Well, this existential dread isn’t going anywhere. Better watch SmackDown, I suppose.
Anyone else lose fifty years of their life watching the Undertaker and Triple H in Australia? I love Taker, but if he was a horse, you’d have fucking shot him.
Probably should have checked that the LED screen spot was actually safe first
Well, no time wasted here: they just jobber-entranced Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch for a goddamn Women’s Championship match. At least we get the post-entrance announcements (big match feel), and the crowd is still definitely pro-Becky. If Lynch gets disqualified or counted out tonight, then Charlotte wins the Championship, and both competitors start off with a tie-up, struggling against each other. They break, and then both trade holds in an attempt to weaken each others’ arms.
After a flurry, Charlotte is almost able to apply the Figure-Eight, angering Becky into shoving her before the Champ walks right into a bodyslam. Becky quickly regains control, however, without even needing the Queen to try for a moonsault. She hammers Charlotte down in the corner, then drops a leg on her in the centre of the ring. She misses a second leg drop, and Charlotte quickly takes advantage before the pair hit a clothesline simultaneously: Becky and Charlotte are both down.
It’s a slow struggle up to their feet, but Charlotte hits a quick neckbreaker before Becky counters an exploder. Charlotte rallies, misses a charge and eats a kick in the corner; she counters the Disarmer and then dragon-screws Becky to the mat. Lynch elbows Charlotte away before applying an armbar and then bridging over with the hold still applied.
Flair manages to escape, and a front dropkick attempt by Becky almost sees her locked into a Boston crab. Becky fights for all she’s worth, leading Charlotte to catapult her into the corner, then leaping out of the ring onto Becky and into a break. When we come back, Charlotte has managed to kick Lynch away from her and she ascends the turnbuckles, but Lynch drags her hard back down to the floor. Charlotte recovers, trying for a backslide before Becky counters with a yank on the hair and then a Bexploder for a count of two.
Charlotte hits a desperation backbreaker, then chops away at Becky’s chest, smacking her all the way across the ring. A back suplex plants Lynch, then Charlotte kips back up. Ah shit: it’s Charlotte-can’t-hit-a-moonsault time. And even Becky don’t want to see that, because she drags Charlotte down from the turnbuckle. Becky’s own dive misses, and Flair almost rolls her up for the win, then an enzuigiri from Lynch takes her out. Now Becky climbs up to the top, with Charlotte jerking on the ropes to halt her ascent.
Charlotte tries to bring Becky down, but Becky locks in an armbar on her way down! Flair tries to fight out of it, countering into a pin before hitting a one-armed powerbomb which almost wins her the Championship! Following the break, Charlotte gets her face run right into the turnbuckle, then Becky grabs her belt and makes to leave. So, Charlotte can, and should, just stay in the ring and do nothing. Because either this is a trap or she wins the Championship. But Charlotte Flair is a big, smart girl, and so she follows Becky, throws her back into the ring and gets shoved into the referee.
Becky then tries to go for the most obvious title-whack possible, culminating in her and the referee yelling at each other before Charlotte goes for a roll-up; Becky counters with one of her own, then eats one of Charlotte’s sick spears. Becky rolls the fuck out of the ring as the referee starts the count. And the amount of dumb decisions made in this match so far is nowhere near high enough, so Charlotte decides to moonsault onto the outside. Fucking lord. She misses; Becky hits a Bexploder onto the outside and rolls back into the ring, encouraging the ref to start counting.
Becky tries to prevent Charlotte getting back in at the count of nine, but Charlotte is able to hit an exploder of her own and hurl Lynch back into the ring. Natural Selection hits, but Becky rolls right back to the outside again! Charlotte follows her, getting driven into the ring post, and both women are down. Charlotte ignores the count, throwing Becky into the barricade as the referee reaches ten.
Great, great match. The wrestling, the emotion and the teases of different endings would have made this suitable for a PPV. 4 Stars.
The brawl continues after the match up the ramp, with Becky kicking Charlotte in the face before Charlotte spears them both through the LED wall! Both women are down and they’re staying down; Charlotte’s arm has started bleeding, so the camera cuts away fast.
Every time Samoa Joe’s leg pains him, he’ll think of the Styles Family
Oh, look who’s back: it’s everyone’s favourite human embodiment of bad decisions, Jeff Hardy. After Randy Orton tried his best to retire him for his own good, Jeff’s back to continue his self-destructive journey. He’s facing Samoa Joe, who must be furious at no longer being allowed to torment AJ Styles’ loved ones in his quest for Championship gold.
We get video introductions for both men, just in case Undertaker vs. Triple H washed all your recent memories away in a pure avalanche of shit, and then the match starts. Joe is the immediate aggressor, working Hardy over in the opening moments before Jeff fires up, sending Joe out of the ring with a dropkick, leading to a commercial break. When we come back, Samoa Joe has regained control, refusing to let Jeff fight his way back.
Joe applies a surfboard, but Jeff gradually fights his way free, beginning his comeback, taking care to assault Samoa Joe’s knee. The brawl spills out onto the outside, leading the Joe’s knee impacting the steel steps. Hardy takes the pair of them back inside, assaulting the leg of Joe with surprising focus and bloodlust. Joe eventually can’t even stand, and the referee calls off the match, leading to Jeff taking the victory and moving on to World Cup.
Interesting take on this match, though I have to say it was a smart choice: Joe got to sell his scars from the Styles match without taking a loss. Not sure if Jeff was the right guy to go forward, but we’ll see what comes of this. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, Paige addresses the Women’s Championship match from earlier. She says that this will lead to a rematch at Crown Jewel…ahahahaha, no. No, it’s going to be a motherfuckin’ Last Woman Standing match at Evolution. See, Saudi Arabia? Respect women, and you get awesome matches.
You can smell the upcoming Miz interference a mile off
It’s time for Miz TV with our sharply-dressed host, the Miz. He’s super-not into this, and lazily introduces AJ Styles. He asks Styles how the family’s doing, leading to his almost getting the shit beaten out of him. Miz quickly walks that back, but segues quickly into insulting Daniel Bryan’s outstanding moral qualities.
Bryan arrives, shaking hands with AJ Styles. Miz is disgusted by this, lambasting the pair of them for their good conduct. Bryan immediately trolls Miz over his pathetic loss on Saturday, that sassy bitch. Miz doesn’t respond to this, instead asking Styles who his greatest competitor has been. Styles says that it was Samoa Joe, and you can just hear Shinsuke breaking shit backstage.
Miz tries to turn these two sweethearts against one another, but Daniel and AJ refuse to descend to his level. Bryan says that he wants to beat a worthy opponent, and there’s no-one approaching AJ Styles in that regard. Daniel says that he’s still got a lot to prove, and he’ll start by beating Styles. AJ says that Bryan’s not faced anyone “phenomenal” since his return, and the pair of them laugh about the Miz before Bryan gets serious. He tells Styles that this is what he came back for: he wanted to become WWE Champion again.
Styles tells Bryan that he’s not going to step aside for the sake of Bryan’s dream, and the Miz starts trying to fuel the fight again. AJ asks Bryan how good it feels to punch the Miz in the face, and Miz gets pissed off, yelling at the pair of them before staking his claim to the Championship following Crown Jewel. Miz finishes by telling Styles that he’ll be facing Shelton Benjamin tonight.
I’ll take it
Following a commercial break, Styles and Benjamin have already gotten into it. Shelton takes Styles down with a leg sweep, and it turns out that Bryan and the Miz are on commentary: THIS SHOULD GO WELL. Byron Saxton is slobbering all over Bryan’s dick whilst Graves is offering full oral service to the Miz, so at least there’s balance to the issue.
Benjamin applies a chinlock to AJ, who breaks the hold with a jawbreaker before running right into a backdrop. Shelton works over Styles in the corner. AJ chops his way out of the corner, ducks Benjamin’s dragon whip and hits a Pele Kick. Benjamin runs into a pair of boots, but foils the Phenomenal Forearm with a running knee to knock Styles to the floor. Benjamin tosses him around on the outside before we go to a commercial break.
Following the ad break, an electric chair drop from Styles has put Benjamin down. AJ fires up, taking it to Shelton with an explosion of offence, countering a desperation German suplex before applying the Calf Crusher! Benjamin reaches the ropes, breaking the hold early. Shelton hits some hard strikes, but AJ returns a kick to the knee, rattling Shelton. The Phenomenal Forearm strikes, putting Benjamin down.
Solid match, and another argument for Shelton having a much bigger roll in WWE. He’s tragically underutilised as things stand. 3 Stars.
Realistically, how far could you drag this out without eventually showing porn?
Aiden English is standing in the middle of the ring when we return, and he tells us that he’s been offered six-figure sums for the footage. But he’s a scumbag with standards, so he’s showing us all the footage right now for free. He loads the video up on the screen and actually plays far more of it: it turns out that Lana was just complimenting Aiden for everything he’s done for Rusev as a friend…and that he then totally creeped on her. Oh no: Aiden English is Mr Badtouch. Mr No Boundaries. Mr Probably Elected to the Supreme Court (very old established family).
English tells Rusev to get his emotionally-crushed ass out there, which the big Bulgarian does, and English offers to destroy the remaining footage if Rusev breaks up with Lana – his wife – and gets Rusev Day back together. This brings Lana out, hopefully to remind Rusev that he’s punching so far above his weight that he may as well be fisting blue whales. Rusev looks like he’s going to walk to the ring, but then asks Aiden to play the full tape.
Aiden protests, saying that he’s not about to play pornography to a crowd full of children without dragging the reveal out for a few more weeks. Lana says that if he won’t, then she will. Apparently English got hacked or, you know, the technicians of WWE just handed over all the footage because they’re not going to stand aside and watch a marriage be destroyed like this.
The tape plays, we witness the CREEPY ARM TOUCH once again, and see Lana try to extricate herself from a room containing a man who could rape and/or kill her if he felt like it. The crowd chants “creep”, which is the correct reaction, America. English then decides he may as well go full Inappropriatesaurus Rex, telling Lana that his offer still stands, and then when she gets bored of Rusev Days to come over for an Aiden Night. There’s an opportunity for a “full English breakfast” joke there involving sausages, but I can’t think where to begin.
Rusev charges the ring, trying to stamp out this new burgeoning Samoa Joe before it reaches maturity. English tries to run, gets caught and is thrown back into the ring. Before Rusev can crush him, Aiden flees the ring and manages to get up the ramp. Well, so much for intrigue in wrestling.
Braun Strowman didn’t kill him dead enough
Here comes the Big Show, because who the fuck knows what’s going on anymore? He’s facing Randy Orton tonight, so either a maniac gets KO’d or we watch the Big Show die. I have either zero or two dogs in this fight.
Randy Orton is backed into a corner, immediately getting pushed around by Big Show before rolling out of the ring. There’s a commercial break, and when we come back, Orton has somehow taken control; might have been nice to see how. Big Show kicks out of a cover following a DDT, and Orton hits a bunch of stomps before applying a sleeper.
Big Show manages to get back into the action, running Orton over with shoulder blocks to sent Randy rolling out of the ring once again. Randy catches Big Show with a dropkick on the apron, following that with a Vintage DDT from the top rope for a two count. And apparently the Big Show being back has convinced Orton that it’s 2010 again, because he’s going for The Punt.
Big Show counters with a spear, taking Orton down for a near-fall. The crowd chant that the Big Show “still has it”, and what that is I have truly no idea. Big Show wants a chokeslam, but Orton rolls out of the ring for a third time. Big Show literally hoists Randy back inside, then hits a chokeslam for another near-fall.
Now Big Show wants the WMD, but Randy resorts once more to his solid strategy of rolling out of the ring. Orton pokes Big Show in the eye, hits the RKO and wins.
Well, what a dull way to end the show. I’m getting Undertaker/Triple H flashbacks. 1 Star.
Tags: aiden english, AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, Big Show, charlotte flair, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, Lana, Randy Orton, rusev, Samoa Joe, shelton benjamin, smackdown live, The Miz, WWE