6/16 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown TV Review: Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio, AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods, final MITB push



By Jake Barnett

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WWE Smackdown on the USA Network
Taped on Tuesday in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum

The Smackdown intro aired and the show went straight to the arena for some Money in the Bank hype from Mauro Ranallo. Chris Jericho stood center ring with the Money in the Bank briefcase overhead. He welcomed us to Talk is Jericho, and showed off his expensive blue carpet in the ring and the Jeritron 6500. He bragged about his wealth and said he would win the Money in the Bank match on Sunday, and then remarked on his genius for creating the match in the first place. He said there was nothing his guest could do to stop him, and it’s a man he hates with every fiber of his being, and then introduced Dean Ambrose.

Footage was shown from the Shield interview segment on Monday that focused on Dean Ambrose getting the last word by hitting Dirty Deeds on Roman Reigns. Ambrose had a cup of coffee, and complimented Jericho on his carpet. He bent down to get a closer look, and Jericho was apoplectic about his coffee. Jericho said the carpet was made of serengeti Yak hair, and then asked Ambrose why he had coffee anyways, and Ambrose mocked Jericho about the “Gift of Jericho” and was just drinking it in.

Jericho freaked out and said that Ambrose wasn’t worthy of being on his show, and neither was the crowd, and demanded the production team raise the Jeritron. Jericho said he hadn’t forgotten what Ambrose had done to his jacket, or that he had put 69 thumb tacks in his back in the Asylum match. Jericho said all the holes in his back didn’t amount to the hole in Ambrose’s soul left by never winning a World Championship. Jericho bragged about winning it six times, but was interrupted by Kevin Owens.

Owens said neither of them would cash in the Briefcase, because it was his. He teased cashing it in at Summerslam or waiting until WrestleMania, but Del Rio interrupted. He talked about being the only one who had won the contract before, but Cesaro cut him off. Zayn cut off Cesaro before he even got a chance to speak. Zayn started talking about the six man tag match later in the show, and Cesaro called him out for interrupting him. Jericho called for them to shut up, and that brought Cesaro and Zayn into the ring.

Jericho kept drolling on about how his team will Owens and Del Rio was going to kick their asses all over the arena, but Ambrose got him to panic by pouring his coffee out all over the carpet. Jericho demanded Owens and Del Rio do something, and then a brawl broke out. The refs kept them apart as the announcers plugged the six man…[c]

My Take: This was the most entertaining opening segment in weeks, mostly thanks to the coffee bit that got the crowd involved early and the quick transitions. It didn’t count on two guys to carry a 20 minute verbal segment and it was better off for it.  

[Q2] Gallows and Anderson and The Vaudevillians were in the ring, and were quickly followed by Enzo and Cass’s entrance. They were interrupted by the New Day, which caused them both to roll their eyes. Kofi Kingston rode down to the ring on Big E’s shoulders for this four way match.

1. Big Cass vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Aiden English vs. Luke Gallows: English and Cass paired up, as did Kofi and Gallows. Kofi got sent to the floor by Gallows pretty quickly, and Gallows turned his attention to Cass. Cass clotheslined English to the outside, and then Gallows followed up and dumped Cass out to the floor. At that point, English and Gallows sent Cass hard into the barricade. There was a standoff on the outside as everybody jawed at each other…[c]

Gallows and English double teamed Kofi. Both men tried for covers, but that caused a brief disagreement. Gallows put Kofi on his shoulders, but Cass got back in the ring and hit Gallows with a big boot. Cass cleaned house on everybody until Gallows pulled him out of the ring as he hit the ropes. Kofi splashed both men on the outside, and then hit Trouble in Paradise on Aiden English in the ring for the win.

Kofi Kingston defeated Cass, Aiden English and Luke Gallows

New Day celebrated on the outside while Enzo talked trash about everyone. He said he could blow a fart into a microphone and it would sound better than whatever Xavier Woods does with that Trombone. Backstage, Natalya and Becky Lynch were interviewed and talked about their friendship and how Charlotte is a fraud who can’t win her own battles. Dana and Charlotte interrupted and told them that playtime was over and that Charlotte was going to knock Natalya’s lights out later in the show…[c]

My Take: The four way just never caught fire for me. It wasn’t bad, but not great either. The match never really felt dramatic, even down the stretch when they were working towards the finish. I don’t really blame anyone, they just cut to a commercial at the wrong time and their wasn’t much suspense built for the final flourish after the break.

[Q3] Baron Corbin made his entrance, and Zack Ryder was already in the ring. Dolph Ziggler joined the announce team.

2. Baron Corbon vs. Zack Ryder: Corbin heat a cheap shot early, but turned his attention to Ziggler at ringside. Ryder hit a dropkick off the apron, and then sent Corbin back in the ring for a Broski boot. He then covered for a two count. Ryder attempted a missile dropkick from the second rope, but missed. That allowed Corbin to hit end of days and get the win.

Baron Corbin defeated Zack Ryder

Corbin and Ziggler talked some trash, but Corbin turned and walked away when Ziggler started getting ready to fight. The announce team hyped the six man tag for later in the show…[c]

My Take: I’m very ready for this feud to be over. Ziggler is nearly intolerable at the announce booth and Corbin needs something new.

[Q4] Lana was introduced by Jojo. She then asked the crowd to put their hands on their hearts and welcome the US Champion and American Hero, Rusev. Footage was shown from Raw during his entrance where he attacked Titus on Raw and threw him around the stage. Kalisto made his entrance. Rusev caught him as he vaulted into the ring and applied a brief bear hug. He then kicked him in the back of the head and applied the Accolade. The same fate awaited Sin Cara when he tried to stop Rusev. The prompted Titus to make a run in and put a beating on Rusev out on the floor. Rusev retreated as Titus checked on the Lucha Dragons in the ring.

The announce team the introduced a video package that focused on AJ Styles and John Cena, and their contract signing from Monday’s Raw. Backstage, AJ Styles was interviewed by Renee Young. He said John Cena tried to embarrass him on Monday as if he wouldn’t sign the contract, but he would prove everyone in the WWE Universe wrong by shutting up John Cena at the greatest Money in the Bank PPV of all time.

New Day then walked up and made fun of Styles for his fashion sense and his bad haircut, both of which are totally deserved. He then challenged Xavier Woods to a match, and accused him of running his mouth but never backing it up. Kofi said no at first, but Woods said he hadn’t had a singles match in a minute and decided to accept, but wanted the match right now…[c]

My Take: I’m not invested in Rusev and Titus, though I’m happy Rusev isn’t being fed to John Cena. Styles vs. Woods should be fun, since they’ve had matches in the past and Woods is more talented than he lets on as a member of New Day.

A Stone Cold Podcast with AJ Styles will be coming up after Raw this Monday, according to a commercial right before the show came back. AJ then made his ring entrance in the arena, followed by Xavier Woods. Woods made his entrance next. He entered with the rest of New Day, but they didn’t accompany him past he ramp.

[Q5] 3. Xavier Woods vs. AJ Styles: Styles hit an arm drag to start, and then applied a wristlock out of a tie up. Woods backed him into the ropes to force a break, and Styles hit a forearm to the mouth as the ref intervened. Woods fired back with some chops, but Styles hit him with a low chop block that forced the ref to pause the action to check on his knee. Styles pressed the offense and kicked Woods in the back of the knee.

Woods fired back with a knee of his own, but Styles recovered and hit a pele kick. He told the ref he chipped a tooth and demanded the ref check him out. Styles hit a corner clothesline and covered for a two count. He then applied a chinlock, and Woods fought to his feet and hit an arm drag. He then rolled up Styles for a pinfall, but he kicked out and quickly hit Woods with a pendulum backbreaker to take control…[c]

Woods and Styles were both on the top rope. Woods knocked AJ down and hit a flying cross body, followed by some kicks and an inverted suplex. Woods ran into the foot of Styles in the corner, but fired back with a clothesline that sent Styles out to the floor. Woods then hit a tope con hilo, and threw Styles back into the ring and hit a big Elbow Drop after doing a little rope walk that fired up the crowd. Woods placed Styles back on the top rope, but Styles fought out of a suplex and sent Woods crashing back into the ring.

Styles then hit a Phenomenal Forearm, followed by a calf killer. Woods was forced to tap out.

AJ Styles defeated Xavier Woods

After the match, Styles kicked Woods out of the ring and called him a piece of trash. He said what happened to Woods is just a taste of what he’s going to give John Cena. He said Christmas was coming early on Sunday, and told John Cena to find a clock because his time was up and Styles time was now.

My Take: I really enjoyed the match. Woods looked very good and got in a lot of offense and a near fall that won over quite a few in the crowd. Styles is having great matches with just about everyone at this point, and this was no exception. I don’t know if this will lead to a singles breakout for Xavier Woods, but he might be tasked with more of it after the brand split and that’s not something WWE should be afraid of.

Another Darren Young and Bob Backlund segment aired. Young talked about getting some great advice from poetry, and Backlund told him not to take advice from anyone. Young asked if that included him, and Backlund said he doesn’t give advice, he gives orders.

Footage was shown of the Women’s segment from Monday, with Paige getting a win over Charlotte. Nattie and Charlotte were already in the ring, and Charlotte made her entrance with Dana Brooke. Becky and Natalya vs. Natalya and Dana Brooke was plugged for Sunday.

4. Natalya vs. Charlotte: Nattie caught a kick from Charlotte and sent her face first into the mat. She then applied a surfboard briefly, and quickly released in order to hit a basement dropkick on a seated Charlotte. She went for a Sharpshooter next, but Charlotte escaped and forced a separation. Both women rolled outsided, and Charlotte hit a charging Nattie with a big boot. They traded blows in the middle of the ring, and Nattie hit a side russian leg sweep. She then followed up with a release german and got a two count.

Charlotte hit a big knife edge chop that knocked Nattie Down, and started to climb to the top, but Nattie caught her in position for a sit out powerbomb for a near fall. Dana Brooke distracted Nattie by screaming, and Becky ran over and started a brawl with her. They brawled into the ring and rolled through and out the other side. This allowed Charlotte to throw her Championship Belt at Nattie’s feet. Nattie picked it up just in time for the ref to grab it from her. This gave Charlotte an opening for a chop block. She then applied the figure eight and Nattie was forced to tap out.

Charlotte defeated Natalya

After the match, the announce crew said the story of Reigns and Rollins would be featured next…[c]

My Take: Charlotte and Natalya continue their streak of mediocre matches. I’m not sure what switch flipped that sent them in this direction, but they haven’t been able to deliver in the feud from a story or match standpoint. The sooner they move on from this whole debacle the better.

[Q7] Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins were featured in a video package that focused on their history and how they were destined to face one another. After the video Dean Ambrose made his way to the ring for the main event…[c]

Entrances continued through the break, with just about everyone in the ring as the show got back. Jericho made a televised entrance.

[Q8] 5. Jericho & Owens & Del Rio vs. Ambrose & Zayn & Cesaro: All six men brawled to start, but Cesaro and Del Rio remained in the ring and were the focus on the action. Cesaro dumped Del Rio out to the floor, and then hit a somersault senton on him from the apron. He then went on an uppercut party around the ring, ending back at Del Rio. He hit a splash on Del Rio back in the ring, and then hit Cesaro swings on all the members of the heel team. Cesaro then applied a Sharpshooter to Jericho, which caused a tap but wasn’t registered because he wasn’t the legal man. Del Rio hit a superkick to Cesaro to break up the move…[c]

Owens took some shots at Cesaro as the show came back and more resembled an actual tag match. The heels used frequent tags to cut off the ring and isolate Cesaro. Del Rio hit an enziguri and got a near fall. Cesaro recovered and placed Del Rio on the top rope and hit an impressive standing drop kick that sent Del Rio off the top rope and out to the floor. Sami Zayn and Jericho both tagged in at this point. Zayn hit an impressive cross body onto Jericho.

Owens hit a cheapshot on Zayn that disrupted him quickly, but he recovered and hit a blue thunder bomb on Jericho. That set up the hot tag to Ambrose, who cleaned house. He knocked Kevin Owens out to the floor, and sent Del Rio out there as well. He hit suicide dive on Del Rio, and then climbed to the top. He went for a double axehandle, but Del Rio hit a kick to the gut and a backstabber to slow his momentum. Things broke down and the babyface team had some accident. Cesaro hit Ambrose with an uppercut, and Zayn hit Cesaro on the outside with a tope con hilo.

The heel team was next, as Owens hit kicks to Jericho and Del Rio, but those were on purpose. Ambrose recovered and hit Dirty Deeds on Owens and got the win. Ambrose bled from the mouth as he celebrated after the match.

Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn and Cesaro defeated Kevin Owens, Alberto Del Rio and Chris Jericho

My Take: This show placed a lot of focus on the Money in the Bank match, but didn’t add much gas to the fire. The closing match followed the conventions they had already set for the feud, and continued to tease Dean Ambrose potentially cashing in on one of his former Shield mates. Overall, this was an entertaining show, but was mediocre as a go home show. The only person that made me more interested in seeing his match on Sunday was AJ Styles. Everyone else felt like they were just doing their best to maintain what had already been set in motion.


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