6/13 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton go face-to-face, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler, Charlotte vs. Natalya

By Jake Barnett

WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Aired live from New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center

The show opened with Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton announcing six man tags between the men’s Money in the Bank competitors, along with New Day and Breezango vs. The Usos and Colons. New Day made their ring entrance with the Jazz Band Soul Rebels. Kofi gave them a shout out and reminded the crowd that New Orleans would host WrestleMania in 2018. Xavier said that once they defeat the Usos and take their championships, they could return to their off off off off off off broadway version of Straight Outta Compton, and they would come to New Orleans with the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.

The Uso’s interrupted Jimmy called the new day Drumline. They entered the ring and said they’ve been the ones putting in work. They were the ones that have been grinding, and they would retain their championships at Money in the Bank. The Fashion Police walked out and told The Usos had a big break in their case, and their Day 1 is not so H. It was G……for gross. The Colons walked out and said their fashion sense was horrible. Primo called them rent a cops, and said they would bust them right now. Big E piped up and said they would put their boots between their butts, because New Day Rocks…[c]

My Take: The Usos and New Day were nearly having a good promo there until the rest of the teams came out. Fashion Police got no response for their promo, and the Colons managed to be even worse. Maybe New Orleans isn’t the place for people to politely chuckle at weird WWE metahumor.

1. The Fashion Police and New Day vs. The Colons and The Usos: Kofi and Epico started. New Day took control early with some fast paced double team offense. Fandango tagged in and chopped away at Epico got a cover for a two count following a dropkick. Tyler Breeze tagged in and Epico turned the table on him with a kick to the gut. He tagged in Jimmy Uso, who hit a superkick and tagged out to Primo, who applied a neck crank. Breeze caught up with Primo with a dropkick, and then tagged out to Xavier Woods.

Woods used Breeze in a double team and slammed him onto Primo. Things began to break down and all the competitors entered the ring. After a series of clotheslines and dropkicks, the heels had been cleared from the ring and celebrated…[c]

The heels abused Tyler Breeze with double team moves. The Usos hit a modified version of the Demolition Decapitator and covered for a two count. Jey then hit a Rikishi Splash in the corner for a near fall. Breeze broke free of a headlock with some elbows, but Epico cut him off from making a tag and hit a stalling suplex for a near fall. Breeze eventually broke free after Primo and Epico collided and made a hot tag to Kofi Kingston. Xavier Woods cleared the heels from the apron. Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise and covered Jimmy Uso, but Jey broke it up. Epico tagged in and was quickly dispatched and pinned as New Day hit their own version of the Demolition Decapitator.

New Day and the Fashion Police defeated The Usos and The Colons

Charlotte and Natalya were hyped for later…[c]

My Take: The Colons were the obvious choice to take the loss here. The match was fun in spots, but fell into the TV Tag Match formula of sell, breakdown, finish. They did manage to give The New Day a win and keep the Usos clean, so it worked in that respect.

Backstage, Nakamura and Styles were chatting when Sami Zayn walked up. He asked them what they wanted to do, and wanted to talk strategy. Styles and Nakamura were clearly annoyed while Sami bloviated about nothing. He was blabbing about who should start the match while Nakamura and AJ looked on. After he left, Nakamura told AJ he liked him, and AJ rolled his eyes and said “of course you do”. Mojo Rawley was then interviewed backstage, and was in a somber mood. He said he asked for a chance and he got one, and he was glad he lost in a way, because he always bounces back to bigger and better things. Zack Ryder then approached from behind, and said they had unfinished business as a team. They shook hands and walked off together.

In the arena, Naomi made her entrance…[c]

My Take: Sami Zayn has the worst character in WWE. He’s a Seinfeld character at this point. I’m not convinced the addition of the Hype Bros will drastically improve the Smackdown Tag Division, but it gives me hope that The Usos aren’t quite done yet as champs.

Tamina made her entrance for the next match. Lana also made an entrance, and gyrated a bit before walking to the ring. She shimmied a bit on her way down the ramp, for some reason.

2. Naomi vs. Tamina: Tamina hit the first high impact move with a big elbow, and then followed up with some hair tosses. She the applied a rear chin lock, but Naomi escaped and hit a few kicks to fire back. Tamina recovered and hit a clothesline and a running knee in the corner to take back control. She then hit another clothesline and covered for a two count. Naomi recovered again with some kicks, one to the face and several to the legs. She attempted a running clothesline, but Tamina caught her and turned it into a Uranage. Tamina went up top, but Naomi pulled her down and hit a split legged moonsault for the win.

Naomi defeated Tamina at 5:54.

After the match, Lana entered the ring and knocked down Tamina from behind. She then hit a sit out slam, and posed over Naomi holding the Smackdown women’s championship…[c]

My Take: Lana was a bit clumsy looking in her debut. I guess I can’t be shocked, but I was hoping for a more confident performance from her. Hopefully Sunday is better than I expect, but I must admit I don’t have much confidence that we’ll get an instant classic from Naomi and Lana.

Jinder Mahal made his ring entrance, and was introduced by one of the Singh Brothers. He told the crowd to rise and show him some respect. He soaked in boos and said he would prove that Randy Orton is a coward. Mahal claimed that Orton was afraid to embarrass his friends and family, and that his father and other legends would be sitting in the front row. He then said Orton has avoided him since he embarrassed him at Backlash. He said he was afraid of him, and that fear would be his sword to introduce the age of the Modern Day Maharaja. He then spoke to “his people” in his language of punjabi.

Orton’s music hit as Mahal was finishing up speaking, and he sent the Singh Brothers up the ramp to meet him. Orton then approached from behind and hit an RKO in stride. He fired up the crowd with some taunts, and then exited through the ringside area and posed in the audience. Mahal was left laid out and the Singh Brothers were tending to him.

Backstage Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Baron Corbin were talking strategy. Owens wanted them to follow his lead, and both guys objected. Owens said he didn’t like Corbin, and liked Ziggler a little more, but that wasn’t saying much. He pitched working together by saying it was in their best interest to hurt the other three guys rather than go into Money in the Bank as their own worst enemies. Charlotte and Natalya are up next…[c]

My Take: Mahal and Orton is limping into Money in the Bank, but I think the RKO out of nowhere might be my favorite moment of their feud. The promo work has left a lot to be desired, tonight included. Mahal comes out and repeats himself every week like he’s got some kind of tautological disorder. Orton’s sudden reverence for legends and focus on his hometown really make the outcome of this match feel somewhat telegraphed for Mahal.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Randy Orton. She asked what he had to say about Jinder Mahal questioning his legacy. Orton replied that he had made his statement in the ring, and he would take back his championship on Sunday in St. Louis. In the arena, Natalya made her entrance, followed by Charlotte.

3. Charlotte vs. Natalya: Charlotte attempted to roll Nattie up early on, but both women’s shoulders were down. Becky Lynch was shown backstage watching the match. Nattie grabbed a handful of hair and slammed Charlotte backwards onto the mat…[c]

Natalya applied a surfboard before lowering Charlotte onto her knees and pulling back on her arms. She then threw Charlotte into the middle turnbuckle. Charlotte went for a backslide a moment later, but couldn’t execute. She then threw Nattie into the corner and hit a big chop as she came back up. Charlotte hit an overhead throw and then climbed up top to hit a moonsault. She hit flush and covered for a near fall.

Charlotte went out to the apron, and hit a big forearm on Nattie. She then tried to climb back up top, but got caught and powerbombed for a near fall. Nattie went for a Sharpshooter, but Charlotte rolled her up instead for a two count. She the followed up with a big boot and got a near fall. She hit Natural Selection a moment later and got the pinfall victory.

Charlotte defeated Natalya at 7:41.

After the match, the announce team went over a WWE Network pitch. They were cut off by a Fashion Files segment. Fandango was shown flexing his muscles in a mirror, and wondered where Breeze was. He checked their office, and found him out on the floor. He asked him why he was on the floor, and he said he was attacked. He described the attackers as having greasy hair, dry skin, and one….no two arms. Fandango drew some stick figures, and Breeze said those were the guys. They walked up as Fandango told Breeze to get it together…[c]

My Take: I liked the Natalya and Charlotte match. It had a good pace, didn’t have a lot of execution mistakes, and didn’t overstay it’s welcome. The Fashion files were odd. It’s almost like they are ripping the Raw mystery storyline, but they forgot to be funny in the process.

Backstage, Lana was interviewed by Dasha Fuentes. Lana said she doesn’t care what she or the WWE Universe cares about her. She said this Sunday at Money in the Bank, she would shock the world and become the first ravishing Smackdown Women’s Champion. In the arena, entrances began for the main event. First was Kevin Owens, followed by Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, and the babyface trio of Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura….[c]

4. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler: Nakamura and Ziggler were already in the match as the show returned. Ziggler hit a dropkick and tagged in Owens, who cut off Nakamura in the heel corner and tagged in Corbin. He hit knees and strikes to a downed Nakamura in the corner, and then tagged Ziggler back in to apply a chin lock. Nakamura avoided an elbow and made a tag to AJ Styles, who hit a running forearm on Ziggler, and another on Corbin and Owens to knock him off the apron. He hit an Ushigoroshi on Ziggler and things broke down. Owens entered and went after Styles, but that prompted Zayn to toss him out of the ring and follow up with a tope out to the floor.

Styles went for a Styles Clash, but Ziggler reversed into a DDT for a near fall. Zayn and Corbin tagged in. Corbin hit a deep six immediately and covered, but Nakamura broke it up…[c]

The heel squad worked over Sami Zayn in their corner. Baron Corbin landed several punches and taunted Styles and Nakamura. He then hit a body block and dragged Zayn back to the heel corner to tag in Owens. Zayn fired back with a blue thunder bomb on Owens, who crawled over to his corner, only to be shut down by Baron Corbin. Corbin tossed Zayn hard into the heel corner, but it knocked Ziggler off the apron. Zayn managed to clear all the heels from the ring before crawling for a tag, but the heels pulled Nakamura and Styles off the apron.

Styles recovered and hit a big forearm on Corbin, which set him up for a Helluva Kick. Sami covered and got the win for his team.

Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, and Baron Corbin at 16:11.

After the match, Ziggler blindsided Styles, and joined Owens in taking out AJ and Sami with a ladder. Corbin entered and took out both Ziggler and Owens, but the camera missed the action while focused on the briefcase. Corbin set up a ladder and looked to climb to grab the briefcase, but Nakamura pushed the ladder over and sent him into the top rope. Nakamura followed up with Kinshasa, and then grabbed the briefcase for himself to close the show.

My Take: Not much notable about the match, but with Nakamura grabbing the briefcase generally rules him out for Sunday. I think that officially makes Baron Corbin my prediction. I’m wondering if that means Nakamura goes after Kevin Owens and the US Championship next, and we get Orton vs. Styles for Summerslam along with Mahal vs. Cena. Only time will tell.

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6/13 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton go face-to-face, Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler, Charlotte vs. Natalya

By Jake Barnett

WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Aired live from New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center

The show opened with Tom Phillips and Byron Saxton announcing six man tags between the men’s Money in the Bank competitors, along with New Day and Breezango vs. The Usos and Colons. New Day made their ring entrance with the Jazz Band Soul Rebels. Kofi gave them a shout out and reminded the crowd that New Orleans would host WrestleMania in 2018. Xavier said that once they defeat the Usos and take their championships, they could return to their off off off off off off broadway version of Straight Outta Compton, and they would come to New Orleans with the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.

The Uso’s interrupted Jimmy called the new day Drumline. They entered the ring and said they’ve been the ones putting in work. They were the ones that have been grinding, and they would retain their championships at Money in the Bank. The Fashion Police walked out and told The Usos had a big break in their case, and their Day 1 is not so H. It was G……for gross. The Colons walked out and said their fashion sense was horrible. Primo called them rent a cops, and said they would bust them right now. Big E piped up and said they would put their boots between their butts, because New Day Rocks…[c]

My Take: The Usos and New Day were nearly having a good promo there until the rest of the teams came out. Fashion Police got no response for their promo, and the Colons managed to be even worse. Maybe New Orleans isn’t the place for people to politely chuckle at weird WWE metahumor.

1. The Fashion Police and New Day vs. The Colons and The Usos: Kofi and Epico started. New Day took control early with some fast paced double team offense. Fandango tagged in and chopped away at Epico got a cover for a two count following a dropkick. Tyler Breeze tagged in and Epico turned the table on him with a kick to the gut. He tagged in Jimmy Uso, who hit a superkick and tagged out to Primo, who applied a neck crank. Breeze caught up with Primo with a dropkick, and then tagged out to Xavier Woods.

Woods used Breeze in a double team and slammed him onto Primo. Things began to break down and all the competitors entered the ring. After a series of clotheslines and dropkicks, the heels had been cleared from the ring and celebrated…[c]

The heels abused Tyler Breeze with double team moves. The Usos hit a modified version of the Demolition Decapitator and covered for a two count. Jey then hit a Rikishi Splash in the corner for a near fall. Breeze broke free of a headlock with some elbows, but Epico cut him off from making a tag and hit a stalling suplex for a near fall. Breeze eventually broke free after Primo and Epico collided and made a hot tag to Kofi Kingston. Xavier Woods cleared the heels from the apron. Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise and covered Jimmy Uso, but Jey broke it up. Epico tagged in and was quickly dispatched and pinned as New Day hit their own version of the Demolition Decapitator.

New Day and the Fashion Police defeated The Usos and The Colons

Charlotte and Natalya were hyped for later…[c]

My Take: The Colons were the obvious choice to take the loss here. The match was fun in spots, but fell into the TV Tag Match formula of sell, breakdown, finish. They did manage to give The New Day a win and keep the Usos clean, so it worked in that respect.

Backstage, Nakamura and Styles were chatting when Sami Zayn walked up. He asked them what they wanted to do, and wanted to talk strategy. Styles and Nakamura were clearly annoyed while Sami bloviated about nothing. He was blabbing about who should start the match while Nakamura and AJ looked on. After he left, Nakamura told AJ he liked him, and AJ rolled his eyes and said “of course you do”. Mojo Rawley was then interviewed backstage, and was in a somber mood. He said he asked for a chance and he got one, and he was glad he lost in a way, because he always bounces back to bigger and better things. Zack Ryder then approached from behind, and said they had unfinished business as a team. They shook hands and walked off together.

In the arena, Naomi made her entrance…[c]

My Take: Sami Zayn has the worst character in WWE. He’s a Seinfeld character at this point. I’m not convinced the addition of the Hype Bros will drastically improve the Smackdown Tag Division, but it gives me hope that The Usos aren’t quite done yet as champs.

Tamina made her entrance for the next match. Lana also made an entrance, and gyrated a bit before walking to the ring. She shimmied a bit on her way down the ramp, for some reason.

2. Naomi vs. Tamina: Tamina hit the first high impact move with a big elbow, and then followed up with some hair tosses. She the applied a rear chin lock, but Naomi escaped and hit a few kicks to fire back. Tamina recovered and hit a clothesline and a running knee in the corner to take back control. She then hit another clothesline and covered for a two count. Naomi recovered again with some kicks, one to the face and several to the legs. She attempted a running clothesline, but Tamina caught her and turned it into a Uranage. Tamina went up top, but Naomi pulled her down and hit a split legged moonsault for the win.

Naomi defeated Tamina at 5:54.

After the match, Lana entered the ring and knocked down Tamina from behind. She then hit a sit out slam, and posed over Naomi holding the Smackdown women’s championship…[c]

My Take: Lana was a bit clumsy looking in her debut. I guess I can’t be shocked, but I was hoping for a more confident performance from her. Hopefully Sunday is better than I expect, but I must admit I don’t have much confidence that we’ll get an instant classic from Naomi and Lana.

Jinder Mahal made his ring entrance, and was introduced by one of the Singh Brothers. He told the crowd to rise and show him some respect. He soaked in boos and said he would prove that Randy Orton is a coward. Mahal claimed that Orton was afraid to embarrass his friends and family, and that his father and other legends would be sitting in the front row. He then said Orton has avoided him since he embarrassed him at Backlash. He said he was afraid of him, and that fear would be his sword to introduce the age of the Modern Day Maharaja. He then spoke to “his people” in his language of punjabi.

Orton’s music hit as Mahal was finishing up speaking, and he sent the Singh Brothers up the ramp to meet him. Orton then approached from behind and hit an RKO in stride. He fired up the crowd with some taunts, and then exited through the ringside area and posed in the audience. Mahal was left laid out and the Singh Brothers were tending to him.

Backstage Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Baron Corbin were talking strategy. Owens wanted them to follow his lead, and both guys objected. Owens said he didn’t like Corbin, and liked Ziggler a little more, but that wasn’t saying much. He pitched working together by saying it was in their best interest to hurt the other three guys rather than go into Money in the Bank as their own worst enemies. Charlotte and Natalya are up next…[c]

My Take: Mahal and Orton is limping into Money in the Bank, but I think the RKO out of nowhere might be my favorite moment of their feud. The promo work has left a lot to be desired, tonight included. Mahal comes out and repeats himself every week like he’s got some kind of tautological disorder. Orton’s sudden reverence for legends and focus on his hometown really make the outcome of this match feel somewhat telegraphed for Mahal.

Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Randy Orton. She asked what he had to say about Jinder Mahal questioning his legacy. Orton replied that he had made his statement in the ring, and he would take back his championship on Sunday in St. Louis. In the arena, Natalya made her entrance, followed by Charlotte.

3. Charlotte vs. Natalya: Charlotte attempted to roll Nattie up early on, but both women’s shoulders were down. Becky Lynch was shown backstage watching the match. Nattie grabbed a handful of hair and slammed Charlotte backwards onto the mat…[c]

Natalya applied a surfboard before lowering Charlotte onto her knees and pulling back on her arms. She then threw Charlotte into the middle turnbuckle. Charlotte went for a backslide a moment later, but couldn’t execute. She then threw Nattie into the corner and hit a big chop as she came back up. Charlotte hit an overhead throw and then climbed up top to hit a moonsault. She hit flush and covered for a near fall.

Charlotte went out to the apron, and hit a big forearm on Nattie. She then tried to climb back up top, but got caught and powerbombed for a near fall. Nattie went for a Sharpshooter, but Charlotte rolled her up instead for a two count. She the followed up with a big boot and got a near fall. She hit Natural Selection a moment later and got the pinfall victory.

Charlotte defeated Natalya at 7:41.

After the match, the announce team went over a WWE Network pitch. They were cut off by a Fashion Files segment. Fandango was shown flexing his muscles in a mirror, and wondered where Breeze was. He checked their office, and found him out on the floor. He asked him why he was on the floor, and he said he was attacked. He described the attackers as having greasy hair, dry skin, and one….no two arms. Fandango drew some stick figures, and Breeze said those were the guys. They walked up as Fandango told Breeze to get it together…[c]

My Take: I liked the Natalya and Charlotte match. It had a good pace, didn’t have a lot of execution mistakes, and didn’t overstay it’s welcome. The Fashion files were odd. It’s almost like they are ripping the Raw mystery storyline, but they forgot to be funny in the process.

Backstage, Lana was interviewed by Dasha Fuentes. Lana said she doesn’t care what she or the WWE Universe cares about her. She said this Sunday at Money in the Bank, she would shock the world and become the first ravishing Smackdown Women’s Champion. In the arena, entrances began for the main event. First was Kevin Owens, followed by Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, and the babyface trio of Sami Zayn, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura….[c]

4. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler: Nakamura and Ziggler were already in the match as the show returned. Ziggler hit a dropkick and tagged in Owens, who cut off Nakamura in the heel corner and tagged in Corbin. He hit knees and strikes to a downed Nakamura in the corner, and then tagged Ziggler back in to apply a chin lock. Nakamura avoided an elbow and made a tag to AJ Styles, who hit a running forearm on Ziggler, and another on Corbin and Owens to knock him off the apron. He hit an Ushigoroshi on Ziggler and things broke down. Owens entered and went after Styles, but that prompted Zayn to toss him out of the ring and follow up with a tope out to the floor.

Styles went for a Styles Clash, but Ziggler reversed into a DDT for a near fall. Zayn and Corbin tagged in. Corbin hit a deep six immediately and covered, but Nakamura broke it up…[c]

The heel squad worked over Sami Zayn in their corner. Baron Corbin landed several punches and taunted Styles and Nakamura. He then hit a body block and dragged Zayn back to the heel corner to tag in Owens. Zayn fired back with a blue thunder bomb on Owens, who crawled over to his corner, only to be shut down by Baron Corbin. Corbin tossed Zayn hard into the heel corner, but it knocked Ziggler off the apron. Zayn managed to clear all the heels from the ring before crawling for a tag, but the heels pulled Nakamura and Styles off the apron.

Styles recovered and hit a big forearm on Corbin, which set him up for a Helluva Kick. Sami covered and got the win for his team.

Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, and Baron Corbin at 16:11.

After the match, Ziggler blindsided Styles, and joined Owens in taking out AJ and Sami with a ladder. Corbin entered and took out both Ziggler and Owens, but the camera missed the action while focused on the briefcase. Corbin set up a ladder and looked to climb to grab the briefcase, but Nakamura pushed the ladder over and sent him into the top rope. Nakamura followed up with Kinshasa, and then grabbed the briefcase for himself to close the show.

My Take: Not much notable about the match, but with Nakamura grabbing the briefcase generally rules him out for Sunday. I think that officially makes Baron Corbin my prediction. I’m wondering if that means Nakamura goes after Kevin Owens and the US Championship next, and we get Orton vs. Styles for Summerslam along with Mahal vs. Cena. Only time will tell.

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