WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE! (5/9/17)
-Becky Lynch VS Natalya w/ The Welcoming Committee; Natalya wins.
-Luke Harper VS Erick Rowan; Rowan wins.
-The Ascension VS Breezango; Breezango wins.
-6 Man Tag: Randy Orton, AJ Styles & Sami Zayn VS Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin & Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers; Owens, Corbin & Mahal win.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Hard Body Maharaja has been helped by the Singh Brothers a lot lately. From the 6 Pack Challenge to deem a new #1 Contender to the WWE World Championship to stealing Randy Orton’s championship belt to making sure Randy Orton lost the House of Horrors match at Payback, Jinder Mahal and his Bollywood Boyz have done everything they can to affirm themselves the new force on SmackDown. Wil Mahal face the consequences of taunting the Viper? Speaking of…
The Viper, Randy Orton, is in London!
With title belt back in his rightful possession, the 13 time world champion points out that he didn’t lose to Bray Wyatt because of the House of Horrors or “that damn refrigerator”, but about Mahal poking his nose into Orton’s affairs. Orton says you have to win a match to earn possession of the title belt. But speaking of Mahal and his cohorts, he and the Singh Brothers appear!
Mahal didn’t steal that belt, he just took what will inevitably be his. Just look at the pictures he took last week with the belt. That will be the future. Mahal promises to win at Backlash and bring that belt back to India, and have a statue of his likeness built at the Taj Mahal to show him respect. The people of the world will no longer disrespect him, he will cleanse their ignorance with his victory. And then we shall enter the Age of the Maharaja. Mahal continues in Punjabi to speak to his people. But then, Kevin Owens appears!
He wants Orton and Mahal to “stop this crap right now”. Who cares about the House of Horrors, or India, or the UK? What matters is Kevin Owens, the Face of America. He not only took back his title last week, he ended Chris Jericho’s career. No more Y2J, “stupid idiot”, drinking it in OR List of Jericho, all thanks to Kevin Owens! Jericho didn’t even make it through one episode of SmackDown thanks to Kevin, and now Kevin looks to end the career of AJ Styles at Backlash. Kevin won’t just be the United States Champion, or the Face of America, Kevin will go after the WORLD Championship to become the Face of the WWE! And now Kevin says it in French because Kevin can. AJ Styles comes out!
“Here we go again.” Kevin is so delusional. Brag about what you did to Jericho all you want, but Jericho isn’t Styles, and neither is Kevin. Be the Face of America while you can, because you will never be the Face of SmackDown Live! Now Baron Corbin comes out! The Lone Wolf is back from his suspension, but Sami Zayn gets a surprise attack on him!
Now there’s a brawl between Styles and Kevin! And then Corbin is fed to Orton, Mahal tries to get in but Orton grabs him. The Singh Brothers save Mahal, lines are drawn between Faces and Heels. Will the Viper, Phenomenal One and Underdog come out on top against their respective enemies?
The Welcoming Committee’s Tamina, Carmella and James Ellsworth are in the ring. Pretty Jimmy Dream gets the “daft plunkers” are unworthy of the beauty in the ring. They should kneel before them and their leader, The Best There Ever Was, Is and Will Be: Natalya! However, before Natty can say anything, SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi appears! She wants them to make some “bloody noise” for this “lit-tuation”. The champ introduces “straight fire”, Becky Lynch! Not only that, but the Queen of Wrestling, Charlotte Flair, appears! She doesn’t need an introduction, because she doesn’t. However, she will be ringside for this match.
Becky Lynch w/ Naomi & Charlotte Flair VS Natalya w/ The Welcoming Committee!
The Lass Kicker chose to not join The Queen of Harts and her new friends, and got beat down for it. This match comes about as revenge for that beating, and to show lines have been drawn in the Women’s Division. Natty and Becky tie up, but Natty hurries to ropes at the armlock. The fans are behind Becky, Natty shouts for them to shut up, Natty gets a baseball slide dropkick. Becky goes tot he apron but gets tripped up, rammed into the LED board and then snap suplex’d onto the ground. Things return into the ring, Natty snapmares and dropkicks Becky, then puts Becky in the abdominal stretch. The fans rally for Becky, which annoys Natty, Becky fires up to fight out of the hold. Hip toss slams Natty down, Becky throws hands and rallies with clotheslines. Natty ends up in a corner, Becky goes for Straight Fire, and gets it as Natty comes running to her. Becky keeps going with European Uppercuts and then the Becksploder suplex. Natty fights back with forearms, Becky back elbows and then kicks Natty down. Tamina goes after Becky from the apron but Naomi knocks her down. Charlotte pulls Naomi back from the fight as Becky is tripped by Natty!
Natty pins, Natty wins! Becky springs up while Naomi and Charlotte argue, but the bottom line is that the Welcoming Committee got the better of this ragtag trio.
Charlotte and Naomi keep arguing backstage. Becky Lynch gets them both on track that the Welcoming Committee will pick them apart if they’re all acting separate. They need to do something about it, and that will be to become an even better team. Six Woman Tag at Backlash, how does that sound? Hands in. Hands in, Charlotte. Charlotte does, the three are united, for now.
The Fashion Files come to London.
Officers Fandango and Breeze investigate a colorful mess and footprints. It’s lead face paint. Only the “Uggos” are crazy enough to wear that. They pass through the crime scene and follow the footprints to a hand print. But they haven’t worn face paint in months. That’s only a ruse to throw you off, Breeze. But who really cares who is who? Noises come from behind a door. It’s too late! They bust the door down and reveal… it’s just the Ascension being the Ascension. The Uggos will have to wait, the Ascension Case just reopened. Breeze is getting to old for this shirt.
Luke Harper VS Erick Rowan!
Though the Eater of Worlds is on Raw, the remnants of the Wyatt Family are still on SmackDown fighting it out. Big Red Rowan takes it to Harper right at the bell, throwing him over the top rope. Rowan pursues but Harper slips back in, mule kick and chop before whipping Rowan. Rowan reverses and shoulders Harper down, Harper chops Rowan on the run. Harper back elbows in a corner but is whipped corner to corner for Rowan to splash him. Rowan gets running, Harper dropkicks him out of the ring! Rowan is frustrated already, and consults his sheep mask before giving Harper a hotshot. Rowan keeps on Harper, Harper slips out of a slam to be taken down by Rowan’s spin kick. Rowan gives a splash on the mat, TWO, Rowan puts on a chinlock. Rowan shifts to grinding fists into Harper’s head, Harper gets up and gives Rowan a back suplex. Both men are down, slowly getting up before Harper starts rallying with forearms. Harper is whipped into the corner but he goes up and over to give a forearm and back elbow to knock Rowan down. Harper slingshot senton then a boot straight to the face, TWO! Harper lines up a shot, wants the discus but Rowan counters with a fireman’s carry. Harper slips out to give Rowan a scrapbuster slam, TWO! Harper keeps on Rowan, preparing a powerbomb, but Rowan pops out and back elbows from a corner. Sit out side slam, TWO! Rowan is even more frustrated, he again consults his mask. He wants to use it as a weapon, the referee stops him and confiscates the mask. Rowan uses that time to poke Harper in the eyes, spinning powerslam, Rowan wins! Even without the guidance of Bray Wyatt, Rowan found a way to win. Will Rowan’s mask guide him on to greater things?
Dolph Ziggler comes to the ring.
The Show-Off accuses the WWE Universe of being “hypocrites”. Eight long years for Ziggler and he gives it his all, has had titles on all levels and has even been in a movie. Does anyone appreciate him? He’s like a disease to them. Yet, who do they cheer? The fans reply with chants of “Nakamura!” Again: hypocrites! Nakamura hasn’t even had a match on SmackDown yet! Do you get that?! He hasn’t had his first SmackDown match! The crowd doesn’t care, they’ve watched NXT. Oh whatever, that’ll be edited out. The music hits and the fans just sing along. Which they do to make Ziggler’s case. Ziggler “suffers” for his art, but he doesn’t go and call himself “The Artist”, that’s just pathetic. He’s the strongest man the WWE has ever had, he always did things himself. He never needed the WWE Universe. Not that they ever cared. But they will care, because Ziggler calls Nakamura out! And Nakamura appears, with strobe lights and the music that the fans sing along with!
The King of Strong Style enters the ring, and the fans continue to chant for him. “Enough with the theatrics,” it’s been roughly a month and yet Nakamura needs to prove himself to Ziggler. “Put up or shut–” Nakamura takes the mic from Ziggler to tell Ziggler to “shut up!” If Ziggler wants to see what Nakamura can do–and the crowd sure wants to see it–get a referee so he can show you, now! Ziggler and Nakamura take off their jackets as a referee appears, but Ziggler says “Nope!” This is happening when Ziggler says so. He will expose Nakamura as a fraud, at Backlash. Then Ziggler ambushes Nakamura with the jacket trick! Ziggler gets Nakamura on his feet, Nakamura knocks Ziggler off his! Knees to the ribs, strike fest and a boot, the Show-Off is sent out of the ring!
Ziggler thinks about getting back in, but chooses not to. Will he regret calling out and trying to embarrass the King of Strong Style?
Sami Zayn is hyperactive over teaming with The Phenomenal One and The Viper. Strategy talk time, starting with the champion’s “strike hard, strike fast and strike first” style and then for Styles, Zayn can give Styles the intel on Kevin Owens. Let’s close our eyes and visualize. Yes, Sami can see it, hear it, “The winners of the match: Randy Orton, AJ Styles and Sami Zayn!” But when he opens his eyes, Sami sees the other two have left. Will these three be alright as a team?
The Ascension VS Breezango!
Konnor & Viktor are back from the wasteland to try and slow the roll of the Fashion Police, who are set to face Jimmy & Jey Uso for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at Backlash. We start with Konnor and Fandango, Konnor powers out of the headlock but Fandango goes up and over from the corner. Fandango builds speed and knocks Konnor over with a crossbody, but is then whipped into Ascension territory. Viktor uses Fandango’s hair to bring him down, elbow drop from Konnor, Fandango kicks out at one. Viktor tags in, double up on the beat down, TWO. Viktor goes after Fandango with the chinlock, then clubs Fandango down again before giving a jumping fist drop. TWO, back to the chinlock. Fandango slips out of a scoop slam to tag Breeze. Breeze rallies on The Ascension, using a Super Model Kick to knock Konnor down. Viktor uses Breeze to knock Fandango down, but gets distracted by the counting. Breeze slips out, trips up Viktor and tags in Fandango. Another kick keeps Konnor out, Fandango goes top rope, The Last Dance flying leg drop!
Fandango and Breeze win, but out come The Usos.
The Fashion Police got a win tonight, that’s all good, but this won’t be how it is at Backlash. Twelve days until the Usos beat down, stomp out and knock down the Fashion Police. Watch each other’s backs, tan each other’s backs, wax ’em and rub ’em, whatever it is you do, but at the end of those twelve days, they’re gonna get goosebumps and hair standing on the back of their necks looking for Jimmy & Jey. “It’s not paranoia, it’s the Usos!” In twelve days, who will it be that comes away with the SmackDown tag championships?
Mojo Rawley gets young fans of the WWE Universe hyped about Andre the Giant. From his undefeated streak of 15 years, to his match against Hulk Hogan, to how he used the bullying and mocking during his childhood to be his motivation, The Eighth Wonder of the World is an inspirational legend. Mojo keeps the tour rolling, what more will the Hype Bro be able to teach the younger generations?
The Bulgarian Brute follows up on his Money in the Bank ultimatum to Shane McMahon. Rusev has heard nothing from the Commissioner in that time, he demands an answer next week when he returns to television! What will Shane O’Mac tell Rusev? And will it be what Rusev wants to hear?
Six Man Tag Team Match
Randy Orton, AJ Styles & Sami Zayn VS Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin & Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers!
A match formed in response to tonight’s opening brawl, the Face of America, Lone Wolf and Hard Body Maharaja all look to gain leads on their respective rivals. Things start with Styles and Corbin, who have already had a few battles against each other. Styles gets the headlock but Corbin powers out. Styles kicks at the leg, but is reversed on the whip. Styles rolls off of Corbin’s back, Corbin shoves Styles to a corner. Corbin runs, Styles evades, Corbin slips out then back in but Styles evades that to dropkick Corbin. Styles wrenches Corbin’s arm and tags in Zayn, Corbin backs off to tag in Mahal. Mahal goes after Zayn with a stiff right hand and then rams shoulders into Zayn’s gut in the corner. Mahal stomps away, then whips Zayn, who springboards up and over. Tilt-o-whirl headscissor throws Mahal, Orton wants in. Orton gets the tag, Mahal backs off to tag Kevin. We are again denied our Backlash previews, but Kevin is so confident that he’ll be the next Face of WWE that he ends up getting punches to that face of his. Kevin is backed down and whipped but reverses, then narrowly avoids the RKO! Orton taunts Kevin, Kevin shouts for him to shut up, we go to commercials.
Upon returning, Corbin powers Styles to a corner and throws forearms. Corbin whips Styles corner to corner, Styles slips down but Corbin blocks the Calf Crusher. Corbin elbows Styles down and tags in Mahal as the fans rally for Styles. Mahal is reversed on the whip, dropkick floors him and Styles tags in Zayn. Mahal powers Zayn into his corner, Kevin tags in and tees off on his frenemy. Zayn fights back, puts Kevin in a corner and gives classic corner punches. A slap across the chest before Zayn goes acrobatic, but Kevin trips him up to crotch him on the top rope. Zayn tumbles down, Kevin stomps away, then backs down to shout “That’s why I’m the champ!” Tag to Corbin, Corbin gives stiff knees to Zayn before throwing him out of the ring. Corbin distracts the ref so that Mahal can give some cheap stomps. Styles and Orton try to get the ref to stop this, Corbin puts Zayn into the ring, TWO. Half Nelson chinlock from Corbin to Zayn, Zayn fights out but is thrown to the apron. Zayn shoulders in, bumps Corbin on a buckle, but is punched out of the air during his springboard, TWO. Mahal tags back in, he keeps on Zayn with a snapmare and dropkick, TWO. Back to a chinlock for Zayn, then he’s powered back into enemy territory. Kevin tags in and unloads body shots before putting on a wrenching chinlock. Kevin taunts Styles as he holds onto the hold, Zayn fights to reach for that tag. Kevin drops Sami down and uses a back senton, TWO. Kevin is frustrated and Zayn is isolated as we go to one more commercial break.
Corbin is punching away at Zayn as we return, but Zayn fires back with forearms! Corbin puts on a bearhug and then rams Zayn into a corner. A stiff forearm for Zayn and a cheap one for Orton, Corbin throws Zayn to the apron again. Zayn shoulders and slingshots in, the sunset flip is denied but Corbin misses his punch. Zayn tags Styles, and the Phenomenal One rallies! He kicks out Corbin’s leg, low running forearm, TWO! Styles keeps on Corbin, wanting the Clash, but he is powered away. Styles catches Corbin into the Calf Crusher! Kevin breaks that up, Orton throws Kevin out. Zayn throws Mahal out, Zayn builds speed and FLIES onto Corbin, Mahal and Kevin!
Zayn gets Corbin in the ring for Styles, but Styles runs to be put on the apron. He punches Corbin away, but Kevin trips Styles up just as he was going to springboard! Corbin pins Styles, TWO! Kevin and Corbin are equally frustrated and shocked, the fans rally for Styles as he and Corbin slowly get back up. Styles throws hands, gets running but gets launched with a back body drop, TWO! Tag to Mahal, Mahal stomps and gives a running knee drop, TWO. Mahal drives knees into Styles’ spine before putting on a chinlock, the fans rally for Styles again. Styles fights out, Mahal drops him with a jumping knee, TWO. Mahal denies the tags before tagging in Kevin, Kevin stomps away at his Backlash challenger. Kevin puts on a chinlock as he declares “it’s MY title!” Styles gets to his feet but is thrown down, Kevin’s back senton meets Styles’ knees. Wheelbarrow facebuster to the Face of America, Styles crawls and tags Orton! Mahal tags in, too, The Viper rallies on his Backlash opponent with a powerslam. Powerslam to Corbin! Hanging DDT for Kevin! Now Orton hears the voices as he targets Mahal, but the Singh Brothers distract! SUPERKICK from Mahal to Orton, BLUE THUNDER BOMB from Zayn to Mahal, Choke Slam Back Breaker from Corbin to Zayn, PELE from Styles to Corbin, and a sneak attack from Kevin to Styles. RKO to Kevin, but the Cobra Clutch Slam to Orton! Mahal pins Orton, he and his team win! Chaos favored the sly Maharaja, if he can do the same at Backlash he will come through on his promise of bringing that title home to India.
As the trend has been while touring America, SmackDown handled their night in London much better than Raw did, because nothing felt like filler. The opening segment was pretty concise, bringing out the three major singles rivalries on the show and swiftly establishing who was going after who, and what titles. The main event that resulted from that segment was quality, and the Heels did a really good job of taunting the Faces but not giving them their Backlash match-ups right away. It also further built up Mahal as an opportunistic Heel, showing Orton will need more than just one RKO if he’s going to win with the Bollywood Boyz “Sumire and Sumile Singh” floating around ringside.
Tonight’s SmackDown also did well in building the Women’s Division feud, officially establishing Becky, Naomi and Charlotte as an alliance to stand up against the Welcoming Committee but also–perhaps unintentionally–creating the atmosphere that the woman to betray the team and join the Welcoming Committee would be Charlotte. She “misread” pulling Naomi back, which cost Becky her match tonight, and has history of betrayal and manipulation before, so she could easily turn on her teammates at the climax of their Six Woman Tag. SmackDown is also working to build The Fashion Police of Fandango and Tyler Breeze into entertaining and credible challengers, and that’s partly because they’re letting these two use their great comedic chemistry–as “Chet Chetterfield” and “Banker” displayed in Southpaw Regional Wrestling. At the same time, the Usos show their Heel skills by giving a blazing “Twelve Days!” promo, this SmackDown tag team championship match might be the dark horse match of the night.
The area of concern on SmackDown is how SmackDown is utilizing Shinsuke Nakamura. The King of Strong Style is now being called “The Artist” for whatever reason, despite that once being the nickname of Aiden English. At the same time, Ziggler is a good Heel filter for the meta argument: How are more casual fans supposed to get a feel for Nakamura when he hasn’t wrestled? The London crowed kinda answered some of those concerns by chanting “NXT!” Anyone with $10 can get the Network long enough to binge some Nakamura matches from NXT, and anyone who still doesn’t have the Network can at least use Google or YouTube to find other evidence of how great Nakamura is in the ring. And anyone who is curious about Nakamura and is inclined to like him, won’t be bothered by an out-of-place nickname.
My Score: 7.5/10