(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

We’re a mere 12 days away from WrestleMania 33, so let’s get right down to it. How would the penultimate SmackDown before Mania go? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

AJ Styles decided to tell us all about his feelings again this week, so he was the first person out tonight. He let us know that he wasn’t really remorseful about his assault last week. He wasn’t exactly blown away by the challenge Shane McMahon proposed, but accepted anyway. He said he had every intention of attacking Shane again tonight, this time even worse.

I’m still not loving this angle, but I can’t deny that it’s being done competently. AJ has a good point in complaining about just barely scraping into WrestleMania, despite being the best wrestler in the world currently. But he loses our simpy (No, that’s not a typo.) when he acts like such a dick about it. That said, there’s still a part of me that hopes Shane will say “I’m too injured, fight Shinsuke instead!” because that would be really good. But alas, that’s probably not going to happen.

American Alpha vs The Usos For The SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships

Jason Jordan started the action against Jimmy Uso. Jordan was able to gain the early advantage with his amateur grappling style. Both competitors switch out, and Chad Gable continued outwrestling his opposition. The faces tagged in and out quickly, keeping in control of Jimmy the whole time. The Usos were unable to gain any sort of momentum, and were both tossed to the outside of the ring by the champs. The Usos did eventually take advantage of a blind tag to score some offense, whipping Gable about the ring. Gable fought hard to make it to Jordan, but was unable to make the tag after several attempts. A clothesline on the outside had Gable hurt badly. Gable made it back into the ring at the last second, and was placed in the Tree of Woe position. Gable avoided the attempted spear and finally made it to Jordan, who went to town on Jey Uso. Jordan hit an Olympic Slam, but Jey kicked out. The Usos started a superkick party on both their opponents. Gable ate a top rope splash, and was out at two. AA hit the Electric Chair Bulldog, but couldn’t make the cover. All four competitors, exhausted, rolled to the outside. A sneaky low blow and a Superkick later, Jordan was pinned. New champs!

Result: The Usos win by pinfall

That was a significantly better match than their encounter last week, and I like heel Usos enough to be optimistic about this title change. And I didn’t see this coming, and it’s always fun to be surprised in wrestling.

Randy Orton vs Baron Corbin

Corbin had the power advantage early, being the larger man. Orton went on a stomping spree in reply, and teed off with strikes, knocking Corbin down with a back elbow. Corbin quickly reestablished dominance, however. Randy’s attempts at playing up his craftiness didn’t result in much, and Corbin continued to slowly brutalize Orton. Orton hit his comeback sequence, powerslamming the Lone Wolf, and followed it up with a full-nelson slam, which earned him a two count. It took two attempts, but Orton hit the draping DDT and signaled for an RKO, but was countered into a deep six, which won Corbin a two count. As both were down, Dean Ambrose materialized, standing atop a forklift near the entrance ramp. He distracted his rival, and Orton took advantage, delivering an RKO for the win. Ambrose walked to the ring and accepted Corbin’s WrestleMania challenge. The acceptance came with a courtesy Dirty Deeds.

Result: Randy Orton wins by Pinfall

Well, I’m a vehement Randy Orton defender. I quite like him. However, one very legitimate criticism of the man is that he doesn’t always work at a fantastic rate. This match did nothing to change that perception of him. It was a decent scrap between the two, but was somewhat dull throughout. The highest spot was a powerslam, and I know both guys are capable of so much more. It was good to see Ambrose turn up, he’s been something of an afterthought ever since winning the IC title a while back, which I think he’s only defended once since. Also, there was a post-match thing with Orton and Bray Wyatt. I’ve put the video below, just watch it. It was really cool.

John Cena vs Fandango

Fandango, who was accompanied by Tyler Breeze (dressed as Nikki Bella), cut a promo right before the match. The real Nikki Bella evened the odds for Cena (How would he have taken on Fandango by himself?) by making her way to his corner. Fandango attempted to give Cena some tickets, and ate four moves of doom for his trouble. Bella took out Breeze while Cena AA’d Fandango, and they locked in their respective versions of the STF for the win.

Result: John Cena wins by submission

This was utter nonsense, and probably shouldn’t have been on my television. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me chuckle (at first), though. I don’t really think this accomplished anything, and I’m not sure who it was for, but it only lasted a few minutes, so I don’t think I can be too critical.

Becky Lynch vs Carmella

Natalya sat in at ringside for this, the final match of the evening. Becky took the lead right away, and Carmella rolled to the outside within the opening seconds. Becky pursued and tossed Carmella back inside. Natalya took to the ring and clotheslined Carmella, drawing the DQ finish. Mickie James ran out to join the developing brawl, and Alexa Bliss wasn’t far behind. Bliss stood tall to close out the segment.

Result: Becky Lynch wins by DQ, I guess

Well, we’ve seen this same sort of thing over and over for the last few weeks, but this time, we didn’t even get a half decent match out of it. I can only label this a failure, because seeing the same segment three weeks in a row does less and less each time to get me hyped for a match. I was soft on this the first few times, but my patience is running thin for this match’s build. This was tonight’s main event match, too. C’mon, guys.

Shane and AJ Say Things to Each Other, Among Other Things

All night, AJ waited in the parking lot to ambush Shane, who never showed up. Instead, Shane teleported straight to the ring, somehow bypassing the parking lot. He asked AJ to come to the ring and talk, face to face. AJ took his time, so Shane continued on. He was disappointed that AJ ambushed Shane, rather than bring up his problems with Shane man-to-man. At that point, AJ turned up and thanked Shane for granting his wish for a WrestleMania match. He apologized, and seemed to be sincere. He offered to shake Shane’s hand. Once in the ring, Shane started throwing fists, and Styles responded in kind. They brawled to the outside of the ring, and suplexed each other into the floor, and barricade. They cleared off the announce table, and Shane attacked AJ with one of the video monitors. McMahon set AJ on the announce table and climbed to the top turnbuckle. Yup, he did what you’re thinking he did, flying through the air and dropping an elbow onto Styles. Shane pointed to the WrestleMania board and walked out of the arena on his own feet to close the show.

Like I said at the top, I don’t love that this is happening. However, this was fun, AJ is awesome and Shane always brings his A-Game. It’ll be an entertaining match, they’re both going to beat the piss out of each other and go to extreme lengths to make the other look like a million bucks. Let’s all try to stay positive, yeah?

And that was SmackDown this week. There were a few nonsense bits, but the highs of this show were really good. But that’s my take. What did you think of this week’s programming? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Subscribe to the site if you want to get notified of all our daily articles, including these ones. Come say hi on twitter @Ejdupras_VVV if you’d like. Thanks as always for reading, and I hope to see you all next week, when we’ll be looking at the go-home shows before WrestleMania!

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