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WWE LIVE EVENT – SMACKDOWN BRAND
APRIL 16, 2017
REPORT BY MARCUS DIETZ, PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
I brought my 5 year old son with me and it was his first live event.
(1) Matt & Jeff Hardy defeated Enzo & Cass, Sheamus & Cesaro, and Gallows & Anderson in a Fatal Four Way for the Raw Tag Team Championships. This was an excellent opening match! Great response to the Hardy’s, lots of delete chants throughout the match. Matt was in his “Broken” character about 75 percent of the match. Every team got all their normal spots in, but the Hardys retained after Jeff hit Karl Anderson with a Swanton. Looking back, this was probably the best match of the night.
(2) Sami Zayn defeated Curtis Axel with his finisher. Decent match. Axel actually got in a considerable amount of offense and looked pretty good. It’s too bad he didn’t get moved over to Smackdown. He could use a fresh start, or as Shane McMahon likes to claim, an opportunity.
(3) Neville defeated Austin Aries via submission to retain the WWE Cruiseweight Championship. This was a nice, fast-paced match. Neville is a beast in the ring. There were actually several in the crowd that were cheering for him, which I think surprised him.
They showed Roman Reigns on the big screen, which brought the loudest boos of the night. Then they showed clips of Braun Strowman beating Reigns up from Raw last week (crowd mostly loved it). JoJo announced that Reigns was not cleared to wrestle. Strowman came out, cut a solid promo, and asked for a challenger to face him in the ring. Nobody came out, so he headed up the ramp. Then Reigns came out and the two of them started brawling. The crowd was hot for this! Strowman had the upper hand the entire time. He got a table out from under the ring and set it up in the corner. Suddenly, Reigns recovered like nothing ever happened to him and speared Strowman through the table. The crowd was very conflicted during this segment. Lots of boos and cheers for both guys.
(4) Bayley beat Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax to retain the Raw Women’s Championship. Bayley hit a Bayley-to-Belly on Charlotte to retain. Solid match. Nia Jax actually looked very good tonight. She’s improving and will be a force in the future.
(5) The Big Show beat Jinder Mahal & Titus O’Neil in a two-on-one match. Great pop for The Big Show! Mahal and O’Neil are physically shredded. Each of them got in a generous amount of offense, but The Big Show prevails as he pinned both guys following a double chokeslam.
(6) Chris Jericho & Seth Rollins beat Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe. Owens came to the ring first and cut a short promo about how terrible Cincinnati is (true) and that we’re all bad parents (questionable). Out came Joe. Next was Jericho, to an enormous pop. He was wearing a lighted scarf, which was actually pretty cool. Finally, Seth Rollins made his way to the ring. The match started off slow, but quickly picked up steam. Lots of back and forth between both teams. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Owens and got the pin. After the match, Jericho put the entire arena on The List, and he and Rollins took pictures with fans and ringside.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, this was a good show put on by the WWE. Finn Balor and The New Day were originally advertised for the show, but injuries caused them to be pulled from the event. The two most impressive moves of the night were actually the same move, a double suplex. The first was performed by Nia Jax on Sasha Banks and Bayley. The second was The Big Show suplexing Jinder Mahal and Titus O’Neil, which looked incredible.
Biggest pops of the night:
1. Chris Jericho
2. Enzo & Cass
3. The Hardy Boyz
4. The Big Show
5. Sasha Banks & Sami Zayn (tie)
Loudest boos of the night:
1. Roman Reigns appearing on the big screen from Raw
2. Kevin Owens
3. Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman live (crowd was split between who to cheer and who to boo)
4. Jinder Mahal (he actually got a “you hurt Finn” chant)
5. Gallows & Anderson
NOW CHECK OUT THIS PREVIOUS REPORT: 4/15 NXT in Charlotte, N.C.: Called up wrestlers Nakamura, Dillinger, Revival give farewell speeches to NXT fans after main event
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