(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

Last night was a pretty good episode of RAW. As this superstar shakeup continued on SDL, would the blue brand get the short end of the stick, or would the solid decision making continue to Tuesday nights? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

SmackDown Live’s newest competitor, Kevin Owens was the first person through the curtain tonight, sporting a newly shaved look. He thanked himself for brining the US Title to SmackDown, and then said that Canada is better than the US. He made some local sports teams jokes, then spoke some French at us all. He asked anybody who took issue with him to come and say so. His challenge was met by Baron Corbin. Corbin reasoned that he had beat Ambrose last week, then Ambrose beat Owens last night, so Owens should be relatively easy pickings. He implied (then outright stated) that he would like a shot at Owens’ US Title. Then came another new addition to SDL in Sami Zayn, to a big ovation. Sami hardly got a few words out before AJ Styles entered, to a loud chant. He let it go on for a good while. AJ bickered with all three until Daniel Bryan entered to clear some things up. Apparently, Kevin isn’t official on the blue brand until after Payback, where the winner of the already-scheduled US Title match will join the blue brand. Bryan made a match for later in the night between Zayn, Corbin and Styles, with the winner to become the #1 contender to whomsoever wins the title at Payback.

That… was lots happening in relatively little time. Owens and Zayn (especially Zayn) are going to prosper on SmackDown, and I’m happy to see them here. It feels like they’ve gone and done what should have happened initially in the brand split, where both shows feel much more distinctive from the other than before. It’s a bit disappointing to see Styles in a US Title, rather than World Title feud, but it’s fine; he’s been in the world title scene for the better part of his WWE career.

Randy Orton vs Erick Rowan

Rowan got the jobber entrance, which doesn’t bode well. Orton hit a 10-punch spot before Rowan fired back with a back elbow and a whole slew of punches. Orton countered some running into a deep powerslam, and stomped on Rowan’s limbs. They rolled outside, and Orton sent Rowan crashing into the steps. Randy hit the draping DDT and signaled for an RKO, when Bray Wyatt appeared on the titan-tron. He asked if Randy could smell the fear. He rambled about “Moral Monsters” then left. Orton was assaulted by Rowan, who smashed Orton with the steps, drawing the DQ finish. Rowan hit the Full-Nelson slam to close out the bit.

Result: Randy Orton wins by DQ

I don’t really have much to say about this. The match was your standard short TV match with Randy Orton. Wyatt didn’t say anything mind-blowing. Rowan lost the match. I dunno, what do you want me to say?

Funny enough, they’ve been referring to Payback as a RAW-exclusive PPV, but it’s objectively not. Like, there are guys from both shows in almost every currently announced match.

The Usos vs American Alpha for the WWE SDL Tag Team Titles

Chad Gable and Jason Jordan invoked their rematch tonight against Jimmy and Jey Uso. Jordan began things against Jey. Jordan quickly hit a back suplex, and tagged out to Gable, who hit a northern lights suplex. Jimmy tagged in, and got dominated by both members of American Alpha, tossing him to the outside. The Usos regained their composure, and managed to work together to inflict pain onto Jason Jordan. He made the tag to Gable, who had exploders, germans, and moonsaults for all. Gable went for his rope-assisted armbar, but was superkicked. Jordan tagged in, and AA hit their Steiner Bros move, but the pin was broken up. Outside the ring, both Usos were suplexed. The Usos worked in tandem to remove Jordan from the action, leaving Gable alone. A Superkick and a Frog Splash followed for the Usos to retain. After the match, The Shining Stars, of all people, showed up, delivering a powerbomb/backstabber to Gable.

Result: The Usos win by pinfall

A good match between two great teams was fun. I don’t think I would have minded too much if the champs had got some more offense in, but alas. The Shining Stars were clad in jeans, not their usual garb, so maybe they’ve moved on to a new gimmick? I wouldn’t complain.

Mojo Rawley vs Jinder Mahal

Yup, Jinder Mahal is on SmackDown now. I guess he was probably the trade for Curt Hawkins? Anyhow, they had a half decent story coming in about their closing moments in the AtGMBR at Mania.

Jinder began the match with knees and strikes to Mojo, which seemed to have little effect. Mahal ran into a clothesline, but landed a jumping knee to the head in turn. Mojo had some offense before running into a Mahal big boot. There were some shenanigans at ringside, then Mojo hit his running cornered forearm for the win, celebrating with his football friends.

Result: Mojo Rawley wins by pinfall

I don’t get what they’re doing with Mahal, I don’t like Mojo getting pushed because he has famous friends. Utter nonsense all around.

Shane McMahon Adds Some Women

Shane came to the ring and acknowledged that with several prominent women’s division competitors transferring to RAW last night, some new blood was needed. He asked the whole division to come on out, then welcomed the new members: Charlotte Flair and Tamina Snuka.

Cool. Good to see Tamina back, and Charlotte has exhausted her options on RAW, probably more so than any other trade that’s been made during this whole thing. Also joining SmackDown is Rusev, Lana, Sin Cara, and very importantly, The New Day.

Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English

Dillinger began the match by taunting his opponent, who was unable to get much offense going until he bent the rules. At that point, he landed several moves onto Dillinger. Tye was able to regain some momentum with some running moves, some stomps, then a Tye Breaker.

Result: Tye Dillinger wins by pinfall

Well, I had hoped that English would be able to rise up the card a bit with a singles run, but maybe not. I guess he got some mic time here, which he hasn’t had in a few months, so that’s nice. I think this singing gimmick could be a pretty good way to get heat, and he’s a talented enough worker that I would like to see him get a bit more of a chance. Tye Dillinger is awesome, of course, and I probably don’t need to say that, which is why I haven’t spoken about him here, until now.

Dolph Ziggler Nearly Gets Killed

Dolph said that he knew we all wanted to know what his plans were, and that he would be staying on SDL, and that while others may come and go, he would remain a constant. Cue Shinsuke Nakamura, who danced and flopped his way to the ring, like he does. His name has a new font during his entrance, which I don’t like as much as the old one. Dolph asked how he could be of assistance, and asked who this newcomer was. The crowd was all too happy to answer on behalf of the Japanese competitor, chanting his name and singing his song. Shinsuke asked for the microphone, and reaffirmed what the crowd had said. Ziggler wasn’t too impressed, though. Ziggler faked leaving, then went for a Superkick, which Shinsuke caught. Ziggler retreated as Shinsuke thought about a Kinshasa.

If it was anybody else, I wouldn’t what they’re doing with Shinsuke. Two weeks in a row now, he’s done little but stand in the ring. However, I think Shinsuke should have actual matches sparingly, so I’m not going to complain. The guy is a dream-match machine, so there’s no reason to rush him into things.

AJ Styles vs Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin

Main event time, and a future shot at the US Champion is on the line. All three were reluctant to make the first move. Zayn and Styles allied to strike the bigger man, before both were suplexed simultaneously by the Lone Wolf. Corbin clotheslined Styles 0ut of the ring, but Zayn was a little too acrobatic for Corbin to get a read on. Styles and Zayn again allied to toss Corbin out of the match for a moment. They traded flips and all manner of jumping moves before Corbin got involved again. Zayn took out both other men, flying from the ropes. Back inside, Corbin quickly established dominance with a back body drop to Styles, and a series of knee strikes. Zayn tried to box with the big man, but it didn’t end well, eating a sidewalk slam for his troubles. Corbin hit a big boot to Styles for a two count, then teed off on Zayn with rights and lefts. With both Zayn and Styles working together, they managed to flatten Corbin. Zayn set up for a Helluva Kick to Corbin, but was interrupted by Styles, who was nailed by Corbin in turn with a lariat. Styles took Corbin down with a knee strike, but then ate a blue thunder bomb which earned Zayn a two count. Everybody tried and failed to hit big moves. Styles was sent to the outside, and Corbin caught Zayn with a deep six, which Styles broke up. Styles was left alone with Corbin, and hit a Springboard 450, which Zayn broke up at the last possible moment. Styles and Zayn traded forearm shots. All three traded moves, and it ended with Corbin eating a Helluva Kick, and Zayn eating a Phenemonal Forearm for the win.

Result: AJ Styles wins by pinfall

And that was SmackDown! A less monumentous episode than was RAW, I think, but still solid. 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, and I’ll see you all next week!

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