Reviews

WWE Smackdown Review 07/23/15

Bypassing the usual sarcastic intro, let’s dive straight into this week’s Smackdown and get down and dirty into the nitty gritty of show so irrelevant to the company that the owner prioritizes the steaming pile of horse shit that is Tough Enough over it. Well, I guess the first five words of this were just a bold-faced lie, now weren’t the? I’m a critic. It’s my job to separate the steaming piles of horse shit from the steaming piles of awesome shit for you. Which category will this show fall into? Well, let’s just find out.

They announce Rusev vs. Kevin Owens, a tag team match with the new Divas, and Cesaro vs. Rollins. So, I’m already going to tell you that this show will be magnificent.

Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus

*Sheamus cut a promo during his entrance calling Ambrose a coward for putting Big Show through the announce table last week. That’s some strange logic, but wrestling is weird. That’s basically the only explanation you need for most things. Ambrose fired back by saying it’s true that he does look stupid. Short and sweet.

*Dean Ambrose is one of those guys who does all the little things right. He’s a man who really appears to be enjoying his job.

*I’d hate to point out a logic loophole, but Sheamus’ finishing move is, essentially, a kick in the face. So, basically, he could hit it at any point in time that he chooses to charge an opponent an instead uses a clothesline or running kick or whatever else he chooses.

*The story of the match was Sheamus working over the leg of Ambrose, that is, up until Bray Wyatt walked out onto the entrance ramp and Luke Harper stood on the announce table. That led to the distraction and a couple Brogue Kicks from Sheamus for the win.

Winner: Sheamus

Haha. Sheamus’ hair.

sheamus fingers

Also, what’s he doing with his fingers? I caught him at a strange time in his life with that screengrab. This is forever my image of the Celtic Warrior.

A quick recap of the Stardust/Neville feud was basically just the video team having fun with the comic book theme of their storyline. Which then led into a Neville promo where he said Stardust isn’t a supervillain, but a coward who attacked him from behind. Which, to my knowledge, is what supervillains do. It’s like a staple of being a supervillain.

Adam Rose vs. Neville

*It saddens me that Neville is being put in yet another throwaway match because I genuinely want more of him on my screen.

*That’s not to say he doesn’t make the best of the time he has. After a brief offense from Rose Neville made his comeback and it was basically just a showcase for him to his some of his cooler moves. Including the wicked super sweet moonsault to the outside and the Red Arrow, which I can just watch slow motion videos of on loop for upwards of three hours.

Winner: Neville

Stardust cut a promo on the big screen and displayed his acting talents. Corny or not, he’s awesome and gives 150% to everything he does.

Nerd Note #68: Cody is clearly channeling his inner Joker from “Batman: The Animated Series,” voiced by none other than Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

King Barrett came out to cut a promo while carrying his crown and not wearing it for whatever reason. Barrett is one of the most fun and charismatic guys in the whole company and he’s relegated to pre-show matches against R-Truth. I learned recently that drunken me likes to cut “Bad News” Barrett promos and strike Finn Balor poses. Now we know each other a little better.

Kevin Owens vs Rusev

*I’m throwing my hat into the proverbial ring regarding the dirt sheets reporting that Kevin Owens is going to be an upper-mid carder. The man has been here for a few months and already has a clean win on John Cena (you can count the number of superstars who have done that on the current roster on one hand), he’s had consistently good matches that are being called some of the best of the year, he brought a lot of attention to NXT, and he powerbombed that dweeb Machine Gun Kelly. He’s a winner in my book, and let’s just see where his very young WWE career is going to take him. As the greatest wrestler of all time, Randy Savage once said, “The cream will always rise to the top.”

*Owens cut a promo about how he tapped out to Cena because he has a family and can’t afford to have a career-ending injury. See that? That’s heel logic I can buy into. Also, who else imagined Owens in the STF with Jim Ross screaming, “That man has a family! BAW GAWD! DON’T DO THIS!”? But, really, it’s pretty rare to see a guy justify tapping out.

*Who’s the villain in this match? I mean, Owens cutting a promo mocking Rusev gets cheers, yet, Rusev was the badass who tried to take on three of the top superstars in the company all at the same time. The funny thing is, both the live crowd and most of us at home are actually pretty invested in a match like this. There’s a lot of weird story-telling at play here, man.

*Owens, at one point, was trying to drag Rusev away from the ropes and yelled out, “God, lose some weight!” Go back to my first bullet point regarding our worries with Owens. Then read that line and not your head and say quietly to yourself, “I take comfort in Jake’s words. He is right. I should also send him my social security number and credit card information. And tell him that he’s beautiful.” I hope that tactic works on at least three of you.

*I suppose Rusev is playing the babyface role a bit in this match, going purely on the psychology of the work.

*The god damn agility of Rusev is almost scary. He’s so big and he’s so fast and, maybe more importantly, he’s only 29 years old. Combined with his already well-documented power and recently discovered endurance, he’s the real deal.

*Further pushing the idea that Rusev was the babyface, Owens bolted as Rusev was about to go for the Accolade and let himself get counted out. Of course, they rang the bell for him to be counted out after like three seconds. I get that Owens is a heel and heels are supposed to piss us off, but him walking out of matches like a coward is going to turn into legitimate disdain. The man can have good matches, so let him work. Having said that, I get it in this case since it sets up future confrontations. All I can say is that surely there was a better way.

*”There is no other way. And don’t call me Shirley.”

Winner: Rusev via countout

Cesaro cut a promo about his sacrifices to get to where he is. Owens, in classic Owens fashion, cut in and mocked him. Cesaro fired back. The exchange, overall, was awesome. If I give you a transcript then it won’t really do it justice. These two should just feud for the rest of the year. Put them in the ring and let them do their thing. Their thing is wrestling, by the way. I guess I should make sure that’s clear.

Sasha Banks and Naomi vs. The Bella Twins

*There’s an ongoing joke that a guy like Ric Flair or Dolph Ziggler could get in the ring with a mop and make an entertaining match from it. That’s essentially what Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Becky Lynch are going to need to do in some instances. I think the Bellas are vastly improved in the ring, but I’m so over seeing them and hearing the announcers try to convince me that they’re somehow “dominant.”

*I’m still upset over the giant gorilla turd that is “Team BAD.” That’s the worst thing. I would have just named them “Team Angry Mean Girls with Sass.” It’s awful, sure, but it’s still no less than eleven times better.

*Brie Mode. No.

*I’ve sort of somewhat kinda a little tiny smidgen of a little bit figured out that the Divas don’t really have “heels” or “babyfaces.” Technically, speaking purely of their characters, all four of the women in this match are heels. But TEAM BAD (god dammit) are more of that stupid term I hate known as “tweeners.”

*Sasha Banks’ offense is really brutal, considering she’s not a huge girl. It’s very convincing, and to the credit of Brie Bella, she is really good fodder. She has the art of selling down really well. I can see her having some better potential matches with the newcomers than Nikki will.

*Nikki Bella got the hot tag, which is weird since they’re more the heels in this match. The dynamics of these characters get a little confuddled.

*Just before the finishing sequence I caught Sheamus’ teenage son in the front row. He’s excited to be there.

sheamus fan

*Nikki hit the Rack Attack on Naomi for the win. It’s the first time they’ve really come out on top since the “Divas Revolution” began. Naomi took the pin, so it’s clear they’re trying to protect the NXT girls at least until the bigger events.

Winners: The Bella Twins

Jimmy Uso is on commentary like he has been for the past month or so, but he says like one word every 30 minutes. He even puts on the face paint every week. And every time they cut to the announcer table he’s just nodding agreeably while Tom and Byran talk.

They recapped the huge brawl from Raw on Monday night. The character of The Undertaker is arguably the most strongly booked character in WWE history, with the past year of Brock Lesnar being potentially the strongest contender for that crown. There was some guy in the 80’s who was booked pretty strong too, but somehow his name completely slips my mind suddenly. How weird is that? So, using that logic, it makes complete sense that it would take the entire locker room to pull them apart. It’s like if Superman and the Hulk collide. There’s no give in either character. It’s beautiful story-telling. That’s really all I can say. They don’t even need words to sell me, but having Paul Heyman there to say them anyway is just icing on top of the most perfectly baked cake ever made.

Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro

*Apparently Cesaro delivers. That’s exciting to me because he will rival Jimmy Johns’ service.

*This match is perfect for both of these guys. Cesaro is strong enough to show off his crazy strength on a smaller guy like Rollins who can take nasty bumps, while also being plenty agile enough to keep pace with Rollins’ crazy workrate.

*Cesaro hit a running dropkick for one of his comebacks and Rollins did a full flip backward like he got hit by a train. These two aren’t having an extended feud right now, but I can hope to whatever god or gods will listen that they do in the future.

*The agility of Rollins was on display a lot here. The true beauty of this match is that it’s not purely a showcase for one guy over the other. Rollins made Cesaro look amazing and Cesaro made Rollins look amazing. That’s pro wrestling.

*Rollins got the pin after a Pedigree after an eye poke when the ref wasn’t looking because Rollins brought the WWE Title in to the ring. He needs a win and Cesaro’s on such a hot streak that losing to the World Champion isn’t going to hurt him. Plus Vince McMahon probably doesn’t watch Smackdown anyway. He’s busy with Tough Enough, after all. Ugh.

Winner: Seth Rollins

After the match, Owens came out for the beatdown on Cesaro with a Popup Powerbomb. Despite those loud boos from the crowd, this is exciting.

What We Learned on This Week’s Smackdown:

*This show was indeed not a steaming pile of horse shit. It was a liquid pool of undigested food. Honestly, trying to find what the opposite of “steaming pile of horse shit” was didn’t make it a good thing. That’s what I was aiming for though. It was good. It was worth your time. Despite their best efforts, WWE can’t bury the show completely because the talent is just too good.

*Seriously though, Sheamus’ hair.

*And Sheamus Jr. in the crowd striking the same pose. That’s just poetic.

*Stardust is the product of an unbelievably talented guy giving absolutely everything he has to a character. I’m not too big to admit that Cody Rhodes is making me enjoy this comic-themed feud. This is coming from someone who really wants the Stardust character to be retired and to have Rhodes come back, so well done.

*Next time you’re at a bar, strike the Finn Balor pose. I’m telling you. It’s empowering.

*If my Airplane! reference went over your head then you’re a young, uncultured swine.

*Kevin Owens and Cesaro are wrestlers.

*Team BAD. *Sits in front of keyboard trying to come up with something clever for “BAD” to stand for* *Fails* *Crying emojis*

*For the life of me I cannot remember that guy who used to work for WWE. I feel like the Men in Black came in and wiped my memory or something. All I remember are quick flashes of red and yellow and finger wags.

*Cesaro, Owens, and Rusev are looking to start a feud. I have no quarrel with this. Who’s going to win? We are, my friends. We are.

This is the part where I tell you to follow me on Twitter @JakobDraper or over on Facebook. Just search my name, “Jake Draper,” and look for John Canton as a mutual friend and then click the “Send Friend Request” button and we are eternally bonded in cyberspace. Badabing badaboom. I would love to see you again. Come back next week and let’s see where this thing goes, eh?