WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE! (4/11/17)
-Randy Orton VS Erick Rowan; no contest.
-WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos VS American Alpha; The Usos win and retain the championships.
-Jinder Mahal VS Mojo Rawley; Mojo wins.
-Tye Dillinger VS Aiden English; Dillinger wins.
-WWE United States Championship #1 Contender’s Triple Threat: AJ Styles VS Baron Corbin VS Sami Zayn; Styles wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Superstar Shakeup continues and concludes here tonight! Who from Raw will appear in Boston to even up the rosters?
WWE United States Champion, Kevin Owens, is here!
Trimmed and in a nice suit, the Prizefighter appears in exchange for Intercontinental Champion, Dean Ambrose. Oh and Byron Saxton is now on commentary in exchange for David Otunga. “Welcome to the brand new Kevin Owens Show.” This is a “huge upgrade” for SmackDown, but some might still be confused. A Canadian as the US Champion? Be thankful, Canada is better than America and Canadians are better athletes than Canadians. The crowd obviously disagrees. Kevin then speaks in French to mock the “morons” who only speak English. Kevin calls everyone on SmackDown out, saying he can beat any of them easily. He is not here for the fans or the locker room, he is here for himself, and to be the “New Face of America.” Baron Corbin appears to disagree. Kevin may be able to beat up all the people in the audience, and most of the guys in the locker room, but there is no way Kevin can beat Corbin up. The Lone Wolf beat Ambrose “so bad that he went and hid on Raw”. And then, Ambrose beat Kevin so bad that Kevin came here to SmackDown. By that logic, Corbin can definitely beat Kevin. Which means, Corbin deserves a title match, and Kevin’s got a title, so Corbin’s gonna beat Kevin to take it. Bad news, Corbin, you’re delusional and it doesn’t matter that you beat Ambrose, you don’t deserve a match with Kevin. Sami Zayn comes out! Kevin does NOT want to accept this is happening. But it IS happening! Sami’s finally come to SmackDown Live! Corbin says no one cares. So AJ STYLES appears! The crowd chants in unison for the Phenomenal One, who embraces it before speaking up to say “This is not the Kevin Owens Show, this is SmackDown Live.” It’s not about Sami, it’s not about Corbin, it’s all about Styles, and Styles is still here!
Then General Manager Daniel Bryan appears! Now, Kevin is still meant to defend his title at Payback, and then that winner will also be part of SmackDown Live! That means no one currently of SmackDown can challenge for that belt yet. However, one of the other three will challenge for it after Payback, because we’re having a #1 Contender’s Triple Threat match!
Randy Orton VS Erick Rowan!
The Eater of Worlds may have gone to Raw, but the House of Horrors Match for the world title is still on. Therefore, the Viper stays ready by taking on the returning brother of the Wyatt Family, Big Red Rowan. The two tie up, Rowan powers Orton to a corner but Orton slips out to give strikes. Orton takes Rowan corner to corner and gives corner punches, Rowan shoves him away before ten then back elbows Orton to the mat. Rowan has control now as he gives body shots and headbutts. Rowan sits Orton top rope, keeps on him with strikes, then climbs up only to be knocked away with a headbutt from Orton. Orton climbs down, back elbows Rowan and gets a big powerslam on Big Red. Orton stomps away on the limbs, Rowan gets out of the ring but gets thrown into steps! Orton stalks the red lamb as he goes into the ring, hanging DDT from the second rope! Orton gets Boston fired up as he hears those voices. Rowan gets up, but then Bray Wyatt’s message from the titantron interrupts. “Randy~, over here, Randy. Can you smell that? The stench of fear? You reek of it.” One more time these two will cross paths in the ring, Bray is everywhere and is everything! They will see each other at Payback, in the House of Horrors.
Bray laughs maniacally before cutting off his message. Rowan has gotten the steel steps and uses them against Orton! The match is disqualified, but Rowan continues his assault in the ring. Rowan lifts Orton up in a Full Nelson, then slams Orton to the mat. The Eater of World’s red lamb put the Viper down for now, what will happen when the champion steps into Bray’s haunted house?
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos VS American Alpha!
Jimmy and Jey show the former champions they’re #ReadyWilling&Gable to accept the challenge via the rematch clause, will their title reign continue through the Shakeup? JJ starts against Jey and traps a leg, Jey elbows out only to get a spinebuster and then driven into the Alpha corner. Tag to Gable, double northern lights suplex, TWO. Gable keeps on Jey but Jey powers him to the Uso corner, Jimmy tags in and throws hands. Gable uses technical skill to take control back, tag from JJ to then double takedown and split the legs. Double dropkick to Jimmy before he’s thrown out, the Usos are struggling as we go to break.
We return to find the Usos in control of JJ, but JJ fights out to spin Jey’s kick away only to take the dragonwhip in the head. Jimmy tags in, both Usos trash talk Gable but JJ revives in that time, throwing Jimmy out and letting Jey bounce off the post. Jimmy tries to drag JJ out of the ring but gets shoved away. JJ crawls towards Gable and gets the tag, Gable rallies on the Usos! German Suplex for Jimmy but Gable holds on. He gives Jimmy a second, then lets go to give Jey an Exploder, so he gives Jimmy an Exploder, too! Top rope Moonsault from Gable to Jimmy, TWO! Gable clotheslines Jimmy out, puts Jey in the hanging armbar but a SUPERKICK from Jimmy breaks Gable loose. Jimmy top rope, Samoan Splash into knees! Gable puts on a small package, TWO! Tag to JJ, who ducks the enziguri this time, and lifts Uso up high… Alpha Bulldog! Jey breaks the pin! Gable gets dumped out, JJ dumps Jey but Jimmy dumps JJ. Both Usos build up speed, FLYING USOS get caught and thrown with double belly2belly suplexes! Gable gets Jimmy in the ring, JJ tackles him and tags Gable. SUPERKICK from Jimmy to JJ, Gable dumps Jey but he tags in. Hotshot to Gable, SUPERKICK to SAMOAN SPLASH! The Usos win and retain in a break-neck fast finish! But then, the SHINING STARS appear to ram JJ into a post and give Gable a Backstabber Bomb! Primo & Epico have gone blue, what does that mean for the rest of the tag team division?
Jinder Mahal VS Mojo Rawley!
Yes, Hard Body Mahal was on Raw last night but now he’s on SmackDown tonight to confront the Hype Bro who Mahal feels cheated him out of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory. And fitting of this rematch is that Rob Gronkowski is in the crowd again! Mahal takes it to Mojo with strikes, Mojo just fires up to fire back. Mojo whips and lariats Mahal, the Boston crowd wants Gronk to get involved again. Mahal elbows Mojo back, has him against the ropes with his strikes, Mahal whips Mojo but is kicked out of the back body drop so Mahal gives Mojo a knee lift on the run. Mojo kicks out, Mahal gives a running knee drop. Another kick out, so Mahal puts on a chinlock. Mojo fights out, gives more right hands, and almost runs over the ref as he shoulders Mahal down. Hype Splash in the corner, but Mojo takes a boot after going corner to corner, a flapjack bounces Mojo’s head off the top turnbuckle. Mahal is fired up, so he gets in the face of Gronk! The fans are hype with anticipation, Mojo pounces on Mahal to punch him into Gronk. Gronk returns the drink-throwing favor from Wrestlemania by giving Mahal a big splash of beer! Mojo then puts Mahal in the ring and blasts him with a Hype Arm! Mojo wins, he and Gronk will surely party hard again tonight!
SmackDown Commissioner, Shane McMahon, comes to the ring! With Alexa Bliss and Mickie James having moved to Raw, Shane thanks them and the other former SmackDown stars for their time on the blue brand. As such, Shane wants to focus on the SmackDown Women’s Division, and asks all the women of SmackDown to come to the ring. Champion Naomi leads things off, followed by Natalya, Carmella–with James Ellsworth–and Becky Lynch. Shane knows the Women’s Division is red hot thanks to the ‘Mania match that saw a new champion in Naomi. Pretty Jimmy Dream speaks up, Naomi is horrible as champion. SmackDown is all about the Princess of Staten Island! And himself, of course. Naomi takes the mic to tell Carmella to quiet her “side chick” before he gets a chin check. She steps at Jimmy, Jimmy scurries behind Carmella. Naomi then returns to business, wanting to know who is joining SmackDown’s Women’s Division. Shane introduces the “second generation” superstar, whose father is a Hall of Famer, and she herself is an amazing athlete. Yes, it is none other than… Tamina! Huh!? Well, admittedly, all those things Shane said are true about Tamina as much as Charlotte Flair. She stands in the ring with the other women, but then Shane and the superstars hear the “We Want Sasha!” chants. They were expecting others? He was, too. So here is “perhaps the greatest acquisition of the Superstar Shakeup”, CHARLOTTE FLAIR! So Shane was only half swerving. With two daughters of wrestling legends, the landscape of the SmackDown Women’s Division has changed, who will come out as the top woman?
The lone Vaudevillian, Aiden English, enjoys the spotlight as a solo act! Only for the Perfect Ten to interrupt!
Tye Dillinger VS Aiden English!
Tye loves the fans and the fans love him and it’s only week two for the Perfect Ten. Even so, he swiftly snapmares English and cartwheels into a TEN! English is immediately frustrated, swipes at Tye, only to get a TEN in his face. Drop toehold into armlock, but English pushes Tye into the ropes. English looks to be breaking clean, only to yank Tye into the top rope! English clubs and strikes Tye in a corner, goes corner to corner with a hard whip, then lines up a shot for a big back splash. Tye rolls to the center of the ring, English sings that “This, is, my, show~!” English misses a running knee drop, Tye gives chops and a running forearm. English ends up in a corner to get a Perfect Ten mudhole stomped into him. Tye brings down a knee pad, lifts English up, and hits the Tye Breaker! Tye wins another Perfect Ten match!
Dolph Ziggler takes offense that the Superstar Shakeup has overlooked him. Where is he going? Spoiler alert: he’s staying on SmackDown. The show he built and “made cool” enough for Raw stars to want to bandwagon on. Yes they’ll get great pops that first week but then it’ll die down and Ziggler will be the one still standing, doing what he does best! Cue violin, and SHINSUKE NAKAMURA! Strobe lights and fans singing along, the King of Strong Style comes to the ring and stands across from the Show-Off. Ziggler asks what Nakamura is up to. He’s new around here, right? Who does he think he is to come out here? The fans tell Ziggler that this is “NAKAMURA!” before singing his song a capella. Shinsuke himself asks if Ziggler really wants to know who he is. “I am, Shinsuke Nakamura!” Ziggler goes to leave, then goes for a SUPERKICK, only for Shinsuke to shove it away! He dares Ziggler to bring it on, but Ziggler backs down. Has Ziggler’s campaign against the New Era been stopped already?
Others among the Superstar Shakeup trades: The Bulgarian Brute, Rusev, and his Ravishing Russian, Lana; Sin Cara; and the brings of positivity and Booty O’s, The New Day!
WWE United States Championship #1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match
AJ Styles VS Baron Corbin VS Sami Zayn!
The Phenomenal One, the Lone Wolf and the Underdog from the Underground compete for a chance to face the United States Champion, whether that be the Prizefighter or the Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rollah after Payback. Things start with a stand off as the crowd chants for Styles. The three circle each other for a triple test of strength, only for Corbin to end up in a 2v1 as Sami and Styles punch away at him. They both stomp Corbin in a corner, then bring him out for a double suplex attempt, but it’s Corbin who suplexes them! Corbin then focuses on Sami in a corner, stomping and throwing strikes. Once Sami is down, Corbin goes after Styles with a stiff right. Corbin throws Styles out but Styles hangs on to pull himself back in, so Corbin clotheslines Styles all the way out to the floor. That leaves Sami to fight back against the Lone Wolf, but Corbin gives him a knee and then throws him to the ropes. Sami springboards up and over Corbin, then ducks to give a tilt-o-whirl headscissors. Styles returns, the two clothesline Corbin out together and then go 1v1. Styles powers out of a headlock, jumps over Sami but gets tripped, so he reaches up to headscissors Sami away. Sami staggers, Styles whips him but Sami gives a flapjack dropkick to send Styles out. Sami builds speed but is tripped up by Corbin, Corbin continues by throwing Sami down onto the steel part of the ramp. Styles slips out, takes a hard right from Corbin, Sami returns to get an alley oop that puts him on the apron. Mule kick from Sami stuns Corbin, springboard split leg moonsault takes both Corbin and Styles down before we go to break.
We return from commercials to find Corbin in control as Sami and Styles are each down in a corner. Corbin grinds a knee into the face of Styles, then tells the ref to shut up before he backs off. Sami recovers to throw right hands but Corbin whips him hard into another corner. Corbin returns to Styles but Styles fights back. Corbin drives knees into Styles’ gut to back him back into the corner, and grinds his boot into Styles’ face now. The ref orders Corbin to back down, Corbin gets in his face about it. Corbin returns to Sami, now it’s Sami’s turn to fight back. Sami’s whip is reversed and then turned into a side slam, TWO. Corbin rushes at Styles, Styles side steps but Corbin slides out then in, ducks Styles’ clothesline to boot the Phenomenal One down. TWO, Corbin is frustrated. Sami is in one corner, Styles moves towards another, Corbin fires off forearms into Sami’s face. Corbin embraces the heat, Styles mule kicks and fires forearms of his own! Corbin’s one forearm floors Styles, Sami’s lariat floors Corbin! The crowd is loud as Styles rushes at Sami only to be dumped out to the floor, Corbin rushes in only to get an Exploder! Sami goes across the ring to line up the shot, Styles returns to intercept with an Ushigoroshi, Corbin clobbers him with a clothesline! All three men move slowly, Styles getting to a corner while Corbin and Sami get up. Corbin fires forearms, Sami sends him sliding out and then Styles’ knee intercepts Corbin on the way in! Styles goes in, gets a Blue Thunder Bomb, TWO! Sami grabs Styles and punches him into a corner, then sets him on the top rope before climbing up to join him. Corbin returns, Electric Chair position, Sami victory rolls to also avoid the Phenomenal Forearm, TWO! Corbin and Sami end up across from each other, Corbin rushes in but gets boots to the face, Sami runs at Corbin to get a DEEP SIX! Styles breaks the pin! Corbin down, Sami is out of the ring, Styles stands up to grab the Lone Wolf. Corbin forearms Styles away, Styles dodges to send Corbin into the post, swing kick rocks Corbin down. Styles sees his chance, springboard 450! Sami breaks the pin now! The fans declare “This is awesome!” as all three men slowly start moving again. Sami and Styles brawl with forearms, Styles with the Phenomenal Blitz, both opponents in corners. Styles gives each man a jumping clothesline, Corbin evades to do the same with his clotheslines, Sami slips out to give boots to both opponents, PELE from Styles! Styles wants his signature, Sami denies it, puts Styles on the apron. HELLUVA KICK to Corbin off one apron, Styles hits the Phenomenal Forearm!! Styles wins a chance at the United States Championship! But who will be defending it?
The Superstar Shakeup is now over, and we know who was going where. The “trades” were all over the match card, but the big moves were definitely exciting. For starters, The New Day is coming over to SmackDown, having done everything they can do on Raw as well as to help give the lacking SmackDown tag team division some real weight and star power. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn come to SmackDown to keep their on-again-off-again frenemies rivalry going but also to keep belts even between shows since Dean Ambrose and his belt are on Raw. Chris Jericho also seems to be a SmackDown star now from what Daniel Bryan said, but with Y2J set to take time away from the WWE again to go on tour with Fozzy, he’s a bit of a non-factor right now. With The Phenomenal One as the #1 contender, he and Jericho could have a great rematch to act as a great Sendoff of Jericho, wave goodbye man~!
As if Bray Wyatt hasn’t lost enough in his career, it is all but guaranteed that Randy Orton retains the world title to keep the top of the card even as well since Brock Lesnar and the Universal Title were always going to be untouched. It’s a bit of a shame that we’ve been all but told outright Bray is going to lose the match of his own invention, and the match itself will have to be quite something to behold to make up for that. Meanwhile, Charlotte comes to SmackDown to give their Women’s Division a bit more star power as well as a fresh start for the Queen, and now the brands each have two Horsewomen of NXT. This shift might help the Women’s Division on SmackDown feel as strong as Raw’s felt, and maybe SmackDown Live can have its first Women’s main event in the near future.
My Score: 8.5/10