What’s up, gang. It’s the second SmackDown post-WrestleMania, and we’re in the middle of the Superstar Shake-Up, so apparently anything can happen.
Well, fuck me: things kick off with us getting Kevin Owens. I guess Ambrose heading over to RAW made this a little obvious, but this is frigging awesome. Except shit: they gave us Byron Saxton. Where is Mauro Ranallo? WHERE IS MAURO RANALLO?
KO welcomes us to the brand new Kevin Owens Show. He says that SmackDown Live just got a huge upgrade with him being there, and he’s brought the US Title with him. He says that he knows it must be confusing, having a Canadian United States Champion, but people should be thankful because Canada’s better. Well, that’s kind of hard to argue right now.
Owens throws around some American football talk, which I don’t understand because it’s not rugby. He lays down a challenge for anyone to come and shut him up, in French no less, and says that he’s here to be the new face of America.
Baron Corbin’s music starts, and that’s not someone I imagined coming out to fight for truth, justice and the American way. He has a microphone and says that he’s sure Owens could beat up all the crowd, most of the locker room, but says that Kevin can’t beat him up. Last week, he beat Ambrose so bad that he ran to RAW, and Dean beat Owens so bad that the latter ran to SmackDown. Corbin says he wants a Championship match, and seeing as how Owens has a title, Baron’s going to have to beat him and take it from him.
Owens starts telling Corbin that he doesn’t get a shot and never gets a shot, and suddenly Sami Zayn appears. Wow, so he’s like Kevin Owens’ curse or personal poltergeist. Owens starts breaking down a little, saying that Zayn can’t be here, but Sami says that he’s here. Man, Zayn seems happy about being on SmackDown, seeing as how he was so angry about Foley threatening to send him here a while back.
Before much can kick off, AJ Styles makes his entrance and approaches the ring, confirming that he’s not going anywhere hopefully. Crowd immediately and vocally approves, with Styles’ smile giving further fuel to the face turn fire. He tells Owens that this isn’t the Kevin Owens Show, but SmackDown Live. He says it’s not the Underdog from the Underground or the Lone Underwolf, but about AJ Styles and Styles is still here.
Daniel Bryan appears, and I guess it would have been a real shock if it had been Kurt Angle. Bryan says that Owens’ title defence against Jericho is set in stone, and the winner of that match will be coming to SmackDown Live, pretty much laying out the result of that match too. But tonight, the other three in the ring will be having a number one contender’s triple threat match to face whoever finishes Payback as Champion.
Meanwhile, Randy Orton is walking around backstage, presumably still wondering what the fuck a House of Horrors Match is.
I’d be far more likely to watch a House of Whores match
When we come back, Erick Rowan has jobber-entranced his way to the ring, so make of that what you will re. his chances against the World Champion in this match. Orton makes his own, far longer and girthier entrance, still wearing that sleeveless fucking top.
Bell rings and Orton takes control immediately, smacking Rowan around in corners before running into a back elbow. Rowan hits some hobo offence, then sets Randy up on the second rope for a superplex. Orton fights his way free, then hits a powerslam to the man with the glorious beard. Erick ducks to the outside and Orton follows, dodging a second charge by Rowan to send the Wyatt Family member right into the steel steps.
Rowan forces himself back into the ring, only to get Vintage Ortoned, and Randy looks for the RKO before Bray Wyatt’s television interference kicks in. Bray’s onscreen, babbling with all of the lyrical incoherence of a meth head. He promises that he’ll see Orton at the House of Horrors, then returns us to our regularly-scheduled broadcast.
Meanwhile, Rowan has grabbed the steel stairs that Orton sent him into. Randy sees this and decides to run straight the fuck into them to get the easy win via DQ. Back in the ring, Rowan hits a full nelson slam to the World Champ.
WWE managed to take a feud which had all of the potential in the world, and now we’re here. And people expect them to deliver on this House of Horrors match? 1.5 Stars.
More of this, please
The Usos are in the ring, ready to finally give American Alpha their goddamn required rematches. Jordan and Jey start off, with Jason trying to work the leg before slamming Jey to the mat. He spears the Uso in the corner, then tags in Gable for a double-team suplex. Jey drives Gable into his own corner, allowing him to tag in Jimmy. Gable outwrestles Jimmy, getting a blind tag to Jordan and helps him clear the ring of the Usos.
When we come back from the commercial break, Jey hits a dragon whip enzuigiri to Jordan, knocking him silly. Jason avoids charges by both Jey and Jimmy, but Jimmy is able to grab his leg, stopping him from reaching Gable before Jordan kicks him away, making the tag. Gable deals out suplexes like my principal dealt out cocaine, then hits a goddamn moonsault to Jimmy for a near fall!
Gable knocks Jimmy out of the ring, then dodges a stinger splash from Jey, latching on an armbar over the ropes. Jimmy superkicks him right in the face, then hits a Samoan Splash which lays him out across Gable’s knees! Gable rolls him up for the second near fall of the match, then tags Jordan in!
Jordan ducks another enzuigiri, then American Alpha hit their bulldog double team, with Jey only just making the save! Jey dumps Chad, then Jason, and then both Usos dive through the ropes…right into belly-to-belly suplexes! Spear to Jimmy, and they’re going for Grand Amplitude, but Jey superkicks Jason in the skull! Gable tries to roll up Jimmy, who gets the blind tag to Jey. Jey hangs Gable up on the ropes, Jimmy delivers with the superkick and Jey hits the Samoan Splash for the win!
Excellent match, with some amazing back and forth. All four men looked great. 3.5 Stars.
Primo and Epico take out American Alpha, so I guess they’re now on SmackDown. If anyone would like to pour me a shot glass full of bleach, that’d be amazing.
This ain’t hype
Here’s Mojo Rawley, presumably to talk about what an amazing, kind and philanthropic guy Andre the Giant was. Rob Gronkowski is at ringside, whoever the shit he is. And it looks like Jinder Mahal’s on SmackDown too, so make that a shot glass full of bleach and some razor blades on the side, please.
Jinder starts by teeing off on Mojo, but it only makes him MORE HYPE. Big old clothesline from Mojo, and Mahal fights back with some token offence, knocking Rawley down at some point with a big knee and working him over on the mat.
Jinder keeps Rawley grounded for a minute, but you can’t keep the hype down and Mojo hits some shoulder blocks and stinger splashes. Mahal knocks Mojo down, then goes to ask Rob Gronkowski who the fuck is he and what is a House of Horrors match. Mojo jumps Mahal, who then gets beer thrown in his face by Rob. Rawley takes him back into the ring to hit a forearm for the victory.
I actually like Mojo’s finisher, but I hate pretty much everything else about this match. 1 Star.
The Commissioner’s dancing out to the ring to a good reception. Shane grabs a microphone and says that he’d like to thank all of the wrestlers who’s moved from SmackDown to RAW for everything they’ve put into this show. He says he’s here to talk about the Women’s Division, which he and Daniel Bryan are particularly proud of. He invites the current Women’s Division out to the ring, and they make their way out individually: Naomi, Natalya, Carmella, Becky. Wow, we only have four women wrestlers and an Ellsworth.
Shane congratulates Naomi, but Ellsworth butts in to say that Naomi’s just the worst Champion: just the worst. The only reason people tune into SmackDown Live is to see them. Naomi grabs the microphone and physically threatens Ellsworth like that man hasn’t defeated AJ Styles more than once. Shane waits for this to die down, and introduces the new members of the SmackDown Women’s Division.
He hints at Charlotte, but then reveals that he’s instead talking about Tamina. Oh great: that’s exciting. I mean…what an acquisition? Shane then announces that we got Charlotte too, because he’s a fucking tease.
In other news, we also got Sin Cara and Rusev. So far, I’m happy about Zayn, Owens and Charlotte, and otherwise feel like they’re really dumping some dead weight onto this show.
I’m sure it’s all worth it, English
Speaking of dead weight, Aiden English is in the ring. He says he’s a singles competitor now, but now the spotlight is on him. English starts singing, but Tye Dillinger’s music hits to mercifully end this. At least Tye knows how to debut, unlike that Nakamura disaster from last week.
Tye hits a snapmare to English before cartwheeling. He takes Aiden down at the legs, then locks the arm. English fights back, wailing away on Dillinger in the corner. English sends Tye flying across the ring, then charges right into him. Tye dodges a splash and starts to build momentum against English, stomping a mudhole in him. Tye Breaker finishes it.
Another fair showcase from Dillinger. Looking forward to his first feud. 2.5 Stars.
Dolph Ziggler is in the ring with a microphone, and says that he’s staying here on SmackDown Live. “Well, that’s fantastic,” said David, sarcastically. Ziggler talks about himself for a while and says that when we’re bored of the new superstars, we’ll still have him. Be still my heart.
And here’s Shinsuke Nakamura, doing his weird-ass dance to the ring. Let’s see if he does something more than just show up this week. Ziggler asks if he can help Nakamura, claiming not to know who he is. I mean…didn’t they have a dark match last week? The crowd answers Ziggler’s question for Nakamura, who keeps staring down Dolph. Then the crowd starts singing his theme tune too, which is pretty fantastic.
Ziggler gives Nakamura the microphone, and he tells Dolph his name. Dolph tries a superkick, which Nakamura blocks and dumps Ziggler on his ass. Ziggler teases a confrontation, and then backs out of the ring. One day, God willing, he’ll perform a move on this show.
Welcome to SmackDown, Sami Zayn
And it’s time for our main event: Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin, with the winner getting a shot at either Chris Jericho’s or Kevin Owen’s United States Championship on the other side of Payback. All three men make their way to the ring, and we sound the bell.
Corbin goes after Zayn, but ends up getting chopped down by AJ and Sami and kicked around in the corner. Zayn and Styles try to hit a suplex, but Baron turns it around on them and tees off on Zayn some more. Corbin throws Styles out of the ring, with the former Champ skinning the cat to get back inside, only for Baron to clothesline him out again.
Zayn plays keep-away with Baron for a moment before hitting a headscissors, then Styles and Zayn clothesline the big man out of the ring. The two stare each other down, then lock up. Zayn latches on a headlock, is shot off the ropes, rolls under Styles’ legs, eats a snap hurricanrana from the floor but manages to hit a running dropkick to the face. Styles rolls to the outside, and Sami wants to dive onto him but Corbin grabs him and takes him out on the ramp.
Styles rushes at Corbin, who slugs him clean in the face. Zayn recovers and leaps onto the apron, then springboard-moonsaults onto both Styles and Corbin as we go to a commercial break! When we come back, Corbin is in control of both Zayn and Styles, keeping the two men down. A sideslam to Zayn gets two, then Corbin hits a big boot to Styles to get another two count.
AJ hits Corbin with a flurry before getting clotheslined down to the mat, but then Zayn surprises Baron with a clothesline of his own before elevating Styles over the top! Exploder suplex to Corbin in the corner, but Zayn is caught midway to the Helluva Kick by an ushigoroshi from AJ, right before a monster clothesline practically takes Styles’ head off!
Corbin smacks Zayn around for a second, dashing out of the ring for his clothesline, only to get intercepted by a knee to the face from Styles! Styles heads back into the ring, only to eat a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall! Sami puts AJ up on the top rope and climbs up after him, looking for a superplex, but Corbin interrupts by getting Zayn up on his shoulders! Styles tries for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Zayn ducks down for a victory roll pin which nearly wins him the match!
Baron runs into Sami’s boots, who then runs right into a Deep Six, with AJ Styles breaking up the pin. Styles manages to get out of the way of Corbin’s charge, kicks him in the face and hits a 450 splash, with Zayn breaking up the pin this time! Zayn and AJ have a slugfest, and Styles hits clotheslines to a cornered Zayn and Corbin. Corbin then hits clotheslines to Zayn and Styles, with Sami laying Corbin and Styles out with big boots, only to eat a Pele Kick from Styles!
Zayn counters the Styles Clash, hits a Helluva Kick to knock Corbin off the apron and then walks right into a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles to end the match!
Phenomenal. What an introduction to SmackDown for Sami Zayn. Corbin and Styles did excellent work too: this match was damn near to flawless for fifteen whole minutes. 5 Stars.
For the most part, thus show was pretty forgettable. The clear exceptions are this match and the Tag Team Titles match, both of which are examples of what this show should be all about. 7/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Bray Wyatt, Carmella, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Erick Rowan, jbl, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Mojo Rawley, naomi, Natalya, Randy Orton, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, Tamina Snuka, The Miz, Tom Phillips