So both Royal Rumble winners are going to be going after RAW Championships, but I’m having a hard time being mad if it means A) Becky vs. Ronda, and B) Rollins beating Lesnar. So while I’m happy to stick up for the little guy in my role here as “person who yells the loudest about SmackDown“, I’m ultra-keen for both of these matches.
Now let’s get the inevitable post-Rumble bitch-fest out of the way.
Definitely a Renegade interrupt
We recap Becky’s crazy Sunday and Monday before the Man herself makes her way to the ring, limping as she does so. Lynch grabs a microphone and reflects on everything that’s happened so far, saying that she couldn’t resist poking the bear. If that bear had quite a bit less hair and loved applying arm bars.
Hah: arm bears.
Becky claims that she’s proved, unlike Rousey, that she doesn’t let defeat ruin her career. She mocks Ronda for belittling her for working her way up to the top from nothing rather than being handed everything. The crowd lets fly with a “you deserve it” chant, causing Becky to stop and listen. She says that Ronda has doubt, whereas she has none, and promises to break her arm at WrestleMania.
And because Becky Lynch is out here doing literally anything, here’s Charlotte Flair to make things about her. She congratulates Becky, sarcasm dripping from every single word like she’s trying to make passive-aggression an art from. She tries to take credit for teaching Becky everything she knows, boasting that she was the one who took Lynch to the main event.
So even when Charlotte loses, she needs to spin it in a way that seems like she’s won.
And then Becky hits her in the fucking mouth and it’s outstanding. Charlotte lies there, dazed, as Lynch makes her exit, but eventually chases her down the aisle, kicking off a brawl that causes security to try not-very-hard to separate them. I can only assume it’s WWE security policy to make sure that there’s a good amount of teasing involved in any separation of its employees.
Backstage, Shinsuke Nakamura is looking at the United States Championship like he wants to fuck it. There was probably a more artistic simile, but I’m nothing if not a slave to the truth.
Thanks, I hate it
Here’s R-Truth, who two days ago was beaten up by a large woman and who is now challenging for the United States Championship. That’s one heck of a sentence right there. And it looks like Carmella’s sticking by him post-MMC, presumably in case Nia Jax attacks once again. Aw, and they show the still images of Nia humiliating him.
R-Truth grabs a microphone and says that he never got to be in the Royal Rumble, despite winning the Mixed Match Challenge tournament. He claims that he would have won that match, and apparently the McMahons think so too, because they set up this title match.
Nakamura arrives, starting the match off immediately with a kick to the jaw. Reverse exploder suplex sends Truth flying, but he manages to catch a charging Shinsuke with a variant on the lie-detector, sending him out of the ring as the commercial break starts. When we come back, Nakamura has regained control, burying a knee into Truth’s gut again and again.
Truth suddenly rolls Nakamura up and…he gets him? Wait, seriously?
I’ve no idea what’s going on. 1.5 Stars.
Nakamura starts protesting with the referee, but apparently Truth won. We see a replay and who the hell even knows. Nakamura looks miffed, but otherwise seems unaffected by the loss of that great symbol of prestige and accomplishment: the United States Championship.
Rusev and Lana suddenly emerge, and if Rusev’s not going to demand a match with Nia Jax after what she did to his wife, then what exactly did Ziggler accomplish by superkicking a woman on Sunday?
Rusev claims that he took the title from Nakamura because the Championship deserved better. And apparently R-Truth isn’t worthy to hold the belt either, and so Rusev is now challenging Truth for the title. The crowd chants “no”, and absolutely no. Refusing the match is the only way that Truth can remain Champion longer than a few minutes.
Lana gets into Carmella’s face, and so the Princess of Staten Island shoves the injured woman over. God help me, I love that girl. Rusev looks like he’s ready to start some shit, but R-Truth gets in his face and, after the requisite shoving match, Truth puts the Championship on the line. R-Truth, you fucking moron.
After a break, Rusev has Truth in a sleeper hold, wearing him down with the occasional elbow strike before working him over some more. Truth leapfrogs out of the corner, rolls Rusev up and…yeah, he got him too.
Seriously, what? 1 Star.
Nakamura jumps Truth from behind immediately, bundling the Champion back in the ring. Rusev and Shinsuke exchange a glance just long enough to qualify as “checking each other out” before they both beat down Truth, finishing him off with a Machka Kick and a Kinshasa.
I mean, if these two form a tag team then I’m actually on board with it. For God’s sake, they’re both in a US Championship feud and it still feels like they’ve got nothing going on.
We see Becky limping out of the arena to her absurdly huge car (seriously, you’d think Bryan would at least stick some passive-aggressive literature on the windshield), and Kayla Braxton arrives to ask how fucked her leg is on a scale of one to Oscar Pistorius. Becky says she’s fine, then drives off in a vehicle which, relative to her size, is technically a tank.
But at least the medical staff have been able to keep R-Truth under their care. Although he says that he’s completely fine and doesn’t want treatment. Which seems fair considering he took far less punishment than you would during your average match.
Samoa Joe is too busy gazing longingly at Ec3
Here’s Rey Mysterio, ready to face Samoa Joe. Samoa Joe arrives, looking a great deal like Zelina Vega. Oh, it’s actually Zelina Vega. That makes more sense. Vega accuses Mysterio of getting her barred from ringside last week, and did that mean that she didn’t get paid for that week? Because if so, I can understand the anger. Vega asks whether she’s too sexy for Rey and would have distracted him and…yes? Absolutely yes.
But rather than working up to some kind of Indecent Proposal kind of deal, Zelina’s just here to keep Rey’s attention off Andrade sneaking up behind him. Andrade strikes, hammering away at Mysterio before committing the unforgivable sin of trying to hit the Three Amigos. It’s like when Rey came out of retirement, WWE’s need to exploit the death of Eddie Guerrero came back with him.
Rey counters the final amigo, setting Andrade up for the 619, but El Idolo counters the move, instead planting Mysterio with the Hammerlock DDT.
So…no Samoa Joe match? Andrade really is a heel.
Backstage, Rusev is marinating in his own failure. The Good Brothers arrive to tell him that how he treats people is a reflection on himself. The conversation turns nasty, with the word “catering” getting thrown recklessly around, before they decide to settle this with a tag team match. Looks like Rusev can just transfer his hate-boner from one ethnic minority to another, which is…super racist.
I also hate this
Shane McMahon is wearing a Tag Team Championship belt. I’m dragging the razor blade down my wrists as I type. He and the Miz get into the ring for what is apparently a “celebration”. “Wake” seems like a more appropriate term, because the credibility of the Tag Team titles just got put in the fucking ground.
Shane says that he’s been wondering how to show his appreciation to the Miz, considering everything that the man already has. If that’s not an early warning that a sloppy blowjob is on the horizon, I don’t know what is. He promises that Miz will remember this for the rest of his life, so apparently Shane gives a damn good blowjob. Or a hauntingly awful one.
Shane shows a video package of the formation of Team Best in the World, then says he wasn’t sure if he could trust the Miz at first. He builds up the approaching BJ once again, describing it as the one motivating force in the Miz’s life. Weird. And then he brings out the Miz’s Dad, and I feel like all the blowjob jokes I could make in light of this have overwhelmed my brain.
Also…Shane’s gift to the Miz was bringing his father out here? Miz seems to see his father more often than I see mine, and I’d feel a little shortchanged if someone got the two of us together in a coffee shop and had the gall to call it a “present”. The crowd chants “Mister Miz”, which is almost worth this whole segment.
Miz’s Dad tells Miz that he loves him and is proud of him. And…it took winning the Tag Team Championships to get that from him? Because that is a high fucking bar. Also, this is the Championship that did it? Not the United States Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, the WWE Championship, the Money in the Bank briefcase, not being a Grand Slam Champion or the six previous Tag Team Championship reigns that the Miz has had, but this: being SmackDown Tag Team Champion is apparently the key to unlocking the vault containing Mr Mizanin’s affection and love that he’s so far been withholding from his son.
If the Miz had a single piece of pride or self-belief, he’d hit that man with the Skull-Crushing Finale without a second’s thought. But he doesn’t: he just hugs him like an asshole.
And Shane announces a four-way elimination match to determine the new number one contenders, so at least I had a reason to review this segment. The teams taking part are the Usos, the Bar, the New Day and Heavy Machinery. Ignore the fact that the belts are held currently by the Miz and Shane McMahon, and I’d be really excited about the state of the Tag Team Division.
Backstage, Sonya and Mandy are announcing that they’re going for the Women’s Tag Team Championships. Mandy then talks about how good-looking she is and that she doesn’t like Naomi. Kayla Braxton tries to draw out some unexpected admission of racism from Mandy, but then we get shown footage from Tough Enough of Naomi mocking a young Mandy Rose.
Sonya speaks up for her friend, defending her irrational need for revenge for something that happened three years ago. Apparently Mandy cried so much that her boyfriend dumped her rather than getting her the therapy that it sounds like she really needed. Kayla asks whether Mandy’s going to give up now that her terrible plan has failed. Mandy says that right now she’s going focus on the Elimination Chamber rather than being a homewrecker. But she’ll be back, and she’ll destroy Naomi and Jimmy’s relationship if it takes a rocket launcher to do it.
Like they would really let the Bar win anything now
Meanwhile, the assorted tag teams have got to the ring. One of the Usos starts off against Dozovic, getting knocked down. He tags in Kofi Kingston to try his luck, but the New Day member is also unable to get the big man off his feet. Big E tags in, and the two big men collide in the middle of the ring before E tries to apply an abdominal stretch. Dozovic finally manages to bodyslam Big E before tagging in Tucker Knight as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, the Bar is desperately trying to earn back some prestige, with Sheamus working over one of the Usos. Cesaro takes over, applying a sleeper hold. Sheamus re-enters the match, but Jey manages to get the tag, hitting the Irishman and the other competitors with a flurry, leaving the two alone in the ring.
As Jey gets flung out of the ring, Big E gets the tag, setting up Sheamus for a double-team with Kofi. Cesaro breaks up the pin before Big E takes him over the top rope. Dozovic eats a kick from Kofi but catches Kingston as he comes off the top, hitting the Compactor to Kofi to eliminate the New Day!
Jey Uso enters the match now, approaching Knight cautiously. He ducks a clothesline, taking out Dozovic before low-bridging Knight. Jimmy and Jey go to throw themselves over the top rope, but Jey is caught by the Bar and slammed on the outside as Jimmy flies out onto Heavy Machinery. After a break, Cesaro is trying to keep Tucker Knight down, only to get slammed by the big man.
Sheamus tags in, preventing Knight from getting the tag, working the Heavy Machinery member over until he charges directly into a clothesline. Cesaro and Dozovic both tag in, and Otis is an unstoppable force as he dashes back and forth around the ring. He squashes both Bar members in the corner, then hits the Caterpillar elbow to Cesaro for a near fall. Knight tags in, but Sheamus interrupts the Compactor. Heavy Machinery still almost topple Cesaro, but Sheamus once again makes the save. A blind tag from Jimmy Uso almost allows him to eliminate Knight with a crossbody, before kicking both members of Heavy Machinery.
Sheamus enters the match, laying Knight out with a Brogue Kick and getting the elimination. Jimmy and Jey quickly react, taking Cesaro out of the ring before superkicking Sheamus and hitting the splash to get the win!
Great, fast-paced action: the first good match of the night. Impressive showing from Heavy Machinery: eliminating an established tag team in the New Day. 3.5 Stars.
Don’t you dare talk about this cheapening the World Championship if you approve of Shane and the Miz’s storyline
Daniel Bryan’s here to talk to you about the climate. Buckle up, kids. Bryan says that the entire WWE Universe won at Royal Rumble, because he retained his Championship and so climate change will undoubtedly be vanquished and peace and reasonably-priced love will reign forever and ever, amen.
Bryan turns his attention to his newest eco-warrior, who’s given up life as part of a backwoods cult and a hammer-swinging cult to join this enviro-cult: it’s Erick Rowan. Cannot believe they didn’t give him a pair of hipster glasses to go with that flannel shirt. Bryan says that Rowan is an intellectual, salt-of-the-earth kind of guy, which makes me wonder if Bryan originally struck up this friendship during his Wyatt Family run.
Bryan says that AJ Styles was right last week: he is a hypocrite. And he’s a hypocrite because he carries around the WWE Championship. So Bryan calls for a garbage can to be brought into the ring before denouncing the evils of the belt, from the cheap labour used to form it to the dead cow (Bryan calls it “Daisy” but I’m going with “Moo-Lissa”) whose skin was used to create the strap. The crowd chants “Daisy”, because they are outstanding human beings, as Bryan talks about the death of a cow that he just made up before binning the WWE Championship. So…is he actually throwing it out or is this a symbolic gesture?
The crowd have started chanting “Goodbye Daisy”. Let’s have the show here every week.
And Bryan has created a 100% sustainable and organic hemp and oak Championship belt. I’m honestly impressed, but before Bryan can go into the process of how to make such a thing, AJ Styles arrives and calls Bryan a pothead. And before we can get much beyond that, here’s Randy Orton. There’s a commercial break, and when we come back, Jeff Hardy and Orton are in the ring and Mustafa Ali is making his entrance.
Orton immediately mocks Mustafa Ali for getting eliminated by a girl, which is why I thought it was a weird choice to pick Ali for that, WWE. Samoa Joe then arrives, saying all he wants to do is render a WWE Champion unconscious like any right-thinking, red-blooded Samoan. He tells everyone to get out of the ring before insulting them when they don’t immediately comply with his request.
When Joe gets to Styles, he hits the Wendy Button, so Styles hits Joe in the face button. Everyone lays each other out as Bryan screams that no-one’s going to get a Championship opportunity, before Triple H shows up on the screen to make an Elimination Chamber match featuring everyone in the ring. The brawl, which had stopped to hear Trips’ announcement, restarts, with everyone laying into each other as we fade to black.
Tags: AJ Styles, Andrade, Becky Lynch, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan, Heavy Machinery, Jeff Hardy, Mustafa Ali, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Ronda Rousey, rusev, Samoa Joe, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown, The Bar, The Miz, The New Day, the usos, WWE