Fate is a lie, there’s no such thing as destiny and God has no grand plan for any of us. So watch SmackDown Live, because nothing matters anyway.
Over on RAW, Kurt Angle’s got an erection and no idea why
WWE is in Toronto this week, presumably to get the fuck away from whatever the hell’s going on with what America claims is its government. And where better than Canada to start off with an act involving pancakes and quasi-sexual attraction to said pancakes? The New Day, following their team-up with Erick Rowan’s injury to prematurely end the Bludgeon Brothers’ undefeated streak. Say what you like about the actual decision, but the execution was as flawless as it was brutal.
Xavier says that last week they regained the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, and before the New Day can kick off the celebrations, Big E says that he’s always wanted to imitate Booker T with actual justification, so he’s going for it right now. And holy shit: he’s here. And not just Booker T, but KING BOOKER. This is already the best SmackDown in months. All I need now is for Kurt Angle to reaffirm his desire to rape Booker’s wife and I’ll have seen the pinnacle of sports entertainment.
King Booker’s doing the accent, and the New Day get right in on the ye olde Medieval English shtick before dropping to their knees before him. Booker keeps right on rolling with this, and elevates Xavier and Kofi to the position of lord and knight whilst just referring to Big E as “Big E”. Christ, this is wonderful. Big E protests at not being raised from the proletariat masses with an awesome title of his own, accusing Booker of going “full Saxton” on him. Booker takes this stoically considering there are definitely better things to be compared to than Byron Saxton and one of them is child molestors.
Booker drops a “tell me you didn’t just say that” to give the audience something to think about later that night when they’re trying to get wood, but gets all magnanimous and welcomes the New Day to the Five Time Champions Club. I love that no other members of that club showed up for this. And then the New Day ask for Booker to perform a spinaroonie so the crowd have something to think about when they want to finish. The New Day all get a turn at the ‘roonie too, with Woods surprisingly pulling it off better than Kofi. This was a fun opening.
Jesus Christ, the Colóns
The New Day don’t go anywhere, because they’re doing commentary for this next match: it’s the Bar vs. Gallows and Anderson, with the winners getting a shot at the New Day’s Championships. Wait, and the Colóns? The Colóns are employed? The Colóns are alive? And apparently the Colóns have managed to earn a chance to become number one contenders, despite me reasonably being able to ask both of those previous questions? What the dickens?
Well, this is still probably between the Good Brothers and the Bar, so I’m not about to relearn which Colón is which. And apparently there’s another triple threat tag team match next week, with the winners of that match facing the winners of this match to see who’ll win? Do we even have that many tag teams? Anyway, as I predicted, so far this match has only involved Gallows, Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro, with Gallows wresting control away from the Bar and working over Cesaro in the corner with Anderson.
Cesaro decks Anderson with a uppercut, and Primo tags himself in off Cesaro. Primo gets some offense in on Anderson, as does Epico when he tags in, hinting that they either have some amazing blackmail material on a member of the McMahon family or they’re both dying: I’m fine with either of those options. Anderson manages to boot Epico in the face, valiantly trying to save us from more Colóns in the Tag Division. Following a break, the Bar are working over Anderson, hitting a backbreaker/shoulder drop double-team.
Sheamus traps Anderson over his shoulder, stretching out his back, but Karl manages to turn that into a neckbreaker. Gallows and Cesaro tag in, and the larger Gallows takes the fight to the Swiss Cyborg. Pumphandle slam and a splash connect, but Cesaro shoots up the shoulder at two. Primo tags himself in, leaping into a superkick. Gallows and Anderson work in tandem to clear the ring, but Epico interrupts a Magic-Killer attempt on Primo with a backstabber! Jesus Christ, not this: anything but this.
Thankfully, Cesaro rushes into the ring, uppercutting one of the Colóns away from a chance at relevance whilst Sheamus drags the other out of the ring and Brogue Kicks him as Cesaro covers his Colón for the win.
This was fine, but would likely have been better either as a more chaotic affair or team-on-team contest between the Bar and the Good Brothers. 2 Stars.
Backstage, Paige has been watching all of this on the massive TV behind her, then turns to greet Rusev Day before doing an offensive imitation of Lana’s fake accent. Like she can make fun of anyone’s fucking accent with the mangled dialect she’s trapped in. She makes the match for next week: Rusev Day vs. The Usos vs. SAnitY in a triple threat tag team match for the chance to have an actual number one contender’s match against the Bar. I assume that the Usos already got told and Paige sent some intern that they don’t necessarily need back to convey the news to SAnitY.
It turns out that English was behind the team getting this multi-stage title maybe-opportunity, because he’s heard about chocolates and flowers and thinks your friendship game is fucking weak, son: real friends get their buddies title matches. If he betrays Rusev and Lana now, I’m going to painfully and graphically kill myself.
We recap the destruction of Charlotte and Becky’s friendship, putting every woman’s complaints about other women at their workplace into real perspective. Doesn’t quite have the bitterness and venom of Trish Stratus mocking Lita about losing her baby, but Trish was something really special and, you know, really fucking evil.
Jeff Hardy’s still wearing facepaint, still wearing contact lenses, still standing in front of a camera backstage and still absolutely doped to the gills.
Just kiss already
Here’s the former United States Champion: a man who proves that age ain’t nothing but a number and being forty years old doesn’t mean you have to start acting like an adult or making great decisions. His facepaint spells out “RKO”, and there’s a 50/50 chance that Orton paid the make-up artist to do that and Jeff’s not noticed.
Jeff rambles on about that sadistic rascal, Randy Orton, claiming that he doesn’t know why Randy’s, like, so obsessed with him. He claims that Orton’s altered the chemistry of his brain, which only Jeff and various substances procured by certain salespersons in alleyways are allowed to do. He says that Randy Orton made him believe that he could fly, and is Jeff equating his current enemy with an opiate, because that is all I’m getting from this.
We’re shown a clip of Jeff mildly snapping and hitting a Swanton Bomb on Randy from a moderate height: gripping stuff. Hardy claims that hurting Randy Orton made him feel alive, so he’s going to chase that dragon until it no longer grants him that special feeling. He demands that Orton get out there so that he can get his fix for the week, and Randy shows up, presumably to ask what the fuck is going on.
Orton says he’s thrilled to hear that Jeff’s found something to feel passionate about that he doesn’t have to inject, snort or inhale, and says that he’s not finished with the Charismatic Drug Habit just yet. He promises to take away Jeff Hardy’s identity, because Randy Orton is always a step away from being a really shit member of Batman’s rogues gallery. He acts like he’s going to fight Jeff right there and then, but then says that he’s actually not in the mood right now; he’s got a headache.
Jeff Hardy makes a match between the two of them inside Hell in a Cell. I remember a time when the words “Hell in a Cell” always preceded a violent, epic confrontation with tremendous emotional weight. This is not that time.
Randy reacts to the news that he’ll be spending an evening in the Devil’s Playground with mild dissatisfaction, really selling me on this whole concept.
Backstage, Carmella is approached for Renee Young, who asks how she feels at having her last moment of prominence for a good long while. Carmella claims that she’s beaten Charlotte twice and will do so again, so then Becky and Charlotte can have their feud and Carmella can have her Championship.
My God, R-Truth is still stalking Carmella. This is really funny, but it will suddenly become deadly serious when Truth is standing over Carmella’s bloody and semen-basted body, declaring himself the new Women’s Champion. At what price to we purchase our comedy, fair readers?
One day, the IIconics are going to imitate Naomi
Meanwhile, Naomi is here to have a second whack at the IIconics. Billie and Peyton arrive to insult Naomi, Canada and mother’s homemade maple syrup, and then insult everyone else by having Billie wrestle the match instead of Peyton.
Kay runs right into a kick and a leg drop from Naomi, who then grabs onto Naomi’s hair in some weird defence mechanism. She ends up booting Naomi in the face, which works way better, but runs her mouth so Naomi can regain control, hitting a jawbreaker before exploding into offense, most of which revolves around kicking Billie in the face.
A kick to the head from Peyton allows Billie to roll Naomi up, ending this match quickly.
Short match that might not even have a storyline attached to it. 1.5 Stars.
For his and my own safety, I can never see Almas perform live
Ah, the feud mutation that no-one wanted and none of us asked for. Yep: Brie Bella is here to get her mediocrity all over a Women’s Division who can actually wrestle and let the air out of a feud which we were all really invested in. Bryan’s with her: he gets chants; Brie does not.
Bryan says that last week Miz and Maryse mocked his retirement. Bryan says that Miz is only an actor, like that’s some kind of deplorable, slovenly profession rather than a hotbed of sexual harassment and whatever Woody Allen is. He applauds Brie for punching a man who WWE will literally not allow to punch back.
Brie, with her muted voice and dead eyes, talks about how good it felt to punch the Miz in the face with all of the emotion you’d associate from someone finding out that the chicken they were planning to cook is now out of date: looks like someone attended the Randy Orton School of Acting. Bryan talks about how Brie punching men and changing diapers makes him want to do her right here and now, and thank Christ Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega show up to interrupt this filth.
And despite having no prior association with these guys, Vega decides to be an asshole and act like Bryan’s a nobody, because I guess that’s how you be a manager? She runs down Almas’ accomplishments on SmackDown…which is a pretty short and embarrassing affair even if you repeat “Rusev Day” a couple of times.
Bryan says that he’d love to make this match official, but he needs a SmackDown General Manager to do that. Everyone looks to the stage, and it’d be comedy gold if Paige just stuck her head out on the entrance ramp, shot them a thumbs up and then left, job done.
Nothing happens for a bit, and Bryan starts to vamp for time before Paige emerges onto the ramp at a run, claiming that her office is on the other side of the building and she’s wearing heels. Sounds like someone isn’t willing to take steps to be a more effective manager, Paige. Zelina, who probably hurricanranas bitches whilst wearing heels, looks severely unimpressed.
Paige says that she doesn’t want to give the WWE Universe the match that they don’t want, so polls the crowd and asks if they want to see “Cien” Almas vs. Daniel Bryan. Mercifully, the crowd chants “yes”, and thank God we’re in Canada: who knows what an American crowd would have voted for.
You can smell the screwy finish from here
When we come back, this casual dream match is about to get going. The ref signals for the bell, and both men approach each other cautiously before engaging in some chain wrestling, breaking clean. They close in again, this time with Almas latching on a headlock. He’s shot off the ropes, knocks Bryan down and runs the ropes again, this time lounging on the ropes before Daniel dropkicks him to the outside.
Andrade regains control back in the ring, attacking Bryan as he enters before starting to try to wear Bryan down. Almas wraps Bryan in a crazy submission in the middle of the ring; Bryan counters into a roll-up and then engages in a chop-off with Almas before kicking Andrade over and over in the chest. Bryan hits a dropkick to Andrade in the corner, but Almas sprints after him as he winds up for a second one, catching Bryan with a knee! He goes for another shot, but this time Bryan dodges and Andrade crashes to the outside!
A flying knee from the apron puts Andrade on his back, and Bryan bundles him back into the ring. Almas recovers fast enough to rush Bryan, managing to catch him with that insane elbow of his. Maryse and the Miz are watching on a screen backstage, then both walk off as we head to a commercial break.
When we come back, Andrade is in control, climbing up the corner. Bryan catches him with a running dropkick, then brings “Cien” Almas down with a double-underhook suplex. The Miz comes out, because you had to know they were never going to give this a clean finish on free TV. Bryan dives through the ropes onto the Miz, wiping out the A-Lister but leaving himself vulnerable to an amazing spinning dive from Almas! Andrade hits some kind of inverted DDT for a near-fall, and the crowd are pretty much in this gorgeous Hispanic man’s corner. And hell: so am I. Bryan’s going to be fine and eventually win this feud with the Miz, so may as well get Andrade boosted up the card.
Almas goes for a moonsault, but crashes right onto the a pair of boots from Bryan! Bryan applies the Yes Lock; Vega tries to distract the ref, but Brie drags her away and decks her. Then Maryse blindsides Brie and everyone acts like that’s reprehensible in comparison. And of course Bryan breaks the hold, because he’s an idiot, but then the Miz rushes into the ring anyway, and I presume he hits Bryan but I can’t be sure because all the footage shows is an unconscious Brie, like that’s somehow of great emotional importance to me.
This was a great match marred by interference which could have happened after the bell rang. Sometimes it’s okay to have clean finishes on television matches. 3 Stars.
When we finally get back to the interesting part of this affair, the Miz is beating on Bryan. Almas, who’s apparently fine with losing via DQ due to the Miz, hits a Hammerlock DDT on Bryan. Miz locks in the crossface on Bryan whilst Maryse sets Brie up in the corner to eat a pair of running knees from Vega, then she yells at Bryan to “look at her” as she DDTs Brie. Man, this would be hard to watch if I cared about more than half of this feud. Also, you’d think that Nikki Bella might try to help out her twin sister, but apparently she’s got better things to do. Also, I seem to remember that she wishes that Brie died in the womb, so there’s also that. Miz hits a Skull-Crushing Finale to Bryan, but I’ll start caring again when this goes back to being a singles feud.
Backstage, Renee is there to ask Charlotte what she values more: best friends or Women’s Championships. Charlotte says that Becky seems to have expected her to lie down and take a loss at SummerSlam. Or, you know, let her have a singles contest for the Championship that she fought like crazy for. Charlotte refuses to apologise for being successful and says that not everyone gets a trophy, and I’m really losing track of who the heel is in this feud because the Champ just acted like a real dick.
Please comment below with other potential nicknames for Wendy Styles
Here is AJ Styles, who last week added erotic asphyxiation to a list of fetishes which already included having his testicles subjected to blunt force trauma. He’s a sick fuck, but he’s our WWE Champion. Admittedly, AJ Styles had just threatened to rip Samoa Joe’s heart out: tantamount to confessing to being a member of the Thuggee Cult who, along with Nazis, Indiana Jones has taught us it’s absolutely fine to physically assault.
AJ gets a microphone, scanning the ringside area all the time for a portly Samoan gent rushing towards him with intimate neck-cuddles on his mind. He says that the match has been made between him and Joe at Hell in a Cell. He compliments Joe on his mind games which have been, in their entirety, calling AJ Styles a neglectful father and telling Wendy Styles that his Coquina cock is open for business.
Styles claims that Joe uses mind games because he’s not a real man: a statement which doesn’t quite hold up to Samoa Joe fearlessly assaulting Paul Heyman, then Brock Lesnar, then showing up for the match. Samoa Joe doesn’t give a fuck. Styles promises that the mind games end now, and this can only mean that Styles is going to beat up Joe’s kid or rape his wife. That’s where WWE has taken wrestling. We thought betting a child’s custody on a ladder match was depraved, but WWE was just getting started.
Styles tells Joe to get into the ring so he can perform his one-man, low-budget production of Repo Man, but Samoa Joe appears on the titantron, shown to be somewhere in the parking lot. He tells Styles that he’s not coming out there tonight, and says that he’s not done “playing daddy” just yet. We are plummeting towards whatever bottom there is to this, and it’s almost certainly Wendy Styles’ bottom.
Joe then takes out a phone, makes a call and then talks to Wendy Styles. Or at least, he takes out a phone, looks like he’s making a call and then acts like he’s talking to Wendy. There is precisely zero proof that any of what he’s doing is real. He could be calling a sex line. That might not even be a real phone. He promises to injure AJ Styles, then acts vaguely flirty with Wendy. So, if that really is Wendy, then there are way bigger problems in AJ’s life than Samoa Joe and one of them is his clearly-insane wife.
Joe hints that he might call by next Tuesday, and it’s uncertain whether it’s for the purpose of physically assaulting her or breaking off a piece of the ass that AJ Styles taps. AJ rushes backstage in a rage, and the cameramen and producers apparently decide that airing a murder attempt would be ratings poison, because the segment just ends there.
In a stunning twist, Carmella is actually Wendy Styles
Here’s Carmella, who tonight will try to recapture the Women’s Championship and restart a reign that drove Charlotte and Asuka fans justifiably livid.
This is interrupted by AJ Styles, who has either been running around the backstage area all through the break, or who stopped for a few minutes to grab a coffee and gossip with the gals before continuing in his attempt to Kali Ma Shakti de Samoa Joe. Have to say, he jogs pretty casually for a man who’s out to defend the honour of his wife. He eventually gives up when confronted by a deep step down: foiled again by the depraved mind of Samoa Joe.
Charlotte, who if she had a scrap of decency in her would injure Carmella and go into business for herself, booking be damned, is finally able to make her entrance. We really should have been shown footage of Styles racing past a very confused Carmella and Charlotte backstage; you know it had to have happened, so why not show it?
Post-entrance announcements (get you some of dat big match feel) and then the bell rings. Both women lock up, and let’s see Carmella maintain the veneer of competence for about ten minutes. Champion and challenger struggle for control as the crowd chant that they want Becky, and Carmella manages to latch on a headlock, trying to keep her larger opponent down and prevent her from using her power. Charlotte doesn’t play along, suplexing Carmella across the ring and kipping up to her feet.
And Charlotte decides that she’s looking far too dominant far too early, so she heads up to the top rope for the “time for me to fuck up” moonsault attempt. As is the custom, Carmella shoves her off the top rope, sending the Champ crashing and burning on the outside. The fact that Charlotte still tries to do a moonsault at this point really speaks to the average intelligence of a professional wrestler. Carmella dives through the ropes to take Charlotte out, and we head to a commercial break.
When we come back, Carmella has Charlotte in a sleeper hold: looks like someone attended the Randy Orton School of Wrestling. Charlotte suplexes her opponent off her, trades some shots and eats a snapmare from the challenger, who follows that up with a kick to the face. Carmella’s elevated onto the apron; she dodges a spear attempt and dives off the top on to Charlotte, hitting a flatliner for a near fall. She continues the assault, hammering on the Champ with fists; Charlotte bats her away, and the two end up on the top turnbuckle, with Carmella hurricanranaing Charlotte from the top!
After a kick-out from Charlotte, Carmella’s frustration begins to boil over, and she smacks and punches at the Queen with no real strategy. She has to desperately counter a sudden Figure Eight attempt, nailing Charlotte with two superkicks which still don’t get the job done. A third and final superkick doesn’t connect, and Charlotte returns with a spear, laying out her challenger. A Natural Selection follows, and Charlotte transitions immediately into the Figure Eight! Carmella reaches for the ropes, struggling with all she has, but is left with no choice but to tap.
It’s great seeing Charlotte back in action again, and what a solid performance from Carmella: where was this during her Championship reign? Still, this match is more than enough justification for another run with the title in time: good for Carmella. 3 Stars.
Becky Lynch, who unlike the Miz and Maryse respects clean finishes, immediately jumps Charlotte to a thunderous ovation. She demands a microphone to gargle incoherently in, then picks up the Women’s Championship and tells Charlotte that she’ll take the title at Hell in a Cell. Then she calls Charlotte a bitch, which gets a massive pop. She’s like a white, Irish Killmonger.
Tags: AJ Styles, alexa vega, Andrade "Cien" Almas, Becky Lynch, Billie Kay, Booker T, Brie Bella, Carmella, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Gallows and Anderson, Maryse, naomi, Samoa Joe, smackdown live, The Bar, The Miz, The New Day, WWE