Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MAY 30, 2017
ATLANTA, GA. AT PHILIPS ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton.
-The show opened with Charlotte, literally wearing peacock feathers, saying she is genetically superior to any female in the world so she will win the elimination match tonight to earn a WWE Smackdown Women’s Title match. She let out a “wooo!” Then Carmella, with James Ellsworth, said she has so much class, they might as well refer to her as the teacher. Natalya said she will prove she is the best there is, was, and ever will be. Then she winked. Becky Lynch said she represents the fighting Irish. Tamina said her opponents have had their chances and it’s her time now.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was a throwback to the opening little soundbites the WWF would always air before NBC Saturday Nights Main Events in the 1980s. It can be a little cheesy sometimes, and this was no exception, but it’s not an entirely bad way to set the stage for a match, either.)
-The Smackdown opening aired. Philips introduced the show as the camera panned the crowd.
-Kevin Owens came out to host Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel. He said he is the New Face of America. He said Chris Jericho claims he invented the Money in the Bank ladder match, yet he never won one. The fans chanted “A.J. Styles.” Owens hung his head in disgust. He said he will win the MITB match which means he will be not only United States of America Champion but also the champion and face of the entire WWE. He introduced “one of the people I am going to step on on my way to becoming a double champion.” He introduced WWE’s “resident rock star, the artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura.”
Nakamura’s full ring entrance took place. Owens said he doesn’t care if he thinks he’s a rock star because this isn’t “America’s Got Talent.” He said Nakamura is shrouded in mystery and a lot of people want to know why he’s here and what his future holds. He said he sent the last person who fancied himself a rock star, Chris Jericho, off to an early retirement. He said if Shinsuke shows up at MITB, it’ll be the last time the fans get to sing along with his little song “because that will be the day the music dies.” Nakamura said, “Kevin Owens,” at which point he was interrupted by Baron Corbin.
Corbin walked out, mic in hand. JBL said everybody wants to be on the Highlight Reel. Corbin said nobody wants to hear what Nakamura has to say. He called the Highlight Reel the “Highlight Show” and threw to a replay of what happened last week after Sami Zayn scored a win over Corbin, as Corbin attacked him afterward. Owens asked Corbin if he just interrupted his show to highlights of him beating up Sami last week. He said he’s been beating up Sami for 15 years so he has nothing to brag about. He said it’s his show and he’s not invited so “get the hell out of here.” Corbin called Owens “Cartman.” Corbin said Nakamura can be an artist but he’ll keep producing highlights as he becomes Mr. MITB.
Nakamura said they are very forgetful. He said last week he pinned Owens. He turned to Corbin and said he said Sami beat him. Corbin and Owens went after Nakamura, but Nakamura fought back… briefly. Nakamura was swarmed by the two heels, but Sami made the save. Nakamura popped up and knocked Owens out of the ring as Sami knocked Corbin out. The crowd sang “Olé” for Sami. Sami said he isn’t done with Corbin. He turned to Owens and said the fight between them is never over. He challenged them to a tag team match. [c]
(1) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS & BARON CORBIN
Nakamura and Corbin opened against each other. Nakamura egged on Corbin and drew him into a knee lift and then a series of knees in the corner. Sami tagged himself in as he was eager to get back at Corbin, but Corbin tagged Owens right in. The heels ended up with a sustained beatdown of Sami. [c]
They aired the action in an inset screen during the commercial again. Sami eventually did hot-tag Nakamura. Nakamura attacked Owens with round kicks and knees. He eventually scored a two count, with Corbin breaking up the cover. Sami charged in and beat up Corbin in the corner. Sami threw a charging Owens into Corbin who then blew his top. Owens shoved him. Corbin punched him. Sami clotheslined Corbin over the top rope to the floor. Nakamura then delivered a Kinshasa Kick to Owens for the win.
WINNER: Nakamura & Sami in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Good tag match. Nakamura got to show a little more in the ring to the TV audience to try to establish what makes him so distinct and what built such a following. I’m not sure he’ll get over to a big degree until he’s in a serious match and shows his serious kick-ass side as the gyrations and odd mannerisms seem dominant, and those should be secondary to his in-ring credibility when people think of him.)
-The announcers hyped Extreme Rules and Money in the Bank, then plugged WWE Network.
-They showed the Usos backstage. [c]
-The Usos were in the ring after the break with their WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles. Jey said the fans look a little sad and wondered if it’s because they’re still their WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions. They said they thought American Alpha were going to beat them or Breezango were going to beat them “just like they thought the Atlanta Falcons were going to beat the Patriots.” (Is it still too soon, ATL?) Jimmy told fans not to blame them because they didn’t play. New Day interrupted and danced to the ring. The Usos didn’t look pleased. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods lifted Big E onto their shoulders briefly. Phillips said this is their first Smackdown appearance since the Superstar Shake-up and called it a great acquisition for Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan. JBL and Saxton agreed this is a game-changer for the tag team division.
Xavier entered the ring and yelled, “Your boys are back!” He said, “Hey mom, nice shirt.” When they began gyrating their hips, the Usos asked if they got lost skipping their way up the Yellow Brick Road. Kingston said it’s more of a skip-skip-clap. He demonstrated. The Usos said they have the tag division on lock. “Welcome to the Uso Penetentiary,” said Jey. Big E said they know what happens in a penitentiary. Big E said they like the tag titles and they want them. Xavier said they can do this the easy way or the hard way. Jey said this Ish is about to get real. Jimmy said they run the show, so he suggested they leave before they take “you three unicorns out back Old Yeller style.” New Day said that was a little much. Xavier said they don’t run the show, but it’s so cute “with your little hats and hoodies.” He said they know the man who does run the show – Shane McMahon. He said they have some special opponents coming up at MITB. “Who? Who? Who?” Kofi said Jim and Jey better be ready for New Day to become the new Smackdown Live WWE World Tag Team Champions.
(Keller’s Analysis: No change in New Day’s act at all. Which is fine. The Usos are a good heel team for them to play off of, and their time away helped freshen up their act.)
-They showed Dolph Ziggler warming up backstage. Phillips said A.J. Styles vs. Ziggler is the main event. [c]
-They aired an extended highlight package of last week’s Jinder Mahal celebration and the media reaction.
-Fashion Files: This was presented like an old black and white private eye movie. Fandango narrated and entered a room with a sign that said “Fashion Police Dept.” A table was knocked over and broken with a ton of stuff on it. He saw an old typewriter and a framed Big Bossman picture. Then there was a shadow of a curvaceous woman. He pulled a gun and the camera pulled back and revealed it was Tyler Breeze in a wig. Fandango asked why Breeze was still undercover. Breeze said, “Oh, he thinks I’m still undercover.” They were surprised they could hear each other’s thoughts and stared at each other for a few seconds. Fandango tasted cologn and said it tasted like tree frog excrement. Fandango said the dress looks pretty good on him. They agreed that they found their next case.
(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t know what just happened.)
-Charlotte made her way to the ring. [c]
-A soundbite aired with Naomi.
(2) CHARLOTTE vs. TAMINA vs. NATALYA vs. CARMELLA (w/James Ellsworth) vs. BECKY LYNCH
Chaos broke out before the bell. Lynch threw Carmella into the time keeper’s area and then leaped off the barricade with a flying forearm. Tamina saw Charlotte KO’d at ringside and then cleared the announce table. Charlotte recovered enough to fight back and shove Tamina into the ringpost. She gave Natalya an overhead suplex onto the floor. Charlotte then did a top rope moonsault onto Natalya and Tamina at ringside. Carmella then leaped off the barricade onto Charlotte. Becky gave Carmella an overhead toss onto the floor. Tamina superkicked Becky. Charlotte gave Tamina a boot to the chest. Natalya gave Charlotte a clothesline. Saxton called it “an absolute free for all.” Charlotte threw Natalya into the ringside steps. Charlotte powerbombed Natalya onto the table. Two refs quickly checked on her.
Shane McMahon danced out to his music. He entered the ring and asked, “What’s up Hot-lanta?” He said the Smackdown Women’s Division is on fire and this amazing. He said they’re all so focused on being the no. 1 contender that the match didn’t even begin. He said the solution is to add the “first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match” to the PPV. JBL called it a historic gem. Philips called it an incredible announcement.
(Keller’s Analysis: This was a good chaotic brawl to tease fans with what could happen when ladders are involved. That historic match will sell a few extra WWE Network subscriptions.)
-The announcers said Randy Orton will speak for the first time since losing the WWE Title at Backlash. But first, Breezango vs. The Colons. [c]
-They showed the exterior of the arena in Atlanta.
(3) BREEZANGO vs. THE COLONS
They cut to a break a few minutes in, but stayed with the action with an inset screen. [c]
Breeze appeared from under the ring dressed up as a janitor again. He got the hot-tag and went to work on Primo. Fandango and Primo had a tug-o-war over a mop. Breeze then surprised Primo with an Unprettier for the win.
WINNERS: Breezango at 5:00.
-Renee Young interviewed Styles about facing Ziggler in the main event. Styles said he’s going to get momentum for MITB. Ziggler said he’s in the House that Styles Built. He said he’s the only person in the MITB match who has won it before and cashed in to become World Champion. He said he’s going to do it again at MITB. He asked Styles if he wants to fight right now. Styles said, “This is how we do it in the ATL. Bring it on. Let’s go.” Ziggler said, “See ya’ out there.” And he walked away. JBL called them mind games. [c]
-They plugged that all five women will be on Talking Smack with Shane and Renee later.
-Randy Orton made his ring entrance. He said in case anyone has been living under a rock for the last 17 years, his name is Randy Orton. He said he has beaten the best that the industry has ever seen. Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and Undertaker “to name a few.” He said his father was in the main event of the very first WrestleMania, “so that means this is in my blood.” He said if his grandfather was still alive, he’s slap him for losing the World Title to a man like Jinder Mahal. He said his generation just went out and accomplished things without talking about it because it was the American Way. He said he’s just going to take the title back. “It’s called respect,” he said. “What a concept. It’s a two-way street. Respect works two ways.” He said Jinder thinks he’s earned everyone’s respect. He said all he’s earned is a good old fashioned Orton family ass kicking. He said MITB is in his hometown of St. Louis so he can’t step foot in his hometown again if he doesn’t reclaim what is his. He said they should ask any of the greats – his father, the Gagnes, and Harley Race – and they’ll all say “winning is the only option.” He vowed to become champion for the 14th time. JBL said that was simple and straight forward. As Orton’s music began to play, it was interrupted by Mahal’s music.
Mahal appeared on the big screen flanked by the Singh Brothers. He said Randy is just like every other ignorant American who tell stories of the greatness of a bygone era. He said his country is in decay. He said he is a symbol of the past, living on the coat tails of what once was. He said he should behold the present and the future, Jinder Mahal. “The Modern Day Mahajra!” he said. The Singh Brothers clapped over and over as Singh snarled. Orton went back to posing on the second rope and his music played again. He tried to get the crowd riled up. They cut to a guy in a giant flag-style t-shirt yelling “Yeah!!” [c]
-Rich Swann and Sasha Banks cut a promo advertising 205 Live.
-They advertised Owens vs. Nakamura would take place next week on Smackdown.
(4) DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. A.J. STYLES
They cut to a very early break. [c]
No live look-in during that break. Back and forth action leading to a headbutt by Ziggler to Styles’s jaw. Both were slow to get up. Ziggler caught a charging Styles with a flying knee to the jaw. Styles came back with a Calf Crusher. Ziggler raked Styles’s face to break it. Styles went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Ziggler knocked him off balance and then hit a super kick for the three count. Clean win by Ziggler over Styles in his hometown. Of course, right?
WINNER: Ziggler at 15:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Is this meant as a boost for Ziggler or just the continuation of the stupid policy of wrestlers jobbing in their hometown?)