4/7 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live Review: The Miz vs. Zack Ryder for the Intercontinental Title, The Vaudevillains debut

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WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Houston, Texas at Toyota Center

The WrestleMania 32 recap video from Sunday was played at the start of the show. Mauro Ranallo welcomed everyone to the show and Roman Reigns entered to a mixed reaction that seemed to lean towards more cheers, though it could have been “enhanced” in post for television.

Reigns said that at WrestleMania he fought the authority, and he won so he could take back his WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He said once you have the championship, everyone wants it, so it’s one vs. all. Reigns said you can love him or hate him, but reiterated his line from Monday that he was THE guy. He said what he was going to do next was beat AJ Styles, who then interrupted and made his entrance looking about half wrestler and half over the road trucker.

Styles grabbed a mic and told Reigns he had a heck of a WrestleMania. Styles said the truth is he came out to congratulate him on becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. They shook hands briefly, and Styles said he had a heck of a Monday Night Raw, and he was coming after that Championship next. Styles said he’s been all over the world, beaten the best and had a title, so if he has to beat THE guy in order to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion he would do it.

Reigns said he hasn’t been there that long, and then reminded him that in order to be a real champion you have to hold the real Championship. He told him that he has beaten a lot of guys all over the world, but he’s never beaten him and he never will. Reigns then dropped the mic and walked out of the ring. Styles looked on with a wry smile. Mauro introduced a clip of Raw and showed Vince allowing Shane to run the show for a night. The main event of AJ Styles and Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens in the main event. The Vaudevillians were plugged for next…

My Take: A good opening promo that didn’t overstay it’s welcome, which I appreciate a great deal. Both guys got their points across and then it was over, and nobody flubbed a line or got lost. Reigns seems a lot more comfortable telling people to piss off, and AJ Styles has the resume to challenge him. I’m not sure how I feel about Styles being the first guy to go down to Reigns in what I assume will be a lengthy title Reign, but this was enjoyable for what it was.

[Q2] The Lucha Dragons made their entrance, followed by the Vaudevillians.

1. The Vaudevillians vs. Lucha Dragons: English and Sin Cara started. Kalisto tagged in and they hit a double team monkey flip 450 for a two count. Sin Cara tagged back in and sent English to the outside with a clothesline. He tagged before he was dumped to the outside and Simon Gotch interrupted a tope suicida from Sin Cara with a hip check and climbed in to hit some mounted punches on Sin Cara. Gotch and English made some quick tags and took turns taking potshots at Sin Cara. He struggled away from Gotch and made a tag to Kalisto, who couldn’t quite make a comeback and got dumped to the floor.

Sin Cara hit a tope suicida on English on the outside. Gotch quickly took control and sent Sin Cara back into the barricade. In the ring, Kalisto went for Salida Del Sol, but English recovered in time to stop it. The Vaudevillians then hit the Whirling Dervish and got the pinfall on Kalisto.

The Vaudevillians defeated The Lucha Dragons.

Footage was shown after the match of The Miz capturing the Intercontinental Championship from Zack Ryder on Monday. The rematch was plugged for later…[c]

My Take: It’s going to take some doing to get the Vaudevillians over on the main roster. They are a peculiar team with a gimmick that a lot of hardcore fans like because it’s a throwback, but it’s debateable whether or not the main roster writers will know what to do with them. This was a solid match and a good debut, so we’ll see where it goes from here.

Summer Rae was already in the ring. Charlotte was shown at ringside with her new Championship. Some footage of the championship presentation from Monday was shown from Raw. Natalya made her entrance after the video.

2. Natalya vs. Summer Rae: Waist locks and reversals early on transitioned to a nice suplex and seated drop kicks from Natalya. Summer fired back with some kicks and sent Natalya through the first and second rope. Summer hit a snap suplex on the floor and tossed Natalya back in the ring for a two count. She continued with more kicks and sent Natalya into the corner. Nattie caught a kick and applied a Sharpshooter for the quick tap out victory.

Natalya defeated Summer Rae via submission.

[Q3] After the match, Natalya motioned for the championship as Charlotte trash talked her.

My Take: I understand why they’d go to Natalya after WrestleMania, but why not Sasha? I’d understand moving Becky away to something to rebuild her away from the Championship, but Sasha was wronged at WrestleMania and now doesn’t get a follow up. Perhaps she wasn’t medically cleared following WrestleMania, but man this “my family is better than your family” feels like reheated leftovers.

[Q4] Maryse made an entrance and spoke in french and introduced herself. She said she is the living proof that behind every great man is a great woman. She said there is no greater man than her husband, and introduced The Miz.

2. The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Zack Ryder: Ryder started out hot and had a reversal for everything The Miz attempted, which led to several two count pinfall attempts. Ryder low bridged Miz out to the floor and then hit a dropkick off the apron that sent Miz into the barricade. Ryder got Miz back into the ring for a quick near fall…[c]

Miz had control and applied a rear chinlock. Ryder fought to his feet hit a jawbreaker. Miz fired back with a neckbreaker and covered for a two count. Miz hit some knees and lifted Ryder up for a vertical suplex, but Ryder reversed into a neckbreaker that laid both men out. Ryder got this feet first and hit a leaping lariat. He went up to the second rope, but jumped right into a sit out powerbomb for a near fall.

Ryder went for a springboard splash, but Miz got the knees up and hit a short DDT for another near fall. MIz called for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Ryder fought out and hit a facebuster for a near fall. Ryder hit a running forearm in a corner, but Miz got out of the way of a broski boot. Ryder hit a dropkick through the second rope to Miz on the outside, and hit a Broski boot out on the floor.

[Q5] In the ring, Ryder hit a top rope elbow for a good near fall. Ryder sold frustration. Ryder charged at Miz and ate a big boot. Ryder attacked Miz in the corner and ref pulled him off. Maryse pulled off a turnbuckle pad and threw it at Ryder behind the back of the ref. Miz hit a thumb to the eye and a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.

The Miz (w/Maryse) defeated Zack Ryder.

The main event was plugged for later. Apollo Crews was plugged for next…[c]

My Take: I liked this match, but the finish was lame. Ryder looks like a dope for letting a turnbuckle pad throw him off his game. Otherwise, this was a fun match.

The Social Outcasts were at ringside. Slater said one of them had to fight Apollo Crews, and they did Rock Paper Scissor to figure it out. Axel said “The Axe” always wins, and I guess he won. Apollo Crews made his entrance.

2. Apollo Crews vs Curtis Axel: Axel bailed out to the floor early and took a victory lap. Crews sucker punched him when he got back in the ring and hit some shoulder blocks in the corner. Adam Rose distracted crews and ate a clothesline and turned him inside out in return. Axel took advantage and hit a dropkick. Crews fired back with a drop kick of his own and a hit a standing moonsault for a near fall. He hit Cruise Control, his spin out sit out powerbomb, for the win.

Apollo Crews defeated Curtis Axel.

The Main event was plugged for later.

My Take: Crews looks again in another match. I wish they would spend some time establishing who he is and tell us his story, but they haven’t done it with anyone lately.

[Q6] Footage was shown of Baron Corbin’s win at WrestleMania and the beating he gave Dolph Ziggler on Raw. Corbin was then interviewed backstage and basically recapped what the video did. He said the end of days wasn’t coming, it was already here. There was a recap of the Women’s championship match at WrestleMania in the form of photos.

Becky Lynch was interviewed backstage and said that Sunday was the most brutal match of her career. She gave it everything she had and had the scars to prove it. She said that’s what the new Women’s championship is all about and that she would be back on top. She then said she had to payback Charlotte for her stiches anyway. Emma walked up and complimented Becky on her eye. She mentioned that she made it to the WWE first, but wasn’t handed all the opportunity that Becky was and got sent to the back of the line. She said that’s where Becky belongs. Becky told her to keep walking, otherwise she’d give her an eye like hers to admire. Dean Ambrose made his entrance in the arena…[c]

My Take: I liked the Becky promo and Emma’s interruption. This is a much more compelling feud than “my family is better than yours”. Emma and Charlotte are also better promos than Charlotte and Natalya, so this should be interesting to watch develop.

[Q7] A Primo and Epico video was shown that told everyone to go to Puerto Rico. Um, ok? Some photos of Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar’s match was shown, and then announcers tried to sell it like he had pushed Brock to the limit, but we all know better. Tyler Breeze made his entrance.

3. Tyler Breeze vs. Dean Ambrose: Ambrose started out angry and hit strikes and chops on Breeze. Ambrose hit an enziguri and a drop kick, but Ambrose returned with a catapult clothesline. He followed up with dirty deeds for the win.

Dean Ambrose defeated Tyler Breeze.

Chris Jericho’s music hit and he gave Ambrose a dirty look as he made his way to the ring…[c]

My Take: I like the idea of Ambrose and Jericho a lot better than him getting added to the Styles and Reigns feud.

Backstage, Goldust was on his phone when a R-Truth walked up and told Goldust he could get him an audition with a top Hollywood Producer for Monday’s Raw in LA. Someone cut in a few times with a clapboard and called for takes, and R-Truth carried a shoulder camera. These things weren’t well explained and didn’t seem to matter beyond being prop jokes. Kevin Owens made his entrance in the arena while footage of his assault on Sami Zayn backstage was shown from Raw. Cesaro made his entrance, followed by Styles.

[Q8] 4. AJ Styles and Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho: Styles and Jericho started the match. Styles hit a dropkick and tagged in Cesaro, who hit some quick offense and tagged back out to Styles. Styles hit a knee drop and Jericho rolled to the outside to sell frustration and regroup with Owens…[c]

Cesaro looked to place Kevin Owens in the Cesaro Swing, but Owens reached the ropes and Jericho sent him out to the floor with a clothesline. Owens sent him into the announce table, and then Jericho tossed him back in the ring and hit a slingshot splash. Owens and Jericho kept Cesaro isolated in their corner with stomps and dirty tactics.

Owens hit a short arm clothesline and grabbed a front facelock. Jericho tagged in and hit a vertical suplex and Jericho made an arrogant cover for a two count. Cesaro hit and uppercut and crawled for a tag, but Jericho sent Styles to the floor with a forearm and then tagged in Kevin Owens, He went for a cannonball, but missed and Cesaro tagged in Styles. AJ hit a running forearm and a ushigoroshi, followed by a sitout facebuster for a near fall.

Owens fired back with a superkick for a near fall. Owens picked him up in a fireman’s carry, but AJ slipped out and hit a pele kick. Styles went for a phenomenal forearm, but Jericho pushed him off the ropes to break it up. Owens covered by only got a two count. Things broke down and Cesaro ended up sending Jericho to the floor and then out into the timekeeper’s area with a big uppercut. Sami Zayn walked out and distracted Owens, which allowed Styles to roll him up and get the win.

AJ Styles and Cesaro defeated Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.

Owens and Zayn started in and had a pull apart brawl on the outside. Owens sent Zayn into the steps, and he grabbed his heavily taped elbow…

My Take: I’m beyond over the distraction rollup as a finish for major matches, but it is what it is. I liked the match and the close to the show has me optimistic about the future of Zayn and Owens. They get the best out of each other, and Owens is so unhinged here that it’s just a blast to watch. Zayn has held his own as well, but I think being deranged suits Owens very well. There is a bit of a Mick Foley vibe to it and it’s a level of intensity we see very rarely in the WWE these days.



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