SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 9, 2017
TAPED IN LONDON, ENGLAND AT O2 ARENA
AIRED ON DELAY ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton.
-They opened with a video recap of the Six-Pack Challenge and the subsequent Jinder Mahal-Randy Orton angle.
-The Smackdown opening aired. Phillips introduced the show.
-Orton walked to the ring. They showed the announcers on camera. JBL was all smiles. Orton said he didn’t lose at Payback because of Bray Wyatt or “that damn refrigerator.” He said it was due to Jinder Mahal sticking his nose where it didn’t belong. He said where he is from you have to actually win a match to become champion, and at Backlash he plans to do that. Mahal interrupted him. He said he didn’t steal anything. He said he simply took what will be his soon anyway. A photo appeared on the big screen of him holding the championship belt on his shoulder. He said he will take the championship back to his people and the great country of India will erect a statue to pay respect to him. He said the people will no longer disrespect him or his homeland. “I will cleanse your ignorance with my greatness,” he said. He said at Backlash, a new age will begin – the Age of the Maharaja. He said he would now speak to his people. Instead, Kevin Owens’ music interrupted.
(Keller’s Analysis: Jinder sounded like he was toughing it out with a bad cold. No juice at all behind his words with a real flat inflection. Rough.)
Owens walked out onto the stage with his U.S. Title belt. He said nobody cares about the House of Horrors or India. When fans cheered, Owens said, “Oh, don’t get excited. Nobody cares about England, either.” He said he is the new Face of America. He gloated about ending Chris Jericho’s career and said next will be A.J. Styles. He said he will then go on to be the Face of WWE. He repeated it in French “because I can.” Styles then interrupted and said, “There we go again.” An “A.J. Styles” chant rang out. Styles told him to enjoy being the Face of America while he can because he will never be the Face of Smackdown Live.
Baron Corbin then walked out. Phillips said he’s back from his suspension. As Corbin began talking, Sami Zayn attacked him from behind. Styles, meanwhile, knocked Owens to the floor. Orton went after Mahal, setting up a DDT off the middle rope, but the Singh Brothers yanked him to safety. The heels gathered at ringside, suggestive of a six-man tag match in the works.
-The announcers hyped Dolph Ziggler confronting Shinsuke Nakamura later, plus Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte. [c]
-Sure enough, after the break Phillips announced the expected six-man tag match. I wonder what was planned had that impromptu brawl not broken out with all of them.
-Tamina, Carmella, and James Ellsworth stood in the ring. Ellsworth told the fans to keep their mouths closed because no one wants to see their teeth. Carmella then enthusiastically introduced Natalya. As the match was about to begin, Charlotte came out and said she doesn’t need to be introduced because she doesn’t need an introduction. She let out a “wooo!” They cut to a break. [c]
(1) NATALYA (w/Carmella, James Ellsworth, Tamina) vs. BECKY LYNCH
The bell rang after the break. So Charlotte walking out delayed the start of the match by four minutes, since the ref was right about to signal for the bell when she interrupted. A “Let’s Go Becky!” chant rang out in the opening seconds. Natalya went to ringside and yelled for the fans to shut up. When Becky went after her, Natalya shoved her back-first into the side of the ring. Natalya gloated. JBL said Becky turned down a chance of a lifetime. He compared her chance to join the Welcoming Committee to playing with Lebron. Saxton said she had to be able to look herself in the mirror and be proud of herself. JBL said, “No you don’t; you have to look yourself in the bank account.” Natalya had Becky in an abdominal stretch mid-ring. When Becky climbed to the top rope, Tamina jumped onto the ring apron. Naomi went after Tamina, but Charlotte held her off and carried her away. Natalya yanked Becky by her leg hard to the mat and covered her for the three count. JBL said Charlotte was trying to prevent Naomi from getting Becky DQ’d. JBL said Naomi doesn’t realize that. Naomi had some words with Charlotte afterward.
WINNER: Natalya in 3:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This could be pointing toward a double-cross by Charlotte against Becky and Naomi coming up.)
-Phillips plugged a special London Edition of “The Fashion Files” up next. [c]
-A video aired of Lana dancing. She is “coming soon.” No date yet.
-They showed a landmark in London’s public square including a double-decker bus.
-Charlotte and Naomi were arguing backstage. Charlotte told Naomi she is the reason Becky lost and there is no excuse for losing. Becky barged between them and asked what is wrong with them. Becky tried to talk them into getting on the same page or they don’t stand a chance. She asked Naomi if she’s prepared to bond. Naomi: “Like super glue.” Becky asked Charlotte the same question. She said: “Whatever. Because I’m the greatest… at bonding.” Charlotte reluctantly put her hand on Becky and Naomi’s in a sign of solidarity.
-The announcers reacted. Saxton said it seems like they’re on the same page, sort of.
-The second edition of “The Fashion Files” aired. Tyler Breeze and Fandango were dressed up as Sherlock Holmes and a London police officer. They were investigating a crime, blaming the Usos for spilled paint on the floor and red handprints. Breeze said he doesn’t get it because the Usos – whom they called the Ugh-Os – haven’t worn face-paint in months. They heard a ruckus behind a door and barged in and it was The Ascension getting psyched up for their match. That qualifies as the most character development given to the Ascension yet. Breeze said, “I’m getting too old for this sh–.” Or something close to that.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, they had one funny segment in them. This wasn’t anywhere near as fun as last week’s segment.)
-Luke Harper made his ring entrance. [c]
(2) LUKE HARPER vs. ERICK ROWAN
Rowan was going to use his sheep mask, but the ref took it. With the ref distracted, Rowan poked Harper in the eye, and then spun around and power slammed him for the win. Phillips said, “Another chapter written in this rivalry.”
WINNER: Rowan in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why did that match take place in the first place, storyline-wise? That didn’t do much of anything for either wrestler.)
-They showed Ziggler heading toward the entrance. [c]
-Ziggler made his ring entrance. He called the fans all hypocrites. He said it’s been eight years, “but it seems like 12,” that he’s been coming to the ring doing what he does. He said he’s held multiple titles, including the World Title, and he’s headlined PPVs. He said “titles,” not “championships,” for those keeping track. “Dammit, I’m a movie star,” he said. “But do any of you appreciate me?” He said they treat him like a contagious disease. He said they do cheer for someone. A “Nakamura” chant broke out. He said he’s never had “match one” on Smackdown. The crowd chanted “NXT.” Ziggler said, “This will all be edited out.” Smackdown Live is not live?!?! He said the fans sing along, “just like you’re supposed to.” He said he suffers for his art, but he certainly doesn’t call himself The Artist. He said he never needed any of their support. “You never cared,” he said, shaking his head. Another “Nakamura” chant started. Ziggler patiently waited it out. He called Nakamura out.
Nakamura made his ring entrance. Ziggler said, “Enough of the theatrics, man.” He said he’s sashayed his way to the ring for nearly a month, and it’s time to either put up or… at which point Nakamura yanked the mic away. He said, “Shut up!” He said if he wants to see what he can, do get the referee. “I’ll show you. Now!” he said. He took off his jacket. The ref stepped between them. Ziggler took off his jacket. Ziggler, though, said, “No, we do this when I say so.” He said he’ll expose him for the fraud that he is at Backlash. He turned to leave, but then threw his jacket at Nakamura and jumped him. He put him in a front chancery. Nakamura broke free and hit him with some driving knees to the ribs and head. JBL said he has a legendary strong style. Nakamura thrust kicked Ziggler out of the ring. The crowd chanted “Nakamura” again.
(Keller’s Analysis: Much better segment than their prior segment. Ziggler slowed down and was really heelishly deliberate in his taunting. Nakamura got in just enough offense to show the uninitiated a little of what he can do. Thankfully no Michael Jackson references this time.)
-Sami Zayn rapid-talked to his teammates Orton and Styles. He seemed like he was buzzed on several coffee drinks. Orton and Styles acted like he was a neurotic twit with their body language and facial expressions. He closed his eyes and visualized their win. When he opened his eyes, they had abandoned him. He admitted to himself he got a little carried away. [c]
-A vignette aired hyping the arrival of The New Day. They did a little video game selection gimmick where each other Smackdown teams were stamped “Booty.” They are “coming soon.” Saxton said he cannot wait.
(3) THE ASCENSION vs. BREEZANGO
The Ascension dominated offense until the end when Fandango landed a top rope legdrop for the win.
WINNERS: Breezango in 3:00.
-As the crowd sang along to Breezango’s song, the Usos interrupted. They walked out and said they aren’t going to rush the ring yet, but in 12 days at Backlash, the’ll learn that the tag belts are staying with them. They said “12 days” over and over all kinds of things that Breeze and Fandango can do to each other’s backs – watch, tan, lick, etc.
(Keller’s Analysis: I liked the energy and bravado they projected in that interview. And no one has any doubt how many days away Backlash is after that. The Usos were underutilized on the mic all these years.) [c]
-Phillips plugged that Renee Young & JBL would interview the Usos, Mojo Rawley, and Dolph Ziggler on “Talking Smack” later.
-A promo aired with Brian Kendrick promoting “205 Live.”
-Mojo told four kids that the next part of the Smackdown tour is his favorite part. He sat down and said he had a story for them about the Eighth Wonder of the World and how he went undefeated in WWE for 15 years and his legendary battle with Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 3. He said he was different and people treated him differently. He said they even bullied him when he was a boy, but he didn’t let that stop him because he took what made him different and used it to make him special. He said he was motivated by people pointing out what made him different. He then introduced the Andre the Giant Battle Royal Memorial trophy. One of the kid asked to touch it. Mojo said yes, but added “nice and easy.” He yelled “boo” to scare the kid. The kid kicked him in the shin. Mojo laughed and continued the tour.
-The announcers threw to a statement from Rusev who again was looking down at a camera who said he has yet to hear anything from Shane McMahon regarding his demand. He said being ignored is more disrespectful than being turned down. He said he is coming to Smackdown next week to get an answer.
(4) A.J. STYLES & RANDY ORTON & SAMI ZAYN vs. JINDER MAHAL & KEVIN OWENS & BARON CORBIN
Styles and Corbin battled. Then Jinder and Sami. Sami rallied and then tagged in Orton. Jinder quickly tagged out to Owens. Orton went after Owens. Owens bailed out to ringside. They cut to a break. [c]
Corbin scored a near fall on Sami after a few minutes of action. He tagged in Mahal, settled into an armbar. Owens tagged in and grounded Sami again right away with his obligatory mid-match chinlock as he yelled at Styles and Orton. They cut to another break. [c]
Back in the ring, it was Corbin’s turn to beat up Sami. Sami eventually broke free and hot-tagged in Styles who scored a two count on Corbin after a flurry of offense. When he applied a Calf Crusher, Owens broke it. Chaos broke out. Sami dove onto a crowd at ringside. The heels eventually got the better of Styles, but Styles hot-tagged Orton. Owens powerslammed Jinder and Corbin, then gave a DDT to Owens of the middle role. Owens rolled to the floor. Orton knocked the Singh Brothers off the ring apron, but that gave Jinder an opening to drop Orton. Chaos broke out with everyone. Once the dust settled, Orton gave Owens an RKO. Jinder, though, was legal and came up behind Orton and gave him a Cobra Clutch Slam for the three count. Orton sold it like a two-ton boulder was dropped on him.
WINNER: Mahal & Owens & Corbin in 22:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was what you’d expect from these six in a tag match like this. Good but rather formulaic, with Sami taking the majority of the beating, Orton doing the least, and chaos leading to the heel challenger getting a symbolic victory. Cue the reference to “momentum” by WWE announcers.)
I thought Mahal sounded much better on the mic this week. He was screaming into it as usual.
I thought this show was pretty poor and sort of shows why ratings are dropping. The gay references being made by the USOS and the 12 days thing was just stupid. Naomi also can not cut a serious promo. The “Ima snatch you bald” line is almost as bad as her wrestling skill. I agree it appears a Charlotte heal turn is in the works. I guess she’s a tweener now?
I’d like to see a Jindar win. Be nice to see the title tossed on someone out of the blue. The Owens run worked well until Vince decided to feed him to Goldberg. It’s not a big enough PPV but it would be interesting to see the Singh’s get tossed and Khali make a surprise run-in [ok, a Kevin Nash tribute walk in] giving Jinder the win and protecting Orton.