The SmarK Rant for WWE Super Showdown – 06.07.19
So in a situation where, believe me, the irony does not escape me in the least, an anonymous donor made a pretty nice contribution in exchange for me reviewing this show. With one stipulation, which we’ll get to in a second.
Live from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Your hosts are Michael Cole, Corey Graves & Renee Young
So the deal was that I reviewed the show and resurrected the gimmick that WWE has had coming for a while now: The HOT POKER UP THE ASS RATING SYSTEM. For those of you new to the concept, in addition to the star ratings, I will deliver metaphorical flaming hot pokers to the rectum of the benevolent and progressive Prince who is apparently booking this show with his wallet. Should relief be warranted, I’ve got some nice cooling ice packs ready. But only for the main eventers.
Universal title: Seth Rollins v. Baron Corbin
What an opener! 2 hot pokers because I heard Corbin forgot to bring his table their breadsticks. They’re supposed to be ENDLESS, you jerk! The crowd is already dead before we even get through the ring introductions, so that’s a great sign. Rollins has his ribs taped like DDP and Corbin wisely goes after them with body shots and steps on them. Corbin suplexes him on the top rope for two, but Rollins slugs back, only to fall victim to Corbin’s sliding punch, which is apparently called the Dine & Dash. Corbin goes to a bearhug on the mat as the camera cuts to the one woman in the crowd among a sea of a thousand men. Oh wait, that was a shot of the writer’s room backstage, my mistake. Corbin yanks him off the ropes, but Seth comes back with the enzuigiri and slugs away. Sling blade follows as he bounces and jumps all over the ring despite selling busted ribs for the previous 6 minutes. Corbin bails and Seth hits him with a pair of dives and a sunset flip for two. Superkick gets two. Corbin bails again and catches him with a cheapshot from the floor, and drops him on the ribs for two. Corbin comes back with another superkick, but walks into the ITALIAN WEDDING SLAM for two. If he manages to hit the Taste of Italy, Rollins is DEAD. Corbin with another Dine & Dash, but Rollins cuts him off with an elbow, so Corbin grabs a chair and gets into an argument with the ref that leads to a rollup from Rollins for the pin at 11:20. This was every house show match you’ve ever seen and less. **
Corbin quickly lays him out after the win and Brock comes out to cash in the briefcase, 100% this time, no takesies-backsies. But then Heyman trips and drops the briefcase and Rollins uses a chair to beat on Brock and stomps him on the briefcase. And that’s 4 hot pokers for the Prince, one for each time now they’ve advertised a cash-in by Brock and then not delivered.
Coming in two weeks: Stomping Grounds, which not only has a stupid name and logo, but a commercial that makes no sense. Another flaming hot poker for the Prince because he should have hired a better graphic designer for them.
Intercontinental title: The Demon Finn Balor v. Andrade
Is there any particular reason why Balor is channeling the spirits of darkness tonight? Corey notes that the Demon is all about Finn channeling all the pain and torment he’s experienced in his life and finding aggression he’s never known before! And then they start with a lockup and Finn goes to a facelock. But, to be fair, Finn sticks his tongue out while doing that stuff, so there’s that. Andrade misses a charge and lands on the floor, but trips Finn up on the apron and hits him with a missile dropkick for two. Andrade with a couple of suplexes, but Balor blocks him, so Andrade goes to a surfboard. Finn uses DEMON POWER to fight his way up, channeling all his pain and torment to get into the ropes, but Andrade gets a diamond dust press for two. And it’s time for the CHINLOCK OF PAIN AND TORMENT, but Balor clotheslines him to the floor and follows with a dive. Back in, Balor does some kicks and goes “RARRRRRR!” because he’s the DEMON. Andrade tries another diamond dust, but Finn comes back with the 1916 or whatever they’re calling it for two. Finn with the sling blade and Andrade fires back with an impressive handspring Pele kick and double knees in the corner for two. The crowd is so pumped up that they’re clapping a little bit! Andrade with a moonsault that doesn’t go very well and tries a powerbomb to the floor, but Balor stomps him on the apron, which is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and comes in with a double stomp for two. Andrade reverses a sunset flip into a low dropkick and follows with the hammerlock DDT, for two. Balor comes back with a powerbomb and goes up, while maintaining his pain and torment by sticking his tongue out mind you, and manages to put Andrade down with a DDT and finishes with the Coup De Grace as 11:25 to retain. This was OK, but to say that the Demon gimmick was an unnecessary twist would be a gross understatement. ***
Meanwhile, Jinder Mahal gets promo time. Well, that’s an automatic 5 hot pokers for the Prince. Sorry, it’s policy.
Shane McMahon v. Roman Reigns
So they have a 5:00 video package for this match, and admittedly I’m not following the dumpster fire that is RAW super closely, but I’m at a loss as to what exactly the issue between Shane and Roman is supposed to be. Shane is already red and sweating from his own ring entrance, although to be fair it’s pretty hot there. I’d give him a refreshing ice pack to cool him off a bit, but…you know. I can’t. Policy. You gotta earn ice packs! The announcers all put over how PERSONAL this match is. Why? What is personal about it? Wasn’t it supposed to be that Shane is jealous of Roman being a big star or something? Or is it that Shane is mad because Roman punched Vince? Why does this match have to be so needlessly complicated? Shane slugs away in the corner and tosses Roman, and back in for a legsweep that gets two. Roman comes back with clotheslines, but Shane gets a back elbow for two. To the chinlock as the announcers are now talking about how Roman was disrespectful for punching out Vince. Is this supposed to be the followup to that angle? Because if Shane is defending his senior citizen father from unjustified attacks, then that would make him a babyface, wouldn’t it? Roman thankfully escapes the devastating stranglehold before Shane has a heart attack from holding the move, but Shane counters the superman punch with a clip of the knee. Of course he does. Shane goes for the triangle as we are seriously supposed to buy Shane as a submission expert here. It’s fine if the character is supposed to be deluded idiot who thinks he’s Best in the World, but then don’t also act like he’s this devastating MMA machine. 3 more hot pokers for mixed messages. Roman stops to beat up Drew on the outside, but Shane gets a spear for two as a result. Shane goes up for the coast to coast, but Reigns hits him with a superman punch for two. And then Drew runs in with a Claymore Kick and Shane gets the pin at 9:18. And not a moment too soon because they were going to have to break out the AED on him pretty soon judging by the shades of purple that his face was turning. Where the fuck is this Shane push supposed to be going? ½* 10 hot pokers for jobbing the guy who beat cancer to the Boss’s son, which is getting very heavily into WCW territory.
Lars Sullivan v. The Lucha House Party
You know Lars is due for a big push because he has his first name in large letters on his ass. Booking 101. Lars beats on Kalisto in the corner and punches Dorado down before tossing him to the floor and then clearing out the other guys. Metallik makes a comeback on him with some kicks, but Lars smashes Kalisto down as the crowd is dead silent. And then all three luchas attack him and get DQ’d at 5:13. How do you fuck up THIS guy? Big monster never talks and squashes three little guys, end of story. Why are they overthinking this so much and botching it so badly? And then Lars beats up all the geeks anyway and NO ONE CARES. -** What a debut. 20 hot pokers for the tone deaf nature of this whole deal, plus another 3 for the “Three Blind Mice” promo from Smackdown that they played before the match. On the bright side, I bet Lars got some good tips on hatred and persecution of minorities from the royal family!
Randy Orton v. HHH
The announcers note that we know we’re watching a Wrestlemania caliber event because of HHH’s long entrance and slow methodical pace. They trade hammerlocks to start and tease their finishers at 3:00 in, but of course we don’t live in a world where HHH goes less than 20:00. HHH works the arm and they fight onto the floor, where Orton suplexes him onto the announce table. Orton gently sends him into the stairs and back in for some stomping. And the pace has become too torrid, so we go to the chinlock for THREE MINUTES. They slug it out and HHH comes back with a corner clothesline and then another clothesline for two. They plod to the apron and Orton gets a dropkick out there, but HHH slowly regains his footing and eventually wanders over and hits Orton from behind. HHH crotch chops and charges, but somehow Orton manages to evade the lightning speed of HHH as he walks from the corner to the middle of the ring over a period of roughly 5:00, and powerslams him for two. Orton with the draping DDT, but HHH catches him with the spinebuster for two. HHH with the crossface to eat up another 3 minutes of this boring match, but Orton gets to the ropes. Eventually. HHH tries the Pedigree, but Orton reverses to the RKO OUTTA NOWHERE, although in this case it was more like outta somewhere because it took forever to set up. Orton sets up for the punt, but HHH catches the foot and KICK…hold on, he’s recovering….WHAM…wait for it….wait for it…PEDIGREE gets two. Back to the floor and HHH drops him on the table three times, which is historic because that’s the first sequence which didn’t have 30 seconds of rest between the moves. Back in, HHH slowly walks into the RKO and that finishes at 25:37. This gets 20 HOT POKERS OUTTA NOWHERE, one for each minute longer than it needed to be. *1/2
Meanwhile, at the airport, Jinder Mahal uses the newest deadliest finisher, the SCHOOLBOY ROLLUP, to win the 24/7 Title from R-Truth, but then goes to sleep and gets pinned.
Meanwhile, Baron Corbin whines about the referee costing him his title match. Baron Corbin promo is 10 hot pokers automatically. It’s just the rules.
Bobby Lashley v. Braun Strowman
Test of strength to start and Braun overpowers him, but Lashley gets the running powerslam for two. Lashley with the chinlock, but Braun gets a spinebuster and Lashley bails to escape. Strowman gets a pair of shoulderblocks on the floor, which doesn’t seem like a wise move in 100 degree heat. Back in, powerslam gets two, but Braun charges and hits the post, and Lashley does his own running shoulderblock on the floor. Lashley adds a suplex and gets two off that. He goes up and Braun slams him off and gets the powerslam for the pin at 8:24. This was another one that went way longer than it needed and almost literally put me sleep thanks to the slow pace and dead silent crowd. * Thankfully this was not actually offensive or bad, just SLOW and boring.
WWE title: Kofi Kingston v. Dolph Ziggler
I’m sure I’m not the first person to point this out, but Dolph was off doing stand up comedy for the first few months of the year, so in what universe does he even deserve a title shot, let alone have a valid complaint that “it should have been him”. 10 hot pokers for making false claims like that. Dolph attacks and gets a dropkick and neckbreaker for two, and a rollup for two. Dolph with an elbow for two and we go to tonight’s move du jour, the chinlock. Kofi sends him into the corner to break and comes back with chops and the Boom Drop, but Dolph gets a DDT for two. They fight to the top and Kofi comes down with a crossbody, but Dolph rolls through for two. Kofi with the SOS for two and he tosses Dolph and follows with a dive. Back in, Dolph gets a rollup for two, but he runs into a kick from Xavier and Trouble in Paradise finishes at 9:57. This was OK but pretty dull house show stuff. **1/4
Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler thinks Kofi is a coward, so now he wants a cage match. Yes, this feud MUST CONTINUE. Because apparently there is literally no one else on the 300 person roster who could get a title shot.
Previously tonight, Brock threatens to cash in the briefcase, but then SWERVE, doesn’t. We’re three hours in and it literally feels that happened weeks ago.
50 Man Battle Royal:
So a whole bunch of geeks enter at the same time, and then we get entrances for Miz, Samoa Joe, Cesaro, Titus O’Neil, and Elias. The Singhs get thrown out immediately, and it’s just a mass of people with no way to follow what’s going on. More geeks get thrown out and we get a showdown with AOP, Heavy Machinery and the Viking Experience that ends with the Vikings just throwing them out. And then Titus comes out from under the ring and throws them both out. Cole reminds us that Ryder & Hawkins are the tag team champions just before Joe throws them out by himself. Yeah that tells you exactly where they stand. This just keeps plodding along with guys randomly getting thrown out. Sin Cara, who is more like Sin Caramel at this point, gets a bit of shine and kicks Nakamura out, but Rusev dumps him and Miz dumps HIM. He stops to do the kicks but gets tossed and we’re finally down to an amount of people where you can follow the match. Joe puts Ali and Ricochet on the apron, so they team up and suplex him out, but Cesaro clotheslines them both out. Mansoor, who is an NXT guy from Saudi Arabia, puts Cesaro out and backdrops Elias out to win one of the worst battle royals in history at 17:55. The crowd goes crazy and chants “You deserve it” at him. Um, why does he deserve it? Because he laid around in an overstuffed match for 15 minutes and then threw out two guys to win? 50 hot pokers here, one for each person sleepwalking through the match.
Undertaker v. Goldberg
There’s still a half hour left in the timeline so I’m guessing this won’t be the 2 minute sprint we were hoping for. On the bright side, another 15 minutes of time is eaten up by their endless entrances. So our main event is the sad sight of two old men taking a big payday and fighting over nothing, which is very apropos of WWE in general lately. Goldberg gets two spears right away and sadly that only gets two. UT goes for a chokeslam and Goldberg rolls him into the kneebar before Taker makes the ropes. Goldberg charges and hits the post and gigs off that, so I guess blood money means blood is money. Taker takes over with the old school ropewalk and gets the chokeslam to set up the tombstone, which gets two. It really, really would have been fine to just end the match there and call it a night. We get the double down off a clothesline and apparently we’ve now passed the point in the match where either can guy can work any longer. They slug it out and Taker does the saddest “run” into a corner clothesline ever, but Goldberg spears him and tries a jackhammer, but drops him and nearly kills him by breaking his neck on the botched move. And it only gets two. This is hitting new levels of sad. Goldberg tries his own tombstone and falls over as a result, and Taker chokeslams him to end the pain at 8:33. Holy cow this was hilariously awful. 183 hot pokers for Goldberg, and 21 for Undertaker, and hopefully neither one ever steps into the ring again based on this. -****
Hey, this WAS equivalent to a Wrestlemania! In that WM was a 7 hour show that felt like 8, and this was a 4 hour show that felt like 9! More horribly dull and sad than outright awful (well, except for the main event) this doesn’t even have a trainwreck appeal to recommend and make it a “fun bad” show. It’s just bad and nothing happened. You shouldn’t even have wasted your time reading this review.
On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, this one is an easy BURN IT.