(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live
KAZE NI NARE!
It’s that time of the week once again to take a look at a bit of SmackDown Live. We’ve got a US Title rematch to get to, notably. How would this week go down? Read on to find out.
Shane McMahon was the first man through the curtain tonight. He had a new signee to announce in the new US Champ, Chris Jericho. They reminded us all that Owens would be cashing in his rematch tonight. Enter AJ Styles, the belt’s number one contender. AJ quickly remembered their past as a brief tag team, then bitter rivals. They talked up the possibility of Jericho/AJ 2 down the line, should Jericho still be champ at the end of the night. As Jericho was about to place Styles on The List, Kevin Owens made his presence known. Owens said that he planned to do horrific things to Jericho in tonight’s main event. Owens was quick to insult Styles, as well, telling him to get out of the ring. Styles shrugged, and obliged. He charged up the ramp towards Owens, and they threw hands to close out the segment, being torn away by officials.
Decent opener. There’s a surprising amount going on here when all the character’s respective histories are taken into account, and WWE did right to bring that up. They built this in a believable way, and I like me some believable wrestling. Thumbs up from me.
Jinder Mahal vs Sami Zayn
Oh, no. No, no, no, no no no no no. Zayn opened the match with chain wrestling, but it was no match for the back elbow from Mahal. Zayn responded with a head scissors, and Mahal threw right hands as a result. Zayn hit a falling dropkick that sent a frustrated Mahal to the ringside area. Back inside, Mahal used a distraction caused by his valets The Singh Bros to take the lead. He earned a two count with a powerslam. Mahal flattened Zayn with a clothesline. Mahal set up for a superplex, but was unable to capitalize. Despite Zayn’s best efforts, Mahal stayed in control with a running knee strike. Zayn regained his composure and flew from the turnbuckle with a flying cross body, which earned Zayn a two count. Another distraction lead to Mahal rolling Zayn up, but Zayn got out. Zayn kinda hit a tornado DDT, then set up for the Helluva Kick, but some ringside shenanigans lead to him whiffing. Mahal hit the Cobra Clutch Slam for the win.
Result: Jinder Mahal wins by pinfall
Here’s the problem: If Zayn is going to win, you have the #1 contender lose, which is bad. If you have your #1 contender win, you have to give Zayn yet another loss, which is also bad. They went with the latter, which is the slightly better out of two terrible options, I guess. Mahal should be squashing jobbers by request right now, and acting like he’s the world’s greatest competitor when he does. Mahal’s managers reduces the sting of the loss a bit, but not really enough. On a separate but somewhat related note, this better mean that they’re putting that Cobra Clutch Slam over as an absolute killer, because I’m pretty sure Zayn kicked out of two Pop-Up Powerbombs last year at Battleground, but he’s now been put away by one CC Slam twice, so I better not see anybody else kick out of this move for a while. Ugh, the more I think about this whole Jinder Mahal push, the more I dislike it.
Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English
Yet another English concert was interrupted by Dillinger. Dillinger opened the match strong, firing off strikes and stomps. A Fireman’s Carry Single Knee Facebuster later and Dillinger got his hand raised. English was beside himself after the match, and the commentators made repeated note of it. Later in the night, English made the List, which made him even more sad.
Result: Tye Dillinger wins by pinfall
I looked it up, and apparently his new finisher is still to be called the Tye Breaker. Styles uses a similar move to the old version as just kind of a regular move, so maybe that’s why they’re changing it up? It seems like, based on the post-match shot, there’s more to this story than we’re seeing at the moment, so I’ll give that a chance to develop. My snap judgement is that I’d like Dillinger to do a bit more than squash Aiden English every week, but again, we’ll give that some time.
Naomi and Charlotte vs Natalya and Carmella
A pre-match attack left Charlotte unable to compete in the match, so it began as a handicap match. Carmella was little match for Naomi in the early goings. Carmella took a kick to the head, and tagged in Natalya, who was better able to compete with the champ. After getting the better of the champ, and Carmella tagged in and out, taking advantage of the champ’s weakened state. At a double down spot, Charlotte entered, selling her injuries like a pro, but toughing it out. Naomi made the tag, and Charlotte cleaned house. Ultimately, the numbers game was too much to overcome, and with Naomi too hurt to tag back in, Charlotte was left at the mercy of team heel. Finally, Naomi caught her breath and came to the aid of Charlotte, exploding into Carmella with high-flying offense. A distracted referee allowed Carmella to roll up Naomi and grab the tights for leverage, gaining the win. After the match, the teams brawled. Becky Lynch came to make the save, but her aid was not enough to overcome the heels.
Result: Carmella and Natalya win by pinfall
Can I just say, when Natalya does a move then puts her arms up and goes “Yaaaaay!” I laugh every time. On another note, I really wish we could come up with a better name for this heel stable than “The Welcoming Committee”, which has to be the least intimidating name I’ve ever heard of for a wrestling alliance. As for my thoughts on this segment in and of itself, it was fine. They’re doing a good job slowly turning Charlotte face, the match was decent enough, and I like me some stables.
Dolph Ziggler vs Sin Cara
We’ve got yet another new Sin Cara, by the looks of things. Ziggler started the match with a back elbow that dropped Sin Cara. The luchador responded with a flying cross body, a loud chop, then a springboard elbow. Sin Cara hit a moonsault, then sent Ziggler crashing to the outside, pursuing with a suicide dive. Back inside, Ziggler hit a neckbreaker that earned him a two count, then a jumping elbow drop. Ziggler hit a dropkick, and thought about a famouser. Sin Cara countered with a schoolboy powerbomb for a two count. Sin Cara whiffed another moonsault attempt, a Superkick, and that’s all she wrote.
Result: Dolph Ziggler wins by pinfall
A fun little match, although ultimately pointless. It’s a shame there was no Shinsuke this week to at least show up afterwards to advance that feud, but alas.
Chris Jericho (c) vs Kevin Owens for the US Title
Main event time, and the United States Championship is on the line. Jericho came right out of the gate working Owens’ still injured finger from Sunday. Owens had no such specified target, and was free to attack as he saw fit. They exchanged chops. Jericho was sent falling to the outside, landing hard. Owens pursued, delivering a cannonball senton before rolling Y2J back into the ring for a two count. They again traded chops to the chest. Owens ate an elbow strike, but managed to block a lionsault regardless. A second attempt was right on the nose, however. Jericho looked for the Walls of Jericho, getting it locked in, but Owens made it to the ropes. Jericho ate a superkick, and was out at two. Jericho reversed a Pop-Up Powerbomb into yet another Walls of Jericho. Owens gutted it out and crawled across the ring to make it to the ropes. Outside, Owens hit another superkick, then a DDT onto the arena floor. Owens rolled him back inside and gave him another superkick. 1, 2, nope! Jericho went for a desperation roll-up, but didn’t get it. Owens hit a Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win. After the match, Owens wasn’t finished with Jericho, and powerbombed him again. He made one more attempt, but Jericho collapsed, too weary and damaged to even stand up straight. As Jericho was being helped out of the arena, Owens charged again. He savaged Jericho with a chair, and the night ended on Chris in intense pain, Owens standing over him, grinning.
Result: Kevin Owens wins by pinfall
A great sendoff to a great year from one of the best ever. This was likely the weakest of their three encounters over the US title, but it was still darn entertaining.
And that was SmackDown. Much like last night, the show was solid overall, though not extraordinary except for a few moments. I’m excited to see where some of these storylines go in the coming weeks, especially AJ and Owens. But, those are my thoughts. What were yours? Let me know in the comments below, or come tell me on twitter @ejdupras_VVV. If you like this series and never want to miss and edition, subscribe to the site so you can get notified of all the new articles. Thanks for reading, and I hope I’ll see you all again next week!