Seasons greetings, bitches. It’s the most wonderful time of the year: the time where I get drunk, watch wrestling and yell racial slurs at Carmella. And as the wine is mulled, the whiskey’s aged and the nog is egged, it seems like the perfect time to get down with some smack.
Okay, that last bit probably could have been better phrased.
On with the show.
We get a flashback to all the BS that went down to at Clash of Champions, namely the match that took every precaution to ensure that shenanigans would be mandatory. Yes, I am referring to the tag team match with a resignation stipulation and two special guest referees, otherwise known as the WHAT THE FUCK COULD GO WRONG match.
Bryan will never stop feuding with McMahons
Daniel Bryan is here, receiving a hero’s welcome for his part in making sure that two of the top heels on this show are still fucking employed. He skips past his suuuuper fast count from Sunday to mention the Women’s Royal Rumble and our main event for tonight: Owens, Zayn and Mahal vs. Orton, Nakamura and Styles.
And Shane’s entrance music plays, Shane having been far too much of a gentleman to interrupt another gent during his address. He gets in the ring, greeting Bryan cordially, and then mentions the Women’s Royal Rumble himself. Jesus, is that match going to be what people talk about when things get awkward? He then moves on to discuss last Sunday.
Shane waxes lyrical about Randy Orton RKOing Sami Zayn and going into the cover, with such emotion in his voice that you just know he’s had a tug or three over the memory. He blames Bryan for tripping over him and breaking the count. He admits that he allowed the moment and his temper get the better of him. When he could have counted to three and let Zayn and Owens keep their jobs, he remembers every bad thing they’ve ever done and got all introspective and decided fuck that. And then Bryan got in his face before making the count again, thus letting Owens and Zayn remain employed.
So you know, the fuck, man?
Bryan says that he did what he did to protect Shane from himself. Shane says that he doesn’t need protection, and Bryan says nuh-uh, he totes does. He wanted to protect the Land of Opportunity that they made together, rather than just let people McMahon likes have opportunities. Shane wanted to take away Owens’ and Zayn’s opportunities and dreams, and Bryan couldn’t let him do it.
Shane draws comparisons between Bryan and those two Canadian dicks, and advises Daniel not to trust them, especially not from a business standpoint. Bryan asks whether Shane’s referring to “what’s best for business”, and asks whether Shane’s starting to welch on their shared vision. He tells him that if he wants to fire someone, then fire him; he’d rather that than work with a second Mr McMahon.
Shane tells Bryan that he respects and trusts him, and wishes him good luck with the show tonight. They shake hands and, on that very tense note, the segment ends. Shane looks thoughtful, which I guess being compared to wrestling’s Satan will do for ya.
The Bella Twins now have over a million subscribers. God is dead and we killed Him.
I miss Charlie Haas
Here’s the Usos, fresh off another impressive victory at Clash of Champions. I’d not be surprised if they’re holding onto those belts until the Bludgeon Brothers decide they’d like something to hold their trousers up with. They are facing Gable and Benjamin, who put up a decent showing on Sunday, particularly the Suplex Machine that Gable transformed into.
Gable and Jimmy start off, with Jim elbowing his way out of a waistlock and tags in Jey. The Uso smacks Chad around, hurling him hard into the corner and trading quick tags with Jimmy. Jey knocks Gable down with a back elbow, forcing young Chad to roll to the outside for the commercial break.
When we come back, Shelton has just had the taste smacked out of his mouth by Jimmy, who rolls him up off a sunset flip. Jimmy flips out of a back suplex, then whips a kick into Benjamin’s jaw. Jey and Gable tag in, and the Uso takes Chad to task, avoiding a German suplex and hitting a Samoan drop. Samoan Wrecking Ball connects to Gable; Benjamin is thrown over the top but manages to knee Jimmy in the face.
Jey throws a punch at Shelton, nearly gets pinned with a roll-up by Gable and superkicks him in the face. Jey heads up to the top, gets caught by Shelton on the second rope, shoves him away and lands a splash right across the knees of Gable! Jimmy breaks up the pin, getting a rolling German suplex for his trouble. Shelton hits a running knee, stunning Jey, who takes another rolling German from Gable. Benjamin tags in, and the pair of them hit the Doomsday Device for the win!
Next number one contenders decided. It’ll be good to have more of a spotlight on these two, and this was a really good match for free TV. 3 Stars.
It’s only a matter of time until the Women of WWE have to swear fealty to Steph
Here’s Charlotte Flair, fresh off a successful title defence under the most unfair circumstances any of the Champions had to face (and she still did better than Baron Corbin). We have a look at Stephanie McMahon announcing the Women’s Royal Rumble, which does make the Women’s Revolution look as awesome as it has been (don’t think about the ending to the Money in the Bank Ladder match).
Charlotte grabs a microphone, so take a shot every time she mentions Ric. She says that she retained her Championship on Sunday, despite the best efforts of all those jealous bitches backstage. But even moar awesome than that is the Women’s Royal Rumble match, and every one of us made that happen. I mean, I mostly just shat on Rosa Mendes matches, but you’re welcome, ladies. Charlotte says that whoever wins, she looks forward to facing them at WrestleMania. Unless they go for the RAW Women’s Championship, I’m assuming.
Naomi dances out and congratulates Charlotte on her successful defence. She says she’s out to be the first woman of SmackDown to announce that she’ll be entering the Women’s Royal Rumble. I mean…I think everyone just takes it as read, Naomi. Is the whole women’s locker room about to empty? She says she’ll see Charlotte at WrestleMania, and the Riott Squad show up because no-one’s paying them any attention.
Naomi greets the three of them by saying that they won’t be in the Rumble. Again, Naomi…I don’t think that’s actually your call. There aren’t thirty women in the WWE; the last thing they need is you culling the group they already have. She says the Royal Rumble isn’t about sneak attacks, making it clear that Naomi has never actually watched a Royal Rumble match. It’s about survival (to which sneak attacks are really helpful, actually). She calls them “chickenheads”, which sounds like racial slur, and challenges any two of them to take on her and Charlotte. She says that she’ll teach them how to rumble, despite never having been in a Royal Rumble and apparently misunderstanding basic Rumble strategy.
When we come back, someone’s found a referee who’s neither Daniel Bryan nor Shane McMahon, and Charlotte misses a kick that allows Sarah Logan to chop her knee out. Riott enters the match, continuing to attack the leg whilst wearing a pair of Zack Ryder’s old tights.
Riott kicks Charlotte towards her partner, making her only less stupid than Charlotte in that situation, because the Women’s Champ doesn’t tag out. Sarah Logan comes in to continue the assault on the limb but with a Kentucky accent. Rapid tags between the two members of the Riott Squad, but Charlotte manages to win free and tag in Naomi.
Naomi starts hitting every punch and kick that there ever was and shall be to Logan, not stopping until her opponent can’t remember her own mother’s face. Riott breaks up the pin before getting run out of the ring by Charlotte, and Logan hits a headbutt. Morgan gets up on the apron, but Naomi dodges aside to allow Morgan to eat a spear from Logan, who turns into the Rear View to take both the loss and probably an eye infection.
Odd to see the Riott Squad brought down to normal so quickly: this is what goes wrong with dominant, threatening stables. Well, they’re just part of the roster now. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, the New Day is handing out presents, putting pancakes into people’s mouths and advertising stuff. And then Rusev and English show up dressed as Santa and a snowman, and I am in fucking heaven. Aiden sings “Oh Rusev Day”, because God loves us all, they challenge the New Day to a match. And now I need new shoes.
Oh dear God, it’s Dolph Ziggler. I could have been in a coma and upon waking be told that Dolph Ziggler was United States Champion and I would not have any idea what year it was.
Dolph tells us that he told us so, and says that this is why he was in that match. He mocks the audience for not expecting it, saying we haven’t paid attention for the last twelve years. Yep: a twelve year window during which, at any time, Ziggler might have held the United States Championship because nobody else could be bothered.
Wait, Dolph’s only held the title twice? Jesus, that must have been a long first reign. Dolph then shows us the five Intercontinental Championships he’s won (okay, that explains it). He also reminds us of his Money in the Bank cash-in (hint fucketty hint, Carmella) and we see the footage. Christ, what a pop that was.
All downhill from there, huh, Dolph?
Ziggler says he’s one of the most decorated people in WWE, and not even slightly close. He tells us that we’re not worthy of his presence, which is absolutely alright with me. He says that we don’t deserve him, and that if we want something to remember him by…then drops the title and walks away.
Okay, I’m actually interested.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is talking about something on the phone, or rather vamping until Owens and Zayn show up to give him champagne and thank him for Sunday night. They remind Bryan of the grudge that he must surely hold against Randy Orton (even I’d not spotted that) and warn him to keep an eye on him.
Bryan advises them to stop gloating before he fires them, which would thoroughly undermine almost everything that happened on Sunday.
You just know Rusev’s going to wear those boxers later
Here’s the New Day, ready to defend Christmas against the evil machinations of Rusev Day and its supporters. English and Rusev arrive, throwing Rusev shirts out to the audience. Give these men the belts.
English starts off against Kofi Kingston, arm-dragging him across the ring before tagging in Rusev. Rusev chases Kofi, who keeps dodging in and out of the ring. English tries to catch him, but gets dropkicked. Rusev gets low-bridged, and the New Day grab Rusev’s sack (get your minds out of the gutter, you animals) and start throwing t-shirts to the audience. Kofi finds a pair of boxers with “Happy Rusev Day” on them, and if they find a jar of Ass Cream in there then I will die happy. Rusev and English tackle the New Day, and Rusev reclaims his underwear.
After some commercials, Rusev is in full control of Kofi, until the New Day member manages to fell him with a tornado DDT. English and Woods enter the match, with Xavier taking it to English before the Snowman of Song plants him with a spinebuster. English starts clearing off the announce table, before Rusev puts the pancakes on the table and starts adding whipped cream and cherries. I don’t know what’s happening, but it is the most perfect thing WWE has ever done.
Kofi saves Woods from getting his face slammed into the pancakes before Kofi makes the save and they flapjack English into them. Back in the ring, Woods hits his springboard elbow to English to win.
Don’t ask me to judge this on match quality: this was the funniest thing I’d seen in a while.
Shane McMahon just completed
Main event time. Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles make their entrances, followed by Jinder Mahal, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. The bell rings, and Jinder starts things off against Randy Orton. Orton immediately slugs Sami and Kevin to begin because fuck them and all of their families on this most wonderful time of the year. A brawl breaks out instantly. Randy drops Jinder on the announce table and continues to punish the Modern Day Maharajah inside.
Mahal counters an RKO, getting clotheslined as a consolation prize. Shinsuke tags in but is driven into the corner by Mahal, with Sami entering the match. Zayn locks Nakamura’s arm, and the Artist reverses it. He bamboozles Zayn before starting to kick the absolute shit out of him, then tags in AJ Styles.
Styles reverses a suplex, then hurricanranas Zayn before tagging in Orton. Randy drops Zayn onto the ropes, getting a two count. Zayn tags Jinder in, and Mahal hits Orton with a volley of strikes, knocking him down with a back elbow. Jinder tags in Owens, who starts putting the boots and fists to Randy before the commercial break.
When we come back, Orton has managed to extricate himself from his break-long beating, tagging in Styles. Jinder low-bridges AJ, allowing Owens to take control, dropping a back senton on the WWE Champ back in the ring. Zayn comes in to throw some hands at Styles, taking him down with a clothesline. Now Mahal’s in the ring, continuing his assault on Styles from Sunday night. Finally, Styles catches Jinder with a DDT out of the corner, then tags in Nakamura!
Shinsuke erupts into the match, destroying all three of his opponents before trying to collapse Zayn’s chest and skull with his feet. Good Vibrations, then a running knee to the stomach and Nakamura gets a two count. Zayn ducks one roundhouse, but not the other, and only just gets the shoulder up. He’s able to counter the reverse exploder, but stumbles right into an armbar! Owens breaks it up with a back senton, then gets tossed out of the ring by Orton; Mahal hits Orton with a DDT before eating a Pele Kick from Styles, who hurls himself onto Owens with a Phenomenal Forearm!
Shinsuke is winding up to hit Zayn with the Kinshasa, but the Singh Brothers hop up on the apron and attack him. Rather than earning a DQ for this, the referee simply bans them from ringside (Sami Zayn’s official definition of the area, naturally). Jinder eats an RKO, and Orton apparently has been triggered by the sight of the Singh Brothers interfering because he goes totally Bursar on them. Owens staggers into the ring in time to eat a second Phenomenal Forearm from Styles! Nakamura Kinshasas the absolute fuck out of Zayn, and that’s the match.
Nice way to send us all off for Christmas, really. Fun match with some nice wrinkles to it: more a sense of finishing things off than starting something new. 2.5 Stars.
The bad: really not much. If you accept that this was just a fun show and wasn’t supposed to further anything beyond Shane/Bryan, then it accomplished what it meant to. Would have been nice to see the Bludgeon Brothers against an established team, but whatever. Even Dolph managed to intrigue me by the end of his segment.
The good: Again, hard to be super-critical. Good guys won, bad guys lost, and everyone else just had solid matches before Christmas. I liked the tag team match, loved the Shane/Bryan segment and laughed quite a bit at the New Day/Rusev and English segments. 7/10.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/whatever you might be celebrating, or a very happy holidays, and I’ll see you all next week!
Tags: aiden english, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, byron saxton, charlotte flair, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Gable and Benjamin, Kevin Owens, Liv Morgan, naomi, Randy Orton, Ruby Riott, rusev, sami zayn, Sarah Logan, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, The Bludgeon Brothers, The New Day, The Riott Squad, the usos, Tom Phillips