Due to recent political developments, I am extremely not in the mood for this. Still, I’m not allowed to find someone wearing a blue rosette and punch them repeatedly in the throat, so maybe turning my withering sarcasm and bile settings up to eleven and watching the brain trust that is the WWE locker room rip each other’s eyelashes out and cover each other in dog food is exactly what I need to let off some steam. Seeing as how our lying, philandering, bastard-spawning fuck of a Prime Minister plans on holding the NHS down as American companies line up to perform what I’ll refer to as a “Brett Kavanaugh”, I should probably try to keep up a good level of mental health, which I think I’ll do by saying very nasty things about people who hurt themselves for money.
Send in the clowns.
They’re already here
Speaking of clowns, we begin the evening by recapping DogFoodGate/the moment I let go of any emotional attachment to Roman Reigns. I realise that I’ve made this threat a lot, but that could have been my own child out there, cuffed to a ring post and showered in dog chow, and I’d have had them declared legally dead, purchased a symbolic plot and had a priest say some rites to ward off any possibility of bodily resurrection.
So, that’s where we’re are with that storyline.
For the start of the actual show, King Corbin is being carried to the ring by his horde of sentient sex dolls, wearing a facial expression that conveys arrogant pride and a body which implies gynecomastia. Dolph Ziggler’s there as well, promoted to second fiddle from his usual position of “that guy who’s usually just sort of there”. Apparently Roman is “unchained” tonight, which I have always understood means “is going to kill a bunch of white people and also Samuel L. Jackson”.
Anyway, Corbin and Ziggler, who looks tonight like a cross between a drunk rockstar who doesn’t want to be recognised and a drunk pervert who doesn’t want to be bothered, riff on the smell of dog food that’s somehow transported itself to a different arena, then Corbin recounts all his achievements from 2019, omitting what I’m sure is an impressive list of child-sized mannequins that he’s managed to molest. He promises to abuse Reigns at TLC with every weapon at his disposal, then continues to beat the dead horse that is the dog metaphor (I’m willing to admit that’s not my best turn of phrase).
Finally, Corbin addresses the rumours that Reigns will be showing up tonight, at the place where he works, claiming to have hired private security to guard the arena. I’m pretty sure that this is exactly how a lot of terrorist attacks start in political thrillers. Ziggler mumbles about something that I’m not interested in because it came from Dolph Ziggler, then the New Day interrupt, coming out onto the entrance ramp.
Big E runs down Corbin, who strikes back by mocking Kofi for the lacklustre end to his Championship reign. Kingston states that he still won the title, even defending it successfully against Dolph Ziggler, and he kept going after losing it, picking up a seventh Tag Team Championship reign along the way. The New Day get into the ring, continuing to castigate Corbin’s character, and Kingston says that he’s out here because he’s pissed about what happened to Roman Reigns last week, even if he did just sit backstage and watch it happen.
Corbin and Ziggler, meanwhile, are pretending to ignore Kofi, laughing about how he’s only had “one lucky day”. To be fair, Dolph Ziggler’s only had one lucky day and a concussion. Kingston slaps Corbin, making one second of good television so far, which gets the King steamed, and he promises to “humiliate” Kofi. So, a skinhead white guy humiliating a black man for entertainment purposes? This show really is on Fox.
Post-commercial, we’re getting a one-on-one match between former WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and current and former never-any-top-tier-Champion, King Corbin.
Backstage, Dolph and Corbin find a bunch of Corbin’s security dead. They ask each other “who did this” and…Jesus, really? I mean…do you think it might have been the guy you beat the fuck out of last week and covered in dog food? I’ll admit, I’d be the first to applaud a red herring, but like Chekov’s guns and character development, WWE doesn’t deal with that kind of writing.
I think that’s the best literary reference I’ve ever made
Anyway, Alexa Bliss is back, and we relive Mandy Rose’s Rape of the Lash from last week. She and Nikki are getting interviewed about this, treating the forced removal of someone’s eyelashes like it was a public amputation. Someone was trying to murder Roman Reigns a few months ago. The Fiend has all but stated its intention to fuck and/or eat the Miz’s family. Why is this incident worthy of comparison?
Before we can explore Bliss’s no doubt fragile, PTSD-ravaged psyche, Fire and Desire attack, smacking Cross and Bliss around on their way to the entrance ramp. They end up in the ring, so the planned match is still going to happen.
It kicks off with a brawl, with Bliss and Cross immediately gaining the upper hand, isolating Rose. Mandy manages to rake Nikki’s eyes, tagging in Sonya for some actual wrestling. But apparently less is more, because Mandy then tags back in to embarrass herself and all of us.
Alexa manages to save Nikki from a double-team, allowing Cross to neckbreaker Sonya for the ring.
Like an eyelash, this was tiny, insubstantial and contained beings that are also incapable of wrestling: in terms of eyelashes, demodex; in terms of this match, Mandy Rose. 0 Stars. Go fuck yourselves.
Sami Zayn is walking around backstage, scatting casually until he runs into Heavy Machinery, who apparently got his name in the Secret Santa. If WWE had a Secret Santa, everyone would give each other protein shakes and unmarked bottles of pills, although Corbin would go the extra mile of giving all women present the feeling of nebulous sexual threat.
The gift is a Christmas ham, which is the worst fucking gift you could give a vegan. Even I wouldn’t try to be nice if someone did that to me, so I’m on Zayn’s side here. Admittedly, Otis apologises and Sami doesn’t accept it, so at least the face and heel identities have been properly re-established. Also, Otis’ sad face when Zayn was insulting him managed to make me feel quite upset, so I guess there’s at least one person backstage I emotionally identify with.
Idea for Ali and Gable’s team name: The Wheelspinners
Here’s Mustafa Ali and Shorty G, who are facing the Revival tonight. Dash Wilder trips over the staging on the way out, but props to him for just laughing his ass off about it and carrying on.
The match starts with Gable and Wilder jockeying for control, trading the advantage back and forth between them with some nice chain wrestling. A blind tag and a low-bridge allows the Revival to immediately take control, with Dawson taking out Ali with a clothesline before he and Wilder dump Gable face-first on the announce table.
Dawson continues to punish Gable inside the ring, presumably working through his frustration of having a big jiggly belly while supposedly being an athlete. Gable isn’t out of the fight yet, and he manages to bamboozle both Revival members for a while before Wilder gets him back under control. They take Gable down with double-team off the top rope before Ali interferes and a commercial break attacks.
When we come back, Ali-G have taken control in what I’ll assume was an exciting exchange we don’t need to see. Ali’s taken down on the outside as Dawson manages to sit-out powerbomb the man who dresses like he pretends to play sports so he can seduce children. Gable counters with Chaos Theory, with Wilder breaking up the pin before Ali comes down on him with the 450. Remember how Ali swore to fight all evil, but apparently not evil like the Fiend, or Roman Reigns being assaulted by, like, eight guys? Maybe he’s spinning his wheels while waiting to get his hands on an untraceable gun; then he can finally deal with the Mandy Rose eyelash atrocity.
Our fairweather hero tags in, has a tornado DDT countered and eats a Shatter Machine. Man, no wonder cops just gun people down in America; looks like they’re ineffective at physical confrontation.
This was a decent match, and I’d have liked to see what seems to have been the missing half of it that was eaten by the commercials. 2.5 Stars.
Apparently the question of who has been knocking out and possibly teabagging King Corbin’s security team is still unanswered, which is the biggest insult to a group of people’s collective intelligence since, say, the Conservative Party’s electoral campaign.
Backstage, Bayley’s out here to say that she doesn’t really give a damn if you’re a marine or a mother. Well, shit: I’m on her side in this whole conflict. She’s going to elaborate, but Elias interrupts with his guitar. He’s written a song for her for the Secret Santa, and I’ll really be impressed if he can find lyrics that rhyme with “haircut that objectively made you look worse” or, alternatively, “a heel run which lacked a certain everything”.
But rather than anything true or meaningful, it’s just childish insults and vague sexual harassment. If WWE had an HR department, they’d have put guns in their mouths long, long ago. And so far, the SmackDown Secret Santa has involved buying ham for a vegan and a song that insults the recipient. Throw in an STD and you’ve got the whole Christmas trinity.
Rather than getting angry at Elias, who could definitely beat her up and, from the sound of that song, would probably try to rape her afterwards, Bayley challenges Dana Brooke to a match tonight, because she was just standing there laughing as Elias sang those things that he sang.
I’m With Her
Post-commercial, that match is on, with Bayley having to go and do her job seconds after being sexually harassed by a male colleague. This would be a really tough look at what women deal with every day if we weren’t being encouraged to see Bayley as the world’s biggest asshole.
Bayley kicks off the match with a slap, prompting Brooke to wail on her until the Champion is driven to the outside, pursued by her opponent. Back in the ring, Bayley manages to catch Dana with a clothesline, taking control of the match and maybe, just maybe, taking back her power.
Bayley goes for a superplex, but only from the second rope, that coward. Dana counters with a sit-out powerbomb that may or may not be her finisher. Bayley kicks out, so probably not. A kick to the knee allows the Champ to hit her own finisher, whatever the hell it’s called, and Bayley wins.
This was barely anything. 1 Star.
The nannycam footage is coming from INSIDE THE HOUSE
We relive the Miz managing to take the Case of the Mysterious Disappearance of Daniel Bryan (twenty dollars a day plus a Universal Championship match), get too emotionally close to the case, have his family dragged into it, and get knocked out as is hardboiled crime fiction tradition in the space of, like, an hour last week. Apparently Sweater!Wyatt is a real entity, or else we’re doing that thing again where we could see things from Randy Orton’s perspective during his feud with the Undertaker.
And rather than move his family to a remote, undisclosed location and maintain minimal contact with them, the Miz is filming an interview in his home, allowing Bray a chance to look over the site of his Christmas massacre without even forcing him to watch Miz and Mrs. At least make him earn it, Miz.
The Miz admits to making no headway with the case of the Vanished Former Environmentalist, because he’s not a detective and doesn’t have the faintest clue of where he could even start. We relive moments of Miz and Bryan’s feud, rather than addressing, you know, the fact that one of Miz’s coworkers is making definite threats against his family. So far, the Miz has shown an astonishing lack of concern about the fate of his loved ones.
Renee finally manages to tiptoe up to the subject of his wife and children’s upcoming dismemberment, and Miz has to admit that it’s unprofessional conduct. At least the Fiend never brought back two members of the Spirit Squad, you vest-wearing fuck. You want to talk about real evil? You want to talk about about fucking depravity?
The Miz claims that family is the most important thing to him, which I don’t buy. If the Fiend was threatening the Intercontinental Championship, he’d have hired a gang of mercenaries to defend it.
At that moment, Maryse calls for him, and the Miz sprints out of the room in case it’s time to make another small, adorable child. But Maryse is holding an iPad that’s showing footage of their youngest playing with what looks like Ramblin’ Rabbit, which turns into clips of the Firefly Fun House, which transitions back to the child’s crib, which is now filled with Wyatt’s puppet friends. At this point, Bray’s giving out vibes more reminiscent of Jimmy Savile than Mr Rogers.
The Miz finally sprints to Monroe’s room, actually pushing Maryse in front of him like the true hero that he is. The kid’s fine, apart from not being a very good actor, but then the Miz finds a Fiend doll in her crib. Shit, now she’s going to grow up to be awesome.
The footage ends, but we’re treated to another Firefly Fun House instalment, displaying the Fiend doll in all its creepy glory. Bray says it’s clear that the Miz truly loves his family, and that’s going to make this so much harder. He once again hints at the location of Daniel Bryan, then tells the Miz that, just like you can train yourself to not feel pain, he can teach the Miz to not feel love. I can’t believe that Bray managed to get his career back on the rails as well as he had, but I’m in awe of the man.
Backstage, Corbin and Ziggler are still finding unconscious lads all over the place. Are they the first to find them, or is the infamous “I’m alright, Jack” attitude of the WWE locker room still in full effect? Either way, not a good look.
The Caterpillar is almost as cursed as Charlotte Flair’s moonsault
Anyway, Heavy Machinery are here to take on Cesaro and Nakamura. Cesaro and Tucker kick things off, with Cesaro lacing the bigger man with blows before leapfrogging over him, only to eat a dropkick from a man that looks way to large to deliver it. Both men tag in their partners, setting up Otis against Nakamura. Shinsuke tries to use speed and strikes to wear Otis down, but he runs into a wall made of muscle and is made to suffer.
A hard kick to the skull staggers Otis long enough for Cesaro to tag in, but Knight also enters the match, taking out Cesaro and Nakamura with a dive, standing tall as we head into the commercial break.
When we come back, Heavy Machinery are at a disadvantage, with Tucker trying to fight off the Swiss Cyborg. Nakamura comes in, planting a knee into Knight’s stomach as the crowd chants for Otis. Tucker finally manages to explode out of the corner, taking Shinsuke down with a Thesz press before tagging in Otis.
The big man roars into the ring, shoulder-tackling every motherfucker in sight. Cesaro tries to slow down his momentum, but Otis is too far gone and too naked to feel it. He throws Cesaro over his head before running into a kick from Shinsuke and getting laid out by a springboard uppercut. Tucker interferes, with him and Cesaro toppling to the outside. Meanwhile, Nakamura winds up for the Kinshasa, but instead runs into Otis’s arms. The Trash Compactor is set up, but Cesaro manages to intervene as Shinsuke rolls to the outside.
Otis begins to perform the Caterpillar to general adulation, but a distraction from Zayn allows Cesaro to recover, taking Otis out of the ring and leaving Tucker vulnerable for a Kinshasa.
This was a solid, good-length match that continued to build Nakamura and Cesaro. I do eventually want Heavy Machinery to get some success, as their popularity is undeniable. 2.5 Stars.
I’d rather have every dog in the world starve than ever see dog food in WWE again
Time for the main event, and the New Day make their way to the ring. With Corbin’s throne platform being destroyed in one of the EXTREMELY MYSTERIOUS attacks earlier, the King is on foot, accompanied by Dolph Ziggler and a bunch of security guys that Roman’s purge somehow overlooked.
Kofi and Corbin lock up, with the King immediately resorting to fists rather than holds. Kingston answers with a dropkick, staggering Corbin as the crowd chants “STD”. More kicks from Kofi before Corbin drops him with a shoulder tackle. He tries to toss Kofi out of the ring, but the former WWE Champion reverses it, sending Corbin to the outside and diving out on him from the top rope.
After a break, Corbin is in control, dumping Kofi to the outside and tossing him into the ringside barricades. Back in the ring, Kingston manages to get off a kick to Corbin, who stalls any attempt at building momentum with a swift right hand to the face. More punishment for the former WWE Champion, with the crowd now chanting “Burger King” at Corbin. Now Kofi fires back, hitting Corbin with several strikes before landing an SOS for a near fall.
King Corbin tries to regain control with a chokeslam, but Kofi reverses it into a hurricanrana before hitting the Boom Drop, then stalks Corbin for the Trouble in Paradise. Ziggler grabs his foot, getting ejected from ringside. Ziggler flounces off like a big girl while Corbin rolls to the outside, but then Dolph runs back to attack Big E, culminating in a brawl which leads to a DQ; it seems like the ref was just waiting for an excuse to do that.
Big E, looking fired up, grabs a microphone and proposes a tag tea match. Dolph and Corbin, for some reason, agree to a contest that is their opponents’ speciality, so much so that they currently hold trophies proclaiming them to be the best at it.
After a break, Ziggler drops Big E with a Famouser for a two-count. Corbin tags in, continuing the beating until a missed dive and a belly-to-belly takes him down. Ziggler and Kofi tag in, kicking the match into another gear. Kofi elevates Dolph out of the ring but runs into a clothesline from Corbin as Ziggler eats a superkick on the outside.
Corbin blasts Kofi with punches, then Ziggler gets a pair of handcuffs out from under the ring. Oh no: this is where it gets uncomfortable and quasi-racist. There’s another DQ, like the ref’s trying to fill a fucking quota, and Ziggler sets Kofi up on the ring post. I mean, as long as they don’t hit him with a kendo stick or a whip, then this doesn’t have to go to a bad place.
Except Corbin’s going to use the dog food again, which isn’t racist but is extremely fucking stupid. And also doesn’t work here, because Kofi has only ever identified as a Jamaican, an extremely positive man and, that one WrestleMania, as a Saiyan.
Before this can get extremely dumb, Roman Reigns finally shows up to work. He runs through the security before the Revival, who just showed up, give him a little trouble. He throws them aside and disposes of more security, then takes out the Revival and Ziggler with little trouble before Corbin takes him out from behind.
Corbin stalks Reigns with the sceptre, but he takes a Superman Punch and rolls out of the ring. Roman picks up the sceptre and…Jesus Christ, the can of dog food. This just won’t die. And Ziggler blindsides Roman with a superkick so the Revival can set him up on a table, and Ziggler climbs up a ladder to finish Reigns off.
Big E manages to wipe out the Revival, allowing Reigns to climb up the ladder and throw Ziggler through the table. Meanwhile, King Corbin has run off. I have to say, that was extremely mild considering they built it up all night. If you’re going to try to make us believe that Roman’s angry, have him wipe out the security and then systematically hurt Dolph until it’s on the very edge of being uncomfortable, with Corbin not quite daring to get involved. I’m beginning to come around to the fact that WWE can’t do characters any more, but it’d probably be fairer to say that they can’t do stories. Hopefully this whole “Roman Reigns is actually a dog” angle can go away forever after this Sunday, but I’ll not hold my breath.