(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

It’s still kinda the night after WrestleMania, this time on the SmackDown brand. The first one ever, in fact. Would there be a certain Japanese superstar debuting? Maybe somebody else? There’s only one way to know, so you’d best read on to find out.

Opening Segment

New WWE Champion Randy Orton was the first man out tonight. He celebrated his newest championship victory briefly before he was interrupted by the once and future king, Bray Wyatt, who appeared on the titan-tron. He told Randy he would coming for his rematch before too long, and that he would push Randy to a new level in what he called a “House of Horrors match”. Nobody really knew what that meant, exactly, but Randy accepted. Bray teleported to the ring, and they brawled. Randy was getting the better of things until Erick Rowan showed up to help his former leader. The most recent incarnation of the Wyatt family beat down Orton, and who should come t make the save but Luke Harper. Together with Orton, they managed to beat Wyatt and Rowan into retreat.

I’m very glad this feud is continuing, I think there’s more story to tell here. I’m glad to see Rowan back, too. I’m a bit skeptical about this gimmick match, but I’m willing to give it a chance.

Naomi vs Alexa Bliss for the WWE SDL Women’s Championship

Bliss started aggressive, taking the early advantage. Naomi fired back with a bulldog into the middle turnbuckle, and followed up with  dropkick when Bliss rolled to the outside. Bliss eventually regained control, working the knee of Naomi, repeatedly hyper-extending the previously injured joint. Naomi eventually rallied back, hitting a back suplex, and also managed to nail a roundhouse kick to the head which earned her a two count. Bliss responded with a DDT, and yanked at the hair of Naomi. Bliss ran the ropes, and got a Rear View for her troubles, but managed to kick out at two. They traded reversals and counters for a moment before Naomi locked in her Slay-o-mission for the win. She continued selling the knee after the match, which was nice.

Result: Naomi wins by submission

This was decent enough. They’ve certainly had better matches, and will have better matches in the future. But for a TV title match, it was entertaining enough and Naomi cements her status as a two-time champ before her home crowd, which is neat. No real complaints/

A New Superstar Debuts

Kurt Hawkins was in the ring after a commercial break. He issued an open challenge for a match, which was answered by Tye Dillinger, making his main roster debut. Loud “Ten” chants filled the arena. Dillinger flustered his opponent quickly. Hawkins used some shady tactics to hit a back suplex. Tye responded with a series of chops. He used a short-arm clothesline and a stomp to the face of Hawkins before hitting a ten-punch spot. He hit the Tye Breaker for the win.

Result: Tye Dillinger wins by pinfall

I found that just a bit odd. Hawkins isn’t really the most impressive person to debut against, and they also did the “open challenge” debut gimmick last night, so the set-up was repetitive. All that aside, Tye Dillinger is on SmackDown, which is really cool.

The Miz and Maryse Are Upset With John Cena and Nikki Bella

The Miz and Maryse came to the ring dressed as their rivals from the previous night, mocking them. They were going through the motions, running through various catchphrases. They started to leave the ring, when they were interrupted by a man with a violin on the ramp. That’s right, Shinsuke Nakamura debuted on the main roster against The Miz. The two exited the ring as Shinsuke danced his way to the ring.

YES! YES! YES! YES! I don’t care that it was The Miz, I don’t care that he didn’t do anything. Shinsuke Naks is on SmackDown Live, all is right in the world.

Dean Ambrose vs Baron Corbin for the IC Title

Corbin began this street fight by stomping in the chest cavity of Dean Ambrose. They traded hands and other types of strikes. Corbin forced Ambrose to the mat with a back leg trip. Corbin went to get a chair, but Ambrose prevented it, hitting a Suicide Dive in the process. They took the action into the crowd, brawling through the audience. Back in the ring, they had a ton of chairs and a table to play around with. Corbin slammed Ambrose through the table, which was leaning against the corner. Corbin gathered a leather strap, whipping into the back of the Lunatic Fringe. They set up a chair in the turnbuckle, and Corbin was sent head first into it. They traded forearm shots before Ambrose got a hold of the leather strap and went nuts on Corbin. Ambrose dropped a few elbows to the outside. Back in the ring, Corbin countered another flying maneuver and hit the End of Days. New Champion.

Result: Baron Corbin wins by pinfall

I’m not entirely certain why this couldn’t just happen at Mania, but this was a much better match than the one they had on Sunday, and Corbin deserves a title run after the awesome year he’s had, and Ambrose’s reign has been… odd.

Shane McMahon Talks About the Upcoming Draft

As he talked up how awesome SDL was, he was interrupted by AJ Styles, sporting a shiner from Sunday. He said that he didn’t want to be anywhere other than SmackDown. They respectfully shook hands, teased a brawl, and then left the ring.

I’ve got no idea what this was really supposed be. Shane didn’t say much of substance, then he got interrupted, then the whole thing just ended. This accomplished nothing.

Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan vs Randy Orton and Luke Harper

Main event time. Rowan started things off against Orton. The much larger man got the advantage quickly, utilizing his substantial edge in the strength. Wyatt tagged in to face his champion for a moment. Orton made the tag to Harper, who exploded into the match with suicide dives and springboard sentons for all. Wyatt tagged in Rowan, who managed to slow Harper’s momentum with grinding offense. After slamming Harper, Rowan allowed Wyatt back in. The two took turns pounding on Harper. Orton eventually made the tag and worked over both Bray and Rowan. Just as Bray was in danger, the lights went out, and Bray rolled to safety. When they came back on, Orton delivered an RKO to Erick Rowan for the win.

Result: Randy Orton and Luke Harper win by pinfall

This was a good match and it had the right result to boot. The finish keeps Bray and Randy from having to pin each other just yet, which is the right way to go about it for now.

And that was SmackDown Live. I thought it was a really good show. Shinsuke and Dillinger are on the main roster, both of which are awesome. Erick Rowan is back. Ambrose and Corbin proved that their match on Sunday was a fluke.

But those are my thoughts. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below, or come tell me on twitter @ejdupras_VVV. Subscribe to the site if you want to get notified of all our new articles, including this series. Check out the below podcast if you want to hear my thoughts about WrestleMania!

I hope you’ll all join me next week when we’ll do all this over again. Catch ya then.

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