WWE SmackDown Live on April 11, 2017
Watch: USA Network, Hulu, WWE Network on an one-month delay
TD Bank Garden – Boston, MA
It’s time to find out the rest of the results of the Superstar Shake-Up and the first man out is a freshly-shaven Kevin Owens in a suit and the US Title. Even the announce desk got changed up, Mauro controversy aside, with Byron Saxton being traded for David Otunga. Kevin Owens introduces himself and welcomes us to the new Kevin Owens show and demeans the Boston crowd with the superiority of his Montreal Canadians over the Boston Bruins. He tells us that Canadians are better athletes than Americans and he is the new face of America. Baron Corbin walks out and says that Kevin came to SmackDown with his tail between his legs after a loss and tells him that he’s still owed a championship match and Kevin already has one. Shortly after, Sami Zayn makes appears, much to the dismay of Kevin, and AJ Styles walks out to the ring to cheers. After the cheers continue AJ tells Kevin that this isn’t the Kevin Owens show, SmackDown is the house that AJ Styles built. Daniel Bryan walks out to inform us that the US Championship won’t become an official SmackDown title unless Kevin can successfully defend it at Payback but until then all four men will be in a #1 contender’s match for the US title.
Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan
Randy Orton starts off on offense with the crowd counting his punches on the turnbuckle, Rowan gets some offense on Randy but this is very much Randy just messing with Rowan and showing off. Orton hypes up the crowd asking for cheers before hitting a DDT and before he can hit the RKO, Bray Wyatt appears on screen to remind him that they still have a House of Horrors match. After the video ends and the lights turn back on Orton rolls outside and gets hit with the steel steps, disqualifying Rowan and hurting Orton bad, and boy I’m not sure if I’m looking forward to the House of Horrors match.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. American Alpha
American Alpha still enter to silence and now the heel Usos get more of a crowd reaction than them, sad to see for such a promising young tag team. AA are still one of the best tag teams for a hot tag and that’s when they get the most reaction because both guys bring so much energy to a match, the crowd cheered for Gable’s moonsault and near fall after his hot tag in. Gable gets his knees up and pins an Uso, but the referee hesitates on his count and an Uso is able to kick out at two. If not for the referee gaff, AA might have been new tag champions. The Usos go for their signature stereo suicide dive, but AA catch both and suplex them on the floor. The Usos win the match to retain their title and Primo & Epico of the Shining Stars run in, shirtless for some reason, and beat down the defeated American Alpha to some “delete” chants.
Jinder Mahal vs. Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley’s friend, Rob Gronkowski (a.k.a. Gronk) is in the audience just as he was at WrestleMania when he cost Jinder Mahal the chance to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. This is an evenly fought match with both men hitting offense and Jinder taunting Gronk from ringside, Mojo runs up and attacks Jinder before getting soaked in Gronk’s beer. After his win Mojo jumps the barricade to celebrate with his friends and puts on JBL’s hat.
Shane McMahon walks to the ring to discuss the state of SmackDown Live’s women’s division. He first thanks all the former SmackDown superstars for helping realize his and Daniel Bryan’s dream in making the show what it is today and invites the entire women’s locker room to the ring to find out who is joining them. Shane gets down to business to announce the new women, he talks about a second-generation superstar that has a Hall of Fame father causing the crowd to “woooo” and swerves us with announcing Tamina Snuka. He then actually announces that Charlotte in one of the biggest acquisitions of the Superstar Shake-Up.
After a commercial break it is announced that Sin Cara and Rusev & Lana are joining the SmackDown roster. The now solo Aiden English announces that he is now solo and starts singing his promo like in his old Artiste gimmick from early NXT and gets interrupted by Tye Dillinger.
Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English
This an extended squash match to show the main roster audience the Artiste version of Aiden English and to make Tye Dillinger look good.
Lana gets a solo trailer and a ‘coming soon’ graphic for what I can only assume will be a in-ring return.
Dolph Ziggler is in the ring talking about the Superstar Shake-Up and tells the audience that he helped make SmackDown and after a couple weeks the new RAW superstars will lose their luster and we’ll be stuck with and bless the heavens Nakamura is here to stop Ziggler from talking. The crowd sings along to his theme song and chants Nakamura’s name, Ziggler asks he exactly he thinks he is and the crowd gets back to chanting “Nakamura” while Nakamura just nods his head. Nakamura places his hand out for the mic and tells Ziggler, “You want to know who I am? I am Shinsuke Nakamura.” Ziggler tries to superkick Nakamura, but it’s caught and Nakamura taunts Ziggler while he walks to the back. If anyone had fears about Nakamura’s reception with the normal WWE audience, and they had a right to be nervous, this segment should help calm those fears. He spoke only a few sentences and the crowd ate up everything, from the theme song to the poses, the one thing we should fear is that he has to face Ziggler in his first feud.
A coming soon graphic is played for the New Day coming to SmackDown Live.
AJ Styles vs Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn
Baron Corbin uses his strength to put both of his opponents on the ground and takes AJ to the outside before Sami and AJ team up to get Corbin out of the ring. With just two in the ring, Styles and Zayn stare each other down before locking up, Styles is back outside and Sami sizes up a tope suicide, but Corbin grabs his ankles and throws him onto the ramp. Styles comes to the action and is punched by Corbin, Zayn gets on the apron and kicks Corbin square in the jaw. This is a fire triple-threat match with two great wrestlers and a good wrestler that’s developing his skills greatly since being drafted to the main roster. Corbin slides out of the ring and tries sliding back in but Styles’ runs in and knees Corbin to hell. Something that SmackDown Live has excelled in is triple threat main events and this could arguably be one of the best since the brand split. You should go out of your way to see this if you like WWE style matches because it was a barn burner and showed off every wrestler’s strength and let them showcase signature moves.
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE ON APRIL 11, 2017
Great - 8.0/10
This has been one of the strongest episodes of SmackDown Live since I've been reviewing them and the best episode in a couple of weeks. The loss of Miz & Maryse to RAW hurts but SmackDown has kept John Cena, AJ Styles and has gained many excellent wrestlers like Charlotte, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn.