What’s up, gang. It’s another installment of the Spain SmackDown Report as we barrel towards Royal Riott (this joke was paid for by the supporters of Ruby Rumble), and it’s about time to find out what in the blue fuck is going on around here? I mean, a handicap Championship match? Someone find me the precedent, and don’t come at me with that Bobby Lashley and his fucking ECW Championship bollocks: I want real storylines.
We get a little flashback of Daniel Bryan’s apparent swan dive off the cliffs of decent behaviour. I’m willing to admit that this might all be Bryan being a manipulative prick and knowing that Owens, at least, could never co-exist with anyone in a team battle with the WWE Championship on the line and assumes that this will ensure the second doom of Owens’ and Zayn’s friendship.
This angle isn’t over until the WWE Championship is accidentally ripped in two
The show itself starts off with AJ Styles being introduced by Renee Young and making his way to the ring. They chill in the chairs that Renee stole from The Cutting Edge and asks AJ what the fuck. Styles says that he’s human, which must come as a relief to all of us, and says that if he’d known that Bryan was just going to blithely take any suggestion of his and make it happen, he’d have requested a blu-ray copy of 1 Night in China and a pack of Virginia Slims.
But Styles has a strategy, which boils down to “hit Owens and Zayn hard and fast”. Fucking professional wrestlers, man. Renee demands that Styles cut the diplomatic shit and either verbally fellate Daniel Bryan or denounce him as the spawn of a pestilent demon and Vince Russo. AJ says that he doesn’t think that the situation is fair, but neither’s life, technically comparing his handicap Championship match to terrorism and super malaria.
Renee wants more of an outright condemnation – preferably something biblical – and pushes Styles for more. Bless her: she’s the one actual journalist in this business. AJ stonewalls her, pleading the Fifth and claiming to have no recollection of what his opinions are currently. He says that he’s excited to beat both Owens and Styles in the same night and in the same match, if only so he can retire Jericho’s “Rock and Stone Cold” boast.
Owens and Zayn arrive then, standing at the top of the ramp. Owens mocks Styles for accidentally sarcasming a title match into existence. He says that it would take a miracle for Styles to emerge victorious at Royal Riott, and that people like Styles don’t get miracles. Owens promises that he and Zayn will be the first ever co-WWE Champions. Jesus, I just had a flashback to Laycool. I can’t go back, guys; I’m not going back to that world.
And then Shane McMahon’s music hits, because he is the bee to Owens and Zayn’s sweet, sweet honey. He agrees with Styles about the match at Royal Riott not being fair, making AJ feel soiled by association. He says he’s no idea what Bryan’s thinking, but is totally on board with it because fuck knows they’ve got no other number one contenders.
But he says it might be a good idea to get everyone in the handicap match mood, and announces a 2-on-3 handicap match tonight between Sami and Owens and the team of Orton, Nakamura and Styles.
The camera follows Shane backstage, where he runs into Bryan. Bryan compliments Shane on the main event and the two shake hands awkwardly.
Just fuck already.
Here’s Becky Lynch, returned from injury to take on Ruby Rumble. It’s sort of hard to picture cheery Becky actually going out for vengeance, unless she’s going to be the Women Division’s very own Patrick Bateman. I’m not in fact opposed to that. Actually, now I think the Women’s Division absolutely needs a Patrick Bateman.
Anyway, Charlotte and Naomi join Becky at ringside (Sami Zayn standard definition and parameters). Ruby Rumble and the Rumble Squad then arrive, with their head-bopping music that really doesn’t sell “serious and deadly conquerors”.
Ruby and Becky move in, with Becky gaining the early advantage and subjecting Rumble to several amateur takedowns. Ruby reaches the ropes to break a hold, and Becky alley-oops her right onto the mat. Logan, aware that the Singh Brothers’ title of “Most Likely to Interfere in a Match” is up for grabs, trips Becky up as the Irish Lasskicker runs the ropes. Becky takes a second to yell at Logan, then elbows Ruby in the face, yells at Logan again and then tosses Ruby out onto her to make sure that Sarah appreciates the gravity and conviction of what she’s saying.
During the commercial break (during which I am subjected to another trailer for another fucking Maze Runner movie – practically a hate crime), Becky continues to take it to Rumble, channeling her anger at being injured through grappling and holds rather slamming Ruby’s head into the mat so much it leaves an impression and some of Ruby’s frankly excessive eyeliner behind. Rumble is able to seize the advantage as she counters a kick from Becky, beating her down and then taking a second to recover from Lynch’s initial assault before starting one of her own.
When we come back, Rumble has wrapped her legs around Becky’s waist because sleeper holds are unoriginal. Or because Ruby’s got thigh muscles that could crack a coconut; I don’t know her life. Becky manages to win free of Riott’s powerful adductors (totally don’t have a copy of Gray’s Anatomy open next to me; I’m absolutely not a serial killer), but is tossed to the mat by Rumble. Ruby continues to work over the midsection of Lynch.
Becky finally hurls Ruby away from her, almost scores a surprise pin and then starts hammering her with strikes. A couple of Bexploders make Becky’s feeling’s known, but a missed kick allows Rumble to beat her down. Ruby wants the Rumble Kick, but Becky’s suddenly dragging her down to the mat with the Disarmer! Ruby taps!
I’m surprised and pleased: I thought Ruby would be protected and Becky would suffer on account of that. Good match. 2.5 Stars.
Still better than any Maze Runner movie
No, I’m not fooled, WWE. You may have the Ascension in the ring and this might be the match with the Bludgeon Brothers that I’ve asked for, but you can’t pull the wool over my eyes. This is going to be a squash and I’m going to need to pause this show and get a green smoothie and some heroin to calm down.
Anyway, as you may have gathered the Ascension is in the ring. Breezango even refused to be at ringside with them, so take a guess how this is going to go down.
The Bludgeon Brothers arrive as the commentators talk about the Ascension like they’re already dead. I mean, it’s not like anyone would ever want to see a great match with two awesome teams or anything, WWE.
The Ascension start the match off by jumping Harper, Viktor actually getting him some shots in on him. Already a more even match than I assumed we’d get, but I refuse to be optimistic. And then Harper boots Viktor to death, knocks Konor off the apron, and he and Rowan put Viktor away in jig time.
I hate everything and everyone. 2 Stars.
Konor enters the ring to check on Viktor, and the Bludgeon Brothers destroy him too because why only piss on my dreams the once, WWE? Nothing’s going to cheer me up short of a Winds of Winter release date.
They shall all be sacrificed at the altar of Hype
Okay, scratch that: Bobby Roode’s theme music just put a big old smile on my face. I fucking lift to this music, and it is the greatest thing in the WWE. He’s not even in the match either; he’s just here to scout Zack Ryder (jobber entranced) and Mojo Rawley (actual entranced). As an aside, Mojo’s new music would suit the Rumble Squad way better than theirs does.
So this is a repeat of Clash of Champions for actual human beings who don’t lower themselves to watching the pre-show. Don’t look at me like that, Blair: you know what you are and what you do. Both men lock up and Rawley hurls Ryder into the corner. Ryder fires back with a dropkick that sends Mojo out of the ring. He barrels right back into it, driving Zack into a corner. The Long Island Iced Z comes back with knees, but Mojo drags him to the mat and smacks him around the head.
Rawley keeps slamming Zack into the corner, bashing the fight out of him. He starts wrenching on Ryder’s head as Roode watches intently. Zack reverses a suplex into a neckbreaker, then smacks Mojo with an elbow. He catches him with a boot and then unloads forearms on him! Rawley’s slumped into the corner, and only just avoids the Broski Boot by dashing to the outside. Ryder hits a pair of boots to the face, knocking Mojo down at ringside.
In the ring, Mojo recovers, hurling Ryder shoulder-first into the ringpost. A nasty shot to the back of the neck follows that up, and then Rawley ends it with the running forearm. Welcome to the semi-finals, Mojo Rawley.
I like the aggressive Rawley and hope there’s a place for him in SmackDown: no reason there shouldn’t be. Also glad he kept the forearm as his finisher: love dynamic moves like that. 2.5 Stars.
After the bell, Bobby Roode gets into the ring and nods whilst smiling at Rawley. Mojo leaves the ring, and I’d leave too in the face of that.
Be advised, Jinder Mahal has tacked another Indian flag up at an undisclosed location, technically claiming wherever it is for India and possibly starting a small war. He promises to defeat Xavier Woods, rolling the Rs in “maharajah” like he’s been possessed by Armando Alejandro Estrada.
Sarcasm will not be tolerated
Here come Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable to apologise for not knowing who from the Usos’ team or their own goddamn team was legal last week. And I get the Usos: they’re twins and wear the same outfit, but don’t you come at me with any of your “actually, I don’t see colour” shit relating to Gable and Benjamin.
Chad asks us if any of us know what it takes to be a winner, so it’s going to be one of those promos. He asks if we know what it means to be a success, and after reading Bret Hart’s autobiography I’d say it involves drugs, cheating on your wife, having the emotional temperament of a twelve year old girl and taking responsibility for literally nothing.
Shelton then shits on Alabama’s local sports team, just to hit every point on this by-the-numbers heel promo. They take us through the events of last week, and apparently people are jealous of Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. I wanted nothing more than to be a professional wrestler when I was fifteen, and even then I wouldn’t have been jealous of Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin.
This all boils down to Gable and Benjamin calling bullshit on the decision from last week, claiming they lost to instant replay. They call out “Generic Referee 2” (I’ll admit to laughing at that one), but Daniel Bryan shows up instead.
Bryan says that he understands how Gable and Benjamin feel, but he can’t have them knocking management or referees. He claims that the ref’s decision is final, and states that they stand behind his decision. Daniel Bryan is all over the fucking morality grid right now.
Gable decides to poke the bear by mocking Bryan over his arguments with Shane, demands a Tag Team Title match or just the Titles themselves and asks whether they need to beat the Usos twice in one night. And Daniel Bryan, happy in his role of “Ironic Genie”, makes a match at Royal Riott for a Two-Out-of-Three Falls Championship Match. Is he just trying to get irony banned at SmackDown?
AJ Styles pops by Randy Orton’s locker room (Randy Orton has two separate shirts hanging up in there), more or less to give Orton the opportunity to make the traditional “we’re partners tonight, but after I win the Royal Riott I will nuke your fucking world if you happen to still be Champion” speech. Then Shinsuke pops up (so one of the shirts might be his) and wordlessly makes the same speech. Fine thing, tradition.
Vince heard you liked Rusev, so fuck you
Aiden English and Rusev are in the ring, with English using song to declare their entry into the Royal Riott. Well, they actually call it the Rusev Riott. Well, actually they call it the Rusev Rumble, but I’ve sort of got a running gag going here, so fuck off.
Breezango arrive and the match begins. English is shot off the ropes and knocks Fandango down before Fandango fires back, hanging the singer up on the ropes and allowing him and Breeze to boot him as we go to the break. During commercials, Rusev enters the match and beats on Breeze.
When we come back, English is continuing the assault on Tyler, but the Fashion Constable gets away from him and tags in Fandango, who takes it to English. Rusev scores a blind tag, laying waste to Fandango. Usually you need several things to lay waste to, but Rusev’s doing fine with just one guy.
The Fashion Police rally for a second…no, Fandango rolls up English and the Fashion Police win!
Well, colour me surprised. Weird decision, considering the direction of the two groups, but we’ll see what happens. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is watching the match on TV and says “good for them” in a tone of voice that sums up everything about Breezango in three words. Shane arrives and Bryan is either being passive-aggressive or Brie has given him a definitive list of vegan-friendly drugs. Shane asks Bryan what the fuck regarding the title match at Royal Riott, but then muddies the waters by attacking the WWE Tag Team Championship match. Bryan questions Shane’s sanity, because those anger management classes he was forced to take taught him nothing about conflict resolution.
I miss when my two dads were friends.
More amendments in this match than the Constitution
Main event time, and all five competitors make their way to the ring. Orton starts off against Owens, going for the customary premature RKO that sends Owens dashing out of the ring. Randy catches him and roughs him up on the outside. Back in the ring, Owens swings wildly at Orton in what turns out to be a winning strategy, and tags in Sami Zayn. Zayn’s purpose is to get beaten to fuck by Orton, and then again by Nakamura. The commentators are talking about the whole co-Champion thing like it’s definitively decided, and honestly what the fuck?
Styles tags in now, who might as well try to injure one of these guys horrifically tonight. He gets a singles match with no interference at Royal Riott and, worst case scenario, he picks up a DQ in this meaningless match that was cobbled together a little over an hour ago. Owens tags in, but Styles overpowers him, trying a Styles Clash before Zayn drags his best friend out of the ring and the two decide to take a walk.
Shane phases through reality itself and makes the match no-count out. Nakamura, Orton and Styles sprint after the pair and take them out as we head into a break. When we come back, Zayn has Styles in a headlock. I was half-expecting that we’d missed a bunch of other rules being made, and Owens and Zayn would be dressed as Victorian gentlemen and having to speak their smack talk only in the form of limericks.
Owens enters the match, working over AJ. Styles manages to hit a desperation ushigoroshi, making his way over to Orton to make the tag! Zayn charges at Randy and gets clotheslined, powerslammed and Vintage DDT’d. Randy calls for the RKO, guaranteeing that it won’t work, and Owens arrives with a steel chair, laying the team out for a DQ. See, Styles, that would have been what you should have done: grabbed a chair and committed homicide.
And if you didn’t expect Shane to show up here and fart over this victory, then I don’t know what to tell you. Oh, wait: you’re dumb. Anyway, Shane’s out here to make this match a no DQ match where “anything goes”. Surely, wait, surely a no DQ match is…
Ah, forget it. I’m still pissed off about the Ascension.
Styles beats Owens over and over with a chair, taking him to the back. Zayn is left with Nakamura and Orton, trying to run to the backstage area. Randy and Shinsuke catch him, slamming him into the steel post before whacking him in the skull with the steel steps. Zayn’s hurled over the table, and Orton back suplexes him onto it. Back in the ring, Sami eats a Kinshasa, followed by an RKO, and that is it.
This had some legs to it, if a little predictable. The beating of Sami Zayn was very satisfying, and it’s nice for Nakamura and Orton to get some respect back. Fun match. 3 Stars.
Styles and Owens are nowhere to be seen, leaving me no option but to assume that Styles continued to chase KO all the way to next week’s SmackDown. Expect me to forget about that and not make a joke about it next time on the Spain SmackDown Report.
Tags: AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Bludgeon Brothers, Bobby Roode, byron saxton, charlotte, Corey Graves, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Gable and Benjamin, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Liv Morgan, Mojo Rawley, naomi, Natalya, Randy Orton, Renee Young, Royal Riott, Ruby Rumble, sami zayn, Sarah Logan, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, The Ascension, The Rumble Squad, the usos, Tom Phillips, xavier woods, zack ryder