4/14 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live Review: Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho, the tag team tournament continues

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WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in San Diego, California at Valley View Casino

[Q1] Mauro welcomed everyone to San Diego and was joined by Byron Saxton and Jerry Lawler. Jericho vs. Zayn and Styles vs. Del Rio was plugged for later in the show. Maryse was shown in the ring and gave an elaborate introduction for her husband The Miz. I’m imagining Cesaro having a conversation with her in French on TV and me desperately trying to figure out how to turn on subtitles. The Miz made his ring entrance for MizTV. Miz thanked his wife for the introduction, and then gave Maryse one in turn as a guest on his show. She feigned surprise and told the crowd that her husband was amazing.

Miz’s first question was asking her what it was like being married to him. She called him a movie star and a champion, and said their marriage is perfect. Miz gave a speech about wanting to give her the world and said she made him a better man, and then they made out to get under the crowd’s skin. Zack Ryder made his entrance at this point and said the site of those two was making everyone physically ill. Miz said every woman in the arena wishes they could kiss him.

Maryse said Ryder was jealous that Miz killed him WrestleMania moment. Ryder asked Maryse what it was like to be married to somewhere who wears more makeup than her? Ryder said no one can take away his WrestleMania moment, and that he would get his title back. Ryder said he looked forward to seeing Miz lose to the new number one contender Cesaro, but if he was nervous about the Swiss Superman, he could let him take the championship off his hands right now.

Maryse asked the crowd if that’s what they wanted to see, and they gave a somewhat muted yes chant. Miz faked accepting the match for a second, but then reminded Ryder he already had a scheduled match. Baron Corbin made his entrance for the first match of the night…[c]

My Take: I like Miz and Maryse while they work their heel tactics in the ring, but the lovey dovey husband and wife duo is more nauseating than irritating, which is what I think they are going for. They could be decent as a power couple if they were to take themselves more seriously.

[Q2] 1. Baron Corbin vs. Zack Ryder: Ryder hit a facebuster early, but Corbin quickly took over. After some grinding offense, Ryder made a bit of a comeback. He went for the Broski Boot, but Corbin rolled to the outside. Ryder followed, but Corbin quickly brought him back into the ring for the End of Days and a sudden victory.

Baron Corbin defeated Zack Ryder

Corbin setup Ryder for more abuse after the match out on the floor, but Dolph Ziggler ran in to make the save before anything could happen. Backstage, Kevin Owens was interviewed backstage by Renee Young. She asked if he was giving Chris Jericho any pointers about Sami Zayn. He said Sami was lucky that Shane protected him on Monday, but there was no one to protect him later tonight in the Main Event. He told Renee to go ask Sami if he had any insight as to what was coming. Paige and Emma were shown walking towards the ring backstage…[c]

My Take: Short but sweet match between Ryder and Corbin. Ziggler and Corbin doesn’t do much for me personally, but it’s a good first feud for Corbin and Ziggler desperately needs to show some range as a character.

Paige was on the tail end of her entrance as the show got back.. Emma then made her entrance. Emma got a PIP promo where she said she was going to teach Becky Lynch that nice girls finish last.

2. Emma vs. Paige: Paige hit a spinning back kick and then put the boots to her in teh corner. Emma pulled Paige into the second turnbuckle to buy some space and then hit an Emma Sandwich in the corner. Emma applied a full nelson to a seated Paige, but she was able to escape after a struggle and hit a running knee lift for a two count. Paige placed Emma on the top and followed her up there. Emma slipped out and dropped Paige face first on the top turnbuckle. She covered with a jackknife pin for the win.

Emma defeated Paige.

After the match, some video was introduced that showed the Tag Team Tournament announcement and some footage from The Dudleys vs. Lucha Dragons along with the run in from Gallows and Anderson. More Raw footage was plugged for next…[c]

My Take: A solid win for Emma. She needs to build credibility with victories and this was a solid start. I’m looking forward to seeing what she and Becky can do with the time they are given.

Enzo and Cass made their entrance . They did their signature routine. Enzo then said that hard places make for hard people, and they grew up in a hard neighborhood. He said if they had a dime for every time they got beat up as kids, they’d have zero dimes. He called Big Cass the bambino of beat downs and called himself the Jordan with a microphone. He said he could think of a million things to say about their opponents The Ascension, but the worst thing is that they are The Ascension. Big Cass called them sawft…[c]

Enzo and Cass made their entrance . They did their signature routine. Enzo then said that hard places make for hard people, and they grew up in a hard neighborhood. He said if they had a dime for every time they got beat up as kids, they’d have zero dimes. He called Big Cass the bambino of beat downs and called himself the Jordan with a microphone. He said he could think of a million things to say about their opponents The Ascension, but the worst thing is that they are The Ascension. Big Cass called them sawft…[c]

[Q4] 3. Enzo & Cass vs. The Ascension: Konnor hit a big shoulder block on Enzo and tagged in Viktor. Enzo fired back hit a headscissors takeover and tagged in Big Cass. They hit some tandem offense and then Enzo tagged back in to climb up the top turnbuckle. He got distracted by Konnor, and Viktor knocked Enzo off and out to the floor. They tossed Enzo into the barricade and hit a lariat, and then tossed Enzo back into the ring to cover for a two count. Enzo broke free of a chinlock with a jawbreaker, but couldn’t make a tag. Konnor charged Enzo in the corner and ate the post, which allowed Big Cass to tag in.

Cass knocked around Viktor and hit a big boot on Viktor. Konnor broke up the pin, but Enzo sent him out to the floor. Enzo and Cass hit the Rocket Launcher on Viktor a moment later and got the win.

Enzo & Cass defeated The Ascension.

AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Jojo. AJ Styles talked about his opportunity to face Roman Reigns. He said Roman has never been the ring with someone like AJ Styles, and he’s never been in the ring with Roman Reigns. Alberto Del Rio walked up and said he was tired of hearing people talk about AJ Styles. He said he doesn’t belong in the same ring with a man like Alberto Del Rio. He told him he doesn’t belong there, and called him a dog. AJ said he was right, he didn’t belong backstage flapping his gums, he belonged in the ring…[c]

My Take: Enzo and Cass had a good first debut on Smackdown. Both guys bring a lot of energy and the crowd was into their shtick. AJ and Del Rio had a decent promo backstage, but it’s obvious that AJ is better suited to being a man of few words. He just doesn’t have a high level of comfort cutting promos.

AJ Styles made his entrance. A plug was made for the Payback Main Event between Roman Reigns and AJ Styles. Alberto Del Rio then made his entrance.

[Q5] 4. AJ Styles vs. Alberto Del Rio: Del Rio hit a shoulder block and then taunted the crowd. Both men traded offense for a bit, until Styles hit a dropkick and then a knee from the apron that floored Del Rio. Del Rio fired back with a dropkick of his own, and then pulled Styles out to the floor and threw him into the barricade near the timekeeper’s area. Del Rio followed up with a double axe handle from the top for a two count.

Del Rio went shoulder first into the corner post, and Styles followed up with a snap suplex for a two count. Styles charged Del Rio in the corner, but Del Rio moved and Styles jumped out to the apron. Del Rio reacted quickly and hit an enziguri that sent Styles crashing to the floor…[c]

Styles hit an ushigoroshi and covered for a near fall. Del Rio fired back with a backstabber that Styles sold like he got shot. Styles hit a desperation Pele Kick and both men were down for a time. Styles got up but favored his back. He climbed to the top but Del Rio followed and hit an inverted suplex that looked at full speed like Styles got dumped on his head. Slowing it down he landed on his forearm.

Del Rio placed Styles in the tree of woe and went for his double stomp, but Styles avoided it. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but he missed too. Del Rio went for a cross armbreaker, but Styles slipped out and pinned Del Rio with an Oklahoma Roll and got the win.

AJ Styles defeated Alberto Del Rio

[Q6] Backstage, Goldust told R-Truth that he had talked to management and they wouldn’t be teaming tonight. Fandango walked up and said we would be seeing the debut of Goldango. They danced to the point that it was really awkward and then left R-Truth hanging backstage. The Main Event was plugged for later…[c]

My Take: A nice match from AJ Styles and Del Rio. The finish wasn’t as smooth as it could have been, but the match was a lot of fun to watch. Styles has been great recently and this is no exception. Del Rio looked very good as well in defeat, and seemed like a genuine threat throughout the match.

The Vaudevillians made their entrance, followed by Goldust and Fandango.

5. Goldango vs. The Vaudevillians: English hit a mule kick on Goldust and then tagged in Gotch. They hit some double team offense and then Gotch attempted to isolate Goldust in their corner. Goldust hit a clothesline and made a quick tag to Fandango. Fandango hit a short bit of offense, but was stopped with a clothesline. English went for a cover, but Goldust ran in and broke it up. Goldy got sent to the outside by Gotch. Fandango ate a whirling dervish in the ring and the Vaudevillians picked up the win.

The Vaudevillians Win and move on in the Tag Team Tournament.

My Take: I want to like the Vaudevillians but they need quite a bit of explanation to most people, and thus far they haven’t gotten it. I’m hoping the personality is allowed to grow away from it’s current state.

[Q7] Footage was shown from Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel/Ambrose Asylum segment from Monday. Jericho was interviewed backstage by Jojo, and said he was there to give everyone the gift of Jericho. Talent like him comes around once in every 75 years, and guys like Sami show up twice a week. Jericho said that he was the best in the world at what he does and Sami would find that out in the ring. Sami Zayn made his entrance in the arena…[c]

[Q8] Chris Jericho made his entrance. He and Sami had a brief staredown. They were interrupted by both Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose…[c]

6. Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho: The match got joined in progress. Owens and Ambrose bickered with each other on commentary. Ambrose told Jericho not to get hot about taking over his show. Jericho hit a vertical suplex on Zayn from the apron back into the ring. Jericho followed up with a back elbow from the top rope, and covered him for a two count. Zayn fired back with some forearms and hit the ropes, but ran into a Jericho dropkick.

Zayn started a comeback with a couple lariats and a crossbody from the top for a two count. Jericho went for double underhooks and hit a backbreaker. He then followed up with some chops. Jericho climbed up top, but got hit by a Zayn gut punch on the way down. Zayn hit a tornado DDT and covered for a near fall. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, but Zayn twisted out of the attempt. Jericho then hit a bulldog, but hit a lionsault right onto Sami’s knees. Sami attempted the Helluva Kick, but Jericho moved and applied the Walls of Jericho in the center of the ring.

Zayn made the long dramatic crawl to the ropes and forced the break. Jericho sent him out to the floor, and then hit a baseball slide that sent Zayn into the announce table. Jericho threw Zayn into Ambrose, and then Zayn threw Jericho into Owens. Back in the ring, Zayn hit a suplex into the corner on Jericho and lined up for the Helluva Kick, but Dean Ambrose ran in and clobbered him for at he DQ finish.

Sami Zayn defeated Chris Jericho by DQ.

Thing broke down and a brawl broke out. Zayn and Ambrose eventually cleared the babyfaces from the ring. Owens and Jericho talked trash from out on the floor.

My Take: A solid match that I was fine with having a wild finish. These two feuds are setup well to build off of one another, and I think it could be a nice dynamic for the next few weeks heading into Payback. This was an action heavy show, and it paid off by keeping the pace of the show moving. This was a step up from last week’s show and very few moments felt like filler.


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