SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
JUNE 6, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton.
-They opened with a recap of last week’s Women’s Money in the Bank announcement by Shane McMahon.
-McMahon danced his way to the ring as his “Money Money” theme song played. For some reason, they excluded the graphic and verbal mention that said they were in Rochester, N.Y. The five women in the MITB match – Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya, Tamina – were already in the ring with a big table, along with James Ellsworth. Phillips called it a milestone moment in the Women’s Division. JBL said Shane pulled a rabit out of his hat. Shane welcomed fans to Smackdown Live. He asked, “What’s up, Rochester?” There it is. He introduced each of the women with requisite compliments. He then asked for a drum roll because he had a reveal. He then showed off the new Women’s MITB briefcase after it was lowered from the rafters. He said the winner will be guaranteed a Women’s Title shot anytime, anyplace that she wants. He said history shows that it’s almost a guarantee because people who win MITB usually go on to become champion.
Ellsworth interrupted Shane and said he doesn’t need to explain how MITB works. “Duh!” he said. Carmella said she’ll be the last chick left looking down at the other four, the Princess of Staten Island. Charlotte told her to pipe down. Charlotte said the queen has something to say. She said she is genetically superior and she will add to her legacy. Natalya said she can’t stand to hear one more “wooo!” and ripping off her father. She said this isn’t about her, it’s her moment, so Charlotte won’t get anywhere near the contract. Lynch said the only thing she’s good at is ripping off her uncle Bret. She said the only thing she rips off is her arms. Natalya plugged her ears when fans cheered. Tamina said they all like to talk, but in St. Louis she’ll take the briefcase and shut them all up.
Naomi’s ring entrance then took place. The lights went down and the neon lit up the stage. She danced out to the ring. Naomi said she loves being champion, but she wishes she could be in the match. She said she’ll be ready for whomever wins. She was suddenly interrupted by Lana, who sauntered onto the stage in a long blue glittery evening dress. Shane told Lana that this is the land of opportunity, but this is not the time. “This is not working for me right now,” he said. Lana said suggestively, “I promise you what work for me, I’ll make work for you.” He said Naomi can’t compete in this match, but she can. Naomi, Natalya, and Becky snortled with laughter. Naomi lost it and shrieked.
Lana asked Naomi what’s so funny. “Girl, why are you coming out here with this foolishness?” she said. “Do you really think you can hang in a ladder match. You haven’t even had a singles match yet.” She asked who she has ever beaten. She sang the Jeopardy! theme song while she waited. Lana said, “I can beat you.” Shane stepped between them. He said Lana has to earn a Smackdown Women’s Championship match. Lana threw a bit of a hissy fit. She walked out. Fans booed. Natalya waved goodbye.
(Keller’s Analysis: So we’re back to “all women bicker and fight” when it comes to defining who fans are supposed to cheer and boo, so it’s just a free-for-all. Until Lana’s hissy fit at the very end, Naomi was the obnoxious heel in that dynamic. You had babyfaces and heels both snickered at Lana, which made her sympathetic, and I’m not sure that’s what they were going for.) [c]
(1) NAOMI & BECKY LYNCH & CHARLOTTE vs. NATALYA & CARMELLA (w/James Ellsworth) & TAMINA
They opened with Charlotte vs. Natalya. In a nice touch, Phillips said they were yelling at each other during the commercial break about their respectively legacies. Becky leg scissored Carmella and twisted her over and over in a circle around the ring. Carmella shrieked and Becky stood up and was dizzy herself. Carmella knocked Becky off the ring apron a minute later. Natalya then gave her a discus clothesline. They cut to a break. [c]
They kept the match visible in the upper left of the screen again during the commercial. Natalya beat up Becky for a while, then tagged in Tamina. JBL said sometimes you ask and you shall receive, so he gives credit to Lana for asking. Byron said, “You can wish upon a star, too.” Phillips said it doesn’t always work since Byron is still there. When Phillips said they didn’t have MITB matches when JBL was champion, he said they did wear helmets in football in his day, either, because he’s that old. He said he can’t imagine the added pressure of having to worry about the MITB cash-in after your match. Naomi hot-tagged in and rallied. When Charlotte entered to fend off interference, Natalya and Tamina double-teamed her. Lana then walked out to ringside and got some cheers. Naomi noticed Lana and mouthed off to her. Lana tripped her on the ring apron after she turned her back. Tamina then superkicked Naomi to get the win.
WINNERS: Team Tamina.
(Keller’s Analysis: The lack of discussion about Lana’s status with Rusev is interesting, as if the complete absence of Rusev since his video messages early last month. They’ve done a nice job making a big deal out of the Women’s MITB match being historic.)
-They showed Shane on a phone backstage. He walked up to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal trophy backstage. Mojo Rawley walked in and told him that when he won it, it was the greatest moment in his entire life. He said he thought winning it would open a lot of doors and springboard his career, but he’s been riding the bench the last two months. “I’ve been a ghost around here on Smackdown.” He said he doesn’t want a favor from Shane, he just wants an opportunity. He said he probably has his reasons to leave him out of the MITB ladder match. He said if it was to motivate him, he accepts that, but if it’s because he forgot about him, he wants to remind him that there’s only one person who has defeated the current World Champion Jinder Mahal since he came to Smackdown – and that’s him. Shane said Tye Dillinger, Luke Harper, and a lot of talent want to break through. He said if he wants to earn his way into the MITB match, he just has to beat tonight’s opponent – Jinder Mahal. Mojo smiled and thanked Shane.
-JBL called it a great opportunity for Mojo. The announcers got around to plugging Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens and A.J. Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler. [c]
(2) A.J. STYLES vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
They wrestled on the mat for a couple minutes. Styles threw some kicks. Ziggler came back with a nice sudden dropkick and scored a two count. They cut to an early break. [c]
Styles ducked a Fameasser and nailed Ziggler with a hard clothesline. Ziggler put his feet on the top rope for leverage on a pin attempt a minute later. Then he did hit a Fameasser for a near fall. Styles went for the same springboard he did last week, but Ziggler again countered, however Styles stopped short and didn’t tumble to the mat. Instead, he sunset flipped Ziggler in a move that looked a little too choreographed. Ziggler dropped down on it and grabbed the ropes for a pin attempt. Styles maneuvered into a Styles Clash on Ziggler. The crowd counted along 1-2-3 for the win. Saxton said momentum has taken an abrupt shift to Styles.
WINNER: Styles in 7:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not a showcase match when it went only seven minutes and nearly half was cut out with a commercial break. No split screen on that. Having said that, what did take place was largely very good. Ziggler ducking for the sunset flip seemed “too cooperative” as he waited for Styles.)
-Phillips threw to Fashion Files “Dumb on Arrival.” They showed Kidman, The Usos, the Colon Brothers, and “Multiple Offender” Michael Hayes on their bulletin board. Fandango walked up to Tyler Breeze and said he took the bottle of cologne to the boys in the lab only to find out there’s no boys and no lab, so he tasted the cologne himself and it left a really bad taste in his mouth, “so it’s not the Colons’ cologne.” Breeze was confused, but then said he got it. Then we heard Breeze’s thought: “I don’t get it.” Then we heard Fandango’s thought: “I don’t get it, either.” They agreed that means they’re close to solving the mystery.
They went to New Day backstage who entered the room with Breezango. They turned black and white. Big E was fascinated by it. Breezango tried to talk to New Day with thoughts, but New Day couldn’t hear their thoughts. Big E asked for an answer. Breeze said maybe that’s why they communicate with clapping. Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods reached into Big E’s trunks “but not too far down” and pulled out a gift jacket or something. Fandango told Big E they don’t take bribes, they’re not that kind of cops. “We’re the Fashion Police, and we don’t sell out.” Breeze put on the gift which appeared to be a romper. New Day asked them to give them a little bit of intel on their MITB opponents, the Usos. Breeze and Fandango handed them boxes of evidence. Breezango tried to communicate with thoughts, but New Day looked confused. Kofi said, “I think they’re doing that thing again.” They took the boxes and left. Breezango chanted in their heads: “New… Case Rocks. New… Case Rocks.”
(Keller’s Analysis: I kind of liked that, whatever it was.)
-Mojo made his way to the ring. [c]
-Phillips announced that John Cena would return to Smackdown in Phoenix, Ariz. on July 4th for the first time since WrestleMania.
(3) JINDER MAHAL (w/The Singh Brothers) vs. MOJO RAWLEY
The Singh Brothers introduced Mahal. He walked out on the Indian rug. Then he entered the ring on an Indian rug. JBL said if Mahal can beat Orton, it might be the New Era of the Maharaja. Rawley dominated early and sent Jinder to ringside to regroup. He blew up at the Singh Brothers and huffed and puffed and snarled. Mojo tried to start a “He ain’t hype!” chant. A Singh brother distracted Mojo, so Jinder took over control with a boot. He settled into a chinlock mid-ring. JBL said the fight game is sometimes 90 percent mental. I’m happy he said the “fight game” and not the “sports entertainment game.” Mojo came back and set up Jinder for a move off his shoulders, but Mahal raked his eyes and threw Mojo into the ringpost. Then he delivered his finisher for the clean win.
WINNER: Mahal in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: They protected Mojo quite a bit with the distraction and the eye rake, so it wasn’t a burial of Mojo. He’s a good utility guy who’s sympathetic when he’s not overplaying the obnoxious “hype” persona.)
-After the match, Mahal asked the crowd to be silent while the Modern Day Maharaja is speaking. He said he is the WWE Champion. A “USA” chant started. He said he just dismantled the dreams of Rawley just like he’ll dismantle the dreams of Randy Orton becoming WWE Champion again in his hometown of St. Louis. The fans laughed when his foot slipped as he climbed the ropes to show off his title belt.
-They went to the announcers at ringside. JBL said what happened the last time he fought Orton has no bearing on what happens in the next one. Phillips shifted to the first-ever match between Nakamura and Owens.
-They went to a video package on Nakamura, “The Artist,” featuring someone painting a canvas. Then clips of Nakamura’s ring entrance and hard-hitting moves. At the end, they showed a finished painting of Nakamura on the canvas. Nicely done.
-Backstage New Day readied for their match by taking a guy’s nearly empty plate of food and water bottle. Kofi began eating the foot. Big E grabbed a guy’s paper and started eating that. [c]
-Renee Young interviewed Orton backstage. Orton said last week he had the honor after Smackdown Live of getting calls from some legends such as his father, Ric Flair, and Harley Race. He said they told him to let Jinder run his mouth because, in the end, actions speak louder than words. He said in two weeks in his hometown, he doesn’t even need to say one word and Mahal’s going to hear him just fine.
(Keller’s Analysis: Short, to the point, but well delivered. He is stopping short of promising he’s regaining the championship.)
(4) THE NEW DAY (w/Big E. & Xavier Woods w/Kofi Kingston) vs. THE COLONS
JBL called Phillips and Bryon of being “fake news” for accusing the Colons of tearing up the Fashion Police office. New Day spanked the Colons after licking their hands. They cleared the ring and danced. They cut to an early break as Xavier played the trombone. They stuck with footage of this in the upper left corner of the screen. [c]
The Colons took over during the break. That didn’t last. Xavier flip-dove onto Primo at ringside. Big E then went at Epico in the ring. Xavier blind-tagged in and kicked Epico. Then they finished him with the Midnight Hour for the win.
WINNERS: The New Day in 7:00.
-The Usos came out as New Day were celebrating, carrying their Smackdown Tag Team Title belts with them. The Usos said they’re old news. Jey told them to keep doing what they’re doing, and they’ll keep doing what they’re doing, which is keeping the tag division on lock. “Welcome to the Smackdown Penitentiary.” They asked Big E if the E is his middle initial or his bra size. Jeesh. Jey told Xavier to look up and then down and then ask, “What are those!” That was a reference to his boots. They said if they feel someone is coming up behind them, it’s not paranoia, it’s the Usos.
-They showed Kevin Owens taping his fists. [c]
-Dasha Fuentes interviewed Sami about his MITB opportunity. He said he’s watching a lot of footage on his opponents and it’s helped him pick up on a lot of their little tendencies. He said the one guy that he can’t seem to figure out no matter how much footage of his he watches is Shinsuke. He said he’ll be doing commentary tonight on his match with Owens and Nakamura. He said he’s so charming and captivating by his movements and gestures that you can forget how hard he strikes and how proficient he is. He said he’s leaving nothing to chance because MITB is too important. In walked Baron Corbin. Corbin asked Dasha for the mic so he could ask Sami a question. Then he immediately hit Sami with the mic, then bashed him from behind with a ladder. Corbin said Shinsuke isn’t who he should be worried about. He threw him into two more ladders set up backstage. Corbin said the spot on commentary just opened up.
-Backstage Shane told someone on his iPhone that Corbin just beat the crap out of Sami. So eloquently put. Naomi walked in and told Shane that she wants to face Lana at MITB. Shane said he doesn’t have to do just because she challenged her. Naomi said she wants to, and she’ll put her title on the line. Shane said that’s fine with him if that’s what she wants. She told Shane to tell Lana to invest in one of those Russian fur hats “because I plan on snatching her bald.”
-Owens made his ring entrance. [c]
-The announcers plugged Talking Smack featuring Renee & Shane with Styles, Lana, and Mojo.
-T.J. Perkins said he’s taking back the title he made great on 205 Live tonight. “It’s time to see who the king is,” he said.
(5) SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. KEVIN OWENS
Corbin joined the announcers. He said “You’re welcome” in regard to replacing Sami so they don’t have to listen to him talk. Shinsuke’s full ring entrance took place. They cut to an obnoxiously early break. [c]
Back live, Owens kicked Nakamura from behind and strutted around with his arms extended. He settled into a chinlock. Corbin talked about how his MITB opponents have to keep their heads on a swivel. When Owens hit a cannonball in the corner, Corbin asked if it’s actually a marshmallow. Nakamura gave Owens an exploder suplex to finally start a rally. He landed a kinshasa kick for the clean three count.
WINNER: Nakamura in 10:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, I had been hoping for a showcase match, but now I understand why they downplayed the match all show. That wasn’t much of anything. I mean, Owens vs. Nakamura is not going to be bad, and this wasn’t, but Nakamura isn’t jumping off the page and I thought this was a chance for him to be showcased in that way.)
-Corbin entered the ring and gave Nakamura an “End of Days.” The announcers talked about the MITB match as Corbin’s music played.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Not a must-see episode of Smackdown. It had some moments, but overall a weaker than average edition.