WKPWP - Mailbag - Keller & Fann talk WrestleMania line-up
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WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
APRIL 18, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, John B. Layfield
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, JBL
-The screen acknowledged the death of Matthew “Rosey” Anoa’i.
-A video package aired on a new season of Smackdown with new stars including clips ranging from Primo & Epico to Kevin Owens to Shinsuke Nakamura.
-They went live to the arena where Charlotte Flair came out. They showed Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and JBL at ringside.
(Keller’s Analysis: JBL hasn’t been fired, despite a few fans requesting that last week. JBL said Charlotte is the biggest acquisition. JBL was all smiles and looked like the nicest guy in the world, perhaps part of a continued effort to avoid Bill O’Reilly’s fate.)
Charlotte stood mid-ring with a beautiful robe. She said seven days ago “The Queen arrived at Smackdown Live.” She said she’s already losing per patience. She wondered if Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are binge-watching “Fast & Furious.” She said, “Well, I’m fastly getting furious.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Ugh. Seriously, writers? Charlotte should roll her eyes and say “no” to that crap.)
It continued. “I hope they had fun because they’re about to face the fury of The Queen scorned,” she said. She wanted to know why she hasn’t been granted a Women’s Title shot again. “What is taking so long!” she yelled. Out came Naomi.
Naomi said, “I don’t know where you think you’re at, but you’re at Smackdown Live.” She said they don’t have kings and queens. She said they do have champions. She said she’s been watching Charlotte for a very long time and she knows what she is about and what she wants. She said it’s sad to see her begging like that. She said she’s ready to do it “right here, right now.” She jumped Charlotte and threw her out of the ring. A referee at ringside held Charlotte back. Naomi dropkicked her off the ring apron.
(Keller’s Analysis: This just feels backwards. Why is the babyface attacking the heel, largely unprovoked, and why is the heel being held back by the referee from getting revenge, and then why is the babyface taking another cheap shot with a dropkick to knock her off the ring apron? What a mess.)
Shane McMahon danced onto the stage to his music. Shane asked if the fans want to see them fight. The crowd cheered. Shane said Superstars have to earn their opportunities on Smackdown, despite their pedigrees and resumes. He said, “If you can beat Naomi, you will become the number one contender for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, which will happen next week.” The championship will happen next week?
-They went to the announcers briefly for a reaction, but suddenly in the ring Charlotte attacked Naomi. She threw her out of the ring. JBL said he cannot wait for this tonight. Naomi stormed back into the ring and tossed Charlotte out. She held up the belt as Charlotte collected herself at ringside. JBL excitedly said it’ll be one hell of a match.
(Keller’s Analysis: It ended well, but began shaky. The scripting of Charlotte was cornball awful.)
-Phillips plugged the Six-Pack Challenge. [c]
-A “Did you know?” touted WrestleMania 33 setting a record for the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
-Backstage Natalya was huffing and puffing in frustration. She complained to Shane about not being included in the no. 1 contendership match. Shane said she had her opportunity to become the Women’s Champion at WrestleMania, but it slipped through her fingertips. He said she should have just asked. Natalya said he should realize this is her house. In walked Carmella and James Ellsworth. She said she agreed with Natalya. Ellsworth said the only person who deserves to be the face of the Smackdown Live Women’s Division is Carmella. They began yelling. In walked Tamina. She asked for her chance. Natalya said it’s all Charlotte’s fault. She said she had a plan to talk over with them. She smiled and patted on Shane’s shoulder as she walked away.
(1) DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. JINDER MAHAL vs. MOJO RAWLEY vs. ERIC ROWAN vs. LUKE HARPER vs. SAMI ZAYN – Six-Pack Challenge – Winner Gets Title shot
A few minutes into the match, the ring was cleared of everyone but Rowan and Harper. Harper slingshot flipped into the ring onto Rowan. Rowan left. Sami entered and Harper gave him a quick sitout slam for a two count. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break, three pairs of wrestlers were on the top rope executing superplexes. Sami landed a sunset flip powerbomb for a near fall. Harper continued to audition for the Cruiserweight Division by diving through the ropes twice onto wrestlers at ringside. Ziggler dropkicked him off the ring apron. Rowan nailed Ziggler with a spin wheel kick for a two count. Rowan threw Ziggler onto the other four at ringside. They cut to another break. [c]
Mojo was beating up Ziggler inside the ring. Mahal ran into the ring and blind-sided Mojo, then tried to steal a pin on Ziggler. Sami ran in and broke it up. Mahal gave Sami a running high knee. Rowan choke slammed Mahal. Harper broke up that pin attempt. Ziggler gave Rowan a Zig Zag from behind for the most believable pin attempt so far. A “This is awesome!” chant broke out. JBL acknowledged it. He said one of these wrestler’s careers will change forever because of this match. Harper gave Ziggler a sitout powerbomb for a near fall. Mahal yanked Harper out of the ring and threw him into the ringside steps. Mahal then entered and charged at Sami. Sami side-stepped him and threw him into the ringpost. Sami stood alone in the ring, then did a leaping splash onto Harper on the floor. Sami flipped onto Mojo at ringside next. Back in the ring, Sami caught a charging Mahal and gave him an Exploder suplex into the corner. Sami set up the Helluva Kick. Two people at ringside yanked on his boots. Mahal took advantage of the distraction and gave Sami his cobra slam for the win. JBL said he’s not sure what happened, but Mahal could be the next champion.
WINNER: Mahal in 19:00 to earn a World Title shot.
(Keller’s Analysis: The two guys in white suits who helped Mahal should be simply dubbed “The Boys” instead of the “Bollywood Boys.” We’ll see where this leads, but Mahal – not long ago considered similar to Curt Hawkins on the totem pole of title contenders – was not high on anyone’s list to win this one. That said, it was a match consisting of mid-carders, and as Shane says over and over and over and over, Smackdown Live is the land of opportunity.)
-Afterward, Renee Young interviewed Mahal in the ring. He asked if fans are booing him because he doesn’t fit their stereotype for an all-American “or is it because of my family’s wealth or my higher education or because I speak two languages?” He said Americans don’t accept diversity, but they have to accept him as their next World Champion. As his music played, Randy Orton walked out onto the stage to his music with the WWE Title belt over his shoulder.
Orton said congratulations are in order for Jinder. “You’ve won the jackpot,” he said. “Only your prize won’t be this title.” He entered the ring and the crowd chanted “RKO!” He said the only prize he’s awarded himself is an RKO from him. He said he has another thorn in his side named Bray Wyatt. He said he doesn’t know what a House of Horrors match, but if it’s anything like the last house he brought him to, he’ll burn it down just the same.
Bray Wyatt appeared on the big screen. Haunted images flashed on the screen, including worms and graveyards. Then came snippets of what Orton did to his shed. He said he will walk into his House of Horrors as The Viper, but “I promise you, you will never walk out. Never. Run!”
-JBL said he doesn’t know what a House of Horrors match is, but he can’t wait to see it. Byron plugged the Charlotte vs. Naomi match later. Phillips said a special look at “the artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura” next. [c]
-They showed the exterior of the KFC Yum! Center. I think I’d move if my city’s main arena was called that.
-A video feature aired on Shinsuke Nakamura, what the AWA used to call “a special look” when they’d do music videos in the mid-to-late 1980s on various AWA wrestlers. Various narrative snippets from Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, and JBL put over his finishing move, his stature in Japan, and his charisma.
-Renee Young interviewed A.J. Styles and asked who he’d rather face for the U.S. Title, Kevin Owens or Chris Jericho. Styles said it doesn’t matter because he has the home court advantage and it is the house that A.J. Styles built. In walked Baron Corbin who apologized for being late. “What is the question?” he asked. Styles said he became no. 1 contender for the U.S. Title last week, so this is about him. Corbin said Styles didn’t beat him. Styles offered Corbin an encore. Corbin accepted and said, “Just remember, you asked for this.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Corbin is great with his snotty arrogance. Styles hasn’t changed in any dramatic way in terms of his confidence, yet it’s effective as a babyface. No wonder he was cheered. By the way, Corbin was like six feet taller than Renee there, and Styles had about three feet on her. She was not standing on the same platform as the two wrestlers were. It’s smart to do that, but that was a little much.)
-Backstage, Charlotte approached Natalya, Tamina, Carmella, and Ellsworth. Natalya welcomed her to Smackdown Live.
-A 205 Live ad hyped Austin Aries vs. T.J. Perkins. [c]
-Ring entrances took place for Charlotte and then Naomi.
(2) CHARLOTTE vs. NAOMI
After some early back and forth, Charlotte took over sustained control. They cut to a break at 6:00. [c]
Charlotte remained in control after the break. Byron said Smackdown wrestlers have to get used to the threat of the Queen. By 11:00 Naomi took over and scored a two count after a top rope crossbody. Charlotte countered a Rear View and then hit the Natural Selection for the victory. JBL said he thinks Charlotte was the biggest acquisition in the Superstar Shake-up.
WINNER: Charlotte in 13:00 to earn a Smackdown Women’s Title match next week.
(Keller’s Analysis: A good match. With Charlotte getting the win. it goes against WWE’s usual formula for her to also dominate the vast majority of the offense. They really wanted her to look strong.)
-They showed American Alpha walking backstage and in the background a guy walked by with a sledge hammer. That was weird. [c]
-At ringside, they showed Akbar Gbajabiamila and Matt Iseman, the hosts of Ninja Warriors, who made Mojo Rawley seem pensive and low key.
-Charlotte was strutting backstage when she once again happened upon Tamina, Natalya, Carmella, and Ellsworth. She smiled and let out a wooo.
(3) PRIMO & EPICO COLON vs. AMERICAN ALPHA
Gable charged and used amateur wrestling to take down Primo in impressive fashion at the start. After some rapid-fire tags by Alpha, the heel duo took over after a distraction. JBL said the Colons were born in the business. He said they’ll take every shortcut they can and cut every corner they can. He said the Usos are the best tag team in the world, and touted the arrival of the Colons. Saxton said they have to prove themselves quickly since first impressions are big. Yes, since Shane once said on Talking Smack he doesn’t watch Raw, he is unaware of the terrible win-loss record of the Colons. Eventually Jason Jordan hot-tagged in and JBL put him over as “incredible.” Jordan awkwardly set up a move on Epico that clearly was designed to get near Primo on the ring apron, which led to Primo kneeing him and Epico getting the pin. It looked awful.
WINNERS: Epico & Primo in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: I am not against trying to give fresh starts to underutilized or needlessly discarded wrestlers who have some talent, but having Alpha lose to Primo & Epico seems to do more to hurt then than help the Colons.)
-A clip aired of Mahal’s win. Phillips said the two who interfered are the Bollywood Boys.
-Phillips hyped Kevin Owens up next.
-A video aired of Lana dancing with a chair all made up showing a lot of leg. It said: “Lana, coming soon.” [c]
-Charlotte, Mahal, and the Colons will be on Talking Smack after Smackdown with Renee and Shane.
-An unnamed woman (Dasha Fuentes) interviewed Tye Dillinger. She asked about the crowd liking him so much. Tye said that is the beautiful thing about the WWE Universe, and he has a couple ideas, but he has something that can explain things ten times better than he ever could. A video aired of him entering at the Royal Rumble at no. 10. That’s still the biggest coincidence in pro wrestling history. He told Dasha that is why people call him The Perfect 10.
(Keller’s Analysis: That didn’t say anything about why people call him the Perfect 10. This might work because the whole thing is a bit of a fun gimmick with no real foundation that caught on, but he came across almost heelish, like he thinks he deserves the adulation instead of being humbled and surprised by it.)
(4) KEVIN OWENS vs. GARY GANDY
Owens entered the ring and kicked out the ring announcer because he said he is no good at his job. He introduced himself as the United States of America Champion. JBL said he’s great at everything. He asked his opponent to introduce himself. He said he is “Gary Gandy from Louisville, Kentucky.” That got a big pop. Owens stomped away at Gandy in the corner, and then hit the Pop-up Powerbomb for the win. JBL was gushing over Owens as “the face of America.”
WINNER: Owens in 0:30.
-After the match, Owens grabbed the mic at ringside and told the fans to shut up and listen to him. He said as long as he is their United States Champion, he will remain the Face of America. He said Chris Jericho, A.J. Styles, and no one will take that away from him. He said he is now going to give some Canadian insight to the commentary table for the main event “because they sorely need it.” He closed with some French. JBL said he agreed. Owens insisted Saxton give him his chair. Saxton immediately stood up.
-Corbin made his ring entrance. JBL continued to gush over Owens and his victory. [c]
-Phillips plugged Naomi vs. Charlotte for the Women’s Title next week on Smackdown.
-Aries called TJP “Teddy Joystick” and said he’s going to hit face so hard, his smirk lands in Section 309. He said he’ll be seeing nothing double, “A-Double.”
(5) A.J. STYLES vs. BARON CORBIN
A couple minutes into the match, Corbin yanked Styles to the floor and threw him toward the ringside steps. Styles stopped short and leaped at Corbin. Corbin lifted and dropped Styles across the ring apron. [c]
They showed Owens again at ringside. Then they showed a clip from during the break of Corbin surprising Styles with a running clothesline to take control. Styles eventually ducked a charging Corbin late in the match. JBL asked Owens if the thought he got rid of Saxton when he left Raw. Styles set up a move on Corbin, but Corbin backdropped out of it and sent Styles into the lap of Owens. Corbin went for an End of Days at ringside on Styles, but Styles avoided it and hit an enzuigiri. Styles then leaped off the ring apron with a Phenomenal Forearm. That sent Corbin over the ringside barrier into the crowd… I mean Universe. Styles slid into the ring just in time, thus Corbin was counted out.
WINNER: Styles via DQ in 14:00
(Keller’s Analysis: Another good match. Styles is so good right now.)