A Rookie's Guide to Smackdown Vol. 2
Welcome! Welcome! Gather round! It's time for our second edition of A Rookie's Guide to Smackdown. I apologize for not having a handy review up last week fellow wrestling aficionados to be, but I was on vacation. However, this week I'm back in action, and since I didn't know much about what was going on back in volume one, it's probably not a huge deal that I missed a week.
Apparently Dean Ambrose is going to fight Seth Rollins on Sunday in a pay per view, but he's carrying the championship belt around. He enters the ring and talks about his trip to Bourbon Street New Orleans getting drunk, complete with photos of his trip tweeted by people that bumped in to him on the street. That would be mildly amusing if I thought about wrestling often enough for it to register in my mind that I was sitting across the street from Dean Amrbose. Instead I'd probably just ignore him and continue drinking.
We then get a flashback to Monday Night Raw, in which Seth Rollins had a match against his diminutive detachment of defenders, J&J Security. Seth smashed the crap out of his own security team, but Dean Ambrose stepped up ringside, baited Ambrose away from the midgets by dangling the title belt in front of Rollins, and allowed one of the two suited men the chance to surprise pin Rollins. As Rollins stood up to verbally berate his assistants for doing way less shady shit then he himself has taken part in, Dean Ambrose climbed up on stage and kicked the shit out of Rollins from behind. I like Dean Ambrose as a bad ass with the title belt, but my gut tells me Rollins is going to win the title match by doing some dirty deed. The shit bird bad guy holding the title is to sweet a gimmick for the WWE writers to pass on any time soon.
After the flash back, Dean talks a little more, and then Rollins comes down the ramp to give him the same trash talking Dean was just giving out. Rollins calls the entire audience worthless. Dean offers to give the belt back to Seth, and lays it down in the ring. Dean steps out and Seth grabs the belt, only to realize that it's apparently a replica bought from a gift shop in the stadium somewhere. Ambrose claims to have lost the belt while getting shit faced in New Orleans. Ambrose walks out of the stadium, leaving Rollins shouting in the ring. Kane then comes out, wearing his dumb suit that isn't at all freakish, and Kane reminds Rollins that if he loses the championship match then he won't be champion any more. Duh. Kane then tells Rollins that Rollins has to fight someone named Dolph Ziggler, which is apparently a big deal.
The announcers spend some time blabbering about stuff.
Ryback vs The Miz
The first match of the night is the roid monster Ryback, who looks a little more proportional when he wears a shirt. He looks weird, but he's cool I guess. His opponent is someone called The Miz, who wears shades inside the darkened arena of Smackdown, along with some sort of black scarf over his head? I'm not sure what this guy's gimmick is, but he looks sort of like a mix between The Situation from Jersey Shore and Tom Cruise. The announcers take a second to point out that the WWE has more twitter followers than any other "sport", before calling The Miz the "Hollywood A-lister".
Ryback enters the ring with the provided information that Ryback won the Intercontinental championship at Elimination Championship. The announcers take a moment to plug Sunday nights "Money in the Bank" Pay-per-view, before showing a flash back of Monday night, when the Bigshow, a giant that I assumed was out of the game since he was a thing when I was a kid, attacked both Miz and Ryback during a promo. During the attack, Ryback picks up The Bigshow and drops him back on the ground. I'll admit, that's a little terrifying. The Bigshow is frickin huge.
The match starts, and The Miz flaps his arms in the air, takes off his shades, and then hops out of the ring as soon as Ryback steps toward him. The Miz continues to run away from Ryback until he tries to pull a cheap move, but can't because Ryback has such gigantic leg muscles. Ryback picks up the Miz's head and smashes it repeatedly in to the mat. This match is going to be boring. Ryback picks up The Miz, who extends his legs straight up in the air. I do not care how strong you are, a hand on a man's waist will not extend that man's legs out as straight as a board with out willing participation in the maneuver. After holding Miz in the air for exactly 26 seconds, Ryback finally drops him to the floor. Miz rolls out of the, smacks the pursuing Ryback in to the announcers table, and we go to commercials.
When we come back Miz has Ryback back in the ring and in a submission hold. Once agaun, the commercial breaks are frustrating. Ryback stands up with Miz on his back and falls over backward, smashing his opponent between him and the mat. Ryback beats on Miz for a bit, but then Miz gets another submission hold. Ryback breaks out, but Miz does another little leg shot and goes for a pin. The match continues to hop back and forth, with a little dweeb like Miz putting up way more of a fight then he should vs a monster like Ryback. Ryback finally lands two of his popular moves in a row and pins The Miz.
Ryback's celebration is interrupted by the obligatory "future opponent" taunt. The crowd erupts in to a "feed me more" chant, which is apparently Ryback's slogan. The Big show is wearing black slacks and a polo shirt. I remember when he wore a unitard. The Bigshow leaves. We get an announcer plug for "tough enough" which is apparently when twitter followers send videos in to WWE to try and get hired as the next superstar. It looks dumb.
King Barrett vs Jack Swagger
King Barett steps in to the ring to kick off the match against an opponent that is so apparently non-threatening that the WWE network neglected to show him walk down the ramp. Instead filming a father that they gave ringside tickets to for father's day. The match is literally introduced with "His opponent, King Barett!" Because Jack Swagger doesn't exist.
As Swagger gets his ass beat by Barett, R-Truth, the guy Barett beat in volume one of this series, guest announces and engages in completely non-nonsensical jibber jabber about being among royalty. He then puts on Barett's cape and crown, and now even Barett stops paying attention to his match with Swagger.
Barett climbs out of the ring to fight R-truth, who then runs away, leading Barett in to a clothesline from Swagger. Swagger proceeds to try and capitalize, but get's the shit kicked out of him for a pin. Barett walks up to the announcer table, picks up his stuff, and yells at the announcers for letting R-Truth touch his stuff
Apparently, last week, Paige and Nikki Bella had a match. Halfway through, Nickie rolled out of the ring and under the mat, trading places with her twin sister Brie, who then pinned Paige without anyone noticing. This led to an argument between Paige and some other diva who hadn't been introduced. Then the promo jumped to a whole different set of tracks and started talking about Lana and Dolph Ziggler, who, if you'll remember, is the guy Rollins is supposed to fight tonight. Ziggler was distracted during a match when Rusev came out of the back and started yelling at Lana. It's not explained it Dolph won the match he was in at the time, but whatever. The promo segues nicely in to Dolph's match against Rollins.
Rollins vs Ziggler
This match isn't the main event, which is interesting considering it involves the heavyweight champion. After Dolph enters the ring, we go to a commercial break. When we come back from commercials, Rollins steps out from back stage. Seth Rollins is from Iowa. I just heard that from the announcer. J&J Security doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight.
The match starts and the duo start trading submission holds. This lasts for a while, until they stop trading submissions and start missing each other with kicks. After a brief interlude of Rollins walking around the outside of the ring the pair go back to trading submissions. This match is boring. Dolph finally gets a decent hit in and goes for a pin, but fails to end the match. This is followed by a kind of interesting series of moves against Dolph, but can't seem to get a pin. The match remains mildly bland until it ends up outside the ring and Dolph and Rollins proceed to hit each other in to the barriers between themselves and the audience. This chunk of entertaining media is interrupted by a commercial break.
When we get back, Rollins is kicking the crap out of Ziggler, which makes sense since he was laying on the ground like he was unconscious before we left. Suddenly Dolph gets in a flurry of blows, but Rollins takes back command of the match for another submission hold. Ziggler gets out and manages to hurl Rollins over the ropes and out of the ring. This looks impressive, but is followed by thirty seconds of both men laying in the ring. Ziggler manages to smash Rollins' head in to the mat, but fails to get the pin, and as they lay there on the ring, the network takes the time to show a replay of the face plant.
The pair go back to trading blows and misses back and forth without any special moves until Dolph pulls his finisher but again fails the pin.
Dolph eventually does a flying cross body against Rollins, who turns the offensive maneuver in to a pin for the champion.
After the match, the announcers mention that the chick who got angry at Paige earlier is named Alicia Fox. What the hell is wrong with the writers for this show?
Alicia Fox vs Paige
We come back from commercials with another match that begins with one of it's participants already in the ring. At least Alicia Fox gets a name tag in the lower third of the screen before Paige's entrance, which I more than Swagger had earlier.
The match begins with Paige putting Fox in a corner and beating the crap out of her. Fox finally gets some action after pulling Paige's hair. The announcers mention that Fox used to be the diva champion. It's surprising how poorly she's being covered if she was once and could be the champion again. Fox wales on Paige for a bit, ending the series of punches with a kick to the face. Fox climbs the ropes for a jump, and Paige ascends as well, grabbing Fox's head and slamming it in to the ropes. Paige does her "This is my house" yell, and I assume that's something she does every match. Paige drags fox back in to the ring, and after avoiding a few of Fox's attacks, manages to get a few face kicks in of her own. Paige gets Fox in a submission hold, and Fox taps.
Kevin Owens vs Cena Promo
After the commercials, the announcers recap a feud between Cena and Owens. Owens said Cena's "Never give up" gimmick was bullshit that doesn't happen in the real world. Cena replied by saying that it was exactly what happened to Owens during his rise through NXT and on to the WWE. Cena told Owens that he would get a reminder of who the real champ of WWE was. Unfortunately for Cena, he was wrong, and Owens beat him like a rented mule. This Sunday they'll have a rematch, because no feud can end with one loss or victory, and it would be terrible if Cena went more than a week without a victory of some kind to waggle his tongue about.
Prime Time Players Promo
We go from promo to promo tonight, as the prime time players, recognizable to me only as the black dudes that were arguing with the other black dudes during my first week on the job, get interviewed by the WWE's hot blond newscaster. The promo is literally just a chunk of time where two African American dudes tell the interviewer that they're going to beat New Day, the other African American dudes from last article. I still have no idea why they dislike each other. Is It literally because the WWE writer's room thinks all black people are overly competitive with one another? Cause that's racist.
Roman Reigns, Neville, & Randy Orton vs Kane, Kofi Kingston, & Sheamus
This is my first experience watching Neville in action. I'm excited. His tag name is "The man that gravity forgot". Hopefully he lives up to that. His entrance is preceded by Roman reigns and followed by that of Randy Orton. I hope to see plenty of Orton's RKOs. Those are fun. We go to commercials and come back after two of the previous men's three opponents have already entered the arena.
As we enter from commercials, New Day is trying to get Kane to clap along with them to the beat of the background music. The awkward scene is interrupted by Scheamus stepping down the ramp, and the six man tag team match finally gets underway.
As Kofi and Reigns are chosen as the starting players in the combat, the two members of New Day sitting ringside start trying to get the audience to chant for their friend. The starting duo start out with Reigns brutalizing Kofi and tagging Neville in to the match for his own smacks. Neville looks to be in trouble at the hands of Kofi, but he quickly displays his acrobatics by jumping off one turn buckle, back flipping over to the opposite one, and jumping off that turn buckle in order to cross body the charging member of new day. Neville's name and costume may be boring, but his fighting style certainly isn't.
Kofi manages to get Neville in to his own corner and tags Scheamus, who throws a few brutal blows at the petite high flyer. Neville manages to leap over Scheamus' head and run back to his corner, tagging in Orton who proceeds to crush Scheamus. New day begins to yell at Scheamus tat the Celtic warrior needs to "Do better". Scheamus gets up and throws Orton in to the corner between Kane and Kofi, but Orton just uses the opportunity to punch all three of his opponents in the face. Scheamu drops Orton to the mat just as the show goes to commercial again.
When we get back, Scheamus has Orton in a submission, but Orton replies with a lift and drop of his own. I have no idea what all these moves are called. Orton tags Neville, who flies in to the ring with a flurry of kicks and flips against Scheamus, Kane, and Kofi. Neville climbs the ropes to do some sort of move that I assume was going to be awesome, only to have Kane yank his foot off the top rope while Kofi distracted the ref. The crowd starts chanting that "New Day Sucks". Scheamus takes the opportunity to drop a series of elbows in to Neville's head. Kane gets tagged in, and his assault on Neville is almost unfair. I know it's all scripted, but it looks super painful. Kane drags Neville back to his corner and tags Kofi. Kofi and Neville go at it until Kofi tags Scheamus again. Scheamus knee drops Neville multiple times in quick succession. Scheamus throws Neville in to a corner, charges shoulder first toward him, and ends up getting juked in to the turnbuckle and out of the ring. This lets Neville tag Reigns just as Scheamus tags Kofi.
Reigns clotheslines Kofi four times in a row, before attacking one of the other members of New Day and performing a "Samoan Drop" on the stunned Kofi. It's a brutal series of moves, but as he makes to finish his opponent, Kane enters the ring illegally, choke slams Reigns, and then gets RKO'ed by Orton. Orton then gets drop kicked by Scheamus, who then gets flying drop kicked from the top rope by Neville. Neville then takes a move from Kofi that looks idiotic but that I assume is his finisher, because Neville drops like a sack of rocks. Kofi jumps up to the top rope to try and hit Reigns, who, at this point, is the only legal opponent. Reigns gets his shit together just in time and hits a superman punch against the mid air Kofi. Reigns goes to pin Kofi and succeeds, but this accomplishment is followed swiftly by the other two members of New Day sliding in to the ring and punching and kicking and top rope jump hitting the crap out of Reigns.
A moment later, the members of New Day have put a ladder in the middle of the ring and forced Kofi on to it, egging him on to climb the ladder and grab the briefcase dangling above the center of the ring. I may have forgotten to mention this, but the brief case holds a contract that says it's holder can challenge the heavyweight champion for the championship belt at any time whatsoever. As Kofi climbs, Dolph Ziggler enters the arena with a ladder of his own, using it to knock out the two supporting New Day members. Dolph then drags Kofi from the ladder, sets him against the ropes, and clotheslines him up and over the top rope. Neville then climbs in to the ring, moves the ladder to the edge, climbs to the top, and leaps from it, out of the ring, to land on the mass of bickering super stars gathered outside the ring. Neville then goes back in the ring, moves the ladder back to the center, and grabs the briefcase off of the rope. This isn't a legal grab of the case, but it functions as a preview of Sunday's pay-per-view in order to try and hook casual viewers like myself.
And with that, Smackdown is over for the week.
It may have been my week of vacation, but I do not remember enough story line happening in the last Smackdown I watched to warrant all the new information that got reviewed in tonight's promos. Is there really that much going on at RAW? Also, I really don't get the promo structure for some of these. What was the point of the Prime Time Players Promo? I want to see Neville fight the Lucha Dragons. That would be a cool match. Those guys are all over the place.
All things considered, this week was alright. The announcers were less annoying than my last week watching the show, but the matches were less entertaining and there seemed to be a heck of a lot of recap going on. A lot of the fights seemed to be bull shit pairings designed to kill time till Sunday, and the main event was literally just the same people that are going to wrestle at the Pay-per-view wrestling today. Why did so many of the participants get walked on during commercial? I guess that's better than taking commercials mid match and coming back to a completely new momentum, but it seems disrespectful to the workers.
With all this in mind, Smackdown keeps the same rating as last weeks.
Final Say: 2 "Tough Enough" promos out of 5