Last week’s edition of SmackDown saw the debut of Mauro Ranello, more Ambrose/Owens letdowns, a great Divas Championship bout, and typical blue show shenanigans in between. This week looks to capitalize on the ratings bump from last week, and bouncing on the “we actually have titles defended on this show again” momentum as well. It’s time for this week’s SmackDown. When in SD doubt, just remember that you must watch for Mauro every week~!
Pyro for the second week in the row (note: IMPORTANT show, duh) as we’re in The Cajundome this week. Mauro announces a triple main event. Dudleys vs. Rowan & Harper in a damn Tables Match, Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio for the U.S. Championship, and lastly, Neville & Ambrose vs. Sheamus & Owens. It’s a stacked card at least.
Renee Young is awaiting Ambrose to arrive outside the arena. Ambrose apparently has requested time on the show to provide an announcement to the WWE Universe. Ambrose pulls up in a honking limo. As they walk through the arena, Ambrose explains that he’s on the way to the ring as he wants to talk to Kevin Owens face to face.
Ambrose has an announcement. *A drum rolls* and he cuts it. Apparently somethings missing. He then realizes that Kevin Owens is missing. He doesn’t answer the call-out but Ambrose restarts the drumroll and says that he challenges Kevin Owens to a Last Man Standing match at the Royal Rumble. If Kev wants to take the title from Ambrose, he’s going to have to do it in a way never done before. Sheamus comes out unanswered. Blatant build to the mainer. Sheamus gets Ambrose’s attention as he was slumped over (good face mannerisms!!) whilst he wanted to kickoff his promo. Ambrose must feel so excited, says Sheamus. Just like a little kid, Ambrose is starting to annoy Sheamus and “all the other” adults in the place. Sheamus says Dean lives in a fantasy world. This isn’t fantasy, this is reality. Ambrose tries to retort with a L.O.N. friendship club joke; it was as awful as it sounds on paper. Sheamus explains that Reigns stole the WWE WHC away from him, and that everyone knows it. Because of him, Sheamus now has to compete in the Royal Rumble to get it back. They never got to finish the brawl they started on RAW either! Jeez! If there’s one thing Sheamus hates, it’s starting a fight he doesn’t get to finish. Sheamus is feeling unfulfilled and wants to repay. He *isn’t* waiting for the tag match, and he’s going to leave a permanent mark on Ambrose’s face right…now…? Ambrose says he’s going to beat on Sheamus until he cries. Big Banter Kev is out just in time to join the party. Owens says he’s not out here because his partner for tonight happened to come out first. It’s a 2-on-1 situation. He’s out here to let Ambrose know that it doesn’t matter what match they have; Dean is not walking out of the Royal Rumble as the IC Champ, nor walking out period. Consider his challenge accepted. That’s at the Royal Rumble though. As the two move on in on Ambrose, Neville comes in for the save. Faces stand tall to start the show. Sheamus has to hold Kevin back as they walk off cowardly.
I was semi-looking forward to this match. It did not deliver. Like, at all. It was a trainwreck, and about on the same wavelength as the terrible NXT Battle Royal main event I just watched. The match was all about paint-by-the-numbers spots and offense, feeling so planned out and gross. It was a literal visual chess match with wrestling moves at a terrible pace. The rules get changed whenever WWE does something which made the finish so god damn lame. The numbers game dynamic was the other thing that came into play here, but Bubba managed to avoid Harper, send Rowan into the steps, and then use the steps to propel himself/Harper off of them, through a table on the outside. An ugly match with an okay finish.
Strowman attacks from behind as The Dudleys were celebrating. Devon gets sent into a table in one corner, and sent through the other table in the other corner. Bubba gets mauled in the middle of the barricade behind the announce table and then double chokeslammed through two tables. Mauro’s call of the spot was A+. The Wyatts (along with their new, weird Four Horseman taunt) stand tall.
JoJo is with Kalisto ahead of his rematch vs. ADR tonight. A Slammy, then a U.S. Championship win, a pretty good few weeks indeed. Many years ago when Kalisto was training, he lost hope because he assumed that there was no way he could succeed in this monstrous environment. Eddie, Rey, etc all gave him hope and changed his mindset forever. Now, Kalisto is the new champ, and he plans to stay champ.
We’ve got WWE main roster jobber all stars vs. Team WWE Superstars. Really short match filled with fun Social Outcast antics and a surprise win from Bo, as he pinned Ryder with a Bo Dog. Mauro exclaims that this win could break the internet~! Heath got hit by the upswing on the Bo Dog which is comedic yet could show layers within the stable; maybe a power struggle amongst the former jobbers could be apparent. A funny bit that you should seek out via GIFs or video is SC doing a victory lap as a group. Incredible stuff, but besides that, nothing else of note.
Renee Young is with the former champ (scoops: may not be former later on in the show) Alberto Del Rio. ADR could care less who the people cheer for, he will bring people back to reality tonight, and will crush Kalisto. He will take back what’s his, the U.S. Championship. And…that was it.
In what was a bizarre match that turned legitimately good, Alberto Del Rio recaptured the United States Championship in a shocking booking decision from Kalisto. The match focused around Kalisto’s left arm being torn at any time possible, as well as King Barrett’s assistance in helping ADR out of situations which have resulted him getting an “L” in the past. What pissed me off during the match was the fact that Lawler went OUT of his way (Vince in his ear to boot) to bury Kalisto by any means necessary. 7 Dwarf jokes, in shock that this match is happening, etc; simply bullshit that doesn’t help the U.S. Champ in his case to become legitimate in the eyes of the *entire* audience. However, Lawler mostly smartened up due to the turn that the match took (making it way better than it was to begin), with dramatic near-falls and showcases of fighting spirit from Kalisto. He got out of the first cross armbreaker applied, but after being tricked at his own game (bailing on a dive because of evasion), he got dragged back into the ring, and was about to hit a Salida Del Sol, but Barrett quickly distracted him; which led ADR to lock in the winning cross armbreaker. Alberto Del Rio lost the title on RAW, but wins it back the next night (kayfabe a few days later).
Del Rio got zero reaction for the title win, which says a lot; even to the point where WWE didn’t even bother editing in a pop or negative reaction. The case of this booking is concerning. To have someone drop the title on RAW, only to regain it on SmackDown, to probably set up a final match at your next pay-per-view is so bizarre and Attitude Era-ish. I don’t know where they’re going with this, but whether or not it was a burial, set-up, political hit, build to the RR match, or a bundle of those choices will remain to be seen until a later date.
Renee Young interviews Becky Lynch. This is where I bring out my inner “YASSSSSSSSS”. I love Becky, even love her more than Sasha in terms of main roster content. She’s been really awesome lately. Becky says she was shocked at the Charlotte turn and it wasn’t the Charlotte she knew. The turn really got her down. However, Becky doesn’t stay down. They show Becky’s attack vs. Charlotte on RAW. She’s going to stay all FIRED UP until she beats Charlotte for the Divas Championship. Charlotte can bring the entire Flair Clan to the Royal Rumble for Becky’s proposed title match at the PPV. It’s going to be a good ‘ol Irish Lass Kicking~! Hell yeah.
Becky Lynch is the best. ‘Nough said. The crush continues as this match turned out to be short and decent. Brie brought ‘better’ intensity than usual with some…you know…decent kicks. Not much else happened besides that beautiful side-kick/Destroyer Suplex combo. Then, Brie went for a facebuster but Becky took the leg, rolled through, and locked in the Dis-arm-her for the win. Yay!
A decent looking main event with tons of what I like to call “booking branches” intertwined. This turned out to simply be okay. Nothing much “happened”, as Owens continues to suck on TV, Sheamus was solid but overlooked, and Ambrose put on a show with the worst moveset in wrestling. Neville was the best worker in the match, with surprisingly “real” facial expressions when faced with big moments, as well as simply awesome work which makes you glued to the TV invested in him as the flying face. This is the typical B-show tag, and then came the finish which made it even worse. Ambrose goes for the Nigel after a Sheamus uppercut but Kev hits him which leads to a White Noise kickout. AWFUL sequence with Ambrose/Owens where Owens stalls 5 seconds to take the freaking Nigel. Then, Sheamus throws Ambrose into the steps, which has gotten DQs before; yet didn’t this time. Mother of God. Owens dropped the announce table cover on Ambrose, which then got the ref to call for the DQ.
As Ambrose was about to be powerbombed through the table, Neville dove on the crowd to prevent such. Ambrose gave Owens a Dirty Deeds in the center of the ring and allowed Neville to put the ! on the situation with a Red Arrow. Faces stand tall (like the open) to end the show this week.
Another lackluster SmackDown with Mauro at the forefront being great as usual. Commentary took a step down this week however, with Byron having to keep Lawler in check at times, with Lawler legitimately burying smaller talent (via Vince’s choices too most likely); with the exclamation point being…
Calling Neville DUMBO THE ELEPHANT during the main event. Imagine letting this audio through to your audience. Completely and utterly AWFUL.
None the less, that is all for this week, as I still enjoyed a solid SD build for the Rumble with decent outings from all. Nothing abysmal except the Tables Match and the (once again) awful SmackDown stank main event finish.