In a rare role reversal, Jax is out sick tonight, so it’s me, Steph, back to recap in a shorter, sweeter style than you can expect from my meandering recaps of Raw. I promise. I’ll leave the play by play to the infinitely better Mauro Ranallo.
So, we start our night off with the reminder that an 8-man tag apparently passes as a main event these days, and then it’s straight into Miz TV, with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. It’s nice to see them giving us some background to this feud for those who don’t watch NXT and don’t know their indie past, either. We get the recap of Sami breaking into Neville and KO’s match on Monday, and then out comes my gingerbread sunshine, and god I love his theme so much. Even Miz is grinning and nodding along, he actually seems happy to see someone for once! The crowd are still singing his theme once it ends, and The Miz just hums along, too.
Sami talks about how he’s been doing this for fourteen years, but only been part of NXT for a little while, but no one cares about that, right? We get some cute background about Sami being the best man at KO’s wedding, and how they had a brotherhood – god, Sami, don’t say that, you’ll just be made friends again and teased breaking up every sodding week – and obviously, we see how things have now gone wrong. Sami says he doesn’t know how it happened, that he got to WWE before KO, and Owens showed up the night that Zayn won the NXT championship. Apparently we’re blaming Owens for Sami’s shoulder surgery too, now, and his seven-month absence. He says, however, the hardest part is not knowing exactly why Kevin Owens turned on him.
Owens is called out, and there’s a brief pause before he ambles out, looking supremely unimpressed at his former best friend. Murderbear and Gingerbread Bear stare each other down a little, and Kevin says he’s explained turning on Sami many times as what was best for his career, and how it wasn’t personal. Sami looks like a parent does when a two-year-old comes up with a terrible excuse for something. Owens says that the Royal Rumble was personal, and that Raw was personal, because he’s the victim here. Sami says he’s going to take the IC title at WrestleMania, and there’s a lot of dramatic pointing at the sign, and each other, as Owens calls Zayn ‘nothing’.
Sami offers an impromptu match, and Owens says he doesn’t deserve to be in the same ring as his former friend, and off Kevin wanders – but Neville’s here, stopping his exit. Neville says they’ve got unfinished business, and that he deserves the title. Ooh, plot twist! Then Mix gets all huffy and says no, HE should have the title, and it’s all a bit “I’m Spartacus!” as Sami tells Miz his years of main eventing WrestleMania are far behind him. Poor Miz looks very upset about this – probably because it’s true – and sucker punches Sami from behind.
Tag Team Match – Kevin Owens & the Miz vs. Neville and Sami Zayn
This is the set-up for the match at Mania that feels most thrown together if you don’t watch NXT, I guess, so I’m glad we’re getting to see some of this laid out for us before that event.
- So much arm work in this match. So. Much. I’m amazed The Miz has arms left
- Lovely hurricanrana from Neville to KO after a backflip from the top turnbuckle
- As in the image above, Neville stands on Sami’s back for a corkscrew moonsault which is awesome
- Owens spends the match telling The Miz what a good job he’s doing instead of his usual trash talk
Early dominance from Neville and Sami Zayn, with some power coming through from The Miz and Kevin Owens towards the end with cheap shots and heel tricks, but when Neville and Zayn look like they’re taking an easy win, KO grabs his title and walks out, leaving The Miz alone to get pinned and eat the loss all by himself.
Golden Truth segment involves Goldust looking for toilet paper and R-Truth having some. Good grief, are we really doing this?
I’m not covering the Raw Rebound, we’ve got our own Raw recap right here!
Diva’s Match – Brie Bella vs. Summer Rae
I’ve missed a few SmackDown episodes now I’m not recapping, so it’s nice to see the lovely Eden Stiles looking wonderful as usual. Hi Eden! This is mainly just a match to show that Lana is all over the place now, as we slowly work her into the ring stuff she was aiming for before she broke her wrist.
Lana’s joining commentary, but has decided to sit in the middle of the table in front of Mauro, because he really is everyone’s favourite. Byron Saxton tries to ask Lana what problem she has with Brie Bella, and in the best takedown of shit commentary ever, she tells them to shush because she’s watching the match. You tell ‘em, Lana.
- Unlike Monday, Lana’s competitor wear is at least relevant to her current character tonight, all black and stern. Monday she was wearing her ‘I used to bang Dolph Ziggler, what a mistake that was’ faux-denim outfit. Same shoes though.
- Brie seems to have given up the leggings for tiny panties like her sister tends to wear
- Jerry Lawler is still pervy: “I have to apologise for Byron, he’s never been this close to a beautiful woman.” Her reaction is a tiny ‘ugh’ noise which I feel speaks for all women who have to listen to Lawler.
- This is not a match that showcases how good the Divas can be
- Yes kicks
- Yes lock from Brie, to which Summer taps. Not well done, but then, this wasn’t a match to watch, is was a storyline match, to set up feuds
Summer tries to sucker punch Brie while she’s distracted by Lana mocking the yes chants, but Brie spots it coming. While Brie’s distracted by Summer, however, Lana gets into the ring and takes down Brie.
Shane recap! In fact, the same Shane promo from Raw, because why make two video packages when you can just make one and show it on both shows? I watch it again because Seth’s in it, and I’m weak. Also because I love ‘King’ by Tribe Society too much to skip the song.
Highlight Reel time. Jericho’s going to tell us why the sparkliest man in wrestling since Dolph Ziggler stopped getting vajazzled (if you don’t know what it is, for god’s sake don’t google it at work) turned on stiff-working, word-drawling AJ Styles on Monday. His excuse on Raw was that he didn’t like how everyone chants for AJ when Y2J is stood out there.
He shows up with a very large Y2AJ t-shirt and a garbage can, and gets booed by 90% of the crowd, while a few hardcore fans try to ‘Y2J’ their way out of trouble. Apparently the WWE universe made Chris Jericho feel disrespected and sad. Aww, babe, it’s okay, we’ll stroke your ego later, we just wanted to get AJ over with the crowd, that’s all – it’s not our fault if his rise is meteoric, while the kids in the audience nudge their parents and ask who the old man is, and why he keeps forgetting wear a shirt. Apparently Chris has never been hurt in seventeen years, which totally proves that wrestling is this difficult, physical experience and not choreographed bumping into each other.
Chris sets the Y2AJ shirt on fire in the garbage can, because of course he does, and I hope that whatever WWE use to print on their shirts isn’t toxic, and they checked this before setting this alight in a full arena. Just a thought. Chris says that AJ Styles is a bum, and can’t hack it in the WWE, and that Y2AJ is officially over. They’re really selling this like a bad break-up – instead of giving them their shit back, you burn it and give a long rant to your long-suffering friends about how he’ll never break your heart again, and they’re all yawning because you were only together for three weeks. The flickering flames make Jericho look like a beleaguered camp counsellor telling ghost stories to a crowd of unimpressed teenagers.
Tag Team Match – The Lucha Dragons vs. Sheamus & Barrett
I don’t understand this match. I mean, I like it, because it’s nice to see Barrett back in the ring, especially as the rumour is he won’t be ours for very much longer, as he doesn’t like the way the WWE is booking him. I’d like this to be a turnaround, and for him to stay, being booked properly, but we’ll see, I guess.
But still, I don’t understand why Sheamus (he was WWE champion, do you remember that? No? Don’t worry, nor does Vince) and Barrett care about the Lucha Dragons. At all. Other than maybe beating up Kalisto for their buddy Del Rio, but he’s not been here for the past week, so I’m assuming he’s injured. Then it makes sense that Barrett was wrestling on Raw, and is in this match, because if it should have been Del Rio and Sheamus but they needed someone to fill in, Barrett knows Sheamus probably better than anyone, in and out of the ring.
- I love that Rusev just comes out to look after his ‘mates’
- Springboard hurricanrana from Kalisto onto Sheamus looks lovely, as usual
- Sin Cara in different colours from Kalisto… are the Dragon babies splitting up?
- Ryback watching from backstage reminding us he told Kalisto to take it on a solo mission, to drop Sin Cara and go it alone
- Bullhammer from Barrett to Sin Cara to get the win
Well, this has almost managed to get me excited for seeing the League take on The New Day on Saturday, so the match has done exactly what it was designed to do, I guess. Although maybe I shouldn’t be excited simply because I like seeing Barrett grin with clear enjoyment at being in the ring and getting to actually wrestle for the first time in ages, and then the grin he gets when Rusev picks him up and Sheamus jumps on him from the front.
Jojo has a word with Ryback, who gives us some more clichés about good fights and little guys not beating big guys, and then he says some stuff about genetics and how not all men are created equal. Ryback, please, don’t ‘not all men’ us, we trusted you! Also, genetics stuff puts you on dodgy ground.
You have to excuse your recapper to get a little breathless for a moment as we’re shown last year’s WrestleMania main event, and we get to see Seth’s face as he wins the title, and just… oh, goodness. Gosh. Um.
Then we get the segment with The Rock, and the reminder that WrestleMania is only twenty-five days away! For those of us who count in larger segments of time, that’s April 3rd. They were going to have it on the Friday, but Vince said the card already looked like too much of a joke.
Renee Young interviews The Usos about the Dudley Boyz ‘new-found aggression’ to fill time, and they talk about how they used to have to be home before the streetlights came on. They don’t tell us that they still do, and Dean and Roman tuck them into their mid-carder, back-up bro slots before powering them down for the night.
Dolph and Dean show up, and Dolph says that he’s been suffering repercussions since he started in WWE. Dean says they shouldn’t worry about The Authority, because they’re going Wyatt hunting. What a lovely Roadblock promo, as everyone bounces a little on their toes before leaving Renee to smile wistfully off into the distance, imagining if just one of them had complimented her dress.
Eight Man Tag Team Match – The Usos & Dolph Ziggler & Dean Ambrose vs. The Wyatt Family
What we’ve apparently all been waiting for, our main event supposedly has Roadblock implications, but doesn’t really. While I like that Dolph, having been approved by The Rock, is now the whitest member of the great Samoan wrestling families, and therefore hangs out with The Usos, it’s clear that here, he’s a stand in for Roman while he makes sure he’s pretty for WrestleMania. I’m just… not excited about this match, because it’s thrown together. The Usos are fun but bland, Dolph is a hell of a seller but chronically mid-carded, and Dean is going to keep far back so he can’t possibly get injured before Roadblock.
As far as the Wyatts go, I know this is meant to be about showcasing Bray’s strength before he faces Brock Lesnar, but I also… don’t care. I just don’t care about that match, or this match – so maybe this match can convince me that I should have a stake in who’s going to win Bray vs. Brock on Saturday night.
- This match is so, so slow. I never thought I’d be able to say that about a match with Dean AND Dolph in it, two fast workers, but there we go.
- Nice deep arm drag from Dean to Harper, swinging the big man right over in what’s a pretty cool spot
- Harper takes Jey’s shirt off for us, thank you Luke
- Flip move from Harper to Ziggler to slam Dolph’s head into the ropes – ow!
- Sunset flip powerbomb! That was PRETTY from Dolph to Harper, and lovely to watch
- Samoan drop from Jey to Harper followed by a superkick from Jimmy to Rowan
- Two superkicks from Ziggler to Strowman
- Rowan helps Dean Ambrose take HIS shirt off now, so thank you Erick, a day without Dean nipples is like a day without sunshine
- Dean takes Rowan down with Dirty Deeds for the win
Well, it wasn’t the most exciting match I’ve ever seen, but there were some cool spots I didn’t expect, and the Wyatts put up a good showing without being dominant ‘just because’. Without the numbers advantage, and with the Wyatts sticking to the rules, it was actually a pretty even match, and there were a couple of legitimate breath-hold moments. Not a bad showing, and absolutely the right thing to get me excited for Roadblock.
See you Saturday!