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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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My First Date with WWE Smackdown! Live

I’m on my way to the UK smackdown taping, a date when I actually leave the house! I’m rocking loose fitting comfortable clothes just in case they ask me to join in. I will not be unprepared! (One of the first rules you learn, never be without your ring gear, just in case- Chris)

I choose to believe that's the only way this could have happened

I’m a huge nerd. I’ve got my Tiger Mask mask next to me and I’m bumping to ‘All American Boys‘ in my headphones. I’m pretty buzzed!

I do have some little things to point out to WWE before our date though:

WWE does some things in the UK that I do like and some that I don’t. I shall bring this to your attention using the management twaddle start/continue/stop method.

Stop!
Referencing cities and/or Soccer teams. Most big cities have more than one team, and we travel miles to get to your shows. I once saw a RAW taped in Manchester where poor Chris Jericho asked if anyone liked Man Utd. I know on paper that makes sense, but most Man Utd fans aren’t even English, let alone from Manchester. Also, no one here cheers at the mention of their hometown, in fact it’s usually greeted with a grimace.

Continue!
Using English swearwords. We giggle like schoolgirls (Big, hairy, creepy male schoolgirls- Chris) when you say ‘gobshite’ or ‘tosser’, especially when it’s on American TV!

Start!
Referencing our country’s rich and diverse wrestling past and present in promos. Reference our flaws, we like that. “Drink up England, I want you to die” Punk told us that years ago!

Okay, so the date! 

Wow, interesting to hear what non-fans think! I’m travelling down with some splendid chaps who won the tickets through a competition and shared with me. But…. they aren’t….aren’t…well….aren’t wrestling nerds (I refuse to believe such a thing exists, everybody is a wrestling nerd at heart- Chris)

“Last week John Cena had to fight some MMA guy, and they had to pay him extra to actually get punched in the face!” one tells me. So former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is “some MMA guy” coming to wrestling? Wow, I bet he’d actually like that. It’s fascinating to see what non-nerds think of WWE.

A nice little bonus according to non-fans

I’ve explained who Daniel Bryan is. Non-fans seemed unimpressed until ‘Final Countdown was mentioned.

We’ve arrived at the O2 arena, and boy is there a LOT of John Cena merchandise around.

Preshow

LOTS of “Yes!” chants followed by duelling “Lets go Cena!”- “Cena sucks!” chants when he’s on the Titantron.

The show kicked off with a Wrestlemania highlight video. Undertaker got a round of applause.

Dark match:
Claudio Castagnoli (That’s Antonio Cesaro to you buddy!- Chris) def. The UK Kid via pinfall following a Front Face Cradle Piledriver (No Ricolaaaaa Bomb makes me a Sad wrestling Panda!- Chris)

NXT begins with a highlight package of Matt Striker being kidnapped and such.

Percy Watson def. Johnny Curtis via pinfall after a Percycution!

Maxine def. Kaitlyn by submission with a Dragon Sleeper/Body Scissors combo. Oh WWE Universe! Stop being such a bunch of pervy pervs over the women!

Regal talks and then forces Maxine to be Johnny’s manager, much to the chagrin of both of them. He then handcuffs them together. Ol’ Lord Regal explains having cuffs on him from last time he was arrested. He says the key is probably still in Blackpool CID to laughs from the crowd.

To be fair, that mullet did at least deserve a Public Nuisance Order

Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks chatter on for a short bit, but they speak too quickly. Diction, lads. Diction.

Striker comes over all serious and passionate referencing the WWE Universe accepting him and mentioning wrestlers he watched as a kid, naming several UK greats (And Owen Hart for some reason, sounded like he got carried away at Davey boy). He tried to use Brit slang and called the heels “Chavs” (kind of White Trash for our US cousins) but he spoiled it when he pronounced it “Charv” though. Silly boy.

Regal then announced Curt Hawkins vs. Tyler Reks with the stipulation that the loser is fired and Matt Striker is the ref! Reks def hawkins with a roll up.

Hawkins is fired, and gets a half hearted “Na Na Na Na, Goodbye” chant from the crowd.

Regal says he has changed his mind and that Reks is fired too for a moderate pop. NXT ends.

Superstars

Jinder Mahal def. Yoshi Tatsu by submission using a Camel Clutch, but loses points for failing to break Yoshi’s back, or indeed make him humble.

Smackdown:

Booker T is introduced to the biggest pop so far, Michael Cole comes out to many boos.

Lilian Garcia comes out and trips over the pyro setup with her high heels. Poor thing. The crowd laughs. Where are all our English Gentlemen?

Lillian proceeds to sing “God Save the Queen” after asking us to stand. Hmmm. This doesn’t feel quite right, it’s all a bit…American. I mean, my Wife’s a Yank and they’re generally lovely, but still.

Please, oh please tell me it was this version

Show starts:

Daniel Bryan out to cut a promo, receiving a big pop and “Yes!” chants.

DB promo, he is pretty unkind about Sheamus being a coward and then is jolly mean to AJ, and dumps her. No-one joins my “That seems reasonable!” *clap clap clapclapclap* chant.

Natalya vs AJ goes to a no contest as AJ snaps and won’t stop using closed fists on Natalya in the corner. She went from wobbly lip to screaming psycho. Natalya helped to the back.

Brodus Clay & his little brother Hornswoggle def. Hunico & Camacho following a Big Splash. That is followed by a Tadpole Splash and dancing. Good for what it was.

During Hunico’s introduction Damien Sandow appeared on the big screen and offered to help us idiot masses appreciate culture using long words. I like long words, so I politely applauded, no one else did for some reason. (To get a better reaction, he should of announced he was “anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation”- Chris)

Winning gimmick right there!

Titus O’Neal and Darren young def. The Usos with a Spinebuster/2nd Rope Clothesline combo. The Usos did their cool Sivi Tau before the match.

Alberto Del Rio def. Big Show by pinfall following interference from Cody Rhodes and his Disaster Kick.

Ryback squashed a pale lad from Leicester who’s name I didn’t catch. Finished with a Fisherman Suplex into a Samoan Drop. The young English lad dedicated the match to his Mum for some ‘awww’ support beforehand. Crowd seemed indifferent to Ryback.

Brock Lesnar appeared with a taped promo intensely hyping his legitimacy and saying that John Cena is scared. So WWE, if you’re rubbing my nose in it that Brock is “legitimate” how am I supposed to enjoy our dates that aren’t about Brock? Are they all fake and meaningless? Don’t be too short sighted.

John Laurinaitis has Teddy long dressed as a Queens Guard and thus he can’t talk or flinch. William Regal taunts him, as does a debuting Antonio Cesaro.

Stoic, forceful, dead bear on his head

Main event time: 
Team of Sheamus, Big Show and Randy Orton def. Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan and Mark Henry.

Great Khali was scheduled but Cody chop blocked him as he got in the ring and he left selling leg injury. Big Show returned to replace him to a huge pop. Randy Orton was very over,  and won with a RKO on Mark Henry to an equally huge pop.

Show closed with the faces standing tall apparently .

Post-Show dark matches: 

Randy Orton def. Kane in a No DQ match following a RKO on a chair.

Sheamus def. Daniel Bryan to retain his title following a Brogue Kick. Bryan cut a promo before match saying an 18 second win would never happen again. It did to the delight of the kids.

Lillian thanked us for coming.

Biggest face pop: Orton or Big Show’s return

Biggest heat: Daniel Bryan by a country mile. WWE will do well to keep him heel, he’s got a Rock-like feel of “we want to cheer him even when he’s being a jerk”. He also got an American Dragon chant at one point, but not as loud as the Sexual Chocolate chant aimed at Mark Henry.

As hundreds of people file out of the O2 arena towards the Tube, someone starts a “Yes!” chant. It catches on as fans chant it walking through the car park.

2nd Date

Without a doubt, well worth the trip, but not THAT much more fun than supporting your local Indy Fed and jawing with the wrestlers up close.

Send any feedback to alex@multimediamouth.com or in the comments below!

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