(Alan is away on his holidays so this week’s Linus Report is brought to you by his erstwhile tag-team partner, Chris Moyse. Enjoy!)

It’s time for Thursday Night Smackdown! That show that will brand a continually degrading video game series!
It may have been going for sixteen years, but its still no Thunder.

The intro sequence features stars I saw on Raw, I don’t understand why, they’re separate brands… right?

Here comes sparkly briefcase Sheamus. It would be so much better if they used the same case every single year, as it would look like an unearthed time capsule by now.
Sheamus says that when he returned to the WWE, everyone chanted “You look stoopid” at him, he then pauses, and no-one in the live crowd starts chanting. Despite this, he still says “Yeah, just like that!”
No, not why.

Sheamus is pleased as punch at being Mr. Money in the Bank, and we get to see him and Kane beating up Randy Orton on Monday’s Raw. Tooting his horn some more, Sheamus says no-one can stand in his way on his journey to the top of the WWE.
This brings out dreamboat Dean Ambrose, who says he doesn’t speak “Irish gibberish” and will take that briefcase out of Sheamus’ “potato-farming” hands
Casual racism. Sexy casual racism.

Sheamus asks Ambrose out for a fight, which brings out Kane (in his suit trousers, ‘natch) Kane books a handicap match between Ambrose and the team of Kane and Sheamus starting right now!
I think this is a particularly mean decision given that Ambrose gave Kane quite an inspiring tough-love pep talk on Raw. But I shall go no further, before I lose myself at the concept of having my own session of Ambrose’ “tough love.”

Kane & Sheamus vs Dean Ambrose:
Ambrose outsmarts the heavyweights early, using a divide and conquer tactic to beat the giants down. They soon take control and start kicking Dean’s ass, but then generic metal heralds the coming of Roman Reigns.

Sheamus heads to the fire exit to intercept Reigns, which is hilarious as it means he’s assuming Reigns will arrive via the upper levels for his “spontaneous” invasion.
Roman however, slides into the ring from behind, and Pearl harbors Kane, which gives the lanky fools the win via DQ.
I said it on my Raw report, and I’ll say it here, Roman Reigns may not be Daniel Bryan or Brock Lesnar, but he doesn’t get nearly the negative reaction that people like to claim he does, it has at least diminished quite a chunk since that awkward reception at Wrestlemania.

The Bella Empire are backstage, and heading to the ring, but Nikki apparently has other plans and, after high-fiving her sis, makes her departure, backwards baseball cap and all.

Reigns/Ambrose vs Kane/Sheamus is announced for later tonight.

Backstage Renee, looking aces with a Mount Olympus hairstyle, asks Ambrose and Reigns for a reaction to their match tonight. Reigns ignores that question and instead cuts a promo on Bray Wyatt, whilst Ambrose just dismissively walks away. When I think about the real-life Renee/Ambrose pairing, I don’t know which side I’m more insanely jealous of.

Massively popular Diva Paige is already in the ring, because entrances are only for stars, right? They also replay her embarrassing team meeting fail from Raw because you need to know that she’s an idiot, fans.

Paige vs Brie Bella:
Brie starts off well but soon finds herself knee’d in the nose. Brie’s ripped tights are more rips than tights. Paige sets Brie up for a superplex, but Brie counters into a powerbomb. Remember Paige’s rubbish knees from earlier reviews? Yup.

On the outside, Paige hits her rolling senton from the apron. She bellows her catchphrase “This is my house!” twice, but it doesn’t mean anything whilst you’re being portrayed as a fool.
Whilst I wrote that last sentence, Alicia Fox snuck in and threw Paige from the top rope, then Brie hit the Face Lift for the win. I think Brie’s nose is bleeding as she’s awkwardly hiding it. Brie leaves the ring to celebrate with Nikki and A-Boy.

This is the first time in some time I’ve experienced a full week of a singular Diva’s angle. Over one PPV and two TV shows, I have seen Paige,  a fan-favourite and former technically sound worker lose three times to various combinations of the twins. When she went to the other Divas for assistance, they all avoided her like she had syphilis, and now some of them are actively working against her.

Why are they fighting? Is the title even part of the argument? What good does this do Paige as a character, or Nikki as champion? Why does it feel like only three Divas in the company are having matches? I have seen nothing this week (not including NXT obviously) to justify the division even existing.
Kill it. Put everyone in training, cull anyone who is total shit, bring it back in a few months, give the angles reason, give the girls pride. Get Madusa to throw the title in the bin, get a new one that doesn’t look like it comes from Claire’s Accessories.

Jesus Fucking Christ.
Make. The Women. Matter.

We get a replay of Owens destroying MGK. Looking back, it was really contrived for Owens to be on stage at all. But we can all forgive that just for the lulz of the moment.

Backstage Renee is with Big Kev himself. Owens claims that the carnage was actually John Cena’s fault, as the only reason Owens was there was because he was feuding with Cena. This “You broke the window because you ducked the brick I threw at you” is a cool personality trait. Cesaro, sporting colour-matching Dr. Dre headphones, interrupts and challenges Owens to a match later tonight.

The fact that Owens is casually talking about Cena less than 24 hours after the previous NXT show just further pours water on any fire from the Samoa Joe feud. Owens’ character clearly has his mind set firmly on the Cena situation, even though Joe’s NXT arrival was supposed to be the biggest challenge for Kevin to date.
For better or worse, Owens’ time on the WWE’s main shows is killing his NXT feud.

Dolph Ziggler is out with Lana. Lana’s makeup and hair is more subdued with each appearance as they continue in their efforts to soften her personality. At this stage, Lana’s little more than Dolph’s empty, cooing cheerleader and her attractive heelish following is severely diminishing week by week, both in the live crowd’s reaction and in my own heart.

Dolph Ziggler vs Bo Dallas:
Though Bo Dallas starts the match in control, Ziggler ducks a clothesline and hits the Zig-Zag for the win around the two minute mark.

Rusev, watching backstage, is so angry that he lightly throws a crutch down.

Back from the ads, The New Day are in the ring. If they had a promo, we ain’t seeing it.
Xavier Woods vs Neville:
Woods drops Neville and stamps on him exactly 26 times (Yes, I counted) Neville gets back to vertical base and tosses Woods out the ring, following up with a huge corkscrew plancha.
The New Day approach Neville menacingly but he gets backup in the form of The Prime Time Players. The tag champs start brawling with New Day, and a distracted Xavier Woods eats a step-up enziguri and the always crowd-pleasing Red Arrow to give Neville the win.

The Irritatingly Determined Weasel is coming to the ring.
Awwww… he’s got a microphone.
WWE champ Seth Rollins is angry at how disrespected he is. As the future of the industry, and current champion, he demands that people understand how hard he works as a company figurehead. Seth says that he will cement his legacy by beating Brock Lesnar at Battleground. No-one’s buying it mate. Rollins says he can’t wait to face Brock and crush his mystique once and for all.

In the locker room, Dean Ambrose is absolutely itching to get his hands on Sheamus, but Reigns, clearly directed to “look distracted,” is staring off into the distance, like when a character in Eastenders attempts to portray depression. Dean tells him not to sweat Bray Wyatt’s threats, but Roman says he needs to get tonight done with so he can get home.
We’re clearly heading toward some kind of family stalking angle, because those are always great, right DDP?

Angry Owens is pacing in the ring, ready to get his hands on Cesaro. Cesaro comes out with a towel on his head, channeling Taz. Mood changed yet?

Kevin Owens vs Cesaro:
Cesaro is all over Owens with wrestling skillz, but Kevin is quick to turn the match into his own brand of brawling. The fight leaves the ring and Cesaro hits a tope suicida and a running uppercut. Back in the ring, Owens posts Cesaro and takes over with a short clothesline and a senton. A tornado DDT gets Owens a two count. The NXT champ goes for the super fisherman’s buster, but Cesaro escapes and dropkicks Owens from the turnbuckle. Although Cesaro goes back on the offence, he can’t promise nuthin’ and Owens stops him dead with the Pop-Up Powerbomb, continuing his collection of WWE roster scalps.

Time for “Miz at the Movies” a segment that absolutely nobody asked for. Japes ensue as Miz realises that other WWE stars appear in more A-list movies that he does, like Guardians of the Galaxy and San Andreas (I wouldn’t stress out over the latter, Mike) Big Show is currently starring with 90’s Superman in some flick, Vendetta.
People might think Dean Cain was a cheesy Supes, but there isn’t a single episode of Lois and Clark that is worse than Snyder’s Man of Steel.

They air that Dusty video package again, daddeh.

The best thing about Roman Reigns’ entrance is the potential for great signage. Today we get someone calling for The Dungeon of Doom to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Got my vote.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs Sheamus & Kane:
Sheamus and Ambrose open the match brawling back and forth until Roman simply gets in the ring and two thirds of The Shield clear house as we go to the break.
Back from the ads, and things are going great for The Shie, but then Sheamus slams Dean onto the announce table and takes control. Team No Heat then work over the dirty-vested dreamboat.
Kane comes in to continue the beating but Ambrose desperately fights back, landing his top-rope elbow and finally making the tag to Reigns. Reigns goes house of fire on his opponents, hitting Sheamus with the Superdad punch and setting him up for The Spear.
Suddenly, Bray Wyatt appears on the big screen, reminding Roman of his not-altogether-clear intentions. This distraction is all Mr Money in the Bank needs to sideswipe Roman with the Brogue Kick and get the pinfall for the bad guys.

Wyatt wishes Roman a Happy Fathers Day or, more appropriately,  a Happy Father’s *DYET*
When the lights return, Reigns is alone in the ring with a photo of his own daughter. Reaching into his big book of emoting, he attempts “nervous concern” as the show fades to black.

And that, beautiful people, is your week of WWE television.

It wasn’t a bad week, but it had bad moments.
As always, very few matches meant anything whatsoever, but they were, on average, good quality. Roman Reigns seems to be falling into a much more acceptable niche of a mid-card do-gooder. Owens/Cena had a MOTY contender at the PPV and have garnered continued interest for their programme, shame about the forgettable Samoa Joe angle.

The only real negative standout is the women. The Bellas/Paige feud, despite a good match at Money in the Bank, has been dreadful beyond tablets. The destruction of Lana, who twice wasn’t allowed ringside and, when she was, didn’t get any dialogue is a massive waste of heat.

Seth Rollins, a perfectly acceptable in-ring competitor, just fails to inspire me in any way as a champion or a character. I’m interested to see if he can portray himself as a credible threat to Lesnar come Battleground. I’m unsure how, seeing as I’m pretty sure that I could hold my own against Rollins, and I’m just some sexy internet hack.

The WWE is in an interesting position. They have proven lately that they have a young, talented and hardworking roster, who can deliver good to great matches, varied personas and generally positive fan reaction. I just think the company needs to cut off its dead weight, re-think the roster ranking and completely re-design its Diva division from the ground up.

But, of course, that’s much easier said than done.

You’ve been a wonderful audience. Normal service will be resumed momentarily but I hope you’ve all enjoyed my take on the week’s viewing. Maybe I”ll see you guys again down the line should I ever scribe for Steelchair again. Support this site, it does good work.

Have a good week, until next week.


By VultureHound

VultureHound is focused on the best new music, film, TV and fashion. You can keep up to date on Twitter and Facebook.