Hello and welcome to another edition and review of Smackdown Live! Following the Smackdown-exclusive Battleground PPV, what fallout will we see? With new champions in The New Day and Kevin Owens, John Cena defeating the returning Rusev, Jinder Mahal retaining in the Punjabi Prison in amazing circumstances and everybody’s favourite snoops Breezango no closer to finding out the truth, this has potential to be a good show!
Kevin Owens Addresses the WWE Universe
The new US Champion Kevin Owens makes his first appearance since reclaiming the US Championship and once again becoming The New Face of America as “good things happen to good people”. He announces that he is reinstating the United States Open Challenge… Next week. “There is no way, under any circumstance, that I would ever defend my title in front of a bunch of hicks from Richmond, Virginia”, cue the AJ Styles theme music. AJ comes out, demanding his rematch, to which KO reiterates he will not defend his title tonight against him, or anyone…
Break the walls DOOOOOOOOWN!
My god, the Sexy Piñata, the Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla, Y2J, is back! What a way to appear! “It’s the return, of Jericho, welcome back maaaaaaaan!” I won’t lie, I’m marking out right now. Owens is furious and shocked, everything he tries to say gets met with a “Quiet!” from Jericho, beautiful. Jericho is also back for his rematch clause, this could get interesting. Jericho looks like he is gearing up to put Styles on the list for cutting in line for HIS rematch clause, comparing that a guy cut in line in the grocery store. “Do you know what happens, when somebody cuts in front of Chris Jericho?” before revealing that, though, he punched him in the face and locked in the Walls of Jericho, beautiful. THEN Jericho adds Styles to the list. Tropes and clichés abound, Kevin Owens is seen sneaking off as Jericho asks where he’s going “… you stupid idiot” as Shane O’Mac makes an appearances, Christ. 3 walkouts in 10 minutes, strong start to Smackdown! Shane creates a Triple Threat match for the US Championship between KO, Styles and Jericho. Not at Wrestlemania, not at Summerslam but… tonight! Whatever Kevin had planned for tonight, is now put on the shelf, game on!
As mark-out-ing a start as any. Chris Jericho returns and a fantastic match up is created for this episode. In my books, you can’t get much better than that. Case closed, great segment.
Match One: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin
Following his win by DQ at Battleground, Shinsuke clearly isn’t satisfied and wants a legitimate rematch with Baron Corbin.
Shinsuke starts off strong, with several vicious knees before what seems to be a Kinshasa on the ramp. Corbin replies with a vicious clothesline that JBL would be proud of, rolling him inside for a 2 count as we go into the break. We come back to Nakamura in a rear chinlock before escaping and throwing some trademark stiff strikes his way. After a kneestrike from the top rope got Nakamura a 2-count, Corbin starts imitating Nakamura’s kneestrikes before mocking his “Good Vibrations” move and then plants Nakamura with a beautiful Deep Six for another 2 count. Corbin goes to finish the match with the End of Days, as Nakamura rolls through and hits a lovely roundhouse kick to the back of the head and locks for his exploder suplex, to which Corbin attempts another low blow in the exact same style from Battleground. Nakamura returns the favour with some accurate kicks, a knee to the back of the head then a Kinshasa for the 1-2-3.
Considering the magnitude of both superstars, their match at Battleground was thoroughly disappointing, the ending being as disappointing as the match. Despite being an average match, this match was 20x better than Battleground. I enjoyed it, though! Nakamura is one of the best strikers and I enjoy watching him wear down larger opponents, and Corbin is one of the superstars with the most potential (in my opinion). So, two superstars who I thoroughly enjoy watching, putting on a far better match than their PPV one a few days prior? Can’t complain.
Naomi is, again, about to be interviewed by one of the many backstage interviewers that WWE employ and Natalya, again, shuns them before confronting Naomi. Natalya accuses Naomi of turning the Women’s Championship into a toy and disrespecting everything it stands for. Naomi retorts that she simply added a little bit of herself to the belt and that Natalya better be ready to be “blinded by the glow” come Summerslam. As Natalya storms off, our Women’s Money in The Bank Winner appears “reminding” Naomi that she will be looking to the future.
More of the same, really, Carmella being vague about her threats regarding her cashing in and a showdown between Naomi and Natalya are something we’ve seen a lot of recently, although the Fatal Five Way Elimination match at Battleground proved to be a good match… Well until half of the superstars in the match were eliminated within 2 minutes!
Match Two: Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs Tamina and Lana.
Becky and Lana start us off, with Becky instantly going for her Dis-Arm-Her, much to Lana’s screams and she tags in Tamina. Even the commentators are talking about Tamina and Lana’s weird relationship, with all 3 speechless as to what is happening. Becky attempts several more Dis-Arm-hers on Tamina. Tamina, however, gains the upper hand, slamming Lynch face-first into the canvas. Tamina tags in Lana who follows it in with a kneestrike and a lovely suplex followed by some more kneestrikes to the back and a rear armlock. Lana has the upper hand as she grabs a handful of Lynch’s hair, slamming her once again into the mat for a two-count and “You Can’t Wrestle” chants from the crowd. Another tag to Tamina results in a clothesline with Lynch looking more hopeless, before an enziguiri to Tamina and the tag to Charlotte. Chops abound to Woo’s abound, Charlotte gets her first piece of action before a superkick allows Tamina to tag in Lana… Who gets big-booted by Charlotte and loses them the match. Tamina looks furious as Charlotte and Becky walk back up the ramp, smiles and hugs all around. She starts yelling at Lana from the outside, hitting the ring as she storms away, Lana crawling out of the ring as sheepishly as possible… This is bizarre, very bizarre.
An interesting match-up. One side containing the weird-pairing of Tamina and Lana (god knows what is happening between those two, definite daddy-little vibes here, it’s scary), whilst the other side contains Becky and Charlotte, two friends who had their relationship strained following Lynch’s victory over her now-partner last week. The match wasn’t overly impressive, with Becky taking the brunt of the damage and Charlotte coming in the win the match and Tamina doing the lionshare of the work but Lana once again losing the match. It’s odd, Lana has glimpses of being a competent wrestler (a strong showing against Naomi followed by two squashes) and once again showed glimpses in this match, before an incredibly weak loss.
Jinder Mahal demands a Summerslam Opponent
First, we have a video package showing the Punjabi Prison, with a Great Khali return and a correct prediction by yours truly (The Singh Brothers hiding underneath the ring… It may have been an easy guess but it proves how predictable the WWE can be!).
Jinder Mahal comes out by himself and walks down to the ring, I wonder how long before the “MY people, MY language” and insulting the American crowd. I haven’t heard this many boos, that weren’t directed at Roman Reigns, in a while. The crowd really hates him, but you cannot hinder the Jinder. After proclaiming he destroyed the legacy of Randy Orton, he demands to know who else will fall before him at Summerslam. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand here we go, my people my language. I heard John Cena mentioned amongst the punjabi speech? Oh, look, John Cena has appeared! What a coincidence.
John Cena “You are the Maharaja, but as a mind-reader, you’re a piece of crap!”, retorting to Mahal trying to predict what Cena was going to say. Cena continues by claiming that, although he may not agree with what Jinder did to get the title, he respects that he’s in the best shape of his life and that the WWE Championship means so much to him that he would do anything (ie. bringing out The Great Khali) to keep it. Finally, he gives Mahal a heads up, and lays down that, at Summerslam, it will be John Cena vs Jinder Mahal, and he will be leaving as 17x WWE World Champion. As he is walking down the ramp, his brother-in-la… Cough, kayfabe sorry… the GM Commissioner, Daniel Bryan comes out. Bryan states that unfortunately, Cena needs to earn the match-up as Bryan and Shane make the matches, not Cena. He puts him in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura, with the winner of the “first time ever, dream match”, will face Jinder at Summerslam.
JBL said it correctly! A Wrestlemania-calibre match up next week on Smackdown? Fantastic. Love him or hate him, after his little break, Cena has been on fire. His matches the past 7-8 months have been fantastic and his promos have been even better. Cena is proving that he can still walk the walk, and he can still definitely talk the talk. I can’t wait for this match up next week!
Kevin Owens Confronts Shane McMahon
A quick backstage segment shows the ever-present rivalry between Owens and McMahon, as it gets personal “I don’t like you, you don’t like me” and Owens complaining that he doesn’t even need to be pinned to lose the title tonight. Shane responds that he doesn’t care who the champion is, he only cares that the title is defended on Smackdown and that the crowd get to enjoy a potentially fantastic match up tonight. What a sweet guy O’Mac is, eh?
Match Three: Aiden English and Mike Kanellis (with Maria Kanellis) vs Tye Dillinger and Sami Zayn
The Shakespeare of Sooooooong, the Maestro of Mayhaaaaaaaaaaaaam (“shush! This is my time!”), the Picasso of Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaain, the Draaaaaaaaaaaaaama Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Who hits like a roooooock, but sings like a Doooooove, for tonight I am joined by the Power of Looooooooooove!
Aiden English and Mike Kanellis? I’m guessing this means they’re against Tye Dillinger and Sami Zayn? Interesting choice, McMahon and Bryan, interesting choice. I know he’s not a popular choice but I honestly love Tye Dillinger. His theme is my alarm clock and it gets me amped! On second thoughts, this could be a decent match!
Tye and English start us off here. We go into the break with Tye and Zayn putting English under pressure. It is revealed that, during the break, Maria once again distracted Zayn on the outside, allowing English to walk up the apron and deliver a kick to Zayn’s face, gaining control of the match. Kanellis hits Zayn with a beautiful clothesline-big boot combo for a 2 count and tags English in. English loses control of Zayn as he falls outside, allowing Zayn the time to tag The Perfect 10 in. Dillinger clears the ring, hits Kanellis with the 10 punches before dealing with English. In a beautifully fluid ending to the match, Dillinger finds himself in the far corner, hits the oncoming English, dodges Kanellis in the corner and Zayn comes running in with the Helluva Kick for the match winner!
As mentioned, I’m a big fan of Tye, but I’m also a big fan of English! I really liked The Vaudevillains, but I feel sorry for English, as I feel they were given the shit-stick ever since Simon Gotch almost murdered little Enzo Amore at WWE Payback 2016. Although not involved in the manoeuvre, English was given the same treatment as Gotch as they were buried when they were once oncourse to compete for the then-New Day held titles, honestly a shame in my opinion. I’m sincerely hoping both Dillinger and English get a little more recognition as the year goes on. I really enjoyed the ending, it flowed nicely and was very simple!
The match was okay, it did nothing to further any rivalry, apart from Dillinger and Zayn getting a win over their respective rivals and I look forward to both feuds continuing!
The New Day… Celebration?
Just as The New Day are making their way to the ring with Big E’s voice filling the arena, we hear a scuffle come over the microphone. This is followed by Woods and Kingston being dragged out by The Usos with Big E nowhere to be seen. After a vicious beatdown by The Uso’s, Big E makes an appearance but is quickly dealt with by The Usos. A calculated move by Jimmy and Jey, taking out the main threat of Big E then dealing with the duo of Woods and Kingston.
Main Event: Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles – Triple Threat Match for the US Championship
Imagine going to the event, and being hit with the surprise that CHRIS JERICHO has returned! Not only that, but there will be a phenomenal (ahem) matchup between Chris Jericho, AJ Styles and Kevin Owens in a triple threat match, for the United States Championship! Superb.
The match starts with both Styles and Jericho teaming up on KO before a quick flurry of pin attempts between them as KO rolls out of the ring, re-enters and disposes of Styles, leaving the two former best friends alone in the ring. A scuffle ensues that see’s Jericho attempt both the Codebreaker and Walls of Jericho, before AJ Styles recovers and makes his way into the ring. Jericho subsequently finds his way outside after he is interrupted attempting his outside-in dropkick, leaving Styles and KO in the ring, which Kevin Owens capitalises on. He looks to be in an incredibly strong position as he leaves Styles recovering in the ring and goes out to make sure Jericho doesn’t get involved anytime soon, but as he comes back into the ring Styles goes on the offense, which Owens quickly nips in the bud. After a pin attempt, Styles locks in his Calf Crusher and is broken up by a beautiful lionsault from Y2J, a beautiful sight to behold! Jericho gets a two count over Styles as we head into the break.
As we come back, Owens and Styles looked like they were teaming up for a Doomsday Device on Y2J, to no avail, as Jericho reverses an electric chair-like manoeuvre into a Walls of Jericho attempt. This is followed by a phenomenal springboard 450 splash onto Jericho from Styles for a 2 count as Owens is dumped out of the ring but enters to throw Styles out the ring and attempt to steal the win. A Styles Clash attempt is reversed by Jericho into (you guessed it, what else?) the Walls of Jericho, he releases it to put Owens in the same position, but catapults him into AJ Styles, then locks in the Walls of Jericho on Owens! Walls of Jericho Central today, bloody hell. He locks it in, Owens is miles away from the ropes but Jericho releases it and hits the oncoming Styles with a Codebreaker for a 2 count, what a match! Jericho attempts another lionsault on Styles, but the now-outside Owens trips him up, with both superstars now finding themselves in the corners for Owens to hit them both with running cannonballs. As Owens is running towards Styles for his third cannonball, Styles hits him with a forearm, Jericho hits Styles with an enziguri, Owens hits Jericho with a superkick and, finally, Styles hits Owens with a pele kick, leaving all 3 superstars out on the mat, but no pin being made! After a replay of the sequence, Owens hits Jericho with a Pop-Up Powerbomb, for Jericho to unbelievably kick out, and decide to hit a Bullfrog Splash to go for the win. As he is pinning him, certain for the win, Styles throws Owens to the outside and covers Jericho for the win! Absolutely amazing! Owens can’t believe it and throws a tantrum, throwing everything around the ring around before grabbing a microphone. “No no no, everyone shut up and listen to me!… This is not fair, it’s not fair Jericho was here, it’s not fair Shane McMahon forced me to defend my title in a triple threat match, it’s fair that you stole my victory” before laying into the crowd. Oopsie daisy, somebody’s upset! KO then announces his intent to have the rematch the very next week.
Giving both Styles and Jericho their deserved rematch clauses in the same night was a stroke of genius, and it showed with a very enjoyable match. The only bad thing is that I feel the United States Championship is being passed around far too much, and I’m worried that Smackdown’s second title is going to lose its prestige with all these title swaps!
By no means a fantastic episode but none of the matches were un-enjoyable! The weakest match was the Women’s tag team, as it’s showing no advancement in any storyline and it still has the mystery of that this weird Tamina/Lana relationship, but the match was… alright? The male tag-match was somewhat enjoyable, but again not fantastic. It had a fluid ending which I enjoyed though!
Cena stating his intent to challenge for the WWE Championship was interesting, as he had been fighting for the United States Championship before he took his break, so it’s a welcome change seeing Big Match John go to attempt to beat Ric Flair’s record of 16 WWE Championship reigns! His subsequent matchup with Shinsuke Nakamura being made is, I’m almost certain, leaving every Smackdown watcher salivating at the mouth at the prospect of such a spectacle! Corbin and Nakamura was miles ahead of their Battleground match, which is disappointing as that match could’ve elevated an average PPV into a somewhat decent event! Anybody else think Corbin may cash in at Summerslam? In my eyes, it could only happen with Shinsuke beats Cena, then wins at Summerslam, thus continuing the feud. Unfortunately, I can’t see that happening.
The highlight was by far and away the triple threat main event. Each superstar had solid matches and the returning Chris Jericho showed no signs of ring-rust, putting in a good performance. Each superstar hit their signature moves (apart from Style’s Phenomenal Forearm, but he did do a 450 splash!) and it was a thoroughly enjoyable match, Summerslam-worthy, in fact!
One bit I am upset about though, is that there was no advancement on The Fashion (X) Files. We last saw Breeze and Fandango lying unconscious on the floor, before ‘Dango was dragged away by a mysterious person(s). I’m really excited to see how this storyline progresses!
There we have it, thank you for joining me on this episode of Smackdown Live, and I hope you enjoyed the episode! Let me know in the comments below your favourite part of the show, or just who you think attacked Breezango, or even match predictions for next week! See you then!