Welcome to the SmackDown React-Down.
Previously on The Smack React: We were shown what a wrestling show can be when the authority figures get out of the way of the talent and let the stories tell themselves.
Also Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton played Hide and Seek.
So, not exactly a perfect episode, but I'll take it, especially when compared to Raw.
Speaking of which, and in case you missed it, here's the Uncooked Raw Reaction for this week, where two hours of dreck was almost outweighed by a great Women's Title Main Event and Jeri-KO spinning gold out of the wreckage of a nuked sewage treatment plant.
Now let's get to the good stuff...
... After getting through the bad stuff ...
Ollie-Ollie Oxen Free.
You know how when kids are playing Hide and Seek, and the one who's "It" finds one of the kids, behind a tree or under a bench or whatever, and that kid becomes "It," one of them calls out "Ollie-Ollie Oxen Free!" and all the kids who haven't been found come out from their hiding places?
"Ollie-Ollie Oxen Free."
That's the universal phrase for "You can stop this now!"
What I want to know is where Randy got that shipping container, and what was his plan, exactly?
I know, here's how I'll get one over on Bray! I'll lock him in a shipping container, you know, that one that I bought at a flea market two towns over, and I'll leave him in there with a rocking chair and then I'll come back two hours later and unlock the shipping container and ... then what?
I mean, I know what actually happened. Bray was supposed to have disappeared, possibly following the spirit Sister Abigail to the Underworld or some shit, and when Randy opened the shipping container, there was just an empty rocking chair, and he was pissed about it. He even threw the rocking chair against the wall and everything, to indicate just how pissed he was.
But what did he expect to find? I guess, a not disappeared Bray Wyatt, right? And then they would fight or whatever? How is that a plan?
Also, did Bray go completely insane, to the point that he was hallucinating an apparition of his dead sister or whatever after just like an hour and a half of solitary confinement? I guess he was kinda hanging by a thread, but still.
This whole thing has been terrible, and unless Sunday sees an actual ghost of a little girl materialize out of thin air and possess the soul of Randy Orton, it will go down as the worst feud of the year.
Ollie-Ollie Oxen Free.
This match took place.
Though, for the life of me, I can't quite figure out why.
Okay, now let's get to the good stuff ...
We'll get to the really good stuff eventually.
Jimmy Uso is a dick to the back of people's knees.
Like seriously. What did the back of Jason Jordan's knee ever do to you?
Man, I can't wait for the Usos/A.Alpha feud for the belt that they're teasing so hard.
It's going to be really good.
At the end of this, Slater & Rhyno run in to save A.Alpha, and we get a taste of what it will be like for Slyno vs Usos on Sunday.
I used to think Team Slyno had no shot at No Mercy, that they were ready to put the titles on Heel Usos and start that Alpha program, and also that Rhyno was probably going to turn on Heath, but after WWE released this brand new Titantron, I'm not so sure.
BECAUSE NOW I'M EVEN MORE SURE.
I mean, look at this thing.
Almost two minutes of
"Heath Slater & Rhyno"
"I Got Kids / I Need This Job"
That took the graphics design intern about three minutes to make.
Also, they're putting Heath Slater first in the tag name in a blatant disregard for the fact that Rhyno has won everyone of their matches with a Gore.
Also also, "I Got Kids / I Need This Job" only references Slater.
Where's the "Vote For Rhyno" placard?
Why not wipe to that at least once?
Also also also, they continue to use Slater's "One Man Band" theme as their entrance music.
Just one man? Really? Really Heath? REALLY?
If I was Rhyno, I'd turn on Slater, too.
Plus, Smackdown could use a nice mid-card singles feud leading into Survivor Series.
You know, one that people will actually care about.
Unlike this one:
If you think he was tapping, it's a reach.
So they're starting a Swagger-Corbin feud. Fine. As long as they're doing this to ultimately put over Baron Corbin, I'm cool with it.
But this is an awkward first step.
When Swagger has Corbin in the Patriot Lock, Corbin is obviously reaching for the ropes, and the ref calls for the bell, saying that he tapped.
Only he didn't.
Listen, I've been covering Main Event and Superstars for almost five months. I've seen a lot of people tap to the Patriot Lock.
This wasn't it.
They have babyface commentator David Otunga argue that "no, he really did tap," which is just patently untrue. It's like arguing on behalf of the earth being flat. It doesn't make sense. Then they have the heel color commentator, JBL, take the side that he didn't tap.
So I think that we're all supposed to think that he was really tapping, because that's usually how these things work, which is stupid.
Still, I did like Corbin being a super-sore loser and snapping the f*ck out on the ring steps and the announce table.
An angry Baron Corbin is a fun-to-watch Baron Corbin.
But still, none of this changes the fact that they have JBL arguing on behalf of the truth, and that's a dangerous game to be playing.
Also, you made me agree with JBL and that's a hard pill to swallow.
Be careful, SmackDown, you're on thin ice here.
Speaking of which ...
Hey Curt, you got some a little somethin' ...
He looks like he was just giving a rim job to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
I really want Curt Hawkins to finally "step into the ring" and get annihilated by like Kane or somebody.
Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure Vince thinks this guy's a babyface and that all of these terrible promos are supposed to make us like him.
Like don't you think that Vince believes all of these lame recycled "Chuck Norris" jokes are HILARIOUS, and also secretly apply to him?
"Vince McMahon can never have a heart attack. His heart isn't stupid enough to attack him."
"When Vince McMahon does a push up, he isn't pushing himself up, he's pushing the Earth down."
"Vince McMahon is totally awesome and he does totally awesome stuff and no one else is as awesome as Vince McMahon because he is the awesomest."
(Vince came up with that last one all by himself.)
Hey what do you know, I told you we'd get to the good stuff!
So we're getting two Women's matches at No Mercy.
Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss, and Nikki Bella vs Carmella.
Do you know the last time we had two Women's Matches at a non-Big-Four PPV?
Me neither, so I enlisted the help of our crack research team and they c--
I'm being told that we don't have a crack research team.
We have a research team that's on crack, but they don't seem to be responding to my texts, probably because they're busy trying to score some crack.
So I guess I could Google it myself, but ain't nobody got time for that.
It's a been a while since we had two Women's matches at a non-Big-Four PPV. Like a good long while. I'm going to guess and say that it's been like seventeen years.
It probably hasn't been that long, but I dunno, it kind of feels that long, you know?
Oh wait, one of the cracked out research team just got back to me.
It was Battleground.
So, less than three months ago.
So, definitely less than seventeen years ago.
But doesn't it feel more like it was seventeen years ago?
Anyway, I'm very excited for both of these matches, and I have been enjoying the respective builds as well.
You know why?
Because the stories have been so well told.
The telling, the talking has been so great, among all of these women.
That contract signing between Becky and Alexa from a few weeks ago, all of these girls' appearances on Talking Smack, it's all been great.
Even this little backstage interview with Carmella and a sentient Mon Chi Chi Doll was pretty good.
I mean, aside from the fact that Carmella can't seem to keep her accent straight.
Aside from that.
It's Smackdown's allowing of it's performers to tell the story in what appears to be their own words that is making almost all of their major programs into compelling wrestling television. And in some cases, it's turning feuds that we never would have cared about six months ago into some of the best stuff that WWE has done in years.
Case in point...
No Miz-ness like Show Miz-ness.
First of all, I would absolutely pay money to go and watch the "Dolphumentary" Success of a Failure.
That trailer alone deserves an Emmy.
Seriously, when The Miz gets inducted into the Hall of Fame (and if he builds on this current run AT ALL, he's a shoo-in), they're going to go back and point to this feud, and the culmination of it in this segment as the tipping point for him.
And if the rumors are true, and Dolph really does want to step aside and into a backstage/agenting role with the company, or to pursue his other interests like Stand-Up Comedy and Political Punditry, what a cool way to do it, by giving a rub to his long time friend Mike Mizanin and letting him get some real heat in the process.
And speaking of heat ...
The Spirit Squad is on WWE TV. In 2016.
And this feud made it happen.
FLAME EMOJI FOR DAYS.
I love this feud so much, and both guys have been so good in it, that I almost don't want it to end.
Seriously, the promo work in this program has been downright legendary.
And I don't know if it's even the best promo work on the show.
Talk Isn't Cheap.
AJ is the first in the ring, and starts your standard "Here's why I'm going to win on Sunday" soliloquy before Dean comes down and starts in on him.
I’m mad because I had you pinned for about 27 seconds last week when John Cena just had to interfere. JC who "couldn't care less about me" couldn’t stand the fact that I beat him two weeks ago, and that I was about to win the title right in front of his face. He should thank me for bringing the WWE championship to SmackDown Live in the first place so he can think about breaking Ric Flair’s record...
That's a great point by Ambrose. If he didn't beat Rollins and Reigns at Battleground, the World Championship would be on Raw and Cena wouldn't even get a shot at it.
I love when wrestling actually employs logic.
Cena of course has to have a rebuttal, so he comes down to the ring, but he can barely get a word out before AJ interrupts him.
SHUT UP. JUST FOR GOD’S SAKES SHUT UP. We already know what you’re gonna say, so for once in your life, just shut up. You’re chasing history, right? You’re gonna be a 16 time world champion, right? How dare you compare yourself to an icon, a legend, like Ric Flair. I don’t care how many championships you have won, you will never be in the same conversation as Ric Flair. But to tell you the truth John, I wouldn’t be worried about Ric Flair’s legacy. I would be worried about AJ Styles. You wanna chase history? Chase it John! It’s gonna be a long road... You chase history, I MAKE history. So let’s hear it! One of those rah-rah speeches! Yay everybody, cheer for John Cena! The WWE World Champion is gonna stand over here and watch you make a fool out of yourself.
There are few things I like more in wrestling right now than when AJ Styles removes himself from the conversation and just casually leans up against the ropes.
LOOK HOW CASUAL HE IS.
It's so classically heelish. I love it.
Anyway, Cena tries to get a word in, but Dean gets in his words first.
And oh, what words they are.
A very good friend of mine, who has been tired of Cena's shtick since before it was cool, texted me this:
"Man, Ambrose cut the Cena promo I've always wanted somebody to cut."
I hadn't seen Smackdown yet when he sent me this, because I missed it Live, because my wife and I were out shopping for baby strollers, because I can't be at your beck and call 24/7, WRESTLING WORLD.
So I wondered what he meant by that.
This is what he meant by that:
STOP. Let me save you the trouble. That you didn’t screw me over, that I screwed myself over. That I’m my own worst enemy, that I’ve always been that, to stop complaining, to stop making excuses... You’re the master of the political spin, you’re good at it, you should run for office. That’s why you’ve been on top 15 years, that’s why you’re in this match in the first place... Mr. Loyalty, the poster boy. I guess you got no respect for having the most matches in the last two years. You’ve got zero respect for me, because I’ve never come in here and kissed your ass and came to you for advice and played your little game. I’ve never played by your rules... being a fake, plastic, suck ass behind the scenes ... I’ll just be Dean Ambrose. Have fun being the guy that plays John Cena on TV.
BEING THE GUY.
THAT PLAYS JOHN CENA.
That burn was so sick, I think my face melted.
Pictured: My face.
And, of course, John Cena, being John Cena, launched into a three minute diatribe about never giving up and hustling to respect loyalty and NO WAIT HE DID NONE OF THAT.
Because he just said "Talk is cheap," and this is the sequence that followed.
This might have been my favorite wrestling television segment of the year.
But that last thing John Cena said before attacking Dean Ambrose, while being fun and clever and great, it really isn't true on Smackdown.
Talk isn't cheap.
It's incredibly valuable.
The promos in this feud, going back to the episode after Backlash, have been so good, it almost boggles the mind.
And not just in this feud either. All of the major programs on Smackdown have benefited greatly from being given time to tell the story. Literally.
All of the talent's appearances on Talking Smack have been great, but especially the three men in the main event on Sunday (along with The Miz of course).
They've been giving absolute master classes in how to sell a program naturally and with feeling.
Future generations will watch this stuff on the Network, learn from it, and expound on it, becoming even better in the process.
In ten years, we'll look back on this time as the real Reality Era.
When, as The Miz knows about all too well, wrestlers stopped being polite, and started getting real.
Until Next Time, I've Been Alex Pawlowski,
and this was me when Dean Ambrose
lit the world on fire with his John Cena burn.