By Jake Barnett
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WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena
[Q1] The announce team hyped up The Usos vs. Gallows and Anderson with AJ Styles and Roman Reigns banned from ringside. Dean Ambrose made his way to the ring while video was shown of him destroying Chris Jericho’s lite brite jacket. Lawler demanded criminal charges be pressed for destruction of property. Ambrose said he considered them even after Jericho destroyed his famous plant. He then said he was upset that Jericho tried to put him out on the injured list and said that his wrestling career is all he as, since he can’t interview Carrot Top on some podcast somewhere.
Ambrose said that where he comes from it’s eye for an eye, and since Jericho tried to take everything from him, he would take everything from Chris Jericho. He considered shredding one of his scarves or cutting his stupid haircut, but what he was going to do was take his ego away from him. When Ambrose was done with him, Jericho would question if wrestling was still for him anymore…and Jericho’s music interrupted.
When the lights came back on, Jericho had knocked Ambrose out and was standing over him in the ring. Jericho then asked Ambrose if he wanted to be a lunatic, and applied a straight jacket. Ambrose woke up and tried to get free of the jacket, but couldn’t. Jericho then put the boots to him while yelling at him to “Get CRAZY!” The beating continued for a bit, until Ambrose got a hope spot with a kick to the gut, to which Jericho replied with a codebreaker. Several minutes after the beating started, 5 refs showed up at the same time to break things up. They were in the process of assisting Ambrose to his feet when Jericho hit another Codebreaker.
Jericho then rolled out to the floor and stood triumphantly on the announce table. He told the crowd he was giving the crowd the gift of Jericho, and told them to drink it in. Ambrose looked on from the ring with a glassy eyed look. Backstage, Rusev threw a fit backstage by closing some equipment cases loudly. He is up next…[c]
My Take: If this is all it took to get Jericho to wear a shirt, somebody should have shredded his coat ages ago. I like the premise of this segment as a way to get Jericho some heat back and to make Ambrose a more sympathetic figure. Their match at Payback didn’t thrill me, but they have kept the feud going in interesting ways, so I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a creative way to pay this off. Did somebody bet Jericho that he couldn’t turn “Drink it in, man” into a catchphrase or something?
[Q2] Footage was shown of the previous segment as the announcers reacted. Kalisto was shown in the announce booth and Sin Cara was already in the ring. Lana was introduced, and she in turn made ring announcements for Rusev. Footage was shown of Kalisto aiding Sin Cara last week in his victory of Rusev, and Kalisto played it off as Lana attempted to interfere first.
1. Sin Cara vs. Rusev: Rusev took charge with a body block and then stomped on Sin Cara. He followed up with running elbow drops before trash talking Kalisto. He hit a side kick and a body slam, followed by mounted punches. Rusev trash talked Kalisto some more, which allowed Sin Cara to hit a low dropkick and some strikes. Sin Cara hit a kick from the apron and attempted a splash from the top, but missed.
Lana threw King’s water on Sin Cara at ringside, and Sin Cara got to his feet to confront her. Rusev snuck up behind Kalisto and kicked him in the back of the head. He then re-entered the ring and applied The Accolade for the win.
Rusev defeated Sin Cara
Backstage, Emma was interviewed by Renee Young. Footage was shown of Dana Brooke’s assault on Becky Lynch from Monday. Emma chuckled and Renee Young asked who Dana Brooke is. Dana said she’s beautiful and powerful, and she was tired of the WWE Universe going gaga over someone who wore costumes out of Wonderland and told bad puns. She said after her match with Becky, no one would ask who she is any more, they would ask what happened to Becky Lynch. Dana then claimed the WWE as her playground, and said playtime is over…[c]
My Take: A decent promo from Dana Brooke. She was talking a bit loud and monotone, but hopefully that something she can work out with some more confidence on the microphone. Pretty much boilerplate title match build for Rusev and Kalisto. It really doesn’t seem like they have any idea who Kalisto is or even if he does at this point.
[Q3] Dana Brooke made her entrance along with Emma. Becky Lynch then made her entrance to a nice reaction.
2. Becky Lynch vs. Dana Brooke: Both women traded blows early, with Becky getting the better of it and hitting a flying forearm that sent Dana to the canvas. Becky missed a charge in the corner and Dana took over with mounted punches. Dana applied a bow and arrow on Becky, who eventually rolled her up for a two count. Becky hit two running lariats and a leg lariat to start her come back.
Becky hit a running forearm, but Dana tripped her onto the bottom rope on a second attempt and choked her on the bottom rope. The ref separated them, and Emma took a cheap shot to Emma’s previously injured eye. Dana then rolled up Becky for the win.
Dana Brooke defeated Becky Lynch
Footage was shown of The Family and The Club from Raw that went over highlights from their Raw segment. Backstage, Anderson and Gallows told Styles they’d go Extreme on the Usos just like he would go Extreme on Roman Reigns. AJ told them that he would have their back if Roman Reigns decided to show up later tonight…[c]
My Take: That was a decent match up until the finish. I understand the need to give Dana a win, but the attacks on Becky’s eye don’t really seem plausible given the amount of time since WrestleMania. Becky was back wrestling without any ill effects until they started to use it in this feud, and so it stretches credulity a bit. The Club gimmick is good for AJ Styles character because it casts him as a leader, but the jury is still out on whether it’s doing Anderson and Gallows any favors long term. I still feel like they should have kept the mystery going a bit longer and kept an element of danger surrounding them.
New Day made their entrance to a good reaction. Footage was shown from Raw of the Vaudevillians costing the New Day their match and hitting the Whirling Dervish on Kofi. Xavier Woods said they were putting in work on the Dudley’s on Monday, when the Vaudevillians put their nose in their Booty-O’s. Big E tried to work in the word “ass” into the promo, but Xavier kept shutting him down. He made a Kim Kardashian joke, said the Vaudevillians were stuck in the 1830s, and then worked towards their New Day Rocks catchphrase.
[Q4] The Vaudevillians interrupted the chant and Gotch said that the sun would set on the New Day, and that the night belonged to the Vaudevillians. English then said “Boots down, Dukes up, and let the best man win.” Mauro hyped English vs. Kofi for next…[c]
3. Aiden English vs. Kofi Kingston: Kofi got out to an early advantage with swift kicks. English tossed Kofi towards the corner, and Kofi caught himself and flew out of the corner with a dropkick and English rolled to the floor to recover. Kofi attempted a baseball slide, but English ducked and sent Kofi into the ring post out on the floor. Back in the ring, English stomped on Kofi and threw some punches. He then tossed Kofi into the corner, but ate a pendulum kick from Kingston. Kofi then climbed the top turnbuckle and hit a flying crossbody for a two count.
Kofi hit a boom drop and set up for Trouble in Paradise. Gotch tried to interfere at this point, but Kofi stopped him. He attempted it again, and Big E and Xavier stopped him. The ref then threw everybody out but the competitors. A moment later, Gotch got into a pinning situation in the corner and held onto the ropes with the ref out of position for the win.
Kofi Kingston defeated Aiden English
My Take: This was enjoyable, if a little predictable. I actually prefer a heel outsmarting the ref instead of a cheap interference finish, so I don’t mind the way it ended. This was a rather weak talking segment to lead into the match, but they weren’t really given much material to work with.
[Q5] The Usos made their entrance, followed by Gallows and Anderson.
4. Gallows and Anderson vs. The Usos: Anderson started the match vs Jey Uso. They began with some big punches from Jey and more mounted punches in a corner. Jimmy Uso then tagged in and hit a running punch in the corner and a cover for a two count. Anderson fired back with punches of his own and dragged Jimmy into his corner and tagged in Gallows. He kept the action to the Club side of the ring and hit several big body slams and a big lariat.
Gallows and Anderson cut off the ring for the bit with some quick tags. Jimmy found an opening when he ducked a lariat and tagged in Jimmy. Things broke down after both teams made tags with action spilling to the floor. Gallows hit a big boot on Jey Uso out on the floor as the ref lost control…[c]
Anderson continued to abuse Jey Uso with a big knee drop, and then tagged Gallows back in. He hit a snap suplex and covered for a near fall. He followed up with vertical elbow strikes before making another tag to Anderson. Jey Uso nearly made a tag to Jimmy after breaking free of a headlock, but Anderson turned the tables and knocked Jimmy off the apron to the floor. Gallows re-entered and hit a barrage of punches, but missed a charge in the corner and ate a superkick from Jey.
Jey made a hot tag to Jimmy, who entered and hit a kick and a Samoan Drop to Karl Anderson. He hit another superkick and a top rope splash, but Gallows broke up the pin. Gallows tossed Jimmy over the announce table, which caused a DQ finish.
The Usos defeated Gallows and Anderson by DQ
[Q6] After the match, The Usos put up a fight but eventually fell victim to chair shots from Gallows and Anderson. Anderson hit a nice Rocket Kick on Jey as well. Backstage, Gorgeous Truth and Goldango were shown for their match next…[c]
My Take: A solid match that showed off a lot of what makes Gallows and Anderson fun to watch. They manage to keep the offense interesting, even when they are cutting someone off in their corner, and they sell well enough to make their opponents look legit. The Usos played their part as well, and deserve credit for executing consistently just about every time they are in the ring. Their characters are in dire need of a refresh, however.
Darren Young was split screen with Bob Backlund. Darren tried to explain to Bob that smartphones have replaced about 50 other things, and Bob had no idea what he was talking about and made him to 200 squats. Gorgeous Truth made their entrance, followed by Goldango.
5. Gorgeous Truth vs. Goldango: Goldust and R-Truth faced off mid-ring, but they wouldn’t attack one another. Truth had blonde tips, which looked hilariously bad. Truth tagged out to Breeze, who immediately attacked him. Breeze then went after Goldust, but was stopped by Fandango, who clotheslined Goldust himself. Breeze then covered Goldust for the win.
Gorgeous Truth won…sort of.
After the match, Fandango and Breeze put a beating on Goldust and Truth. Sami Zayn and Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens and The Miz was plugged for next…[c]
My Take: There was like 5 months of TV segments to set up Truth and Goldust, and the Tag Division currently has no need for them.
In the arena, Cesaro made his entrance, followed by Sami Zayn. Heels Kevin Owens and Miz rounded out the ring entrances for the main event.
[Q8] 6. Kevin Owens and The Miz vs. Sami Zayn and Cesaro: Zayn and Cesaro argued a bit about who would start the match, and Owens gladly let The Miz step up for their team. Cesaro hit a deadlift gutwrench suplex to start the match for a two count. He then caught Miz in mid-air and flipped him into a backbreaker and hit a dragon screw leg whip. Cesaro then went for a swing, but Miz escaped to the ropes and tagged in Owens. Zayn then quickly tagged in, and Owens attempted to bail, but Miz jumped off the apron.
Owens worked quickly and took Miz down in a corner, and then tagged out to Miz. Zayn quickly turned the tables on Miz and sent him out to the floor. Owens bickered with Miz and asked him why he couldn’t keep the match under control. Cesaro flew into the picture on the outside and hit a huge lariat on Owens, and Zayn jumped jumped over the top and hit a splash on Miz…[c]
Maryse argued with Sami Zayn on the outside, and Owens blindsided him with a huge right hand. Miz then slammed him into the announce table and tossed him back in the ring. In the ring, Miz hit a big kick to a seated Zayn, and Owens followed with a running senton for a near fall. The heels kept Zayn cut off and made frequent tags. Zayn hit a big clothesline on Miz to break free of the heel half of the ring, and then countered Miz with a Blue Thunder Bomb to make the hot tag to Cesaro.
Owens also tagged in and ran into an uppercut train from Cesaro. Miz attempted to interfere, but Cesaro sent him out to the floor and hit an uppercut out there. Miz got back in the ring and got involved again, and Sami Zayn lined up for a heluva kick, but ended up hitting Cesaro by mistake. Owens hit a frog splash on Cesaro and picked up the victory.
Miz and Kevin Owens defeated Cesaro and Sami Zayn
After the match, Miz hit Owens with a Skull Crushing Finale and stood tall on the ramp with his Intercontinental Championship.
My Take: This match went exactly as you’d expect for a group of guys heading into a fatal four way. I don’t mind the formula, but I would have appreciated more of an effort to tell a story. I get that everyone wants the Intercontinental Championship, but Cesaro has been back for 6 weeks already and we have yet to hear him talk at any length about his motivation or why he’s suddenly fashioning himself after a secret agent. Even the excellent Zayn and Owens feud has suffered due to the involvement of the other two characters. Hopefully we get a segment next week that sends this match home nicely.
Jason Powell and Jake Barnett co-host the Dot Net Weekly and Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast combo show and discuss Raw Underground and other WWE concepts, The Rock's group buying the XFL, the Marty Jannetty story, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV, and more...