5/5 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown TV Review: AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, and Luke Gallows vs. Roman Reigns and The Usos, Sami Zayn on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel

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By Jake Barnett

WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Kansas City, Missouri at Sprint Center

[Q1] The show started with a New Era plug from Mauro Ranallo. He welcomed everyone to the show and to Kansas City. Gallows and Anderson were advertised to take on The Usos by the announce team. Chris Jericho’s music then hit in the building and he headed to the ring. Footage was shown of Stephanie McMahon canceling the Ambrose Asylum and the brawl that resulted between Ambrose and Chris Jericho along with the destruction of Mitch. Jericho said Ambrose thought it was fun to be a little zany and wacky, but there was nothing funny about breaking that potted plant over his spine. He said Ambrose spent Monday Night in a St. Louis Hospital with contusions and whiplash. He claimed Ambrose was on the shelf because of him, and tonight he was giving the crowd the gift of Jericho. He told the crowd to drink it in.

Jericho said it was the return of the Highlight Reel, and his guest was Sami Zayn. Sami made his entrance, and Jericho told the crowd to calm down. Jericho said he wanted to show the crowd what he did on Monday Night, showed footage of the breakdown between the Miz and Cesaro’s match on Monday. Jericho said that even though Kevin Owens beat him fair and square at Payback, he continued to attack him, and that made him a sore loser. He then said that Zayn held The Miz’s championship over his head, and that makes him a dirty thief. Jericho asked him what kind of human being he is.

Zayn said he’s a pretty good human being, and that most people recognize that, just like they recognize that scarf makes Jericho look like an idiot. Sami then said he didn’t have a problem with Kevin Owens beating him, he had a problem with him slapping him and tossing him out of the ring like garbage, and for that he won’t go away too easily. The Miz then interrupted, and told Jericho his show can wait. He said Zayn rode Kevin Owen’s coattails into WWE, and now he wants to ride his into the Intercontinental Championship. Miz said if Zayn ever touched his baby again like he did on Monday, there would be consequences. Zayn the poked his championship and got in his face.

Jericho told Miz if somebody touched his $15k jacket like Sami did his championship, he’d do something about it. Sami asked if Jericho really paid $15k to look like a Christmas Tree, and Jericho pouted about the show losing a host and walked out. Miz called himself the biggest baddest shark in WWE and that Sami has no idea who he is dealing with. Sami touched his championship again and asked to go for a swim, and Maryse got in his face and said Miz was going to teach him a lesson. Sami said since he’s ready now and they are already here, they should do it right then and there. Sami took off his shirt and acted ready to go, while Miz bailed to ringside. Mauro questioned whether the match would happen next…[c]

My Take: A good open to the show that placed Sami Zayn in a position of prominence. He carried his end of the verbal segment well, and never seemed to lack confidence in his delivery. Jericho offered little utility to his own talk show, as the meat of this segment was entirely between Miz and Zayn. Maryse is in the same boat. She didn’t take anything away from the segment, but didn’t really add anything either.

[Q2] 1. Sami Zayn vs. The Miz: The match started with Sami getting the better of the Miz with some quick offense. He hit some mounted punches in the corner until Miz slipped out and dropped him chin first on the turnbuckle. Zayn quickly recovered and hit a leg lariat that got a two count. Miz backed Zayn into a corner and took a cheap shot after a ref break. Zayn hit a lariat that dropped Miz, and then a second one that sent Miz out to the floor. Zayn followed, and got ran into the barricade. Miz sent Zayn towards the barricade, but Sami jumped up on the padding and hit a moonsault to surprise The Miz. At this moment, Kevin Owens made his entrance on top of the ramp and stared at Kevin Owens…[c]

Kevin Owens joined the broadcast team. Zayn hit a victory roll and got a near fall. Back on their feet, Zayn sent Miz out to the floor and followed up with a tope con hilo. Sami got in Kevin Owens’ face at ringside, and then Owens followed him back in the ring to pummel him. The match was then ruled a DQ.

Sami Zayn defeated The Miz by DQ.

[Q3] Cesaro ran down to the ring and cleaned out. Uppercuts everywhere, and one that hit Sami Zayn that the announcers argued the intentions of. Cesaro grabbed the Intercontinental Championship and held it over his head. After the match, footage was shown of Monday Night’s Main Event overrun with a chair. Backstage, Styles spoke to Anderson and Gallows. Anderson told Styles that they served up Roman Reigns to him on Monday, and back in the day he wouldn’t have hesitated. Styles said this wasn’t back in the day, and he would win the championship his way. Anderson said he could respect that, but if he wanted to beat the man, he would have to go crazy and get extreme. Styles said maybe it was time for him to have a chat with Roman Reigns…[c]

My Take: A fun match with an ending that logically followed what we saw on Monday. This Fatal Four Way match will end up being a riot to watch, that much is sure. The Styles and Reigns confrontation should be interesting, given how Raw ended on Monday. Neither guy is fantastic on the mic but they should at least have something to talk about.

[Q4] The Colon’s and their Puerto Rican travel agent commercial was shown. I hope it takes a weird turn here eventually and pays off. Footage of Enzo’s injury was shown, and Byron announced that The Vaudevillians have been named the number one contenders. The Vaudevillians made their entrance, and cut a picture in picture promo about ushering in the values of a bygone era by rolling back the New Day.

2. The Vaudevillians vs. The Social Outcasts: English and Axel started the match. The Vaudevillians made some quick tags to try and isolate Axel, but he was eventually able to tag in Bo Dallas. English quickly sent Axel to ringside, and then hit the Whirling Dervish on Dallas for the win in quick fashion.

The Vaudevillians defeated The Social Outcasts

Big Cass made his entrance and told the Vaudevillians they looked like they walked off the set of Sherlock Holmes trying to solved the case about which one of them was about to get whooped. He said since they were in KC, he would give them both a Royal Beatdown. He then called them Sawft and charged the ring. Cass tossed Gotch to the outside and hit a big boot on English. Axel tried to glom on and talk trash to The Vaudevillians, but Cass hit him with the East River Crossing. Mauro plugged a McMahon Family Drama recap and action in the Women’s division as coming up next…[c]

A video was shown of the McMahon family drama from Monday. It focused on Stephanie’s peace offering to Shane and their crowd reactions. Natalya made her entrance, and then footage was shown of her getting revenge on Ric Flair on Monday. Becky Lynch then made her entrance…[c]

Evil Emma made her entrance, followed by Charlotte and Ric.

[Q5] 3. Charlotte & Emma vs. Becky & Natalya: Nattie and Charlotte started, with Charlotte getting the best of the early grappling. Becky tagged in and hit a series of leg drops on Charlotte for a near fall. Another quick tag to Nattie and she re-entered and Charlotte hit her with a cheap shot. Rapid tags now from Charlotte and Emma to isolate Nattie and work on her in the heel corner. Natalya finally got a tag after a reversal on Charlotte, and got a hot tag to Becky. She hit a leg lariat on Emma and a back kick to the gut. Charlotte rescued Emma by pulling her out of the ring.

Emma used the distraction to hit Becky in the back of the head. Charlotte tagged back in and applied a leg triangle…[c]

Becky rolled up Charlotte for a near fall. She followed up with strikes and a European Uppercut, but ran directly into a big boot after hitting the ropes. Emma tagged back in and distracted the ref, with allowed Charlotte to hit a free shot on Becky from the apron. Charlotte re-entered and hit a knee drop. Becky hit a desperation back body drop on Emma to make a tag out to Natalya, who entered to a strong reaction. Nattie hit a basement drop kick on Charlotte and applied a sharpshooter, but Emma helped her break it up. Emma hit an Emma Sandwich in the corner and Charlotte re-entered the ring. Becky tossed her to the outside, which allowed Natalya to apply the Sharpshooter on Emma after the confusion was over and got the tap out victory.

Becky & Natalya defeated Charlotte & Emma

Backstage, AJ Styles confronted Roman Reigns. AJ said he had Roman dead to rights with that chair, but he took the high road. Roman said he doesn’t respond well to threats. Styles said that wasn’t a threat, and told him he wanted to lay their cards on the table. Styles told Roman that he wanted to talk to him man to man, and said he would see him out in the ring. Roman turned to the Usos and they all gave each other looks like they didn’t believe him.

My Take: The Women’s match was clunky in spots, but overall a nice effort. They didn’t do much to further the story, but it was a nice placeholder match to keep things moving for next Monday.

[Q6] Darren Young had a vignette where he said he looked high and low for a mentor, but had forgotten to look right in front of him. He then asked Bob Backlund to be his life coach, and a split screen with Backlund emerged. Backlund said he had never been a life coach before, but the first rule is that wrestling is life. Darren Young smiled and Backlund looked on intensely and said they would make Darren Young Great Again.

Rusev made his entrance in the arena and footage was shown of his Battle Royal victory on Monday for the number one contendership for the US Championship.

4. Zack Ryder vs. Rusev: Ryder began aggressively and send Rusev to the floor. He sent him into the ring post and then tossed him back in the ring. Rusev quickly showed his power with back to back gut wrench suplexes and then Lana signaled for the Accolade. He stomped on Ryder’s spine and applied the hold for a quick tapout victory.

Rusev defeated Zack Ryder

Post match, Kalisto ran down and hit a springboard corkscrew attack on Rusev after successfully dodging several of Rusev’s attacks. Rusev sold frustration and had a knot on his forehead from the ring post as the segment ended…[c]

My Take: Rusev looked great in a squash victory. Kalisto getting the better of him in this context makes sense, as it was only for a flash and Rusev never quite got his hands on him. This is a much better story for Kalisto than Ryback, as WWE will commit to building Rusev quickly as a monster whereas Ryback had no steam and no direction as a character.

[Q7] Fandango and Goldust worked on their dance moves backstage when Tyler Breeze and Goldust walked up. They made match between themselves for next week on Smackdown. Gallows and Anderson made their entrances, followed by Styles. They were joined by The Usos and Roman Reigns.[c]

5. The Usos vs. Gallows & Anderson: Anderson and Jey Uso started the match. Jey ducked a clothesline and grabbed a crucifix pin for a two count. He then caught Anderson with a drop kick and tagged out to brother Jimmy. Anderson hit a back body drop on a charging Jimmy Uso that sent him out to the floor. The match broke out in chaos after Anderson facewashed Reigns with his boot as he checked on Jimmy Uso, and then charged into the ring for an attack. The match was waved off as both sets of guys had to be separated.

The match ended in no contest.

AJ Styles grabbed a mic and said they would finish what they started now…..and Reigns and the Usos waved them back towards the ring…[c]

6. AJ Styles & Gallows & Anderson vs. Roman Reigns & The Usos: Styles and Reigns started the match and traded reversals and escapes until Reigns finally downed Styles with an uppercut. Anderson tagged in and got in brief offense before being ganged up on in the babyface corner. He managed to escape Jey Uso and tag out to Gallows, who was able to regain control for his team by hitting a big boot that sent Jimmy Uso crashing out of the ring and into the barricade.

Gallows hit rapid fire punches and tagged in Styles, who hit a big splash in the corner. Jimmy fired back with an enziguri, which made Styles crumble to the mat. Reigns got the tag and cleaned house on Styles and Gallows. He then hit an Axe Bomber on Anderson followed by multiple corner clotheslines on Anderson. The match broke down and people started flying everywhere. Styles caught Reigns in a hangman on the top rope and Anderson rolled him up for a near fall. Reigns fired back with a Superman Punch and set up for a spear, but Styles cut him off with a Phenomenal Forearm.

Anderson then hit a spinebuster, but Reigns kicked out. He crawled to the corner, and Anderson charged in, but Roman fired back with a spear. Reigns covered for the win. Styles nearly had it broke up, but Jimmy Uso held his foot to prevent him from getting in the ring.

Roman Reigns & The Usos defeated Styles, Anderson, and Gallows

Styles and Reigns had a stare down, with AJ pointing to the belt and Roman holding it over his head.

My Take: A good main event that had the wrong finish. Anderson and Gallows have nearly had all the luster removed from them since their debut, and this is another example of them being misused. Styles continues to look strong, but his friends appear to be just another tag team that gets used as fodder whenever a main event story crosses their path. It’s a huge missed opportunity and Roman Reigns gains next to nothing from beating Karl Anderson without first establishing that as an accomplishment.


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