WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE! (5/23/17)
-Natalya & Carmella w/ The Welcoming Committee VS Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch w/ Naomi; Charlotte & Becky win.
-Baron Corbin VS Sami Zayn; Zayn wins.
-Tyler Breeze w/ Fandango VS Jey Uso w/ Jimmy; Breeze wins.
-Fandango w/ Tyler Breeze VS Jimmy Uso w/ Jey; Fandango wins.
-WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Breezango VS The Usos; The Usos win and retain the tag team championships.
-Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler VS AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura; Styles & Nakamura win.
PLAY BY PLAY
At Backlash, the Hard Body Maharaja shocked the world when he became the NEW WWE World Champion. Chicago was left speechless but the headlines erupted with the news. Perhaps Byron Saxton said it best when he asked “What does this mean for SmackDown Live?”
With a police escort for his caravan, Jinder Mahal arrives in style once again! He and the Bollywood Boyz, Sunil and Samir Singh, laugh and grin as they prepare for tonight’s Punjabi celebration.
Shane McMahon comes to the ring.
The Commissioner of SmackDown already has a blue briefcase overhead, as the next stop for Team Blue is Money in the Bank! As it will be in St. Louis, Missouri, the Viper wants his rematch in his hometown against the Maharaja for the world title. At the same time is the Money in the Bank ladder match to win the briefcase and the “guaranteed contract” for the championship, anytime and anywhere. Therefore, here are the five participants who will compete for that chance: The Phenomenal AJ Styles! The Lone Wolf, Baron Corbin! The Underdog from the Underground, Sami Zayn! The Show-Off, Dolph Ziggler! And… The Face of America, Kevin Owens! Actually, no, Shane corrects this, Kevin himself knows he’s NOT part of the Money in the Bank ladder match. It’s actually… The King of Strong Style, SHINSUKE NAKAMURA! Yes, these five are the participants–
Kevin is offended! These five?! Really? He gets a few of them, like Nakamura because he won. Sami, because he won. KEVIN won! Yet Styles is in? Maybe Shane is biased. “Land of Opportunity” for those Shane dictates worthy. Or is it… Is it because Kevin did what Shane couldn’t: beat AJ Styles in a match. Shane keeps the peace, and is not surprised by Kevin’s behavior. But given Kevin’s merits, Kevin will become the SIXTH man in the ladder match. Corbin tells Kevin to stop talking and whining. He’ll pay for that whining during the match. And the others in this match won’t win anyway so Corbin might as well become Mr. Money in the Bank now. Styles gets the Lone Wolf to stop “huffing and blowing” because he won’t do a thing to the “House AJ Styles built!”
This house wasn’t built with sticks, bricks or “count outs”, not at all. Whether it’s “Eric Cartmen,” The Show-Off, the Lone Wolf, the Underdog or the “Rockstar”, Styles will win that briefcase and his WWE World Championship. Sami speaks up. He respects Styles, but Sami isn’t here to watch him do victory laps. Corbin interrupts Sami, keeping him from flying too high. Sami is SmackDown’s “Rudy”, living off the one great “fluke” he had. Fluke, or a Helluva Kick, Sami won. And he’ll beat Corbin again tonight if he wants! Kevin tells them all to shut up, Ziggler tells Kevin to shut up. Ziggler is a former Mr. Money in the Bank, the only one in this match, and he wants to do it again. Nakamura speaks up now, with the fans behind him, and “for those of you who don’t know” him, call him Mr. Money in the Bank. Shane will take this tension and make matches: Backlash Rematch of Corbin and Sami! Then, Ziggler & Owens VS Styles & Nakamura! With the biggest opportunity on the horizon, what will happen among these six here tonight?
Natalya & Carmella w/ The Welcoming Committee VS Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch w/ Naomi!
A partial rematch from their Six Woman Tag at Backlash, Team Royal Glow Fire wants to get some retribution on the Queen of Harts and Princess of Staten Island. It’s Carmella and Becky to begin, the Lass Kicker is put in a headlock but reverses mid-takedown. Carmella powers out but Becky goes up and over to put the headlock back on and bring Carmella back down. Carmella uses Becky’s hair to help reverse the headlock, then Carmella knocks Becky down. Carmella mocks Becky’s rocker headbanging, Becky responds with an armdrag attempt, is blocked but then turns that into a backslide. Carmella kicks out, they bridge up, Becky gets a waistlock that turns into a sunset flip, TWO. Becky dropkicks Carmella down, Natty rushes in but Charlotte dropkicks her out. We go picture in picture as the Queen of Pay-Per-Views dares the Queen of Harts to get back in.
The Welcoming Committee regroups and does not like the WOO’s and the taunts, Carmella gets to jawing at the crowd only to get a baseball dropkick from Becky. Becky gets her in the ring, Natty distracts but Becky is still ready to punch Carmella away. Natty trips Becky this time, Carmella and Charlotte trash talk before Carmella bumps Becky off a shoe and gives us a moonwalk. Carmella mocks the WOO before hitting Becky with a Bronco Buster, TWO. Carmella is frustrated, Becky fights back but can’t get away. Carmella tags in Natty, they both throw Becky down by her hair, snap suplex from Natty, TWO. Natty puts on a chinlock, Becky fires up with the crowd and armdrags Natty away. Natty picks Becky up and puts her in the Committee’s corner. Tag to Carmella, the two stomp away on Becky. Tag back to Natty, more stomping. Natty yanks and drops Becky from the corner, back to the chinlock. Becky fires up again, gets to her feet and fights Natty off. Natty throws her down again and gives a cheap shot to Charlotte. More stomps in the Committee’s corner, but Becky fights out! She gets so close to tagging in Charlotte, she denies the sharpshooter, and tag! Charlotte rallies on the Committee, lighting Natty up with Flair chops! Back elbow, neckbreaker and boot, TWO! Charlotte drags Natty into position, climbs up to the top rope, Tamina goes to distract, Naomi jumps onto her!
Charlotte comes down, Natty German Suplex! Tag to Becky, missile dropkick! Natty tags Carmella, Carmella throws a forearm and slaps Becky, Becky wants the Disarm-Her. Pretty Jimmy Dream tries to save her, Naomi stops that. Becky gets Carmella down, Carmella taps out, Becky wins one for Royal Glow Fire!
Baron Corbin VS Sami Zayn!
The Lone Wolf lost to the Underdog at Backlash, but they have a rematch to prove whether or not it was just a fluke. Corbin powers Sami to a corner then throws him out of it, roll up from Sami, he wins?!
Pissed off by that, Corbin unleashes stomps on Sami, then throws him out of the ring. He berates Sami on the announce table then tosses him into the time keeper’s area! The Lone Wolf takes a chair and SMACKS Sami on the back!
He grins as he stalks Sami into the audience area and continues throwing forearms. When referees get close, Corbin shouts at them to stay back. He throws Sami to a wall, then picks him up and puts him on his shoulder to carry him towards the tech area. Snake eyes on the tech table! That’s not all, Corbin drags Sami back towards the ring area. Sami tries to stand but Corbin pins his head to the barrier to crush it with forearms over and over!
The referees finally get between him and Sami but he’s already done enough, the medics and a stretcher are needed. What will the repercussions be for this outburst of rage?
AJ Styles talks with Shinsuke Nakamura. First, a formal welcome to SmackDown. Second, they reminisce on their times in Japan against each other, and now they team together! Styles learned some stuff from Nakamura in Japan, but here on SmackDown, Nakamura should follow Styles’ lead. Yes, they’re a team, but remember that at Money in the Bank, Nakamura takes that briefcase to make Styles “house” into his “playground”! Can the Phenomenal One and the King of Strong Style get along long enough to win tonight?
The Fashion Files return, but is it for the last time? Shane McMahon comes across their board. The Commissioner has no idea what they’re doing. They’re turning in their badges. Losing to the Usos, it just seems they have no reason to be Fashion Police. But, they’re not real cops… Fandango’s dad has always been saying that, and he’s starting to think he’s right. Want their guns, too? Water guns. Careful, they’re loaded. That, and their costumes, confiscated evidence, their– whoa whoa don’t give up the “uniforms”… You two do belong here, though. They’ll alternate and take on both Usos 1v1 tonight. They’re back on the case! Let’s roll! And… donuts. Can the Fashion Police get the evidence they need for another title shot?
The Punjabi Championship Celebration is set to begin!
The Modern Day Maharaja not only defeated The Viper at Backlash, not only did he become the first Indian world champion, but he became the 50TH WWE champion ever! Those two things combined are more than reason enough to Jinder Mahal to decorate the ring and throw this party. The Bollywood Boyz even lead the way for this history-making new champion.
The only people upset with this are the fans in the audience. Mahal speaks, saying their hatred will not change the fact that the 1.3 billion people of India are celebrating along with him. The American fans booed because he looks different, talks different and because he has exposed them for the “fools that you are!” They did not believe he could defeat Randy Orton, but he DID!
He enlightened America when he became champion. Orton, just like all of America, is on the decline, but Mahal is on the rise. He is already the greatest of all time! The fans will not ruin this crowning moment, this moment is all about Mahal! About Mahal’s people, for Punjab and India! Now pipe down so that he can speak to said people of India in Punjabi. Basically, Mahal defeated Orton at Backlash to become champion and establish himself as the true Maharaja of WWE! The fans chant “U S A!” back at him as he raises the belt high and fireworks spark above and on stage. Mahal is indeed the 50th WWE champion, but is he truly the greatest? The Viper will have his chance in St. Louis to find out.
Tyler Breeze w/ Fandango VS Jey Uso w/ Jimmy!
The Commissioner has given the Fashion Police a second chance against the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, and we start with Officer Prince Pretty going alone against Jey. Jey doesn’t even take the Master of Disguise seriously. Fandango sprays him with a water gun! Jey swings at him, Breeze rolls up, Breeze wins!
The Fashion Police close the case quickly, but this is far from over because immediately we go into…
Fandango w/ Tyler Breeze VS Jimmy Uso w/ Jey!
Partners switch out, the Lord of the Dance now tries his hand in singles competition. The bell rings, Jimmy takes the fight right to Fandango with a loud couple of haymakers and a stiff corner to corner whip. But Breeze shakes cuffs at Jey to taunt him.
Jey chases Breeze, Breeze goes into the ring but is dragged out. He and Jey brawl, Fandango rolls up the distracted Jimmy, Fandango wins! A clean sweep!
The Fashion Police then have a message for the champs: Don’t be sad, you look like you got caught wearing white after Labor Day. So how about it? Rematch for the titles? Or are they scared those titles will better around the waists of “a couple of real men?” The Usos want it, it happens!
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
Breezango VS The Usos!
The champs got goaded into this after two fast and frustrating losses, can the Fashion Police come away with the belts in Toledo? Picture in picture as we start with Breeze and Jey, Jey goes right at Breeze with a jumping clothesline. Jey stalks Breeze, picks him up, and scoop slams him with authority. Tag to Jimmy, they mug Breeze in their corner. Hard uppercut for Breeze, Jimmy circles Prince Pretty as Jey does away with the box of disguises. Tag back to Jey, backbreaker ax handle! Jey stands over Breeze triumphantly though they haven’t won yet. Breeze reaches for Fandango, Jey puts Breeze in a chinlock. Breeze is backed down into the Usos’ corner, tag to Jimmy. They continue mugging Breeze with a kick to the ribs, but Breeze keeps reaching for his partner. Jimmy jabs Breeze right in the head, then again, and back to the chinlock. Breeze fires up with the fans and gets to his feet, but gets thrown down by his hair. Breeze pushes Jimmy out of the ring, Jimmy gets in to tag Jey but Fandango gets his tag! Fandango rallies on Jey, whip but he gets an uppercut. So he gives a spinning heel kick! Fandango lines up a shot, and uses Jimmy to springboard into the tornado DDT on Jey! TWO, and Fandango can’t believe he just missed out. He picks Jey up, Falcon Arrow denied, Fandango is shoved into the post. Jimmy tags in, SUPERKICKS to Breeze!
Then SUPERKICKS to Fandango!
Jimmy goes top rope, USO SPLASH, hits knees! Fandango gets the cover, TWO!! Fandango won’t give up. He goes to the top rope, Jey distracts and Jimmy pounces. Jimmy climbs up to join Fandango, Jey tags in as Fandango fights Jimmy off. Last Dance, but Uso Splash right on top! The Usos win again!
So close yet so far, the Fashion Police let the case of the title belts slip through their fingers. Can they ever make a comeback?
Natalya talks to Shane McMahon. She wants her shot at the title. But then #Carmellsworth comes in and says Carmella is the one deserving of a title shot. Becky Lynch interrupts them all and says that as the inaugural, she should be the next. Then Tamina comes in and says she deserves her first chance. Charlotte Flair says the real reason the Welcoming Committee is a thing is because of her. The Queen wants her crown. Shane speaks up and lets them all know that there will be a Fatal 5 Way Elimination match next week, winner faces Naomi at Money in the Bank. Everyone is satisfied with that answer, who will be the last woman standing to move on to #FeeltheGlow?
Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler VS AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura!
At Backlash, The Prizefighter beat the Phenomenal One by count out while the Show-Off lost to the King of Strong Style clean, so this tag match that also serves as Nakamura’s SmackDown in-ring debut will be a way for someone to get even before it’s every man for himself at Money in the Bank. We start with Ziggler and Styles, a tie up and a struggle to take control. Styles gets the headlock but Ziggler turns it into a hammerlock, Styles gets it back to the headlock. Ziggler can’t get free by powering out so he stomps on Styles’ foot. Ziggler puts Styles in the headlock, Styles powers out and things speed up, Ziggler holds the ropes. Ziggler misses a dropkick, Styles hits his, tag to Nakamura and Ziggler goes running to Kevin. Kevin tags in, he trash talks Styles the “loser”. This is the Kevin Owens Show, but Nakamura gives him strikes and knees! Kevin sees Nakamura gearing up for the Kinshasa, so Kevin rolls out of the ring. The Face of America reconsiders his game plan as we go to commercials.
When we return, Nakamura has Kevin against the ropes for his ab-resting mind games. Nakamura dares Kevin to bring it, he runs into Nakamura’s knee and then gets a knee drop! Nakamura gives Kevin Good Vibrations, but Kevin gives a hotshot back. Kevin throws Nakamura down by his hair and stomps away, “and that’s why I’m the champ!” Kevin keeps kicking Nakamura while he’s down, then tags in Ziggler. Ziggler keeps Nakamura down by grinding his face into ropes. Ziggler taunts Styles before putting Nakamura in a corner. Ziggler gives a chop, Nakamura gives a forearm, repeat. Ziggler kicks out a knee and swivels the hips before hitting a neckbreaker, Nakamura out at one so Ziggler puts on a chinlock and body scissors. The fans rally, Nakamura fights out, but Ziggler throws him down by his hair. Tag to Kevin, more stomps for Nakamura. Kevin gives Nakamura punches and a grinding boot in the corner. Kevin picks Nakamura up to snapmare and kick him, then a knee to the spine before putting on a chinlock. Nakamura endures, slowly fires up, and fights out of the hold. Kevin knocks him down with a back elbow, mocks Nakamura’s bowing, then stomps Nakamura before tagging Ziggler. The Prizefighter and Show-Off are isolating Nakamura, but Nakamura fights out with forearms. He backs Ziggler down, but Ziggler picks him up and drives him back. Tag to Kevin, cheap shot for Styles, corner clothesline and Cannonball for Nakamura.
TWO, and Kevin is frustrated. Kevin throws hands on the “Rockstar” as we go to commercials.
We return and now Nakamura rolls Ziggler up, TWO, dropkick from Ziggler knocks Nakamura down. Ziggler tags Kevin, back senton, TWO, so Kevin grinds a forearm into Nakamura’s face. Tag to Ziggler, “get your revenge for Backlash!” Ziggler picks Nakamura up, Nakamura tries to fight back, but it’s when he dodges Ziggler to let the Show-Off hit post that gives him an opening! Tag to Styles! Styles rallies on Ziggler, Phenomenal Blitz even! Low running forearm, TWO, so Styles gives a shot to Kevin. Styles slips out of the back suplex, USHIGOROSHI! TWO! Styles keeps his cool, he drags Ziggler up into Clash position but Kevin distracts. Ziggler gives a hotshot flapjack, then Styles is thrown out. Tag to Kevin, back senton on the ground and then Kevin rams Styles into the apron. Kevin sits Styles on the apron and runs to give a Penalty Kick to the back! Kevin rolls out of the ring to fetch Styles and put him in the ring again. Chinlock for the Phenomenal One again, the fans rally for Styles, Styles fights out. Kevin body drops Styles, TWO, Kevin unloads elbows and stomps. Tag to Ziggler, he puts Styles in a corner. He sits Styles on the top rope, Styles fights Ziggler off but is rocked with a right hand. Ziggler climbs up, Styles slips under, but Ziggler keeps him from tagging Nakamura. Wheelbarrow facebuster! Both men down, they slowly crawl to their corners. Tag to Nakamura and Kevin! The Rockstar rallies on the Prizefighter! So many strikes, some roundhouse kicks and a whip to the corner, Nakamura sets Kevin up top for that top shelf knee! TWO, but Nakamura is not deterred. He picks Kevin up, Kevin resists the Inverted Exploder. He runs into Nakamura’s knee, ducks one kick but takes the other, Ziggler breaks the pin! Ziggler picks Nakamura up, Nakamura dodges, Inverted Exploder! Kevin tackles Nakamura, Kevin gets a PELE from Styles! Styles gets a SUPERKICK from Ziggler! Nakamura returns to give a dropkick to Ziggler, and the KINSHASA to Kevin!
Nakamura and Styles win!
The Phenomenal One and Rockstar Artist pull it off tonight, but what will happen when anything goes and everyone wants that blue briefcase?
Raw may have been a speed bump but SmackDown helped regain some of the momentum lost since Backlash on Sunday. SmackDown did not miss a beat in moving on from Backlash to Money in the Bank, and there is already a lot of hype for the MitB ladder match. Corbin and Sami also did a lot to build up their own characters, Corbin as a monster heel to be like Strowman Lite and Sami to further his underdog status by receiving such a savage beating. A smart thing to do for Sami is to let him take next week off, maybe even the week after, and just as Corbin looks to be dominant over the other four, Sami can return to take the fight back to Corbin to simultaneously overcome the injuries sustained and the man that inflicted the damage. Then we got a great main event of makeshift tag teams, like some kind of superior take on what Angle did with Raw. Nakamura and Styles make for a modern dream team and naturally go over as they’re odds-on favorites to win their first MitB contract.
However, I must address some inconsistencies. Seems all it took was one loss and the Welcoming Committee fell apart to go after the gold. Granted, that title was always going to be why an alliance in the division broke down but it seems so sudden after how they became a “well oiled machine” against Charlotte, Becky and Naomi. A five woman elimination match will still make for a great transition back to “every woman for herself”, and though Becky and Charlotte are the favorites on paper, that means there’s a chance one of the Committee members will use them against each other to come out on top. The other inconsistency was the 50-50 booking in real time of The Fashion Police against the Usos. Though through comedic means, that I personally did enjoy, Fandango and Breeze were denied the belts tonight in a very close tag team match. The Fashion Police winning would’ve blown the roof off that place, but perhaps there is a more elaborate plan at work to make them really dig down deep and earn those belts with some serious ring work at Money in the Bank.
My Score: 8/10