A Rookie's Guide to Smackdown Vol. 3: Oh Look, Another Promo
Hello again pseudo sports fans, and welcome back to Rookie's Guide to Smackdown! If you're just joining us, this is our third broadcast ever, and this week is the first Smackdown after the Money in the Bank Pay-per-view. I didn't watch it, but I listened to Kulture Shocked's Running the Ropes podcast on it to check on what happened, that way I'm not entirely in the dark going in to Thursday night's show. Money in the Bank is a show centered around a ladder match where a bunch of dudes climb ladders to grab a briefcase that has a contract saying the holder can challenge the world heavyweight champ to a match at any time. It's apparently a big deal. Sheamus won the match when Bray Wyatt, a Cajun shaman voodoo guy, came in and knocked Roman Reigns off the ropes. Paige lost a match to Nikkie Bella because Nikki cheated. Ryback the Roid Monster lost his title to the Big Show after the Jersey Shore douche "The Miz" interfered in their match. Owens lost to Cena but then "hurt" Cena. The New Day lost their title to The Prime Time Players. Rollins kept his title against Dean Ambrose because of an "accident". That's it. On to Smackdown.
Promos and Highlights and Promos
After a brief "In memory of Dusty Rhodes" screen we start Smackdown with a promo for Sheamus. I'm not sure who Dusty Rhodes is. We're in Buffalo, New York tonight. Sheamus walks down the entrance ramp with a new title "Mr. Money in the Bank". This title gives them an excuse to show a highlight clip of the match from the pay-per-view. Can someone else just steal the Money in the Bank briefcase from someone else and use it? Are they like bearer bonds? Sheamus mentions that when he re-entered the WWE everyone chanted "you look stupid". Nobody in the audience replied, and his response was "Yeah, just like that." What an improviser. I don't know why people don't like him. He's a dick, but at least he isn't annoying.
Apparently Randy Orton was fighting Kane on Monday night, and Kane stopped the match to turn it in to a no-holds barred match where Sheamus helped him. Sheamus mentions needing to fight Brock Lesnar. That would be interesting. He also mentions returning to the top of the WWE. I'm not sure I believe he was ever there...
Dean Ambrose comes out from back stage to interrupt to remind Sheamus that Dean pinned him on Monday. Smackdown really loves Dean Ambrose. I like him, but he's starting to feel a little repetitive. Sheamus tells Dean that he can step in to the ring and take the money in the bank case, so apparently it is like bearer bonds. As soon as Dean steps in to the ring, Kane comes out to interrupt Dean's interruption. Sheamus mentioned earlier that he wasn't going to let the Authority stand in his way of becoming champ. Kane is a member of Authority. Kane is helping Sheamus beat the crap out of people. I'm not sure what the plan is.
Kane tells Dean that this promo has suddenly become a no holds barred handicap match with Kane and Sheamus against Dean. It would get really dumb if that becomes a thing Kane does from now on. Dean looks scared but quickly starts running the duo around the ropes but Kane and Sheamus eventually get him in a corner. Roman Reign's music starts playing and Sheamus exits the ring to go wait for Reigns at his usual crowd entrance path. Reigns gets sneaky though and comes in from the entrance ramp like everyone else and gets behind Kane, helping Ambrose double team him. Technically the match ends as a victory for Kane and Sheamus due to disqualification, but since it was all a promo anyway, who cares.
The announcers take a minute to give the highlights of the match between Rollins and Ambrose at Money in the bank, and to announce that Rollins' buddies set him up against Brock Lesnar.
The promo leads to a "shocking" "surprise" announcement that the main event card is Roman and Dean vs Sheamus and Kane, because why not do the same thing twice in one night.
The hot blond interviewer stops Dean and Roman in the backstage and asks them what they think of this surprise match up. Roman takes the chance to threaten Bray Wyatt, who apparently works at WWE but is also a ghost, because no one ever knows where he is, and yet he still has access to the titantron feed at a moments notice. Roman walks away from the interviewer, and Dean waves off any chance of comment, leaving the interviewer standing alone in a hallway. Did you know Dean Ambrose and the hot blond reporter are an item off stage?
Paige vs Brie Bella
Paige was bitching about being cheated, because for some reason switching twins mid match isn't a disqualifying interference, and so she gets to fight one of the Bellas again, because the Bellas and Paige are the only two divas with names. The announcers take a moment to recap a promo from Monday night where Paige tried to get the other nameless divas to rise up against their Bella oppressors. We watch almost the entire Raw promo as the Bellas look at the nameless divas until they each walk away one at a time, leaving Paige alone with the Bellas, who make little moans of mock sympathy that sound like something from a lesbian porno. Then we get to watch a highlight reel of a two vs one match between Paige and both Bellas in which Paige gets beat. Is Smackdown all promos and promo recaps? Is this why I was assigned Smackdown? None of the other writers for the site wanted to deal with it? Shit.
The actual match finally starts, signifying the first real match of the night at a stunning 16.5 minutes of solid air time in to the show. I cringe at the thought of a night with this match to promo ratio. The announcers make a point of saying Nikki Bella decided not to come to the ring to prove the Bellas can win matches without cheating. The fat announcer who's name I don't and never will know, starts talking about the Bellas like they're some unstoppable force that can pull a suplex on someone without the target helping. All the while the match goes on, with little to no action of any noteworthy performances. Brie manages to turn a top rope suplex by Paige in to a throw of her own, and the pair lay exhausted on the mat.
We go to commercial and come back with Brie kneeing the shit out of Paige's back over and over. The announcers again remind us that Nikki isn't present at the ring. Brie puts Paige in a submission hold, but Paige gets out and puts Bella in the corner for a series of blows. Paige kicks Brie out of the ring and does her "This is my house" yell, as loud and shrill as the other times I've heard it. Two dudes in the audience near the camera get in to a shout off, one loving Paige and the other calling her a dirty fighter. The less men think, the more they talk. Paige shouts "this is my house" for the second time.
Paige throws Brie back in to the ring and climbs to the top rope. The ref checks on Brie, and another diva that isn't a Bella or Paige comes out and hits Paige, because women be trippin. Oh, the announcers mention it's Alicia Fox. She was in some match I saw in one of the other Smackdowns. I think she was bad and lost? I don't know, I'm not going back to check.
Brie recovers, hits Paige once, and pins her, because a WWE Diva can take a stupid amount of punches to the face and throat and keep trucking, but fall off the top ropes one time and that's it for them. Brie wins. The Bellas and Fox meet at the top of the ramp, handing some Bella themed clothing to Fox. I really hate the divas.
The announcers mention another match from Money in the Bank. I realize they're going to go over all of them. I cringe again. I watch as Cena beats Owens and then gets power bombed. Then we get a recap of Raw because why program actual content on Smackdown? Owens power bombs someone named Machine Gun Kelly, a man I've never heard of. The Authority makes Owens apologize on twitter.
Owens then steps on camera for an interview with the Blond. As much of a dick as they make Owens out to be, he's literally the only person I've heard use her name, and now I know it's Renee. I'll probably still call her the Blond a lot because I feel like that's a thing now, but I might mix it up and actually use her name.
Owens asks Renee if she likes Machine Gun Kelly. I assume he's a musician and I'm out of touch with soft core punk rock. Owens says he already apologized, but that none of it would have happened if Kelly hadn't touched Owens first. Somehow that's because of Cena. I don't know how. Owens then goes on to say that if anyone wants his NXT championship belt, a title I don't understand the value of, but he gets interrupted by a tall, bald man with an accent and Beats by Dre headphones that I've never seen before. The bald man calls himself the King of Swing and challenges Owens to a match.
Ziggler vs Bo Dallas
We go to commercials and come back to a "two weeks ago on Raw" subtitle as Kane kicks the shit out of Dolph Ziggler thanks to Rusev harassing Ziggler's girlfriend, Lana. Ziggler then takes about a minute to enter the ring as the announcers tell us that the guy bitching at Owens was Cesaro, who I thought only worked as part of a tag team. Apparently that match is going to happen tonight, and the announcers think it'll be cool.
Bo Dallas comes out to fight Ziggler and talks in to the mike for what feels like forever. He uses words like Bolieve, and wears a shit-eating grin. He tells Lana that she should have stayed with Rusev, but since she left the Russian, she should be sleeping with Bo. When he says Bolieve it sounds like a line delivered by the awkward, virgin, prepubescent boy character from a cartoon show. I hate everything about this man, and not in the good way. I should hate a character because their vile stacks of human shit, not because they make me feel like a cat is dragging nails made of chalk across a blackboard made out of Theremins. For a fleeting moment I hope Ziggler accidentally kills Bo, but then I realize that if I've never heard of Bo, he probably doesn't have the balls to try any actually risky maneuvers. I cringe.
Bo and Dolph trade blows, with an attempted pin by Bo in which the two men's bodies clearly never actually touch. The fat announcer starts talking about how ravishing Lana is, and how often she'd be "on his mind" if he were a wrestler.
Bo takes a moment to run around the ring with his hands in the air so that the camera can cut to Rusev backstage watching the match. A man in the audience is wearing a shirt that says Bolieve. I haven't felt this much shame since my parents first caught me watching porn.
Bo finally stops circling the ring only to get taken to the mat and pinned by Ziggler in half a second. From bell to bell, this match is exactly one minute and thirteen seconds. That's not a surprise when the pairing is the completely uninteresting Ziggler against the completely annoying Bo Dallas. Lana kisses Ziggler and Rusev freaks right the fuck out.
The New Day vs Neville
We go to commercial and come back with a picture in picture ad for Carls Jr. super imposed in the middle of a shot of New Day already in the ring. It's hard to imagine that these guys were tag team champions a week ago, and now they don't even get an entrance. I mean, I understand why, their annoying and suck, but still.
Neville comes out of the ramp and I get a little excited. He flies around a lot. I want him to team up with the Lucha Dragons and take over the WWE as an alliance of flipping, rolling, diving bad asses. Apparently Neville is only fighting "one" of the members of New Day, but I'm not sure which because the New Day are all ringside and their legal member was introduced during commercial.
The New Day member punches Neville in the face, sending the Man that Gravity Forgot to the mat, before "stomping" on his left arm over and over again while screaming. The announcers point out that Neville is fighting Xavier Woods. Xavier does a shoulder drop that literally doesn't connect with Neville at all, but Neville still reacts like it did, because he's supposed to be selling these shits as tough bad guys.
Xavier jumps over the top rope, and Neville follows with a back flip jump attack. Neville goes to throw Xavier back in to the ring, but the other two members of the tag team circle Neville, only pushed back by the appearance of the Prime Time Players. New Day backs off, and the Prime Time Players stick around to prevent interference, which they immediately fail at. We stop watching the match in favor of watching the New Day and the Prime Time Players beat each other up, until everyone is down and out and Neville manages to land his finisher "The Red Arrow". I hope Neville isn't relegated to just being a tag team member added to Prime Time Players. That would be a huge waste of his potential. Seriously, where are the Lucha Dragons? Do people not like them?
We go to commercial and come back to see Rollins walk down the ramp for what I'm sure will be a nice, clean, clear promo. We get a replay of a promo in which Triple H tells Rollins that he's a lump of coal, and that in order to turn him in to a diamond, The Authority plans on putting him under intense pressure. This is followed by Brock Lesnar's return to the WWE. He'd been gone since the last Wrestlemania for throwing a camera man and an announcer around like rag dolls. Despite all my angst toward wrestling, I love Brock. I could watch him beat the ever loving crap out of people all day. Unfortunately, I hate his sidekick, the guy that yells and astoundingly hasn't died of a heart attack yet. I don't know his name. The recap goes on to show Brock stare at Rollins like a piece of meat until Rollins runs away. Paul Heyman is the sidekick's name. Unfortunately I won't get to watch Lesnar fight, because they're saving that for the next pay-per-view.
We finally cut back to Seth in the ring, who talks about how awesome he is. He tells everyone in the audience that they'll never be as famous as him, which is probably true, and then he bitches about how people don't like him. Rollins says he was struck with understanding at Raw when Brock showed up, which is bull because he clearly ran away. Rollins keeps talking. I'm not gonna cover all of it. It's mostly hot air.
It goes on for a while. I expect an interruption from Brock Lesnar, but it keeps on not coming. Rollins finishes and leaves. The announcers talk about their "thoughts". I wonder why two of the three are wearing respectable suits, as real sports broadcasters would, yet allow the fat, pervy one to wear graphic T-shirts like we're at a pig slaughtering competition. That's not to say graphic Ts aren't fine if you like them, but it looks really out of place beside the two suited men trying to at least pretend to talk about relevant material.
I cringe again as we fail to get any more action underway. With no appearance by Brock, we go immediately to whatever this feud is between Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. I wonder if Roman Reigns' voice got deeper over the last few weeks. We see a recap of Raw when Roman called out Wyatt, who appeared on the titantron to threaten Roman's daughter.
We then pop over to a "real time" locker room scene of Ambrose talking at a vacant Reigns. Reigns is apparently legitimately worried about his daughter. It would be nuts if his daughter gets murdered and some cop thinks it's Wyatt because of this show. That sounds like an episode of Castle or something. God I'm bored.
Owens vs Cesaro
The next match is Kevin Owens against Cesaro. Owens walks in to the ring, and we go to commercial. When we get back Cesaro comes out by himself. He's wearing a sleeveless shirt and a towel draped over his head. Owens, who's entrance was calm and reserved because his character doesn't care, watches in silence as Cesaro grandstands and bounces around the ring. I like Owens, but he needs to go further. Instead of pretending to be a guy that wants to prove he's the best at wrestling without all the flare, he should start being the guy that points out the scripted aspect of the show. WWE could get super meta with it, and he'd be a great heel, completely no selling finisher moves and forcing people to actually punch him in the face if they want to win. I'd eat that shit up, even though it itself would be scripted.
Owens moves really fast for a big guy as he takes it to Cesaro until Cesaro turns it around and takes Owens out of the ring with some actually impressive maneuvers. Owens manages to send Cesaro out of the ring and into the steel of the turnbuckle only for us to go to commercial and return with Cesaro back in the center in a submission hold by Owens. As Owens holds the submission we get a picture-in-picture of the action during the commercial and get to see Owens clothesline and backdrop Cesaro.
Cesaro manages to get an uppercut of the second rope and take control until Owens does a pretty sweet move that the announcers call a Tornado DDT. I didn't expect that from a guy Owens' size.
The pair go back and forth countering moves while the announcers talk about how much of a dick Owens is. Owens and Cesaro eventually end up tired in the middle of the ring, at which point Owens launches Cesaro into the air to land face first on the turn buckle. This is followed by multiple cool looking moves and a two count for Owens. Owens then climbs to the top of the rope, and after a series of traded blows, gets drop kicked off the rope.
Cesaro screws with Owens for a little longer until Owens wins with his finisher, called a pop-up power bomb. The announcers immediately start recapping the match we just watched, and then cuts back to Owens celebrating in the ring. Then we go back to the announcers talking about whether Owens can beat Cena for the American title belt.
Why is this guy a thing? He isn't as bad as Bo Dallas, but he's getting there. The Miz plugs a movie the Big Show is in while pretending to hate the Big Show. That's literally the whole promo. It's dumb.
Dusty Rhodes Promo
We come back from commercials and get a memorial video for Dusty Rhodes, right after the announcers plug Carls Jr. The fat announcer, who's name is King, talks about how much he loved working with Dusty Rhodes back when he was wrestling. I stepped out of the room for this memorial video. The memorial, including the crowd chanting, comes to four minutes and thirty two seconds long.
Reigns and Ambrose vs Kane and Sheamus
Reigns walks on. Ambrose walks on. Before their opponents enter we get a promo for something called "Total Divas." We get back from the promo and Sheamus is already ring side, followed by Kane who gets an actual entrance. The match starts with Ambrose and Sheamus fighting in average fashion. As this goes on, the announcers decide it's best to talk about Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns instead of the match taking place in front of them. I kind of don't want to do this any more. The announcers then talk about Ambrose losing to Rollins at Money in the Bank again. My ears feel like they're bleeding.
Ambrose takes possession of the match, and Kane steps in to interfere, with Roman Reigns heading him off at the pass. Kane and Sheamus end up breathing heavy on the ground outside the ring, and we go to commercial. Unsurprisingly, when we return the match is not entirely in the same position. Ambrose is in a corner and Kane is all over him, pummeling him with a flurry of strikes. Dean ends up outside the ring getting slammed into the announcer's table before being shoved back in the ring. Ambrose continues to get the shit kicked out of him until he manages to throw Sheamus out of the ring, but even that move doesn't buy him enough time to get the tag with Reigns.
Eventually Reigns gets tagged in, because every tag team match he's in mostly follows the formula of his partner getting in some good hits and wearing out the opponents until Reigns finally gets tagged and comes in with a stream of clotheslines so that Reigns looks cool. Reigns eventually gets caught by a chokeslam attempt from Kane, but Dean saves him from the finisher with one of his own to Kane. Sheamus then does his finisher to Dean, who drops like a sack of bricks, and Reigns lands his Superman Punch on Sheamus.
Guess what happens when Roman gets ready to end the match. That's right boys and girls, Bray Wyatt comes on the titantron and Reigns stops everything he's doing to watch a video of a swamp person singing I'm a Little Tea Cup. While he's distracted, Sheamus recovers and hits Reigns with a finisher move, pinning him and getting the win for Kane and himself. The announcers do their after match recap, Sheamus holds up his Money in the Bank case, Wyatt laughs for a little while, Sheamus and Kane leave, the lights go out, and when they come back up, the picture Wyatt was holding has magically appeared beside Reigns in the ring. Reigns picks it up and stares at it, and Smackdown ends.
Seriously.... this whole show was promo. Even the matches felt like slightly more action containing promos. Why were there so many recaps and highlight videos and replays of promos from other nights in the week? Why were there so many commercials? Why is WWE playing a memorial of Dusty Rhodes on every night of programming they've had for the last week? One or two days is fine. Four is milking the death of a man you claim to respect. Why did they try to make it seem like these matches weren't intentional until literally the last second? Why can't the announcers at least pretend to be professionals. Why does the WWE fill it's actual programming with commercials for it's own shit in between commercial breaks for other shit that they're getting paid to air? Why are Divas so shitty? Why aren't the Lucha Dragons in more matches? Why can't any match ever go all the way through without someone cheating?
With all these questions raised during this session of Smackdown, I'm gonna have to lower it's score from last week. If it gets worse, I'm not sure where to go from here.
Final Say: 1 out of 5 Promos