This week, WWE SmackDown is emanating from Cincinnati, OH. Tonight, Dolph Ziggler will face Rusev with Summer Rae as the guest referee, while the main event will be Dean Ambrose and the Dudley Boyz vs. the New Day.
Roman Reigns kicks off the show, and we’re going right into our first match.
MATCH 1: ROMAN REIGNS VS. BO DALLAS
Dallas comes out with a mic. He says there’s nothing wrong with being scared. Reigns is less than two weeks away from being trapped inside Hell in a Cell with a man he’s come up short against time and time again. Dallas knows all about being in scary situations: he went to Suplex City! Unlike Reigns, Dallas survived. Reigns is only leaving HIAC one way, and that’s on a stretcher. Bolieve that.
Reigns and Dallas lock up, and Reigns backs Dallas in the corner. Dallas gets a couple cheap shots in on the break, then goes for an Irish whip. Dallas comes back with a pair of kicks and a swinging neckbreaker. He goes for the Samoan drop, but Dallas grabs the top rope. Reigns tosses him off his shoulders and drops him with an uppercut. In the corner, Reigns eats a pair of boots, then gets hit with a clothesline to the back of the head from the middle rope. Dallas beats Reigns down with punches and kicks before Reigns turns him inside-out with a clothesline. Reigns throws Dallas to the corner for nine clotheslines, then loads up for the tenth. Dallas drops to his knees and begs for a time-out. Reigns backs off for a moment, and Dallas offers a handshake. Reigns takes it, then no-sells a couple kicks to the gut, all the while holding the hand. He grabs Dallas into a Samoan drop, then connects with the Superman Punch. Dallas gets back up, and a spear puts him back down for 3.
WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS.
Professor Steiner Says: FAAAT ASSES!!
It was a squash, and it featured one of the biggest wastes of space in the company in Dallas. Can’t really expect much.
Reigns gets a mic and says Bray Wyatt claims he’s the devil. Reigns agrees. When he looks into Wyatt’s eyes, he sees pure evil. He can see Wyatt in the depths of hell, screaming that he’s the devil. In less than two weeks, he will meet the devil inside the cell, and he’s bringing the big fight, because the only way to stop the devil is to ride straight into hell.
Wyatt appears on the TitanTron, and he’s humming. He says Reigns’ virtues are many, but his sins will be his undoing. Not the sins of vanity or sloth or rage; it’s the sin of pride that will be Reigns’ ending. Reigns is not his master or muse. Tonight, it doesn’t suit him to go to war with Reigns. But next Monday night on RAW, he will deliver unto Reigns a prophecy. Anyone but you, Roman. Anyone but you.
MATCH 2: CESARO AND NEVILLE VS. KING BARRETT AND SHEAMUS
Stardust and the Ascension are in the audience, and Stardust is holding up a sign that says “Stardust Section”. Neville and Barrett start off, and Neville applies a side headlock. Barrett catches him off the ropes, but Neville turns it into a headscissors. Neville misses a splash in the corner, gets caught up on the top and takes a few forearms before avoiding the field goal kick. He shoulders Barrett through the ropes and flips over his back, back into the ring. Neville lands a trio of kicks, followed by a running one to the head. Neville goes back to the headlock, and that’s when Sheamus makes the blind tag. They crisscross until Neville goes for a hurricanrana. Sheamus tries to turn it into a powerbomb, but Neville hangs on and pulls Sheamus over the top rope and to the floor. Barrett charges in, only for Neville to sidestep him and send him through the ropes. Cesaro comes in and backdrops Neville onto both of them on the floor. Cesaro sees Stardust’s crew and mocks them while Neville rolls Sheamus back in. He hits a kick from the apron, then connects with a springboard cross-body for 2. Commercials.
[adinserter block=”1″]Back from the break, Barrett nails Neville with a big boot for 2, then applies a modified surfboard. Barrett turns the hold into a rear chinlock, but Neville breaks free. Barrett powers Neville to the corner and tags in Sheamus, who stomps Neville down as Jerry Lawler just buried the Ascension on commentary (“Maybe the New Day would rather face a good tea!”). Sheamus hits a release vertical suplex. Barrett tags back in and hits a snapmare into a rear chinlock. Neville fights out before getting shoved to the corner. He avoids a charge, with Barrett putting on the brakes. He throws Neville again, then misses a big boot, with Barrett getting himself crotched on the top rope. Cesaro and Sheamus tag in, with Cesaro unloading with European uppercuts. He throws Sheamus to the corner for his series of running Europeans, then ends the series with a dropkick. He knocks Barrett off with a straight uppercut, then flips off an Irish whip before booting Sheamus through the ropes. He drops to the floor and nails Barrett with a running European, comes back into the ring and drops Sheamus with a spinning springboard version for 2. Cesaro sets up the Cesaro Swing, but Sheamus pulls himself to the bottom rope and kicks Cesaro away. He grabs his MITB case and swings for the fences, but Cesaro trips him and sets the Swing up again. Barrett clobbers him with the Royal Bull Hammer behind the ref’s back, and Sheamus gets the 3.
WINNERS: KING BARRETT AND SHEAMUS.
Professor Steiner Says: Old, Butt-Sucking Bastard.
The match was fun, but it was very rushed, and I know all four guys are capable of a lot more.
Renee Young is standing by with Summer Rae. She says it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for Rae. She talks about the engagement, then turns it to the real-life engagement of Lana and Rusev. This cuts to footage from RAW, where Rae and Rusev broke up. Why in the hell is this still going? When did anyone ever care? Back to Young, she says that’s a different side of Rae. Rae makes a stupid comment about putting a man in his place while trying to look sexy. Young asks if she can be unbiased tonight, and she says she keeps her personal & professional lives separate.
We see footage from earlier today of Dean Ambrose unpacking his bags. He’s approached by Byron Saxton. Paige beat Ambrose in a “most unstable star” contest. Ambrose calls Paige crazy, then notices something missing from his bag. He pulls a bunch of random crap out, calls Saxton “Billy”, then leaves. Turns out this is all just a dumbass ad for Payday candy bars, WWE’s newest sponsor.
MATCH 3: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION KEVIN OWENS VS. ZACK RYDER (NON-TITLE)
Ryback is at ringside. Ryder goes on the attack with forearms in the corner, then connects with a big boot before climbing up for some punches. Owens escapes and crotches Ryder on the middle rope before connecting with a clothesline to the back. Ryder fights back with more forearms, then misses an enziguri. Owens hits a running senton before taunting Ryback, which allows Ryder to stack him up for 2. Ryder hits a pair of knees in the corner, then comes off the middle with a missile dropkick. He misses a corner forearm, then gets caught with a clothesline. A pop-up powerbomb later, and this one’s over.
WINNER: KEVIN OWENS.
Professor Steiner Says: Gimme a F**kin’ Mic!
A squash like earlier, but since Ryder got in a fair amount offense and is far better than Bo Dallas in every way, I’ll give it a slightly higher rating.
We see Natalya on her phone backstage. She stops when she sees Paige is staring at her. Paige offers an apology, then goes off on basically her entire career before fake-crying. Paige says she wants to make things right. She misses being friends with Nattie, as well as her being a mentor. Nattie says she’s right in that she has a long way to go, but this is a start. Nattie then lets herself into her dressing room as Paige just kind of looks around.
MATCH 4: DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. RUSEV; SPECIAL REFEREE: SUMMER RAE
Rae comes out last, to almost no reaction. Rusev backs Ziggler to the corner and stomps him down. He chokes Ziggler under the bottom rope, then nails a shot to the head. Ziggler fights back with punches and kicks, then gets caught with something that’s supposed to resemble a dropkick. Ziggler rolls to the apron, and Rusev knocks him into the barricade. Ziggler rolls back in at 5, and Rusev stomps him more before connecting with a headbutt off the ropes. Rusev kicks Ziggler in the gut, then applies a head-and-arm. Ziggler fights out, connects with a jawbreaker, then catches Ziggler with a back elbow and a boot out of the corner. Ziggler ducks a clothesline and goes for a cross-body. Rusev catches him and goes for a fall-away slam, which Ziggler counters into a schoolboy for a fast 2-count. Rusev clobbers Ziggler with a clothesline, then argues with Rae about the count. Rae just screeches “I’m the referee! Get to your opponent!” over and over. You know. Like a referee. Rusev turns around and gets caught with a dropkick. Ziggler follows up with a corner splash and a neckbreaker. The Shot to the Heart connects, and Ziggler goes for the rocker dropper. Rusev catches him in a powerbomb and tosses him over his head into the buckles. Ziggler avoids contact, avoids a charge by Rusev and goes for a superkick. Rusev blocks and catapults Ziggler into the buckles. He connects with a superkick and goes for the pin, but Rae takes a week to drop for the count, resulting in a 2. Rae screams at Rusev and slaps him in the face, which allows Ziggler to hit the Zig-Zag for a fast 3.
WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER.
Professor Steiner Says: Gimme a F**kin’ Mic!
The match itself wasn’t horrible (I’ve seen much worse out of Rusev), but Summer Rae being featured so prominently and playing the biased unbiased referee while constantly shrieking was excruciating.
After the match, Rae stops Ziggler from leaving the ring. She says she was devastated when she found out Rusev cheated on her. But Lana cheated on Ziggler, too. They were done dirty (I don’t know, either). Now that they’re both single, Rae wants to skank it up with Ziggler. Again. Ziggler cuts her off. He says he has chemistry with a lot of girls. Rae is trying to use him, and he’s not playing those kinds of games. Rae then plays with her hair while staring blankly.
Renee Young is with the Dudley Boyz and Dean Ambrose. Why is she wearing sleeves that are cut in the middle? She makes a comment about the Dudleyz lacking chemistry against the New Day tonight. Bubba Ray reminds her who he and D-Von are, and Ambrose is a combustible element on his own. He tells Young to touch Ambrose, then all three of them yell “BOOM!” D-Von says the New Day has been ducking them, but at HIAC, there will be a celebration when the Dudleyz become 10-time champions. Testify. Ambrose says when you take a wrong turn, you end up in Dudleyville. It reminds him of his home of Cincinnati. They’re going to 3-D the New Day all the way to the lunatic fringe.
We get a promo video for Breaking Ground, a new show on the WWE Network about NXT.
MATCH 5: THE PRIME-TIME PLAYERS (TITUS O’NEIL AND DARREN YOUNG) VS. LUKE HARPER AND BRAUN STROWMAN
We get a video package for Strowman as the members of the Wyatt Family make their way down to the ring. Ambrose and Randy Orton will take Harper and Strowman on at the HIAC kick-off show. Titus and Strowman start with a lock-up. Strowman gets thrown to the corner before Titus hits a few punches. Strowman blocks a whip and counters it. Titus avoids contact and nails Strowman with a forearm. Titus connects with a couple forearms and an avalanche. Strowman shakes it off and drops him with a clothesline. Strowman kicks Titus and hits a few shots in the corner before throwing Titus to the mat. He tags in Harper, who nails an uppercut, then applies the Gator Roll into a side headlock. Titus fights to his feet and breaks the hold with a back suplex. Young tags in, ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. He knocks Harper to the apron with a punch and goes for a back suplex. Harper breaks free, but then gets hit with a neckbreaker on the apron. Back in, Young goes for a roll-up, but Strowman tags in. Young realizes it and punches Strowman, who no-sells. Young turns around and gets dropped with a superkick. Titus knocks Harper to the floor, but it’s all for naught, as Strowman locks in that dumbass “choke” and Young passes out.
WINNERS: LUKE HARPER AND BRAUN STROWMAN.
Professor Steiner Says: FAAAT ASSES!
Braun Strowman sucks. And why are the former tag champs getting squashed? What the hell was the point of that?
MATCH 6: WWE DIVAS CHAMPION CHARLOTTE (W/BECKY LYNCH) VS. ALICIA FOX (W/THE BELLA TWINS)
Nikki distracts Charlotte right away, which allows Fox to hit a couple of European uppercuts and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2. Fox drives her knee into Fox’s back, then applies a rear chinlock. Charlotte tries to reverse it, but Fox hangs on as we see Team BAD looking on backstage. Charlotte breaks the hold by ramming Fox into the buckles before Fox pulls her into the buckles by the hair. Fox hits a northern lights suplex for 2, and now she’s out of moves. Fox kicks Charlotte, then connects with a snapmare before going back to the rear chinlock. Charlotte breaks the hold with her ass, escapes a tilt-a-whirl, eats a forearm, and the two hit simultaneous big boots. Back up, Charlotte lights Fox up with some chops, connects with the Layout and a spear. She locks in the Figure-8, and Fox taps out.
Professor Steiner Says: Gimme a F**kin’ Mic!
Fox is terrible, but at least she didn’t botch anything. This time. And I’d still rather see her wrestle than either of the Bellas, so there’s that.
The Bella Twins attack Charlotte and Lynch after the match, and Fox joins in as well. They toss Lynch to the floor, then start triple-teaming Charlotte. Paige runs down and goes after all three members of Team Bella, clearing the ring. Charlotte and Lynch don’t trust her as she tries reconcile with them.
We see Charlotte and Lynch later in the back, talking. Paige stops them and says she owes them an apology and has to make it up to them. A referee and a trainer run by, so Charlotte and Lynch follow them. They end up in Natalya’s locker room, where’s she’s apparently been attacked, as she’s rolling around on the floor in pain.
We get a video package for Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker. The best part is Rip Thomas points out that this match at HIAC is thirteen years in the making, finally acknowledging their past, but then the video starts with a graphic that says “Chapter 1″, with chapter one apparently being the match at Wrestlemania XXX. WWE logic for you.
[adinserter block=”2”]MATCH 7: THE NEW DAY (WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS BIG E, KOFI KINGSTON AND XAVIER WOODS) VS. THE DUDLEY BOYZ (BUBBA RAY & D-VON) AND DEAN AMBROSE
Before their opponents come out, the New Day cut another promo. It’s your typical New Day stuff, so if you really want to hear it, you can Google it. They make a Beastie Boys reference in the middle, but that’s about the only thing of note.
Bubba and Kofi start. Kofi applies a side headlock and blocks two back suplex attempts before getting caught with a hiptoss off the ropes. Bubba follows up with a bodyslam and tags in D-Von, who hit a double clothesline and a double elbow. A sidewalk slam gets 2. Kofi backs D-Von to the heel corner, only to have D-Von fight out. Woods distracts the ref, which allows E to crotch D-Von around the ring post. The New Day hit their stomping spot early, and it goes on longer than normal. Finally, E whips Woods in for a low dropkick for 2. Woods applies a cobra clutch before D-Von fights out. He gets whipped into the corner, and Woods follows up with a forearm. He knocks Bubba off the apron, then goes after D-Von once more. D-Von manages to avoid contact and catches Woods with a hanging neckbreaker. Ambrose tags in, cleans house and connects with a running bulldog out of the corner. He goes up top, boots Kofi away, dives over Woods, ducks a clothesline and hits Kofi outside with a suicide dive. He avoids Woods’ baseball slide, pulls him out and clotheslines him. E tries to roll Ambrose back in the ring, but Ambrose spins through and clotheslines him as well. Woods gets rolled back in, and Ambrose comes off the top with a flying elbow for 2. Ambrose shoves Woods to the corner and sets him up for a butterfly suplex, which connects. E makes a blind tag, however, and drops Ambrose with a vertical splash. He then misses the Warrior Splash, and Ambrose tags in Bubba. Bubba hits a couple clotheslines and a back-body drop on Kofi. He does the Flip, Flop and Fly on Woods, but then eats a Kofi dropkick. D-Von puts Kofi down with a standing spinebuster, and E then does the same to D-Von with a belly-to-belly. Ambrose drops E with a seated missile dropkick, then heads up top. Woods shoves him off, and he faceplants on the floor. IN the ring, Kofi rolls Bubba up for 2. He misses Trouble in Paradise, then gets hit with the 3-D for 2 as Woods breaks it up by hitting Bubba with the trombone, leading to the DQ.
WINNERS VIA DISQUALIFICATION: DEAN AMBROSE AND THE DUDLEY BOYZ.
Professor Steiner Says: Gimme a F**kin’ Mic!
This match probably would have been fine, had it not been for the ending. Also, why is a main event match basically a squash, and what is WWE’s hang-up with squashes tonight? With the exception of the tag match, that was pretty much the show’s motif.
After the match, the New Day continue their attack on the Dudleyz. Woods beats Bubba down with the trombone, and he has a bloody nose. D-Von gets a couple trombone shots as well before Woods hits Bubba with a shining wizard. Kofi then hits Trouble in Paradise, and now E and Kofi hit the Midnight Hour on D-Von.
END OF SHOW.
The overall rating?
Professor Steiner Says: Gimme a F**kin’ Mic!
Extremely poor show this week. The talking segments were pretty much all useless, and on a show featuring seven matches, all but one were more or less squashes. Last I checked, this was not WCW Worldwide or WWF Action Zone.