So, I can’t have been the only one who watched the Undertaker and Goldberg both fail to deliver on a clearly pre-planned suicide pact in Saudi Arabia, right? I’d say that it’s sad to watch your heroes die, but at least there would have been some dignity in death, and it would stop them from ever having another match again. Because if you think the Undertaker is done inceptioning the idea of Old Yeller into our brains, you don’t know the siren song of Saudi blood money.
Anyway, let’s turn our attention to people who actually have business being in a wrestling ring. And, presumably, Shane McMahon.
Does this mean that Miz TV has been seized by the state?
The show begins with the Miz, who we are told is being forced to host his talk show. Carlito’s Cabana wouldn’t have laid down for any of that shit. He has been given a set script that he needs to follow, and I guess that there are snipers placed around the stadium to ensure his compliance, or else at the first hint of resistance, Maryse’s whereabouts are given to a horny Samoa Joe. Miz reads the script with all the enthusiasm of a classically trained actor having to deliver an account of their own rape to a courtroom.
But Miz gets his shots in by calling Shane “The Pest of the World”. It’s men like him who made the guillotines in France and who gunned down the Tsar in Russia. Shane arrives, backed up by Drew McIntyre and Elias: two men who deserve better, although arguably chemical castration would classify as “better”. We’re shown a look back at Shane going over Reigns in Saudi Arabia. I’ll acknowledge that Shane is being built up for a moment of huge catharsis, but unless that’s going to involve impeaching Trump, cancelling Brexit and reversing climate change, then this has already gone too far.
Shane McMahon demands a proper introduction from the oppressed proletariat mouthpiece, Greg Hamilton, and with Elias and the Miz standing beside Drew, it does look we’re seeing the formation of a grimmer and darker 3MB. And then Shane demands that Elias play for the masses. Drew McIntyre could not be more dead inside. Elias plays a quick riff, earning a round of applause from an audience that can appreciate musical talent separate from whatever brand of wrestling ideology its performer subscribes to.
Shane then talks about his victory over Roman Reigns, which still wasn’t the most offensive aspect of the Saudi Arabia show when compared with Baron Corbin’s promise that “heads will roll”, the looming crucifixion of a teenager and, yes, Goldberg vs. Undertaker in a neck vs. neck match. Miz tells Shane that all his accomplishments are tainted, which is hypocrisy as she is cast. Shane brushes this off, demanding that Miz start the interview.
But instead, Miz shows footage of Roman Reigns being interviewed following his car crash of a match with Shane. I’d have called it an abortion, but those are pretty damn difficult to get in Saudi Arabia. Reigns, unfortunately, does not promise to crucify Shane or give Drew forty lashes in the grand tradition of Baron Corbin. He does, however, promise to kick Drew McIntyre’s ass. Insightful stuff.
McIntyre says that Roman always lets his emotions get the better of him, then says that his psychotic state makes him different to anyone else in WWE, which in reality has a higher rate of neurodiversity than most mental hospitals on account of most of their employees being fucking bonkers. The Miz tries to drive a wedge between Shane and Drew by telling McIntyre that he’s just as disposable as he was.
McMahon rambles on for a while, prompting the Miz to say that there is nothing about Shane that makes him special. Shane mentions baked potatoes, which is clearly the Miz’s trigger phrase, causing a face-off between the Awesome One and McIntyre. Shane teases a match between himself and the Miz, acting like that’s some big prize, saying that he can fight Shane if he can beat first Elias and then Drew. Throw the match, Miz: throw both fucking matches.
Did we ever establish if Elias is actually homeless?
After a commercial break, the first match has started and Elias is smacking the Miz around, going old school before hitting a pair of knees to the Miz’s face. Miz finally fights back with a jawbreaker, starting a comeback right up until Elias blasts him with a running knee. Miz counters a Drift Away, misses a roundhouse kick and eats a Batista Bomb, only just kicking out.
Elias heads up to the top, missing Miz with his elbow drop, and eats the Skull-Crushing Finale. Miz wins.
Short and…short. Miz as a heel still feels new to me. 1.5 Stars.
Drew McIntyre immediately barrels into the ring, just as we go to a commercial break. When we come back, the Scot’s been putting the boots to the Miz, but the former WWE Champion fights back, struggling for every inch, dodging a charge that sees McIntyre blast the steel post with his shoulder. If Drew was Goldberg, he’d be concussed by now. The Miz pounces, hurling McIntyre around the ring before sending him inside and…did he just try to springboard?
The Miz’s ill-fated attempt at springboarding into the ring sees him crash and burn – intentionally or not – but he regains control by sliding off Drew’s shoulders prior to bodyslam, dropping him with a DDT. Shane decides that this match needs a little more Best in the World, getting up on the apron and distracting the Miz long enough for McIntyre to nail him with a headbutt that looks like it just killed the Miz’s brain.
Drew calls for a Claymore Kick, then hits it dead on, beating the Miz.
Protecting Drew makes sense here, but Miz desperately needs to win something fast. This feud has devalued him something fierce. 2 Stars.
Shane then announces that they’re having their match after all. He throws some hands at Miz, who jumps on him, smacking him around and trying to go for the SCF immediately. Shane counters, hanging the Miz up on the ropes and booting him in the face. McMahon applies the triangle choke, forcing a tap-out.
Words cannot express how much I hate this feud. 0 Stars.
Backstage, Ember Moon is playing some videogame before Fire and Desire show up to be bitches. Moon lets Sonya bully her with barely any protest, then flips out once they’re gone, hurling a bin across the corridor. That’s the kind of bold, ballsy babyface that I can totally get behind. Was there a ban on brawling backstage?
Being blue collar doesn’t automatically make you a hero
And here come Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan. Maybe they have something to do Shane’s eventual climate change-reversing loss. That would certainly be a twist. Bryan says that they’re putting their titles on the line against some jobbers with their own cardboard championships. Hah: the jobbers have more environmentally-friendly titles than Bryan and Rowan.
This never gets going, because Heavy Machinery shows up to call Bryan and Rowan elitist and claiming to deserve a title shot just because they’re blue collar. Fucking America. Bryan quite rightly states that they have done nothing to earn an opportunity, but then suggests that they fight the jobbers. Heavy Machinery accepts, on the basis that they’re happy fighting anyone.
It’s a squash, but a nice reminder of what Otis and Tucker can do, which is rather impressive. Sadly, Heavy Machinery does not win the cardboard titles as a result, which is bullshit.
Backstage, Carmella and R-Truth are trying to keep the Championship safe, with Truth beginning to weigh up the paranoia of being the 24/7 Champ against the prestige of having the worst-designed belt ever. This ends with R-Truth trapped in a crate, Carmella having to head off for a match and Jinder Mahal trying to take advantage. Mahal can’t get the crate open, and I think he just wanders off to leave R-Truth to die.
I can’t condemn that.
Good God, is there hope for Sonya yet?
Here’s the best friend that no-one deserves: Sonya DeVille. She’s taking on Carmella, who gets jobber-entranced but immediately takes the fight to Sonya. DeVille quickly turns things around, hitting the Staten Island Princess with a series of strikes before locking her in a sleeper.
Sonya’s beating rolls on, but suddenly Carmella latches on the Code of Silence. Mandy saves Sonya, putting her friend’s leg on the bottom rope before drawing the ref’s attention to it. Carmella chases Mandy around the ring, but manages to fight off DeVille when she tries to take advantage, then throws herself through the ropes on both women.
Carmella tosses Sonya in the ring, but another attempt to interfere by Mandy, who eats a superkick for her trouble, allows DeVille to score the win with a step-up knee to the face.
I like Sonya’s finisher, and it’s the first time I remember seeing it. I’m not sure where this is going, but I’m happy to have multiple Women’s Division storylines going on at once, finally. 2 Stars.
Backstage, Alexa Bliss is drinking coffee before Nikki Cross arrives. She seems way saner at the moment, or maybe it’s just because I’m seeing her in contrast to the unique psychopath, Drew McIntyre. Why are both the Scottish ones portrayed as crazy? The Scots are the sanest faction in Britain at the moment.
This solved nothing
Here’s the New Day, back together for the first time in weeks. They are taking on Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn later tonight. But first, they want to celebrate the in-ring return of Big E and discuss their opponents, all of whom they point out that Kofi Kingston has now beaten. Ziggler comes out and talks about how he’s disappointed that Kofi took the easy way out on Friday, like he’s pretending to be Kingston’s mum. We’re shown the footage of Woods’ interference, and Ziggler makes the usual “nowhere to run, no-one to help” steel cage threat.
Owens and Zayn arrive, defending Ziggler’s honour. Zayn claims that the WWE Universal is an ethical quagmire, but he and Owens are going to set things straight. The conversation goes on, as though any moral conclusion is going to be reached by WWE employees shouting at each other.
Cyberbullying doesn’t always make people stronger
Bayley makes her way to the ring but is first asked whether she did cyberbully Cross. She denies it, which is exactly what a guilty person would say. I’m fucking onto you, Bayley. The Women’s Champ makes her entrance, and then we’re treated to another dull monologue by Aleister Black. Could someone please just wrestle this man?
Nikki Cross enters the ring, looking fired up. Bayley gets the upper hand in the first exchange, managing to swat away Cross’s assault before blasting her with a dropkick on the outside. Nikki manages to gain the advantage after a second dropkick attempt, catching Bayley in the apron and hammering away at her. A reverse DDT puts Cross firmly in control as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Nikki is still punishing Bayley, who is hung upside down on the top rope. Bayley is able to escape, booting Cross in the face whilst upside down before hanging her opponent up on the top rope. Bayley unloads on Nikki, hitting her with a volley of offence, including a swinging back suplex. A distraction from Alexa sees Bayley almost rolled up for the pin, but she remains in control, hitting the elbow drop for the win.
Solid match, and it’s still odd to see Bayley pull out wins, not least dominant ones. 2.5 Stars.
And backstage, Jinder Mahal has lost track of R-Truth, who is being shipped off to Los Angeles.
Well, Bray Wyatt’s as terrifying as ever. Meanwhile, Apollo Crews wants either relevance or revenge on Andrade: whichever’s easier.
At this point, it’s weird to see Dolph not yelling
KO, Sami and Dolph make their entrances, followed by the New Day. Woods starts against Ziggler, who backs off into the corner after the initial exchange. They lock up again, with Woods gaining the advantage before a punch by Ziggler, who brings in Sami, whom Xavier nails with a dropkick before the Unicorn Stampede is unleashed.
Kingston is in action now, but he crashes and burns outside of the ring before Ziggler runs him over with a huge running forearm, before tagging himself in to punish Kofi some more, culminating in a perfect dropkick to send Kofi out of the ring and into a commercial break. When we come back, Ziggler is still in full control of Kofi. He brings in Owens, who carries on the beating until Kofi fells him with a dropkick out of the corner.
Kingston brings in Woods, who unloads with fast-paced offence against both Zayn and Ziggler. He ascends to the top rope, but Ziggler slows him down with a sneak attack, allowing Owens to take control of the match once again. Woods is beat down some more by Dolph and Owens, but keeps fighting to make it to his corner. Zayn enters the match, stomping and hammering away at Woods, who strikes back with chops, then takes down Owens with a DDT. Woods makes it over to his corner, bringing in Big E!
E runs right over Ziggler, hurling his former mentor all around the ring before hitting him with the Warrior Splash. Ziggler blocks an attempted spear, misses a Famouser and only just manages to escape an Up Up Down Down attempt, blasting Big E with a superkick. Zayn tries to hold Kofi in position for a superkick, but ends up eating the kick himself, and a third superkick takes out Woods before Kofi blasts Dolph with Trouble in Paradise! Zayn eats a second Trouble in Paradise, and Kofi picks up the win.
Fun, well-wrestled match, though Ziggler currently fails to be presented as a threat. 2.5 Stars.
Tags: Alexa Bliss, bayley, Carmella, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Elias, Erick Rowan, Finn Balor, Kofi Kingston, Nikki Cross, Roman Reigns, Shane McMahon, smackdown live, Sonya Deville, The Miz, The New Day, WWE