Kevin Owens realizing he can say anything he wants about John Cena on Smackdown without repercussion.
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Worst: So Nice They’re Giving It To Us Twice
Yup, they’re just giving us the opening tag match from Raw again (as a Smackdown main event, naturally) even though it ended on a perfectly acceptable, conclusive note the first time around. No explanation, no context, no tweaking, just literally, “Here’s the exact same thing we gave you on Raw, because what are you going to do? Not watch Smackdown? We dare you, you pathetic wrestling addict and/or guy who gets paid to write about this stupid show.”
To add insult to injury, Jerry Lawler ineptly tried to make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear by saying the Raw match was “so nice, we’re giving it to you twice.” Eat every tender morsel of my sh*t, Jerry. You don’t even want to know what I’d do to live in a world where I’ve only seen some combination of Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Kane and Seth Rollins wrestle twice. You really don’t.
Worst: The Ultimate Smackdown Special
For those that may be new to these reports, a Smackdown Special is a promo, usually cut by Seth Rollins or Randy Orton, which serves no other purpose than to recap what happened on Raw and burn a few minutes off the clock. No new information, no real storyline development, just pure time-filling. At least we usually get a little padding. A bit of sass-talk, Kane coming out to make a tag match or something. Not tonight!
Here’s a timeline of Smackdown’s opening segment…
2:30 into the show, Dean Ambrose starts recapping his wacky run-in with the law from Raw.
7:30 Dean Ambrose finishes the recap.
8:10 the promo is over. No run in, no jibber-jabber, nothing. Forty seconds of actual content is all they could drum up for the opening of Smackdown.
Oh, and if you were hoping there would be some sort of repercussions for Dean Ambrose commandeering a police van and beating guys up with stolen nightsticks on Raw, well, LOL. The rebellious Dean Ambrose is also best friends with the cops and they let him borrow the van, weapons and uniform, OK? Stop thinking so hard.
Worst: The Most Polite Lumberjack Match Ever
WWE seems to be intent on building up the tag-title match at Elimination Chamber via matches, where 3/4 of the guys in the Chamber match have to stand around looking like useless *ssholes. On Raw we had a 10-on-3 handicap match, and now on Smackdown we get Catsaro vs. Lucha Dragons with the rest of the tag-team division as lumberjacks.
Now, this may sound like a solid match-up on paper, but it didn’t really shape up to much. Lumberjack matches always suck, regardless of who’s in them, and Kalisto was badly off his game tonight. The first hurricanrana Kalisto hit looked like crap and things didn’t really improve from there (ironically Sin Cara actually looked better than usual). Also, the lumberjacks never did a goddamn thing. No beatdowns, no brawling, they just politely rolled the guys back into the ring whenever they fell out. Even the commentators were bewildered by the lack of drama, and killing the drama is pretty much why they exist.
This little segment combined two of the most underrated things in current-day WWE – Seth Rollins being over the top offended by normal pro-wrestling situations, and Jamie Noble saying words.
Rollins can’t even believe that piece of human garbage Dean Ambrose got out of jail then attacked him with foreign objects! The temerity of that man! Then, for no particular reason, Jamie Noble pipes in with a story about his Aunt Baby, who talked to the ghost of Elvis and made a to-die-for apple-dumpling pie. If Aunt Baby doesn’t become the new Sister Abigail, this whole company can go to hell.
Worst: The Resurrection of Little Jimmy
Big news everybody! R-Truth referenced Little Jimmy during his pre-match promo! Well, OK, it’s only news by R-Truth segment standards, but I have to write something here other than “R-Truth had an R-Truth match.” Let’s see, what else can I talk about? How about Jojo’s less-than-impressed reaction to Truth’s “whoomp, there it is”?
Ouch. Soooo yeah, R-Truth had an R-Truth match and King Barrett lost again. Anything can happen in WWE.
Best: Gaining The Upper Hand
Lana and Renee Young have the exact same hair color and shade of spray tan. Some day Renee should come to work sporting a business suit and sock bun and see if anybody sends her out for a Rusev segment.
Renee asks Lana about what happened with Rusev on Raw, and WWE’s new top female babyface talks about how you shouldn’t show emotion lest you lose the upper hand. She then basically admits she has no feelings for Dolph Ziggler and is just using him in her game of emotional chess. Man, this breakup hasn’t been nearly as fun as I thought it would be. When is Lana going to burn her leftover Stars of the Russian Federation, get sloppy breakup drunk, then wake up next morning to discover she took the American Citizenship Test on a bet? Her heart is still Russian, but her passport now says American. Well, nothing to be done about it, off to the American flag bikini store.
Anyways, Rusev has finally caught on, and decided to use a little STRATEGY. He’s not jealous at all, no sir. He destroyed Dolph on Raw, so give him all your WRETCHED KISSES if you want, he’s still the better man. Lana, who was extolling the virtues of staying aloof, like, 90 seconds ago, is immediately shaken by Rusev’s obviously fake bravado. Cherish this small victory Rusev, because it’s going to be short-lived.
Worst: Poor, Poor Rusev
This was a rough watch. The first half of the match was exceptionally dull, with Rusev and Ryback trading the most half-hearted arm wringers and chinlocks possible. Then Rusev went over the top and landed awkwardly, suffering a “lower leg injury”. From my vantage point I’d say he broke his heel, which is painful as a motherf*ck.
Despite his injury, Rusev, stud that he is, keeps wrestling. Dude’s hitting suplexes that put weight on his foot, and he’s still moving around at a decent pace and making it work. Rusev’s gutting it the hell out, and I’m actually getting into the match, but then Ryback decides, “whatever, we’re still doing the powerslam reversal spot” and Rusev lands on the foot again, and that’s it. You can see it in Rusev’s face, he’s done. Everybody just stands around for a bit, not sure what to do, then Rusev half-heartedly shoves Ryback into the post for the DQ to end his misery. A bit of sad reality in the “never give up, always defy the odds” world of WWE. Here’s our final image of Rusev as we cut to the next segment…
Oh, you poor broken ogre.
Best: Making Up For Last Week
To the folks complaining that I didn’t do enough complaining last week, let me reiterate that Paige’s promo on the last Smackdown was really, really, really bad. I don’t know that her calling Tamina a man was necessarily transphobic, but it was mean-spirited and childish and stupid as hell. Thankfully, Paige had a much better outing this week.
In her pre-match inset promo, Paige stuck to the facts, saying she was owed a championship match, and she doesn’t appreciate Naomi jumping the line. That’s all we needed. It goes without saying at this point that Naomi’s inset promo was great. If you don’t agree, y’all can go on and get out of here.
The match itself was pretty solid too. Naomi taunting Paige early on was fun, and her stomping Paige’s hand and knee-dropping her arm was some good heel work. For her part, Paige showed some impressive strength by grabbing Naomi out of mid-air and transitioning to the RamPaige for the win. Good stuff. You’re almost forgiven for last week, Paige. Almost.
Best: A Unique Perspective
What the hell is Michael Cole doing out here? Him no longer caring enough to show up on Smackdown has been one of the show’s few saving graces lately. Kevin Owen’s promo started off a bit rough. He had to plug the WWE Network and chew through lines about John Cena having 57 terrible T-shirt designs and 1000 different ways to suck. This is Kevin Owens as scripted by WWE writers. Get used to it I guess. Cole was also being disrespectful as usual, rolling his eyes, interrupting Owens and just generally being a snide little sh*t. Cole should have been eating an apron powerbomb 30-seconds into this interview.
Thankfully things picked up in the closing stretch. Owens covered Cole’s mic and laid things out sweet and simple. If he’s willing to murder his best friend Sami Zayn to further his career, imagine what he’s going to do to a walking obstacle he has no personal connection to like John Cena? He then declared that the real champ is here, which was a good capper. Not as good as hitting Cole with a package piledriver, but I’ll take it.
Worst: A F*cking DQ? Really?
So, what did they do to make this Ambrose and Reigns vs. Kane and Rollins match feel worthwhile after doing the exact same thing on Raw? Absolutely nothing, that’s what! This match stuck as close to the basic tag-team playbook as possible. Most of the match was taken up by an overly long, overly boring heat segment on Dean Ambrose. Things did pick up a bit once Reigns was tagged in, as he and Rollins traded a few solid reversals. Reigns turning an attempted superkick into a roll-up, and then herking Rollings up for a powerbomb was a particularly nice little sequence. Eventually Reigns hit the Superman punch, which Rollins did an absolutely astounding sell for, and then…J&J Security ran in for the DQ.
Are you kidding me? You’re going to give us the exact same match you gave us on Monday, except with a worse finish? Whatever, let’s just go for maximum absurdity and keep doing this match with crappier finishes each time. We had a roll-up on Raw, and a DQ on Smackdown, so how about next week on Raw we have the match get thrown out when somebody kicks too much ass in the corner? On the Smackdown following that, have Jimmy Uso run in and get the pin when the ref mistakes him for Roman Reigns.
Best: The New Authoriday
After the match, Ambrose and Reigns take out The Authority, so who should Kane call out but THE NEW DAY. Listen, I know they had The New Day come out because The Authority were going to get the upper hand in the end, but they wanted somebody Reigns and Ambrose could LOOK STRONG against, but whatever, I’m taking this at face value. As far as I’m concerned, The Authority and The New Day have officially joined forces and I couldn’t be happier. This, my friends, is positively best for business.
Hey folks, before I go, just a note that there won’t be a Smackdown report next week, because I’m getting hitched and will be on my honeymoon. Don’t worry, if anything important goes down, I’ll address it the week after. What? It could happen.