SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: THE BAR VS. THE NEW DAY (c)
Big E will sit this one out, a curious decision, but they must feel like Sheamus and Cesaro can both neutralize his power, so they want to double down on a speed advantage. Unfortunately for them, power is winning out in the early going. Impressive spot when Sheamus launched Woods in the air and Cesaro hit him with an uppercut.
Pretty boring for a lot of the match with Cesaro and Sheamus keeping the pace slow, but an impressive finishing sequence led to a backstabber/double stomp combo from Woods and Kingston, and the New Day retain their titles. Not the greatest opener, but not the worst either.
Match Rating: Three Kangaroos
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS. BECKY LYNCH (c)
Becky jumped all over Charlotte from the outset. You can easily tell both woman want to hurt each other, badly. Both of them miss their dives from the top rope, and the frantic pace of the match finally gets a break as Charlotte locks in a Boston Crab. I really don’t like that Becky tries to leave with the title and get counted out. That’s not the way she should be booked.
Charlotte locks in the Figure Eight, but Becky has the championship belt handy and uses it to beat Charlotte off of her and get disqualified. Damn it, why can’t you just let Becky be the total bad ass that she is? Some redemption for her after the match when Charlotte attacks her from behind, but Becky instead beats the tits out of Charlotte. I could have done with a different ending, but it was a very good match.
Match Rating: Seven Boomerangs
LADIES AND GENTLEMAN: ELIAS…. AND KEVIN OWENS
Elias treats the crowd to some Thunderstruck. They hurl some insults but really, nothing was that good other than Owens saying, “I told them Super Show-Down should be in Canada!”
ELIAS & KEVIN OWENS VS. JOHN CENA & BOBBY LASHLEY
This is very likely going to be a house show-type match with Elias and Kevin Owens served up as cannon fodder and dismantled. When did Cena become a JBL cosplayer? Lashley doesn’t show me much. I guess it really doesn’t matter what the other three guys do, everything is building up to a hot tag to Cena.
Owens has a great frog splash, especially for such a big guy. I love a good spine buster, and Lashley has a good one. FIVE MOVES OF DOOM TIME! Aaaaaaaaaaaaand the match is over. What the fuck was that? How many of these kids probably paid just to see Cena wrestle? He should be ashamed, because I don’t care how that match was booked, he definitely has the clout to say no I want to be in there longer. That was garbage.
If you didn’t watch, here’s a recap of how the match went once Cena tagged in:
THE ICONICS VS. NAOMI & ASUKA
The Iconics didn’t get the massive reaction that I thought they would. Graves: “I’m not mad at anything Asuka does cuz she could probably beat me up.” A couple butt knocks from Naomi and Asuka knock the Iconics to the floor before the faces do some kind of new handshake/dance/best friend stuff. I enjoyed that. What I don’t enjoy is Asuka not looking like someone who was undefeated for almost three years. Why does Naomi look better than Asuka?
Naomi smacked the shit out of Peyton’s ass. Peyton gets her back by smacking the shit out of Naomi’s face with her knee. The native gals get the win, and they get cheers, but again, people don’t seem to care as much as anticipated. The match was not great.
Match Rating: Two Vegemites
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP NO-DISQUALIFICATION MATCH: SAMOA JOE VS. AJ STYLES (c)
Great idea to have this one start on the entrance ramp to show how much these two hate each other. This feels more like a fight than a match, and that’s absolutely how it SHOULD feel. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to see Samoa Joe come flying at me through the ropes.
Cole makes the point the Joe survived AJ’s initial emotional charge. It’s a good point, and Joe has had the advantage since. Joe is very locked in and focused, while we don’t know where AJ’s head is. Joe is a terrific cerebral wrestler. Everything he does has purpose. He’s slow and methodical, but his attacks are explosive and devastating. There’s no “wasted movement” as the commentators like to say. This is shaping up to be the best match of the night (morning?) so far.
Terrific moonsault into a reverse DDT from Styles as he finally gets his bearings. Just as he does, Joe knocks him silly with a huge clothesline. Then a power slam, which is such an awesome move. It looks like Joe busted AJ’s mouth open with that clothesline. Joe even pulls out the Emerald Flowsion before grabbing a chair. That took so long that I forgot this was a no-DQ match.
AJ gets control of the chair, and nearly cost himself the match when Joe caught him with a slam onto the chair. Joe! Get the table! Joe takes AJ to the top rope and brings the crowd to its feet, but Joe is the one who ends up going through the table and looking injured. He might be really hurt, but I think instead we’re going to see AJ start attacking that leg.
I’m right, again. Now we’re really into the climactic part of the match, and we see both guys escape the other’s submission finisher before AJ does a springboard 450 right on Joe’s injured knee. Joe almost pulled AJ’s head off his body with that Coquina Clutch Suplex. Joe tries for the Tyson Kidd killer and we get a flurry of near-finishes before AJ gets the Calf Crusher locked in and Joe finally taps out. Strangely, because from the camera angle they showed, he could have easily done the “bang AJ’s head on the mat like a basketball” escape that Brock Lesnar popularized. Nonetheless, AJ remains champion after an incredible match.
Match Rating: Nine Dingos
THE RIOTT SQUAD VS. RONDA ROUSEY & THE BELLA TWINS
Dickyhead Bella argues her way into starting the match over the Raw Women’s Champion and Baddest Women on the Planet. She does do a pretty cool spine buster, I’ll give her credit for that. And cover your faces, her comes Botch Bella. The crowd cheers loudly as Liv kicks Botch in the face. Brie goes to grab Liv’s tongue and can’t even do that on the first try.
I hate giving them any credit, but Nikki actually looks decent. Brie still looks like dingo shit. Ronda comes in and cleans fucking house. She looks terrific. What an fucking AWESOME finish! Man that was cool as hell. Then one of the buttholes does the L on the forehead and ruins everything.
Match Rating: Eight Didgeridoos
CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: BUDDY MURPHY VS. CEDRIC ALEXANDER (c)
A lot of fast-paced, back-and-forth action, and HOLY SHIT Alexander hit a Michinoku Driver off the top rope. That was amazing. I think Alexander chose the wrong side of the ring to do a suicide dive, as there’s barely any room between the ring and the announce table and he almost smashed his feet off the table. The two keep going back and forth in an action-packed match that has the crowd going nuts. Alexander hits a Spanish Fly and the Lumbar Check and Murphy kicks out at two as the crowd chants for Murphy. Murphy catches Alexander with Murphy’s Law and we have a new Cruiserweight Champion! Amazing match, amazing atmosphere, amazing crowd reaction. For those who don’t watch it: that’s the same type of match that the cruiserweights produce every week on 205 Live. Same quality, same intensity. If you don’t watch it, you’re really missing out.
Match Rating: Nine Fosters
BRAUN STROWMAN, DOLPH ZIGGLER, & DREW McINTYRE VS. THE SHIELD
Let chaos reign in blood. Great start with everyone getting into the mix. I was actually hoping they wouldn’t start the match and just spend 10 minutes beating the shit out of each other outside of the ring. It’s interesting that The Shield is in what’s normally the heel corner. Drew McIntyre is one of the best performers in the world right now. He’s the total package.
Rollins gets beaten down from the start and just cannot get to Reigns or Ambrose. It was bad enough when Ziggler and McIntyre were kicking his ass, then Braun comes in and takes out his partners before continuing to beat the piss out of Rollins. This is one of the worst beatings I’ve seen in a tag team match. Strowman is making a mistake going to the top rope. Rollins is already destroyed, he does not need to take such a high risk. Of course his misses and probably hurts his knee. Why the hell are Dean and Roman still down? And how does Dean go from crawling back to the apron to exploding all over Ziggler once he gets the tag? Wrestling logic.
A double-chicken-wing face buster from Ambrose gets a two count, that was a great move. It always looks incredibly painful when two guys each go for a cross body and collide chest-on-chest like Ziggler and Ambrose did. Reigns finally gets in and gets a mostly chilly reception. Nice DDT from Roman on McIntyre, we don’t see him do that very much. He ends up delivering the Superman Punch to Dean Ambrose after McIntyre moves, where is that gonna lead in the Ambrose-Shield storyline?
We’re finally getting some of the chaos that we saw pre-match and everybody is down. The three heels surround Rollins and Reigns, and Ambrose is on the fourth side of the ring. Will he attack his brothers? No! He goes after Strowman. The Triple Power Bomb is coming on McIntyre… until Strowman bowls over EVERYONE! He hits his running shoulder block on Reigns, but nobody takes that move like Kevin Owens.
I always thought how cool it would be if someone was running full speed one direction and I was running full speed another direction and I tackled them at full speed. Well Roman just did that to Strowman through the barricade with a spear. Holy shit. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Ziggler and The Shield is victorious.
Match Rating: Eight Crocodile Dundees
FUTURE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP OPPORTUNITY MATCH: DANIEL BRYAN VS. THE MIZ
I’m mostly enthralled by Renee Young and Corey Graves going back and forth about Miz and Bryan. Hey, my boy Little Naitch is refereeing this match. Wait… what? I looked away and the match ended! Is this a victim of the cut down from five to four hours? I… I dunno. This was bad. The only thing that entertained me was the color commentary. Maybe that horse shit will factor into the storyline, but shit, come on, people pay to see action on these shows. At least it means we’ll get Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles at Crown Jewel, but it’s hard not to be angry about this.
NO-DISQUALIFICATION MATCH: TRIPLE H w/SHAWN MICHAELS VS. THE UNDERTAKER w/THE MAYOR OF KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Undertaker got a weird-ass tan, his face is orange. Triple H is fucking with Taker and getting the best of him, showing he’s faster and in better shape. I doubt The Undertaker has ever been intimidated in his career. I’m mesmerized watching Undertaker work over Triple H. For so long I just took for granted that he was eternal and would always be around. Now that we seem him once or twice a year at most, it’s so great to see the master of his craft do his thing.
Kane walked right by Triple H, who had his back turned, to go after Shawn Michaels, and he looked like a super oaf doing it. Now Undertaker starts to dismantle the announce table. We still have another table set up on the outside. Triple H gets tossed over the barricade and they fight into the crowd. There’s plastic lawn chairs strewn about. Taker chokes HHH with a cable. PANDEMONIUM!
Taker beats the piss out of HHH with a chair. I wonder if he’ll do a blade job. Big Boot on Michaels! I really thought Taker was gonna do a suicide dive but HHH stops it with a chair. Kane eats Sweet Chin Music and HHH elbow drops him through the table. So The Mayor is out. HHH goes for a chair shot off the top rope but gets caught and CHOKE SLAMMED! TOMB STONE! And HOLY SHIT TRIPLE H KICKS OUT! No way I saw that happening. Taker isn’t happy and takes out referee Mike Chioda.
The pace has slowed to a crawl and they’re losing the crowd. Taker is just walking around talking and doing one chair shot every 30-45 seconds. Michaels tries to get involved and gets punched in the face but he bought enough time for HHH to hit a spine buster. Now they’ll both lay there for a minute or two. We have a new ref. Triple H hit the Pedigree but now it’s Undertaker’s turn to kick out. Will Triple H take out the new ref like Taker did? Instead he puts the chair around Taker’s neck. Why no sledgehammer? HHH jumps from the top rope and hits the chair… fuck that’s sick! Kane pulls out the ref and saves his brother from a loss.
Ask and ye shall receive as Michaels hands HHH the sledgehammer, while Kane gives Taker a chair. This will not be a pleasant sound. How is the second ref still down just from being pulled out of the ring? SERIOUSLY? Taker locks in Hell’s Gate but HHH’s sledgehammer pushed into his through breaks the hold. Michael Cole is right, it may not be much, but they’re “giving everything they have,” and I can appreciate that. This is the only way to get a long match out of these guys, it has to be slow with big moments.
One ref is JUST GETTING UP? Those guys are pussies. A flurry including a sledgehammer to the face, Sweet Chin Music, and a Pedigree put Undertaker down for three, and Triple H celebrates with the Bald Toy. It was up and down, exciting and boring, and it’s easy to say I don’t mind if I don’t see these guys struggle through a match again, but it’s such a spectacle and I know I’ll miss it once they’re truly done for good. It could have been done better, but it kept me captivated and had some really good moments. All four men show respect and take a curtain call after the match, which is an iconic image. But now we have four guys who were just fighting each other raising each other’s hands! Maybe they’ll call this the MCG Incident.
Match Rating: Six Steve Irwins
I had a feeling this might happen! Kane and Undertaker break the truce and attack! Michaels takes a vicious choke slam through the announce table and the Brothers of Destruction leave together, standing tall.
Beat Down Rating: Five Mad Maxes
Overall Show Rating: Six AC/DCs