Tonight’s WWE Smackdown Live was held in Cleveland OH from the Quicken Loans Arena.
This week Smackdown Live had two matches that were great book ends of a good series. The Smackdown Live writers decided to abandon their typical talking segment at the top of the show. Instead they decided to give us an amazing match for the U.S. Title right off the bat. Here we go.
AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens – Winner: AJ Styles
Come on, how could this not be an amazing match. Both superstars were fired up and super aggressive from the start. This was a PPV caliber match, and they were performing as if it were one. I wasn’t even mad at the controversial ending, it made sense for the story.
That ref taking his bump after KO “hit” him. His reaction took longer than an Undertaker entrance.
I got nothing.
After the match we were taken backstage where Shane and Daniel Bryan were checking on the referee from the previous match. Although they were concerned about his health, Shane had to tell him that he made a bad call. Kevin Owens showed up shortly after and began going ballistic over his loss even though his shoulder was clearly off the mat. After some intense back and forth Shane granted KO a rematch for the title at SummerSlam. That wasn’t good enough for Owens, who demanded that he have a ref for that match that was more durable than the one tonight. Daniel Bryan stepped in and suggested Shane. Owens started saying that Shane was the most incompetent one there, which only made Shane accept that much quicker. We’ve got a match folks, and a possible story line to get Owens to fight Shane at Wrestlemania.
Prior to the Usos coming out there was a short video package showing the destruction they rained down on the current Smackdown Live tag champs The New Day. After the video ended the Usos tricked the crowd into thinking that the New Day was coming out by screaming “CLEVELAND!!”, but it was clear that it was the Usos mocking the New Day entrance. The Usos cut a pretty good promo, going back and forth between themselves in a diss track style. I’m really enjoying the Usos lately. It seems like they are natural heels that have a lot of fun doing so. I can’t think of a better team for the New Day to be feuding with right now.
Sami Zayn vs Aiden English – Winner: Aiden English
English is starting to grow on me. It seems like he is really embracing his character and finding comfort in his persona. Him picking up a clean win also ups his stock a bit. He’s a solid performer that just needs the right story to back him.
Typical mid card whining from me here. There is a lot of talent in the WWE right now and it seems like it isn’t in the writing department. I’m kind of hoping the rumors of the next Superstar Shakeup are true and some main card guys go back to NXT. It will give them a bit of freedom to develop new personas and hype.
Someone please get Aiden and Baron Corbin in the same room to talk about that hair. Let it go guys. Bald is beautiful.
Naomi/Becky Lynch vs Natalya/Carmella – Winners: Naomi/Becky
Naomi was the highlight of the match for me this week. She seemed different, much more comfortable in the ring. The one new move that she has, the knee slide face slap she landed on Carmella made me laugh out loud.
There was some really bad telegraphing with some exchanges between Becky and Natty in the beginning of the match. One was so bad Becky actually had to yell at Natty to “come on”.
During one of the sequences it looks like Becky tweaked her knee. It wasn’t a work because it didn’t come into play during the match. She was still limping after the match. I hope that it wasn’t too serious, I’m a total mark for Becky and think she deserves better writing than she has gotten recently.
Rusev vs Chad Gable – Winner: Rusev
Chad really impressed me tonight. For his size he showed incredible power, especially when suplexing the much larger Rusev multiple times in a row. I think he has a tremendous future ahead of him if the writers can find the right place for him.
I really hate it when the WWE has superstars with prominent amateur backgrounds and have them do too much of it in the ring. It’s OK if they pull off a few basic moves but if they do too much of it the match slows to a crawl. It really is a fine line. It can be really interesting and control the match, but you can lose the crowd fast.
After Rusev won the match he started to say that no one could beat him, and that he would have no competition for SummerSlam. Enter Randy Orton, the former legend killer turned foreigner killer. I mean this comes out of nowhere. They have no time to set up a real feud before SummerSlam and I think this will fall flat. Also, can we please do away with one superstar screaming at another in a different language? It does nothing other than produce mediocre/cheap heat.
John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura – Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
The beginning sequences were entertaining. Cena doing the “you can’t see me hand wave” and then Shinsuke putting his fingers up like goggles saying “I see you” hit well with the crowd. Having Shinsuke kick out of the AA and also win clean makes him look super strong going into SummerSlam, as it should be. I just hope they don’t have him lose to Jinder. He is too much of a legend in this sport to not win a title right now.
This should have been more hyped than it was. They could have stretched out the build up a bit more. The only reason I can see it happening on this show is that the WWE has plans for Cena to get his #17 at Wrestlemania. For as many times as the announcers said “Dream Match”, it should have been treated like one.
Cena took a horrible bump at the end of the match. He over rotated from a suplex. I thought he broke his neck. I’m not exaggerating. Even with the muscle and strength Cena has in that area, he landed in the worst way possible. You could see that it hurt him during the match, I just hope there aren’t any serious injuries from it.