A Rookie's Guide to Smackdown Vol. 4
Welcome back to another edition of Rookie's Guide to Smackdown, the resented step child of the WWE product line, where everything is simply a stepping stool up to Monday Night Raw. I turn on Smackdown tonight with a heavy heart. After last week's barrage of promos, highlights, and pointless matches, I'm worried I'll suffer through a similar fate this week. I desperately hope all the Divas get the flu, and that the King Lawler takes a day off. I know very well that neither of those will happen.
The show opens immediately with a recap of Monday Night Raw's Rollins and Lesnar storyline. It literally feels like I'm watching Raw with a sepia tone filter and a fuzzy border to denote that it's a flash back. This is not starting well. Apparently what happened was that Seth Rollins was scared of Lesnar, so he publicly apologized to his mooks Kane and the J&J security team. After the apology, Lesnar came out from backstage, and Kane and the hobbits attacked him from behind. Lesnar shredded the security team and suplexed the crap out of Rollins, before Kane came back from behind and the group of Authority members kicked the shit out of Brock's knee. My bet, they bill the upcoming pay-per-view as Lesnar vs Rollins until the day of, and then they say Lesnar's knee makes him unable to wrestle, and they keep the belt on Rollins. That way they sell the Lesnar vs Rollins tickets, and then they don't have to actually let Lesnar lose. I'm also going to go ahead and predict that any time Lesnar comes back to the WWE, something will get him on the bench for another chunk of time. They've built him too big to fail, and now the only way they can maintain what little tension exists withing the WWE is to make sure Lesnar never enters the ring in a legitimate match again.
We finally get to the real show. The King Lawler has not taken the day off. The Authority enters the ring babbling about how bad ass they were on Raw, Rollins talking a lot, Kane looking "intimidating", and Joey Mercury, one of the J&J security team, hopping around, looking pleased with himself, and sweating his bald head off. Apparently Brock Lesnar broke three of the other dwarf's ribs. It wouldn't surprise me if Brock really did hurt the guy, and WWE is just playing it up.
Rollins moves on to talking about how awesome Kane is and calls him an "integral" part of the Authority. Kane gets the mic and starts talking about another thing that happened on Raw: Ryback sending The Big Show to the hospital. Kane calls Ryback in to the ring. Ryback obliges, and Kane and Rollins give him a lecture about his obligations. Ryback replies by yelling at Rollins, and Kane sets up a match between himself and Ryback. It's dumb. Why can't he just fight Rollins? Then it would at least deal with main players instead of Ryback and a Kane who was once a badass and is now assistant punching bag to the champion punching bag.
Rollins and The Authority head out of the ring and up the ramp, but as they reach the top Rollins turns around and starts whining about not getting any respect. I hope this spat turns in to a change of match up, but it doesn't. Instead Rollins brings up Dean Ambrose and sets up a match against him. I like Dean, but come on WWE writers.
Ziggler vs Sheamus
Dolph Ziggler enters the ring with Lana and gets a kiss. Lawler makes an unsettling comment about how horny that makes him. Sheamus enters the ring carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase. I hope Sheamus wins. Dolph and Sheamus putter around for a bit, but of course Rusev comes out with a mike and starts talking to Lana. It distracts Ziggler. Lana turns her back on Rusev, and he starts yelling in Russian. Sheamus is still dicking around on the floor, but as soon as Rusev is gone he comes back, busting Ziggler with an interesting move that lays him across the top rope and then hits him in the head with his knee. Dolph manages to drop Sheamus off the top rope, but Ziggler seems to be in pain.
The match continues in standard fashion, with traded blows and super kicks to the face. Eventually Sheamus gets his Brogue kick to Ziggler's head, and Sheamus wins. It's not an entirely poor match, but there's nothing particularly special about it.
Afterward we get a little video of Rusev limping along and being angry, at least until a different blond woman I don't recognize puts a hand on his shoulder, tells him Lana isn't worth it, and walks away. I'm assuming that eventually they'll get to that woman and Rusev being together.
Rollins vs Ambrose Promo
For some reason the WWE feels the need to promo a match they just announced, that will be happening in roughly one hour. They explain why Seth and Dean Ambrose aren't friends any more, and toot their own horn by saying the moment that Seth betrayed his friends Reigns and Ambrose was one of the most iconic moments in WWE history. I really don't care.
Alicia Fox vs Naomi
Alicia Fox comes down to the ring wearing a Bella Twins uniform and being escorted by the Bellas. She's scheduled to fight Naomi, who doesn't get an entrance, because she isn't Paige or a Bella. I'm willing to bet Paige shows up to help Naomi when the Bellas start messing with her.
The match starts with Alicia Fox and Naomi flipping around. Lawler makes a joke about abusing women, and the guest announcer, that is apparently married to Naomi, starts talking about how powerful the Bellas are. Alicia throws Naomi out of the ring, and when the Bellas get in Naomi's face her team member? Friend? Girlfriend? I don't know what to call her, large back up Diva bodyguard? Whatever. She super kicks both the Bellas, but that doesn't help, because as soon as Naomi climbs back in the ring she gets pinned by Fox.
Owens vs Cena Promo
We get another recap of Owens's antics against Cena and Machine Gun Kelly, and his Monday Night Raw segment with Cena in which Cena called him a "suck bag" and agreed to fight him at the next Pay-per-view. How many times are we gonna watch these two trade wins? Every Pay-Per-View until the fevered flash death of the Earth's sun?
New Day Promo
We skip over to the New Day giving a sermon to a not-blond but still hot reporter named Jo-Jo. I've never seen her before. Is she the back-up obligatory female? Why aren't the women ever at the announcer's table? Maybe one of them could replace Lawler and I'd never have to feel uncomfortable while watching men in tights throw each other around in a fenced off area again.
The sermon gets interrupted by the Prime Time Players, a slightly more subtle but equally unlikeable group of tag team wrestlers, as they gloat about how awesome they are compared to New Day. They leave, and the New Day members spit ball some insults at their backs. Suddenly my day is ruined as the wrestler I hate most enters the frame. Bo Dallas arrives to tell New Day that he'll be wrestling on their team tonight. I want to die. The promo ends with Bo clapping out of rhythm as New Day does their dumb clap thing. It's astounding. Are they making a joke that white people have no rhythm? Seriously, I hate New Day and I hate Bo Dallas even more. His appearance makes me want to turn off Smackdown and bullshit the rest of the review. I manage not to, as I owe you loyal readers a review crafted with integrity and an endless supply of my own suffering.
Kane vs Ryback
Kane enters the ring. We go to commercials. Ryback enters. I've mentioned that he looks like a giant, chemically-created muscle, but I like the guy. Unfortunately the match gets cut short as The Big Show comes out of nowhere and hits Ryback from the side. I don't understand the engineering of the WWE entrance ramp. Are there little pockets that wrestlers cram in to when they want to surprise an opponent? If so, why would a stage be built like that if the production's operators wanted to pretend they were all for following the rules? I once saw a character walk up the ramp, leaving his opponent exhausted in the ring, only to get ambushed by that same opponent once the first man reached the top. It's insane.
We get a solid three minutes of Big Show kicking Ryback in the stomach, the only highlight of which is when an old man in the audience by the wall yells "I could do that Big Show ya *empty space in the audio*", which prompts Big Show to throw Ryback head first in to the wall in front of the onlooker, getting the old man to shout with unrestrained glee at the assault. Eventually Show tosses Ryback in to the ring, and Kane takes his turn, since the match has now officially begun.
As Kane pummels Ryback, the crowd gets loud, with a unified "Feed me more!" chant. Ryback barely puts up a fight until he finally gets a little excited and does some damage. That is until Big Show steps in to the ring and wins the match for Ryback by disqualifying Kane with an interference. After the bell rings, Kane and Big Show just beat on Ryback for another few minutes. This is the dumbest match I've seen in the four weeks I've watched Smackdown. Wait, I take that back. I just remembered that one Bo Dallas was in. That was the worst one. I'm sure the tag team match tonight will top it, mostly because Bo Dallas and New Day have teamed up specifically to annoy me.
Ambrose vs Rollins Promo
WWE spends more time from a show to plug a match that's taking place on the same show. Then they spend a bunch more time talking about why Rollins and Ambrose hate each other. Then they give a recap of a show on their network called tough enough, in which a bunch of people play Survivor in order to win the chance to get fed to a more established wrestler in NXT. If I cared I'd watch the frickin show WWE.
New Day and Bo Dallas vs Prime Time Players and The Lucha Dragons
When the recap of a reality show finishes, we jump straight in to the tag team match in which New Day and Bo Dallas are already in the ring being annoying. I have no idea who their opponents are, because no one has taken the time to explain that yet. Eventually the Prime Time Players come out, accompanied by the Lucha Dragons. Perhaps I may not want to die. I really like the Luchas. I still can't tell which is which, but it doesn't matter. They're fun, and cool, and they jump a lot. I'm a very simple wrestling fan. It's unfortunate that they're offset by Bo Dallas. Kofi from New Day starts wrestling against Titus. Titus literally red bellies Kofi. Titus tags Darren Young, Kofi tags Bo, Darren beats the shit out of Bo, which makes me happy. Bo rolls out of the ring, New Day starts clapping. The audience starts chanting that they suck. We go to commercial.
When we get back, one of the New Day members is wrestling with one of the Lucha Dragons. I don't know the name of either. The announcers mention that it's Sin Cara vs Kofi just as Sin Cara jumping double kicks a mid air Kofi Kingston in the face. Kofi tags Xavier, and Xavier and Kofi kick Sin Cara in the face. They put Sin Cara in the corner, and they take turns kicking him in the face till the ref tells them to change people. Eventually Sin Cara gets a throw in and manages to tag his partner Kalisto. Kalisto comes in with an immediate top rope high jump cross body in to Xavier followed by an almost endless torrent of flips and kicks until Kalisto goes for the pin. Bo Dallas steps in and prevents the win, amd then the match devolves into the WWE tag team's usual formula of finisher after finisher until everyone but the two legal competitors are still standing. Kalisto stuns Xavier Woods, and we go back to the other wrestlers who are all outside the ring in a tight group so that Sin Cara can perform a top rope cross body out of the ring.
The match finally ends when Kalisto gets a pin on Xavier. The Lucha theme music plays, the Luchas get hyped up and start hopping around, eventually mounting the shoulders of the Prime Time Players to celebrate their victory.
Bray Wyatt vs Reigns Promo
The announcers take the downtime to recap Monday Night Raw's promo of Wyatt. Reigns was in a match with Sheamus and ended up leaving the match to go back stage to try and find Wyatt. Instead he found a room with the walls covered in pictures of himself missing the eyes and mouths, and a speaker playing Wyatt's rendition of I'm a little Teacup over and over again. We jump to present day and Reigns is in the locker room with Dean Ambrose. Dean tries to get Reigns to take a beating to Wyatt, but Reigns tells Dean that he'll take care of it. Dean leaves, and Reigns grabs his body armor, which has a picture hidden in it.
We then get footage of Reigns rambling around the hallway until he pulls a headset off an employee of WWE. Kane comes out of nowhere, tells Reigns that he crossed the line when he touched the employee's headset, and ejects Reigns from the building.
Ambrose vs Rollins
Ambrose enters the arena to huge cheers and another recap of his loss at Money in the Bank. The show goes to commercials. It plugs the WWE reality show again. Then it gets back to it and Seth Rollins steps out of back stage accompanied by Joey Mercury and Kane. The announcers go in to a full recap of the Brock Lesnar incident that they showed at the beginning of the show.
We finally get to the actual match, and it follows the unsurprising formula of Dean Ambrose getting hit far more often then Rollins but dealing far more damaging blows himself. Eventually Dean comes around like he always does and starts wrecking Rollins, at which point Kane and the one hobbit left standing start to interfere. Dean keeps landing awesome moves notably throwing Rollins in to Joey Mercury, but Rollins keeps kicking out.
Ambrose takes out the Authority with a jump to the outside from the top turn buckle, then follows through with a clothesline to Rollins. Amborse attempts to drop his finisher on the encroaching hobbit climbing back in to the ring, and in the process he gets pedigreed by Rollins and pinned. How many times is Dean Ambrose going to have to wrestle the entire Authority gang by himself?
This showing wasn't great. Even though there was no Pay-per-view to recap, they still managed to fill most of their air time with promos and reviews of Monday Night Raw. I would really like for a little variation in the matches. As much as I like the Lucha Dragons, their presence was offset by the appearance of Bo Dallas, and so I can't give this week's show points for including the Luchas. The squash match that was Big Show and Kane vs Ryback was pathetic. The Divas match was dumb as usual. Even the match that had Sheamus in it was pointless, considering every match the Celtic Warrior is in on Smackdown gets interrupted by bullshit story building. When does Sheamus get a story? When do we get to find out that Ziggler killed Sheamus's father in an impromptu wrestling match at the docks near Five Points? Literally anything fun. I want to be entertained, not mass marketed to. Why am I watching this? I'll talk to you guys next week.
Final Say 1 out of 5 Consistently Disappoint Smackdowns