SmackDown Live is the only warmth any of us will ever have in this cold, unforgiving world. Relationships break down; people die; SmackDown Live is then, now and forever.
I hate Daniel Bryan’s colour scheme
Renee Young is in the ring, ready to interview Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan. Be still my heart: it’s the feud that had so much potential which has now degenerated into something terrible and obscene. It’s basically Bill Cosby.
Bryan gets mad chants, and Renee shows the happy couple a video of them getting their collective asses handed to them by some unholy American, French-Canadian and Mexican alliance. The clip does not contain anywhere near enough Andrade “Cien” Almas, but I assume that this is what’s referred to in the wrestling and sex trade as “teasing”. Bryan admonishes Renee, who’s clearly the kind of person who’d make a rape victim watch footage of their own assault, and the intrepid reporter says that she has one more piece of footage to show. I’m hoping like hell for a video recording of Samoa Joe with Wendy Styles’ legs wrapped around his head like a fucking crown, but I’ll admit that’s optimistic.
The footage is actually the Miz and Maryse, who recorded a segment of themselves in an empty arena, calling out Bryan and Brie to make some sort of weird point. I mean, they had to get all dressed up, show up to work really early, presumably persuade or bribe cameramen and sound technicians to do this with them…who are the real winners here?
Bryan and Brie absorb this epic waste of time and resources, and Bryan says this just sums up the Miz and Maryse. He’s on the verge of calling them “bitches”, but resorts to his favourite word in recent times: “cowards”. Brie says that they’re not out here to talk, which must come as a surprise to Renee, the person literally interviewing her. She says that they don’t have to wait until Hell in a Cell, so let’s give some shit away on free TV and try to improve the overall quality of the PPV.
Renee breaks the news that the Miz and Maryse aren’t here tonight, because I guess just not showing up to work is totally fine in WWE’s insane and twisted landscape. But then something wonderful happens, and his name is Andrade “Cien” Almas. Jesus, look at that face. Look at that hair. There is a God, and he is a Mexican wrestler and former NXT Champion, and also Almas.
Zelina mocks Bryan and Brie for both whining and having a boring television show. Then Almas says something, which is absolutely a mistake, and Vega is savvy enough to translate for him: he wants a rematch. Wow, the Almas giveth and the Almas looketh sexy whilst doing so.
When we come back, Unexpected Dream Match Part 2: Electric Boogaloo is about to get underway. Bryan’s shorts and boots are an assault upon good taste, sanity and every major religion. Both men cautiously lock up, keeping each other close as they exchange holds and jockey for position. Bryan finally shoots Cien off the ropes, getting knocked down, but fires back quickly, working over Andrade’s left arm. He tries to capitalise quickly on the weakened limb with a Yes Lock, but Almas is too close to the ropes.
Andrade fights his way back, finally turning the tables fully with a jarring elbow to Bryan’s face. He hangs Daniel’s arm up over the top rope, paying him back for the same kind of offence, then charges into him and knocks Bryan to the outside. After he bundles Daniel back into the ring, he charges at his opponent again; Bryan dodges and sends Almas to the outside, clutching his arm. Bryan wants a flying knee off the apron, but Andrade counters at the last second with a dropkick in mid-air! Almas goes back to the arm, but gets sent right out of the ring again as Bryan elevates him over the ropes, getting up in time for Bryan to hurl himself through the ropes right onto him.
After a break, Bryan manages to trap Almas in the tree of woe, and he punishes him with kicks and a running dropkick. He wants to take Andrade back down the hard way, but Almas drops him down instead and hits his feinting moonsault for two. Bryan and Almas both regain their feet, exchanging punches and kicks. Daniel gets the better of the exchange, lacing Andrade with kicks. Almas ducks the last one, dragging Bryan into the corner, rocking his head off the turnbuckle in the process.
Andrade hits the double-knees to Bryan’s face, then looks for the hammerlock DDT. Bryan escapes, then counters a back-elbow attempt from Andrade with a kick to the back of his head. The running knee connects, and Bryan beats Andrade.
Really good match from both men, and definitely fuel for a proper feud between the two. 3.5 Stars.
Post-match, Brie kicks Zelina in the face and then hits a running knee of her own. I mean…I guess? I just truly do not have it in me to care about either Bella.
Miz and Maryse show up on the titantron, and I can only assume that they’ve paid a cameraman to follow them on their date. Seriously, what is this proving apart from the fact that these two have terrible priorities? Also, did they just give their employer video footage of them blowing off work to go out on a date? Because it seems like that should be met with some consequences.
After a break, Bryan and Brie are leaving the arena with their bags, an activity which Daniel apparently thinks is absolutely normal to do in trunks, boots and no other form of clothing, the fucking loon. Some interviewer, who I guess was just hanging out by the parking lot for shits and giggles, asks why they’re leaving early; apparently there is some accountability in WWE, but it’s extremely inconsistent.
Actually, that makes a tonne of sense.
Brie and Bryan express their intention to go and get some Italian food at the restaurant Miz and Maryse are eating at, and I demand to see footage of someone with hair and a beard like Bryan, who isn’t wearing a shirt and is sweating like a priest in a preschool, talk his way into a restaurant. I wouldn’t let him in, and I’ve worked at some sketchy fucking places.
The hygiene issues alone are unthinkable.
Just glad they didn’t let Byron do the interview
Over the last couple of weeks on SmackDown, Becky and Charlotte have tried to work out their issues by both assaulting each other and by Becky calling Charlotte a bitch. Eventually, WWE needs to bite the bullet and get an HR Department: one that isn’t Baron Corbin or Kane in a suit.
Paige has decided that the best approach to this is to have these two women be interviewed simultaneously in separate locations and I guess just pray that neither of them calls the other a “cunt” on live television.
Both women appear on a split screen, and Tom asks how they’ve reconciled with the breakdown of their quasi-romantic friendship. Charlotte says that at SummerSlam she won a Championship but lost a friend, then tries to build bridges by telling Becky that friendships, alliances and human contact falls away in the face of another Women’s Championship reign. She also reminds Becky that she lost the match at SummerSlam, because that wound was running really low on salt.
Charlotte says that all Becky had to do to get a Championship opportunity was to ask, and Becky throws that back in her face, telling her that she’s no charity case. Charlotte dares Lynch to try to attack her from the front rather than behind, and Becky promises that she will. Becky claims that she’s done caring about how things affect Charlotte now, describing being Charlotte’s friend as a “full-time job”, having to manage her insecurities about being a Flair. Shit, this is getting surprisingly real.
Charlotte mocks Becky for showing the “straight fire” at last, claiming that she’ll always be second-best in the ring to her. Becky promises to take the title at Hell in a Cell, and Charlotte says she wants to know what the excuse is going to be for her not getting the job done this time.
So this was all just in aid of a tag team match?
Looks like Naomi figures that third time’s got to be the charm against either of the IIconics. Anyone else remember when she was the Women’s Champion? Billie and Peyton are here, but before they walk the walk they want to talk the talk, and that talk sounds like someone gave the cast of Home and Away the contents of Jeff Hardy’s backpack.
Tonight, Naomi is fighting Peyton; she starts off all full of aggression before Peyton takes control, clubbing the dancer to the ground and working her over on the ropes. Naomi makes her comeback, suddenly pinning Peyton with a sunset flip.
Meh. 1.5 Stars
Billie pounces right afterwards, beating Naomi down along with Peyton. They finish Naomi off with a double-team which sees Peyton slam her knee into Naomi’s face as Billie holds her up. Asuka arrives to make the save, clearing both IIconics from the ring before attending to Naomi. Well, I guess she wasn’t doing anything right now either.
We get shown a video about Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton’s careers, inexplicably missing out Jeff’s experiments with mind-expansion and Randy Orton vandalising women’s property. I can’t believe that WWE has managed to make a Hell in a Cell match something that I’m not at all invested in, either out of sense of morbid curiosity or emotional catharsis. Fucking absurd.
Paige is backstage, and suddenly Miz and Maryse are there. Man, they must have scarfed down that Italian food fast. To be honest, that’s the way I do it as well; I go at Italian food like Samoa Joe goes at other men’s wives or Jeff Hardy goes for bad choices. So this whole thing has been one massive trolling attempt which, really, just gives Miz and Maryse a few cheap laughs. I mean, if they got some Italian food to go, it’s not such a total loss.
Paige says that the Miz has to compete in a match against anyone who wants a piece of him, and something about actually doing his job like a paid professional clearly doesn’t sit well with the Awesome One, who tells Paige not to be a bad general manager. Paige says that he’s free to go, as long as he then never comes back. Miz, walk out the door and call Baron Corbin: that vest-wearing goofball will hire you in a second as long as you promise to kick Roman Reigns or Finn Balor in the jaw every couple of weeks.
Oh dear: R-Truth is walking around backstage, wearing a leather jacket and sunglasses but no shirt. Dear God, this is it. This is the moment: we’re about to see R-Truth dismember a comparatively-innocent Carmella in the name of comedy. Big Cass has already dropped his pants in readiness.
R-Truth mistakes Maryse for Carmella and wow: racist. And also a good reason to not wear sunglasses inside a dark environment, you psycho doof. Maryse, upon being confronted by a shirtless gentleman who has just made it very clear that he intends to assault at least one woman, opts for condescension. Jesus Christ, someone is going to die in this backstage area.
Thankfully the Miz arrives – a sentence I rarely get to type – thus putting a stop to whatever crypto-sexual evisceration was on the verge of happening. The Miz references the Awesome Truth team-up, which I’d literally forgotten had ever happened, and there’s some weird erotic tension going on here that I might be a hundred percent inferring.
Samoa Joe threatens to fuck men’s wives and laughs at them for considering their safety
Samoa Joe is making his way to the ring. This confuses the commentators, who I guess just assume now that everyone is going to restaurants tonight instead of work. But Samoa Joe wants to eat only one thing, and it’s the wives of his enemies. I don’t really know if I mean “eat” in a sexual or carnivorous way, but either way the joke holds up.
Joe starts his promo by screaming “WENDY”, and then states that AJ Styles isn’t here tonight. Jesus, who is here tonight? How was Paige planning on running this show? Joe mocks AJ for taking steps to protect his family after he, Samoa Joe, has made vague and sexual threats against them. He says that he’s not a monster, despite his stated intentions to plough the wife that AJ Styles married. Joe claims that by putting AJ in a state of fear for his loved ones and thus making the World Champ stay home like this is a fucking horror movie is all to give Wendy what she wants: a husband who makes time for her.
But clearly, fear that someone is going to force himself on his wife won’t keep Styles home forever, so Joe promises to decimate him at Hell in a Cell so he’ll be home a lot more. And suddenly Styles is on the titantron, because the theme of tonight is enemies never being in the same physical location. Styles says that threatening someone’s family is when the talking stops, like anything other than talking has happened on this show.
Oh, I stand corrected: Styles’ music plays. Joe gets ready for a frontal attack from Styles, and ends up being proved totally correct whilst AJ is proved to be a truly dreadful tactician. Styles charges the ring and the two of them brawl. Wow: a real emotional moment. AJ beats Joe out of the ring, but the larger man drags him out and hurls him into the steel steps.
Samoa Joe grabs a chair, but turns right around into a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles spots the chair and clearly assumes that a crippled or dead Joe will be less of a danger to his family; he swings right at Joe’s head, who only just manages to dodge. Referees run out to try and get between the two men, but Styles hurls himself over the top rope, taking out Joe and the stripe-wearing cowards who won’t stand by and let him beat another man into impotence.
Paige is suddenly out there, telling Styles to think about his wife and daughter. Yeah, that’ll make him a rational human being. AJ eventually does back off after a couple more attempts to get at Joe, and I can’t be the only one thinking that this match would A) make more sense and B) be way better as a Hell in a Cell match than Randy/Jeff.
Meanwhile, Tye Dillinger is with R-Truth, presumably after Paige gave him strict instructions to do anything in his power to stop Truth from butchering Carmella and scattering her remains about the arena. Jokes on her: all she’s done is to ensure that the body will be separated into ten pieces and that some forced joke about TENdons will be scrawled on the wall in Carmella’s blood.
And I am absolutely right, because Tye literally points Carmella out to R-Truth. Well, this is it: we’re about to watch a woman die on live television. WWE has finally decided to do a Network. Truth walks over to Carmella, who tells him to leave her alone. Truth claims that he wants a truce tonight, and for Carmella to accompany him to ringside. It’s a trap: this is how R-Truth gets all his victims.
Good lord: R-Truth manages to create a feud between Maryse and Carmella with no interaction between the two. Truth…Truth is a genius. This isn’t Network; this is The Usual Suspects. R-Truth is a less-molesty Kevin Spacey, but instead of faking cerebral palsy he’s faking being an imbecile. R-Truth claims that he just taught Tye Dillinger how to get into the main event of SmackDown Live, leaving both Dillinger and I smiling in amazement. They’d better follow this right up: Tye needs to learn these tricks from Truth and use them to advance his own career. I’m genuinely impressed.
We get another clip of Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy, this time focusing on Orton being a psychotic dickhead. Honestly, it loses something after the criminal genius I just watched R-Truth pull off.
SAnitY’s main roster run is going really, really well
Time to find out another set of number one contenders for the Tag Team Championships. The Usos make their way to the ring, followed by SAnitY, who are interrupted by Aiden English.
Following a commercial break which cuts off the start of the match, Rusev is squaring off against one or t’other of the Usos. English tags in, immediately getting worked over by the former Tag Team Champions. Dain manages to get a blind tag, dragging the Uso out of the ring and flattening him with a clothesline. Young tags himself, laying a forearm across the back of Jimmy or Jey before bringing Dain back in.
Huge fisherman suplex from Dain gets a two count, and he starts wrenching on the Uso’s head in the centre of the ring. Jimmy or Jey tries to reach a vertical base, but he’s tossed to the mat and Dain reapplies the hold. When the Uso gains his feet again, Dain kicks him so hard he flies out of the ring. Young drops an elbow on him on the outside, and we head to the commercial break.
When we return, Jimmy has just managed to get the tag and is smacking Young around all over the place. Rusev gets a blind tag and takes over the job of beating up SAnitY’s leader; I just want to see him square off against Killian Dain. Woolf causes a distraction which allows Young to duck a Machka Kick and drop Rusev, but a blind tag sees the Uso hit a splash right on top of Young! English breaks up the pin, immediately getting taken out by Dain, who steamrolls one of the Usos right afterwards. The other twin superkicks the big man right through the ropes, then dives out onto SAnitY, but not before Rusev gets a blind tag and makes to throw himself at everyone on the outside, only to get stopped by a right hand from an Uso.
English drops the Samoan face-first on the apron; Young tries to roll up Rusev with his feet on the ropes, but English breaks it up, allowing Rusev to hit the Machka Kick for the win!
Best choice, really; the Bar vs. the Usos is always a classic, but there’s an argument to be made for originality as well. Rusev Day should hopefully offer a good contest; we’ll find out next week. 2.5 Stars.
Be honest: for parts of this match you checked to see whether this was 2010
Main event time, somehow featuring R-Truth. I suppose stranger things have happened, considering this is WWE. Kane once electrocuted Shane McMahon’s testicles, which Shane never brings up.
The Miz and Maryse make their entrance, both grabbing mic. The Miz rolls the same footage we’ve already seen once already, which just reeks of padding if you ask me. The Miz says that they’re sick of having to call out Brie and Bryan, and that they’re too afraid to come out and face them.
Carmella then arrives, apparently replacing Tye for the night. Truth dances with her to the ring, and she really gets into his entrance. I’ll be the first to admit that I never thought that a genuinely-funny throwaway gag would lead to this, but it’s been hilarious all the way through. We have a quick break, and when we come back, R-Truth is doing quite well against the Miz, dropping a leg onto the prone Awesome One.
R-Truth continues to beat on Miz until he runs into a knee to the midsection, followed up by a stomp to the skull. Miz latches on a sleeper before capitalising with back/neckbreaker, then mocks Carmella by performing a moonwalk. The Miz stays on Truth, copying Bryan’s Yes Kicks and then hitting a clothesline. Double axe-handle from the top rope fells Truth. The It Kicks strike Truth once again, but Truth suddenly explodes with a counter, catching the Miz off-guard.
R-Truth builds momentum, continuing to strike the Miz from all angles. A splash in the corner has the Miz reeling, but he counters the scissors kick into his insane DDT for two. An attempt at a running knee sees the Miz eat a counter from Truth; the Miz slips out of a back suplex, taking out Truth’s knee. He goes for the Figure Four, almost loses off a roll-up and boots R-Truth in the face.
Miz is stalking R-Truth for the Skull-Crushing Finale, but suddenly Bryan’s music plays, and Brie and Bryan walk out! The Miz gets rolled up by R-Truth for the win!
Fun match, though I assume little more will come of it beyond the Mixed-Match Challenge PPV. Still a solid main event. 2.5 Stars.
Bryan immediately charges the ring, beating the fuck out of the Miz before locking him in the Yes Lock. Brie catches Maryse, is about to hit her with the running knee and then Vega drags her out of the ring! Totally fair, if I’m honest. Almas is also there, but the pair get put in stereo Yes Locks by Brie and Bryan. Miz and Maryse look on as Bryan and Brie keep the holds applied for a disturbingly long time. At one stage, the Miz tries to make the save, but backs off immediately as Bryan immediately stands with bloodlust in his eyes.
The show ends with Brie and Bryan celebrating the latest victory in WWE’s weird obsession with couples feuding.
Tags: Andrade "Cien" Almas, Asuka, Becky, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, Maryse, naomi, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Renee Young, rusev day, Sanity, smackdown live, The IIconics, The Miz, the usos, WWE, Zelina Vega