WWE Thursday Night SmackDown kicks off with Dean Ambrose coming down to the ring. Looks like we’re going to go into our first match.
MATCH 1: DEAN AMBROSE VS. SHEAMUS
Before the match, Sheamus says Ambrose may have the WWE Universe fooled, but not him. Everyone believes Ambrose is some crazy lunatic, but Sheamus knows he’s simply reckless. Last week, Ambrose and Big Show went through the announce desk. Some people might think it was courageous, but Sheamus thinks it’s just cowardice. He got out of fighting Sheamus last week that way, but guess what? Tonight, there’s nowhere to run or hide. There’s no escape, because Sheamus promises to give Ambrose a good, old-fashioned arse-kicking from the next WWE World Champion. Ambrose says those are profound words, and they got him thinking. It is true what they say: Sheamus does look stupid.
Back from the break, Sheamus cuts Ambrose off on the top rope and goes up for a superplex. Ambrose blocks, escapes and pelts Sheamus with forearms, knocking him down. Sheamus recovers and crotches Ambrose by kicking him in the leg. Sheamus slams Ambrose, with Ambrose’s now-bad knee catching the bottom rope. He does it again, then applies a stretch muffler before powering Ambrose up. Ambrose pulls himself to a seated position for a hurricanrana, but Sheamus counters with a sit-out powerbomb for 2. He then applies a half-Boston crab. Sheamus drags Ambrose to the middle of the ring and sits down all the way, only to have Ambrose roll through and break free with kicks. Sheamus hits a European uppercut, but that leads to a rebound clothesline from Ambrose. Ambrose starts slapping his knee, and now the two are trading punches. Sheamus goes low with a kick, misses a clothesline and eats a pair of forearms. Ambrose hits another one in the corner and goes for a bulldog. Sheamus shoves him to the buckles and charges in, misses and gets rolled up for 2. He goes for the Brogue Kick, but Ambrose ducks, sending Sheamus to the floor. Ambrose hits a suicide dive, rolls Sheamus back in, then comes off the top with a flying elbow.
Bray Wyatt’s music hits, and he walks down to the ring. The lights come on, and that’s when we see Luke Harper on the other side of the ring. Ambrose goes out after Harper, only to get blasted by a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Sheamus rolls Ambrose back in and connects with a second Brogue Kick for 3.
Jo-Jo is standing by with Neville. She points out what happened last week with Stardust, and Neville says Stardust is unlike anyone or anything he’s encountered. Stardust is a nut. He refers to Neville as a superhero and himself as a supervillain. Neville sees him as nothing but a coward, and Stardust will learn you can’t hold down what gravity can’t contain. The “Altitude Era” is now. After Neville leaves, the screen behind Jo-Jo scrambles, only to have Stardust appear on it and do nothing except hold his gloves together.
MATCH 2: ADAM ROSE VS. NEVILLE
Why does Rose still have a job? Can anyone give me a legitimate reason? Neville goes for a waistlock, and Rose counters into an arm wringer. Neville flips off the ropes and counters into his own. Rose backs him into a corner, then stomps him down. Rose stomps him in the adjacent corner, then snaps off a suplex for 1. Rose applies a rear chinlock. Byron Saxton referred to Rose as having a new “aggressive streak”. Apparently, “aggressive streak” translates into “expert jobbing abilities”, as the same crap was said about Fandango when he returned and then proceeded to lose most of his matches. Same with Bo Dallas. Anyway, Neville gets back to his feet and fights out of the hold. He reverses a corner whip, runs into a back elbow and gets hit with a hurricanrana off the middle rope. Neville rolls to the floor, and Rose goes for a suicide dive. Neville blasts him through the ropes, flips back into the ring, hits a series of kicks and a flying forearm. Rose backdrops him in the corner, but he lands on the apron and nails Rose with a kick, causing Rose to fall to the floor. Neville hits an Asai moonsault as an “NXT” chant breaks out. Rose is rolled back in, and Neville comes off the top with the Red Arrow for 3.
Stardust shows up on the big screen, wearing a party hat, with horns blowing in the background. He says a bunch of stupid crap I don’t care about, then asks Neville to be his hero and embrace the strange.
We get a video for Sasha Banks. I can’t tell you how much I hate her gimmick. She’s decent in the ring, but her gimmick is just boring and lazy.
King Barrett comes out and asks for some decorum. At Battleground, amidst all the hoopla concerning the return of the Undertaker, the peasants lost sight of what truly matters, and that is the greatest king in the history of WWE, the “King of Bad News”. At the KOTR tournament a couple months ago, he beat three top superstars in less than 24 hours to wear this cape and crown. At Battleground, he showed the world what happens when you try to mock his accomplishments. In layman’s terms, if you want a shot at this king, you better hit him right between the eyes, because you won’t be getting a second chance. Be warned. The world is now on notice, because this king’s crowning moment is still to come. All hail King Barrett!
MATCH 3: KEVIN OWENS VS. RUSEV (W/SUMMER RAE)
Before Rusev comes out, Owens says that ever since his match with John Cena at Battleground, he keeps hearing three words everywhere: “Tap, Owens, tap”. It’s cute, but not accurate. What did happen is he gave Cena the toughest fight of his career. So he has no problem looking in the mirror, because he’s not the one who goes by the motto “Never give up”. He’s smarter than that. His outlook is “Live to fight another day”, and that’s exactly what he did on Sunday. People can chant all they want, but he has a family to think, kids whose futures depend on him, so he wasn’t about to suffer a career-ending injury at the hands of Cena. That’s probably a hard concept for many to grasp, but the fact is he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He does what he feels is best for his career always, and it was no different on RAW. Once Sheamus left his team high and dry, he knew there was no point in sticking around. Again, he wasn’t going to risk injury fighting three top superstars when his team is one man short. If Rusev if wasn’t so busy trying to figure out which Lana he wants to get to second base with, he would understand that was the right choice.
Rusev marches down to the ring and goes right after Owens with punches. The bell rings, and Owens rolls to the floor. Commercials.
Back from the break, Owens is stomping Rusev down. He nails a right, then hits a chop in the corner. Rusev fights out of the opposite corner with headbutts before Owens hits a forearm. Rusev comes back with a suplex for 2, then gets hit with a back elbow off the ropes. Owens kicks Rusev in the spine, then pelts him in the temple with rights before kicking Rusev down. Owens goes for a German suplex, but Rusev reverses. Owens fights him off before getting hit with a vertical splash. Rusev connects with a fall-away slam. Rusev misses a splash in the corner and gets hit with a superkick. Owens connects with the cannonball, then drags Rusev away from the corner for a pin that gets two, while yelling “God, lose some weight!” Owens hits a couple rights and a short-arm clothesline for 2, then applies a rear chinlock. Jesus, keep the camera off of Summer Rae. She’s repugnant. Rusev gets back to his feet and slugs Owens in the gut before Owens hits a lung blower for 2. Owens goes back to the chinlock, grinding Rusev to the mat. Owens pulls Rusev back to his feet and breaks his own hold with some punches. Rusev starts punching back, knocking Owens down several times. He connects with a kick to the chest, another kick off the ropes and a swinging back suplex. Rusev runs into a back elbow in the corner, ducks a clothesline and hits a spinning heel kick. And by “kick”, I mean he connected with his upper quad. Rusev hits the thrust kick, stomps Owens in the back and goes for the Accolade. Owens slides out and rolls to the floor. He starts to climb back in at 6, but then decides he’s had enough and heads up the ramp, losing via count-out.
WINNER VIA COUNT-OUT: RUSEV.
Owens screams up at Rusev that he fights on his own terms, that’s he’s Canadian and not a stupid American.
New Guy is standing by with Cesaro. New Guy says Cesaro has been picking up a lot of momentum lately, and tonight, he faces WWE World Champion Seth Rollins. Cesaro says this feels right. Pushing John Cena to the limit is in the past. Tonight, he’s got the champ. He always wanted to be in this spot. He spent years honing his craft. He hasn’t spent Christmas with his family in 11 years, but he wouldn’t change anything because he loves this. Tonight, he faces the champ, and success doesn’t come overnight. For everyone in this country that has hopes and dreams, he wants to prove that hard work pays and the American dream never dies.
Kevin Owens interrupts him and says no one cares. He beat Cena in his first night. He accomplished more in one night than Cesaro has done his entire career, and nobody cares about his dreams or how he abandoned his family, which is what he did. Cesaro says Owens is the authority on abandoning things since he’s abandoned half his matches since coming to WWE. And where did he come from? Catering? Oh, no. He came from another abandoned match. Owens says he’s headed to catering now to grab a bite and watch Cesaro lose to Rollins. Cesaro tells him not to choke on his food, like he did against Cena at Battleground. Now, why doesn’t Owens do what he does best and “Walk, Owens, walk.” Owens wishes him a sarcastic “good luck” and walks away.
MATCH 4: NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPION SASHA BANKS AND NAOMI (W/TAMINA) VS. THE BELLA TWINS (BRIE AND WWE DIVAS CHAMPION NIKKI, W/ALICIA FOX)
Naomi and Nikki start with a lock-up. Nikki hits a monkey flip out of it for 1, then follows up with an arm-drag into an armbar. Naomi whips her down by the hair, then hits a low clothesline. She walks into a spinebuster for 2, and now Brie tags in. The Bellas hit a double flapjack for 2. Brie goes for a neckbreaker, but Naomi spins through and hits a couple kneelifts. Banks tags and gets kicked. Nikki tags in and hits a dropsh*t for 2 before applying a headscissors. Nikki then does some push-ups in the hold for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Banks eventually kicks out of the hold, then walks into a side headlock. Brie tags in and hits a missile dropkick off the middle rope for 2. Brie hits a knee against the ropes, hollers like a banshee and goes for a running knee. Tamina pulls Banks to the floor, avoiding the move. The ref apparently gets distracted by Fox as Brie grabs Banks through the ropes, allowing Tamina to hit her in the face with a superkick. Brie falls to the floor. Banks stomps Brie down as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Naomi is now legal, and she’s stomping Brie in the corner. Naomi kicks Brie, follows up with a kneelift, a bodyslam and a legdrop for 2. She runs Brie’s head into the middle buckle, and Banks tags in for the cover, getting 2. She throws Brie to the corner for a foot-choke, then sets Brie across the middle buckle and drops a pair of knees into the midsection for 2. Banks knocks Nikki off the apron, then throws Brie to the corner for some illegal double-teaming as Nikki argues with the ref. Naomi tags in and hits a snap suplex for 2 before applying a rear chinlock. Brie fights out before running into a flying back elbow. Banks tags in as Naomi hits a full-nelson bomb. Banks kicks Brie in the chest for 2, then applies a straightjacket. Brie eventually snaps Banks off and dives for a tag, but Banks catches her and powers her to the corner for a tag to Naomi. Naomi hits a version of Eat Defeat for 2, then applies a rear chinlock. She breaks the hold and hits some crossface shots before going back to it. Brie fights out before Naomi clocks her and throws her to the corner. Naomi connects with a splash in the corner before getting backdropped to the outside. She lands on her feet on the apron, only to have Brie dropkick her to the floor. Tamina rolls Naomi back in as Nikki makes the tag. Nikki connects with two clotheslines, a dropsh*t and a back-body drop. She knocks Banks off the apron and connects with an Alabama Slam for 2. She goes for the Rack Attack, but Banks nails her in the gut. Brie tackles Banks, and the two roll to the floor. Brie gets to her feet near Tamina, and she & Fox take Tamina down with a double clothesline. In the ring, Naomi rolls Nikki up with a handful of tights for 2. Nikki avoids the Rear View and connects with a forearm shot. She hits the Rack Attack and gets 3.
WINNERS: THE BELLA TWINS.
For Banks’ big Smackdown debut, she did next to nothing, then jobbed to the Bellas. Good booking, WWE.
MATCH 5: WWE WORLD CHAMPION SETH ROLLINS VS. CESARO (NON-TITLE)
Cesaro goes right after Rollins, causing Rollins to immediately bail to the floor. He gets back in and Cesaro rolls him up in a schoolboy, which he turns into a front chancery. Rollins counters into an arm wringer. Cesaro does the same and hits a snapmare for 1. He catches Rollins in a gorilla press off the ropes and drops him in a front Warrior Slam. Cesaro goes for a European uppercut in the corner, but Rollins moves, causing Cesaro to collide with the buckles. Rollins knocks him to the floor with a knee to the back. Rollins follows up with a suicide dive as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Rollins has Cesaro in a scissored sleeper. Cesaro manages to get to his knees and power himself up. He breaks the hold by falling into the buckles, but then turns around into a complete shot into the middle buckle. Rollins hits a short-arm clothesline for 2, then applies a rear chinlock. Cesaro gets to his feet and breaks the hold with a very nice Saito Suplex. That’s a move we don’t see enough in American wrestling. Rollins recovers, charges in and gets shoved to the floor. He lands on his feet and heads up top for a flying knee. Cesaro moves, but Rollins lands on his feet. He goes for a corner forearm, which Cesaro also avoids. Rollins collides with the buckles, then turns around into an overhead belly-to-belly. Cesaro connects with his series of corner European uppercuts, then goes a spinebuster. Rollins tries to counter into a sunset flip, but Cesaro powers him up into a suplex for 2. Cesaro goes for a Sharpshooter, but Rollins squirms too much. Cesaro says “screw it” and goes for a double-stomp instead, getting 2. Rollins recovers and backdrops him to the outside. Cesaro lands on his feet, fights Rollins off and hits a top-rope cross-body. Rollins rolls through for 2. A backslide gets another 2, as does a low thrust kick. Rollins sets up a powerbomb, but Cesaro sandbags him. Rollins hits a couple kneelifts and goes for it again. Cesaro counters with a back-body drop. Rollins lands on his feet, only to get taken out with a surprise dropkick off the ropes for 2. Rollins rolls to the apron and begins crawling to the corner. Cesaro meets him and goes for the outside-in superplex. Rollins blocks and nails a kick from the apron before slingshotting in for a sunset flip. Instead, he holds Cesaro up and runs him across the ring for a corner powerbomb. Rollins goes for the Pedigree, but Cesaro breaks free and locks in the Sharpshooter. Rollins tries to get a rope-break, so Cesaro blocks his arm and transitions the hold to a crossface. Cesaro then rolls himself over, keeping the hold locked in and rolling Rollins away from the ropes and more towards the center, all in one fluid motion. Rollins tries to crawl to the bottom rope. Cesaro sees it, breaks the hold and goes for a leglock. Rollins grabs the ropes, and when Cesaro tries to snap him down, Rollins lands on his feet and hits Cesaro with a Ghetto Blaster. Rollins comes off the ropes, but Cesaro catches him with a Very European Uppercut for 2. Rollins rolls to the floor and grabs his title belt, looking to bail on the match. Cesaro rolls out on the other side of the ring, charges around and blasts Rollins with another European uppercut. He rolls Rollins in, kicks the title belt out of Rollins’ hand and hits a spinebuster. He goes for the Cesaro Swing, but Rollins thumbs him in the eye while the ref is taking the belt out of the ring and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post. Rollins hits the Pedigree and gets 3.
Kind of a crappy finish, but that was a killer main event.
As Rollins is celebrating on the stage, Kevin Owens marches down to the ring and proceeds to assault Cesaro before hitting the pop-up powerbomb.
End of show.