Corpus Christi hosted Smackdown this week. I once stayed in a youth hostel in Corpus Christi. It was literally a ratty old strip motel, and the gap between the door and the floor was wide enough for critters to come and go.
Say Hello To My Very European Little Friend
Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro
Did Cesaro have a European siren on Raw, because he sure has one on Smackdown! That was my big complaint about his new music; that American siren was a real boner killer. I want to feel like we’re about to see some exotic Bourne Identity action go down, not Fergie Ferg singing about her London Bridge going down.
These dudes are a great matchup. They can wrestle. They strong like bull. They kick it off with a bit of mat wrestling, switch to straight-up punching, then get fast and aerial with suplexes and slams a’plenty. It’s making me miss the Kurt Angle days! Who would you like to see Cesaro face in an Iron Man match? If we’re talking current WWE guys, not injured… I’d vote for Seth Rollins.
I’m impressed that Cole and JBL are trying to figure out why Cesaro split from Paul Heyman, AND they briefly refer to Cesaro and Swagger being former tag partners. That was a ready-made feud, that like so many tag break-ups, went unanswered. I’m still waiting for some Rhodes Scholars fulfillment.
Because he’s Cesaro, I don’t think it hurts his reputation too much when he taps to the Patriot Lock. Right now, it’s more important for Swagger to look the threat against Rusev – who comes out post-match with Lana to cut a promo. She challenges them to a Flag Match at Summerslam. YES. Zeb accepts on behalf of “every real American” and the arena chants, “We The People!” in agreement.
He looks like he’s doing karaoke.
In-Ring Promo: Randy Orton
Orton’s promos will never be exciting, but he’s sharp tonight. I get the sense he’s really feeling this opportunity to taunt and clash with Reigns. Reigns gets SUCH a big reaction from the fans that Orton must feel compelled to step up his personality game. He challenges Reigns to a match at Summerslam.
Don’t go messin’ with a Country Bo.
Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth
R-Truth broke Bo’s winning streak on Raw, so they are having a re-match tonight. Truth unnerves Bo further by jumping him at the bell, and even following him to the floor when Bo tries to escape. I’m not a fan of R-Truth matches at the best of times, and this is an expectedly sloppy serving. Bo can’t control his temper, and refuses to break at the 5-count while beating the heck out of Truth in the ropes. He gets disqualified, beats Truth more, and elicits a “You Suck” chant from the Texas fans.
Bo takes the mic for an inspirational moment, and his speech is slightly less earnest and slightly more intense. Great, great subtlety. WORK IT, BO.
Wait for it… wait…
Rose Mendes vs. AJ Lee
First of all, THANK HEAVENS Rosa has been inching her way back towards her original hair color. She is a beautiful woman, and not the love child of Kelly Kelly and Lambchop. She looks so much more like herself again, but also a little like a majorette. She and Layla need to start tipping the seamstress a little better.
Rosa doesn’t get a single move in. She gets kicked in the costume, then AJ locks her into the Black Widow so slowly that I almost had to look away about half-way through. Someone please edit this with serious British Olympic judges calling it. “It looks like she’s about to lock it in, Ian… here she goes… AND… she’s ABOUT TO DO IT! She’s about to… just about now… here then… wait for it wait for it… she got – wait – yes here we have it! No? Right. Aaaaaaand… just… about… oh dear God… yes, NOW.”
As AJ celebrates at the top of the ramp, Paige double axe-handles her into the stratosphere. Spectacular! And even though I despise how they paint all the Divas as some shitty shade of “crazy”, Paige’s version thereof is funny to me. She sits right down on the ramp, looking concerned but calmly yelling down, “You’re overreacting! She’s fine! AJ! Just call me when you’re feeling better.”
Backstage promo: Dean Ambrose
Dean strikes me as the type who’d be awesome to have as your shit-talkin’ partner at something civilized like tennis. Here, he informs Kane to bring an extra mask for Seth Rollins, because after their handicap match against him tonight, Rollins will need it to cover his face.
I coulda been a contender!
Kane/Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose (2-on-1 Handicap Match)
Michael Cole paints Rollins as a coward who hides behind Kane, using every aspect of the match to prove that Rollins isn’t honorable enough to stand on his own. Rollins heels it up to perfection, only tagging in for short bursts of cheap-shot-style attacks on Ambrose. I’m hoping that we’ll get to see them really wrestle soon, and I’m well past watching Kane as the demonic placeholder.
When the placeholder is temporarily indisposed, Ambrose goes nuts on Rollins, but it’s not long before a steel chair enters the mix, and the bell is rung. Ambrose takes out his frustration - chair in hand - on Kane, while the coward Rollins heads up the ramp.
Backstage interview: Renee Young and Chris Jericho
They begin by recapping the last two weeks of his feud with Wyatt, via clips from Raw. Then Jericho does a very clear but cliché-ridden promo about how he must beat Erick Rowan tonight, which will result in Rowan being banned from ringside at Summerslam. I suspect he will have to face Harper next week for the same stipulation.
I wrote a whole column about my hopes for this feud. Being a die-hard Jericho fan, I had faith that he could inject some creativity into these promos and matches. The matches have ranged from excellent to okay, and the promos have been solid but predictable. I realize that Chris Jericho doesn’t just ride in on a Lite Brite pony and hand his own script to Vince, and in this time of what they’d likely consider a financial crisis, maybe you don’t start dropping pipe bombs. It’s a team effort, thrust upon the shoulders of just a few guys on the front lines. But my sails are sagging on this one.
Backstage Promo: Stardust and Goldust
There’s a reason why Goldust looks f-cking constipated during these segments. They paralyze the organs. On a positive note, I didn't think Cody could be any more committed to an odd gimmick than he was while tweezing his nose hair on the Titan Tron, but I stand corrected.
Fandango vs. Diego
As you probably already know, Summer Rae and Layla are now regularly accompanying Diego to the ring. Their matching monogrammed matadora outfits are an insult to mtching things, monograms, and the made-up word matadora. Their distraction tactic – dancing with El Torito at ringside – gets a win for Diego and a wince from me.
Quote of the Night:
“There are no words. No really, there are no words.”
– The post-match celebration has really resonated with Michael Cole.
You say tomato, I say good luck doing a figure-four in those.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
What the hell happened to Del Rio?? The left side of his face looks very, very realistically messed up. Meanwhile, The Miz is sitting in at the table, sanitizing his hands so that he can defend his title without getting sick. Love it. This return, and this title run, has been like a magic elixir for The Miz’s diction and elocution.
During this wicked fun match, The Miz steps up onto the table in his ill-advised tomato pants and barefoot loafers, trying to distract Ziggler. It eventually results in Dolph tapping to the cross arm-breaker, and I should complain that Miz took away from a good match but holy crap he nailed it.
In-Ring Promo: The Wyatt Family
Bray rants about Jericho being full of empty promises, just as Sister Abigail had predicted. He says that the fans see through Jericho’s lies, and that at Summerslam, he won’t even be able to save himself.
After the commercial, Jericho comes down the aisle for his match against Erick Rowan.
Shameless panderers! #jealous
Chris Jericho vs. Erick Rowan
In the initial face-off, Rowan easily overpowers Jericho. Jericho makes a comeback, hampered by a touch of interference by Luke Harper. With perhaps a bit of foreshadowing, the ref ejects Harper from ringside.
Back from commercial, JBL describes this match as having a slow, methodical pace. I’ll add that it’s a mix of two styles that just don’t gel. Rowan can’t do much beyond hit, and that’s fine for Jericho, but that’s about all they can manage. The only redeeming bit is the finish, a Codebreaker out of a reversed Irish Whip. Wyatt backs up the ramp, his tail between his greasy khakis, as Jericho has eliminated one member of the Wyatt family from ringside at Summerslam.