KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 2, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, JBL.
-They went backstage to a photo shoot for Jinder Mahal. He was posing all dressed up with the WWE Championship belt. Shane McMahon walked in and said around Smackdown you earn the belt, you don’t steal it. Mahal said it’s a matter of time and then he’ll thank him for bringing glory to his show. Shane said first he should be concerned about facing Sami Zayn tonight. Shane took the belt and said he was going to return it to his rightful owner.
-The Smackdown open aired.
-Shane made his way to the ring to his entrance music. He pounded his heart with his fist and danced and slapped hands. They showed the announcers at ringside who hyped Mahal vs. Sami again. In the ring, Shane smiled and thanked Fresno for the love. He welcomed the newest member of Smackdown Live, the new United States Champion, Chris Jericho. Saxton said acquiring Jericho is “a game-changer for Smackdown Live.”
Jericho entered the ring and cupped his ears and the fans cheered. He said this is the new Show of Jericho. “Smack it down, mannnn!” he said. A loud “Y2J” chant rang out. Shane said he’ll defend is title later against Kevin Owens. A.J. Styles interrupted. He said a lot has changed since they were on the same show together. An “A.J. Styles!” chant broke out. He said if he hasn’t figured it out yet, he’s “standing in the house that A.J. Styles built!” He said he doesn’t forget about the past. He said they had Y2AJ shirts once. He said nothing would please him more than to take the United States Championship away from him at Backlash if he’s still champion at the end of the night. Jericho said he made Owens tap out at Payback and he’ll do it again at Backlash. He said he is the new Face of America and he might put Styles on The List if he doubts him.
Owens walked out onto the stage to his music. He said it’s pathetic to see Jericho, Styles, and Shane arguing about things that don’t matter. The crowd chanted “You tapped out!” He said that doesn’t matter because tonight the takes back his United States Championship. He said if he thinks the Festival of Friendship was bad, he has no idea what he has coming his way tonight. He told Styles to “get the hell out of my ring.” Styles got out of the ring and charged at Owens. They brawled on the ramp. Shane and referees intervened and they cut away.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strong opening segment. Nothing we’ll remember in two months, but it served its purpose well and added a dose of star power to Smackdown at least for now with Jericho showing up with the U.S. Title. Good references to the history between them, too.)
-The announcers plugged Natalya & Carmella vs. Naomi & Charlotte. Then they cut to Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers walking backstage.
-A commercial aired hyping Shinsuke Nakamura at Backlash. [c]
-They replayed the Owens-Styles pull apart brawl before the break. They went to the announcers on camera. Phillips said Styles has been banned from ringside tonight for the Owens vs. Jericho match. Saxton said that’s good news because you want a clear-cut winner.
-Before the match they showed Sami on Talking Smack last week when he said Baron Corbin wasn’t likable on NXT and he isn’t now. Corbin attacked him and threw him over the desk and told him not to talk about him. Corbin shoved down a ref, then looked slightly regretful. Saxton said Corbin was “fined and suspended for this week.” JBL said he understands the suspension, but “nobody likes Sami.” That’s what JBL said about Justin Roberts in Twitter, too. I guess his run of being the super-nice-affable-great-guy streak is over. They also showed clips of Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt in the House of Horrors match. They showed a freeze-frame of Jinder hitting Orton with the belt, and then Bray landing a Sister Abigail for the win. JBL said it was a no DQ match, so it’s okay that he did that. He said if he does that in the WWE Championship match, he’ll be champion. Wait, if he uses a title to win in a match that is not a No DQ match, he’ll win?
(1) SAMI ZAYN vs. JINDER MAHAL (w/The Singh Brothers)
Jinder wrenched on an armbar early. Sami rolled out of it, but Jinder stomped on him. JBL went into heel mode and said it was a no DQ match on Sunday so nobody should be whining about what Jinder did. When Sami fought back, Jinder threw a fit at ringside and they cut to an early break. [c]
Jinder dominated offense after the break. Sami eventually made a comeback at 8:00 by blocking a superplex and landing a headbutt. Sami then leaped off the top rope, but Jinder caught him with a running high knee for a near fall. Sami made another comeback and landed a crossbody off the top rope for a near fall. A distraction by a Singh brother led to Mahal scoring a small package near fall. Sami reversed it for a near fall of his own. Sami landed a tornado DDT, but Mahal’s head didn’t come close to the mat and Phillips and JBL acknowledged it. Sami signaled for the Helluva Kick. Singh yanked Mahal out of his way. Fans booed. Sami was tripped up by the other Singh. Mahal then came up behind Sami and gave him his cobra slam finisher for the win.
WINNER: Mahal in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Mahal seems to be wrestling up to his spot on the card right now and carries himself like he belongs in the top tier. We’ll see if he can carry that on, but I can see the resistant softening to his sudden out-of-nowhere push.)
-They cut backstage to Becky Lynch who walked up to “her four favorite ladies” – Natalya, Tamina, Carmella, and James Ellsworth. Natalya made her case to Becky that they should be on the same page, not bad-mouthing each other, because Charlotte walked onto Smackdown and was just handed a title shot. She said Charlotte has stabbed her in the back many times. She said if anyone should be getting title shots, it should be Becky. Carmella said nobody has her back, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Natalya said they need each other and can make Smackdown their show. This sounds like a pitch to join an alliance in CBS’s “Survivor” reality show. Becky said she’s never thought about it like that and asked for time to think about it.
(Keller’s Analysis: In a nice touch, the camera followed Becky as she walked up to the other women, rather than the odd habit WWE has of just filming people for “no apparent reason” only to have someone suddenly show up to “make it interesting.”)
-They showed Tye Dillinger backstage heading to the entrance stage. [c]
-Another video aired on Shinsuke. Backstage they showed Dolph Ziggler watching it. He said, “Big surprise that guy’s not here tonight.” The Fresno fans booed. Ziggler said he hasn’t even proven himself with a match on Smackdown yet. Shane was sipping water behind him. The people he was talking to winced as Ziggler complained about Shinsuke getting so much attention. He said: “Daniel Bryan and Shane Mcmahon, those brains, are building an entire Smackdown Live pay-per-view around a guy who’s not even here.” Shane explained to Ziggler that he introduced himself to him last week. Ziggler said he remembers that and was really impressed with his entrance. He said he will show Shane how you really impress people around here when he wrestles Sin Cara later.
(2) TYE DILLINGER vs. AIDEN ENGLISH
English stood in the ring with a spotlight on him and sang that he is the maestro of mayhem and the Picaso of pain. He told the fans to shut their incandescent mouths. He was interrupted by Tye. Tye went on aggressive offense at the start, stomping away at English in the corner. Then he hit a new finisher where he dropped English out of a fireman’s carry onto his knee. No name yet, but Phillips acknowledged it was new. How about the Dime Drop? The Ten Spot? How about the Alexander Hamilton Drop? English threw a fit mid-ring on his knees after the quick loss.
(Keller’s Analysis: Dillinger is fine, but not standing out without something more to his gimmick than people chanting “10” at him.) [c]
-Backstage, Renee Young attempted to interview Jericho about his U.S. Title defense. He called her Ronnie. English walked by then, crying about his loss. Jericho said there’s no crying on Smackdown. English looked giant next to Jericho. Jericho said English has a lot to be proud of – he’s on Smackdown, he’s a good looking successful guy, he has a nice singing voice, and he has a nice hairy chest. He said life is good. He said when you cry on Chris Jericho’s new show, you make The List. Jericho put Renee on The List for no reason, just out of nowhere. She recoiled a bit. English continued to cry.
(Keller’s Analysis: I assume someone cried recently in front of Vince McMahon and this is his round-about way of turning it into something on TV.)
-They went to the announcers who were laughing at English crying. Saxton said he’s going to need counseling now. JBL said he’d like to see Saxton cry after making The List. Saxton asked why he’d say something like that. JBL looked at the camera and smiled. Phillips commented on footage of Charlotte vs. Naomi ending with the run-in from the other Smackdown women.
-Dasha Fuentes interviewed Charlotte backstage. Charlotte said what the so-called welcoming committee did last week won’t stop the inevitable because the Smackdown Championship is her destiny. In walked Carmella, Natalya, and Jax. Charlotte threw the first punch. They attacked her three-on-one.
-They cut back to the arena for Naomi’s ring entrance. The announcers wondered if Charlotte would be ready for her scheduled tag match with Naomi.
(3) NATLAYA & CARMELLA vs. NAOMI & CARMELLA (w/Tamina)
Charlotte didn’t come out when her music played. JBL said it appears Naomi is in a handicapped match.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s so stupid that Shane McMahon would reward the heels for attacking Charlotte right before the match by making it a two-on-one match. It takes away any credibility Shane has a fair-minded official paying attention.)
Naomi hit Carmella with a series of rapid fire alternating leg round kicks. Carmella tagged in Natalya. The announcers called Naomi “the best pure athlete in WWE” just like they have done with Shelton Benjamin and more recently Apollo Crews. As Naomi continued to take a beating, around 5:00 Charlotte’s music played and she made her way to the ring, limping and clutching her ribs. Naomi hot-tagged Charlotte who went to work against the heels rapid-fire, knocking Carmella off the ring apron and then taking Charlotte down with chops and a boot. She grabbed at her sore ribs, but then moved in for a figure-four. Carmella entered. Charlotte chopped her down, then rammed Natalya’s head into the turnbuckle. Carmella distracted Charlotte, so Natalya took her down with a discus punch. They cut to a break. [c]
After the break, Naomi rallied against Carmella. Thanks to distractions by Natalya and then Ellsworth, Carmella rolled her up while she was distracted, yanked her tights, and scored a pin.
WINNERS; Natayla & Carmella in 14:00.
-Afterward, the three heels beat down Charlotte and Naomi. Lynch’s music played. She walked out. Everyone stopped to see whose side she was on. Becky stood over Charlotte on the mat as the heel trio looked on hopefully. Becky then turned to them and said, “I’m in.” She offered a handshake. The crowd booed. JBL said it was smart. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he said. She shook the other women’s hands. She offered a hug to Ellsworth. But when Ellsworth moved in for the hug, she shoved him into Tamina. She attacked “The Welcoming Committee,” although she was soon overwhelmed by the three-on-one attack. Naomi tried to help, but they sent her flying to ringside. Same for Charlotte seconds later. The welcoming committee gloated as they returned to the back to Carmella’s music.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really well done segment start to finish other than rewarding the heels for their backstage attack. It’s pretty clear the line is drawn in the sand now, with Charlotte and Becky as babyfaces. Becky teased the heel turn well and milked it for all it was worth.)
-An NXT ad aired hyping Hideo Itami’s return. [c]
-A vignette aired hyping the arrival soon of New Day.
(4) DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SIN CARA
Sin Cara, sporting a teal blue bodysuit, got in some offense early, but Ziggler took over at 2:00. There appeared to be a harmless botched spot that led to Ziggler using a fireman’s carry to take Sin Cara down for a two count. A minute later Sin Cara surprised Ziggler with a one-arm slam out of reversal. JBL said Sin Cara appears to be a valuable addition to Smackdown. Ziggler then caught Sin Cara with a super kick after lifting his knees on a Sin Cara moonsault attempt for the win.
WINNER: Ziggler in 6:00. [c]
-A video aired of Lana dancing.
-They showed the interior lobby of the Fresno arena.
-A Noam Dar soundbite aired hyping his 205 Live match.
-A spoof video aired along the lines “Law & Order” titled “The Fashion Files.” They went to the Fresno Fashion Department featuring Tyler Breeze and Fandango in their roles as fashion police. Breeze had trouble typing. And pronouncing Fandango’s name correctly. Argh! They talked about how the Usos have violated many rules, including Jay Walking. “And Jimmy walking,” added Breeze. Breeze said the big bust does down May 21st in Chicago at Backlash. The loud speaker system said they found someone in socks and flip-flips and they needed them downtown.
-Jericho made his ring entrance. Then Owens. [c]
-They aired clips of Jericho vs. Owens at Payback.
(5) CHRIS JERICHO vs. KEVIN OWENS – U.S. Title match
They did formal ring introductions for the title match. They went at each other aggressively at the start. Jericho stomped on Owens’ hand. Saxton said the tape on Owens’ hand is like a big bullseye for Jericho. Jericho rammed his hand into the steps at ringside, then put it behind the steps. This time Owens smartly didn’t just sit there for nearly ten seconds while Jericho played to the crowd, but instead just pulled his hand out and entered the ring. He kicked Jericho as Jericho entered the ring and took control. They cut to a break at 4:00. [c]
After more back and forth action, Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho. Owens reached the bottom rope and rolled out of the ring. The crowd chanted “You tapped out” at him. Owens countered Jericho at ringside with a super kick and then a DDT onto the ramp. He threw Jericho into the ring and beat him up for another minute before Jericho surprised him with a small package for a near fall. Owens got up and stomped Jericho, and then landed the Pop-Up Powerbomb for the win.
WINNER: Owens in 13:00 to capture the U.S. Title.
-Two medics and the ref checked on Jericho afterward. They were selling the idea he got seriously hurt with the DDT at ringside. Owens had a look of regret and sympathy at ringside. He entered the ring, but instead of checking on Jericho, he attacked him. Jericho was just limp and fell to the mat. Owens returned to the stage, only to go back and attack Jericho yet again. He put his head inside a chair and threw him into the ringpost. Saxton asked, “What is wrong with Kevin Owens?” Jericho cried out in pain and bled form his mouth a little as he was tended to by medics.
(Keller’s Analysis: Strong finish to a good overall show. I liked in this case doing a title change Sunday and one here. It served a purpose and got Smackdown an “extra main event” with Jericho and a chance for Owens to have a moment of viciousness that adds to his heel character and gives Jericho an excuse for taking time off and a reason for revenge when he returns. Plus, a good match between these two.)
JOIN GREG PARKS AND ME LIVE RIGHT AFTER SMACKDOWN FOR THE TUESDAY NIGHT PWTORCH LIVECAST. STREAM HERE. CALL 515-605-9345.