6/2 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown TV Review: WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch, U.S. Champion Rusev vs. Jack Swagger, AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston

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By Jake Barnett

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WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Rockford, Illinois at BMO Harris Bank Center

[Q1] The show opened with footage of John Cena’s return from Monday, and the subsequent betrayal and attack by AJ Styles and The Club. After the video, the normal intro aired and New Day made their entrance in the arena. The announce team introduced footage of the assault on New Day by Gallows and Anderson from Monday. They started out with a plug for the brand extension, and then said the biggest news of all was the havoc caused by The Club. Kofi said they caused a lot of havoc, but they’d never be the WWE…..and then Gallows and Anderson interrupted.

Anderson said they might have those titles around your waists, but after they were done with them on Raw, they didn’t look like Champions. New Day mocked them and asked what kind of club they were. They asked how you join the club, and if they have dues. Or if they are an anti-theft device. Gallows said the club has dues, and they would collect them from them. New Day continued to mock them, and invited them to the ring, and said without AJ Styles they were….and then AJ interrupted things.

AJ said if they wanted to talk about AJ Styles and the club, why not, since the whole world is talking about The Club and what they did to John Cena. He said it wasn’t a New Day, it was their day, and the WWE belongs to the club. New Day then gyrated out their catchphrase about being the champions. Styles said after ten years Kofi was still joking around, and that’s because he’s a joke. Kofi listed off his championships over the years and said it took AJ ten years just to get to the WWE. AJ then challenged Kofi to a match later and Kofi accepted. They did more the New Day Rocks dance and then Becky Lynch and Charlotte was plugged for next…[c]

My Take: New Day isn’t a good chemistry fit for The Club. Some humor is just fine in these scenarios to lighten things up, but New Day’s constant snarky insult comic routine even in the face of serious threats makes them feel a bit limited as characters. Having comedic gifts is a blessing, but the best comedians know how to strike the right mixture of tone so that the punch lines always land along with beinng taken seriously when they need to make a point. New Day needs to find a little more nuance, or perhaps they just need to be written that way. They certainly have the chops.

[Q2] Becky Lynch made her entrance while footage of the Women’s segment from Raw was shown. Charlotte then followed with Dana Brooke.

1. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch: The started with a collar and elbow tie up, but Becky quickly transitioned into arm drags and an arm bar. Charlotte fired back with a neckbreaker off the middle rope after Becky missed a charging attack in the corner. Becky fired back with strikes, but got lifed out on to the apron out of the corner. Dana Brooke attempted to interfere, but Becky knocked her down with a punch. Charlotte took advantage of the distraction and kicked Becky out to the floor…[c]

Becky hit several clotheslines and a leg lariat, and a firearm in the corner. She followed up with an exploder suplex and covered for a near fall. Charlotte got to her feet and Becky ran into a back elbow. Charlotte went for a knee drop, but Becky got out of the way. They traded chops and forearms, and then Becky rolled Charlotte into position for the cross armbreaker, but Charlotte was able to escape by picking her up into a sitout powerbomb for a near fall.

Charlotte climbed up to the top turnbuckle, but Becky got out of the way of a moonsault attempt. Becky managed to maneuver Charlotte into the disarmer, but Dana Brooke quickly interfered to break it up and caused a disqualification.

Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte by disqualification

[Q3] After the match, Natalya ran down and the babyfaces put a beating on the heels, and they were forced to run away through the crowd over the barricade. Backstage, Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn were interviewed by Renee Young. She asked how they would team tonight knowing they would face each other at Money in the Bank. Sami said they would try and be cohesive as a team even in light of Dean’s insensitive remarks about Canadians.

Dean made an excuse about Jericho and Owens being jerks, and made a comment about border patrol not letting his nunchucks into Canada. Owens and Del Rio walked up, and said that Sami was trying to fool Ambrose into into a false sense of security for the Money in the Bank Match. Sami said the same about Owens. Del Rio told Zayn he looked like a paperboy and that he could take care of himself, but said they’d be lucky if they made it to Money in the Bank after their match tonight…[c]

My Take: The Women’s division continues to spin it’s wheels. They had some traction with the previous Lynch/Charlotte feud, and managed to impress everyone at WrestleMania, but ever since it’s been a bit downhill. Natalya’s feud with Charlotte put the division on hold and arrested the development of several characters, and now we’re back to Charlotte taking the easy way out of matches with Dana Brooke standing in for her Dad. What was accomplished by all of this? The match itself was ok, if a little bit clunky at parts. Becky gets good reactions, as does Charlotte, but without an active feud it’s hard to get invested in these matches. Hopefully things improve from here.

The Dudley’s were in the ring, and Breezango were at ringside in the VIP Lounge. Golden Truth made their entrance to R-Truth rapping a remix version of their theme song with Karaoke lyrics on the screen. I shit you not.

2. The Golden Truth vs. The Dudleyz: Bubba and Truth started the match, and Truth got the advantage early. He tagged in Goldust and they hit a double suplex together. Truth tagged back in and he hit a leg drop for a one count. Truth rained down punches in the corner, but D-Von distracted him, which allowed Bubba to recover with a kick to the face. D-Von then tagged in and hit a running splash for a two count.

After some back and forth Goldust and D-Von were the legal men and Breezango jumped up on the apron to take selfies. Truth got in the ring to clear them, and Goldust got rolled up from behind on the distraction for the win.

The Dudleyz defeated The Golden Truth

Breeze got on the mic and said that unlike the Golden State Warriors, they just couldn’t get the job done. They called themselves Gorgelicous, and then posed….[c]

My Take: Breezango came across as a bit stupid. Maybe that’s part of the gimmick in a Zoolander kind of way, but I don’t think it was intentional based on how mortified Breeze looked at just about everything Fandango had to say. This angle is death.

[Q4] A video package aired that recapped the Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler feud. Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Baron Corbin. He was outside the arena, because the WWE Universe doesn’t deserve his presence. He blamed the crowd for cheering for Dolph for fighing dirty, but no mind, the next time he enters an arena it will be to pound Dolph Ziggler into a pile of broken bones and broken dreams. Dean Ambrose made his entrance in the arena, followed by Sami Zayn…[c]

Alberto Del Rio made his entrance, followed by Kevin Owens.

[Q6] 3. Kevin Owens and Alberto Del Rio vs. Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn: Owens assaulted Zayn at the bell and took an early advantage. Zayn fired back with a kick, which cause Owens to immediately go for a tag to Del Rio. Zayn used his speed to gain an advantage on Del Rio and both he and Ambrose made a few quick tags and took shots at Del Rio. Zayn went for a clothesline and missed, which allowed Del Rio to sneak up behind him and hit a backstabber. Del Rio then knocked Ambrose off the apron and made a tag out to Owens.

Owens and Del Rio isolated Zayn in their corner and made frequent tags to keep him under control. Zayn escaped the abuse after a moment and made a tag out to Ambrose. Dean entered the ring and quickly dumped both Owens and Del Rio to the floor. He hit a tope suicida on Del Rio, but got dropped on the apron by Owens for his trouble…[c]

Del Rio hit a double stomp on Ambrose and tagged in Owens. The heel double teamed Ambrose on the outside after baiting the ref into getting into a confrontation with Owens. Zayn hit a tope con hilo to the outside to take out both Del Rio and Owens, but Ambrose couldn’t make a tag as Zayn got knocked off the apron. Del Rio sent Ambrose into the corner and ran in for a enziguri, but ended up hitting Owens by mistake. Zayn followed up with a Heluva Kick to Del Rio for the win.

Sami Zayn and Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens and Del Rio

Kevin Owens was furious at the loss and barked at Mauro and the announce team. He took a run at Zayn and Ambrose, but then took out a ladder and set it up in the middle of the ring. Cesaro then interrupted and ran down to the ring and took out Owens. He then climbed the ladder and grabbed the briefcase…[c]

My Take: An average match. Nothing really stood out to take it to the next level. I liked Cesaro grabbing the briefcase, and I’m sure we’ll see that for a number of competitors in the next few weeks.

[Q6] Lana was introduced, who then gave Rusev a ring introduction. Jack Swagger then made his entrance. Rusev knocked Swagger off the apron before he got into the ring and then backed him into the apron. He then chucked him into the ring steps and eventually back into the ring. The ref asked Swagger if he was good to compete, and he said yes.

4. Rusev vs. Jack Swagger: Rusev ran at Swagger and intended to throw a kick, but Swagger caught his leg and nearly had an Ankle Lock before Rusev scrambled to the floor. Swagger followed and hit a clothesline on the outside, but Rusev quickly recovered and took control for a bit with some ground and pound. Swagger got in some hope offense, and even another ankle lock attempt, but Rusev proved too powerful. Rusev dumped Swagger over the ropes in the corner, and he landed loudly on the ring steps on the outside.

Swagger got back in the ring at nine, and Rusev quickly attempted to put on the Accolade. Swagger slipped the hold and picked the ankle again, but Rusev quickly got out. He then kicked Swagger in the back and then applied the Accolade again for the win.

Rusev defeated Jack Swagger

At the end of the match, Rusev refused to break the hold, drawing the attention of Titus O’Neill. Rusev grabbed his championship and walked towards the back while Titus screamed at him from the ring. Footage from Raw was teased for after the break…[c]

My Take: This match was amusing, but this feud hasn’t caught on with me yet. Titus doesn’t feel like he’s been redefined at all, and it feels like he should have had to earn a shot at Rusev somehow. Maybe they’ll get there but this one needs some work.

[Q7] Life lessons with Bob Backlund was shown….and he forbade Darren Young form running. He told him he needs to walk, and that it would teach him about himself. He also stole his car keys, and it would take him 8 hours to walk to the next town. I have no idea what the point of any of this is. They announce team then showed some footage of Roman Reigns non-confrontation with Seth Rollins from Monday.

After the video package, AJ Styles made his entrance. He was followed by Kofi. The remaining Club and New Day members were at ringside…[c]

5. AJ Styles vs. Kofi Kingston: AJ showed off some athleticism early and hit a nice dropkick before too sweeting his fellow club members. Kofi fired back with an awkward looking hurricanrana followed by stomps in the corner. Everybody got in the ring for a stand off, and the ref quickly got in the way…[c]

Kofi hit a big back elbow on Styles the New Day made a bunch of noise on the outside in approval. Styles recovered and sent Kofi to the outside, and then tossed him into the ringpost on the outside. Back in the ring, Styles hit a pendulum backbreaker. Kofi fired back with a jawbreaker, but Styles replied with a flurry of offense that ended in a big clothesline. Kofi got back in the match with a clothesline of his own and a boom drop. It didn’t last, however, as Styles fired back with an ushigorishi for a near fall.

AJ went for the Styles Clash, but a Kofi reversal turned into a botch and they had to reset. Kofi placed Styles on the top turnbuckle, but he slipped out and Kofi went face first into the turnbuckle. Kofi got a big near fall after an SOS. Things broke down at this point with New Day and The Club brawling at ringside. This prompted Kofi to hit a somersault flip to the outside onto Gallows, but he walked into a Pele Kick and a Styles Clash for the win.

AJ Styles defeated John Cena

The Club celebrated at the top of the ramp to close the show. AJ Styles mouthed “We’re Taking Over” as New Day nursed their wounds in the ring.

My Take: I enjoyed this match despite a few execution mishaps. I’m not sure how many times Kofi and AJ have worked together before, so it could have been unfamiliarity. That being said, most of it was quite good and I like the physicality between these two factions. If they can make it more interesting on the microphone it’ll be a riot.



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Readers Comments (1)

  1. Fandango’s line “Just like the game of shooty hoops, three strikes and you’re out” was brilliant. I swear you PW.net guys are almost as out of touch as Vince.

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