Last week’s SmackDown saw the reemergence of the idea that SD can be a better show than RAW; including solid angle builders and a fun opening tag with The Usos & Dolph Ziggler vs. New Day. This week is a helluva lot more interesting show, especially with the fact that my good pal and staffer Ian went to the show. Scoops, accompanied with AJ Styles’ first ever SmackDown appearance makes this review a must-read and this show a better choice than usual to watch.
1. Styles was pretty over.
2. All but two rows were taped off at one of the far sides of the arena, but other than that it was packed.
3. Sasha was really over.
4. New Day were over as well and a white dude shook his ass in my face.
5. No Cena…
6. There were some boos for Reigns, but for the most part he was just as over as Styles was.
7. There was one nerd who was trying to chant that Sasha was ratchet; but got completely shut down by the crowd.
8. Can’t forget the fact that Big Show was over too.
9. Lastly, my dad is now a Titus O’Neil mark!
Now let’s see how accurate these scoops come across on television as well as via my thoughts. It’s time for SmackDown; with more fallout from the Royal Rumble pay-per-view that saw Triple H capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event.
Pyro yet again. SmackDown emulates from Tampa, FL this week; and Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose joins Chris Jericho for the Highlight Reel tonight. Also, Kalisto & Neville battle for Kalisto’s newly recaptured United States Championship.
New Day start off the show, something that isn’t rare these days. They got a good rub from promo-battling The Rock on Monday night. The Rock should be ashamed of himself, says Big E. Shame him. SHAME! New Day were only trying to enlighten the Rock, and show him that although he’s the biggest entertainment draw on the planet; he does not have what the New Day have. That would be…gold, as in the tag straps. The People’s Booty refereed to the unicorn hats as penises which is not PG. Rocky is cooking–yeah whatever cause Miz is out. Miz was too insulted by Rock on Monday, and to think he would disrespect a peer of the ‘silver screen’ is absurd. Miz does NOT get upstaged, which continues on the ironic gimmick where people bury him via hitting’s of entrance music. Before Miz goes off on a further tangent, Usos are out. They make fun of the guys for being mad, and call his robe a dress…ok then. Xavier puts over Miz as main eventing WM and having the best mouth in the “business”. The foursome replies with a no-championships roast. Instead of cousin Dwayne, in comes Titus O’Neil & Dolph Ziggler. This has potential ya know.
They added one of the most blatant cheap vacuum pops EVER for a plug of good deed Titus’s Instagram plug, where it shows that he got tons of free tickets for elementary school students (which is awesome).
Solid opener with nothing offensive. Some highlights included The Miz as an honorary member of the New Day, doing white boy things in a swagger-filled group (something Miz lacks). Big E & Titus were the most fun guys to watch here, even though unfortunately they didn’t touch once. The Usos & New Day continued their rivalry as they were the center piece of the match. Through one getting beaten-down and the other smashed into a barricade by Big E, the faces overcame the group when Titus came in on a hot tag; which is one of my favorite hot tags to watch in the WWE. Usos hit stereo superkicks on Big E & Kofi then dives. Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on Xavier, and a superkick on The Miz which led to Titus hitting Clash of the Titus on Miz for the pinfall.
Post-match Titus celebrated with the students he brought to the show. Freaking awesome to see.
When I saw this was announced at the tapings I was extremely content with the matchup. This match makes me clamor for a newly revised WWE Cruiserweight Division. These two tore it up, and it was so great to see two smaller guys do so on WWE TV. When you get something fresh you tend to cater to it more; especially cruiserweight like guys in modern day wrestling. The story of the match was that Kalisto’s agility proved to be a stronger force than Neville’s power. Kalisto would ‘general’ all the highspots/impact spots, with a super frankensteiner, barricade mini-rana, etc all being thrown Neville’s way. Neville would come back with power based offense such as kicks to the head and powerbomb variants, but in the end, as Neville was finally going to hit his Deadlift German after a struggle; it was reversed in mid-air into a Salida del Sol. Absolutely incredible finish and a really fun short match.
Unfortunately, we’re definitely getting another Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto match, as it was announced by commentary that Del Rio does indeed have his rematch clause and he can use it whenever (not MITB style though, obviously).
It’s time for Thursday Night with your dad Mr. Jericho; aka the Highlight Reel. He goes over the last week in WWE, with massive piped-in boos for reaction to mention of Triple H winning the Rumble. Jericho talks Styles’ debut on RAW. Most importantly (Styles is more important!!!), he talks the Fast Lane main event of Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Ambrose. Ambrose is out with flowers. Reigns comes next. Ambrose explains his gift, saying Y2J’s set needs to be jazzed up; and Reigns brought a stool out. Reigns & Ambrose aren’t jealous people, as they’re still competitive though. Friends fight over all kinds of things, says Ambrose. Their relationship doesn’t have time for that. Ambrose says he’s going to punch Reigns in the mouth. They then banter about strategy and play around with their attack methods on each other. Brock is mentioned. Dean puts over Lesnar but calls himself indestructible. He’ll probably beat Ambrose to a pulp, but Ambrose calls himself the ‘iron man’ of the WWE. Ambrose ain’t got no time to be scared of Lesnar with what’s on the line. Reigns says “this is for real”, and Lesnar is “for real”. Lesnar is put over more, and Reigns explains that it’s a different scenario facing off against Brock. Dean then brings up that he doesn’t have to beat Brock; he can just beat Reigns. Reigns says that would be the first time, since Dean hasn’t before. MY GOD. Just as the tension grows, The Wyatts interrupt…
They made a promise to the world, that they would bring the apocalypse. They slayed Brock at the Rumble. The Wyatts go on a rant and then Reigns then makes fun of the group and taunts them to come down to the ring so they can do talkin’ with fists. “Patience, Roman; patience is a virtue.” Reigns is going to have to ingulf the heart of a good man, and Bray is going to put Jericho & Ambrose’s hearts to a test tonight. Bray and two of his brothers are going to put the three of them down forever. There’s your main event for tonight.
Social Outcasts greet us back from commercial. This group should have been the hottest thing trending post-RAW, but everybody is talking about AJ Styles. Adam Rose calls AJ a phenomenal anomaly. Axel mocks AJ for eliminating him from the Rumble. He’s then called out. What do you think happens next? Exactly.
Really short match that was well put together. With Mauro on commentary, and even if Lawler is heeling it up trying all in his might to discredit AJ; he was put over as a legitimate threat in the company. With 2 Pele Kicks hit, including a top rope one, as well as a dive on two SC members and fending off the numbers with his exciting moveset; it worked to an epic degree. Last but not least: the Styles Clash was hit! It’s still called the Styles Clash, and with this win, Styles remains undefeated and has defeated Chris Jericho as well as a former IC Champ in Axel. Solid booking and a clean win that made AJ look great.
Natalya with a TV in-box promo saying that she’s back for good and she’s excited to dive back into the division that’s “on fire” right now. Yay!
Another extremely short match but one that made great use of its time. Nattie is the most underused diva in the history of the company and one of the most underrated talents in company history. She is so good at these TV matches; aka whenever she’s even on the card. With her step-over hit-the-ropes lariat, German releases, and technicality, there’s nothing to hate except maybe a slight sign of mild personality. After Ric got in Nattie’s face on the outside WOOO’ing away, Charlotte attacked Natalya’s leg and strapped on the Figure 8 for the win.
After the match it was locked in further, but Becky came in for the save.
My first exposure to the Golden Truth is now as I didn’t see them on RAW. They’re outside exercising. Goldust is trying to get Truth to run, but they decide to stretch together. “Calm, slow, deep, moveeeeements.” GOLDUST BLOWS IN TRUTH’S FACE! Truth retorts to the proposal that he doesn’t roll with that. Goldust says that’s not what he meant. He wants to officially form the Golden Truth! Truth leaves Goldust hanging after he wanted help up from stretching. This angle is excellent and I don’t care whatcha say!
Not much to the main event this week. Reigns was saved till last of course. Jericho got worked over for a ton of time with Wyatt isolation. Ambrose got the 1st hot tag and proceeded to hit a tope on the two Wyatts but get back into the ring to get stopped with a spinning heel kick from Rowan. After another struggle came Roman Reigns, and who better to take the force of the hot tag than Luke Harper; who is consistently underlooked and the best man in the stable. The finish to the match was A+ minus the end game DQ, which in reality was better than usual anyways. Jericho & Ambrose hit stereo dives onto Rowan & Bray (continuity as those were basically the pairs during the match). A fired up Reigns & Harper ended their schtik with Reigns coming out on top — but Strowman distracted him for a false finish. Roman finally then hit a superman punch after the kickout, fending off Braun in the process. Roman covered again but Strowman dragged him out of the ring causing the DQ in the process.
Post-match Ambrose & Jericho were taken out by Strowman. The numbers game only catches up on the faces for so long — or does it? An unexpected twist happens as Big Show saves Roman Reigns. The explanation for this is the fact that Show is getting revenge on The Wyatts for attempting to take him out a few weeks ago. Just as The Wyatts put Big Show down, Reigns comes in for a superman punch but Show saves Roman again after Strowman caught him. Reigns countered the Sister Abegail with a successful superman punch this time. Bray sold it well. Ambrose came back in as well as Jericho, as Harper is the last Wyatt standing. Show launches Harper into a Reigns spear as the faces stand tall to end the show. That’ll probably be your RAW main event next week or a SmackDown one next week.
This SmackDown continues the trend of solid episodes since the start of the year. Nothing has been down in the dirt levels yet, as at least we always have Mauro, and now that AJ Styles, the Road to WrestleMania, and so many other variables are added into the mix; we’ve got ourselves a fun SmackDown to look forward to every week — at least for now.