I haven’t got the faintest idea what happened last week on SmackDown Live, so I guess there’ll at least be some fun as I try to piece together everything that happened.
Goldberg is going to be here tonight and Shane McMahon wants to call out Roman Reigns. It feels regressive to say that anything involved with Saudi Arabia is awful, but Super Showdown is not helping.
Dolph Ziggler is pouring a year’s worth of emotion into this fortnight of relevance
Well, here at least are the New Day, or at least Kofi and Xavier. They dance their way to the ring, and Kingston says that he had really thought he’d seen it all in WWE. If you’re going to see it all anywhere, it’s on a show where an old woman once gave birth to a human hand. Kofi states that he always rises to the occasion. What’s important to him is that he can inspire people to believe that anything is possible.
We’re then shown a video of Kofi visiting Ghana, which is so sweet that even Corey Graves can’t say anything mean about it. Kofi says that there was nothing so important to him than being able to tell the children who came out to see him that they can do anything they set their mind to.
And then Ziggler shows up to further this years-long feud that has only recently involved the WWE Championship. He says that while Kofi is an utter inspiration, this is not about him: it’s about Dolph Ziggler. He has a video of his own greatest triumphs, of which there’s about three. And not enough Ghanian children. Dolph says that he gave his soul to WWE, but the audience gave their love and the WrestleMania moment to Kofi. It seems like Ziggler has been taking acting lessons from whatever eighties action movie villain you can think of; either that, or he’s desperately staving off a heart attack.
Kofi says that he knows that Dolph has had a great career and has been just as passed over. After all, he’s been a part of many of Ziggler’s victories. He then rolls the footage of Dolph abandoning the US Championship like it was some big prize. Are we truly coming down on him for that? Kofi tells Dolph that if it should have been him, then it would have been, but Ziggler walks out when things get tough. Kofi promises that, as long as he’s World Champion, it’ll never be Dolph.
In response, Ziggler shows footage of him assaulting Kingston two weeks ago. Lucky that these guys decided to record a bunch of footage in advance because, otherwise, they’d have to talk about this with people words. Ziggler leaves the stage with a final “it should have been me”, then leaves the stage as Kevin Owens’ music starts playing. Owens and Zayn make their way to the ring, seemingly here for a tag team match.
Owens and Zayn making their “fuck your Super Showdown” appearance
The bell rings, and Zayn and Woods start with an exchange of offence, each one trying to gain the upper hand in the opening moments. Kofi tags in and Zayn retreats, and we see Ziggler watching the match backstage on a monitor as if he’s not heard that people watching Kofi’s matches backstage was only popular before WrestleMania. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens has been running over the WWE Champion with an aggressive offence, but Kofi snatches back the advantage with several perfect dropkicks.
The Unicorn Stampede puts Woods in control of Zayn, who ducks out of the ring to confer with Owens before Kofi and Xavier, never ones for mid-match strategising, wipe them out on the outside. Owens grabs Woods’ knee, keeping him grounded for Zayn to assault, then Big Kev tags in, going to work on Xavier both in the ring and out.
Woods is the face in peril for the next several minutes of the match, soaking up punishment from Owens and Zayn throughout the break. Post-commercials, Woods manages to hit a missile dropkick, putting KO down and tagging in Kingston. Kofi runs right over Zayn, who’s just tagged in, leading up to a Trouble In Paradise attempt. Owens causes a distraction, but Kofi nails Zayn with the kick anyway, winning the match.
Sensible, straightforward victory in advance of a title defence. Coherent booking. 2 Stars.
And Ziggler blasts both Woods and Kofi with superkicks following the match. I’m almost expecting another video package, but now apparently Dolph is satisfied to let his kicks speak for him.
Backstage, Shane McMahon is here to show us the footage of him and his new best friends destroying Roman Reigns. I wish I could hold this feud’s head underwater until the bubbles stopped. I’m part-way to wishing that I could hold Shane’s head underwater until the bubbles stopped. He promises to call out Roman Reigns tonight, which I’m sure will be as exciting and fulfilling as it always is.
It would have been a real swerve if this had been handled amicably
Alexa Bliss is here to do her talk show with Bayley. I’d laugh, but it’s more than either of them will be doing in Saudi Arabia so I guess I’ll take what I can get. Bayley arrives, but the show is then held up because Alexa doesn’t like the coffee they serve on SmackDown Live. This inevitably descends into some passive-aggression as Alexa implies that Bayley’s only ever had one good night, then some actual aggression as Bayley bitch-slaps the coffee out of Bliss’ hands.
Before this can descend into honest-to-God wrestling on, you know, a professional wrestling show, Carmella arrives. She says that you can’t talk about former SmackDown Women’s Champs and former Miss Money in the Banks, then she needs to be in the conversation. Before she can segue into making her own challenge…yep: Charlotte Flair. God forbid a title match should happen without her being involved.
Charlotte says that there will be a match between her, Alexa and Carmella to determine Bayley’s challenger at Stomping Ground, which at least presents us with the illusion that Charlotte might not be the challenger.
Backstage, Carmella finds R-Truth, who is still apparently the 24/7 Champion and increasingly paranoid about it. At that point, Shane McMahon calls Carmella’s phone with a message for R-Truth; I guess that there’s only a certain amount of Charlotte Flairs that Shane can send to deliver messages. The crux of this is that R-Truth has to defend the title in a match right now, and he dashes off to do just that.
There was probably a simple and effective way of dealing with this concept instead
When we return, Elias is in the ring, ready to challenge for the 24/7 Championship in a Lumberjack match. I’m not complaining, because it’s the second actual match we’ve had inside of forty minutes. R-Truth arrives and immediately tries to roll up Elias. We get the usual “man gets tossed out of the ring and is thrown back in” drama, which allows Elias to immediately hit Truth with the knee and win.
I have no idea what any of this is or means. 1 Star.
Elias gets jumped after the match, but he rolls out of the press of bodies like he is literally a cartoon. He runs into R-Truth, and the two of them disappear under the ring. And then R-Truth reemerges as Champion, fleeing the scene. You didn’t have to be a genius to make this belt work but, apparently, you had to be smarter than a McMahon.
It’s Monologue Corner with Aleister Black. I’m in favour of keeping certain superstars as special attractions by only having them wrestle occasionally; it arguably would have helped Nakamura or even Samoa Joe. But these segments need to be more interesting than what we have right now.
Drew and Roman deserve more than this
Here’s Shane McMahon, and there goes my interest. He’s got the Revival with him, who are apparently one Wild Card together. This is prejudice at its most blatant, and I will not see the Tag Team Division denigrated in such a fashion.
Shane blathers on about his incredible beatdown of Roman Reigns, and we get shown that for the ten-squillionth time tonight. Shane runs on, pushing the “dog” metaphor as far as he can as I keep glancing at alcohol collection with increasing desperation. I resurface as Shane literally promises to remove Reigns’ testicles after he wins the match, which is totally something WWE could get away with in Saudi Arabia.
Reigns arrives and immediately destroys the Revival on the ramp. Shane doesn’t leave, but Roman still doesn’t get that it’s clearly a trap. And, as I type that, McIntyre comes out of nowhere and Claymores Reigns. I’d call Roman stupid, but every part of this storyline is stupid. And Roman gets speared again. Yep.
Good God, it’s not Charlotte
After the break, Alexa, Carmella, and Charlotte all got jobber-entranced: no clues here. Charlotte is the juggernaut early on, handling both Bliss and Carmella in the opening moments. All three women trade offence until Carmella locks in the Code of Silence, trying to end the match before it begins. Bliss blasts Carmella with a huge right hand then eats a big boot from Charlotte, who in turn takes a volley of superkicks from Carmella.
And now Mandy and Sonya are coming down to the ring; Byron Saxton has dived for cover before the inevitable Graves eruption. Bliss takes advantage of Carmella’s distraction, throwing her into the corner, but Charlotte is on her case immediately, beating her all the way around the ring until Alexa takes her down with a dropkick as we go into the commercial break.
When we come back, Charlotte is on the top rope, trying to fight off Carmella, but she gets hurricanrana’d down to the mat. Carmella has her moment in the sun before Charlotte locks her in the Figure Eight, only for Bliss to land on Charlotte with Twisted Bliss! That was a hell of a spot. Insult to Injury is countered, with Charlotte nailing Bliss with Natural Selection, but Carmella breaks up the pin! Alexa tries to roll up Flair, who kicks out and goes for the Figure Eight, but she turns right into a superkick from Carmella!
Mandy grabs Carmella’s leg, distracting her for just long enough that Bliss can capitalise with a DDT, winning the match.
Well, I’ll be damned: Charlotte Flair is not the number one contender. Good match from these three, especially when it looked like it was going to be a short one early on. A Women’s Division with multiple viable title contenders is exactly what’s needed, and matches like this help cement that. 2.5 Stars.
We see the footage of Seth Rollins getting a taste of Brock Lesnar lovin’ the way that Sable likes it. Rollins has promised to be in Saudi Arabia, and I imagine the only way to make being in Saudi Arabia worse would be to be there while dealing with multiple injuries.
This entire segment makes me feel dirty
Kayla Braxton is in the ring, looking trepidatious as she introduces Lars Sullivan. You just know the words “GREY AREA GREY AREA GREY AREA” are running through her head on flashing ticker tape right now.
The big bad rape enthusiast emerges from his toxic forum conversations and lumbers into the ring. Braxton asks what drives him, and if the answer isn’t “fear and dislike of other ethnicities” then this isn’t the hard-hitting journalism I come to WWE for. Lars asks if she would ask a nightingale or a lion why they do what they do, and that is a really fucking stupid thing to say. I don’t even have a joke for that: it’s just really fucking stupid.
Lars says that he’s been described his entire life by one word, which makes me wonder if people have been mispronouncing “fucking racist” or “future sex offender” around him. Apparently, the word is “freak”, which is at the bottom of a long list of suggestions I had ready. Lars says that his purpose in life is to destroy others and prove that the world is a horrible place; I’m not sure how a match with Lucha House Party fits into that philosophy, but I’ve never quite pegged Sullivan as one of the world’s great thinkers.
If Goldberg had shown up and ruined Lars right there, I wouldn’t even have been mad.
Stop being fucking mean to Apollo!
Here’s Andrade, ready for a match ahead of his valiant losing effort against Demon Finn on Friday. His opponent is Apollo Crews, which sounds like an intriguing contest between two talented individuals…and Andrade immediately jumps and Hammerlock DDTs Apollo.
And Finn dashes into the ring, ready to defend Apollo’s honour. He takes the fight to Andrade with a stomp and a slingblade, but a distraction from Zelina allows Andrade to hit the Hammerlock to Balor as well. Thank God this was such a big nothing; we might not have got that Lars Sullivan interview otherwise.
I feel like “that’s it?” are the arc words for this program
Well, here it is: Goldberg on SmackDown Live for the first time. I feel like that time that he Jackhammered and later speared Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2003 should almost count because that was a SmackDown-only PPV. Although maybe that didn’t count because he attended that show as a member of the audience and then later as a man who had escaped police custody.
The man himself makes his way to the ring, managing to get from his dressing room to the arena in a fraction of the time that it’ll take the Undertaker to walk down a ramp on Friday. He says that he’s always wanted this match, and now he’ll finally get it. He says that he heard what the Undertaker said about wanting him to be the very best Goldberg that he can be, and he agrees.
Goldberg promises that the Undertaker is going to get exactly what he’s asking for and that he’ll be next…to rest in peace.
The lights go out, the gong sounds, and the Undertaker is standing behind Goldberg. I know it’s been a year, but that man grew his hair back pretty quick. Taker moves in, and I hold my breath in the hopes for finally seeing Goldberg and the Undertaker full-on make out with each other, but then the lights go out and the Undertaker vanishes.
Goldberg retrieves his microphone and asks if that’s it. He tells Undertaker to bring his jockstrap and make it tight because it’s going to be a ride. I’m willing to bet that that’s the first time that anyone’s told the Undertaker that on WWE television.
And the final five minutes of the show are the matches for Super Showdown being announced. I dislike the Saudi Arabian regime for a lot of reasons, and the horrifying shilling that’s being done here is just one more.
Tags: Alexa Bliss, bayley, Carmella, charlotte, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Elias, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Roman Reigns, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, WWE, xavier woods