If history teaches us anything, this leads to a Sheamus/Big Show feud
The show immediately starts off with the New Day, fresh off their Tag Team Championship loss and looking like they’ve not been reminded of that fact recently. We replay Big Show invading SmackDown again with his constant face or heel-turn fetish firmly intact. And whilst the RAW team of the huge monster, freakishly strong Gaelic and awesome worker has broken up, this still seems derivative.
Woods and the boys address their loss, bemoaning the Bar’s tactics and the Big Show continuing to degrade the quality of SmackDown. And, you know, costing them their Championships. Kofi demands a piece of one of the trio, and the Bar immediately arrive, accompanied by the Big Show. Apparently this is an answer to the challenge, with Kofi facing Sheamus. But then Cesaro comes in…and then immediately swaps out for the Big Show. Heel fucking move, brah.
Kofi immediately goes after the Big Show, bouncing off him and being tossed around as the Big Show asserts himself. This would probably be more impressive if Orton hadn’t beaten Big Show with ease last week. Kofi gets hit with three chokeslams; when Big Show goes for the pin, the New Day rush the ring and get decimated by the Bar. Goddamn, these guys suddenly got treated seriously. The beating is systematic and devastating and, honestly, that was one-sided enough to get my interest, and I’m curious to see where this leads.
Just admit that the Usos can beat any team of anyone
The Usos are in the ring, awaiting the arrival of AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan in a rematch from last week. The Champ and his Crown Jewel challenger arrive, and the match gets underway.
Jimmy and Bryan lock up, kicking things off by running the ropes. Jey makes a quick tag to Jimmy, but Styles and Bryan dispose of both Usos, sending them out of the ring and diving on top of them. When we come back from the commercial break, the Usos have regained control, isolating Bryan and using quick tags and double-teams to keep him away from AJ.
Bryan and Jimmy run into each other, and Bryan makes it to Styles, who bounces between Usos, keeping the pair of them down. A fireman’s carry neckbreaker gets two, and Jey counters the Styles Clash only to wind up in the Calf Crusher. Jimmy breaks it up, then gets tossed by Bryan. AJ is winding up for the Phenomenal Forearm on Jey, who ducks; Styles almost hits Bryan, but manages to reel it in. Jey takes a shot at Styles, who responds with a Pele Kick that fells Bryan! Superkick to Styles; splash from Jimmy! The Usos just beat Styles and Bryan again!
Quick match, but still quality. This is a good way to both build a singles feud and a renewed Uso push for the Tag Team Championships. 3 Stars.
Backstage, an interviewer asks whether AJ Styles hit Bryan on purpose. With Daniel literally right next to him. Bryan gets super passive-aggressive and even references Pinocchio, the manipulative fuck. AJ, fed up with Bryan’s sass and allusions to classical literature, storms off.
Apparently Becky and Charlotte had a fight at the Orlando Performance Centre, because these trainee gals need to know the kind of back-stabbing environment they’ll be walking into. I cannot believe that Becky didn’t use her amazing powers of disguise to sneak-attack Charlotte again. But she just walks up to her and starts talking shit.
Becky tells the trainees to be ruthless and friendless and murder everyone and everything that gets in her way. I can only hope that this leads to them recruiting trainees to their own ideologies and starting a pseudo-religious war. She and Charlotte brawl, because that’s how they communicate. Then we see recorded message from Charlotte, who is seemingly on the verge of tears on account of this. But then when is she not close to tears?
I’d forgot how endearing Rey’s half-Spanish promos weren’t
Here’s Rusev, fresh off his first “ah, thank God she wasn’t really cheating on me” moment. And he’s facing Aiden English, because why not rush this feud as much as possible? English arrives, singing his desire to abduct her and give her the Josef Fritzl treatment.
Rusev immediately runs English down, starting to hurl him around ringside. Back in the ring, Aiden gets a quick kick and a neckbreaker, staying on Rusev before getting distracted by Lana, yelling at him for Yoko-ing up the group. With the ref distracted, Lana beans English with a shoe. He eats the Machka Kick, then gets put in the Accolade and taps.
Well, that was an underwhelming finish. Now Rusev has nothing and Aiden English is nothing. Stellar work, Creative. 1 Star.
If they were a tag team, you’d call them “Mizterio”
When we return, the Miz is in the ring for Miz TV. He addresses the 1000th episode of SmackDown in all its underwhelming glory. This segues into an introduction for Rey Mysterio. The Masked Man makes his way to the ring, taking a seat with the Miz to a healthy reception.
Miz welcomes Rey Mysterio back, and then asks him why he’s back. He stops Rey from responding, telling him that it wasn’t really a question before mocking Mysterio’s plucky underdog reputation, which he claims is played out. Miz touts his own achievements, promising to win the World Cup, whatever the hell that even is, and prove that he is the best in the world.
Mysterio makes a crack about Truth TV being better than Miz’s show, which really gets the Miz’s back up. He threatens Mysterio, which Rey’s all over. He challenges Miz to a match, which Miz tries to back out despite being in his cosplay get-up rather than a suit. Miz jumps Rey, almost gets caught with a 619 and then we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, the Miz and Mysterio are going at it, with Miz getting tossed out of the ring and kicked down to the floor. Rey slides out of the ring, splashing down onto the Miz. Back in the ring, a springboard crossbody takes the Miz down for two and Mysterio rains punches down on him in the corner. The Miz suddenly dodges a charge, sending Rey to crash and burn against the turnbuckles.
The Miz slows the pace down, working Rey over on whilst keeping him grounded. Rey counters a Skull-Crushing Finale, starting to fight back into the match, suddenly hurricanra-ing the Miz into position for the 619; the Miz is able to duck the move and DDT Mysterio as we head to a commercial break.
When we return, Mysterio is getting blasted by the It Kicks. He ducks the last one, but eats a boot to the face regardless. Rey is in trouble, and the Miz seems to be looking for a top-rope Skull-Crushing Finale. Mysterio manages a desperation counter, following that up with a seated senton and a wicked roundhouse kick to the side of the head. Rey builds speed and thus momentum, but suddenly gets caught with a back and neckbreaker from Miz.
Rey runs into another big boot, which again fails to put him away. Miz is sent into the ropes, eats a 619, a splash and Rey Mysterio defeats the Miz.
Good match. Rey really doesn’t seem to have lost a beat, and the Miz was a great opponent for him here. 3 Stars.
It’s like the Royal Rumble came early
Here’s Naomi, dancing her way to the ring, followed by Asuka. They’re teaming together up tonight against Mandy and Sonya, so of course Corey Graves ejaculates uncontrollably as Mandy Rose makes her appearance. One of these days, we’re going to look back on this footage, and it’s going to be horrifying as we realise how obvious this was all along.
Before the match can get going, the IIconics show up. I’d be annoyed, but those t-shirts have most of my attention. Oh Christ, I’m Corey Graves with less ridiculous hair and less awesome tattoos. This precipitates Lana showing up, then Carmella. She declares a dance break, and God bless the IIconics for casually dancing along with her.
Suddenly, Zelina Vega is behind Carmella, and she throws the Staten Island Princess into the ring, where she eats a knee from Mandy. Everyone rushes the ring, duking it out in a battle royal preview. Eventually Zelina and Lana are left, and Vega hits both knees to Lana before Asuka gets back into the ring and kicks her damn lights out.
Jeff’s ear can never wear white at its wedding now
Well, I guess Shane McMahon’s just sticking around now. Clearly a WrestleMania match either against or teaming with Paige beckons. Shane addresses the new firsts taking place in the WWE, such as Evolution and the World Cup atCrownJewelpleasedon’tboo. The crowd randomly starts a CM Punk chant, which Shane casually deflects, and then takes us through the potential SmackDown victors.
And this was all just introduce tonight’s main event, which is Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy. If Orton puts his fingers anywhere near Jeff’s ears, I’m switching channels. Both men get to the ring and the match starts with Jeff knocking Orton down off the ropes. Jeff pushes his advantage, leading to Orton felling him with an uppercut before sending him out of the ring, slamming Jeff’s head into the steps.
Randy punishes Jeff back on the inside of the ring, hitting stomps and dropkicks before applying that firm Orton favourite: the sleeper hold. Jeff rallies briefly before Randy catches him on the top rope, trapping him in the tree of woe. Randy penetrates Jeff’s ear hole again, which is still fucking horrifying, then drops him onto the announce table.
Back in the ring, Jeff fires up, hitting a collection of kicks that rock Orton. Randy counters the Twist of Fate, but eats the Whisper in the Wind. Jeff goes for the Twist of Fate again, this time hitting it, but Randy rolls out of the ring before the Swanton Bomb can connect. Jeff tries it from the ring apron, but a dodge from Orton leads to him crashing and burning on the floor. Back inside, Randy stalks Jeff, but the Charismatic Enigma turns an RKO attempt into a backslide for two.
The Twist of Fate is attempted, but countered beautifully into an RKO that ends the match.
Love that Twist of Fate/RKO spot. The rest of this match was decent, and I like how they’ve maintained Orton’s new sadistic personality, even if I’m no fan of watching Jeff’s ear finally become a woman. 2.5 Stars.
Tags: Absolution, aiden english, AJ Styles, Asuka, Becky Lynch, Big Show, charlotte flair, Crown Jewel, Daniel Bryan, Evolution, Jeff Hardy, naomi, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, rusev, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, The Bar, The Miz, The New Day, the usos, WWE