(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

Time is the most unknown of all unknown things. Time courses unceasingly, giving forever the youth to the infinite eternity. Time destroys false opinions and confirms the judgements of nature. And it is time once again for us to meet and discuss SmackDown Live! With only this week and next week to build to Money in the Bank, what feuds and storylines would advance? With a women’s MitB match announced just last week, as well as a brand new tag feud that is only just beginning, and a world championship angle that feels like it hasn’t even really started yet. So, we’ve got some work to do between this week and next. Would any of that work get done? There’s only one way to know for sure, so you’d best read on to find out!

Opening Segment

Shane McMahon was the first man out tonight to talk about the upcoming women’s MitB match. He brought out the competitors one by one until all were stood in the ring. He explained the concept of the MitB match for some reason (Yup, it’s the same as literally every other one that’s ever happened). All the competitors bickered and slung insults at one another. Lana, the newest member of the division, made her presence known, but was laughed out of the ring.

Not a particularly inspired intro, I didn’t think. Given that the rules are exactly the same as the men’s match, I’m not sure why we needed Shane to explain it again.

Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Naomi vs Tamina, Natalya and Carmella (with James Ellsworth)

First Natalya then Carmella found no success against team face. The heels had to resort to sneaky illegal attacks outside the ring to gain the advantage. Becky was worked over by the heels for a time. Lana reappeared and made her way ringside, yanking Naomi off the ring apron. The distraction allowed Tamina to hit a Superkick for the win.

Result: Tamina, Natalya and Carmella win by pinfall

A perfectly fine opening contest, but I’m increasingly unsure about the women’s MitB match that’s coming. Carmella is rather green. Tamina has never been all that. Meanwhile, Becky, Natalya and Charlotte are going to want to do as much as possible, but the rest of the field just might not be able to keep up. And with the danger inherent in a big multi-person ladder match, I’m not sure that eclectic blend of skill levels is really what you want. We’ll see, though.

AJ Styles vs Dolph Ziggler

Both men traded counters to begin proceedings, neither able to get the advantage. The match turned to blows, and AJ stole the momentum with a big clothesline. Ziggler hit the fameasser for two. Styles transitioned out of a cover into a Styles Clash for the win.

Result: AJ Styles wins by pinfall

Another good match between these two, as should be expected of workers of their caliber. The 50-50 booking was a misstep, though. Adding in yet another sub-plot about Ziggler having Styles’ number with consecutive wins could have been a compelling bit of story going into MitB. But nope, instead we’ll just have both guys trade wins and losses so neither of them have any momentum, rather than one or the other having some momentum.

Mojo Rawley vs Jinder Mahal

Rawley came out of the gate strong, unloading on the champion with body shots. Jinder collected himself outside the ring while Rawley got a chant going. One of Jinder’s managers tripped Rawley up, allowing Mahal to rake the eyes and hit the Khallas for the win. He addressed his people in his language of Punjabi after the match to close out the segment.

Result: Jinder Mahal wins by pinfall

This is all so backwards, isn’t it? If you were going to make Mahal your champion, why not have him win the AtGMBR? But you didn’t do that, you had Mojo Rawley win it. And what have you had Mojo Rawley do since winning a 30-person battle royal named after one of the most famous wrestlers of all time? Precisely nothing. What a mess this whole thing was. And yeah, you read it right; The WWE Champion, the holder of the most prestigious championship in the history of pro wrestling, had to cheat to get a win over Mojo Rawley, the slightly less jobber-esque of a jobber tag team. His post-match promo was one of the better ones he’s cut recently, though.

The Colons vs The New Day

The New Day ran rampant all over The Puerteriquenos in the beginning of the match. The Colons took the advantage during the break, but it didn’t last long. The New Day regained control and won the match shortly thereafter. After the match, The Usos entered and were none too impressed with their upcoming challengers, cutting another Usos-style promo, which I always enjoy.

Result: The New Day win by pinfall

This did it’s job well enough. The New Day have another SmackDown win under their belts going into their title match, which is good, and the promo did well enough to maintain the rivalry’s heat. A soft thumbs up from me.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kevin Owens

Main event time! Nakamura was the clearly better mat-grappler during the early goings of the match. Shinsuke continued leading with an enzuigiri that sent Owens to the outside. Owens eventually took control by slowing the pace down, attempting to wear Nakamura down with various holds. Nakamura fought out, and both men traded some of their best moves. After a top rope knee strike, Nakamura picked up the win with the Kinshasa. As the Japanese Superstar celebrated, he was attacked by Baron Corbin, who hit the End of Days on Nakamura to close out the show.

Result: Shinsuke Nakamura wins by pinfall

This was a TV match done really well. While it was entertaining enough to close out the show, it never felt like it reached the potential that these two are capable of. They entertained without making me uninterested in seeing them clash further down the line. And Shinsuke beat Owens again, so I can’t even complain about the 50-50 booking that frustrated me so in the other match! Good stuff.

And that was SmackDown. Probably not quite as good as the uncharacteristically entertaining RAW, but plenty solid nonetheless. Another show of this strength next week will have me plenty excited for the PPV.

Make sure to leave a comment below detailing your thoughts about the show, and if you like, you can come tell me on twitter @ejdupras_VVV. While you’re at it, you may as well subscribe to the site (Completely free with No Extra Side Effects!!!) to get notified of all our new articles, including this series (Which I know you love). That’ll do it for me this week, but check back in next week when this beautiful cycle will begin all over again. See you then!

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