WWE Clash of Champions Live Drunkcast!

UPDATE 9/26/16, 10:00 AM EST

So upon further review this morning, it appears Roman Reigns in fact defeated Rusev to become the new US Champ.  Which, due to the horrendous booking and mismanagement of Reigns’ character, nobody gives a damn about.  It’s actually a real shame because Reigns has the right look and is a great athlete, but he’s going to face an uphill battle getting over with the fans due to the office trying to force him to the top before the fans wanted it.

As for the main event, it was likely the match of the night, but that was to be expected of two workers as talented as Owens and Rollins. They told a good story in the ring, and the finish was conclusive enough to move both guys on to other feuds if desired, or continue this one.

The disappointment of the night for me was the booking of the Zayn vs Jericho match.  The writing team of Raw is seemingly doing everything in their power to destroy the careers of anyone that comes up from NXT with momentum.  There is absolutely no reason to book the 50 year old part time rock star to go over the younger star who is there for the long haul.

Finally, apologies for the less than stellar quality of the live blog – I did truly forget the event was tonight and was more than a little tipsy.  I shall endeavor to not have that happens quite so often.  Also, I may be changing up the format for WWE shows to being more of my general impressions and thoughts rather than a live blog, as with the new schedule of a PPV every couple of weeks, my schedule just may not allow for it.  Also, given the current creative of the product, I’m just not that drawn in to put in the effort to live blog them all.  Honestly, I’m writing better shit on my couch for free than all of them are.

Until next time my friends! – EWE

UPDATE 11:00 PM EST

Next up, we get a video package highlighting Reigns and Rusev for the US Title.  Seriously, this feud is hilariously awful.  Nobody likes or cares about either man, or Lana, or the title, or any of it.  Except Vince and creative.  They obviously care enough to just keep shoving it down everyone’s throat.

Both men are introduced, and as expected, nobody really likes either guy.  The match is a typical slugfest, with the crowd just not caring either way.

Quite frankly, the match is so boring that I fell asleep, and when I woke up, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins were being introduced.  See-saw match between the two in the main event for the Universal Title, which ends clean with Owens retaining using the pop-up powerbomb following a ref bump.  Show ends with Rollins recovering in the ring.

UPDATE 10:00 PM EST

I’m back from break, as is the show apparently, as I haven’t really missed anything (GODDAMMIT) but on the bright side is literally the bright spot of the show – IT’S BAYLEY!  Honestly, she is just the most charismatic female performer I’ve ever, ever seen in this business.  She just makes people smile.  She is followed out by Sasha Banks, and finally, the Women’s Champ, Charlotte, with Dana Brook.

Some technical issues may result in a lack of images going forward – I sincerely apologize, but it’s just been that kind of night folks.  What can I say?  It’s a triple threat – all three women make a good showing, but it’s a train wreck of moves and spots and interference from Dana, with the highlight coming when Charlotte hits a beautiful teardrop moonsault onto both of her opponents at once.  Sasha hits the Bank Statement on both Charlotte and Bayley but it is broken up.  Bayley is thrown into Sasha and then kicked in the face for the pin and Charlotte retains.  Not bad, but I wish they would stop with these women’s triple threats.

Now we get a recap of the pre-show match from earlier.  Yawn.

UPDATE 9:30 PM EST

We get a promo for No Mercy, then go backstage to set up the Women’s Title triple threat.

Next up is Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho.  Folks, I’m not going into detail here, because either Sami should win in a dominating performance, or I don’t want to talk about how horrific the booking is to have Jericho go over on Sami.

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Sami wins or we (should) riot.
Match is as good as you’d expect from the talented Sami and the aging Jericho.  Sami dominates to start, until Jericho takes control, and then both men begin to trade shots back and forth.  Eventually, Jericho hits a Codebreaker and buries yet another young talent.  I fucking hate this show, and I was already in a bad mood, and now I’m taking a break before I get really, really nasty.

UPDATE 9:00 PM EST

Typical cruiserweight, back and forth match.  You know, watching this reminds of of the good old cruiserweight days of WCW, which in turn reminds me that I’ve recently been watching the last couple years of WCW Nitro which is even more godawful than I actually remember from the time.  Anyway, botched neckbreaker spot by Perkins leads to a Sliced Bread attempt which is countered into a wrecking ball dropkick and a missed 450 splash into an attempted Captain’s Hook countered into the Kneebar.  Tap by Kendrick and Perkins retains in a good, solid match.

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STILL your babyface champ!
Not surprisingly, Kendrick sneak attacks Perkins after the match to further the feud.

Now we get a recap of the seemingly endless, and pointless, best of seven series between Sheamus and Cesaro, now tied at 3 all and set to end tonight.  Both men are out, and typical physical, back and forth contest that we’ve seen in six previous matches.  Cesaro with a 619 ala Rey Mysterio, albeit not NEARLY as pretty or fast.  You know, it’s a shame that these two amazing workers are relegated to a meaningless feud that will likely not advance either man’s career.  Fucking useless creative team.

The story here is that Cesaro is not as effective with a lot of his offense due to the shoulder and back injuries he is nursing.  He does a good job of selling it.  Couple of ugly exchanges but then Cesaro executes a tope to the outside and lands full speed right on top of his head.  How he didn’t break his neck I have no fucking clue.

Back in the ring and both men kick out of each other’s finish, because that’s the only goddamn storytelling trick the creative team has for any match anymore.  Both men continue to beat the shit out of each other until the referee calls for a no contest.  Because at the end of a Best of Seven series, what you want is no clear cut winner.  I fucking quit.  A shitfaced chimp could book better than this.  Every single person involved in this train wreck, except for the poor two wrestlers, should be fucking  fired.

UPDATE 8:30 PM EST

Just in case you were unsure, I did in fact finish watching the pre-show, and the most interesting thing I can relate is that I did not fall down my steps while returning from a restroom break.  Seriously, if you watched any Raw in the past month, you know everything they are talking about.

And we are live the Clash of Champions!  And…just in case you missed the entire one-hour fucking pre-show, we begin with a video recap of why we are here tonight.  You know, if they cut down on all this shit, PPVs wouldn’t be four fucking hours long anymore.  But what do I know, right?

We begin with New Day making their entrance, tossing cereal into the crowd and bastardizing the beautiful sound of the trombone to the approval of the crowd.  Goddamn Philistines.  Say what I will though, these guys never fail to cut an entertaining promo, and they do so here.  Next out is Gallows and Anderson the (Don’t Call Them Bullet) Club.  These guys might not be as funny as New Day, but goddamn do they wrestle well as a team.

Back and forth action with the Club dominating most of the match, until Xavier interferes and nails Anderson with Francesca and Kofi and Big E hit the Midnight Hour for the pin to retain the titles.

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This was most of the offense for New Day.
Now we throw it to a commercial for the network that we are already paying to subscribe to because, uh, reasons, I guess.

Next up we have the Cruiserweight title match, preceded by a video package introducing the Cruiserweight division.  Out first is Brian Kendrick, followed by the “inaugural” WWE Cruiserweight Champion, TJ Perkins, who has 8-bit videogame theme music and is thus my favorite in this match for no other reason.

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Yes, TJ Perkins gimmick is that he’s essentially a Street Fighter character.
UPDATE 8:00 PM EST

The preshow match is apparently Nia Jax vs. Alicia Fox, which despite watching Raw each week, I somehow didn’t know.  And even if I had, wouldn’t care.  Look, there is only one possible fucking outcome – they are building Nia Jax to be the next dominant monster in the women’s division.  If Fox gets in more than five offensive moves, whoever booked the match should be fired.

So, shockingly, Jax throws Fox around the ring like a rag doll, while the commentary team manages to make me even more bored than I was during the intros.

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Here is a summation of the entire fucking match.
The total offensive move count for Fox is four, so whoever booked is safe to keep their job another day.  Jax, obviously, goes over in a squash.  Now we cut back to the “all-star” panel, and some more packages highlighting the feuds heading into tonight.  Yawn.

UPDATE 7:40 PM EST

Sami Zayn is in the social media lounge answering screened, scripted questions from fans on Twitter, which is so incredibly stupid and pointless that I almost wish they would just throw it back to the panel.  I mean, “How does it make you feel to hear the fans sing your theme song?”  WHO THE FUCK CARES?  I’m getting another drink

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I literally give zero fucks what these people have to say.
7:25 PM EST

Soooo…here is the deal.  I forgot. I forgot that Clash was even happening tonight, and hadn’t planned on liveblogging it.  Honestly, I had hoped to have better things to do.  But, as luck would have it, I don’t.  However, there is a catch – up until about five minutes ago, I was doing housework and drinking heavily, and the only thing that’s changed is that I’m not doing housework now.  See, once I realized this was happening, I had a choice: either make some coffee and try to sober up quick, or say FUCK IT, and just keep right on drinking and see where things go.  Guess which one won?

We open at 7:15 PM (because I just turned it on) and Renee, Booker, King, and Lita are talking about SHIT NOBODY CARES ABOUT.  Seriously, if you actually haven’t been watching Raw to know why the fuck these matches are happening, what are the odds that you are actually tuned in to the show right now?

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#FrozenFoodFridays and More

I made it, little ones!  I actually managed social interaction with a human being in a non-employment-related outing and didn’t make a total and complete clusterfuck of the situation.  Side note: my autocorrect now actually changes clusterfuck to its proper spelling when I make a typo – I’ve turned Siri into a foul-mouthed snarker too.  Anyway, we had a very nice time, and she seems to want to see me again – either because the night went well, or because she is some kind of masochist, to which I suppose the only sane reaction is:


Thanks for the kind words and thoughts – and I shall reward you accordingly!  Yes, it’s time once again for everyone’s (read: my best friend’s) favorite segment – #FrozenFoodFridays!  Editor’s note: I took my Ambien right before remembering I needed to do this before midnight, so if at some point it trails off or becomes even more nonsensical than usual, you know why.

This week, we have a personal favorite – Totino’s Pizza Rolls.  Now, I’m not going to waste anyone’s time trying to explain whether or not these are delicious – either you already know this, or you aren’t old enough to be reading this blog, or you’re probably a Trump voter and your opinions are bad and you should feel bad.

Great snack, or the greatest snack?

What I can tell you is that you can actually survive for far longer than you probably thought or would reasonably want to with these as your primary, even sole, source of nutrients.  I don’t know what delicious voodoo enables this, but I can verify its accuracy, sadly.  Protip: when preparing, cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil.  That way, when they inevitably start oozing the filling everywhere because the cook time chart is a goddamn lying motherfucker, you can just wait for it to cool and then throw out the foil, rather than spend 30 minutes cursing and scraping the tray clean.  Also, you know your pizza rolls are properly cooked when the first 3-5 rolls burn with the intensity of a thousand suns in your mouth.  If they are any cooler, they are undercooked.

That’s all for now, little ones.  See you next time, and remember – many Trump voters say that he’s a good idea because the presidency needs to be run like a business.  Putting aside the fact that this sentiment is completely fucking wrong and idiotic, there is also the small detail that Trump has driven a not-insignificant number of his businesses directly into the ground and bankruptcy.  He once used thousands of dollars from his charitable foundation to commission a ten-foot-tall painting of himself.  If that’s the businessman you think has what it takes to run the country the right way, there’s a reason your living in a tin-foil trailer held together by chicken wire and duct tape, and it’s not because the man is keeping you down.  It’s because you’re a fucking moron. – EWE

Comfort Zone Exceeded – Commence Panic

Confession time, kids – Evil Wizard, Esq. is many things, but supremely confident is NOT one of them.  Basically I am a hermit: dealings with humans have predominantly left me to not so much loathe them all, but to presume I SHALL loathe them and thus avoid interaction.  Quite frankly, my favorite interactions lately have been either here, or on Twitter.  So it comes as something of a shock to me that over the last few days, I have found myself with something planned that could objectively be called a “date.”  I feel I am handling my apprehension quite well…

My approach to apprehension.

This is my first attempt at non-cynical personal interaction since the unholy abomination of Paul Zindle reared its unspeakably horrid head.  Think of me kindly. Well, alright, let’s not pretend I deserve kindness – you’ve all been here long enough to know better.  But at least hope I don’t royally fuck this up beyond all possible repair. I have a bad tendency to do that. – EWE

Must…Keep…Playing…

Good evening, my little devils/angels/non-denominational supernatural beings!  I believe that I have neglected to mention that NIS America has recently announced that Disgaea 2 is coming to PC in January 2017!  The Disgaea series is an anime SRPG dream – tons of different classes, wacky stories full of memorable and insane demons, angels, and humans, a near-bottomless well of skills, items, and equipment, and the ability to level all of those things up to level 9999 (that is not a typo) then reincarnate them with higher stats and do it all over again.  But above all else – murderous, peg-legged, dual-machete toting penguins that end every sentence with “dood” and EXPLODE WHEN YOU THROW THEM.  If you aren’t pre-ordering this now, something is wrong with you.

So, you know that one book, or game, or TV series, or whatever that just grabs ALL of your attention?  Like, you kind of want to do other stuff too, but you must continue partaking of it?  Well, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past for Nintendo 3DS is apparently that game for me.  I want to focus on writing a wonderfully witty, cutting, insightful entry for all of you out there – but I can’t stop.  I have to keep killing slimes.  I.  Have.  To.

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They all have to die.

 

But whilst I continue my slime death march, I can, in fact, bring a recommendation to any seasonal brew aficionados that may be out there.  I was in a local pub and discovered Breckenridge Nitro Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout.  Now, the name may be a mouthful, but the drink itself is absolutely superb – frankly the best seasonal pumpkin-themed beer I’ve had, and I’ve had more than a few.

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Find this, drink this, love this.

Finally, this is last call for any requests or recommendations for the next profile of a member of the gaming community!  Next one should go up soon!

Until next time friends, remember – when the best thing that can be said about you is “well, he hasn’t done anything OVERTLY racist, sexist, xenophobic, or bigoted in the last few days” then there is a better than good chance that you are both a terrible person and also not a good choice to be president.  #SorryNotSorry Trump fans. – EWE

Belated #FrozenFoodFridays

So after a long week at work, I was incredibly excited to pick up Dragon Quest VII on Friday afternoon, as well as have my sons come to visit – but then suddenly, it wasn’t Friday anymore.  I have let you down, my devoted subjects.  But I shall attempt to make it up – here, without further ado, here is another (slightly late) edition of #FrozenFoodFridays!

This week, I bring you the deliciousness of Bertolli Italian Sausage and Rigatoni.  I’m a total sucker for pasta.  The problem is that most frozen pasta is awful.  No seriously, it never cooks right.  But these Bertolli frozen meals are goddamn amazing.  Meat, sauce, noodles, everything is just dumped in the skillet, cooked for about ten minutes, and you have a meal that could fool most people into thinking you had put effort into it.  One thing I love is that the sauce is frozen into little individual blocks, which thaw and spread out evenly as you heat everything.  This is so much better than a giant fucking block of frozen sauce that you have to sit and try to chip away at yourself to keep it evenly distributed.

If I have one complaint, it’s that when they say a non-stick skillet, THEY ARE NOT KIDDING.  If you have a standard skillet without a non-stick surface, even if you butter or oil it first you had better keep stirring it constantly to avoid it becoming permanently glued to the skillet.  I don’t like having to scrape my dinner onto my plate.  But as long as you are paying attention, this shouldn’t happen – and if you can’t pay attention to something for ten fucking minutes, you shouldn’t be allowed to cook for yourself anyway.

Hopefully I have earned your forgiveness for my tardiness!  I hope to be back later tonight with more to share.  – EWE

RPG Madness; Profile Pondering

Salutations, my little whispers in the darkness (yeah, I’m running low on creativity).  It has been an incredibly busy week on the work front, which has led to a downturn in the amount of time I have had to spend here with you.  For that, I am sorry – I’m sure you have all missed me.  But on the bright side, after less than a full year practicing law, I am taking an issue before the Ohio Supreme Court.  Despite many, MANY character flaws (which if you’ve followed me this long should be readily apparent) I’m not normally one for bragging much – it feels uncomfortable.  But this is a pretty big career milestone, especially in this short of a time, so I am quite proud of it.  Given how extremely low my self-esteem has been for the past several months, it is gratifying to feel good at something.

But you didn’t come here to hear about me!  Or at least, not that bit.  I mean, this is all really about me and my thoughts.  So you kind of did come here to hear about me.  Huh.  I’ll be damned.  Again.  Anyway, another thing that has me quite excited is all of the recent happenings in the game industry, and particularly in the RPG space.  I’ll have more thoughts on some of the big announcements (PS4 Pro, etc.) in the coming days, but for now, this month is being extremely kind to my addiction to RPGs on handheld systems.

First off, we have The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II.  Yes, the name is a mouthful, but dear sweet mother of god, if you are a fan of turn-based, anime-inspired RPGs, this series is amazing.  Trails in the Sky FC and SC were two of the greatest RPGs I’ve ever played on the PSP, with amazing characterization and combat systems.  Cold Steel I took everything great about Sky and turned it up to 11.  Much like FC and SC, there is one continuous storyline across both games, and I’ve been waiting to play Cold Steel until I had access to both of them because I did not want to get to the end of I and be left hanging until II made it’s way across the Pacific.  Now it is here, and I am delighted.

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These kids will kick your ass.

Next up is one near and dear to my heart, Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past on the 3DS.  This is a remake of the original Dragon Quest VII released on the PS1 around 2000.  Dragon Quest is one of my most beloved series, in no small part due to nostalgia – I received the original Dragon Quest as a gift for subscribing to Nintendo Power as a kid.  It was the first RPG I ever played, and the second game I ever played after Super Mario Bros.  DQ VII is famous for it’s tremendous amount of content – finishing the PS1 original was easily a 100 hour undertaking.  I can’t wait to relive it all over again.

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I still think that hat looks fucking stupid, though.

Finally, there is Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse on 3DS.  A retelling of the story in the first SMT IV from a different perspective, the main character in Apocalypse bears a more than passing resemblance to the Demi-Fiend, the player character in the seminal SMT: Nocturne for PS2.  Nocturne is one of my favorite games of all time – I have always loved the dark subject matter and various religious themes explored by the SMT series as a whole, and Apocalypse looks to scratch that itch.

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I’m telling you right now that I’m siding with Lucifer if I can.

Before I go for now, I wanted to pose a question to anyone still with me – I am wanting to prepare another profile post of someone in the gaming industry.  I have a few ideas, but I am very curious to know if any of you have any preferences?  Let me know in the comments below.  I tend to do most of my research for the profiles from open sources, but I am in no way averse to reaching out to people to see if I can find any information that may not be easily searchable.  If nobody has a preference, I can always go with one of my own.

Fare you well this evening, boys and girls, for I must go and continue binging through Pokemon X/Y in preparation for Sun/Moon’s upcoming release as well, but remember – even if the nutjobs are right (they aren’t) and Hillary Clinton is secretly dying (she isn’t), it means that she is spending her last days and remaining strength trying to save the country from a Donald Trump presidency.  This doesn’t make her unfit to serve – it makes her a goddamn motherfucking hero.  Until next time! – EWE

WWE Backlash Live!

UPDATE 10:45 EST

Now we get…THE FUCKING KFC AD WITH COL. ZIGGLER AND CHICKEN SUIT MIZ!  You know, I totally understand sponsored bits – but if I ever hear of an employee losing his mind and going on a rampage through WWE headquarters, there is not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that it will be Ziggler.

Video package recaps the AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose title feud.  Intros for both guys, with each one getting the opposite crowd reaction than the creative buildup had been pushing.

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CREATIVE: BOO THIS MAN!  (Crowd cheers wildly)
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CREATIVE: CHEER THIS MAN! (Crowd reacts apathetically)

Again with this one, as per most Styles matches, I’m not going to call this move for move because he’s just so good that you should really seek the match out and watch it for yourself.  With the crowd seeming to want to back Styles, despite being ostensibly the heel, and boo Ambrose, the face, it would be a stroke of creative genius here if they would execute a double turn in the manner of Bret Hart and Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.  That said, creative genius is not something I’ve come to expect in the “New Era.”

Control goes back and forth between both men several times, with each employing the creative offense they are known for.  Odd moment when Styles locks in the Calf Killer (I’m not calling it crusher because he’s in WWE now) and Dean literally splits his time selling and not selling.  Both men go to the apron, and Ambrose catapults Styles face first into the ring post/screen/thing.  Styles’ head audibly cracked and it sounded stiff.

From there, Ambrose proceeds to give an absolute beatdown to Styles, and the crowd doesn’t like it.  This really has that double turn magic…until AJ hits a low blow to set up the Styles Clash, the three count, and the title.  The announcers play up the low blow and the “impact” on Styles’ legacy, but he’s your new WWE World Champion.

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You Deserve It (clap, clap, clap clap clap)

And that’s your show.  Not stellar, in fact, really just a couple of bookends – the Women’s Six Pack was actually better than the majority of men’s car wrecks of this nature, and had a finish that people have been waiting for a long time.  And likewise, the main event fully delivered on its potential and promise.  Ambrose and Styles are both world class performers and they showed it.  Ambrose plays the crazy motherfucker better than anyone I’ve seen since Brian Pillman, and I was wrong about Daniel Bryan earlier – AJ Styles is the most over wrestler in the company right now.  The match was great, and the finish was solid – clean finish with a new champ, but just enough controversy to let the story continue any number of ways.  If I had one complaint about the match, I just felt like the magic was in the air for a double turn, but I can’t argue with the booking here.  The rest of the card in the middle though was utterly forgettable and wouldn’t even make for a good episode of Smackdown Live.  Thankfully, the visual we got as we went off the air left the fans happy.

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Phenomenal.

Thanks for sticking with me, kids!  And remember, Hillary Clinton may have pneumonia, but Donald Trump is fucking insane, and Clinton can take antibiotics.  Until next time! – EWE

UPDATE 10:00 EST

Bray Wyatt, who appears to have stolen Capt. Jack Sparrow’s hair, is out next now, as a video replay shows us how Bray jumped Orton.  The ring announcer is handed a note saying Orton is unable to compete tonight, and that Bray Wyatt has requested a 10-count so that he can win by forfeit.  However, we now get a no-holds-barred match between Wyatt and…Kane.  Um, ok.

So Wyatt and Kane have…exactly what you’d think, given that Kane has four moves and Wyatt is beginning to wrestle like he doesn’t care anymore – which I can’t fault too much seeing as how creative has taken his amazing character and gimmick and killed, buried it, and then dug it up just to kill it again.  A chair is used, several times, a table is broken, you know the drill.  When suddenly, Randy Orton…sllloooowwwwwwlllllyyyyyyy…makes his way to the ring.  RKO, chokeslam, Kane goes over.  Yes, Bray Wyatt was beaten by a forty year old guy who usually just comes out and chokeslams a jobber for a quick pop.  In addition, creative has just effectively told Randy Orton “fans don’t give a damn about your matches, just go out and hit an RKO at some point.”

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#OuttaNowhere

Now it’s time for the finals of the tag title tournament.  During the Usos introduction, David Otunga laments how they have left behind their cherished heritage by no longer wearing neon facepaint and doing a Samoan war chant before their matches.  Yeah, because that’s clearly the only connection to their Samoan roots they had.  Only in the New Era of the WWE can you get the thrill of watching the Usos wrestle twice in one night, while listening to commentary consisting solely about crab cakes and poop jokes.  The match follows the standard format of every match involving Slater and Rhyno, which can be summed up with:

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I’m not even sure Slater has any offensive moves.

Hot tag to Rhyno, but he misses the gore, so Slater tags himself back in and hits a big DDT for 2, but gets pulled outside.  Rhyno hits a HUGE gore and Slater covers for the pin, the titles, and a “job” on Smackdown.

UPDATE 9:25 EST

Up next, we have the freshly heel turned Usos, who apparently now wrestle in black pleather and sneakers (because they’re EVIL) against Mojo Rawley and Zack “Management Doesn’t Care How Over I Am With Fans” Ryder, the Hype Bros.  This was set up by the Usos losing in about 10 seconds to American Alpha in the semi-finals of the Smackdown Tag Team Title tournament, and then injuring them after the match.  So what do you do to someone who loses and then gets mad?  You let them back into the tournament!  That’s a great life lesson kids.  Anyway, the winner of this match gets to face Heath Slater and Rhyno for the titles later tonight.  Yeah, this is not a deep tag team division.

Back and forth action to start until the Usos take control on Ryder.  Couple of hope spots until finally Ryder makes the hot tag to Mojo, even though Ryder is the most over guy in the match.  The Usos though quickly take out Mojo, destroy Ryder’s knee and pickup a submission win to advance to the title match later tonight.

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Yeah, he appears to be enjoying this far too much.

Backstage segment now with, god willing, are your next tag champs, Rhyno and Heath Slater.  Some great comedy moments here folks, including the classic poop joke.  Great stuff.

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It’s 2016 – do you know where your poop jokes are?

Now we get a video package recapping the buildup to the IC title match between Miz and Dolph Ziggler, which feels more like a buildup for a Daniel Bryan comeback, but we aren’t that lucky.  Match begins pretty much as you would expect it would – Dolph carries the entire thing, thrilling the crowd with offense, then selling like a madman and making Miz look like a million bucks.  Miz takes a few moments to imitate Daniel Bryan’s trademark moves, which is either furthering the inevitable Bryan comeback match, or incredibly fucking cruel toward every wrestling fan.

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If this DOESN’T lead to a Daniel Bryan wrestling return, it’s just really stupid booking.

Miz stays in control until Dolph is able to hit a Famouser for a two-count.  Zig-zag (goddammit) is countered, but Dolph is able to lock in a sleeper, which ends like every other sleeper has ended since Roddy Piper beat Hulk Hogan with it at Starrcade 1996.  Big leaping DDT by Dolph gets another 2-count.  Miz locks in a LONG figure-four, but Ziggler gets to the ropes.  Miz runs into a Superkick, but gets his toe on the bottom rope.  Maryse sprays something in Dolph’s eyes, and a Skull Crushing Finale later Dolph Ziggler, and all of us, are screwed again.

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Miz in his customary victory pose.

UPDATE 8:40 EST

Backlash opens with a silent text crawl on a black screen commemorating the 15th Anniversary of 9/11.  Credit where it is due – this was a very classy move.  I’m sure Kevin Dunn could’ve put together an overproduced, overly dramatic video package with flags and eagles, but this was a somber and serious moment for a somber and serious occasion.  My hat is off for it.

From there we go to…an overproduced video package outlining all of the feuds heading into the show tonight, in case someone hasn’t been watching any of the product on TV and just happened to randomly tune in to the show tonight.  We are LIVE…and here comes the money!  Shane McMahon makes his way to the ring, and next out is GM Daniel Bryan to a huge pop.  They promote the new Smackdown Tag Team and Women’s champs to be crowned here tonight, and then say our Women’s Six-Pack Challenge is starting right…now!

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Yes, the most over wrestler on the show is the forcibly-retired general manager.

We get intros for each of the women in the title match.  It bears repeating that if we are going to grade ring attire for each of these ladies, Alexa Bliss absolutely destroys anyone else in the ring, or the building.

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Seriously, this is some better than what you see at most cosplay conventions.

So the rules in this one are elimination-style, meaning that once you are pinned or submit, you’re gone.  Last woman standing is the first-ever Smackdown Women’s champion.  As is my policy with most multi-person clusterfucks like this, I’m not going to try to call the moment to moment action here because I’ll go insane.  Suffice to say, there are a LOT of high impact moves and submission holds hit by everyone.  Amusing moment sees Carmella, Natalya, and Nikki Bella combine for a superplex-powerbomb combo that leaves all three laying; Alexa quickly rolls in and attempts to pin each woman in succession, but each one kicks out.

Quick observation – Naomi may be the most athletically gifted woman in WWE, but the gimmicks and attire that she is forced to wear are utterly ridiculous.  Day-glo neon green spandex hoodie, with matching neon green hair extensions – someone should be fired over that.  First elimination comes when Alexa takes a double-team Buff Blockbuster/Powerbomb combo from Naomi and Natalya and is pinned.  Natalya follows up by quickly nailing Naomi from behind and tapping her out with the Sharpshooter.  Nikki quickly hits her new finisher (which according to Mauro is a “modified Argentine backbreaker” – god I love him) and pins Natalya, however just like that Carmella rolls her up from behind and eliminates Nikki.  So we are down to Carmella and the criminally underrated and misused Becky Lynch.  Might we finally see them give her the run on top she deserves?

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Yeah, that hurts.

Yes, we will!  Becky hits several Becks-ploder suplexes and locks in the Disarm-her for the tapout and is your first-ever Smackdown Women’s Champion!

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Wrestling doesn’t have a ton of actual feel-good moments, but this is one.

Pointless backstage segment with the Miz, and then we see Bray Wyatt backstage working over Randy Orton’s ankle.  Oh, good, one of the only matches I was really looking forward to may now not happen.  Goddammit.

UPDATE 7:55 EST

Pre-show match is between Apollo Crews and Baron Corbin (oh…joy) and was set up in an earlier backstage segment.  However, before that the panel has an interview with Alexa Bliss regarding the upcoming six-pack challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Title.  Alexa cuts a decent heel promo, but the most notable thing is that she has a Harley Quinn theme going for her look tonight, which automatically makes her my favorite in the match.

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Whoever’s idea this was deserves a raise.

Amusingly, Corbin is introduced for the match as “the winner of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal” despite the fact that nobody who has one that event has ever, EVER been subsequently pushed in any meaningful way.  The match opens with each man trying to show their power moves, until Crews goes for a springboard and just slugs him out of midair to the floor.  Then we throw to commercials for the finals of the Cruiserweight Classic (which is a phenomenal tournament any wrestling fan should watch) and Holy Foley (……..).

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I don’t care how big a Cactus Jack fan you were – DO NOT encourage this.

Back from the break and some more back and forth between both men.  Corbin hits a standing moonsault and Olympic slam (shout out to Kurt Angle) and Corbin hits an STO, all for 2-counts.  Crews hits the ropes and runs right into a spinning belly-to-back suplex for a close two count.  To the outside and Corbin misses Crews and goes crashing into the steps.  Crews throws him back in and goes for the corner mount, but Corbin throws him off and hits End of Days for the pin and the burial of Apollo Crews’ career continues at full speed.

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Corbin fans (both of you) should be really happy.

An series of video promos will now lead us into Backlash proper!

Join me at 8 PM EST as the whiskey and tears will flow for WWE Backlash!