(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

I hope you’re all as well as I am today, but on the off chance that you’re not, we’ve got a bit of SmackDown to get us through to tomorrow. And to bolster even that, it’s the last show before Payback! Would we find out what a “House of Horrors” match actually is? Would any excitement for Sunday’s PPV be increased? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

Shinsuke Nakamura was the first man out tonight. Before he got a word out, he was interrupted by Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler played the condescending interviewer, but Shinsuke was onto it and didn’t play along. Ziggler, getting no answers to his questions, came up with his own backstory for Nakamura that involved him growing up an underprivileged kid in Gary, Indiana. Shinsuke took the mic back and yelled some angry Japanese at Ziggler. Upset that he wasn’t bilingual, Ziggler kicked Shinsuke in the guy. The King of Strong Style responded with an inverted powerslam, and Ziggler retreated up the ramp.

I’m still not entirely certain why they’re referring to Nakamura as “The artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura”, or if that’s going somewhere, but I’m having a good enough time with this story. They’re doing a good job not showing too much of Shinsuke, just enough to whet the interest.

AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin

Corbin began the proceedings by using his greater size and power to get the better of Styles. Corbin sent Styles crashing to the outside with a running knee to the gut while Styles was caught up in the ropes. Back inside the ring, Corbin worked a neck crank to keep Styles grounded. Styles tried to work his way out, and got a chokeslam/backbreaker for his troubles. Styles hit a Phenomenal Blitz and a running forearm shot to earn himself a two count. Kevin Owens, who was sat in on commentary, distracted Styles as he set up for a Phenomenal Forearm, causing him to whiff. Corbin set Styles up for a powerbomb, but Styles flipped over, rolling Corbin onto his back, and secured the win. After the match, Owens and Corbin beat down Styles. Sami Zayn ran to join the fray, and managed to toss Corbin out of there. However, he got attacked by Owens, who stood tall to close out the segment.

Result: AJ Styles wins by pinfall

Hm. The match could have been lots better, but was still decent-ish. The post-match stuff felt a wee bit awkward, as well. I guess the lesson learnt here is that it’s very difficult to have an on-going feud between guys on separate brands, which isn’t actually on-going because they’re on different brands and can’t interact, while also setting up for a future feud which is on-going because they’re on the same brand. Ethan_Dupras.exe has stopped working.

Beat The Clock Challenge

American Alpha took on The Colons in the first of two matches with the fastest winners to have a future shot at The Usos. Jason Jordan and Chad Gable began the match by looking for quick roll-up pins, using their amateur backgrounds to transition from one position to another, keeping Primo and Epico having to constantly kick out. Using some double-team tactics, the Colons took control. Both puertorriqueños swarmed on Gable, repeatedly smashing the former Olympic wrestler with double moves. Epico got desperate and started mat-wrestling with Gable. Gable nearly got out, but was prevented from doing so. The Colons went for a powerbomb/backstabber, but Jordan got involved and helped Gable hit the Grand Amplitude (Not a very clean one, though) for the win at 5:17.

It fell to either Breezango or The Ascension to beat that time for a title shot down the line at the expense of American Alpha.

The Ascension started strong, quickly doing damage to Tyler Breeze. Fandango came in, but ate a jumping knee for his troubles from Viktor. Konno set up for the Fall of Man, but Breeze got involved again, throwing a superkick into the head of Viktor. Fandango followed up with a Falcon’s Arrow for the win, with lots of time left to go.

Result: Breezango are your new #1 contenders to The Usos

They’ve not done a good enough job booking Breezango into this position, so at the moment, they don’t really come off as credible challengers. But, who cares? I’m very glad to see somebody new at the top of the SDL tag divison, because The Usos vs American Alpha have done their thing to death.

Randy Orton vs Erick Rowan (No DQ)

Rowan began the match with a back elbow that knocked Randy to the ground. The action quickly moved outside, where the two big men traded blows, and taking advantage of the various apparatus around ringside, such as ring posts, barricades, the steel steps, and the announce table. Rowan collected a kendo stick and repeatedly brought it down on the back of Randy Orton, but was unable to keep the Viper down. Rowan sought to remedy that situation by obtaining a table and setting it up outside the ring. As he was climbing back in, Randy stopped him, and used the kendo stick from earlier to knock Rowan off the apron and into his own table. After a commercial break, Rowan had recovered, and stomped Randy’s face into the canvas. Orton hit the draping DDT, and called for the end. Instead, Rowan got a hold of the kendo stick and whacked Randy across the ribs to stay in the fight. The bigger big man grabbed the steel steps, brandished them above his head, and smashed them into the head of Orton. Rowan grabbed a steel chair and rolled back inside, setting up the chair in the corner. Rowan tried to send Orton into the chair, but was unsuccessful, and instead rammed his own head into it. Stunned, he turned around into an RKO. 1, 2, 3. After the match, Randy grabbed a mic and talked about Bray Wyatt. After he was finished, Jinder Mahal showed up, and complained that Randy wasn’t taking him seriously enough. He accused the whole crowd of being racists towards him, then addressed the crowd in Punjabi. He initianted a brawl, and was able to deliver a Cobra Clutch Slam to Orton with the help of the Bollywood Boys, who held Randy’s ankles. He walked off with the championship in hand. He got in his car and drove away with the title.

Result: Randy Orton wins by pinfall

That was a really solid match. They took full advantage of the no DQ stipulation, and created something really fun as a result. I’m interested to see where the Jinder/Orton thing goes. I heard Dave Meltzer making a really good point that that match is going to really disappoint if it has to follow Styles/Owens, or Shinsuke/Anybody earlier on in the night on any given PPV. Jinder does have legit heel heat, to his credit.

Naomi (c) vs Charlotte Flair For The WWE SDL Women’s Championship

The match was fast paced and momentum shifted constantly. Charlotte used her greater technical prowess and strength advantage to stay ahead, while Naomi kept things competitive with her wild, athletic offense, and neither was able to gain a substantial advantage. Naomi hit a wheelbarrow stunner and a few roundhouse kicks to the head, and earned a two count in the process. They traded forearm shots, and Naomi got the better of things with a Rear View. Charlotte recovered quick and hit a sit-out powerbomb for a tight two count. Charlotte ascended the turnbuckle and went for a moonsault, but Naomi blocked it by getting her knees up. The match was suddenly invaded by Tamina, Natalya, and Carmella, who caused the DQ and beat down both champ and challenger to end the show. Charlotte received a double serving of superkicks in the process.

Result: Match ends in a no-contest

A solid match to close the show, if perhaps a bit too fast for it’s own good. Selling shouldn’t be something to be viewed as optional, ya know? Anyhow, I liked the ending well enough, and it seems to get back on track for the face turn Charlotte was teasing before the superstar shake-up, which I’m interested to see.

And that was SmackDown. A decent, if uninspired edition of the show, the handful of high points were quite good. I can’t wait to get past this semi-joint PPV that is Payback so the focus can just be placed on one feud at a time, which will help out both shows greatly.

But, as per usual, those are just my thoughts. What were 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. I’ll be back again the Monday night after Payback, so I hope you’ll all join me then. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon!

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