Wrestling’s 4Rs: The Right, Wrong and Ridiculous of WWE Smackdown
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How the 4Rs of wRestling Work!
Here is a quick explanation of the 4R’s. The column will run TWO-THREE times a week. We will group our feelings on the shows in various categories: The Right, the wRong and the Ridiculous. The Right is stuff that worked very well: a great promo, a great match and so on. PuRgatoRy is a section between the right and wrong. It shows equal traits from both sides that cannot be ignored and needs discussed. It is not a bad place per say, as things can get remedied or go the wrong way the very next week. The wRong is what it sounds like: bad matches, bad or boring promos and so on. The Ridiculous is stuff that had no right on TV: Stupid angles and so on. And there is always a possibility of a 5th R, which is as bad as they come. This column is supposed to be analytical, and at the right time very critical of the shows, it was the whole reason it was created. This is not a “mark” column, nor a “smark” column, our goal is to analyze the show from many different fronts, reward the good and call out the bad. We will not apologize for our opinions, they are as they are, whether positive or negative.
– Randy Orton d. Erick Rowan by DQ [*]
– Smackdown Tag Team Championships – The Usos © d. American Alpha [***]
– Mojo Rawley d. Jinder Mahal [*1/2]
– Tye Dillinger d. Aiden English [1/4*]
– US Championship #1 Contender – AJ Styles d. Sami Zayn & Baron Corbin [***1/2]
The Superstar Shakeup Begins: Smackdown opened with the WWE US Champion Kevin Owens coming out as the first new member of Smackdown resulting from the Superstar Shakeup. Owens declared Smackdown to be the new Kevin Owens’ show and he cut a promo about Canadian superiority and he claimed he would become the new face of America as champion. Baron Corbin was the first to interrupt him, telling Owens that he might be able to beat up anyone in the Smackdown locker room, except for him. He said that since he beat Dean Ambrose last week, he was in line for a championship opportunity. Sami Zayn was the next man to come out as the newest member of Smackdown and Owens had a look of shock and dismay over that. AJ Styles soon followed and reminded everyone that Smackdown was his house and will stay his out. Daniel Bryan finished things off by making a #1 Contender’s Match between the three, with the winner facing the winner of the Owens/Jericho Payback match for the US Champion. Good start to the show, it was a simple way to bring Owens & Zayn into a new environment and established the US Championship as a very valuable commodity for the brand, which was great to see. Owens’ facial expression when Zayn came out was the best and both men are perfect additions to the brand, so the Superstar Shakeup on the Smackdown side was already off to a strong start.
The Usos vs. American Alpha: American Alpha had their rematch for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships against the Usos. AA got off to their usual good start early, grounding the Usos and easily clearing the ring of them. When they came back from commercial, Jordan was the face of peril but he was able to fight out of the Usos corner and make the hot tag to Gable who cleaned house. Gable caught Jey with a moonsault for a near fall and he grabbed the hanging cross arm breaker but Jimmy broke it up with a super kick from the floor. He went for the Superfly Splash but it hit the knees and AA caught him with the Doomsday Bulldog for another near fall as Jey saved. The Usos attempted stereo suicide dives to the floor but AA caught them and hit stereo overhead belly-to-belly suplexes instead. Back in the ring, Jimmy blocked an O’Connor roll attempt, sending Gable into Jey who snapped his neck off the ropes. This allowed the Usos to hit a super kick/Superfly Splash combo for the victory. After the match, the Shining Stars attacked American Alpha and laid them out to make a statement. This was another good outing from these two teams, although not as strong a match as their encounter before WrestleMania. It didn’t have the emotion or hot near falls but it still produced crazy action that the crowd eat up and they gave the Usos another solid win to legitimize their reign. The Shining Stars are a nice pickup for Smackdown from an in-ring standpoint but because of how many times they have been repackaged they will go so far and won’t make that much of an impact in the tag division. Adding a team like the Club or Sheamus & Cesaro would have done the division a lot more good.
Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles: Zayn & Styles double teamed Corbin to start but Corbin laid out both with a double suplex. Corbin gained control through the commercial break but Zayn turned the tide of the match with a nice short lariat. Styles caught Zayn with the DVD back breaker but walked into a lariat from Corbin, bringing all three men down. Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Styles for the biggest near fall of the match to that point but Corbin caught him with Deep Six for a close fall as well. Corbin missed a charge in the corner and Styles hit the 450 Splash for 2 as Zayn made the save. A strike sequence led to Zayn knocking Corbin off the apron with the Helluva Kick but he walked right into the Phenomenal Forearm, giving Styles the win. This was a great main event to end the show. Zayn was showcased heavily here, so he looked great even in defeat, going toe to toe with two of the bigger names on the Smackdown brand to show that he’s in their league. They had a good story going throughout the match when Zayn & Styles had to work more stiff and aggressively to try and keep Corbin out of the equation, giving them the chance to do battle on their own. My minor complaint is that there was a bit too much of the one guy outside, two men fight inside formula used in this match but at least the action throughout made that an afterthought.
Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan: Orton went right on the attack but Rowan cut him off with a back elbow. Orton quickly retook control, hitting some of his signature stuff and began to set up for the RKO. Suddenly, Bray Wyatt appeared on screen and said he sensed fear in Orton and was looking forward to seeing him again at the House of Horrors. When the video ended, Orton turned his attention back to Rowan who drilled him with the steel stairs for the DQ. He laid out Orton with the Full Nelson slam after the match. I hope everyone is excited, cause we are three weeks away from finally ending this Orton/Wyatt garbage and moving on. I’ll give props here though, as this was one of the rare occasions where the distraction finish was well executed. The distraction didn’t make Orton look stupid, it was a message sent to Orton and it caused him to walk into a trap. Clearly, Rowan’s role was to assault and hurt Randy, the win or loss didn’t matter, making it a more effective beat down. It got some heat back on Rowan after they beat him last week in his return and Orton doesn’t come across like an idiot because the trap set up wasn’t contrived or obvious. The match was nothing but the execution of the beat down was good, so this was one the rare moments of this Orton/Wyatt saga that they didn’t go over the top with which was a bit refreshing.
Mojo Rawley vs. Jinder Mahal: Gronk was shown at ringside, which made since cause Smackdown was in Boston. They traded blows and Mahal caught Rawley with a knee strike for a near fall. Mojo fired back but Mahal cut him off with a flapjack into the corner. Mahal confronted Gronk at ringside and Gronk returned the favor from WrestleMania by throwing his drink at Mahal, which allowed Mojo the opening to attack. He brought Mahal back into the ring and hit the corner forearm for the win. A decent little match, and Mahal is clearly going to be jobber to the stars which is a fine role for him. They did a nice little call back to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and the Gronk involvement is helping to get Mojo over and give him momentum, so this was a harmless little segment.
Shane McMahon Addresses the Women’s Division: Shane McMahon came out and hyped Smackdown Live as the place to be for opportunity and competition, claiming that the Women’s Division was the epitome of that philosophy. He called out the remaining members of the division and introduced the first newest member. He teased Charlotte be claiming that this new member was the daughter of a WWE Hall of Famer and was a 2nd generation superstar, but it turned out to be Tamina. Shane was about to walk out but then said that his description did match another superstar, and Charlotte was introduced. Again, a very basic and simple segment to bring two new women into the division and at the very least the introductions made both Tamina & Charlotte into big deals right off the bat. The Charlotte move was an excellent one as she had done everything on Raw, so this move gives her a new slate of opponents while letting her maintain her status as the biggest star of the division regardless of the brand.
Aiden English vs. Tye Dillinger: Aiden English tried to sing prior to the match before being interrupted by Dillinger. English yanked Dillinger’s arm against the ropes to start and went on the attack. Dillinger came back with the flying forearm and hit the Tye Breaker for his second straight short victory. First off, I wish Aiden English the best of luck with this new gimmick. Clearly the Simon Gotch firing put him in an even worse place than he was already at, so I hope he makes the most of this singing gimmick but it seems destined for failure and will keep him from having an upward mobility. As for Dillinger, he continues to collect wins but he’s going to need to show a bit more in his matches to get people to invest in him beyond the “10” gimmick. He’s off to a decent start, but he’s going to have to bring more to the table in the coming weeks otherwise he will quickly become an afterthought when the gimmick wears thin.
Dolph Ziggler/Shinsuke Nakamura Confrontation: Dolph Ziggler came out and said that everyone has been wondering about his status in the Superstar Shakeup. He said that he was staying on the show that he put on his back and while everyone will get wrapped up in the new acquisitions, he’ll continue to do what he does best. This brings out Shinsuke Nakamura and Ziggler questioned who he was and why he was in the ring with him. Nakamura introduced himself and Ziggler attempted to super kick him but Nakamura blocked, forcing Ziggler to bail in frustration. It’s amazing how over Nakamura is already without having said much of anything. His entrance and mannerisms are so charismatic and engaging and so far the fans have been eating it up. This was a time filler segment to get Nakamura on the show and to present him as a big deal again, and with Miz gone Ziggler is a fine option for Nakamura’s first program on the main roster, especially since he’ll sell Nakamura’s offense big time so I’m looking forward to their eventually first encounter.