Dr. Spain’s SmackDown Report and Review for January 10th 2020: Repent, Ye Sinners

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You know, I resent having to get drunk on a Saturday morning in order to write this review. And I’ve just come back from the gym with a little back pain, so I went on to learn What is spinal stenosis? and if this is causing my back pain, and I’m sitting in my living room, in a tracksuit, drinking vodka from the bottle at 9am, watching barely-clothed men and regrettably-quite-clothed women wrestle each other, all while grappling with my own feelings that life hasn’t quite worked out the way I’d have liked it too. Sports massage is the best treatment for relief from back pain.

I could watch SmackDown and write the review sober, of course, but I think that experience would be akin to reading the Necronomicon while listening to any Yoko Ono song while, probably, drinking vodka from the bottle, so I think I’ll stick with the system I have in place right now. It’s honestly more of a “problem” than a “system”, but one of those words is an admission of defeat and the other lets me retain a sense of wrongheaded superiority about drinking vodka from the bottle.

John Morrison is a grim reminder of man’s mortality

Speaking of wrongheaded superiority, here comes the Miz. He’s been drifting closer to the dark side recently, which I guess is one reaction to take when a coworker dons a mask and threatens your family. I myself would consider a visit to HR or maybe a call to the police, but it takes all sorts to make a world. The crowd are not in his corner tonight, but the Miz is here to present a talk show while dressed as the action figure your kid tries to hide his disappointment with.

The Miz handwaves his conduct from last week as having a bad day, apologising to Kofi for his actions. He reflects on his fears regarding Bray Wyatt, not seeming to realise that fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering. But tonight, he’s here to bring out a man who literally starred in a movie about wrestling a dog: it’s 2020’s John Morrison, who is so much less attractive than 2010’s John Morrison WWE might as well be flashing MOMENTO MORI on the screen the entire time he’s present.

Morrison gets a “welcome back” chant, and the Miz is giddy to have a coworker that likes him who’s not also having sex with him. We introduces Morrison, showing a highlight reel of career which, to give WWE credit, is more than just the same three parkour moves over and over again. Morrison says that he’d originally planned for an extravagant return, with the all the lights and glitz that Fox would be willing to finance, but instead he decided that he needs to be here for his friend.

And then Morrison says that he’s disappointed in the WWE Universe for showing their disapproval towards Miz’s actions last week which, in case you’d forgotten, involved assaulting his coworker in a blind rage. Apparently the Miz has worked super-hard, which apparently means you get a pass on the occasional “everything went red and when I woke up he was dead” incident. Morrison starts casually insulting members of the audience on an individual basis, then the New Day interrupts.

Kofi and Big E call out the Miz for trying to shift the blame to the WWE Universe, saying that they would have at least respected him if he’d just apologised. In response, the Miz plays the “you lost to Brock Lesnar in record time” card, which is already getting old. Kofi doesn’t let him get under his skin, accusing the Miz of already beginning to change before telling him that he sucks. Weird point to end that segment on, but I guess everyone used up all their ready wit.

John Morrison might have superpowers

After the break, it’s Kofi vs. Miz in a rematch from last week. Miz tries to kick things off in an aggressive fashion, but Kingston outwrestles him in the early going before felling him with a dropkick. The Miz counters a monkey flip, trying for a Figure Four before almost getting beat with a roll-up. A swift knee to the gut catches Kofi, and the Miz is quick to seize the advantage, kicking Miz in the face.

Kofi takes some punishment from the Miz before laying him out with a back elbow, faking him out with a dive before clotheslining him out of the ring and actually diving onto him. At ringside, the Miz shoves Kofi into Big E, causing an altercation before we go to a commercial break.

When we come back, Kofi has just hit Miz with a back suplex, beginning to build some momentum. The Boom Drop lands on the A-Lister, who counters Trouble in Paradise with an attack to the leg, only to fall prey to a crossbody from Kingston out of the corner. Miz is able to recover with a huge DDT, getting a two-count on the former WWE Champion. Kofi ducks a kick to the head, exchanging counters with the Miz before catching him with the SOS for a near-fall.

The Miz goes after the leg again, hitting Kofi with knees in the corner before Kofi catches him with a pair of boots to the face. Miz manages to catch Kofi in the Figure Four, with the New Day member only just managing to reach the ropes. Miz throws Kofi back into the ring before exchanging words. I have to actually take a break at this point because I get a blinding pain in my eye, along with a sudden rush of nausea that’s bad enough that I hide in bed and try to sleep for about two hours until it seems safe to reemerge. I can’t say for sure that John Morrison is the cause of this malignancy, but I’m willing to believe it based on the available evidence.

Anyway, Morrison attacks Big E on the outside, and the distraction allows the Miz to pick up the win with the Skull-Crushing Finale. Looks like Morrison’s ruined two people’s days so far.

If you didn’t suffer from the sudden fear that you were going to go blind/throw up halfway through this match, it was decent if short. It’s been said before, but Kofi and Miz are rarely going to miss the mark. 2 Stars.

As if he’s taunting Miz, which I’m always on board with, Bray Wyatt appears with a new episode of the Firefly Fun House. He’s here today to talk about love and Daniel Bryan, which, in an ideal world, would be the name of my autobiography. We see flashbacks of Bryan facing both Cult!Wyatt and the Fiend, saying that the Fiend has moved from wanting to help Bryan remember, to wanting to change Bryan, to just wanting to hurt him at the Royal Rumble.

Backstage, Sonya DeVille is trying to get Fire and Desire…well, not quite back on top, but anywhere even approaching the top, for what would definitely be the first time. But Mandy has something she apparently has to do first, and I can only imagine that A) it involves Otis and his blue-collar dick and B) this is only reinforcing Sonya’s opinion that straight people are responsible for 100% of the shenanigans, distractions, and delays that take place in WWE.

Elias is out on stage to sing about the Royal Rumble. I don’t know what the endgame to this is, or even if Elias is face, heel or somehow outside any kind of moral spectrum by token of the fact he seems unable to affect anything in wrestling.

And we go backstage again, where Tucker is now playing the role of Sonya DeVille to Otis’ Mandy, trying to get his partner’s head in the game. Then the real Mandy Rose shows up, confusing my metaphor somewhat, and she’s got a parcel for Otis containing an apology cake. Otis looks thrilled, which makes sense considering he just got a free cake. Fuck, that would make my whole day.

I’d interrupt a Women’s Division match for a free cake

Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross make their arrival, ready for a singles match. Bliss will be in action here, facing Mandy Rose, so Corey Graves heaves a deep sigh and takes the pills that will chemically castrate him for the duration of this contest. I mean, the guy’s even dressed like a kidnapper tonight, talking about creeping on Rose’s Instagram; it’s almost like WWE’s making all these sly winks about the fact that he is going to make his move any day now, and we’ll have to suffer through interviews of all his former coworkers talking about how he always seemed so harmless and quiet if you just made the effort to ignore the giant cloud of sexual menace that he gathered around him like a cloak.

Mandy starts off by shoving Bliss in the corner, which considering she ripped her eyelashes out last time seems super tame. Rose keeps shoving Alexa, which is about 30% of her offence in any match, asking who Alexa thinks she is, as though her dream is to be a violent orderly in a dementia ward. This leads to Bliss unloading on Mandy, hammering away at her in the corner before drop toe-holding her onto her face.

Mandy uses her power to drive Alexa into the corner, breaking up the assault, but Bliss is able to elevate her onto the apron, knocking her down to the outside before slamming a pair of boots into her. A distraction by Sonya DeVille allows Rose to hit a high knee, taking full control of the match. She chokes Bliss on the ropes for a bit, then runs through her entire moveset, filling about ten seconds.

Bliss fires up, but Mandy goes for the double underhook, only for Alexa to counter and both women to clothesline each other. Vaudeville’s alive and well in WWE, like racism, sexism and homophobia. Alexa manages to seize control as they recover, building towards the finish, when Otis makes his way to the ring with the cake.

Alexa is confused, and Rose wins with a roll-up.

This storyline is weird, but also entertaining. I genuinely don’t know if I like it or not. I have never been so confused about wrestling. 1.5 Stars.

Does anyone else just not like Lacey’s kid at this point?

Here’s Lacey Evans, taking time out from her busy schedule of being a veteran and a mother to pretend to be a professional wrestler. Cole keeps talking about how Bayley and Sasha “dragged Lacey’s daughter into this”, which seems like an exaggeration. The Brock Lesnar/Rey Mysterio feud was an incredible example of dragging someone’s child into something, whereas Evans’ daughter hasn’t taken even one F5 yet.

Sasha’s music plays, but there’s no sign of her. Then Bayley appears on the titantron, telling Lacey that Sasha’s not here, Mrs. Torrance. Apparently she’s recording a rap album in LA, which seems like one heck of a scheduling snafu. Lacey grabs a microphone (oh, what a rare treat) and says that this demonstrates the difference between her and Sasha, which is funny because I always thought that the difference was that Banks can wrestle and Lacey can’t.

Evans challenges Bayley to a match tonight, which Bayley turns down with another shot at Lacey’s dumb kid. This causes Lacey to march backstage, right into a beatdown from Bayley, which Evans recovers from like fucking Wolverine, taking the fight to Bayley before a random referee breaks it up: the coward.

Ramblin’ Rabbit’s the worst kind of friend

We recap the Fiend taking out Bryan last week, which I was totally fine with because it involved literally zero dog food; I might not have morals, but I do have standards. Bryan is getting interviewed backstage, with Kayla asking him what the fuck Bray was talking about earlier. Bryan says that everything that Bray said is true, but all he’s done is make Daniel Bryan more dangerous. He says that both he and the Fiend know that he can be beaten, and he’ll do it at Royal Rumble.

Oh Christ, Ramblin’ Rabbit’s on the screen behind Bryan. He says that he’s Bryan’s biggest fan, so I guess fuck you, Balor and Rollins. He says that he knows the Fiend’s secret: how Bryan can beat him. But before he can reveal it, Bray’s hand clamps over his face, telling him that snitches get stitches. Thankfully, the feed dies before we’re forced to see Sweater!Bray rape a puppet.

Braun Strowman will powerslam your whole fucking world

Braun Strowman’s in the house, ready to take some revenge on the man who Kinshasa’d his fucking head off last week. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Braun’s finally going to get a singles title at the end of this. And a real one: not that shitty green belt from Saudi Arabia that vanished right after the main event.

Shinsuke Nakamura arrives, apparently not having to record a rap album in Los Angeles. He’s also stolen Carmen Sandiego’s coat.

The bell rings, and Braun instantly unloads on Nakamura, hurling him across the ring. Shinsuke dodges a charge, trying to use strikes to take the big man down, ducking under more blows before Strowman lays him out with a massive boot. Braun punishes Shinsuke with more huge strikes, slowing the pace of the match as Sami and Cesaro look on in consternation.

Shinsuke gets thrown into a corner, and this time he doesn’t manage to avoid Braun’s charge, getting flattened between turnbuckle and monster. Shinsuke rolls to the outside, where an attack from Cesaro behind the ref’s back allows Nakamura to blast Strowman with a kick, knocking him into the timekeeper’s area as we go to a break.

When we come back, Strowman is still trying to work his way back into the fight, on the defensive since Cesaro’s interference. Nakamura applies a sleeper hold, only for the Monster Among Men to throw him off, only just maintaining control with a hard kick to the face. Shinsuke leaps off the second rope, but Strowman catches him and makes him pay with a chokeslam.

Now Braun is awake and he is pissed. Shinsuke gets bounced all around the ring, only just slipping out of a running powerslam, levelling Braun with several hard kicks. Also, Cesaro’s taken his shirt off, which I don’t understand but will condone. Nakamura works Strowman over with strikes on the ground, right up until Braun picks him up and spinebusters the fuck out of him.

Sami tries to distract the ref as Cesaro attempts to sneak in with a chair. Strowman charges into the Swiss Cyborg, sending him right out of the ring, but Sami has used this distraction to toss Shinsuke the title. Shinsuke swings; Braun ducks, and a running powerslam gives Strowman a win over the Intercontinental Champion!

Solid match, and one I look forward to seeing at a PPV. There seems like no better time to A) give Braun a championship run and B) have a worthy opponent take the belt of Nakamura. 2.5 Stars.

Meanwhile, Sheamus is back and he’s a dick again, ready for a feud with Shorty G. He delivers a brief promo about short people that sort of edges into advocation for eugenics, which isn’t even the first time that’s happened in WWE.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan has found a gift box that’s been left for him. Demonstrating a real lack of survival instinct for a man who’s feuding with the Fiend and who was involved in an actual murder investigation recently (I mean, if it still is a murder investigation if no-one calls the cops and, despite the entire thing being televised, the police decide to just not look into it), he opens the box.

And, of course, it’s the eviscerated and probably semen-drenched corpse of Ramblin’ Rabbit. Bryan looks really affected, like this is actually the dead body of someone he knew quite well, rather than what in any other workplace would be a fairly shit prank.

Wrestlers are fucking weird.

I want to take this feud out behind the shed and shoot it

Here’s Roman Reigns, ready to watch someone else get covered in dog food for a change. We’re shown a recap of last week, when I used so many jokes about the Usos’ struggles with alcohol that I actually had to look up more for this week. That’s the kind of care and effort I put into being vindictive.

Reigns describes 2019 as a “blessed year”, like the political and ecological content of the world hasn’t steadily been going to shit. I mean, I assume he’s referring to his leukemia going into remission, which is a pretty selfish outlook if you ask me. He turns his mind to King Corbin, saying that he’s just going to get his less-famous cousins to fight people for him while he focuses on ruining WrestleMania’s main event for the fifth time.

The Usos arrive, saying that it’s been rough watching the way that Roman’s been treated over the past several months. At least they only had to watch it; I had to review the damn thing. They keep referring to Corbin as “Queen”, which I’m not sure is homophobia or not, but I’m willing to ignore it because I assume that the Usos have already had a couple of drinks before coming out here.

Corbin and Ziggler interrupt, with Corbin pointing out that it’s kind of weird that Roman’s contracting other people to fight for him. Who does he think he is, JBL from that 2008-2009 period when he literally owned Shawn Michaels? Sometimes I still think I imagined that. Roman then challenges Corbin to a one-on-one match at the Royal Rumble, which is the sort of solid, strategic approach that’s only going to improve his chances of winning.

Corbin calls the Usos “the big dog’s two little bitches”, which I think is the one and only thing that he’s ever said to ever make me laugh. So…well done, King Corbin? The Usos hurl themselves over the top rope onto Corbin’s security, using some random indie wrestlers as an outlet for their rage, which is less of a “face” move and more of an “angry drunk” move.

After a commercial break, the tag match is getting started, with one or other of the Usos facing off against Dolph Ziggler, getting the better of him with quick tags and double-teams. Ziggler tags Corbin, who gets slapped around by the legal Uso until he darts out of and back into the ring and clotheslines him.

Now Ziggler and Corbin try to wear down the Uso, with Dolph applying a sleeper hold before bringing the King in. The Uso slips out of a back suplex, making the tag to their brother, who hits Corbin with a flurry of offence, heading up to the top rope for a Samoan Splash before the Revival’s music plays. Oh, good: interference and complexity.

Wilder and Dawson rush the ring for the distraction, allowing Corbin and Ziggler to take control. Christ, I’m getting so tired of this every week. Then Roman’s music plays, and the Revival look confused, presumably because they, like me, thought that Reigns was still out there. He takes care of Dawson and Wilder and we go to break.

When we come back, the Usos are in control, with Jey easily handling Ziggler, hitting him with a wrecking ball before superkicking Corbin off the apron. Jimmy dives out onto Corbin, who catches him, hurling him into Reigns. Jey manages to superkick Ziggler, hitting the Samoan Splash, but Corbin throws him into the ring post before going after Reigns.

Corbin brings Jimmy into the ring before Reigns takes more of a “fuck this” approach and just spears Corbin. He’s about to put Corbin through the announce table, which everyone wants to see, but Roode shows up and hits him with the Glorious DDT. The heels clean house, and the feud that just will not die continues to limp on, making me hate everyone involved more and more every single week.

Reigns gets put through the table and, honestly, I hope that he never holds a World Championship again. He’s harder to get behind than Lacey Evans’ daughter, and I’ve made my feelings on her pretty plain.

David has a jaded and cynical view of wrestling, which complements his jaded and cynical view of practically everything else. He spends his time writing novels and screenplays, lifting heavy things while listening to classical music, and waiting with bated breath for his next opportunity to say "it's Dr. Spain, actually".