Tonight’s WWE Smackdown Live came to us from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
A Go Home Show
The WWE go home shows have been getting a lot of criticism. A “go home show” should be the a last ditch effort to get everyone excited for the next pay per view. The last few have been underwhelming at best. This one however really hit a home run. There was absolutely zero wasted time or movement when it came to the matches. Everyone involved in the matches looked to be giving it their best. The crowd felt it, giving the superstars the reaction they deserved and being genuinely involved in the show. Let’s break down the action.
New Day/Breezango vs Colons/Usos – Winners: New Day and Breezango
The Good: New Day coming out to a New Orleans Jazz Band Soul Rebels was a great way to start the show. Basically the entire intro prior to the match was amazing except for the Colons. After this everyone had an awesome match. Everyone was laying in there stuff and playing their respective face/heel personas very well. There were some especially inventive sequences from New Day and Breezango, and the Usos’ aggression was next level. This was a PPV caliber match.
The Bad: Due to Breezango being in the opening match there will probably be no Fashion Files tonight.
The Ugly: Someone needs to have Xavier Woods send his boots back to Sgt. Slaughter when he was hanging out with the Iron Sheik. There was also a point where Fandango tried to clothesline Jey over the top rope and Jey botched it and ended up flopping out of the ring like a dead fish.
There was a short segment involving AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn. AJ was explaining to Nakamura how to deal Sami Zayn. Right on cue Sami showed up and immediately started discussing tactics for their tag match tonight against the remaining three members in the MITB ladder match this Sunday. The best part of the whole thing was Shinsuke looking genuinely confused with Sami’s awkward enthusiasm and over-analyzation of their upcoming match. Shinsuke’s final words “I like him” were hilarious.
Mojo Rawley was being interviewed about last week’s loss to Jinder Mahal. He said that he was obviously disappointed with the outcome, but also a bit glad. He said that he would use the loss as a spring board to up his game. The real highlight of this interview was the return of Zack Ryder! Zack surprised his former tag partner and told him that they had some unfinished business in the tag division. I hope this is true. Mojo just hasn’t been cutting it in singles competition and a move bag to the tag team division might suit him better.
Naomi vs Tamina – Winner: Naomi
The Good: We finally got to see Tamina is a legit singles match. She played it exactly how she should have. No flash, just straight brutality. Hopefully she gets a decent program going with someone with real skill in the ring to improve her own skills.
The Bad: Lana was ringside, but just stood there until the end where she jumped Naomi after her victory. Lana pulled off a decent finisher on Naomi, but I feel like she could have been a bit more active outside the ring during the match.
The Ugly: Tamina’s selling job. There were a few moves that she could have reacted to a lot better.
Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton Face to Face Segment
This segment was advertised to be a face to face meeting with the two superstars. Jinder came down first and cut the first promo since he came to Smackdown Live that I actually enjoyed. Here’s a shocker, it didn’t have any anti-American theme to it. He just focused on saying he would embarrass Randy in front of his home town crowd. He also mentioned that Randy would have his father in the crowd, along with other old timers. Jinder capitalized on the fact that Randy didn’t come out even with Jinder bringing his family into the conversation. He said that it was pure fear that was keeping Randy backstage.
As Jinder switched to speaking to “his people” in Punjabi Orton’s music began to play. Jinder sent the Singh brothers outside the ring to meet the Viper before getting to the ring. They would not get the chance, as Randy came out of the crowd and hit the champ with an RKO. Randy would slither out the ring just as fast as he entered it, and return to the crowd without saying a word. It seems he is keeping his word, abandoning talk and opting for only action.
More Backstage Segments
We would see a short segment with the heel side of the six man tag main event in the locker room. This would have less comedy than the spot we saw with their face counterparts, but it was no less important to the storyline. Kevin Owens essentially held court and gave his team two options for tonight. They could either put aside their differences, take out their opponents so that they have less to worry about at Money in the Bank. Or they could fall apart, fight among themselves and enter Sunday’s pay per view with injuries that could jeopardize their chances of winning. Owens seemed to get through to his team and exited the locker room.
Charlotte vs Natalya – Winner: Charlotte
The Good: We get a sneak peak at a singles feud that I have been calling for since Charlotte came to Smackdown Live. The story line writes itself. Two women descendant from wrestling royalty. The match was good. I could definitely see some legendary matches from these two once they get used to each other in the ring.
The Bad: I’ve got nothing here. Both women were on their game tonight. I don’t even have a problem with Charlotte being the “face”. Natalya is such a major heel, Charlotte could still have her same heel personality and still come out as the good guy.
The Ugly: See above.
I lied. Fashion Files!!!!
Kevin Owens/Baron Corbin/Dolph Ziggler vs AJ Styles/Sami Zayn/Shinsuke Nakamura
Winners: AJ Styles/Sami Zayn/Shinsuke Nakamura
I’m going to abandon my typical article good/bad/ugly structure for this match. It was nothing short of amazing. This match was everything I spoke about in my opening of this article. There was so much right about this match. Every participant was going all out and the crowd was super into it. It seems that Shinsuke rubbed off on the others, everyone was adopting strong style. There was great taunting from the heels. The close calls seemed real, I genuinely had no idea what the finish was going to be as I could see any of these guys winning this Sunday.
The post match action was just as good. After Sami Zayn took advantage of Corbin getting hit by AJ and landing a Helluva Kick the heels put their backstage plan into action. Kevin Owens grabbed a ladder from the ramp and brought it into the ring. Dolph and Owens then took out both Sami and AJ with ease. The alliance wouldn’t last though when their enormous egos would take over and the two began to argue. This gave the Lone Wolf a chance to catch both men off guard and knock both Dolph and Owens out of the ring.
With no one left in the ring Baron Corbin set the ladder up underneath the Money in the Bank briefcase and ascended to claim the prize above. The King of Strong Style would send both Corbin and his symbolic action crashing to the ground, toppling the ladder over. This would allow Nakamura to give the WWE Universe a glimpse of a very real possible finish of MITB. Nakamura climbed the ladder and claimed the briefcase for himself. The show ends with Nakamura triumphantly holding the MITB briefcase and the crowd showering him with applause.