Spain’s SmackDown Report and Review for February 13th 2017: The Qualifiers

Columns, Top Story

Happy Wednesday, everyone. It’s time for another edition of the Spain SmackDown Report as we barrel towards Fastlane (well, there’s Elimination Chamber first, but that’s neither here nor there).

Sami and Kevin’s Day Off

The show kicks off with Dolph Ziggler, which is always a really strong way to kick off anything: wrestling shows, parties, court cases, orgies. We get reminded that it’s been seven weeks since Dolph Ziggler left WWE due to his contempt for all of us, because most of us hadn’t actually noticed that he was gone from the following week.

We’re shown footage from last week, with Bryan making the Triple Threat match to teach AJ Styles that playing stupid games wins you stupid prizes. Apparently Shane McMahon then tweeted out that whoever wins this match gets to be in the title match at Fastlane, now a Fatal Four-Way, and there was almost certainly a more dramatic way to announce that decision.

Baron Corbin’s music plays and…nothing. So they try it again, expecting us to believe that they’re happy to play the music even if wrestlers aren’t in position, ready to head out there. So I guess entrance music is used both to announce wrestlers and summon them from wherever they might be.

We cut to backstage, where Zayn and Owens are putting the boots to the Lone Wolf, because they just did a heel vs. heel match last week and there’ll be no more of that until after WrestleMania. They leave Corbin laying and are walking away, but then Baron calls them back because he’s really fucking smart, you guys. So Sami and Kevin head back to show him what happens if you ask for more (and let me tell you, that little orphan Oliver got off super easy). He gets his ass kicked some more, and then Owens and Zayn head off.

Owens says “one more”, meaning that they’re coming out here to take out Ziggler. And that’s dumb because Dolph, who’s been watching this on the big fucking screen they have, has loads of time to get out of the ring and escape, rather than be taken by surprise when they suddenly jump him, preferably from too different directions. But then again, Ziggler’s standing his ground and getting ready for a fight, so I guess I might once again be overestimating the WWE locker room’s competence at basic strategy, tactics and common sense.

Sami and Kevin arrive on the ramp together (stupid), then Zayn heads off to the side in what I assume is a flanking maneuver (smart). Dolph runs for it (smart), taking a moment to beat the fuck out of Sami to slow his pursuit (smart), but gets a little too into it and gets caught by Owens (stupid stupid stupid). Zayn and Owens lay on a beating, finished with a Helluva Kick on the outside.

Owens and Zayn head back up the ramp, but are so busy admiring the result of their work on Ziggler that they don’t quite notice Baron Corbin staggering towards them with murder in his eyes. Corbin jumps them, aaaand gets right back to getting his ass kicked. Man, these guys probably wouldn’t have done that well in this title match anyway. Corbin’s put back down, and it looks bad this time. I hope both Bryan and Shane are taking some giant and time-consuming dumps right now, because that is the only reason I can think of for them not being out here, being all “hold on justa minute, playa”. Teddy Long would had those bitches in a tag team match against the Brothers of Destruction before they even reached Ziggler.

Sarah Logan’s finisher gave me cancer

Well, here are the Riott Squad. Anyone facing them right now should feel pretty secure: they’re not going to be able to top that beating and it’d be foolish to try. This is a Sarah Logan match, so get ready to see the worst finisher in the history of all of human movement if she’s going to win. She’s facing Charlotte Flair, so I guess we can assume that that’s not going to happen. Becky Lynch is joining her, as is Naomi.

Logan moves in aggressively before the Champ shoves her away. They lock up, struggling with apparently-equal strength, before Charlotte pushes Sarah away again. Logan comes back with a waistlock, taking Flair over multiple times, keeping her arms vised around her waist. Charlotte goes after her arm, managing to counter the hold into a front facelock, then she hurls Logan across the ring and boots her in the face, because fuck you, you fucking hick.

During the break, Charlotte stays on Logan, receiving a sock to the jaw for her trouble. Logan uses her power to run over the Women’s Champ before Charlotte knocks her down. Holy shit, they made a sequel to The Strangers. First Jeepers Creepers 3 and now this: all my favourite horror franchises are getting terrible sequels!

Logan is able to work her way back into things, but Charlotte throws her across the ring when we come back. Sarah chops her across the tits, which is like “Don’t Do This Shit 101”. Charlotte flays Logan’s chest with her bare hand for a while, but Logan manages to tackle her right in the back, getting a two-count. A butterfly suplex gets another near fall, and the commentators are making it sound like living in Louisville, Kentucky is like being a part of the Hunger Games every day. It’s the seventh-safest large city in the USA and a thriving metropolis, and Logan probably just lifted weights in a gym like a normal person.

Charlotte smacks Logan in the face with a high knee, but gets a pair of knees in return, almost winning Sarah the match. Logan continues to stomp and beat Charlotte in roughneck fashion. Charlotte misses a big boot, and gets taken over by Logan into a modified back suplex. The kick-out really pisses Logan off, and she starts wailing on her opponent before throwing her face-first into the turnbuckle. Charlotte returns the favour, hitting Natural Selection to end things.

Great showing from Logan, leading to a nice rough match between these two. I enjoyed this one. 2.5 Stars.

Daniel Bryan is backstage, when Shane shows up for another passive-aggression session. McMahon says that Owens and Zayn can eat a dick, because they’re facing Corbin and Ziggler in singles matches for an opportunity at Fastlane, with any interference being met with being ejected from the title match.

Another Black History Month segment, showing WWE stars looking around exhibits and being given a history lesson. I quite like this: it’s certainly more touching than WWE going “look at the all the black wrestlers we gave not-World Titles to”.

Baron Corbin’s going to Fastlane

Here’s Kevin Owens, ready for his match against Baron Corbin. Man, two heel vs. heel matches in a night: is Vince Russo creeping around backstage? Baron arrives, looking damaged. Graves says that Corbin has a “Michael Myers” and “Jason Voorhees” mentality, which is about as close as you can come to accusing someone of murdering teens without having a slander case levelled at you. Unless Corbin has murdered teenagers, which I would not be shocked to read in the papers.

Owens pounces on Corbin, rolling out of the ring when the Lone Wolf takes a swing of his own at him. Baron is extremely pissed, and Owens lures him to the outside for an ambush only for Corbin to lay into him. Back in the ring, Owens regains control, stomping away at Corbin. Baron runs into a boot, but slams a vicious right hand into Owens’ face, practically KO-ing KO. Owens heads to the outside, but Baron is not going to stop until he’s humped Owens’ corpse to completion.

Owens is able to gain some separation by driving Corbin into the ring apron. Back inside, he keeps the pressure on Baron, who reverses an Irish whip into his in-and-out clothesline only to run right into a superkick to the chest. Owens’ Cannonball connects, getting two as we go to a break.

When we come back, the action’s on the outside again. Baron hurls Owens into the barricade, then charges at him but misses, barrelling into the steel steps. In the ring, a back senton gets Owens a two count, and he immediately latches on a sleeper hold. Baron fights his way up, catching Owens with a chokeslam backbreaker. He keeps Owens reeling with some punches, then hits him with a clothesline that turns Owens inside-the-fuck-out for two.

Corbin props Owens up on the top rope and tries to head up after him. KO beats him down, then dodges a charge which sends Baron into the steel post. Owens heads to the top, gets caught by Corbin, but hangs the Lone Wolf up on the ropes. Owens charges back into the ring…right into Deep Six! Owens ducks the End of Days, connects with a superkick; Corbin counters the Pop-Up Powerbomb and hits the End of Days to pin Kevin Owens!

Aw yeah: we’re treating Baron Corbin right. This was a great story, without Corbin coming across as particularly heroic: just a badass who wants a title match. 3 Stars.

Apparently the SmackDown crew are still taking the Top 10 List really seriously, rather than seeing it as a manipulative social experiment meant to ensure a healthy amount of bad feeling and potential feuds moving forward.

Stop ruining Open Challenges

Things are about to get GLORIOUS up in here, and it’s time for Bobby Roode. We get shown footage of Randy Orton reacting to his Top 10 List rating like a rational and functioning adult: just kidding, the stroppy fuck threw himself an RKO party, because I imagine that’s going to be his reaction to literally any hardship in his life.

Roode says that he’d promised himself to be the greatest US Champion in history. To do this, he’s going to reinstate the United States Championship Open Challenge. God, I remember when AJ Styles got to try that for, like, one week. Hope this one lasts. Roode says that this match is open to anyone (which means we damn well better see one of the Women’s Division take a whack at this thing one week), but he hopes that this week his challenge will be accepted by Randy “Tantruming Bitch” Orton.

And Randy Orton obliges him.

Well, looks like we’re actually going to do this, short of shenanigans…ah, for fuck’s sake. Here’s Jinder Mahal to ruin everything. Jesus Christ: the concept of an Open Challenge series is perfect already; you don’t have to try and make it complex and convoluted like WWE insists on doing almost every time. Jinder rubs in the Top 10 List thing, and it’s hilarious that something like this actually gets to Randy when he could easily say that he couldn’t give a fuck what any of those mouthbreathers in the back think, and anyone who wants to make something of it will be punted into senility.

Orton finally gets a microphone and says he doesn’t give a damn about the list. Jinder gets in the ring, which should be another example in “Don’t Do This Shit 101”, and tries to drive a wedge between Orton and Roode, like they’re best mates rather than a couple of dudes who were going to beat the fuck out of each other for a Championship. Roode says that Jinder didn’t even make the list, so he can get fucked. He also says that he respects Orton, but he feels like maybe Orton was so low down on the list because of his obsession with attacking people out of nowhere.

Holy shit, Randy looks genuinely attacked.

And then Orton RKOs the one Singh Brother Jinder has with him. Jinder and Roode get into it, and Mahal hits the Khallas to both men.

I’d have vastly preferred an Open Challenge match, thanks.


It’s time for the New Day, which hopefully means we’re not getting treated to a lecture on how the Usos perceive the world and those who inhabit them with a bunch of metaphors for prison. The New Day have a big load of pancakes on a table in the ring, because it’s Shrove Tuesday. Oh shit, that means today’s Ash Wednesday.

I’m a terrible Catholic.

Big E apparently plans to break the world record for pancake eating, and I’d also have preferred to see an United States Championship Open Challenge match rather than this. E shovels a load of pancakes into his mouth, and I’m sure that there’s someone who could be having a match right now.

Oh, it’s Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Match now? Tag team match? Yes please. Gable runs down the New Day for apparently bringing down the whole WWE, and he and Shelton suggest that they quit wrestling and get more involved with pancakes, leaving the tag team scene to him and Gable.

Xavier Woods reminds them that they currently hold the record for longest-reigning Tag Team Champions, whilst the team of Gable and Benjamin have never won the belts. Chad then throws a pancake on the floor, because this is what we’ve been reduced to. I’d pay money to get the Bludgeon Brothers out here right now.

Gable tells the New Day that nobody likes pancakes, and I now regret what I said about the Usos’ “life and everything about it is in many ways like a prison” lectures. Shelton throws a whole load of pancakes, and we finally get told that there’s going to be a match. It’s almost not worth it now.

Big E and Gable start things off, with the New Day member taking control. Kofi tags in, continuing the assault until Gable drives him into the mat and tags in Shelton. Benjamin lays a beating on Kofi, who manages to clock him in the head with a kick. A distraction from Gable allows Benjamin to regain control with a knee to the skull, and Kofi is slammed hard into the corner.

Gable re-enters the match, going to work on the arm of Kofi Kingston. Kofi armdrags his way out, but then runs right into a rolling kick to the skull and continues to get beaten down. Shelton tags in, and Kofi manages to evade both men, almost getting the tag to Big E before Gable drags E off the apron. Shelton lays out Xavier on the outside, but then walks right into a stomp from Kofi back in the ring.

Kingston crawls over to Big E, finally getting the tag. Gable gets belly-to-bellied like crazy, then takes the Warrior Splash. Big Ending’s scouted, and Chad Gable hits the Rolling German! Shelton tags in, but a distraction from Woods ensures that the referee never saw it! Shelton’s ejected from the ring, and the Midnight Hour puts Gable down for three!

I was expecting a different result, considering Gable and Benjamin’s run so far, but I like that the New Day and the World’s Alpha-est Tag Team could have a feud whilst the Bludgeon Brothers and the Usos go to war. 2.5 Stars.

Dolph Ziggler is backstage, before Renee Young sniffs him out and hits him with an ambush interview outta nowhere. She asks him what the hell he thinks he’s doing, just casually showing up tonight after blowing off work for seven whole weeks. Dolph claims that Owens and Zayn are scared of him, because they know that he’s better in the ring than either of them. He promises that he won’t be stopped, and says that he’s here right now because he wants to main event WrestleMania.

Bless his heart.

Oh God, it’s the Usos and their stupid onscreen graphics. At least they only say “penitentiary” once. And then the Bludgeon Brothers smash the screen with their hammers, making me happy for two reasons: A) it stopped all of that horrendousness and B) they finally used the extremely useful hammers they’ve been carrying around with them.

Backstage, Kevin Owens has come to apologise to Zayn for losing to an injured man and to tell him that it’s all on him. Zayn is in the mood to be real sarcastic, and when this thing finally explodes it’s going to be amazing.

Watch Dolph Ziggler’s dreams die on PPV

Here’s Sami, followed by Dolph Ziggler with his non-entrance entrance. I’m not quite sure if we’re supposed to like him again; honestly, I feel more well-disposed to Corbin: as much of an asshole as Ziggler, but far less grating.

Bell rings, and Ziggler goes right after Zayn, who ducks into the ropes multiple times to escape. Dolph manages to apply a waistlock, but Sami once again grabs the ropes. Ziggler wrestles Zayn to the floor, applying a headlock, and once again Zayn heads for the ropes, this time hitting a cheap shot at the break.

Finally, Dolph just smacks Zayn in the face and gives him a neckbreaker. He hits a stinger splash, then another neckbreaker for two. Sami rolls out of the ring, clutching his neck as he paces around the ringside area (as he himself defined it in 2017). Zayn finally gets back into the ring, shoving Ziggler into the corner and clubbing at his head and neck.

Zayn catapults Ziggler throat-first into the ropes, and continues to beat him down. Ziggler fires up a little, but Sami’s aggression allows him to drive Dolph into the corner. Sami heads up to the second rope, dives, and Dolph dropkicks him right out of the air! After the break, Zayn has Ziggler in a rear chinlock; Dolph breaks out but runs right into a clothesline. Ziggler reverses a suplex, and then plants Sami with a DDT!

Zayn dodges the Fame-asser, rolls up Dolph but this time gets hit with the Fame-asser for two. Dolph heads up to the top rope, having to struggle with Sami en route. Zayn manages to halt Ziggler’s progress, crotching him on the ropes and beating him down. Zayn follows Dolph up, trying to superplex him, and ends up hitting an exploder superplex from the top rope!

Both men slowly work their way to their feet and start hammering each other. Zayn counters a dropkick, catapulting Dolph into the steel post before calling for the Helluva Kick. Dolph dodges, hits the Zig Zag, and Zayn kicks out!

Ziggler tries for a superkick, but Sami hurls him shoulder-first into the steel post, and then once more. Ziggler looks out, and Sami wants the Blue Thunder Bomb, but Ziggler rolls him up…with Sami just kicking out. Dolph’s exploded into the corner; Sami winds up a Helluva Kick, but he runs into a superkick! Ziggler’s going to Fastlane!

Great match, showing Zayn’s more aggressive side and why Ziggler should have been treated so much better over the years. 3 Stars.

Well, at least one match at Fastlane just got really good. Let’s see what else happens.

David has a jaded and cynical view of wrestling, which complements his jaded and cynical view of practically everything else. He spends his time writing novels and screenplays, lifting heavy things while listening to classical music, and waiting with bated breath for his next opportunity to say "it's Dr. Spain, actually".