Heeeeey everybody, and welcome to Thursday Night SmackDown! We’re still at the O2 Arena in London, as if we couldn’t tell from all the union jack flags draped over every available surface, and once again Vince is nowhere to be found, so Shane gets to keep his position, I guess? Someone should really go look for his old man, though. At some point. Eventually. Orrrr we can pretend he’s on vacation with Steph and Hunter! Y’know what, let’s go with that. Bye, guys! Come back soon, and by soon I mean never! (Quick, lock the doors.)
Speaking of evil power couples, Miz and Maryse are in the ring, looking pretty and waiting patiently for the boos to quiet down enough for Maryse to introduce her awesome champ of a hubby. Miz’s guest on Miz TV is none other than the phenomenal one, AJ Styles, who swears he had NOTHING to do with his old overseas buddies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson beating the snot outta Roman Reigns on Raw a coupla days ago. In AJ’s defense, he did look really upset about what was going on at the time, but we’ll see what he says. As AJ makes his way to the ring, here’s my sidenote on our commentators tonight: our amazing announcer Mauro looks good in purple, creepo King Lawler looks like he’s wearing a shirt with printed gold chains, and buddy Byron is… well, Byron. I really wish Lawler would just go all the way and wear some actual bling. I mean, if you’re gonna look tacky, own the heck out of it, y’know?
Japan 2014, Miz says. Wasn’t all that long ago when AJ, Gallows and Anderson were basically kicking ass and taking names together. AJ gets a bit cheeky, adding that 1) they had five titles between the three of them, and 2) it also hasn’t been all that long since AJ knocked out two of Miz’s shiny, shiny teeth. Miz is amused in that unamused sort of way and goes on to state that when you’re in a foreign country for that many years together, you tend to bond. Bond really, really close. “So did you do it?” Miz finally asks, and for a good long second I wonder if he means did AJ, Gallows and Anderson cuddle together on those long, cold, lonely nights… but no, Miz is (for now) not interested in my fanfic ideas. He IS interested, however, in whether or not AJ asked them to jump Roman on Raw!
AJ tells Miz the same thing he told Roman: he’s got nothing to do with it, at ALL. Miz, being a smart cookie and also probably paranoid, says that, sure, AJ didn’t ask them to do that… but did he ask them NOT to do that? Insert judgy-mc-judgerson noises from Miz here. And echoing judginess from Maryse. They are ridiculous but they also sort of have a point? AJ says no, but Miz grills him some more, postulating that AJ knew what would happen, and that AJ’s inaction “speaks louder than words.” AJ swears they can think for themselves, and — surprise, surprise — he’s also kinda pissed about being included in their shenanigans, since it implies that he can’t beat Roman alone. Which he very well can, thank you very much.
Miz stands his ground, insisting that this is all part of AJ’s plan. AJ didn’t want to appear weak, so his boys did the dirty work while he gets to have plausible deniability. “Need isn’t weak, need is need,” Miz says. Roman is bigger, Roman is stronger, Roman is THE GUY… and in order for AJ to beat the guy, he needed help from HIS guys. I can’t believe I’m actually on Detective Miz’s side here, but he makes a hell of a lotta sense. Of course, Miz gets sidetracked with his mad acting skillz, prompting Maryse to get all hot under the collar, and then there’s hot makeouts, and AJ’s on the side throwing up his hands in frustration. Man, AJ, I’m sorry your thing with Jericho didn’t work out, but don’t worry, you’ll find somebody new! Somebody who looks at you the way the Miz looks at himself, and also Maryse. D’aww.
“And back to YOU, AJ–” Miz finally attempts to turn his attention back to his interview, but he gets some whirling offense from AJ, who hits him to the mat. A hellaciously angry AJ stalks out of the ring and back up the ramp. Dang, yo.
By the way, Byron says our main event tonight is a tag match! Adorable scruffballs Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn go up against Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, aka Team Angry Dads. We also get a backstage look at Ryback and Kalisto walking down their respective hallways on the way to their upcoming match. Kalisto looks bouncy as usual, bless his lucha heart, and Ryback looks… a little bit sad, actually. Huh. Oh, and there’s a match between Miz and AJ, as apparently AJ really, REALLY doesn’t like being called a lying liar who lies. Whoda thunk it? But look, AJ, Miz just calls it how he sees it. And frankly, that entire situation looks pretty bad no matter how we slice it. Y’know, I wonder if anyone’s gonna ask Gallows and Anderson for their motives instead of making speculations and accusations? I’m just sayin’. It wouldn’t hurt! Okay, maybe it would.
MATCH: Kalisto vs Ryback
LU! CHA! LU! CHA! Kalisto bounces into the ring and holds up his US Championship title, bouncing it around too for good measure. Ryback, on the other hand… well. Ryback isn’t even doing his signature entrance, he’s just THAT crestfallen. What’s gotten into you, buddy? Are you just not hungry anymore? God, he isn’t even giving away random bits of clothing to tiny fans. This is depressing. Somebody give the guy a hug, please? …No, Kalisto, not you, he probably wouldn’t appreciate that. Well, after Ryback halfheartedly shuffles around the ring a bit, the bell rings, and…
- Ryback with all the slams, while the ‘Goooldberg’ chants start up
- I’m guessing Ryback strutting around the ring after slamming Kalisto around is supposed to look… I dunno, like he’s full of himself? But he’s got no oomph behind this. God, this is depressing.
- Ryback tosses Kalisto into the air like nothing, but even THAT doesn’t seem to have any real emotion behind it. The heck’s going on, buddy?
- After a commercial, Ryback has Kalisto in the corner and picks him up while standing on the second rope. Which would look way cooler if Ryback had any damn emotion behind it.
- Ryback hangs Kalisto in the corner and kicks him a few times, because why not I guess?
- Kalisto is basically fighting hard and emoting amazingly and oh hey a springboard flying corkscrew, eyyy~!
- Jesus this is a weird match. Little bit cringeworthy, too.
- Shellshock countered into a DDT! You go, Kalisto.
- Salida del Sol countered into Shellshock! Pin for the win, Ryback wins!
I could barely watch this match, it was so damn awkward. Or maybe I was just so thrown off by Ryback looking like he doesn’t give a shit that it just threw off the entire match. Ryback picks up the US Championship belt and holds it up, yelling angrily — though even then, he doesn’t seem angry so much as frustrated. Tossing the belt onto the dazed and downed Kalisto, Ryback shuffles outta the ring, and Mauro tells us we’ve got a Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler match to look forward to next. Oh thank god, I need a charisma injection or I’m gonna fall asleep here.
MATCH(?): Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin
Here comes Dolph ‘Butt Wiggler’ Ziggler, y’all! His hair’s less ramen noodly-looking, but he doesn’t look bad in brown and — surprise! Corbin runs in from behind him and knocks him onto his ass. Well that’s certainly a way to start a match. Corbin basically runs Ziggles into the barricades a few times before shoving him into the steel steps. Baron Corbin is a honey badger, y’all. Oh hey, End of Days! Ziggler’s knocked the hell out, and a couple of refs yell at Corbin to shoo him away from his prey.
Corbin stalks his way up the steps like a lone wolf that is very pleased with himself, and Rich Brennan, bless his heart, toddles on up to him with a mic, asking him why he did that when he was supposed to have, y’know, an actual match. Corbin’s answer? “BECAUSE I CAN.” Corbin walks away, aaaand I’m snickering. I dig this Corbin dude. Gives zero fucks, doesn’t talk forever on the mic, towers over everyone and doesn’t really care about rules at all. My kinda guy!
MATCH: The Miz (with Maryse) vs AJ Styles
Eden Stiles is in the ring announcing Miz and Maryse’s entrance, and let me tell you, Eden is SO freaking pretty in that most sparkly of black dresses I’m surprised Stardust isn’t sitting on the sidelines with his chin in his hands and hearts in his eyes. AJ does his usual strutty entrance, Miz looks like he’s itching for a fight, and the bell rings…
- Miz is angry, but AJ is countering a lot, so it looks pretty even so far. I guess Miz has some kind of berserker mode on? I mean, it’s the only way I can really believe Miz can go toe to toe with AJ without it being a total squash.
- AJ with a flashy knee to Miz’s face, god that looks great.
- Indian Deathlock into the Muta Lock! Miz escapes and limps around because he is the most delicate of flowers, okay
- Maryse is on the sidelines looking hella smug, and I want Maryse’s entire outfit.
- Lawler calls a move the ‘miso soup’ because he’s the jerkiest of jerks. Water is wet.
- Knee to the spine and fish hook nose on AJ, ow ow ow! Dang, Miz.
- Spinning heel kick to Miz takes him down pretty damn hard, and now it almost feels like AJ’s playing with his food.
- Miz uses Maryse as a shield! And then uses the opportunity to smash AJ into the barricade more than a few times. Hm, I wonder what Maryse thinks about that whole ‘using his wife as a shield’ thing…
- After a commercial Miz is apparently in control forrrr some reason? Angry headlocks forever, doot doot– oh, AJ gets out.
- Curious thing: some of these strikes sound like they actually connect. Are they actually working stiff?
- Both attempt a crossbody and it goes about as well as you’d expect. BONK.
- AJ with a second wind! Pumphandle gutbuster! Pin for a two count, boop.
- Mauro points out that Miz is working AJ’s left leg, and I’m actually noticing this now. Huh! DDT by the Miz buuuut no pin.
- Skullcrushing Finale reversed into Ushi Goroshi! King said it right this time! Mauro praises him and probably gives him a cookie. No pin for AJ, though, so no cookie for him.
- Figure Four! REVERSED! CALF CRUSHER!
- Full Nelson reversed to Victory Roll by AJ! Two count! Pele kick!
Eventually Miz gives Maryse an order, and she goes to pick up his title belt while Miz attempts to limp up the ramp and away from his match… and who should he run into but Gallows and Anderson, looming over him dangerously. Miz stumbles back, and he turns around just in time to get a flying AJ to the face. Once Miz is back in the ring, AJ pulls off a Phenomenal Forearm and gets the pin for the win. Gallows and Anderson, meanwhile, are still standing on the ramp, possibly waiting for cookies as a reward for helping AJ win this one. AJ does not look pleased.
So after his little run-in with Corbin earlier, Rich has decided that he’d rather interview safer people. Nicer people! People like Sami ‘Somehow Still Sunshine Even When Feuding’ Zayn and Dean ‘Sweetest of Bros As Long As You Don’t Betray Him’ Ambrose. Dean calls Jericho and KO ‘dirty rotten scoundrels, which is a pretty heavy accusation coming from Deano, prince of the dirt pile. But he’s got morals, see, he’s got a CODE, and Jericho says he’s the best in the world, but apparently that just means he’s the best at cheap shotting people. It certainly wasn’t the first time that’s happened to Dean — cue the sound of Seth Rollins’ cackle in the distance — and it won’t be the last, but it still pisses Dean off something fierce.
Deano gets a good dick joke in (this is why you’re my fave, Deano) before Sami takes over to discuss their tag team name, because yeah yeah beat up Team Dead for being jerks yadda yadda, but cool tag team name. Dean is apparently picky! ‘Sambrose’ is too shippy and ‘Ska Madness’ is too compilation albumy. On the other hand, Dean’s pick of ‘The Beefeaters’ is too alcoholic. Dean says they’re the Rough Riders! Sami swears it’s too sexual! Somewhere backstage, Zack Ryder is facepalming. Dean says Sami’s hat is dumb, and as the two dorks wander off to get ready for their match, Rich stares after them in major confusion. He probably isn’t sure if they dislike each other or if they secretly cuddle and watch romantic movies on their downtime. I could totally ship that, y’all, I’m just saying.
For those of us who only watch on the USA network, you may have missed the following bit. No worries, though, because the WWE official Youtube has got the hookup!
So there’s a bit of a scene, as the Miz is, well… refusing to leave the ring after his match with AJ. Why? Because Miz was right: AJ, Gallows, and Anderson are clearly working together. Why else would they suddenly appear during AJ’s match? AJ didn’t shoo them away. Hell, he took advantage of the distraction! Miz wants an investigation, and he wants it now. He bickers at the booing crowd, but before he can stage his little sit-in, Shane-o-Mac drops by! Shuffle shuffle shuffle! Lawler swears Shane isn’t supposed to be running SmackDown, but hell, who else is gonna?
Shane gets into the ring and immediately gets a ‘YOU STILL GOT IT’ chant, while Miz gives Shane the mic, as he’s totally here to address this investigation, right? Yeah, no, he just wanted to say hi to London. “What’s up, London?” Tee hee. The most disgruntled of Mizzles takes the mic back to let Shane know that the Intercontinental Champion is a goddamn priority, okay, and Shane should go to the back and–
Miz is poking Shane’s chest. Shane removes the hand, gently pulls the mic to him. “Don’t touch me again.”
Miz pokes him again, harder. And a lot. Miz demands attention, demands he be taken seriously, demands Shane go backstage and talk to whoever the hell he needs to talk to in order to make Miz a priority, and–
Shane pops him in the mouth. And again, and again, and hurls him against the ropes, and POW, flying elbow! Shuffle shuffle shuffle! Mizzle gets up but gets another pop and is then hurled over the ropes! By the end, Shufflemeister Shane is waving happily to the crowd, while Maryse tends to her dear clobbered husband. Gurrrl, you gotta teach your dude some manners, at least when talking to folks in a higher pay grade. Tsk.
Rich is now interviewing Gallows and Anderson backstage. Rich is either an idiot or has huge tater tots. The dirty duo let Rich know that they’re not helping AJ, not at all. See, they just wanted to ‘make a statement’. Which, y’know, just happened to help AJ. Also? They’re gonna have their first match next week, versus (boy oh boy) the Usos! I know how mean this sounds, but I’m gonna say it anyway: I hope it’s a squash and the Usos get stomped on. I dunno, maybe I might like them better if they’re underdogs who lose every once in a while is all I’m saying.
MATCH: Natalya & Paige vs Naomi & Tamina
Oh hey, we’ve got ourselves a women’s match! Naomi and Tamina are already in the ring, so no sassy entrance for us. Booo. Oh, but we DO get our fill of sass from both Natalya and Paige, who are teaming up against the remnants of Team BAD. I still don’t get exactly why Paige and Nattie are suddenly bestest buddies, but I’m going to assume Paige hates Nattie just sliiiightly less than she hates everyone else on the planet. And I can’t blame her, because look at how adorable Nattie is. That pink powerhouse can warm the black, black heart of any goth princess.
As the bell rings and Nattie encourages the crowd to clap for her, Naomi and Tamina aren’t getting a lot of attention here, which is slightly worrying, because if this team falls by the wayside entirely, that’ll mean we’re down by TWO women of color. Combine this with Alicia’s lack of spotlight and Cameron’s disappearance into the depths of the NXT locker room, well, let’s just say the women’s division’s looking a teensy bit pasty. My Hispanic heart would be disappointed but, to be honest? Not surprised in the least. Sigh. Well, we still have Sasha. Anyhow, to the match…
- Tamina attempting to use her power, but Nattie’s gotten a million level-ups lately
- Naomi tagged in and did she REALLY just shove her booty into Nattie’s face like a goddamn Rikishi move?
- Nattie tags Paige in pretty early for some reason — oh. Oh! Teamwork offense? Some kind of wishbone move? I can sorta dig that.
- Nattie goes for a Sharpshooter hella early. C’mon, wear her down FIRST. You know better than this! Naomi of course escapes to the outside.
- This is not the first time I’ve seen the ref literally put his hands on a woman in the ring, what the hell’s up with that? He’s, like, actually pulling Nattie off of Naomi and she’s not even doing anything! Also of COURSE Naomi takes the opportunity to kick Nattie in da face.
- Tamina tagged in and she’s manhandling the heck outta Nattie, ow… oh, Naomi tagged in? Another teamwork move! Tamina has Nattie in a lock and Naomi does a running kick at Nattie’s exposed head. POW. Pin for a two count!
- Tamina is headlocking the shiiit outta Nattie, and Nattie’s elbows only get her slammed to the mat, OOF.
- Naomi and Paige both tagged but Paige comes out a-kickin’! DIS IS MYYYY HOUSE~
- I don’t know if that was a botch but Paige attempted a move only for Naomi to fall off and make a grab for her hair or something, I don’t even know.
- Oh okay here’s the actual move I guess! Ram-Paige! BAM!
- Tamina attempts interference but NOPE, here comes Nattie!
- Paige with the PTO on Naomi AND Nattie with the Sharpshooter on Tamina! Team BAD taps!
As Tamina and Naomi roll out of the ring with no small amount of pain, Nattie and Paige celebrate. This match was about five minutes total, with the entire segment running about seven with entrances. Good content from bell to bell, mind you, but I gotta say I’m incredibly disappointed that this is all we’re going to get from the ladies tonight. I’m also disappointed because I’d like to see more from Naomi and Tamina, y’know? This felt a little bit like a squash, and it shouldn’t have. I love Nattie and Paige as much as the next member of the WWE Universe and all, but come on now. Sigh.
MATCH: R-Truth vs. Fandango
R-Truth wanders out to the crowd and seems to know where he is for once, as Fandango waggles his hips slowly in the middle of the ring, and then out comes Goldust as the special guest referee, and he looks really weird in stripes. Fandango waggles his eyebrows. We all feel pretty weird about this.
- R-Truth starts off by pushing Fandango across the ring into a shoulder tackle
- Hip toss from Fandango, before some wriggly hips that make me feel a little queasy
- Terrible joke from Lawler, as per usual
- Huge hip toss from R-Truth, after some more hip nonsense
- Fandango rolls his hips and then gestures like he just came all over R-Truth and I’m officially done with this match
- Goldust breaks up the weird hip wiggling thing and then eventually Goldust and Fandango are just waggling their hips at each other and this is SO WEIRD
- Finally R-Truth slams Fandango into the ground, and the match is over
That was one of the weirdest fucking things I’ve ever seen. Still, I won’t complain if they book the Shield reunion match like that. (Yes, I will.)
SEGMENT: Enzo & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains
God, I may never get tired of these two, as much as I miss Carmella and wish she was back with them, because they’re so precious. Enzo skips around like a ferret on acid, while Big Cass stands still and looks imposing, like he’s good at. Then, out come Simon and Aiden to sneer at the ‘ramblings of a fool’ and a man who looks like ‘a rodent with a bad case of the mange’. Hey now, we LOVE Enzo’s hair.
God BLESS NXT’s promo school, I swear to god, this whole thing is beautifully timed, I’m hissing, I’m laughing, I’m making all the right noises, because this is FUN, I’m enjoying myself. Gotch and English call Enzo and Cass ‘boys’, and say they’re in the man’s world now, before saying proper enunciation is important, and asking ‘how ARE you doing?’. Big Cass says they’re doing great, but that at Payback, they’ll be the ones walking out with the #1 contendership for The New Day’s tag team titles.
We spot Jericho and Owens ambling down a hallway, leaving chaos in their wake. Okay, I can get behind that, those two seem like an accident waiting to happen. I just feel sorry for whoever’s going to have to clean up after them.
MATCH: Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose & Sami Zayn (Sambrose? Zambrose? Ska Madness?)
Jericho still needs to buy bigger trunks, but it says a lot about his acting skill that the London crowd are rather excited to see him, but still boo, giving the correct reaction. Next out is Kevin Owens, who looks like London is something he scraped off his shoe, perfect heel work, and wonderful to see. Next, out comes Sami, and the audience goes absolutely WILD, which is awesome to see, the whole crowd dancing along and grinning for him – I think he actually gets a bigger pop than Dean does, coming out last.
- KO and Sami to start us off in the ring, but KO tags Jericho straight away
- OLE chants. Jericho doesn’t seem happy
- Some good grappling to start us off, and Jericho feeling the PG era with ‘idiot’
- Lovely reverse leapfrog off the ropes from Sami, god I love watching him move
- Deep arm drags from Sami, before holding Jericho to the mat, arm twisted behind him
- Interesting camera work showing us Jericho’s shiny arse, thank you cameraman
- Sami backs into his corner, holding Jericho still, to tag Dean in
- Chops from Dean to Jericho, answered with a backhanded clothesline to take Ambrose down to the mat
- Jericho looking for Walls early, but Ambrose counters, attempts to stick Dirty Deeds, but Jericho rolls out of the ring
- KO follows his partner as Zayn and Ambrose stand together, looking mildly puzzled, as Chris shoves the camera out of his face
- Back from commercial, Jericho and Ambrose still in the ring, suplex from Jericho, but not a good cover
- Owens tagged in for big boots to Dean, before dragging him into their corner and unleashing a flurry of right hands
- Lawler doesn’t know what truculent means
- Jericho tagged back in, stomps to Ambrose in the corner
- Ambrose gets to his feet unsteadily and takes a few beautiful knife-edge chops to the chest before being thrown to the opposite corner
- Jericho moves towards him, but Dean stops him with an elbow and does a forward roll to get to Sami Zayn and his own corner. No, we don’t know why, but we suspect he just feels left out because Sami’s the acrobatic one
- Sami in with a huge lariat to Jericho, knocking him down, before following up with a Pelé kick
- Bouncing off the ropes into a clothesline, Zayn takes Jericho down, then turns to take Kevin Owens off the apron, too
- Turns back around in time to give an elbow to Jericho before climbing to the top rope and hitting a huge cross-body to Jericho, pinning him for two
- Convoluted spot to get Sami to the top rope, whereupon he slaps away Jericho’s hand and leaps on Kevin Owens outside the ring, throwing fierce punches
- Back in the ring, Sami goes to use the ropes for momentum, but Owens grabs his ankle and drags him out, throwing him into the barricades
- Wrestling continues to make no sense as Kevin Owens beats the hell out of Sami Zayn outside the ring, but Dean Ambrose isn’t allowed to walk around the side of the ring to see what’s happening to his tag partner. Ah, wrestling
- Owens eventually throws Zayn back into the ring, and forcibly tags himself in to smack Zayn around some more, taunting him about not being able to make it to the corner and calling Dean ‘crazy guy’. Poor Dean, all he’s doing is standing there
- Owens drags Zayn back into their corner, and tags Jericho in, Jericho delivering a snapmare to Zayn in the centre of the ring
- Sami powers out and comes back with punches, before walking into a clothesline from Jericho that knocks him flat
- Lionsault from Jericho! Dean looks absolutely shocked that Jericho hit that, as Jericho pins Zayn for two
- Ambrose and Zayn reaching for the tag, but Jericho pulls Sami away again for some open-handed slaps
- Zayn manages, somehow, to shift out of Jericho’s grip and hit the Blue Thunder Bomb, leaving both men down in the middle of the ring, before they start to crawl to their respective corners
- Tags made, Ambrose and Owens flying at each other, Owens going down to a Lunatic Lariat twice before a flying tackle knocks him down and keeps him down, allowing Ambrose to get some punches in
- KO runs into a boot from the corner as we get the weather, with Jerry Lawler. You’re paid to commentate. Fucking do it
- Dean pulls down the ropes so KO ends up outside the ring, and then takes a suicide dive through the top two ropes onto Owens
- Jericho gets involved, as KO rolls back into the ring, grabbing at Dean to try to throw him back in, but Ambrose spins on the apron and takes Jericho down
- Back in the ring, a huge superkick from Owens knocks Ambrose flat, with a cover for two
- Owens staggers to his feet, pulling Ambrose upright and throwing him into the ropes, walking into an elbow, and returning with one of his own
- Lunatic lariat dodged by Owens – DIRTY DEEDS
- Jericho pulls Owens out of the cover, and gets hit with a Helluva Kick from Zayn for his efforts
- Ambrose goes to the top rope, but Jericho pulls him down, tangling him in the top rope and letting Owens get the pin to take the win
Dean spends probably more time than is necessary on the floor holding his balls, with the ref leaning over like ‘Mr Ambrose, is your penis alright?’ but then, I’m never one to complain about Tumblr gifs surfacing of people grabbing their dicks. Owens leaps on Jericho, throwing his legs around his waist, and you can almost hear me humming ‘wrestling’s really gay’ to the tune of ‘Canada’s Really Big’ by The Arrogant Worms.
We finish out SmackDown with the Cuddly Canadians having a snuggle on the ramp, while team Ska Madness look depressed in the ring. Owens shouts ‘I beat you, I beat you, Chris helped, but I beat you’, which is just the perfect line from the perfect heel.