Baron Corbin. As I’ve had to point out to my flatmate, I actually really like Corbin; there’s just something about him that, against all the evidence, makes him a fantastic target and victim.
One of these days, they’re going to find my dismembered corpse in Baron Corbin’s basement, Jeepers Creepers-style.
He’s facing Sin Cara as there are a few more ways that Baron Corbin can lose this match without getting pinned and we’re going to do them all. Corbin starts by trying to rip Sin Cara’s mask off, trying to find out who he really is. Sin Cara, who could have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for that meddlin’ Baron Corbin, headscissors the Lone Wolf before running right into a big boot. Ruh-roh.
Baron takes this to the outside, considering whether giving Sin Cara a graphic groping would be another way for him to lose the match or just net him a successful Hollywood career for decades. Sin Cara escapes another attempt to take his mask, but runs right into a CORBIN PUNCH. Corbin goes for the mask for a third time, because he’s damn sure that it’s not the same Sin Cara as the one who first debuted.
Sin Cara goes fucking mental and starts beating the sweet shit out of Baron on the outside, culminating in tackling him over the announce table. The ref calls for the bell, aware that they’re sending this fucking wuss out to fight the Miz in a few weeks and right now he’s going to get laughed out of the damn arena. Baron makes an escape as Sin Cara hurls a fucking office chair at him. Muy picante.
This is just so weird, but in a really entertaining way. Can they undo the abuse they’re doling onto Corbin? Hey, probably not. But for now, it’s fucking funny. 2 Stars.
Backstage, Renee Young, eyes wide with horror at what Sin Cara has been driven to, is with the Usos. She asks them how they feel about facing two-thirds of the goddamn Shield at Survivor Series, though neglects to thank them in advance for one of the best tag team matches of the year (yeah, I said it).
Gable and Benjamin then show up to say that next week, they get a title match. You flipping what? How dare you put the current match in jeopardy?
Aw, I am fucking livid.
I feel like Brock Lesnar is still not very intimidated
Speaking of things that make me go GRRR, here’s the scariest thing you’ll see tonight: Jinder Mahal as World Champion. I’m still not used to it, and I never will be and I want to die inside every time I see him.
Jinder and his cheeky Indian crew make their way to the ring. Mahal mics up and talks about how doing literally anything to him is racism and how Brock Lesnar can laugh at him and keep laughing at him and think about murdering Jinder Mahal whilst he’s giving it to Sable, but he’s absolutely going to win. He says that he will be known as the Beast Master, which just…just sounds dirty.
AJ Styles interrupts Jinder Mahal speaking Canadian to his people, making his way to the ring. Bell rings, and Singh Brother 1 punches Styles in the face. AJ takes exception to this, beating the fuck out of the Singh before ending things with the Styles Clash.
Yep. 1.5 Stars.
Mahal is on Styles almost the second the bell rings, stomping his Georgia ass with those sweet loafers. Jinder is so fucking fashionable. Styles tries to fight back, but Singh Brother 2 is able to hold him down for a superkick. AJ is thrown into the ringpost, then Mahal stretches the smaller man’s body around it. Khallas ends the beating.
Ah, no: heel’s gonna heel. Mahal teases leaving, then hits a second Khallas. The WWE keeps saying that this guy is a hero in India, which means either the WWE or their Indian viewing audience are kind of assholes.
In the locker room, Kevin Owens is taping his wrists before Sami Zayn comes in to play jester. Also, heel Sami Zayn is the gayest best friend you’ve ever had. Owens and Zayn bitch about Shane putting himself on the team and screwing SmackDown out of, you know, an actual wrestler. Owens promises to win his match, win at Survivor Series and then make SmackDown the Sami and Kevin Show. Just kiss.
Promo for the Bludgeon Brothers, who’d be far more sinister if they weren’t called “the Bludgeon Brothers”. And if they had hammers made from metal instead of stone, because the rest of us have had the iron, bronze and steel ages already and are sort of waiting on these dicks.
Can’t decide whether Kingston is doing red-face or blood-face
Rusev is in the ring for this match which came about due to Rusev stomping on candy. Adrian English sings a song that’s so bad that I believe him when he says he composed it himself. His reaction at being cut off by the New Day is the highlight of the night so far.
The New Day make their way to the ring, still in costume. Rusev knocks off Big E’s hat before stomping him. E responds by latching him into an abdominal stretch and spanking him, making Lana have to cross her legs and avoid eye contact with Tamina. Big E continues to beat down Rusev until the Bulgarian Brute yanks his arm off the ropes and hurls him into the ring post so hard he flies out of the ring. Xavier and Kofi gather around him in concern, but still stay in character.
After the break, Rusev is still working the arm, keeping right on Big E. Big Akeem finally throws him off and then hurls him around the ring with belly-to-bellies. Rusev eats a splash, counters the Big Ending and then hits a massive roundhouse kick. He charges at Big E before getting caught with a uranage.
Aiden English gets up on the announce table to sing; Woods plays the trombone in response, prompting English to dive onto him. Kingston charges after Aiden, who escapes into the ring. Big E hits him with the Big Ending, leaving him open to a huge kick from Rusev which wins the Bulgarian the match.
I feel like they could have made this match more wacky, seeing as how the New Day were involved and it was Halloween. Seemed mostly meaningless otherwise. 2 Stars.
Sin Cara is stomping around backstage, tiny body unable to contain the UNRELENTING FURY that Baron Corbin has awoken within. Renee then decides to interview him about it, because a guy wearing a skintight mask is going to come through on the microphone just beautifully.
Sin Cara muffles his way through a promo which I guess is supposed to drive us towards a Mask vs. Championship match, and I think it’s honestly a toss-up whether he or Bobby Roode is the least comprehensible when it comes to human speech.
Elseplace backstage, Shane McMahon is texting or looking at nudes or sending nudes or telling Miz that he’s going to make him call him “daddy” when Aiden English rocks up. Well, more operas up, really, but you see what I did there. He and Rusev are there to ask if Shane McMahon if he’s familiar with their Lord and Saviour, Rusev.
Basically, Rusev wants a spot on the team, so Shane makes a match for Rusev vs. AJ Styles, with the winner getting a spot on the team.
Every week I become more and more physically and emotionally attracted to Corey Graves, and I’m still not okay with this fact.
We get Breezango’s take on Stranger Things, which I’d probably get if I’d watched Stranger Things yet. Leave me alone, I’m occasionally doing a PhD.
Might be a little bit of bias there
Motherfuckin’ main event time, and here comes Kevin Owens. Holy shit, the sass on the little infographic they have on the screen: “Beat Shane McMahon in a controversial Hell in a Cell match”. You just know Shane wrote that.
Shinsuke Nakamura arrives to epileptic-fit his way to the ring, and it’s time to get it on. Nakamura starts off with some hard strikes before Owens bails. Shinsuke taunts him until he gets back into the ring, then goes to work on him again with a knee to the face and the Good Vibrations. Nakamura runs into a boot, but answers with a spinning kick.
Owens heads to the outside again, pouncing on Shinsuke when the Artist follows him out. He tries to whip Nakamura into the barricade, but has it reversed on him and is flung bodily into both the barricade and the commercial break. When we come back, Owens has just felled Shinsuke with a superkick, getting a two-count. Owens, in control now, slows the pace down with a sleeper hold.
Nakamura gradually strikes his way out, running the ropes before hitting a running boot to Owens’ jaw. A bunch of hard kicks connect to KO’s chest before he catches the leg…and gets kicked in the skull by the other foot. Nakamura drapes Owens across the corner and knees him right in the chest.
Suddenly, Sami Zayn is walking down the ramp, doing a handy job of distracting Nakamura, who really should know better. Owens almost catches Shinsuke with the roll-up, but eats a roundhouse to the skull for two. Nakamura takes Owens up for a superplex, but the larger man fights his way out into a superplex of his own for a near-fall!
Owens sends Nakamura off the ropes, readying him for the Pop-Up Powerbomb. Nakamura hits a hurricanrana, then a knee right to the face. Shinsuke wants the Kinshasa, but Zayn drags Owens out of the ring. So Nakamura, like an idiot, follows them to the outside. A timely reminder that Shane McMahon got people like this in a room and asked them for advice.
Shinsuke advances on Sami Zayn, rather than the guy who is legally allowed to attack him, and Owens drives him into the steel steps. Nakamura is flung back into the ring, and Owens hits the frog splash for two. Owens recovers from his shock to tell Zayn to clear off the announce table. Suddenly, Randy Orton’s music hits, and Orton appears, back suplexing Zayn onto the table! Nakamura hits a spinning kick, and then a Kinshasa to take the win!
Interesting ending, but it ensures that Nakamura can be in the match and that Owens and Zayn can pull some fuckery at Survivor Series for a huge shock moment if that’s the way it’s going. Good match. 3 Stars.
The bad: one two minute segment for the Women’s Division. They could have given them the Big E/Rusev spot and had Rusev just demand a spot on the team to get us next week’s match. I also don’t know what the hell is going on with Baron Corbin, and I don’t see the endgame here being him running right over the Miz to get his badassitude back.
The good: almost everything here served a purpose storyline-wise: a really filler-less show. Even the Big E/Rusev match had some meaning beyond itself. Sin Cara snapping really came out of nowhere for me, and the wait for RAW to retaliate is raising the tension nicely. Solid SmackDown. 8/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bobby Roode, byron saxton, Chad Gable, charlotte, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Natalya, Randy Orton, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, shelton benjamin, shinsuke nakamura, Sin Cara, Singh Brothers, smackdown live, the usos, Tom Phillips