Ahoy everyone, it’s time for Super Wednesday SmackDown Funtime. I am David Spain, your always-courteous and occasionally-caustic reviewer, here to guide you through another confusing journey into the hotbed of muscles and issues that is the WWE.
SmackDown is in foggy London town, although last night it was actually a pretty clear night: one of the few days of glorious weather we get each year. And people were inside, watching wrestling. Appalling.
We get taken through the testicle-shattering tale of AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, pausing in loving detail over every groin-mangling moment. Tonight, these two nutcrackers will face each other in a one-on-one match to decide who gets to pick the stipulation for their Championship match at Money in the Bank. Every joke I have about this somehow involves testicles, so I’ll keep a few of those in reserve for the rest of the review.
I’ve always wondered about stipulations that wrestlers get to choose. I mean, could AJ state that the stipulation is that only individuals named AJ Styles are allowed to win, causing Shinsuke Nakamura to spend a lot of time at city hall, filling out forms to legally change his name? Could Nakamura invoke a “no whitey” stipulation, forcing AJ Styles to choose between keeping his Championship or descending into yellowface?
Questions for later.
People would cheer armed robbery if it was Daniel Bryan doing it
Meanwhile, Renee Young is in the ring. She introduces Daniel Bryan, whom every member of the crowd clearly wishes to offer a firm British handshake and firm British fellatio. Renee has to damn near stop the interview, they’re chanting his name so much. Bryan says that he was disappointed last week, because getting worked over by a big muscular Eastern European sounded so titillating in his imagination. He says that he’s not satisfied to just be back; he wants to be on top, which invites a slew of potential jokes for those with minds permanently in the gutter.
And suddenly Big Cass inserts himself into this conversation. The crowd show their lack of appreciation for any American not named “Daniel Bryan” as Cass says he’s sick of all the bullshit untruths being spread by Bryan, who’s feeding all of these people the Cool Aid. Man, out of everything that Jonestown did, the real crime was what they did to Cool Aid’s reputation.
Cass says that Rusev wasn’t Bryan’s first setback; that was him. And he’s going to be with Bryan for every day of his career, screwing shit up for him. He’ll be all around in the dark. Big Cass will be everywhere — wherever Bryan looks. Wherever there’s a fight so hungry people can eat, Big Cass will be there. Wherever there’s a cop beating up a guy, Big Cass will be there. He’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad; he’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready. And when his folks eat the stuff they raise and live in the houses they build — why, Big Cass will be there, and you can’t teach that.
Cass says he’s man enough to admit that he lost, and apparently he views tapping out as a way he could beat Bryan up again. Compared to his crazed bloodlust for Daniel Bryan, wins and losses are but ashes and dust. He mocks Bryan for getting tossed out of the Greatest Royal Rumble by him and then he brings up the little person. Why in God’s name would you reference the little person? We’d all agreed to pretend the little person skit had never happen.
Cass tells Bryan to go home and be with his loving partner, because he knows how quickly all that can just go away. As if suddenly enraged by the realisation that Carmella is no longer a part of his life, Big Cass gets up on the apron and climbs into the ring. Bryan immediately goes after him, dropkicking him in his injured leg before wrapping it in the ropes and stomping on it like a sadistic motherfucking sociopath. This…this is actually quite horrifying. Bryan is backed off by referees, motivated by nothing more than the need to do good and some kind of sports official Hippocratic Oath, but that doesn’t mean Bryan’s about to let them get between him and perfectly injured limb. Bryan smashes Cass’ leg around the goddamn ring post a bunch of times, and then continues to fuck with it.
Bryan is finally physically dragged of Big Cass, who looks like he just saw his own ghost and it begged him not to ever go near Daniel Bryan again. Bryan is staring at Cass like he wants to rip his leg off and give it to Carmella.
Get Xavier Woods a singles Championship
Here’s the Miz and the Miz’s beautiful suit. He’s going to be on commentary, because Corey needed to outsource the job of telling Byron to shut the fuck up. Look at Corey Graves: creating jobs and stimulating the economy. The New Day arrives, followed by the Bar. The stipulation of this match is that one member of the winning team will be permitted entry into the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. I mean, it’s not specified men’s, but I have to assume that that’s what they’re implying.
Xavier Woods starts off against Cesaro, but opens the match by superkicking Sheamus off the apron, beating Cesaro back and then sentoning out of the ring onto the Irishman. Back in the ring, Woods stays on Sheamus, kicking him to the ground and attempting his wheelbarrow facebuster. Cesaro counters it by being seriously fucking strong, and tags in Sheamus for a double-team.
The Bar continue to employ quick tags and double-teams, successfully isolating Xavier Woods from his partner. Woods finally is able to send Cesaro flying over the top rope and tags in Big E. Sheamus dashes into the ring off a tag, but Big E throws a bitch all over the place. Sheamus manages to regain the advantage for a second as he raises the knees up for Big E’s Warrior Splash, but E catches him for a slam regardless. Cesaro manages a tag, and the pair of them floor the New Day member with a double DDT.
Cesaro applies the Sharpshooter, and he’s got Big E in the middle of the ring. He stops E from escaping to the ropes, and Sheamus manages to prevent Xavier from interfering. Woods is able to bamboozle Sheamus and break up the hold, tagging in to hit a tornado DDT to Cesaro!
Cesaro catches Woods with a thrust to the throat, but dodges a charge and gets hit with the wheelbarrow facebuster! Sheamus breaks up the pin, and gets into a tussle with Big E, who spears him through the ropes! Xavier hits the springboard elbow, and Woods just beat Cesaro!
Xavier Woods has been so awesome these past few weeks; he’s going to be a phenomenal singles star. This was some decent, fast-paced excitement. 2.5 Stars.
We get a Bludgeon Brothers promo, where they tell us that family, friendship and joy are worthless and dead, and they plan to hit shit with hammers. Sensible policies for a happier Tag Team Division.
Paige is backstage, pretending to be on the phone to people. Well, I say people: I mean Carmella. And Absolution are behind her, rubbing their victory in her face. And Paige’s sick power games continue as she puts them both in the same triple threat match. This would probably be more diabolical had Degeneration X not once literally put on a squash match for the European Championship.
Elsewhere backstage, Renee Young is now talking to AJ Styles. She asks him what his stipulation will be, and will it somehow involve racism. Styles throws a few ridiculous ideas around, including a bullrope, Hell in a Cell Inferno match that some poor bastards in NXT are probably going to end up putting on now that he’s said it. He says that no matter what match he chooses, he’s going to super win at everything forever.
Easy night for Almas
Cien Almas sighted! Cien Almas is here! He’s facing a hometown hero that no-one’s ever heard of, so you tell me how this ends.
Constantino, otherwise known as “the victim”, actually gets a couple of shots in, but this is otherwise the equivalent of “pick your moveset” for Almas. Hammerlock DDT ends things pretty damn fast, and Almas gets an easy win.
Good, we know what he can do. Set him up with a feud and let’s get this show on the road. 2 Stars.
Mexican Melina runs down SmackDown Live and the pussy Almas just beat, just so we know this beautiful, chiseled Latin man is a villain.
Aw man, Rusev and Aiden English are backstage. You stay the fuck away from this beautiful moment, Lana. Let us have this. English is about to get his sing-song on, and then Lana shows up to threaten us with the end of Rusev Day. Lana’s got a match against Billie Kay next week to qualify for the Money in the Bank Ladder match. Good: great. Just keep her busy enough that she can’t break up the team.
This is Britface and I am offended by it
Alright, we’re doing the Royal Mellabration, I guess. Well, they have a Scottish town crier, which is a classy addition to anything short of an orgy (and even then, academic thought is split). Guys dressed as Palace Guards (Corey calls them “Beefeaters”, though that only refers to the Yeoman Wanderers, who wear a different uniform) bring out the Championship, and then Carmella shows up in Shinsuke Nakamura’s jacket for the usual “I’m the Champion” soapy titwank.
Carmella invites the audience to show how much they love her, and I can picture overworked security tackling neckbeards as she speaks. She means that people should cheer for her, because this is a family show. People boo, because she’s American. She says that the crowd remind her of every member of the Women’s Division, and I personally can’t believe that women don’t get along great in the workplace.
The Champ goes on the usual Championship ego trip, and then Paige shows up to make this all about her, because trying to break up a team she can’t be on any more is not enough for her. She plays the hometown card, even though people in the more civilised areas of England are still trying to get her hometown of Norwich nuked because of, you know, all the damn incest.
Paige says that she’s here to announce Carmella’s opponent at Money in the Bank, and brings out Asuka. Wow, gun to a knife fight. Asuka gets into the ring and stares at Carmella whilst smiling. Carmella gets out of the ring, because what Daniel Bryan did earlier probably gave everyone a lot of ideas.
And Renee Young is backstage with her “I have to talk to Shinsuke Nakamura” face. She asks him about his chances tonight, and Shinsuke plays the Illiterate Foreigner card. Be careful, Shinsuke: there are skinheads here who’ll make a fucking political movement based purely around kicking you out of the country. Shinsuke says that his strategy is to knee AJ Styles in the face a bunch of times and “dishonour him”. Somewhere, some EDL member started writing a badly-spelled blog article about Japanese men beating up and raping white dudes, right here on our good British streets.
Paige takes a sip of wine and switches on her vibrator
Here’s Becky Lynch, and she’s greeted with a mixture of cheers and embarrassment due to the whole Brexit/Irish border issue. Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille follow. Sonya’s music sounds less like MMA Fighter and more like superhero. You can tell she’s a villain though, because her lighting is designed to murder people suffering from epilepsy.
Becky starts things off by throwing Mandy out of the ring and then teeing off on Sonya, smacking her into the corners. DeVille counters, hitting a couple of strikes before Becky nails a kick in the corner. Mandy rejoins the action and they work Lynch over before Mandy tries to roll up Sonya. Goddamn, that didn’t take long. We go to a break out of sheer awkwardness.
When we come back, Sonya is in control and beating down Becky. The Lasskicker fires back, knocking Sonya around before suplexing her ponytail-wearing ass across the ring. DeVille quenches the straight fire with a knee to the face, but then Mandy tosses Sonya out of the ring and continues the assault. The Disarmer is countered and Mandy hits her finisher, which is going to go wrong and paralyse someone eventually, before Sonya throws her out of the ring and tries to steal the pin.
DeVille kicks Mandy to the outside, but this gives Becky time to throw a couple of punches. Sonya fights through it, backing Lynch into the corner and propping her up on the top rope. Mandy reappears, getting Sonya on her shoulders and inadvertently allowing Becky to hit her with a flying dropkick, sending all three women to the ground!
Mandy and Becky recover, and Becky tries for the Disarmer again. DeVille fucks both of them up with kicks, and nearly wins with a sick running knee to the shnozz. Becky counters a suplex; Deville slips out of a suplex attempt from Becky, but gets struck by a running knee from Rose! Rose tries to pick things up against Becky, but gets locked in the Disarmer! Mandy taps; Becky’s going to Money in the Bank!
Pretty decent match, and nice to see that Mandy and Sonya were comfortable going after each other. 2.5 Stars.
Samoa Joe, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are doing cellphone promos. Not together, which I would absolutely love to see, but separately. Missed opportunities everywhere, I tells ya.
Nakamura’s really moving onto a testicle-based moveset
And here’s Shinsuke Nakamura, ready for his Stipulation Match. AJ Styles follows, and it’s time for a WrestleMania, Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash rematch. Starting not to feel special, isn’t it?
Both men begin cautiously, relying on holds and reversals rather than any big moves. They each go for a quick pin before backing off, and Shinsuke brings the strikes out to play. AJ fires back with a hard dropkick, flooring Nakamura. The Artist gets chopped in the corner, but blocks a suplex attempt. Styles switches to a backbreaker, and Nakamura rolls out of the ring. Styles doesn’t give his Backlash challenger any time to regroup, instead following him out via a forearm.
AJ sends Shinsuke back into the ring, but Nakamura is wily enough to roll out again, baiting Styles into running into a huge kick, following it up with a knee to the gut. Back inside the ring, Shinsuke is in full control as we head to a break, and little seems to have changed when we return. Styles is getting railed by kicks from the Artist, who chokes the Champion in the corner with his foot before hitting Good Vibrations.
Styles chops his way free of the corner, but Shinsuke crushes the resistance, trying to hit his inverted exploder suplex. Styles runs off the ropes, but eats a huge kick directly to the mouth. Nakamura applies a dragon sleeper hold, cinching it in tight in the centre of the ring. Styles fires back with some knees to the face, but gets knocked back to the ground by a rapid combination from Shinsuke.
Nakamura takes Styles up to the top turnbuckle, but AJ slips down to the mat; Shinsuke boots Styles away, only for the WWE Champion to deliver a stunning counter with a Pele Kick! The ref starts the count with both men down, and Styles reaches his feet with his signature flurry and running forearm. AJ kips up, charging at a cornered Nakamura with a forearm. Shinsuke blocks an ushiguroshi, but eats a facebuster in return. Styles almost catches him with the Calf Crusher; Shinsuke escapes and tries for the Kinshasa; Styles dodges but ends but receiving a sit-out slam courtesy of Nakamura, only just shooting the shoulder up.
Shinsuke wearily gets to his feet, dragging Styles up with him. He tosses the Champ into the corner, and props him on the turnbuckle for the running knee. Styles counters, almost scoring with a Phenomenal Forearm; Shinsuke kicks his legs out from under him and leaves Styles draped over the turnbuckle, this time hitting the running knee. Both men are on the apron, swinging and kicking. Shinsuke strikes with a flying knee, but Styles manages to kick out once more.
Now Nakamura is winding up for the Kinshasa as Styles gets to his feet. Styles goes for the Clash, but settles for the Ushiguroshi for a two count. AJ tries for another running forearm, gets struck with a boot and eats a running knee before kicking out! Shinsuke goes for the Kinshasa again, this time getting struck with a spinning kick. AJ is elevated onto the apron, tries for a Phenomenal Forearm; Nakamura dodges, leaving Styles to almost strike the referee, and then Nakamura pretends that Styles hit him in the nuts! Shades of Eddie Guerrero!
As Styles tries to explain himself, Nakamura hits a strike to the back of the neck, a reverse exploder suplex and the Kinshasa to net the win!
Good, competitive match from these two: hopefully the finale will be the best of the lot. 3.5 Stars.
Tags: AJ Styles, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Big Cass, Carmella, Cien Almas, Daniel Bryan, Mandy Rose, Paige, Renee Young, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, Sonya Deville, The Bar, The Miz, The New Day, WWE