Lana ought to be guilty about that denim halter-top, leather mini-jacket combo.
– Speaking of guilt, a hearty finger shake to anybody who reads and comments on this report, but doesn’t share it on social media! Here’s the buttons…
Hit the next page to continue smacking down…
Best: Broken Wood Is No Good
I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think WWE may actually be starting to realize the amazing thing they have on their hands with The New Day. Case in point, they both opened and closed Smackdown. They did an in-ring segment, a backstage bit, commentary and a long match all on one show. Sure, that show was Smackdown, but still, that’s something.
I feel like I need to quote every word that came out of New Day’s mouths during this opening segment. Kofi standing up for the dignity of good, honest, hardworking American tables? Xavier demanding that we respect tables because The New Day signed their contracts on one? Astounding. The Dudley Boyz have ZERO REGARD for a table’s place in history.
Speaking of which, the Dudleyz of course showed up to interrupt The New Day’s ode to particle board. I suppose I should be doing that smarky thing where I turn on the Dudleyz for being violent, one-note WWE babyfaces, but whatever, I’ve got nothing against the Dudz. There’s a certain simple-mindedness and honest to the Dudleyz that I find appealing. They’re two guys who never stop yelling and have a clinical obsession with throwing dudes through cheap tables. They’re forces of nature, not characters, and there’s no point in getting angry at nature.
Best: Big E Commentator Voice Forever
Titus and Darren then came out, acting vaguely heelish, which led to The Dudley Boyz vs. Prime Time Players. The match was competent and hit the nostalgic highspots as 2015 Dudley Boyz matches do. I appreciate the Dudleyz bringing a certain intensity to WWE’s fun, but deeply dorky, tag team division. Watching Titus heave around Bubba Ray during his hot tag was also a memorable sight.
The real highlight continued to be The New Day, who formed their own three-man announce crew and completely commandeered the commentary desk. I could listen to Big E doing his nerdy commentary voice all day. I should record it and let it whisk me away to sleep at night. Also, the guys’ riff about Bubba’s camouflage making him invisible might have been the funniest thing they’ve ever said or done. Well, funniest thing that doesn’t involve Xavier woods playing a trombone. Speaking of which…
Best: Sad Trombone
After the match, Renee Young caught up with New Day backstage and informed them they had a match tonight, which they were APPALLED by. I love heels that show up to the arena in full gear, but assume they won’t have to wrestle until somebody expressly tells them so. Renee then informed them their opponents with be Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose and Xavier responded with sad trombone noises. YES. I knew it had to happen eventually, and I’m glad it happened on my show.
Best: The Cosmic Wasteland
Neville was set to face Stardust for the thousandth time, but before he could get to the ring, he was jumped by The Ascension of all people. After a brief beatdown, Stardust announced he and The Ascension would now be going as The Cosmic Wasteland, and that was that. The whole thing probably lasted less than three minutes. There’s a very good chance Cosmic Wasteland will blast straight off to nowhere, but I’m taking this as a positive for now. At least they’re doing something with The Ascension, and a supervillain should always have flunkies. Maybe Cody can even teach Konnor and Viktor some face painting techniques more advanced than “put a triangle on your forehead that emphasizes your unfortunate hairline.”
Worst: Superman’s Dead
Cesaro came out for his match against Sheamus with a ridiculously taped up abdomen, because I guess the Swiss Superman grazed the announce desk on Raw? That’s not terribly super. I’m pretty sure it takes more than a fall on a table to break Cesaro’s torso.
So yeah, everything about this match was designed to make Cesaro wrestling a little less fun. We knew Sheamus was going to take advantage of the ribs win, so there was no suspense. Whenever Cesaro went for a big power move, he had to sell the ribs. Sure, he was still throwing uppercuts like crazy, but this was Cesaro running at about 60 percent for no good reason. And then Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick outta nowhere and Cesaro once again didn’t back up his big talk. Maybe it’s time to return to the Fortress of Swiss Solitude to regroup.
Worst: Stressing The Foundation
Man, do I not want to want to dig into this radioactive cesspool. So, Hot Summer goes on Miz TV (already a bad start) and says after she snuck into Dolph’s locker room, he grabbed her and kissed her. Uh, WWE does realize a naked dude forcing kisses on a lady is sexual assault, right? Even if you want to play the game where WWE is a fantasy world where real world bad things don’t happen, the company is still asking viewers to root against the sobbing woman with a nasty black eye who claims a guy took advantage of her. That’s all kinds of ugly. Of course we’re supposed to assume Summer is lying. She certainly looked furtive as she snuck into Dolph’s locker room, but WWE hasn’t shown us what actually happened in that room. This isn’t really a thing you can do a fun “Ooooo, did they or didn’t they?” thing with. They need to clear up any ambiguity quickly, because trying to do a story with these kind of icky overtones on WWE TV is like building a brick and stone second story on a bouncy castle. That shit is not architecturally sound.
Anyways, Dolph and Lana come out and Dolph is like, denial, snark, denial, so Summer cues up some long-forgotten footage of her and Dolph making out over Fandango’s corpse. Oh yeah, a reminder of that angle is just what this segment needed. This of course triggers Lana’s BESZERKER CATFIGHT RAGE. Dolph tries to pull them apart, but Lana gets mad at him and storms off, then Summer leaps up, starts hurling shoes and screaming “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH, BITCH” repeatedly, uncensored, on the kids’ wrestling show. Jesus. Also, where the hell was Rusev in all of this? My kingdom for a portly Bulgarian man tossing fishes.
Best: The Bo Beatdown
Well, this was a surprise! Turns out Bo being mauled by Brock Lesnar a couple weeks ago on Raw is actually going to lead to something? R-Truth was cackling like an asshole after they replayed Bo’s trip to Suplex City, so Bo just took him to the woodshed and hit him with a new rope-assisted swinging neckbreaker finisher for the win. I’m not crazy about the new finisher (something that doesn’t involve the ropes, please), but a Bo Dallas push, no matter how minor, is reason to Bolieve.
Best: Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock
Faint praise time – this was the best main roster Divas talking segment in weeks. It still involved a super awkward pinky swear, and they won’t let Charlotte say three-consecutive words without dropping a reference to her dad, but some constructive things were achieved. The focus is now solidly on the Divas title, and Nikki’s assertion a couple weeks back that wins and losses don’t matter is now being framed as a heel thing. Charlotte also said she’s petitioned The Authority to have her title match moved forward to before Nikki will set the Divas Title record, so the BellaTron is no longer counting down to a depressing inevitability. Stakes! Logic! Women asserting control over their own destiny! This is all we want.
Worst: Well, This Is Awkward
Ohhhh jeez. Oh no. They sent Tamina out to lose a match on the evening of the day her dad was charged with murder. Against the other woman in the division who has a famous dad. And the only thing the commentators could talk about the whole time was Ric Flair and living up to your father’s legacy as a second-generation wrestler. I’ve never wanted to give Tamina a hug so badly. Granted, I’ve never really wanted to give Tamina a hug at all previously, but the sentiment still stands.
Unsurprisingly, Tamina just stood in the middle of the ring looking kind of dazed and shoving Charlotte away when she got close, then Charlotte speared her and hit the Natural Selection for the basically effortless win. But hey, good on Tamina for doing as much as she did. If I just learned by dying father had been charged with murder, you wouldn’t be able to wrestle me out of bed, never mind wrestle me in the ring.
Worst: Feed Him More
Uh oh. Kevin Owens called out people for judging the way he looks, which, in an ideal world, could lead to an interesting storyline, but this is the WWE. Any WWE storyline that revolves around somebody’s weight always ends up being six weeks of that person being treated as subhuman, followed by one brief moment of redemption on PPV that is soon forgotten. Nobody remembers that Mickie James won the title from Michelle McCool in the end. They just remember the weeks of cruel “Piggy James” jokes. Also, how does Kevin Owens standing up to bullies and fat-shamers not make him a good guy? Owens hinted he’d be feuding with Ryback – is WWE going expect us to laugh along as the most action figure-looking guy in the company presents Photoshops of Kevin Owens washing himself with a rag on a stick? No f*cking thank you. Run, Owens, run.
Best: 2/3 Of The Shield vs. The New Day
This was some pretty solid action. The New Day’s in-ring work isn’t up to the crazy high standards they’ve set on the mic, but it was fun to see somebody new in a main-event, and, shockingly, New Day were presented as a serious threat to Reigns and Ambrose. The body of the match featured some good work by Roman Reigns and Big E, who were doling out some nice stiff shots and clotheslines. The final minutes were mostly about Kofi Kingston showing off his underrated bumping skills. Kofi getting shot out of the sky with a Superman punch off a springboard attempt was particularly choice. And then, Xavier Woods ran in for the DQ. So sure, New Day didn’t win, but they weren’t immediately humiliated and pinned by Roman Reigns, which is exactly what would have happened just a few weeks ago. Like I said, I think WWE may be figuring this thing out.
Worst: Let’s Do This Right Now!
After the match, Roman got on the mic and demanded the Wyatts fight himself and Ambrose, RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, WOOOOO! Yeah, okay. At least there’s an element of believability when guys pull out this trope at the beginning of the show, but it’s hard to buy any challenge issued an hour and 59 minutes into a two-hour show. Still, I was kind of hoping Braun Strowman would leap in out of nowhere and choke both Ambrose and Reigns out immediately. You best not step to Bro Strongman, even if there’s only 30 seconds left on the clock.