Come on Vince, think!
Sorry, even your shareholders don’t believe you.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: This is not a WCW C-show, which makes me decidedly unqualified to report on it. However, as someone with absolutely no moral compass and a lust for train wrecks, we’re doing this.
Fair warning, however, I am not up to date with WWE weekly episodic programming. Hell, I don’t even know what the card is today besides the big matches. I mean, I could have spent the 15 seconds Googling it – but given I’m here for the disaster appeal, I passed. I’m going in with the old Arabian blindfold, just like college!
Enough chatter, I’m 8 cups of coffee in – and if this show doesn’t start, I’m likely to crash harder than the stock price!
We are LIVE from Parts Unknown, where a homecoming party is scheduled for Kane. Will Berzerker make a local appearance? The Ultimate Warrior? Wouldn’t THAT make the Prince happy! Our hosts are MICHAEL COLE, COREY GRAVES, and RENEE YOUNG. I’m guessing Graves had to introduce her as his date to this incredibly progressive spectacle – but there is no time for that because …
NAKAMURA vs. RUSEV (in a Winner Gets His First Name Back match for the WWE United States title)
Graves claims there’s a lot of CONTROVERSY that Nakamura never defends his US title, and that’s the most controversial thing we’re prepared to talk about tonight. On to Cincinnati! Rusev delivers a suplex, and shakes his pecs like a fat Chris Masters! Nakamura fires back with kicks, while Renee gushes over someone named “Nakumara”. She then plugs hashtags, and I’m tempted to find the mute button. Nakamura applies a front facelock and emotes, but Rusev powers out and starts throwing forearms. A spinning heel kick flattens Nakamura, and a spin kick gets 2. Nakamura comes back with a flying knee for 2. He goes to finish off the second rope, but a superkick from Rusev turns the tide and gets a close 2. Rusev declares it’s time to crush Nakamura like a US journalist, but Nakamura still has his fingers and rushes to the safety of the ropes. Good Vibrations is set up, but there are no good vibrations tonight, and Rusev locks on the Accolade in the middle of the ring. Nakamura gets to the ropes, and the Peenshasa sets up the Kinshasa for the pin at 9:25. While the Prince isn’t happy about Rusev’s loss, given the strategic partnership Parts Unknown shares with Bulgaria, he does approve of the nutshot. **1/2
Cole comes dangerously close to telling us where we are, but before he can slip up, HULK HOGAN is here! Cole reminds us he once held the WWE title for over 1400 days, which wasn’t even as long as his suspension for … oh he’s got the microphone! Hogan’s thrilled to be here with all his stark ravin’ Hulkamaniacs. And … following about 300,000 fireworks, that’s it.
His Excellency TURKI AL-SHEIKH is recognized. He … looks sternly at the crowd. The WWE should sign him immediately and present him as a babyface.
REY MYSTERIO JR. vs. RANDY ORTON (in a WWE World Cup Quarter-Finals match)
Rey claims that this tournament is the reason he came back to the WWE, while Randy Orton vows to prove he’s the best in the world. When did we go back to these 1980’s style cut-ins? And why does Rey’s chest tattoo look like a sports bra? Rey kicks at Orton’s hamstrings, but a springboard bodypress is blocked by a dropkick, and Michael Cole screams “BANG!”, causing the first four rows to squirm nervously. I’m completely distracted by the front row, where a bunch of Parts Unknown luminaries are gathered in some sort of huddle. Except one guy who’s glued to his smartphone. Orton goes to unmask Mysterio, but like everyone who’s not Kevin Nash, he fails miserably. Rey adjusts his bra, and turns a wheelbarrow into a bulldog for 2. TRENDING NOW: Hulk Hogan. That might not be good. Rey goes for the 619, but Orton turns it into a second rope DDT. Orton starts pounding his fists on the mat like a child throwing a tantrum, but Rey escapes a backslide into a pin at 5:25. Orton ambushes him with an RKO and a violent beatdown afterwards. The replay is shared via Rey’s Apple Watch. **
JEFF HARDY vs. THE MIZ (in a WWE World Cup Quarter-Finals match)
Hardy shares that the World Cup has nothing to do with want, but need. Also the want of $50 million. Michael Cole tells us that Hardy beat Samoa Joe to qualify for tonight, so while he gets to compete in this world cup, Joe has to settle for challenging for the WWE title. Miz isn’t seconded by his wife, Maurice, because she has breasts and a child. Whattaslut! No hanky for Jeff tonight, and thank goodness for that, he’d be subject to 300 lashes. Jeff sits on Miz’s face for 2, and he’s dancing on a dangerous line. Miz gets his face slammed into the buckle for 10, but he comes back with boot to the face. A Scorpion Deathdrop gets 2, and then Miz starts … something, which Michael Cole calls building momentum. I legit have no idea what Miz was doing besides running around a lot, but Hardy grows tired of it and throws a clothesline for 2. A Whisper in the Wind gets 2, and nothing’s gelling here at all. Miz gets dumped to the floor, and Hardy runs across the guardrail to clothesline him. Cole notes Hardy’s pulling out all the stops, which probably means he’s jobbing since he’ll have no spots left for later. Swanton is set up, but Miz rolls away, and Miz tries a cheap pinfall with his feet on the ropes. Somehow, the blind referee catches it, and in the ensuing argument, Hardy almost scores a pin. Seconds later, the Skull Crushing Finale sends Miz on to the next round at 6:57. *1/2
SETH ROLLINS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (with Lio Rush) (in a non-title WWE World Cup Quarter-Finals match)
Seth cries in his pre-match promo about the loss of the Shield. Cole reminds us that John Cena was supposed to be here, but Corbin gave up his spot in the tournament because Lashley beat up Finn Balor. I’ve re-read that sentence 4 times, and I’m not convinced it wasn’t written by a bot. Lashley hits a quick chokeslam, and almost scores a pinfall. I actually thought that was it. Lashley puts on a full nelson, and hits a flatliner off its release for 2. Lashley holds a standing vertical suplex a little too long, and Rollins wriggles loose, sending Lashley to the floor. Back to back suicide dives connect, but they fail to go anywhere significant. What a waste of a dangerous spot. Rollins hits a Curb Stomp and scores the pin in a brisk 5:27. Post-match Lashley tests positive for elevated enzymes. **
We check in with the announcers where Renee, who could not be wearing more layers of clothing if she tried, nods intently at everything Cole and Graves say. Seen, not heard.
Backstage, BYRON SAXTON is with KURT ANGLE. Kurt says he’s not here to an “excremation” point on his career, but to start a new chapter. He was slurring his words like Scott Hall at a standard indy show.
KURT ANGLE vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (with Drew McIntyre) (in a WWE World Cup Quarter-Finals match)
I legitimately thought Rollins had changed out his tights for a speedo, but apparently that’s Drew McIntyre. They start with trading holds, and Kurt looks like he’s on another planet. He throws a belly to belly overhead suplex, and a pair of German suplexes – and if I’m Dolph, I’m utterly terrified. In fact, he is, and goes to escape before Kurt breaks his neck, but Kurt dry humps him in the apron. Brave move in this country! Angle is shot into the ringsteps, and back in, Ziggler applies a rear naked choke. The camera zooms in, where we get Dolph talking Kurt through their next series of moves. That strikes me as pointless, Kurt’s memory is shorter than the guy in Memento. Kurt throws another trio of German suplexes, but Dolph kicks out, because he’s got a death wish. You know, it would be a lot less painful to just moon the Prince. Kurt has an Angle Slam blocked, but a second one hits and gets 2. Drew looked ready to run in, but missed his spot. Kurt starts swearing and rips his clothes off, allowing Ziggler to hit the Fameasser for 2. Semi-nude Kurt comes back with an anklelock, but Dolph rolls away. Kurt is sent gently into the post, and Dolph gets the not-unexpected win off a Zig Zag at 8:19. *
NEW DAY (with Booty-O’s, pancakes, and trombone, riding in a smokey boat or something) vs. THE BAR (with the Big Show) (for the WWE tag-team titles)
In a shocking development, Xavier Woods will not be wrestling in this match. Big E swivels his loins at Sheamus, helicopter style, and you can legit hear a pin drop from the deeply conflicted fans. In fact, a 3-man huddle breaks out with the government officials in the front row, and I think they’re considering the political repercussions of dealing with this, Parts Unknown style. Kofi is monkey flipped but lands on his feet and dances to the trombone. Cesaro eats a rana, and a springboard crossbody gets 2. Cesaro turns the tide with a European uppercut, and Sheamus allows distraction so Big Show can CHEAT with his BIG HANDS! I’m glad the narrative hasn’t changed for 20 years. Cesaro puts on a chinlock, and Big Show applauds, screaming “GREAT MOVE!” You know, overly enthusiastic little league coach Big Show could work. The Bar starts with a series of quick tags, keeping Kofi in the corner. A gutwrench suplex gets 2, but Cesaro hangs on so as not to allow him to get to the corner, and keeps a front hammerlock on. That’s a nice little subtlety that most wrestlers don’t pay close enough attention to. Kofi eventually backdrops loose, and Show starts screaming for Cesaro to make the tag to Sheamus – which he does, and Sheamus cuts the ring back off. A beautiful tag-team floatover jackhammer gets 2, and they should consider using that as their finish. Kofi tries to fight off both guys, and finally manages to slip loose, but he barely has any energy left. With his last burst of strength, he tags out to … no pop at all. Oh come on! Big E delivers a string of titty to belly suplexes, and a uranage on Sheamus gets 2! Sheamus throws some knees and mounts Big E in the corner, but Kingston blindly tags in and stomps Sheamus on Big E’s shoulders for 2! Cesaro is cleared out, and Big E launches Kingston high in the air to flatten him on the floor. Big Show tries to distract, but Sheamus misses the Brogue and a roll up gets 2! Big Show throws a knock out punch at Big E, setting up the Brogue Kick and the champs retain at 10:34! “THAT WASN’T FAIR!” whines Renee. Maybe not, but the match was excellent. ***1/2
BYRON SAXTON has located THE MIZ and his ridiculous glasses. He promises to feast on Rey Mysterio. Is that legal here? I’m not prepared to rule it out.
THE MIZ vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (in a WWE World Cup Semi-Finals match)
Graves: “It just dawned on me one of these two men will be in the finals.” Seriously? Is this the best we’ve got? You can’t tell me Tony Schiavone isn’t available. I’m guessing the Prince requested Bobby Heenan. Rey sends Miz to the floor, then slides forward right on his tattooed brassier, belly flopping and knocking his wind right out. After taking a hit from the oxygen tank on reserve for the main event, they head back in where Miz pancakes him. A boot to the face gets 2, and Miz awkwardly locks on a bow and arrow submission hold. I want him to justify it later that he learned it through osmosis by wrestling the Mexican kid. Miz applies a bodyscissors, because “slowing it down” is what I like to see in any Rey Mysterio match. Rey escapes, but Miz shoots him to the floor again, belly first. Back in, Miz puts on the abdominal stretch, and Rey grunts and makes uncomfortable noises, which would put him on par with the announce team. Miz goes for a pumphandle slam, but Mysterio turns it into a DDT. The front row government officials, seated in their lounge chairs, appear to have fallen asleep. Rey hits a rana in slow motion, but a second, much crisper version sends MIz into the buckle. He’s dizzy, and Rey hits a third to set up the 619, but Miz moves and hits the Skull Crushing Finale for 2. Instead of following up, he sits around looking annoyed for like 30 seconds, which gives Rey ample amounts of time to recover. He goes for a big kick to finish, but Rey ducks and rolls up Miz for 2! Miz charges, gets tripped, and nailed with the 619! He doesn’t go for the West Coast Pop, but instead he opts for the Frog Splash, and it costs him when Miz gets his knees up and steals the pin at 11:13. Miz is just death in the ring, but he’s a “company guy”, so he just keeps getting pushed … and pushed … and pushed. **
Cole drops that if Miz fails to win the tournament, Shane McMahon will fire him, because reasons.
Elsewhere, one of SETH ROLLINS or Drew McIntyre is being interviewed by BYRON SAXTON. He says his back is against the wall. Probably to keep his eyes out for GAYS, amirite?
SETH ROLLINS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (with Drew McIntyre) (in a non-title WWE World Cup Semi-Finals match)
I legit watch maybe one show every 2 months, and I feel like I’ve seen this match like 400 times. Cole brings up their “classic” Iron Man match this summer. You mean the one the fans shat all over and counted down starting at the 30 minute mark? Seth slams Dolph and sends him to the floor, where Ziggler sells a knee problem. Seth comes face to face with Drew McIntyre, and begs him to hit him and cause a DQ. It turns out he was actually looking in a mirror. Back in, Ziggler hits a DDT, and I guess that knee problem isn’t a thing anymore. Ziggler hits a neckbreaker, which Cole calls a calculated attack on the neck. Speaking of calculated attacks on the neck, oh, sorry, Rollins misses a Stinger splash. The fans start a “This is Awesome” chant, though I have no idea why. Meanwhile, the front row government officials have walked off, leaving a sea of empty plush lounge chairs right in full view of the camera. Ziggler shoves Rollins neck first into the buckle, and hits a neckbreaker for 2. The two start slowing rolling back and forth with pinning combinations, which Rollins tries to break up with a powerbomb, but Ziggler rolls through. A superkick from Seth gets 2, and both guys are spent. McIntyre addresses his doppelgänger, which somehow leads to Ziggler on the floor, but back in, Ziggler hits the Fameasser for a near fall. I’m on my eleventh coffee of the day just trying to stay awake. The Zig Zag almost ends this, and Graves sums this up perfectly by saying, emotionless, “what a series of manoeuvers”. Rollins hits the Superkick, hits a suicide dive on himself, but on his way back in “Drew” shoves him off the top and a Ziggler Superkick ends this to give us a heel/heel finale that the fans will be sure to love at 13:06. This certainly was a match alright. *1/2
BYRON SAXTON stops Dolph on the ramp, and tells him that this was an upset. Dolph angrily says no one cares about him. He declares himself the best in the world. This guy’s literally the least edgy thing that’s ever come out of Amy Schumer’s mouth.
SAMOA JOE vs. “THE FUTURE OF TNA” AJ STYLES (for the WWE world heavyweight title)
This would be Samoa Joe, and not Samoan Joe who is currently battling leukemia. Though with that beard, he’s looking like Amish Abe. Cole notes that AJ is about to become the 9th longest title holder in history if he retains here; I’m guessing that’s Nash? I’m a live stream of consciousness, not a fact checker. Joe is laughably announced at 282 pounds. If true, AJ should be the centerpiece of 205 live as a plucky underdog. Joe’s meals are comped at the Heart Attack Grill, don’t kid yourself. They fight to the outside, where AJ shoves Joe into the ring post, but Joe’s got more padding than the guardrail, so he shrugs it off and sends AJ flying. Joe hits a suicide dive that sends AJ ribs-first into the announce table. Back in, Joe tries for a pin, but Styles gets his foot on the rope. Joe throws headbutts, and this is where I need Larry Zbyszko claiming those island boys have cement in their skulls. AJ throws kicks and punches at Joe, which is no sold, until a spinning heel kick knocks him off his feet. Styles throws chops at Joe, but Joe’s never seen a chop he doesn’t like and keeps coming. AJ wants the Styles Clash, but Graves says “Joe’s a little too big” which is like saying this show “might be a bad idea”. Styles starts bleeding from the forearm, and Joe hits a lightning fast powerslam for 2. That’s the kind of move Joe should be squashing losers with to build him up as a contender again. Joe turns AJ inside out with a clothesline, but he can’t get the pin. They fight into the corner, where Styles rolls forward with a calf crusher, but Joe makes the ropes quickly. Styles goes for an Oklahoma roll, but Joe moves into the Coquina Clutch! Styles realizes Joe’s calf is still tender, so he takes his shots until Joe breaks. Cole calls this an assault on Joe’s lower body, but where else is he supposed to hit? Joe’s all lower body. Joe is rocked, and the Phenomenal Forearm finishes at 11:07. **1/2 Joe’s really limited, and I suspect has hit his WWE peak already.
BARON CORBIN saunters down to watch the main event from one of the dozens of empty loungers.
BROCK LESNAR (with Paul Heyman) vs. BRAUN STROWMAN (for the WWE Universal title)
The announcers are gushing over this being the defining moment in Strowman’s career, so I’m rooting for Lesnar because I’m at the point of wanting to watch the world burn. Say what you will about Roman’s push, but Lesnar has been the most effective troll in recent history. I don’t think Brock gives a crap how he’s booked, as long as he gets paid, but for some reason they insist on making sure he makes the entire roster look like a joke. Brock must be serious about this UFC business, because he’s looking svelte as hell. And – much to my immediate delight, Corbin blasts Strowman with the belt and demands they ring the bell. A trio of F5’s fail to get the job done, and I’m thinking Lesnar needs a new finish because that move never seems to work anymore. A fourth F5 is used over the top rope and to the floor, and Lesnar is dancing. The count gets to 9, but Strowman rolls back in, and Lesnar throws the gloves away so you know it’s getting real. Strowman escapes a fifth F5, throws a boot … and immediately takes another F5 and Lesnar wins the belt at 3:18! I’m dying! Braun’s finished – he got in ONE offensive move. Just incredible, this was their last chance with a seriously cooled off Braun, and all they had to do was have him squash the hell out of Lesnar. Brock’s being paid a trillion dollars, what does he care about the result? Instead, we’re back to the square root of impossible once again, where the World Champion is headed to the UFC for a big time showdown with Cormier and won’t be around until, what, June? Burn it to the ground!
At Survivor Series, Rollins will face Nakamura in a non-title match. It’s CONTROVERSIAL because Nakamura NEVER defends the belt! All other champions are FIGHTING champions!
THE MIZ vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER (with Drew McIntyre) (for the WWE World Cup)
SHANE MCMAHON comes down to ringside to “ADD PRESSURE” and “TELL STORIES”, probably. The referee gives Drew McIntyre, or Seth Rollins the boot. During the ejection, Miz takes advantage and beats the piss out of Ziggler, I guess cuz he needs to play face? Miz sends ZIggler to the floor, and then drops like he’s been shot – and I’m not prepared to rule that out as a distinct possibility. He’s hobbling around on one leg, and I’m seriously confused. Shane comes over to check on him, and tells him to “bring it home”. All the referees are called in, while Miz nearly bursts into tears and screams “I’VE NEVER BEEN INJURED!” The announcer goes to declare Ziggler the winner by forfeit, but McMahon refuses and puts himself in the match. Is this happening??? Like, for real? BURN BABY BURN!
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SHANE MCMAHON (for the WWE World Cup)
For some reason, Ziggler’s irate about this, because Shane McMahon is a greater threat than Miz? What the hell is going on here? Shane gets in the first shot, so Corbin trips him up and the referee tosses him! During that, Ziggler hits a Zig Zag … for TWO?!? Shane is kicking out of his finish? I literally can’t believe this is happening. The fans chant “THIS IS AWESOME”, but this is a country that celebrates public stonings, so let’s relax a little. Shane with a DDT, and a catapult into the buckle, setting up a Van Terminator. It connects, and your winner of the WWE World Cup, declared the Best In The World, at 2:29, is 48-year old Shane fucking McMahon. We just spend 3 hours and numerous weeks on RAW and Smackdown running a tournament that ended with Shane McMahon injecting himself at the end, kicking out of opponent’s finish, and winning in 2 minutes. About $250,000 worth of fireworks are blown up above the stadium, as Shane celebrates with Jamal Khashoggi’s urn. “WE HAVE YOUR MONEY, YOUR DIRTY OIL MONEY BABY!”
DEGENERATIVE HAIRLINES vs. THE BROTHERS OF DESTRUCTION
You can tell how seriously DX is taking this, because they dance to the ring, tossing glowsticks to the empty loungers. Shawn takes off his hat, and, as a friend of mine notes, looks like Christopher Daniels is gonna look like in 10-years, probably, and Daniels is like 50-years old now. Can we get him into the studio to remake his entrance music to Sexy Gramps? He’s got incontinence (inconti nehhh ance). Meanwhile, I think the job of Mayor of Knoxville comes with unlimited access to Golden Corral. His belly arrived in the ring a full 15 seconds before he did. Kane starts with Triple H, but Hunter ignores Kane and calls out Taker. I wonder who’s doing the job in this one? Kane no-sells the first punch, and when Hunter goes to point to his penis, Kane smacks the shit out of him. Michael Cole calls him “The Kane”, and I’m blind from laughter. Michaels comes in, and hits The Kane with a neckbreaker. The Kane does the zombie sit up, then blocks a sunset flip, largely because his center of gravity is somewhere between the chocolate fountain and the fresh platter of fried chicken. Taker tags in, and Michaels considers tagging out. Taker pretends to slit his throat … I’m sure THAT won’t be replayed on every news outlet looking to bury you later. Annnnd … the beating is on. Taker heads up for Old School, but his osteoporosis stops him short. Michaels is whipped to the corner, then Triple H is right behind him, hitting his buddy and flying to the floor. Michaels is quickly dumped, forcing DX to come up with a gameplan. Their plan is to go back in the ring and hit clotheslines, sending the zombies out the other side. Of course, they haul DX with them, and continue to beat on them on the floor. Michaels and Taker head back in, and Taker goes Old School, while Michaels looks like a melted snowcone. Taker misses a big boot, and Hunter tags in. He uses the knee, which is promptly ignored, and The Kane is back in. One of the worst slams I’ve ever seen is hit; I’m not convinced I wouldn’t have got more leverage, but then, maybe he was afraid of Triple H shattering like glass. Michaels comes in, hits the flying jalapeno, and miraculously can still kip up! Of course, he can’t slam 500 pounds of The Kane, but with the help of Triple H, they barely hit a double suplex. Michaels heads up and nails the big elbow, and he tunes up the band. The Kane blocks, and a Chokeslam takes everyone down! Taker gets the tag, and he throws so many soup bones I’m surprised The Kane isn’t sitting there with a bowl. Snake eyes sets up a big boot, and a legdrop gets 2. Hunter causes a distraction just long enough for Michaels to fire off a Superkick, and everyone drops for a late afternoon nap. Taker wakes up first, a bit startled cuz he sits right up, and he rips apart the Parts Unknown Announce Table! Triple H saves Shawn from a piledriver, but The Kane puts him through the American announce table! They didn’t even remove the tablets! Taker hits Shawn with a legdrop across the apron, but he can’t get the pin. The Kane hobbles back into the ring, and Shawn’s a quivering mass. He does little of note, before Taker comes back in with a suplex for 2. Shawn fights off both guys, but The Kane stops that quickly with a sidewalk slam. The Kane heads up – is there a cheese platter suspended above the ring? Of course, he’s cut off, and he topples carefully back in. Taker pulls Shawn to the floor, but Michaels shoves him into a post and goes back in to do battle with The Big Red Beer Gut. If this can’t get any more embarrassing – The Kane’s mask flies off, and you won’t believe this … but Corporate Kane is Kane! Corporate Kane bails, but Michaels nails them with a moonsault. Cole screams “SHADES OF ’96!” and replays are aired repeatedly until The Kane has a chance to put his mask back on. Triple H is back up in the corner, and Michaels tags out. Triple H eliminates The Kane with a couple of knees and a day-pass to Ponderosa before nailing Taker with a spinebuster. He goes to do something or other with Taker’s crotch, but Taker blocks with the Hell’s Gate! The Kane blocks Michaels’ attempt to save, but Sweet Chin Music knocks him into Undertaker to break up the submission. We get a double zombie sit up, and tombstones are set up, but Michaels jams him thumb into The Kane’s eye. Two Sweet Chin Musics and a Pedigree ends things at a completely ridiculous 27:51. The announcers scream about this being the greatest thing in the history of great things. “I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!” caws Michael Cole. Neither can I. That certainly put a quality Excremation Point on the night. -***
Michaels and Triple H lie in a spooning position, with big grins, counting their money while a $7,000,000 fireworks show goes off over the stadium. They won. Oh, they won.