By Jake Barnett
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WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Atlanta, Georgia at Philips Arena
[Q1] A video aired of Triple H and Dean Ambrose’s segment from Monday’s Raw, and the beat down Triple H gave Ambrose to close the show. Ambrose made his entrance and headed down to the ring. He said all the bruises on his body have formed one giant bruise, so he hoped no one minded if he sat down. Ambrose said he wasn’t the kind of guy that plans ahead. He doesn’t have a five year plan, more of a five second plan, and it ends up causing him trouble. First he got in trouble with Brock Lesnar, and his latest five second plan got him a five minute beating from Triple H.
Ambrose said he was conflicted, because he was now going to get a title shot against Triple H. He didn’t want to go to WrestleMania and fight his best friend Roman Reigns, but he had earned a shot at the championship. He still wanted to fight Brock Lesnar, but Triple H could invoke some kind of rematch clause. Maybe they can throw them all into a cage, who knows. The Road to WrestleMania is getting bumpy.
Kevin Owens interrupted and said that the only reason Triple H isn’t still punching Dean Ambrose is because he decided to stop. He called Ambrose weak and said that he was the Intercontinental Champion without a respectable challenger for WrestleMania. Ambrose told him that he should be a little more proactive about challenging people if he wants more challengers. Owens got into the ring and attempted to attack Ambrose, but he whiffed and Ambrose hit him with a chair. Ambrose told Owens that he could see him coming from behind on the giant Tron. He challenged Owens to a match, but Owens just walked to the back.
Becky Lynch vs. Sasha was hyped for later. The Dudleys and Usos were plugged for next…[c]
My Take: An ok open. Owens and Ambrose have far more chemistry than Triple H and Ambrose, but Ambrose was still a little too cutesy to me. I know being a jokester is a lot of fun, but it comes across like aloofness sometimes and I’m not a huge fan of it.
[Q2] The Uso’s made their entrance, followed by The League of Nations.
1. The Usos vs. The League of Nations: Jimmy Uso and Sheamus started. Jimmy tagged out after a sucker punch to Jey. Sheamus hit a big forearm shot and tagged in Rusev. They brawled and ended up on the outside, where Sheamus got involved and tossed Jey into the barricade. The other League members taunted the crowd…[c]
Rusev continued to punish Jey Uso after the break, and taunted him while he reached for his brother hitting a soccer kick to the ribs. Jey reversed an attempt at a clothesline into a DDT and made a tag to Jimmy. Sheamus also tagged in, and immediately got hit with a Samoan Drop. Jimmy hit a splash in the corner and then both Usos hit splashes on the other League members on the outside. Jimmy hit superkicks on Sheamus and Wade Barrett.
Jimmy tossed Sheamus back into the ring and climbed to the top rope. Sheamus got his knees up and followed up quickly with a Brogue Kick for the victory.
The League of Nations Defeated The Usos.
[Q3] The Dudley’s entered after the match and assaulted The Usos while the League of Nations celebrated. They set up a table in the ring and then didn’t put anybody through it. They kicked Jimmy Uso in the face multiple times and then talked trash to him. Bubba told him that he lied to him when he said it wasn’t personal.
Mauro hyped the Shane McMahon legacy and threw to a video package that covered Stephanie’s rant from Raw…[c]
My Take: A decent match, but it didn’t suck me in. It felt from the start like it existed to eat up some TV time, and it never really rose above those expectations. The Dudleys post match attack was also uninspiring. They haven’t gotten much of a chance to tell a story between them and the Usos so these encounters don’t have much effect.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance, followed by The Miz.
2. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz: Miz took control to start, and tossed Ziggler into the corner. He ran to give a corner clothesline, but Dolph ducked and pulled him into a backslide and got the victory.
Dolph Ziggler defeated The Miz
Ziggler celebrated as The Miz looked on in disbelief.
Backstage, R-Truth made an attempt to apologize to Goldust, but he wasn’t having any of it. Truth said he had come around to the idea of Golden Truth, and wanted to give it a shot. Goldust said he wasn’t an idiot, and he knew this was a ploy so he could take his plate of food and smash it in his face. Truth said that wasn’t it at all, and Goldust picked up the food and smashed it in his own face. Goldust stormed off as Truth looked upset.
My Take: Golden Truth has gotten more story attention than the entire tag division they seem to be preparing to enter. It’s bizarre.
[Q4] Becky Lynch made her entrance, followed by Sasha Banks.
3. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks: Dueling chants for both women started, and they maneuvered through some grappling early in the match. They rolled through a few pinfall attempts counters. Sasha used a springboard arm drag and then hit a sunset flip for a two count. Both women went for dropkicks simultaneously and of course whiffed. At this point, Charlotte made her entrance with Ric Flair.
Sasha went for a cover off a rest hold and got a two count. Becky fought to her feet and hit two clotheslines and a leg lariat. She hit a splash in the corner and an exploder suplex. Sasha fired back and hit seated double knees after hitting the ropes for a near fall. Sasha applied the bank statement, but Sasha was able to reach the ropes. Becky got to her feet and went for the disarmer, but couldn’t get Sasha down. Sasha hit double knees back to back in the corner, and covered for a near fall.
[Q5] Becky hit a big European Uppercut and covered for a near fall. Sasha went for a backslide, but Becky rolled out and hit a dropkick. Sasha rolled to the floor to recover. Becky tried to hit a clothesline off the apron, but Sasha ducked and they hit each other with a double clothesline. Ric Flair got involved and taunted both Sasha and Becky, which set up Charlotte for an attack on both women. She laid into both women with punches and tossed Becky into the barricade. She then hit Sasha with what looked like an exploder suplex, but the angle wasn’t great.
Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks ended in a No Contest.
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose was hyped for the main event. The Undertaker’s appearance from Raw was hyped for next…[c]
My Take: This was a better match than their Raw encounter. The crowds got into the big spots, but didn’t appreciate all the good mat wrestling early on like I did. Charlotte getting involved was expected given that a triple threat at WrestleMania seemed likely from the start. The division got back on track because Becky Lynch caught on as a babyface, but Sasha’s talent was not to be denied either. I can get behind them both getting a shot to prove themselves at WrestleMania.
Charlotte was interviewed backstage by Renee Young, and said neither Becky or Sasha deserved an opportunity at her championship at WrestleMania. She said she had beaten Becky already and Sasha had done nothing since appearing on the main roster. Renee then informed her that she wouldn’t be facing either of them, but she would be facing both of them in a Triple Threat Match.
Mauro then threw to a video package that recapped the Undertaker appearance on Raw from Monday, along with some footage of Vince booking the match from the previous week. Shane was hyped for Raw on Monday in Chicago.
New Day made their entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: Good news on the Triple Threat. I’m looking forward to that match. The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon feels like it exists in a pocket universe separate from everything else going on in WWE.
[Q6] The New Day vs. Y2AJ was hyped for Raw. New Day said they were there to talk about miracles, such as the delicious taste of Booty-O’s Cereal, or that Xavier Woods found success despite being from Atlanta. Big E referred to the City as Trashlanta. They then hyped themselves up as the Tag Champs and gyrated to taunt the crowd. AJ Styles then made his entrance.
4. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston: Woods gave a distraction almost immediately, and Kofi rolled up Styles for two. Styles hit a dropkick, but got distracted by Woods trumpet. He splashed Woods on the outside, which led to him getting splashed himself by Woods and flew into the announce table…[c]
Kofi had a neck crank applied in the ring. He then backed Styles into a corner and stomped on him, followed by a basement dropkick.
[Q7] Kofi remained in control and climbed to the top rope. Styles avoided a double axe handle and hit a back body drop followed by a flying forearm. He then hit a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker, but only got a near fall. Woods was able to duck a clothesline and hit an SOS for a two count. Kofi missed a Trouble in Paradise, but Styles connected with a Pele Kick in response. Kofi back body dropped Styles to the outside, and the ref threw out the other New Day members. Kofi argued with the ref and got surprised by a big Springboard Forearm. AJ covered for the win.
AJ Styles defeated Kofi Kingston
Bray Wyatt vs. Brock Lesnar was announced by Mauro for WWE Roadblock. Bray Wyatt then cut in for a promo where he praised Brock Lesnar for being feared by so many, but claimed he was the new face of fear and was afraid of no man…[c]
My Take: I guess Brock vs. Bray Wyatt is the consolation prize for their WrestleMania match that will never happen. AJ and Kofi had an ok match. I would have preferred it without all the New Day antics, as they seemed to interrupt the match every time it was getting into a good flow.
Kevin Owens made his entrance for the main event, followed by Dean Ambrose. Ambrose sold a noticeable limp.
5. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens: Ambrose hit a clothesline early and applied a headlock. Owens fought up to his feet and hit a shot to the ribs that caused Amborse to roll to the outside and clutch his taped ribs. Ambrose got back into the action and voided Owens offense and sent him crashing to the floor. Owens sold frustration on the outside and pounded on the announce table.
Owens dropped Ambrose with a clothesline and then hit a running senton. Owens applied a hold, and Ambrose eventually fought to his feet and hit a hip toss. Ambrose charged at Owens, but got sent to the floor for his trouble. Owens followed and hit another running Senton. Ambrose got to his feet and got back into the ring for a 9 count. Owens then sent Ambrose back to the outside, but this time he threw him into the barricade. Owens taunted the crowd, so Ambrose fired back with a rebound lariat.
Back in the ring, Ambrose went back on offense and low bridged Owens back out to the floor. Ambrose then hit a suicide dive. He then climbed to the top, but got crotched by Owens, who followed up with a Cannonball for a near fall. Owens set Ambrose on the top rope, but after a brawl Owens got pushed off. Ambrose hit an elbow drop and sent Owens to the floor. He tried for another dive, but Owens caught him and rammed him into the ring apron. Owens took apart the broadcast table while Ambrose got back in the ring.
Owens gave chase and he and Ambrose traded reversals until Amborse hit Dirty Deeds. He then covered for the win.
Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens
My Take: This match was a lot of fun. I don’t know why Owens had to lose though. Ambrose had 50 excuses for why this could have ended in a countout or double countout or some other way to not have the Intercontinental Champion take a high profile clean loss heading into WrestleMania. Otherwise, this was an average edition of Smackdown. The Main Event was good television, as was Sasha vs. Becky, but the rest is pretty missable.