A substantial drop in ratings that’s lined up perfectly with the return of Monday Night Football and a massive decline in show quality, Kane in the main event, The Big Show being pushed (again), a total and complete lack of Cesaro (boo), news of Daniel Bryan retiring if he’s not cleared in his next doctor visit, and John Cena himself taking some much-needed time off at the end of the month? What’s even happening, WWE? I leave you for a few days and this is what I come back to? It’s a god damn catastrophe.
A lighter review this week that I fully intent to compensate for with plenty of big words that I don’t even know the meaning of. I deliver in spades.
Smackdown gets kicked off with The New Day, which should be the standard. Clearly they’re getting pushed as more of a threat than they previously were, despite being the Tag Team Champions. This is fine. This is the best thing the company is doing right now. They compared themselves to all the great stables, including the NWO…and some of the not so great ones like The Nexus and The Corre. Remember The Corre? Neither does anyone else. What we DO remember is that there was a time long ago when Big E was brought to the main roster from NXT to team with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee and there was a neat little reference to that when Ziggler came out and announced that The Authority granted him a match with him. Remember when The Authority was a heel stable that screwed Ziggler over and fired him? He has a selective memory.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Big E
*Xavier Woods referred to Big E as “The Minister of Mass” at one point. There was a match happening, but when these shenanigans are going on it’s incredibly hard to even realize it. I wanna punch him in the teeth and that is the highest compliment I can pay.
*The Dudleys (z?) were outside for this match but they didn’t really do much other then stand around. The main things to take away from this match were that The New Day made everyone look stupid and Big E in just a couple of minutes showed that he’s a legitimately great athlete. Check out that height:
That’s a legitimate 300lb man right there. Mofo has some powerful wheels, yo.
Winner: Big E
If Smackdown was just two hours of The New Day’s victory dances then it would be the best show on television. Is Big E the guy taking the US Title off of Cena at Hell in a Cell? It seems like a logical direction and he absolutely deserves it. Time will tell, I reckon.
Rusev and Summer Rae drama. I’ll sum it up: Summer wants to get married to “Ru Ru,” and Ru Ru says no until he has a Championship, meaning he’s using Summer to get title shots. We all look on, bored of this whole thing for the past how many months now? I’ll tell you, it’s more months than it should have been, but not nearly enough to warrant a marriage. We are in that sweet spot where everything is fkn awful.
Team Bella vs. Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Natalya
*I’m not summing up this tag team match, so much as every tag team match of all time: Bad guys isolate one good guy and beat them up for a long time. Good guy gets a tag. Fresh good guy hits a bunch of big moves. Finish comes when bad guy gets a sudden, cheap win, or good guy hits one, final big move and finishes off the bad guy. It’s not like it’s a bad formula, but is there no other way to structure them?
*The big story of this match was Paige being upset that she’s not really a part of Team PCB any more, which is entirely by her own choosing and completely within the confines of her character to want to be a lone wolf. When the writers put together storylines they never really consider how a character works and it makes for really inconsistent writing.
*Charlotte was the “good guy who hits a bunch of big moves” and she got the submission win, meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom, Paige was upset that Natalya took her place…even though Natalya literally did nothing in this match. She just showed up for work and then ate bagels outside or something.
Winners: Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Natalya
Rusev vs. Ryback
*Jerry Lawler ripping Summer for her choice in Rusev is perplexing. “He’s a weird guy so she’s so stupid.” The pot is really calling the kettle black here, eh? Doesn’t he marry girls who are like 1/6th his age? Look in the mirror, Lawler, and see your true enemy.
*The story of the match was mostly an aggressive Rusev grounding Ryback while Kevin Owens was on commentary being awesome the whole time. Even though he was actively rooting for Rusev, which is odd since it was a match for the number one contender for his title. Sure, he likes Rusev more, but either way he’s got to face the winner, and if Rusev was to soundly defeat a guy he barely beat then doesn’t that mean Rusev is even more of a threat than Ryback? That’s like wanting to fight Goro in Mortal Kombat instead of Scorpion who you beat in the third round from sheer button mashing. Now you’re hoping Goro smashes Scorpion because you don’t like Scorpion. Eff that. Fight the weaker guy.
*Ryback got a clean win after a Shellshock, which was expected. Remember when beating Rusev was a big deal? It was a slow-paced match that didn’t really do much to play to the strengths of either performer in the ring.
A recap of the Rollins/Kane angle? SKIP.
A video package for King Barrett trying to act like he has done anything other than lose in the past year? SKIP.
King Barrett vs. Neville
*Neville is so damn fun to watch. The fact that they haven’t really found a solid place for him on the card disturbs me deeply. His style is just so impressive. This match is worth watching just for the few minutes it lasted.
*Neville ran straight into a Bullhammer for the win from Barrett. What does this mean for him? That they will make effort number 3,453,679 to make him look good and slowly he will slide back into the dreaded “jobber status.”
Winner: King Barrett
Stardust promo. Man, we can love or hate the gimmick all day, but Cody Rhodes is a method actor who gives everything he has to everything he does. No one else could have made this gimmick work as long as it has and no one else could do what he’s done with it.
Randy Orton and Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman
*They built up the tag to Strowman as he tossed Orton around and then Orton tagged in Reigns. This was the big showdown, and, because being an “in-your-face” badass kind of character is Reigns’ thing, it actually worked pretty well. Even better yet was that they didn’t do the whole, “If you say you can then suddenly you can,” thing and Reigns didn’t just come in and mop the floor with him. Strowman kept dominating him and Orton. They are booking him like a monster and they need to keep that going.
*The story is still mostly Strowman basically being unstoppable and Wyatt loving how much he gets to mess with Reigns. Which is all fine. Finally some heels that are actually booked to be more than fodder for the heroes.
*It ended when Wyatt hit Reigns with a chair and got the DQ, and then Reigns was on his feet and punching away like a minute later so the show could end with the good guys standing tall. Little hard to suspend disbelief considering Strowman, who’s been booked to be a brick wall, acted like he was incapable of stopping the dissection of his tag team partner.
*Remember two points ago when I said they were heels that were meant to be more than fodder for the heroes? I typed that too soon, I suppose.
Winners: Randy Orton and Roman Reigns via DQ
Normally this is where we sum up all the great things we learned on this week’s show, but due to an excessive work load calling my name, I’m leaving this section to you, fine reader. Leave some comments here or on Facebook or Twitter, where you can follow me @JakobDraper and tell me how great of a learner you are. Or over on Facebook at facebook.com/JakeDraperRulesTheGalaxy, which, yes, is the best URL ever. These shorter reviews are a lot easier to whip up, so let’s do this again next week, shall we? TTFN.