Another edition of Smackdown, and yet another reason to believe Smackdown is the new “A” show. Besides a few minor bumps, and questionable bookings, the majority of this show was pretty great, and everybody had the ability to shine.
Shane McMahon Introduces SD Live’s Newest Addition
Its official, the United States Championship is officially more important than the WWE Championship. It may sound strange to say, but the degree of wrestlers vying for the United States belt is just much better than the WWE belt. AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn, are all wrestlers that should be in the main-event scene, and Baron Corbin and Jinder Mahal should be in the United States title scene. Smackdown may be a bit backwards right now, but it is for the better.
Jericho came out to a huge pop, and immediately opened up with a new catchphrase: “The show of Jericho, Smack it down maaaaan.” Then, out came AJ Styles to tell Jericho that Smackdown was the house that AJ Styles built, and that he’s not sure if Jericho can beat Owens tonight. As Jericho was about to put AJ on The List for not believing in him, Kevin Owens music hit. Owens ranted on about how AJ shouldn’t even be out there, which led AJ to attack Owens, and that was the end of the segment. The main event was set, Jericho Vs. Owens for the title with AJ banned from ringside. This was a great way to open the show.
Sami Zayn Vs. Jinder Mahal
This was that first bump in the road on SD Live that may have hurt the show. I said not too long ago that Jinder is starting to look like a credible heel, I’m totally taking that back. This was the first match that Jinder had won on a main show since September of last year, and he beat Sami Zayn in the process. Now, he didn’t beat Sami Zayn cleanly, which protects Sami a little bit, but its still said to see him lose to a guy who hadn’t won a match since last year. It was a back and forth match, Jinder got help from the Bollywood Boyz, and won with his finisher. Jinder Mahal has absolutely no credibility, his win accomplished nothing, and I hope his push to the main event is over after Backlash.
Tye Dillinger Vs. Aiden English
This was a great squash match. It gave Tye his win and chance to shine with the crowd, and it gave Aiden English his gimmick. The opera singer who takes losing to a whole other level. It reminds me of when Christian would lose matches in 2002, and then would start to throw fits in the ring. Aiden English has some potential as a singles wrestler, hell have to prove himself to the brass backstage, but he cuts a good promo and he’s decent in the ring. If this is the feud going forward, I’m fine with that, but hopefully Tye will reach greater heights by the end of the year. Tye is still over with the crowd, then “10” chant is looking like the new “YES” chant, and he’s capable of having great matches, especially with the kind of wrestlers that SD Live has.
The Welcoming Committee Vs. Naomi & Charlotte
I thought Charlottes arrival on Smackdown was going to be great, but I didn’t know it’d be so great that she would be a babyface. I had an issue with the way that the women’s title match ended last week because I thought the match was so good, but now it makes perfect sense. Every women is getting time to shine, and the division is being utilized to its best potential. Its already better than Raw’s women division.
This match started off as a handicap match because the Welcoming Committee attacked Charlotte backstage, so Naomi had to give it a go by herself. Naomi did an admirable job, but as she was being beaten, Charlotte’s music hit and she made her way to the ring. Charlotte put up an commendable effort, but the heels won the match and began to attack Naomi and Charlotte after the match. Becky Lynch came out for the save, and just as it looked like she was about to turn heel, she tried to beat the Welcoming Committee. Numbers game always wins, the heels stood tall, and the women’s match for backlash is set. Naomi & Charlotte & Becky Lynch Vs. Carmella & Tamina & Natalya.
Dolph Ziggler Vs. Sin Cara
Its been a while since I’ve seen Dolph Ziggler in a match, and his effort against Sin Cara was poor to say the least. I used to think Dolph was the next great main event guy for the company, but the ship has sailed on that. This match was set after a backstage segment between Dolph and Shane. Shane said he better take Shinsuke seriously, then Dolph said watch how serious I am in the ring, or something like that. Anyway, this was a back and forth match, and Dolph wasn’t made to look that strong. For this to have been great. Dolph should’ve squashed Sin Cara rather easily, but instead Sin Cara actually got offence in, and it didn’t do Dolph any favours. He better look stronger next week if he wants to be taken seriously at Backlash. Even though we already know who is going to win their match at Backlash, Dolph needs to gain some credibility.
The Fashion Files
Okay, this was great. Maybe this was my favourite thing on the entire show because I haven’t laughed so hard at WWE comedy in a while. If you haven’t watched Southpaw Regional Wrestling on WWE’s YouTube channel, I strongly suggest you do. Fandango and Tyler Breeze are actually two great comedic talents in those skits, and they were in this Smackdown segment as well.
This skit started with an exact replica of the Law and Order opening theme, but to the story of The Fashion Police. Simple things like calling the Usos, the “Uggos,” and talking about how ugly their dance at the beginning of their old entrance was. However, the funniest part of this skit was when Fandango said that the Usos walk around like they own the place, Breeze said thats Jay-Walking, to which Fandango replied “and Jimmy-Walking.” Its the little things that made this segment hilarious, and I heard some genuine laughs from the crowd. The Fashion Police plan to make their bust of the Usos at Backlash. Smackdown really is the land of opportunity, and Breezango are certainly making the most of theirs.
Chris Jericho Vs. Kevin Owens: United States Championship Match
There was only one way for this match to end, Kevin Owens regaining his United States Championship. It was a shock to many to see Jericho win at Payback considering he is going on tour with his band, but when this match was announced, there was only one possible outcome. The match was pretty much an exact replica of their Payback match, but it was more suitable for Smackdown. The crowd was engaged, they were loud, and it made the match very entertaining to watch from home. At Payback, locking in the Walls twice was enough to get Jericho the win, but not last night. Owens got to the ropes both times, hit Jericho with a super kick, threw him into the rope for a pop-up power bomb, nailed it, 1-2-3, Kevin Owens regained his status as “The Face of America.” Jericho was selling an injury pretty hard in the ring, and just as Owens looked as though he was going to show some remorse, he went in their and hit him with another Pop-up Powerbomb. Jericho was leaving the ring with assistance from the refs, but back came Owens to wrap a chair around Jericho’s head, and drive him straight into the ring post. This vicious attack on Jericho is clearly the end of this feud for the coming months, it accomplishes getting Jericho off TV, and accomplishes getting Kevin bak over as the dastardly heel he was in NXT. Now it’s time to look forward to KO Vs. AJ at Backlash, which undoubtably will steal the show.
Smackdown began the night with a great segment, and closed the night with a great match. Were becoming accustomed to seeing Smackdown produce great opportunities for their wrestlers, and great matches in their main event slots, tonight was no different. Everyone got a chance to stand-out: The women get their angle going, Breezango looked great, Dillinger looks great, Kevin Owens certified himself as Smackdowns top heel, and Backlash is shaping up to be an outstanding show.
Show Grade: B+
How did you feel about the show? How could they have done it better? How would you have done it? Leave a comment below, and watch out for The Wrestling Fanatics next review.