Coming off of a completely ‘meh’ (hence the title of the review) episode of SmackDown, we switch gears to the ever-so-interesting United Kingdom crowd for SmackDown in London. I could have watched this on a satellite feed in HD, but I chose, like Dan for RAW, to review the full TV product. Them Russians and their hacks. Nonetheless, with Guns and Gallows confirmed to appear, this is already an intriguing episode. I don’t know much more besides that fact, so let’s get into the show.
We get a recap of the AJ Styles and Roman Reigns storyline developments from RAW, including a Bullet Club reunion. SmackDown emanates from London, England as aforementioned, and opens up right away with Miz and Maryse like past weeks. AJ Styles is the guest on MizTV this week. The last one with the two elevated Styles, getting the crowd to chant with the kayfabe ‘rookie’. The two tried to get Styles to spill the beans regarding them being closer than we expected because of the attack that happened on RAW. “Need is not weak, and need is need,” Miz says, and Miz was co-opted by Roman for the segment, explaining he’s the guy and he does it alone. MY GOD. Miz started talking in Styles’ accent and then broke into a love session with Maryse. They made out and Styles attacked Miz.
Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens was announced for tonight, via fallout from last week on SmackDown that saw the main event end in chaos. Also The Miz vs. AJ Styles was announced.
A WrestleMania rematch without the title on the line. OK then. They managed to have a better match than WrestleMania. Tons of good, never before seen sequences. Kalisto bumped around like an absolute mad man, as per usual, which is a trait that pushes him up to the top echelon of workers in the company. He sold his left shoulder, with was worked on, very well as well. Kalisto routed a comeback, but the story was that Ryback had already figured him out. A shellshock was reversed into a DDT, Kalisto was caught in mid-air and hit a spinning heel kick, but a nice finish saw Ryback hit a shell shock for the win. Not a fan of the booking, but it’s what’s expected from WWE. Kalisto has now taken a pin two weeks in a row on SmackDown. Ryback got the win and posed with the U.S. title even though he’s not even the one challenging Kalisto at Payback. It’s like Vince just felt like having Kalisto buried cause why not when you’re elevating Ryback. The ONLY way this makes sense is if Ryback is the next likely Reigns challenger, but still that’s cloudy.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin was “scheduled” to happen, but Corbin jumped Ziggler and chucked him around everywhere like the geek he is. He hit an End of Days on the floor, which in turn had a bigger impact than the box office hit Countdown; which you can read my review of on the site. Rich Brennan interviewed Baron post-attack, and it was a one sentence retort. Because Baron can!
These guys had a killer SmackDown match back in February. This was by far and large a pay-per-view match. Holy shit was this ever fantastic. Arguably the best wrestler in the world, who is also the best TV worker on the planet vs. the overall most underrated (not Meltzer’s underrated) man on the planet today, having a WWE MOTY level match? Color me shocked. Aside from the WrestleMania 32 Ladder Match, and the New Day vs. AJ Styles (unreal track record this year) matches. Best SmackDown match this year as well, on a neck-on-neck tie with Jericho/Styles II, but this finish was even cooler. This was so unique and felt so natural and smooth. We had a Muta lock strapped on with Mauro calling it such and explaining the nature behind the move, fantastic distractions, heel heat work overs, a boatload of spectacular counters, and a perfect signature/finisher reversal/kickout balance. Everything about this was wonderful, and the guys got tons of time for TV. Maryse was used many times which made her an important figure in the match. Miz threw a helluva working punch and got in control for the time being, until insane sequences and a DOUBLE COLLISION! Tons of wondrous edge of your seat near falls occurred and then we got beautiful Figure 4 Leg Lock limbwork but Miz sold the counter pressure put on like a million bucks. An INSANE Calf Crusher rope break happened where Miz literally got a part of his finger on the rope. The entire story of the match came to fruition, as Miz was able to duck the flying forearm everytime, but when Maryse got the belt as a callback spot to the Ryder match, ANDERSON AND GALLOWS walked down the ramp, resulting in an AJ springboard flying forearm and a phenomenal forearm back in the ring for the victory. You cannot miss this match. Watch it immediately.
Rich Brennan was with Sami Zayn and Dean Ambrose, the “IWC Dream Team”. They’re going to make them feel like two pounds of leftover spotted dick. Excuse me … what? Let’s carry on. They barter about team names, going with Rough Riders (with Sami implying it’s too sexual). Dean asked Sami to take his stupid hat off, as they’re going to go kick ass. This was awful but it gets a pass because Sami Zayn.
Anderson and Gallows were backstage with Rich Brennan. They explained they don’t NEED to help AJ, and they are here to (drumroll) make an impact. Hue hue hue. They announced they’re facing The Usos on RAW next Monday night.
These girls have had solid C-show tags, maybe even considered good. This was alright. Typical short women’s match formula. Babyfaces got in some offense only for Natalya to be worked over at an incredibly boring pace, specifically by Tamina, only for Paige to get a hot tag, the DDT to be broken up right away, but a stereo sharpshooter/Paige Tap Out got them the win. An awkward note I had to jot down was that Naomi sold that … you know … private part after having both her legs stretched out. A weird but effective double team move? Per usual, nothing must see whatsoever. Just another filler, put over situation.
Why couldn’t Golden Truth just have formed before WrestleMania? Now they’re stuck in a mini-feud with Fandango in the mix. I don’t get it. Goldust has a golden ref uniform! This was short and goofy. Fandango and Goldust danced together. R-Truth hit Fandango with a Lie Detector for the win, then Goldust and Truth danced together. Why did this happen again?
Fresh off of their win on Monday Night RAW vs. The Dudley Boyz, Enzo and Cass are here! Some modern comedy, I’ll leave that there. Great crowd reaction for the duo, that adds Europe to the ‘over’ regarding the main roster crowds checklist. Before their introductory promo could go too far, The Vaudevillains interrupted. I believe this is their first promo on the main roster. English called Enzo a rodent.
“Well, “Butterscotch” Simon Gotch, and Aiden “I can’t stop hatin”” English, you wanna come out here using big words? Well let me tell you somethin’ pal, you keep reading the books, we’ll keep writin’ ’em, how you doin’?
Enzo brought even more fire, highlighting his agility with wordplay out of this world. Enzo makes more sense than some Brit accents. Sorry U.K. lads. The Villains heeled it up huge, in their old-esque accents. They essentially went Silas Young mode, but more old. When they lay over S.A.W.F.T. at Payback, they’re going to ask them “how are you doing” with proper annunciation. Enzo and Cass retort with straight facts, though. The Vaudevillains are still S.A.W.F.T. no matter what happens at Payback.
Another, already aired before, Primo and Epico (yes, it’s confirmed they’re keeping their names) promo aired.
Even though the main event last week ended in a DQ, it made sense, as this has resulted even more from RAW, and this is a tag showcase of two singles matches set for Payback. This was a solid main event. Nothing special, but a good tag, with tons of heel in control moments that made for a nice point in both feuds continuation. I won’t complain for a SmackDown main event. Sami Zayn was so over, it was great. He went for an old school on Jericho but decided to dive on Owens instead, the two went at it quite a bit in the match, resulting in Zayn being chucked into the barricade injured shoulder first. Kevin always goes for the injury. Ambrose’s facial expressions were top notch. whether it was reacting to a potential lionsault victory, or playing to the camera. A Blue Thunder Bomb was used as a hot tag transition which is what it should be used for in tags. Jericho was 619 apron lariated, only to come back to push Ambrose off the top rope, in which Ambrose fell privates first on the ropes, and Kevin Owens … just simply … pinned him for the victory. Okay then.
This SmackDown review is entitled “Light in London” for various reasons. The roster was light because of a triple championship defense at the other house show, a lot of segments failed to impress, and for the most part, everything felt light except a good Kalisto/Ryback match and a WWE MOTY, definite WWE TV MOTY level match between The Miz and AJ Styles. Besides the two matches, there’s nothing you need to tune into SmackDown for this week. Until next time.