IN-RING PROMO: JEFF HARDY
This Sunday Hardy will face the serpent in his favorite playground. Orton may be a demon but Hardy is a daredevil. He will make Orton OBSOLETE! Tonight he cleanses a demon from his past, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Promo Rating: Seven Stone Colds
JEFF HARDY VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
No way can I imagine a clean finish here. Hardy shouldn’t lose going into HIAC and Shinsuke shouldn’t lose as champion. Jeff has his moments but Nakamura controls most of the match. Shinsuke is really, really fucking good, but Jeff should be out here doing what he did to Orton two weeks ago. Don’t care about getting DQ’d, care about destroying, DELETING the opposition that stands in front of you. I want to feel like there’s nothing Hardy won’t do on Sunday. If he’s getting manhandled by Nakamura for 90% of a 15-minute match, that doesn’t excite me heading into Sunday.
Hardy gets some of his normal offense in, but I really need to see a more intense, brutal, frustrated competitor. More punches, kicking Nakamura while he’s down, not just going for a normal pinfall. He sidesteps a Kinshasa, ducks a few kicks, hits a Twist of Fate, and goes for the Swanton, but Randy Orton shows up out of nowhere and knocks him off the top. He smashes Jeff’s head off the steel steps multiple times, showing the type of brutality and ruthlessness that I wanted to see out of Jeff tonight.
Orton whacks Hardy with a chair and it appears we’re going to get another severe beat down, but Jeff manages to get the chair, use it, and hit a Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb. Nicely done, but as I said, I need to see a more ruthless Jeff Hardy.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
Post Match Beatdown Booking Rating: Two Dustys
BACKSTAGE PROMO: MIZ & MARYSE
Maryse runs down how long it took DB to return to the ring vs. how long it took her after giving birth. Miz says neither of them could do better than each other. Great heel work.
Maryse Promo Rating: Eight Sensational Sherris
Miz Promo Rating: Six Roddy Pipers
EMPTY ARENA PROMO: AJ STYLES
AJ talks about how he knows things about Joe but would never bring his family into this. Joe thinks he can get into AJ’s head. This is the house that AJ Styles build, it’s not for rent, and it damn sure isn’t for sale. One of his best promos.
Promo Rating: Nine Stone Colds
BACKSTAGE PROMO: CHARLOTTE FLAIR
Charlotte sounds angry, confident, and proud. She sounds like a Flair. The absolutely terrific promos tonight continue.
Promo Rating: Nine Ric Flairs
CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS. SONYA DEVILLE
I’m expecting at attack from Becky Lynch. Sonya surprisingly controls Charlotte throughout the early part of the match and through the first commercial break, but Charlotte recovers with a suplex. She should not be standing toe-to-toe with Deville, the striker/MMA fighter. She misses her moonsault, as she does 98% of the time, when Deville got her knees up. Charlotte breaks out of a triangle choke and puts Deville in the Figure Eight for the win. Charlotte looked weak in this match, not the way you want your champion to look heading into a PPV. The wrestling was good, but the psychology of it was shitty.
Match Rating: Three Gold Medals
After the match, Charlotte goes to take a picture with fans when one of them attacks her. Becky Lynch takes off a wig and glasses and puts Charlotte in the Dis-Arm-Her on the ramp. Excellent. Fucking excellent work. So simple, so effective.
Booking Rating: Nine Dustys
SAMOA JOE READS A BEDTIME STORY
What a terrific segment. I don’t know if he wrote that or if a writer did, but that was perfect. Creepy and badass, and it all rhymed!
Rhyme Rating: Eight Rocks
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP NUMBER ONE CONTENDERS MATCH: THE BAR VS. RUSEV DAY
New Day is semi-entertaining on commentary. Aiden English needed this to make him relevant as a wrestler again, but man he looked AWFUL on that DDT he hit on Sheamus. It looked like he just fell to the mat awkwardly. Rusev and the crowd get fired up when Rusev gets the hot tag, and he looks like a bear ready to tear apart his prey. I thought he might have the match one when he locked in The Accolade on Cesaro but Sheamus is able to break it up and swing the momentum back in The Bar’s favor. Aiden English knows his place and took a Brogue Kick bullet for Rusev so that Rusev could hit the Machka Kick for the win. Rusev Day will face New Day for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals
R-TRUTH W/CARMELLA VS. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS W/ZELINA VEGA
This gives me a chance to direct you guys to two of my recent posts, both with extremely different tones. I did a recent Gorilla Fighters on Carmella, detailing how she got to WWE, which hopefully you’ll find enjoyable. On a heavier note, Zelina Vega’s father was killed in the September 11 attacks, so I shared a very emotional video of her telling the story of her father calling the family from the 108th floor.
If you are a regular reader, you know how high I am on Almas, and earlier today I read that Vince has become high on him too following his programs with AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. That’s a very good thing. I really enjoy this R-Truth and Carmella alliance. Truth puts on a great showing, and it’s not surprising to see the veteran take advantage of Almas’ inexperience. Almas gets the last laugh however, and he pulls the jorts for the cheap win.
Match Rating: Six Gold Medals
Asuka says she can’t understand the Iconics’ accept, and that they are fun to punch. Funny to see Naomi and Asuka becoming best friends.
WHY THE HELL ARE THEY DOING THIS AND WHY THE FUCK IS IT THE MAIN EVENT?
This will probably be unwatchable. Graves on Maryse: “What CAN’T this women do?” Answer: wrestle. Miz calls the match off, thank the gods, saving us from one of the worst displays of “wrestling” ever. Oh no, Brie grabs Maryse and brings her back to the ring. She beats her head off the apron and Maryse sells it HORRIBLY. Maryse actually its a nice kick, which seems to be the one thing she can do. Miz pulls Brie out of the ring after she puts Maryse in the Yes! Lock and slams her onto the floor. Bryan goes crazy on Miz, then Miz tosses him out of the ring into Brie. It was pretty shocking to see Miz rip Brie out of the ring and see her fall HARD to the floor. The fight continues and it finally ends with Brie and Daniel standing tall after Miz grabs Brie again. She punches him in the face and DB clotheslines him out of the ring then leads a Yes! chant. I can do without the awful physicality between Brie and Maryse, but overall… I have to admit… bravo.
Segment Rating: Eight This Is Your Lifes
As far as booking and promos, this was an almost masterful show. As I wrote last week, SmackDown has become a must-see show, and has far out-shined Raw with its feuds. This week continued that trend.
Overall Show Rating: Nine Gold Medals