This week’s installment of the Spain SmackDown Report will begin with an apology. Yes, an apology. And that apology is to the man known variously as “the Legend-Killer”, “the Viper”, “the Apex Predator” and, more usually, Randy Orton. Accusations were levelled last week that I unfairly disparaged a man of the talent, stature, and accomplishments of Mr. Orton. I was accused of being jealous of all that Randy has achieved in his chosen career of professional wrestling. It was implied that I was indeed jealous of “one of the greatest of all time” because I am, it was similarly alleged, irrelevant.
And, grievously misspelled or not, these accusations made me pause and reflect upon my conduct and professional pride in writing these reviews about a professional wrestling show. Am I being all that I can be? Is it truly jealousy that’s making me cast stones at a man who is so clearly my superior? I can’t discount it out of hand, for that would be arrogance. And so, reader, today we embark upon a brave new journey, with a bold mission statement to light our way: APPRECIATE RANDY ORTON. And perhaps, in doing so, we may all emerge from this article a little wiser and a little kinder. Let’s take this step together.
The show opens with Shane McMahon and Elias having a villain conference backstage. Elias is distraught at having his raggedy arse handed to him by Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank, and has opted for the Game of Thrones strategy of criticising the paying audience. He accumulates some more heel cred by saying he’ll absolutely be in Saudi Arabia, both to support Shane McMahon and tacitly legitimise a barbaric medieval theocracy.
Shane tells Elias that he won’t need his help at Super Showdown. The way they’re pushing Shane, I truly wouldn’t be surprised if he beat Roman clean. But the greying warrior does promise Elias his support tonight; it must be comforting to Elias to have the man who beat the Miz in his corner.
Mrs. Lynch could do a lot worse
Out in the arena itself, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are here. Kofi will be facing Sami Zayn later this evening, but the New Day is out here to announce Big E’s return. They bring him out covered by a cape…and it’s a different black guy. There’s plenty to read into that, but it might be better if we don’t. Woods and Kingston dismiss Big Ersatz Langston and then bring out the genuine, hip-rotating article. The crowd seems thrilled to see him, and the New Day make their way down to the ring, which is decked out for a Welcome Back party.
The New Day have a good laugh about Big E’s Twitter antics and his sexual advances on Becky’s mother. Kofi insists that he has to be somewhat serious now that he’s wearing an important belt, and they address both Brock Lesnar’s Money in the Bank theft and Kofi’s victory from Sunday. Before they can get too far into the conversation, Kevin Owens’ music plays, and the man himself walks out onto the ramp, followed immediately by Sami Zayn. Owens has a dead look in his eyes, which really sells his actually-a-sociopath demeanour.
Zayn denounces what’s happening as “nonsense”: strong words. He claims that no-one cared about him when he was on the shelf for nine months, but WWE will throw a party for Big E after six weeks. The New Day tells Sami that he gets nothing, good day, sir. This makes Kevin Owens walk away in a sulk, and Sami claims that Owens only lost on Sunday because of his concern for Zayn after Lesnar stealth-takedowned him backstage. He continues to rage against the WWE Universe before Xavier elects to drown him out with a trombone: a suitable satire of political discourse.
Sami loses his cool just a tad, promising to humiliate Kofi in their match tonight. Kingston warns Zayn not to get fooled by the cuddly outer layer of the New Day, telling Sami that he’s going to walk right through him later on this evening.
Backstage, Carmella is walking around, looking for R-Truth. And it seems like she’s not the only one: Apollo Crews and Drake Maverick also seem curious as to Truth’s location. Maverick even has posters, which is a nice if insane touch. I’m seriously hoping that this leads to Carmella putting Breezango on the case, but she finds R-Truth literally feet away from the two men looking for him, wearing a blond wig. That’s a little more Game of Thrones season eight than I’m comfortable with.
So, R-Truth’s in hiding because people want the 24/7 title for some reason. Carmella’s here to help her friend with his defence strategy. I’m not willing to dismiss this gimmick out of hand, because there do seem to be some good possibilities for it if WWE is willing to take risks and think outside of the box. They won’t, but damn it, they could.
There’s a lot of handsome in that ring
Mustafa Ali is here to face Andrade after Brock Lesnar ate his dreams and shat out a burial. Both men look hurt and have decorated themselves with athletic tape, and they start slowly before Andrade and Vega punk Ali with Tranquilo. Now Mustafa kicks things up a notch, picking up the pace before Andrade puts him down with a hard clothesline. El Idolo chops Mustafa’s chest, but the wily cruiserweight flips out of a back suplex and spikes Andrade with a reverse Frankensteiner: a move that looks like Ali deliberately invented it to kill men. A distraction from Zelina halts Ali for just long enough to allow Andrade to dropkick him, regaining control as we head to the commercial break.
When we return, Ali has just satellite-DDT’d Andrade, sending him out of the ring before flipping over the top rope onto his opponent. Not the sort of tactic I’d employ if I was recovering from a Ladder match, but these guys do this for a living, I suppose. Andrade manages to blast Ali off the apron, sending him into the barricade and instructing the referee to begin the count. Mustafa makes it back in at eight, and Andrade falls on him, punishing Ali with two suplexes before hurling him back-first into the turnbuckle.
Ali falls out of the ring and Andrade follows, slinging the cruiserweight into the barricade before running his spine right into the ring post and throwing him into the timekeeper’s area. The referee begins the count, but Ali manages to scramble back into the ring, just beating the ten. Andrade isn’t thrilled with this turn of events, and he makes his displeasure felt by running his knees directly into Mustafa’s spine. Ali, who put all of his points into courage rather than intelligence, kicks out of the following pin.
Suddenly, Ali rolls Andrade up out of nowhere, getting the win.
I do like it when I want either man in the match to win. Andrade should be fine with a high-profile match against the Demon, and it’s encouraging that Ali got a victory here following a great showing at Money in the Bank. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, Carmella is drag-racing R-Truth, even giving him a bra. So…maybe forget what I said about how this gimmick could be a good idea.
Surely you’d wait until the 24/7 Champion went to sleep
Here’s Mandy Rose, and that sound you hear is Corey Graves achieving a shuddering climax. She’s facing Carmella tonight, who is accompanied by R-Truth. Truth is in disguise but he’s also still wearing the Championship, so I guess we’re operating on Looney Toons logic for now.
Mandy mocks Carmella’s injured leg, and the Princess of Staten Island responds by raining punch after punch into Rose’s face until Sonya drags her friend to safety. DeVille is a real human bean. Carmella bundles Mandy back into the ring, superkicking her before attacking Sonya for daring to protest against this beating.
Mandy tries to roll up Carmella, who kicks out and levels her opponent with another superkick, and then the entirety of catering emerges, chasing after Truth. R-Truth sprints away, Carmella on his back, leaving Mandy and Sonya, presumably, confused.
Not much to say here, but the 24/7 belt isn’t looking like a promising idea just yet. 1 Star.
Kayla is backstage with Bayley, who is feeling pretty proud of herself for having an even more impressive night than Brock Lesnar. She says that she’s moved past the hugs, and she is become Bayley, Destroyer of Worlds.
Backstage, Carmella drags R-Truth into the women’s locker room as they are chased by a veritable cavalcade of men with nothing going on in their immediate futures. If WWE had an HR department, they’d all be booking vacation time immediately. The pursuit goes past Sami Zayn, who seems to find some humour in it.
Meanwhile, Elias is in the parking lot, strumming a guitar like any hobo in particular.
Dolph Ziggler’s triennial month of relevance
Sami Zayn is here, looking rather chipper for someone who had violent aggressive love made to them by Brock Lesnar on Sunday. The reason for this becomes apparent as we’re shown the backstage area, where Big E has been attacked by Kevin Owens. Woods volunteers to stay with Langston, telling Kofi to go and handle Zayn.
Kingston goes out to the ring, looking furious. Zayn is laughing about what’s happening backstage, and this drives Kofi to hammer him in the corner. Sami escapes to the outside, but Kofi follows, continuing his assault on the Underdog from the Underground before Zayn tips him out of the ring, following that up by hurling the WWE Champion into the steel steps.
Sami starts working over Kofi now, keeping the Champ contained until Kingston catches him with a dropkick, spilling him out of the ring and into a commercial break. When we return, Zayn has regained control, cementing his advantage with a superplex for a two-count. Sami winds up for a Helluva Kick, but Kofi cuts him off mid-charge, slamming punch after punch into him before stamping both feet into his chest.
Sami ducks Trouble in Paradise; Kofi counters the Blue Thunder Bomb and hits the second Trouble in Paradise, picking up the win.
Most of this took place in the break, but a solid match from two great performers. 2.5 Stars.
And Paul Heyman is suddenly standing on the ramp, as though it is within the realms of possibility that Brock Lesnar would show up on SmackDown Live. But suddenly Kofi is jumped from behind by…Dolph Ziggler! The longest-running feud in WWE history continues! Continuity at its finest!
Ziggles lays a serious and uncomfortable beating on Kofi, raking his eyes and hurling him across the announce table before wrapping a chair around his neck and slamming it against the desk. Finally, referees decide that they can’t let this degenerate into a snuff film, and they prise Ziggler off him, only letting him come back to try and crush Kofi’s throat once before actually making him leave.
They stretcher Kofi out, and the crowd applauds when he climbs to his feet, rather than preferring that he remain on the stretcher, taking the advice of medical professionals and not risking further aggravation to his injury. This isn’t the reason I insist that wrestlers, as a collective, have a glass ceiling in terms of intelligence, but this is a great example of it in action.
Backstage, Roman Reigns is only just showing up to work. A guitar starts playing, causing Roman to stop and look around for its source. That source is Elias, who is standing on a truck, singing at him. Roman considers the situation for a moment, then walks away. I’m disappointed that the 24/7 Championship hunt doesn’t pass by, but you can’t have everything.
Lacey Evans and Sonya DeVille should form a team based on friendship and being kind to children
Lacey Evans is here, and she gives her bonnet to a little girl in the crowd. Well…now she’s sort of impossible to dislike because that was the most adorable thing I’ve seen in wrestling. Screw titles and morality: I’m a Lacey Evans fan now.
Lacey is joined by Charlotte, who had an…up-and-down sort of Sunday night, thanks to both Evans and Bayley. We’re taken backstage to where Kayla is interviewing Becky about her state of mind. Lynch says that she’s at least happy that Bayley has the belt rather than Charlotte, and she and Bayley throw some goodnatured threats around before Becky heads out to make her entrance. Bayley follows her out and we go to commercial.
When we come back, Charlotte is chopping Bayley, who manages to elevate her into the corner, going on the offensive until Charlotte dodges a charge and boots her in the back of the head, then stomps all over her. The Queen drags Bayley over to make the tag to Lacey, who continues to work over the new SmackDown Women’s Champ. She brings Charlotte back in; Bayley manages to stagger her and crawl over to Becky, but Charlotte drags the Lasskicker off the apron, preventing the Champion from tagging out.
Frequent tags from Charlotte and Lacey allow them to continue punishing Bayley, but a sudden desperation clothesline allows her to tag out! Becky comes in with a mind to punish Charlotte, pausing her assault just long enough to knock Evans off the apron before knocking the Queen down with a forearm from the middle rope, following that with a Bexploder.
Charlotte manages to throw Becky face-first into the corner; Becky struggles back into the fight, but a distraction from Lacey lets Charlotte score with a big boot. The women exchange roll-ups, with Charlotte trying to use the ropes for leverage, and then Lynch locks in the Dis-Arm-Her. Lacey dashes in, hitting the Woman’s Right, but she knocks Becky all the way over into Bayley, who tags in.
Bayley knocks Evans off the apron, counters a Figure Eight attempt by Charlotte and rolls her up for the win!
Good match, with a great showing from all four women. Lacey didn’t get as much time to shine, but she looked like she belonged in there, and she’s still getting experience at this stage. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, Jinder Mahal fails to pin R-Truth, and Truth escapes. The B Team almost defeat him, but argue with each other after who gets to pin him. In the confusion, Truth and Carmella run off into the night.
Elsewhere backstage, an interviewer stops Ziggler to ask what the fuck. Ziggler says that he’s going to tell the WWE Universe why himself, and then he heads out onto the main stage. He says that this all goes back to when Kofi first got his opportunity in the Elimination Chamber, where he gave it everything he had, and it should have been him. He continues in this vein, his voice trembling, before announcing that he is going to beat Kofi for the belt as Super Showdown, and the WWE Universe will have no choice but to love and respect him.
The commentary team talks about Super Showdown, and we get a retrospective on Randy Orton’s career, managing to omit Chris Benoit. You know, Randy Orton truly has lived a life full of things I couldn’t imagine doing and, honestly, I am a little jealous of what he’s been able to do and experience in that time. I have never, for example, been sentenced to 38 days in a military prison and dishonorably discharged from the Marines for going AWOL and refusing to obey my commanding officer, which does sounds like a fulfilling life experience. I’ve never vandalised a woman’s belongings with tanning lotion and baby oil because she didn’t recognise me, which is another area in my life where I feel like I’ve not been all that I can be. I’ve never insisted that a co-worker of mine be fired, trashed a hotel room so badly that I racked up $50,000 in damages, had a drug overdose or been sent to a four-week course for anger management. And that’s not even going into his incredible acting career, featuring such instant classics as 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (47% on Rotten Tomatoes!) and The Condemned 2 (29% on Rotten Tomatoes!).
Looking back over that, I fail to see how anyone could come to the conclusion that Randy Orton is anything other than a great man, with a full and varied moveset that he consistently displays in a high-paced and dramatic fashion. I have no doubt that he goes to sleep each night without a single regret and welcomes every day with a sense of satisfaction at being such an outstanding example of a human being.
God bless us everyone, and God bless Randy Orton.
Getting real tired of this feud
Here’s Shane McMahon, who is further abusing the ring announcers by doing their job, introducing Elias himself. After a break, Roman Reigns makes his entrance, staring down the muscular musical vagrant and his sweater-wearing father at ringside. The bell rings, and Roman starts hitting Elias like doing so will keep him cancer free. And let’s face it: there’s no evidence that it doesn’t. Roman fights Elias on the outside before getting distracted by Shane, who might also prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells if hit in just the right place. This allows Elias to catch Reigns on the apron, dropping him with a DDT.
Elias gives Roman a good going-over as we head into a commercial break, and when we come back, Reigns is making a comeback of his own, clotheslining Elias in the corner until it stops being fun, becomes uncomfortable and sadistic and then goes right around to fun again. Roman wants the Superman Punch, but Shane grabs his leg, allowing Elias to hit a leaping knee. You can’t keep a big dawg down, however, and he drags Elias up onto his shoulders, looking for a Samoan drop from the middle rope. Elias manages to counter it, setting up Roman on his shoulders before somehow spinning him around for a sit-out powerbomb for two.
Reigns is still in the fight, headbutting Elias before engaging in a slugfest. A leaping knee sends Roman into the ropes, but he rebounds back with a Superman Punch. It looks like it’s lights out for Elias, but Shane puts his foot on the bottom rope. Reigns retaliates with a Drive-By, allowing Elias to once again regain control, hurling Roman into the ring post and the steel steps. A flying elbow back in the ring almost wins Elias the match, and then he starts removing the turnbuckle pad. With the referee fixing the buckle, Shane slides Elias his guitar, but Roman spears Elias for the win.
At least Elias got to wrestle, and he and Roman put on a decent match. With two losses in a row to Roman, however, it might be time for Elias to have a storyline that doesn’t involve playing second fiddle to a McMahon. 2 Stars.
And Shane McMahon attacks Roman because Shane McMahon is apparently a physical threat. Does Shane McMahon have blackmail photos of someone important? Because that’s the only reason I can think of that anyone would ever go for this. He grabs the guitar, but Roman catches him with a Superman Punch and then picks up the guitar himself. But that thing must have a curse on it because Drew McIntyre appears out of nowhere and blasts Roman with a Claymore, then he and Shane McMahon celebrate to end the show. If this angle was a child, I would drown it.
Tags: Andrade, bayley, Becky Lynch, Carmella, charlotte flair, Dolph Ziggler, Elias, Kofi Kingston, Lacey Evans, Mandy Rose, Mustafa Ali, R-Truth, Randy Orton, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, Sonya Deville, The New Day, WWE, Zelina Vega