Buenos dias, my fellow blue show viewers. It’s been a weird couple of weeks for the SmackDown clan. Ruby and her gals have been giving some lady bollocks a real kicking, Jinder Mahal has more or less fired his own finishing move and Shane McMahon is Michael Corleone-ing his way right into his daddy’s shoes. So, quintuple espresso in hand, let’s see what’s going to happen in this week’s version of “What The Fuck, SmackDown?”
Randy Orton is Nightcrawler
The show starts off with Kevin Owens striding (and Sami Zayn…I really don’t have a word for the movements which propel that gorgeous ginger minx) to the ring. We get a reminder that being barred from ringside apparently only means anything if you give a damn about it. So many wrestlers, past and present, are still whacking themselves in the heads for not realising that.
And hey: I didn’t realise it either, so props to Sami for testing his hypothesis under not-laboratory conditions.
KO welcomes us to the Sami and Kevin Show, and Sami welcomes us to the Kevin and Sami Show. I’d like to think their threesomes start in much the same way. Owens says that when you’re in a war with the McMahons, they’ll stop at nothing to ruin you: ask Daniel Bryan, Bret Hart or Stone Cold Steve Austin. Owens and Zayn are currently the two targets of McMahon Petulance, and last week Shane violated the Geneva Convention by combining the elements “Randy Orton” and “No Holds Barred Match”.
Zayn points out that this hasn’t been the first time that Orton’s been used by McMahons: Stephanie used to use him (after he knocked her out and rape-kissed her, so Shane had better watch his ass). But these two are so smart that this didn’t work, and so Owens decided that he had to take Orton out to show that there was nothing which could stop him or Zayn, and to do that they needed to accomplish the relatively easy task of outwitting Shane McMahon.
Sami outlines his legal defence for us all, with reference to inside the ring and the ringside area, finally providing a definitive example of where “ringside” ends. We’re making history tonight, folks. Zayn gloats over his ability to exploit loopholes, when suddenly Randy Orton wills himself into being behind Kevin Owens, presumably out of raw fury, and RKOs KO.
Shane McMahon’s music plays, and he steps out onto the non-ringside entrance ramp. He claims that he has no personal vendetta against Owens and Zayn (lying dictatorial fuck). But he promises that they’ll have no reason to complain about being left off the upcoming PPV, as they’ll be in action as a team against Randy Orton and whoever Orton feels like roping into this. But tonight, Sami Zayn gets to have his head kicked in by one of his opponents at that PPV: Randy Orton. Owens will be at ringside, handcuffed to the ring rope, because that’s how daddy likes it.
No. Personal. Vendetta.
After the break, Kevin is having what just happened explained to him by Sami, selling the RKO like Orton stamped razor blades into his face.
In which David makes a terrible pun
In the ring now are Rusev and the criminally-underused Aiden English. And I don’t mean “underused” in terms of matches, but in backstage segments. Wrestlers have the means to send each other singing telegrams because of him. Backing vocals on demand. You know when people say “they should have sent a poet”? Well, SmackDown HAS A POET. Shit, have wrestlers get English to witness their match and set down what he saw in heroic saga form: this could be the funniest shit ever if everyone just leans into it.
Aiden sings about the Twelve Days of Rusev, and I can only assume that Lana is either asking Tamina and the girls whether she should be worried, or she’s super-hot for this. Rusev at least gets his own shirt, and grins happily when the thing gets a pop from the audience. By the time we get to the third day, the New Day decide to show up.
Jesus God, those pancakes are fucking huge.
Big E starts off against Aiden English, who goes on the offence with strikes to the larger man. A waistlock takedown goes…just nowhere. Big E gyrates against him until he feels some chub, then tags in Kingston. Big kick has English reeling, but the Phantom of the WWE fights back, only for a crossbody to take him down. Kofi continues to roll until Rusev drags his friend out of the ring, before getting spooked by a dive fake-out from Kingston as we go to a commercial break.
Holy crap, one of your American adverts just used the phrase “hashtag mouth breather”. What the fuck?
When we come back, me still reeling from such offensive and hilarious language, Kofi is in trouble against Aiden English, who drives him into the corner and tags in Rusev. Bearhug from Rusev, and Kofi headbutts his way out of it (WWE HR’s official position is that it’s now acceptable to headbutt Bailey if she does not comply with your request to end the hug) only for Rusev to bring him down with a big old spinning kick.
Rusev runs into a boot, but is able to prevent Kofi from tagging out. Kingston finally hits a desperation flying stomp (you think of a fucking name for it, then) and tags in Big E! Aiden English gets the treble clef suplexed out of him, and then Big E hits the Warrior Splash; I hope English doesn’t mind songs in a minor key, because after that move he’s going to B Flat.
I’m really sorry.
English rakes the eyes to avoid the Big Ending, but Big E is still able to slam the tagged-in Rusev to the mat. Kofi tags himself in before Rusev takes Big E out on the outside. Kofi hurls himself over the top rope, laying waste to Rusev, and then sends him back into the ring. A jerk of the ropes allows Rusev to disrupt Kingston’s springboard, and a superkick from Rusev wins them the match!
Unexpected as heck, but I’m always up for more company in the upper echelons of the tag team division. Not a bad match either. 2.5 Stars.
We get a replay of Mojo Rawley wrenching himself away from the Hype Bros, like any sane person would. Backstage, he’s being interviewed by Renee Young (after Dasha and Kayla tried to start some sort of fucking riot last week), who asks him what the fuck, man?
Mojo says that everyone’s pissed at him for what he did, but being Zack Ryder’s partner is like having a corpse handcuffed to you, and the corpse keeps saying “Woo Woo Woo” and “You Know It, Bro”, and anyone who feels like Mojo isn’t justified can suck his dick.
It’s cute how they act like these guys have actual motivations or passions or appetites. It’s like they’re people.
Oh, and Rusev and English are in the Tag Team Championship match at Clash of Champions now, making it a Fatal Four-Way.
Bryan is backstage with Carmella, Lana and Tamina, looking like he wishes he was dead or, you know, medically cleared to wrestle. Carmella is demanding a spotlight at Clash of Champions (Jesus Christ, Carmella, you’re literally holding the Money in the Bank briefcase as you speak). Apparently Natalya’s getting another title shot, in case you were super-invested in seeing the most boring woman on the roster with the belt.
Daniel reminds Carmella that she’s, you know, holding the fucking briefcase, but she is reluctant to cash in “Frankie”. Holy shit, she named it. Okay, actually funny.
Oh, and the Riott (urgh) Squad are here now. Apparently they’re done with attacking people and are now settled into the more traditional heel role of complaining about shit. Although if Kevin Owens crashes into the middle of this with his own grievance, this will be a hilarious segment.
Ruby asks why she’s not in the Championship match, wondering whether her tattoos make Bryan nervous. Jesus, Bryan used to look like a less-groomed Charles Manson, hung out with Kane, took out every active member of Evolution in one night and goddamn fought for the opportunity to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, but yes, Ruby: he’s intimidated by you because you have tattoos.
So the Riott (urgh) Squad decide that insulting Bryan is a solid way to get things from him, which just feels like Triple H gave them this advice as a prank. And then Sarah Logan claims that Bryan is prejudiced against people from Kentucky. Well, if they’re going to elect that turtle-faced bag of sweaty dicks named Mitch McConnell as their Senator and act like there’s nothing wrong with it, then I feel like there’s some valid reason to not be on the best of terms with Kentuckians, you drawling hick.
Bryan finally yells, because it’s either that or suddenly and violently proving that he is more than capable of active competition. Ruby’s “that’s really fucking loud” face is solid gold, as is Carmella’s look of complete terror. Then Bryan makes them all Lumberjacks at the title match at Clash of Champions, which they all accept without complaint like that’s all they wanted rather than, you know, title opportunities.
At least he didn’t call them Lumberjills.
Bobby Roode is in the locker room, wondering what Bryan was yelling about just now, on the other side of the arena. And then Baron Corbin shows up, talking about how their United States Championship match is apparently a triple threat now, featuring Dolph Ziggler. Ew: they got Showstopper on my Glorious.
Both men discuss mathematics and thirds, and then Dolph shows up in his best Shawn Michaels cosplay (stubble, long hair and camouflage cap that doesn’t go with anything else he’s wearing). He needles Corbin about how he successfully cashed in his briefcase (unlike some wolf shirt-wearing people who shall remain nameless) and walks off laughing. Baron and Bobby watch him leave, briefly united in considering Ziggler to be a dickhole.
Randy Orton technically caused the Bludgeon Brothers
Here are the Bludgeon Brothers or, if you like, the Hammer Hoes. Or the Sledgehammer Sluts. Any of those names would work. They’re facing local competition, so enjoy watching two nobodies die.
Bitches get fucking murdered, and the Hammer Hoes win.
It’s like all the good parts of them being in the Wyatt Family with none of the negatives. 2.5 Stars for continuing to do this shit right.
Charlotte Flair is in Psych: The Movie, and it looks terrible. I mean, I love Charlotte, but yes.
Meanwhile, the Owens and Zayn Brain Trust are still trying to work out what to do. Sami is currently advocating hiring themselves a lawyer, so really advocate-advocating. Owens says that he spoke to Bryan, but he was too busy screaming at the Women’s Division and muttering something about doctors and medical tests.
What does Dolph even do?
Here’s the Lone Wolf, Baron Corbin, ready for a match against the Glorious Bobby Roode. We see a clip of the two of them somehow ending all unity amongst the SmackDown locker room in a couple of punches. Dolph Ziggler is on commentary, because…yay?
Ah well, Bobby Roode’s entrance always calms me down. Usually because I masturbate during it.
Both men approach each other, with Corbin backing Roode into the corner before mocking him. Bobby shoves him way, gets shot off the ropes and taken down with a shoulder. Roode fires right back, kicking Corbin’s knee out from under him before dropkicking him out of the ring!
Roode knocks Corbin off the apron, but when he tries to go after the Lone Wolf he gets slugged right in the face. Bobby takes a beating from Baron, having his neck wrenched around. He fights back, chopping the big man down, countering a clothesline and hitting the Champ with a pair of knees! Corbin dodges a dive from Roode, and both men clothesline each other to the mat.
And then Ziggler gets into the ring to ruin this match, like he’s been ruining everything recently. He hits Roode with the Zigzag, then hits another to Corbin.
It boggles the mind how someone as talented as Dolph can get such an apathetic reaction from me, but he’s managing it. This match actually had promise until he got involved. 1.5 Stars.
Backstage, Natalya is gushing over her title shot and the fact that Lana, Tamina and Carmella, the Women’s Division’s Three Stooges tribute act, are going to be Lumberjacks. She promises to have Tamina’s back in her match tonight against Charlotte, also trying to make sure that they are going to protect her next Sunday. Wow, she referenced the Welcoming Committee. I’d literally forgotten that used to be a thing.
Then the Riott (urgh) Squad show up, because I guess they just wander around as a trio to find conversations to join. Bonus points if they next invade a Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn segment. Natalya changes gears damn fast, and says she wants to welcome them to SmackDown Live. She thanks them for taking out two members of the women’s locker room (which to be honest had to be getting crowded with the three newbies using it as well).
Wow, I thought that was leading up to a sucker-punch, especially with the use of the word “welcome” so soon after mentioning the Welcoming Committee. But no: Natalya kissed so much ass she may as well have tossed Ruby’s salad whilst she was back there.
Hey, if you want someone on your side in a Lumberjack Match…
We get a “WWE Championship preview” in advance of Styles’ and Mahal’s match, which is either the epitome of laziness or frank and honest acknowledgement that the less we see of Jinder Mahal in person the better we’ll all be.
Tamina don’t care; Tamina don’t give a shit
Here comes Tamina, ready to take on Charlotte Flair. The Welcoming Committee are at ringside (officially and rightly ordained as such by Sami Zayn on this, the Year Of Our Lord 2017) as Charlotte makes her entrance.
Both women lock up, with Charlotte going for a waistlock before Tamina overpowers her and knocks her around. Charlotte regains the advantage again, only for Tamina to once more use her power. The Champion finally staggers Tamina with a running elbow, keeping her off-balance until the Samoan drives her into the corner with shoulder thrusts, finally slamming her into the turnbuckles upside-down as we go to a break.
When we come back, Tamina has Charlotte down on the mat, trying to sleeper her out. Charlotte is able to duck a charge after being tossed into the corner, but is taken down with a clothesline. Charlotte continues to fight back, chopping away at Tamina with all she has. Tamina’s size and power continues to be a tough mountain to climb, but the Women’s Champion slips out of a Samoan Drop and kicks her opponent’s fucking face off. Figure Eight’s applied, and Tamina taps the hell out.
Decent showing from Tamina with the power game; it’d be good to see that develop and for her to become a genuine Champion prospect. 2.5 Stars.
Natalya hops up on the apron with a microphone, congratulating Charlotte before warning her that she’s going to win at the PPV: best there is, best there was, blah blah blah.
And then the Riott (urgh) Squad come out, with Ruby saying that she agrees with Natalya: there should be a preview of what’s going to happen next Sunday. Sarah Logan starts a conversation with “as my pah-paw always said”, because she is a parody of a parody of a someone from the South and I hate her.
Tamina apparently feels the same way, because she fucking goes after Logan and good for her. The Riott (urgh) Squad swarm her…wait, they drag Sarah away? They literally came down to fight; what the fuck is this segment? It’s like they suddenly realised that they were at a five-to-three disadvantage. Charlotte walks away during this bullshit, possibly out of survival instinct and just as possibly out of disgust.
Backstage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn find Bryan, and Owens thanks him for hearing him out. Bryan says, after thinking about it, he agrees with Shane. He also has three huge security guys with him, which looks menacing as all hell.
Fifty Shades of Owens
Post-break, Kevin Owens is arguing with Bryan next to the ring. Bryan tells him if he doesn’t do this then he’s suspended. Owens submits, but tells Bryan that this is “crap”, and that Bryan’s better than this. If Bryan does turn, then they are doing this really quite well.
Here comes Orton, in control. Women love his snuff and his gallant stroll. He stares at Owens for a while, erection visible, and then goes to work on Sami Zayn (because sex and violence are literally the same things to Randy Orton). He starts fucking Zayn up on the outside, and Sami only manages to escape when he flips out of a back suplex, dashing into the ring, out again, and taking shelter behind KO.
Orton waits on him to get back in the ring, and then hammers the fuckery out of him when he does. Back to the outside so Orton can cause more agony; Sami tries to chop his way out, but pure rage makes Randy invincible and he back suplexes his new meat onto the announce table.
Owens manages to attract Randy’s attention by yelling and Zayn is able to catch him with a baseball slide, then hurls him into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Zayn knocks Randy around and then tosses him to the outside and into a commercial break. When we come back, Zayn has Orton reeling from blows until Randy powers out of the corner with a clothesline, working Sami over before hitting him with a powerslam. Sami counters the Vintage DDT, punches Orton away from him and then grabs some bolt cutters from under the ring!
Sami tries to slice through the chains, but Orton’s not having anyone release tonight’s grostequerie. He beats Zayn away before knocking Owens around too for good measure. Sami plays the saviour, and the referee nudges the fallen bolt cutters over to Owens! Lies! Deception! Collaboration! Randy manages to halt Sami’s momentum, making him pay with a superplex!
Owens now has the bolt cutters (thanks to that snakey referee undermining Shane McMahon’s glorious regime) and is trying to break the handcuffs. He manages it, but Randy knocks him off the apron before hitting the Vintage DDT to Sami. Orton wants the RKO, but Owens provides another distraction, allowing Zayn to almost get the win with a roll-up!
Zayn counters the RKO; Randy dodges the Helluva Kick, rolls Sami up and gets three!
Fun match, particularly with the question of the stipulation. 3 Stars.
Orton stays to savour the victory, which is a really stupid idea with Kevin Owens now freed. Owens and Sami start putting the boots to the poor widdle dumbass, because no-one makes them face the consequences of their dickery.
And then Shinsuke Nakamura runs out, laying waste to both heels because I guess they’re letting him be effective again now that Survivor Series is over. Owens is felled by the Kinshasa, the RKO hits Zayn and we’re getting a match we’ve already seen recently at Clash of Champions. Orton then hits an RKO to Kevin Owens, then lets Nakamura hit the Kinshasa to Zayn. May as well be thorough.
Backstage, Shane McMahon is practically tossing himself off to what’s just happened, which is all well and good except when you’re at work and Daniel Bryan is stood right next to you. Bryan hints that Shane might be done punishing Owens and Zayn, and this is almost enough to stop Shane stroking. Because Shane’s not done. In fact, he’s going to be the Special Guest Referee for the tag team match, and if Owens and Zayn lose, then they’re fired from all of WWE (which I really feel like Shane does not have the authority to do).
Do the right thing, Bryan: terminate him.
So, the bad: the Riott Squad has become reduced, which is exactly what I didn’t want to happen. Stop having them appear with the other heels to whine at Bryan or Shane: they shouldn’t be involved with backstage politics; they should be getting what they want by fucking up everyone backstage because that’s who they are. The drawback with WWE’s way was obvious tonight: Logan and Tamina got into a brawl and were separated. The Riott Squad shouldn’t have entered (to use Sami Zayn’s terminology) the ringside area, because then they either had to destroy everyone down there (all five women), devaluing the other women of the division or take a beating, thus losing any and all threat. WWE tried to have their cake and eat it: they had them do their in-your-face intimidation act but also without anyone suffering from it. It was careless writing and it shouldn’t have happened.
The good: most of the rest of the show. It’s nice to see Rusev have some success (and a t-shirt); Charlotte could have a good match with a parked car and Zayn, Owens, Bryan and Shane are killing it with this story. Randy Orton is a little dull and I’d rather Shinsuke got used in another role than Orton’s friend/Shane’s hitman, but I’m sure the match itself will be interesting with the two added stipulations. All in all, decent show: 7/10.
Tags: aiden english, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Bludgeon Brothers, Bobby Roode, byron saxton, charlotte, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Gable and Benjamin, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Liv Morgan, Randy Orton, Ruby Riott, rusev, sami zayn, Sarah Logan, Shane McMahon, Singh Brothers, smackdown live, The New Day, the usos, Tom Phillips