I cannot believe I missed Roman Reigns finally getting angry last week. My main complaint about the big bastard is that he doesn’t get angry enough, and then I happen to be swanning around the country (no actual swans involved, because I fear swans) when he loses the deathgrip he usually maintains on his temper and mauls Roode.
Ah well. Hopefully this week’s instalment will be even better. A drunk can dream.
Oh, good: a flashback to Bryan and Bray’s ongoing romance/psychological wargames. I’m undecided on the personalised title belt aesthetically, but I do love the concept. Also, let’s not pretend that the “dragging Bryan under the ring” segment wasn’t astonishingly rapey. It was in my head, and now it’s in yours.
The Miz wants answers, or at least a storyline
The show proper starts off with the Miz, who is presumably here to deliver an ill-timed “I told you so” promo. Apparently Bryan hasn’t been seen in over a week, which no longer disturbs me when it comes to wrestlers. When half of your coworkers have attempted murder under their belts, a mental health week sounds like a positive step.
The Miz says that his guest tonight was supposed to be Daniel Bryan, but Bryan’s flirtation with being missing, presumed dead, has thrown a wrench into that. Miz says that it’s no secret he’s spent years despising Daniel Bryan with more passion and energy than he reserves for his job, his wife and his child, but he has to admit that he is something special. And the Miz apparently cares whether Bryan lives or dies, which in wrestling is an impressive level of nuance, and he’s willing to take a few weeks off pretending to be a talk show host in order to pretend to be a detective in his search for answers/any Universal Championship opportunities that this might lead to.
Bray’s clearly been waiting on this, because an episode of the Firefly Fun House begins, with Wyatt mocking Miz’s aspirations of living out his Raymond Chandler fantasies, spoiling the mystery immediately by saying that Bryan’s with the Fiend. He says that he doesn’t think that Bryan’s going to make it to TLC, then suggests that the Miz might want to take his place. Wow, a clue/Universal Championship opportunity.
The Miz still pretends that this is all about Bryan rather than an attempt to have a feud with someone not called “Shane McMahon”, telling Bray that Bryan is part of the WWE Universe’s family. Bray responds by saying that he used to have a family too, leading to a brief video of the Wyatt Family. Even as I’m still popping for that, Bray says that he wants a new family now, holding up a picture of Miz, Maryse and their two kids. Wow, looks like you don’t even have to be WWE Champion to have threats made against your loved ones anymore. We’re in Wild West territory. The Miz storms out of the ring as Bray chuckles, ending the segment.
Well, that was good enough that I’m on board. Let’s see this match.
Backstage, the Miz is on his phone, talking Maryse through the various Home Alone-style traps that she should start setting up in the event of a Fiend-related incident. He says that he’s coming home right now, so hopefully any home invasions will happen after the time it takes for him to drive to the airport, book a flight, fly home, pick up his bags and catch a cab back to his place. I mean, probably, right?
This is probably leading to a “Forty Lashes” match, right?
Here’s Mandy Rose, and kudos to Graves for not taking the tone straight from quiet concern to actual rapist. Rose is facing Alexa Bliss, coming off an altercation the pair had last week.
The two women lock up, with the former Women’s Champion gaining the ire of Maryse by touching her face. Rose rolls out of the ring, dodging Bliss’s baseball slide before decking her in the face with a knee. Alexa gets knocked around on the outside before Mandy brings her back into the ring, working the arms before ripping out her fake eyelashes. It’s like Randy Orton pulling on Jeff Hardy’s gauge holes except, you know, girly.
Mandy’s mild assault continues for several minutes until Bliss straight-up Undertaker-grabs her by the throat, shoving her to the floor before stomping on her head. A distraction from DeVille sees Nikki take her out before Bliss hits a sloppy DDT. Alexa heads up to the top for Twisted Bliss, connecting for the win.
Other than the…unique eyelashes moment, this was generic at best and amateur at worst. I cannot fathom Mandy getting these opportunities when you literally have Sonya standing beside her. 1.5 Stars.
Backstage, Dana Brooke and Drake Maverick are talking romance, which I don’t care about, until they are interrupted by Elias, who I also don’t care about. Elias sing-insults Maverick with as many references to cuckoldry and masturbation as he can manage. Say what you like about the man, but he puts in the lyrical work. Drake ends up slapping Elias and storming off, proving that words can, in fact, hurt you.
We join Maverick in the ring, where he’s castigating those who are finding enjoyment in his suffering. He tells Elias to get out here so they can fight. Elias does come out, followed by Dana Brooke. Drake tries to attack the unwashed hobo before getting completely humiliated and even spanked. Ah, 2019. Not going to miss you.
After getting kicked in the backside and chased around the ring, Maverick is thrown back in the ring by Dana, where he takes Drift Away.
Backstage, the Miz hasn’t left the building yet, demonstrating a real laissez-faire approach to the safety of his own family. He walks past a room that has a red light on in it, and rather than considering that someone might have set up a dark room and might be trying to develop photographs, he immediately assumes that it’s Wyatt-related and storms in.
Okay, so it is Wyatt-related, by which I mean that there’s a photo of Bray sitting with the Miz’s family. And then the Miz is jumped by Sweater!Wyatt, who hits him with Sister Abigail. So, Bray does still exist, I guess?
We’re then shown Miz getting helped by a referee, with Bray and the photo both gone. So…could it have been in his imagination? Does the mind actually make it real?
Who else here forgot about Lucha House Party?
Moving on, it’s time for a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Tag Team match. The New Day arrive to scout their competition. That competition is comprised of Mustafa Ali and Shorty G, Lucha House Party, The Revival, and Heavy Machinery. The winner of this match will receive a Tag Team Championship opportunity at TLC.
The match starts with Gable and Gran Metalik, both displaying some incredible athleticism in the early moments. Ali tags in, dropping a stomp onto Metalik’s arm before the pair get involved in some acrobat-themed dick-measurement to make the crowd pop. Tucker and Dorado both tag in, and they have their own neat little sequence before the Revival show up play spoiler. Knight and Dorado take them out, then Tucker lifts Dorado up and runs him into their opposing teams, wiping them off the apron.
Dorado catches Knight with a stunner, then takes Otis out of the ring with a dropkick before Metalik and Dorado flip out onto everyone. Otis catches Metalik back inside the ring, with the Compactor taking Lucha House Party out of contention.
After a break, Gable is working over Knight’s arm, keeping the big lad pressed down against the mat. Otis was taken out during the commercials and is still down, and now Dash Wilder enters the match, gets tossed around and then Gable tags him out, only for Dawson to tag in and get thrown by Knight. Otis finally rises, tagging himself in to lay waste to the Revival. Dawson tries to keep a lid on Otis’s momentum, but that huge man is irrepressible.
Dawson is crushed in the corner, with Wilder getting the blind tag. Otis still goes for the Caterpillar, connecting with the elbow, only for Dash to catch him with a sunset flip. The world was apparently not ready for Heavy Machinery vs. the New Day.
The Revival and Team Ali G face off for a moment, then the Revival acts like they’re just going to walk away. Yes: walk away from a Tag Team Championship opportunity. Seems likely. Of course, it’s a trap, and a brawl breaks out, spilling to the outside. Now the Revival starts trying to begin a fight with the New Day, only for Gable and Ali to hurl the Revival at the Tag Team Champions, leading to a yelling match as we go to another commercial break.
When we return, Dawson is working over Gable’s back, but the former American Alpha member manages to start a comeback, even hitting a German suplex to both members of the Revival at the same time! Ali tags in to hit a superkick/German suplex combination: shades of Team Angle! Dawson breaks up the pin, with Gable taking him out of the ring. Ali catches Wilder with a kick to the face, but he runs right into a clothesline, then springboards into a powerslam.
A tornado DDT takes Wilder down, and Ali wants to finish the match now with the 450. Dawson saves his partner, only for Ali to dive out onto the pair, getting caught and hurled into the timekeeper’s area, but Shorty G got the blind tag, takes out both men and brings Wilder into the ring for a moonsault. Wilder gets the boot up, but Gable latches onto it, applying the ankle lock! Wilder breaks the hold, sending Shorty G into a right hand and a Shatter Machine, making the Revival the new number one contenders.
Solid match, with every team getting some time to shine and a good stretch for the ending with a well-planned finished. 3 Stars.
After the match, the Revival promise that the fun’s over now. Yeah: that was always implied.
We’re shown Roman Reigns murdering Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler, and if he could maintain that level of unrelenting fury for the rest of his in-ring career, that would be amazing, thanks.
Backstage, Reigns is asked whether he plans on killing Dolph Ziggler tonight in some kind of satanic ritual in order to make his irritation with King Corbin known. He promises to embarrass Corbin at TLC, which I suppose is just vague enough to not make this count as premeditated murder.
Also, Sheamus is back, if that’s what you’re into.
1-2-3-4, I’m ambivalent regarding the Marine Corps
Here’s Lacey Evans, whose war on minorities, skanks and bitches continues as she sets her sights on Bayley and Banks. She’s facing some no-name here tonight, which is a strange way to build positive heat for a face.
It’s a weird fight, because her opponent can’t even throw a convincing punch. Luckily Lacey Evans can, and it ends the match.
Some solid suck right there. 0 Stars.
Sasha Banks arrives immediately, telling Lacey that they’ve got some business to attend to. She starts trash-talking Lacey and her family, causing Evans to pull both the “as a mother” and “as a veteran” cards simultaneously. I mean, neither of those actually means anything, but the crowd’s dumb enough to cheer for it. Lacey bangs on about being a marine, because bragging about her wrestling ability is definitely a road to nowhere.
Banks gets up in Lacey’s face, then screams and falls back when Evans goes to hit the Woman’s Right. I guess Sasha Banks is scared of getting punched in the face now? Weird trait for a wrestler.
Anyway, Bayley jumps Lacey on the entrance ramp, beating her down with Sasha’s help. And after hearing “United States Marines” about a thousand times in thirty seconds, I’m all for seeing Evans getting the boots put to her for a good long while.
In other news, did you know that American soldiers are just the tops? Like, better than normal human beings? Because WWE thinks it’s really important that you know that, and here’s a stupid music video to show it.
In what world did this seem like a good idea
Anyway, here’s Roman Reigns, who super-duper loves the troops, and Dolph Ziggler, who for all his faults probably loves those rough, tough fighting men and women as well. God, it brings a tear to your eye.
Reigns and Ziggler feel each other out before Dolph strikes, trying to quickly overwhelm Roman with some quick offence. This ends pretty suddenly as Ziggler jumps into a huge uppercut, like a smart boy. On the outside, Roman wants the Drive-By, but Dolph is able to throw him into the steel steps as we go to a commercial break.
When we come back, Ziggler is still in control of Roman, not allowing the Big Dawg to get any momentum built up. Reigns is thrown face-first into the turnbuckle, then driven into the barrier on the outside. Now Dolph applies a sleeper, really slowing down the already snail-like pace of this match. Reigns finally manages to rally, bouncing Ziggler around the ring with a series of high-impact clotheslines, but Dolph catches him with a superkick on the outside. As both men are lying on the ground, King Corbin makes his ridiculous entrance, because God knew we weren’t getting through a show without him.
Post-break, Reigns has managed to get his way back into the fight, but Ziggler isn’t making it easy for him, dropping him with a huge DDT after a swift exchange. Now Dolph waits on Roman, ready to finish him off, but Roman counters the ZigZag, going for the Spear, which Ziggler some-crazy-how manages to turn into a sunset flip before getting blasted with a Superman Punch. Roman’s had fucking enough now, and he goes for the Spear again, only for Dolph to catch him with a knee, thrown him into the ring post and nail him with a ZigZag, only for Roman to kick out.
Corbin, who seems unable to believe that Reigns is still in the match, is now yelling at the referee, who clearly has no respect for the absolute monarchy. Reigns blasts Corbin with a Superman Punch, then spears Ziggler to end the match.
I’m happy to see Ziggler doing well, but this really seemed to stall the “Angry Reigns” thing that I was super into. 2.5 Stars.
Roman nails Corbin with a Drive-By after the match, then starts assaulting his security force. The King manages to get the better of a distracted Reigns, with someone grabbing at Roman’s leg to aid Corbin; that gets no explanation, by the way. Reigns still beats Corbin down, looking to put His Majesty through the table, but Ziggler makes the save with a superkick, finally handcuffing Roman’s wrists to the ringpost as referees stand by and meekly request that they stop what they’re doing.
The main story here is that no-one seems to care about Roman Reigns enough to help him during this. Then Ziggler and Corbin dump dog food on Reigns.
Well, my interest in this feud just died. Well done, guys: I no longer care about Roman Reigns again. Took you one week to fuck it up.
Tags: Alexa Bliss, bayley, Bray Wyatt, Chad Gable, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Heavy Machinery, King Corbin, Lacey Evans, Lucha House Party, Mandy Rose, Mustafa Ali, Roman Reigns, sasha banks, smackdown live, The Miz, The New Day, The Revival, WWE