Bonjour and welcome to another instalment of the Spain SmackDown Report, as we watch the show descend further into a tyrannical dictatorship under another in a line of interchangeable McMahons. Or maybe Shane’s the hero and WWE is super tone-deaf when it comes to this sort of thing. Still, it’s more of a story than WWE 2K18 will ever give you.
Recap of the previous week, with Shane McMahon sticking on his Big Brother moustache and trying to fire Sami and Kev. The package frames Bryan quite well as the reasonable authority figure whilst Shane goes mad with power. Unless Bryan’s going to be considered un collaborateur?
Seriously, I don’t know.
Please don’t turn into a match at WrestleMania
The show starts off with Shane McMahon, as has been the fashion over the last several weeks. Byron Saxton, once again, is your frothing state media mouthpiece. Shane begins with the pleasantries, and then immediately brings the conversation around to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, hurling insults and doing his best to tear down their reputations. This is getting a little dictatorial, Shane.
The Commish states that Bryan’s idea was great in theory, but disagrees with his General Manager’s decision not to fire the pair of them. So he trots Bryan out for what I assume is some kind of state-funded public shaming. The crowd show a hell of a lot of love for Daniel, who mics up and soaks in the crowd’s chants.
Bryan says that he understands where Shane’s coming from, but that he’s got a more nuanced view on the issue, being that he (unlike Shane) was actually a fucking wrestler. He admits that Owens and Zayn were dicks at Survivor Series, even if their interference had no impact on the clusterfuck of shortsightedness that was that main event, but states that Shane himself is no stranger to the occasional dumbass play.
Shane-O reminds Bryan that Owens beat Vince McMahon to a bloody pulp a few months back (not that he did shit about it when it was Roman Reigns fucking up his old man), and states that he certainly kept his temper then. Jesus, does fighting someone inside a cell and trying to murder them count as staying calm? Because I have been way too fucking zen with some of the dipshits I encounter on a daily basis if that’s where the bar’s set.
Next on the list, Sami Zayn stopped Shane McMahon from committing homicide on live television, so he can burn in hell forever and, of course, the two of them are traitors to the SmackDown way of life and so must be cast out to the darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth and, I suppose, 205 Live. Bryan plays devil’s advocate, reminding Shane that the two of them believed they had their reasons for doing all of this, and that firing the pair of them so that they can head off to RAW is a ridiculously dumb move and why Triple H is going to run this place once Vince goes to the big psychologist’s office in the sky.
Bryan says that Shane never wanted a “yes man” (give that man a Championship); he wanted someone who made the right calls and encouraged talent. What he needs is for Shane to trust him. Shane sees the way the wind’s blowing and backs down slightly, making concessions by praising Bryan for Owens vs. Orton tonight. But he’s adding something to it: Sami Zayn’s barred from ringside (okay, that actually makes sense), and the match is no DQ. So, I take it that Shane stopped watching the show before Rusev and Aiden English defected to the rebels, or what?
Backstage, Zayn and Owens are out for stroll and run into Daniel Bryan. What magical world do these people live with where they’re always seconds away from finding whomever they need to talk to? Zayn begs that he be allowed to stay by his best friend’s side during his time of need (otherwise known as the time Randy Orton will spend trying to eviscerate him).
Bryan’s a little short with them, reminding them that they’re not the only ones trying to keep their jobs. Interesting…
The Usos happily accepting pancakes from Big E is the best thing ever
It’s a New Day, yes it is. Apparently there’s been some stuff going down on social media, which is a fun new way for me to say that I’ve no idea why this match is happening. The Usos are on commentary, dancing to the music. Big E shows up and gives them some plates, pancakes and syrup, which they are super into. This growing friendship between the New Day and the Usos is beautiful and pure and I hope it lasts forever and ever.
And here are Benjamin and Gable with their terrible music, terrible titantron video and terrible attitudes. Just…just terrible. Gable starts off with a headlock against Xavier Woods, who uses his quickness to take the advantage, running a right hand into Gable’s mush. Kofi tags in and the pair lay some rapid-fire doubleteams down on Chad. Woods comes back in, and Gable manages to tag out, running Woods’ face into Shelton’s boot before the commercial break.
Jesus gosh: liquid plasters sting like the dickens.
When we come back, Woods has just hit Benjamin with a jawbreaker. Shelton hits knees to Xavier, putting him back down and allowing Gable to rock him with a flying knee to the skull. Chad takes Woods up to the second rope, finding some trouble up there. Xavier keeps battering him away until he hits a flying dropkick from the top!
Kofi tags in, as does Benjamin, and Kingston has his opponent on the ropes with a flurry. Shelton runs into a pair of boots, but is able to reverse a flying crossbody into a near fall! Kingston lands on his feet off a monkey flip, following that up with a Boom Drop. Kofi waits on Benjamin, but Shelton counters Trouble in Paradise, leading to him being tossed over the top rope, followed by Gable!
Kofi tags Woods in, who takes out both members of World’s Greatest Tag Team 2: This Time it’s Personal with a flying senton over the top rope. Benjamin is flung back into the ring to take a stinging roundhouse kick from Kofi, followed by the Up Up Down Down for the win!
I was actually not expecting that result, but it was a good call: reminds everyone of how dominant the New Day (along with the Usos) are whilst continuing to frustrate Benjamin and Gable into heel territory. Solid match from both teams. 2.5 Stars.
We get a look back at Ruby Riott’s (“Oh, it’s Riott, with two ‘t’s”: fucking asshole) attempts to say hello to people, and then we cut to Charlotte wearing a whole peacock, chatting shit about them bitches with Naomi. I feel like Naomi’s super-understanding when it comes to Charlotte delivering her monologue about revenge to her as though she’s a pantomime baddy. Still, it beats her talking about her Dad and crying.
And Natalya arrives to be an asshole in cat ears and Bret’s old jacket. She totally promises not to screw them over, and if Charlotte and Naomi were smart they’d kill her right now. Oh good God, now Natalya and Charlotte are monologuing. The shit Naomi puts up with.
He ain’t hype
Ahaha: the Hype Bros have requested a second round against the Bludgeon Brothers. They know what makes an amusing segment. And I have to say, I feel like the metal-ish music detracts a little from the horror aspect of Harper and Rowan, but the song is pretty decent on its own merits.
Harper throws Ryder into the corner, and Zack manages a flurry of offence before Harper fucks him up, tags in Rowan and the pair of them destroy both Rawley and Ryder in seconds. And the best part: this was actually the more dominant performance from the Hype Bros, because they did more damage to the Bludgeon Brothers than the Bludgeon Brothers did to themselves this time!
It’s mean-spirited, but this gave me life. WWE had better go all in on Bludgeon Brothers: with them joining the Usos and the New Day, the Tag Team Division is going to be a powerhouse. 2.5 Stars.
Oh, Dasha: you ice-cold bitch. She starts interviewing Ryder and Rawley, deciding that all she’s ever wanted is to cause a mental breakdown. Ryder says that they’ve hit rock bottom, and Mojo decides that he’s about to learn what rock bottom really is, starting to beat the fuck out of him. Aw man: two Marty Jannetys and not a Shawn Michaels in sight.
Backstage, Mojo is STRIDING ANGRILY and Kayla Braxton decides that she wants in on some of this mad shit. She asks him his thoughts on his thorough douchebaggery, and he says that the landscape has changed. Ah, he’s got a new character already: a geologist.
Man, the interviewers are just stirring shit tonight: now Dasha’s with Bobby Roode and she asks him how he feels about Baron Corbin hitting and insulting him and what the fuck Roode’s going to do about it, ya fuckin’ pussy. Bobby says that Baron knows, in the back of his mind, that he’s neither the biggest nor the best. I mean…he must have always known that, right? Does Baron Corbin not pay attention to…the world?
Before Bobs can fire off a catchphrase, Baron Corbin’s there. Wait, how did he even know? Is Dasha working for him? Is there an elaborate system of snitches going on backstage? Corbin claims he’s not scared of anyone trying to rip off Ric Flair and Triple H at the same time, and declines Roode’s challenge for his Championship because fuck Roode, fuck you and fuck Dasha for trying to cause conflict just because her life is empty and her soul is dead.
I’ll take “things Jinder didn’t think through” for five hundred
Here’s Sunny and Cher, who introduce Jinder Mahal. God, I remember when Jinder Mahal having a title match was the funniest fucking thing in the world, and now we’re here and it’s terrible. Thankfully he doesn’t have a chance to talk before AJ makes his entrance.
Jinder immediately jumps AJ, because even when he’s not part of a match he’s still got to fucking show his innate lack of talent somehow. We go to a break with AJ writhing in agony, and when we come back he’s apparently been on the receiving end of an asskicking during the commercial.
The Singhs beat on him for a bit as Styles occasionally fires back with offence. Every single feud Jinder is involved in is completely boring to me. This whole thing goes on a lot longer than it should do for something that doesn’t really matter. The end, admittedly, is pretty gnarly: Styles turns a Frankensteiner attempt into a Styles Clash from the second rope onto the other Singh Brother to win, and is now wanted for a double homicide.
This was pointless, and most of it took place offscreen. I know that title feuds can be interesting, but Jinder Mahal just sucks the life out of everything he’s involved with, like he’s the fake Holy Grail. 1 Star.
Jinder tries to attack Styles post-match, but AJ skedaddles. Jinder then beats up his only two friends, so there goes his finishing move of “the Singhs interfere, allowing Jinder to hit the only move he has and win”. The crowd chants “you still suck”, and fucking good for them. Corey sells this as Mahal being ruthless, rather than ensuring that he loses every future match.
Dasha is in the back with
Absolution Copy Paste, asking about the other women of the locker room. Good God, this woman is trying to cause tension at every angle, like she’s setting up some kind of drama bukkake. Apparently this new yet super familiar trio are calling themselves “the Riott Squad”, and…yeah, that’s actually pretty good. They said that they sent a message last week, that lesson being: “we’re big meanies”, and that they’re here to turn this place upside down. I can only hope that they mean literally, because that is a motive I could fucking get behind in a wrestler.
Jesus, this is the definition of an odd group: Riott’s character seems to be the emo girl from high school you eventually stopped making the effort with because somewhere down the line “mysterious” got mixed up with “obnoxious”; Liv Morgan seems like she’s either high or nuts but still seems kinda sweet and Sarah Logan is a southern hunter. I mean…how do you become friends and what do you talk about?
Jesus Christ, Carmella
Following that, Natalya, Naomi and Charlotte make their way down to the ring, all ready to…probably lose, feels like. Otherwise this is possibly the worst in-ring debut ever for the Riott Squad. I was half-expecting Naomi to get taken out when she made her entrance last out of the three, but she makes it to the ring safe and sound because tactics is worth jack shit in this world. One day there’s going to be a wrestler whose character is being smart and pragmatic, and I swear they are going to be a God to these fucking simpletons.
The Riott Squad show up, and the bell rings without any bullshit. Did not expect that. Ruby starts off by beating on Natalya before tagging in Sarah Logan. Natalya ducks a clothesline but gets hit with the follow-up clothesline, practically scrambling to the corner to tag in Charlotte. The Champion enters the ring…as Natalya peaces out for the night. Ah well, we got ten seconds of no bullshit.
Liv Morgan takes advantage of Charlotte’s momentary distraction, but Charlotte shows her who’s boss (when Sasha Banks isn’t paying attention) with some hard chops to the tits. Naomi takes the tag, continuing to work over Liv Morgan during the break. Liv gains some reprieve when she hurls Naomi to the mat and tags in Ruby. Naomi tags in Charlotte, who stays on Riott until we come back, hurling her out of the ring and slamming her into the barricade.
A distraction from Morgan and Logan allows Ruby to take advantage, and she tags out to Liv so that she can recover. Liv keeps Charlotte reeling before Riott re-enters the match. Not a whole lot of Logan thus far.
Sarah and Liv eventually figure that they’re not totally opposed to having a strategy, and start fucking up Naomi’s shit on the outside. They set up the steel steps and run her right into them. I honestly don’t know if the ref is going to call for a DQ or not, because I once covered an episode in which a match ended because someone’s head got whacked off the damn ring post.
So now it’s basically three-on-one, and Logan enters the match. She headbutts Charlotte before slamming her to the mat and tagging in Riott. Suddenly, Charlotte starts firing back, knocking both Logan and Riott about the ring, throwing Ruby into the corner. Liv dashes in to break it up, and eats a huge spear. A kick from Logan sends Charlotte into Ruby’s finisher, ending it.
This kept the seriousness of the situation ramped up. If this is going to have a satisfying ending, they need to hammer home the threat these three represent. So far, this has all been great. 3 Stars.
Kayla has apparently decided that tonight’s all about the psychos, because she’s outside Randy Orton’s locker room. Randy leaves his locker room just then, totally blanks Kayla and walks off. Because the fucking nerve of that woman, acting like someone as insane as him is entertainment. He has a Canadian man to crucify in front of a cheering crowd, for God’s sake.
Fashion Files this week is a SAW parody, and once again it’s pretty fucking funny. Also we get to see the Ascension die on television if that’s the kind of thing that’d make you unzip your trousers.
So…being barred from ringside has literally never meant anything?
Speaking of things which are probably going to die on TV, here’s Kevin Owens. Randy Orton makes his way to the ring, quite a bit faster than he normally does, staring right at Owens. And fair play to Daniel Bryan: if I was going to use anyone from SmackDown to physically punish a dissident, it’d be Randy Orton. Man’s a real sick fuck who kisses unconscious ladies.
The sick fuck in question unloads on Owens, almost dropping him with an RKO before Owens dashes out of the ring. Randy follows, hurling KO into everything he can goddamn find. Steel steps are slammed off Owens’ skull, and then Orton lays into him with uppercuts. Then he grabs a kendo stick, and lashes Owens with it until it fucking breaks. So fetches another one.
Okay, I’m kind of seeing why Orton wasn’t allowed to be here last week, if this is him nine whole days after the incident.
Randy back suplexes Owens onto the barricade, and at this point KO is just trying to get away from him so he can die of his wounds. He manages to get his hands on the broken kendo stick, lashing it across Orton’s thigh before hurling him into the barricade, roaring in both pain and fury.
After a commercial break, Owens is in full control, dropping Orton with a DDT. He picks up and contemplates a kendo stick, but instead decides that man is the world’s most lethal weapon. That lethal weapon fails to connect, however, as Orton scrambles out of the way of the cannonball attempt. He sets Owens up on the top turnbuckle, then subdues him with blows so that he can superplex him down, with KO only just getting the shoulder up.
Owens manages to hit an elbow to Orton, but runs right into a powerslam straight afterwards. KO kicks out of the pin and rolls out onto the apron. Randy wants the Vintage DDT; Owens scouts it but gets hung up on the top rope and dragged outside again, suplexed onto first the barricade and then the announce table. Jesus, you wonder why Randy Orton’s not still World Champion. Or, you know, king of the fucking world.
As Orton scouts Owens for the RKO, KO decides “fuck this” and rolls out of the ring and out into the crowd. Untroubled by witnesses getting a closer look at street justice, Randy pursues him, beating him back onto the entrance ramp. And suddenly Zayn hits Orton with a steel chair! Wait, does being barred from ringside mean nothing if you don’t care about the consequences? Genius!
Well, Orton’s down and so is Kevin Owens. Kev makes his way to his feet, having to drag and shove Randy into the ring. But he unfortunately gives Randy enough time to recover, and pays for it with a Vintage DDT! Orton wants the end of this, but Owens counters the RKO with a chop to the leg. A superkick fells Orton, and Owens heads up for the frogsplash! It connects, and Owens gets the three!
Did not expect that; had no idea that Owens’ frogsplash could finish anyone. That was satisfyingly brutal: sadistic Orton is best Orton. And this whole punishment-evasion angle really has me interested. 3 Stars.
So the bad…I honestly have nothing. Solid show end-to-end, everything serving its purpose and literally the Fashion Files being the closest thing to filler. Stand-outs include the women’s tag match and the main event, but all of this was just good stuff. 8/10.
Tags: aiden english, AJ Styles, byron saxton, charlotte, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Gable and Benjamin, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Liv Morgan, naomi, Natalya, Randy Orton, Ruby Riot, rusev, sami zayn, Sarah Logan, Shane McMahon, smackdown, smackdown live, The New Day, The Singh Brothers, the usos, Tom Phillips