WWE Smackdown Live has gone from Shakeup to shakey over the past few weeks. It looks like the writers are still having a hard time finding a good place for all the new faces to fit. Tonight’s Smackdown Live proved this point with most of it’s matches as placeholders. With the exception of the women’s match and the main event, none of the matches advanced or started any meaningful storylines. This is said from a place of sadness, as Smackdown Live has had a strong showing lately. For your consideration, my apathetic recap.
The show started off with a backstage photoshoot with Jinder Mahal holding the belt. Shane McMahon appeared shortly after, retrieving the stolen title from the Maharaja. He informed Jinder that on Smackdown Live titles are earned. Mahal responded that it may not be his, but it will be soon and he will bring glory back to everyone involved. McMahon was not done however, informing Mahal that he had a match with Sami Zayn tonight before leaving for the ring.
McMahon then walked out to the ring to address the Smackdown Live crowd. Without any hesistation Shane introduced the newest member of the Smackdown Live roster. BREAK THE WALLS DOWN! The new United States champion walked down to the ring to an amazing ovation. Y2J said that tonight was a special night, the first night of the new show of Jericho. SMACK IT DOWN MAN!!! After letting Y2J get in his crowd work, McMahon informed Jericho that his first match of his new tenure at Smackdown Live would be against Kevin Owens.
Ooooohh now you’ve done it. Number one contender for the U.S. title AJ Styles arrives to cheers equal to Jericho. AJ goes over he and Y2J’s history a bit, but informs him that things have changed. He continues that he wants to take Jericho’s title at Backlash, but was unsure he would even have it after tonight. Uh oh, you know what happens when you doubt Y2J? The pen is raised…… but AJ is saved from the List of Jericho by Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens comes out and immediately starts verbally lambasting the three men in the ring. Owens says that this is the most pathetic thing he has ever seen. Three men arguing about things that don’t matter. Owens is particularly agitated tonight. AJ doesn’t let him get to far in his tirade, jumping out of the ring and rushing Owens. Refs eventually broke it up, but not without Jericho yelling “let them fight!” from the ring.
I took the time to recap this segment in detail so that you could feel the anticipation I did for a great show. Remember that feeling as you keep reading, embrace my disappointment as your own.
Jinder Mahal vs Sami Zayn
The first match of the night set the mood for me regarding this week’s Smackdown Live. A good match with no backstory. Randy Orton was absent from Smackdown Live tonight, as was Baron Corbin. So instead of focussing on superstars that were in attendence and building their stories, let’s pack a few meaningless matches in. I’m not taking away from the actual match, from what I saw (I wasn’t very engaged). I thought they might have made this match just to have Randy run in and jump Jinder but alas I was wrong. Jinder won after some interference from the Singh brothers distracted Sami. I don’t know how many times I have to say this. FOCUS ON THE STORY!
There were a few backstage sements in between matches. The first was Becky Lynch running into the “Welcoming Commitee”. Natalya pleaded her case for Becky to join them. Referencing the fact that Becky has no reason to trust Charlotte, and she should help them “take their division back”.
The second segment featured Dolph Ziggler complaining about how Shinsuke Nakamura hasn’t proven anything yet. Shinsuke is not in the arena by the way….BOOOO! Shane McMahon stepped behind Dolph as he was bad-mouthing both Shane and Daniel Bryan. Nakamura might not have been there, but the crowd in the background certainly chanted his name like he was. Dolph and Shane exchanged a few words before Dolph exited to get ready for his match with Sin Cara tonight. Why is he fighting Sin Cara? I don’t know either.
Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English
A very short match for Tye Dillinger tonight. I hope that this is more for his build up as a force to be reckoned with and not the Smackdown Live writers having no idea what to do with him. I’m more inclined to believe the latter, but I have hope for the Perfect 10. After Dillinger won the match English had a mini mental breakdown in the ring. We’ve had enough whining heels in the past, we don’t need another one.
After the match English ran into Chris Jericho backstage. Jericho tried to cheer English up at first, but had to inform him that him crying caused him…..TO MAKE THE LIST!!
Another backstage segment involving the Welcoming Commitee. This time they were jumping Charlotte just before her match where she would tag with Naomi against Natalya and Carmella. The segment ended with Charlotte laying injured on the ground.
Naomi/Charlotte vs. Natalya/Carmella
After all the entrances it seemed like Natalya and her group did their job. Naomi was by herself in the ring in a two on one situation. The match was pretty decent actually. The first time in a while that I wasn’t bored with Carmella. Naomi held her own the best that she could, but two on one is a hard thing to overcome. Just when Naomi was in deep trouble The Queen’s music hit and Charlotte appeared!
Limping down the ring with determination in her eyes, she stepped up to her corner and waited for the chance to exact revenge. She wouldn’t have to wait long. Charlotte got the tag and immediately cleaned house. I know this may seem silly, but after that short series she seemed more fired up than I have ever seen her. A far cry from her normally measured and cold heel work. Unfortunately it would not be enough. Later in the match James Ellsworth and Nayalya would distract Naomi and Carmella would get the pin via roll up.
After the match Naomi would continue the fight with Carmella, but you fight one you fight them all. She was quickly overcome, as was Charlotte in a three on two situation. At this point Becky Lynch’s music caused all the action in the ring to halt. As Becky entered the ring it looked as if she was going to take Natalya’s offer. NOPE! As she went in for a hug with Ellsworth she threw him into the group and unleashed straight FIIIIAAAAA! That fire was quickly smothered by the Welcoming Commitee who overwhelmed Becky. After laying in a few stiff kicks, Natalya and her group exited the ring victorious.
I’m usually not a fan of having an entire roster embroiled in a three on three feud like this. However, this leads to an interesting question. Are they going to turn Charlotte face? I really hope this isn’t the case. She is an elite heel that still hasn’t lost my interest doing what she does.
Dolph Ziggler vs Sin Cara
Yet another match with no story or no real consequence as to who won. Both superstars did well, they were just at the mercy of the lost Smackdown Live writers. Dolph won with a super kick. That is all.
Best Part of the Night
Anyone who reads my articles knows of my love for well done gimmicks and the hope that they return to present day WWE. The Fashion Police are a perfect example of, if given the chance, can be extremely entertaining. This “Law and Order” style segment where they filed charged on the Usos was fantastic. I’m happy for both these guys. Both Breeze and Fandango are talented superstars that were lost for a long time in the depths of incapable writers. If you haven’t watched it yet I encourage you to.
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho
Great match as one would expect from both superstars. I won’t recap the particulars, as these guys performed as well as they did at Wrestlemania. The real drama happened at the end of the match. After doing all he could to put away Y2J, KO DDT’d Jericho on the outside and then finished him off with a pop up powerbomb for the victory.
After the match the ref called for EMS to come to the ring. I expected this. Jericho will be touring with Fozzy soon so this would make sense in terms of not seeing him for a while. I did think it was a bit tame to cause such an injury, but Kevin Owens wasn’t finished. He absolutely decimated Y2J. Hitting him with mutliple powerbombs, and running him into the corner post with a chair wrapped around his head. That’s more like it Owens.
My only gripe is this. Why have Jericho win the title at all? Why not do this during Payback and do all this injury stuff there? Did they know they were going to be light on the roster today? Switching titles so quickly doesn’t create excitement and drama.
Smackdown Live needs some serious help at this point. This is the second week that hasn’t impressed me the way they have in the past. I know they lost a handful of really talent and compelling characters to RAW, I get it. This is where the writers have to show their worth just as much as the superstars. I can’t say it enough. Gimmicks and story will save the business. Just because some superstars are absent doesn’t mean that the writing has to be as well.