By Jake Barnett
WWE Smackdown on USA Network
Live from San Diego, California at Valley View Casino Center
The show opened into the arena where Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton opened the show on commentary. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn made their entrance. Footage was shown of last week’s opening segment where Shane banned Zayn from ringside and booked Orton and Owens in a No DQ Match. Zayn interfering and giving Owens an opening to get a victory was shown next. Zayn and Owens soaked in the crowd cheers and jeers. Owens told Sami that when you’re as great of an athlete as he is, you never stop learning.
He said over the last few months he’s learned that the McMahons will stop at nothing to get their pound of flesh. They told the crowd to ask Daniel Bryan, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, and themselves, because they are better than all of those people combined. Owens then claimed that Shane had used his vessel Randy Orton to do his dirty work for him, and Sami chimed in and said that not long ago it was Stephanie that used Orton to do her bidding. They claimed Orton has had every door open for him, while they’ve had to scratch and claw for everything they ever accomplished.
He said he knew that Shane couldn’t stand them getting the better of him at Hell in a Cell, so he know what he had to do was beat up Orton so bad that he couldn’t use him as a weapon anymore. He complained about the match being No DQ, and Sami being banned from ringside. Sami then explained the difference between being in the ring, at ringside, and something different. He explained that they had outsmarted Shane by working within the system. At this point Sami was up on the ramp, and Orton appeared and gave Kevin Owens an RKO in the ring.
Shane McMahon then made his entrance and Sami was trapped between Shane and Orton on the ramp. He thanked Sami for the tutorial, and told him that he didn’t have a personal Vendetta against him and Kevin. Shane also said that Sami felt disrespected, but then told him that he would be featured at Clash of Champions with his partner Kevin Owens and a partner of his choosing. Shane then booked a match for the main event between Sami Zayn and Randy Orton, and instead of Owens being banned from ringside, he’ll be handcuffed to the ring rope. Roode vs Corbin was hyped for later, and New Day vs. Aiden English and Rusev was hyped for later…[c]
My Take: Well, I guess we know what those Duke Boys will be up to tonight. I’ll predict that somehow Zayn and Orton will find a way to get Orton in the handcuffs, and his mystery partner will make the save. This was a positively brisk opening segment compared to yesterday. I think Owens and Zayn gave a good performance but it’d be nice if they had a bit more depth. They’ve been consistently whining for several weeks.
Backstage, Sami told Owens that he made a match between him and Orton later. Owens sold his RKO heavily, and said he couldn’t bend his neck. Zayn told him about the stipulation, and Owens said he was going to go talk to Daniel Bryan and fix things. In the arena, Aiden English said every day is Rusev Day, but this time of year is the 12 Days of Rusev. English broke into song, but was interrupted by New Day. They entered with giant pancakes to hand out to the crowd.
1. The New Day vs. Aiden English and Rusev: English started with Big E. The ring mic was a bit hot as things started. We’ll see if they turn it down. Kofi tagged in and hit a big clothesline and set up for a boom drop, but Rusev got English out of the ring. New Day taunted them as they escaped to ringside…[c]
During the break, English got a blind tag and low bridged Kofi out to the floor. After that point, the heels cut off Kofi in their corner. Kofi nearly broke free with a jawbreaker, but English recovered and tagged in Rusev. Kofi made an effort to fight out of a headlock, but Rusev hit a heel kick. Kofi then hit a double stomp, and made the hot tag. English and Big E tagged in, and Big E hit several overhead suplexes and then hit a running splash. English raked the eyes and tagged out to Rusev, but he ran directly into a Uranage out of the corner.
Kofi tagged in and Rusev pulled Big E out of the ring and threw him into the steps. Kofi hit a beautiful dive out of the ring onto Rusev, and then tossed him back in the ring. English interfered as Kofi got back in the ring, and that gave Rusev enough time to hit a running kick and cover for the win.
English & Rusev defeated New Day at 11:44.
Footage was shown of Mojo Rawley attacking Zack Ryder last week. Backstage, Mojo bitched about Zack Ryder being dead weight, and said he was nobody’s tag team partner anymore. He said Ryder got hurt, and while he was out he won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but since he came back he’s been dragging him down. He said if there was anyone in the locker room in the arena that’s got a problem with what he did to Zack Ryder, they can shove it.
My Take: Seems like the entire tag division will be in one cluster of a match at Clash of Champions. I’m not sure what to think of it just yet, but we’ll see how it pans out.
Backtage, Lana, Tamina, and Carmella were shown speaking to Daniel Bryan. They complained about not being in the Women’s Championship match. They all pled their case for being in the match, and said Natalya wasn’t worthy of another shot. The Riott Squad walked up and lodged their complaints. Ruby said she didn’t fit into his Bella Army. Liv said he favored Brunette’s, and Sarah Logan went off about some god awful nonsense about being from Kentucky and eating wild Game. Eventually Bryan just screamed to shut them all up and made it a Lumberjack Match at the Clash.
Elsewhere, Corbin and Roode bitched about Dolph Ziggler being added to their match at Clash of Champions and lowered their odds of victory. Ziggler walked up and said he was added to the match because he’s a two time World Champion, a 5x Intercontinental Champoin, and took a dig at Corbin by saying he successfully cashed in Money in the Bank. He told them their odds had been
My Take: That women’s segment was BRUTAL. This was a toothless follow up to the Riott Squad’s dominance last week. They clearly didn’t have much of a plan for them once they were called up. I have no idea why Sarah Logan has this country ass gimmick. She wears it awkwardly.
The Bludgeon Brothers made their entrance. Jobbers were in the ring.
2. The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Peter Avalon and Fidel Bravo (as jobbers): After a few high impact clotheslines and slams, they hit their Double Powerbomb finish and got the win.
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Jobbers at 0:39.
The announce team then threw to a commercial from Charlotte’s appearance on Psych. Backstage, Owens approached Zayn as he bitched about the handcuff stipulation. Owens said Bryan said he’d think about it, but Owens looked a bit dour. He said they’d have to wait and find out. Corbin vs. Roode is next…[c]
My Take: I like the use of jobbers here. The Bludgeon Brothers are one of those acts that needs to get over the physicality of their offense before they are immediately tossed into a title match. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with 4 or 5 Tag Teams involved at Clash of Champions at this point.
Baron Corbin made his entrance, followed by Bobby Roode.
2. Bobby Roode vs. Baron Corbin: They went back and forth early as Dolph Ziggler joined on commentary. Roode hit a baseball slide that sent Corbin out to the floor. Corbin hit a big right hand and then a clothesline as he got back in the ring. Corbin grabbed a headlock, but Roode fought and chopped his way out. Roode and Corbin collided mid-ring, which gave ZIggler an opening to enter the match and hit Ziz Zags on both men. The ref called for the bell.
The match ended in an apparent no contest at 4:43.
Backstage, Natalya told Carmella, Tamina, and Lana that she was excited for them to be at ringside for her match at Clash of Champions. Carmella tried to explain that they were lumberjacks and not there to help her, but Nattie brushed her off and tried to ply them into service against the Riott Squad. She brought up the welcoming committee and their history together, but the Riott Squad approached from behind, so she had to cover herself. She tried to butter up the Riott Squad by talking about how Charlotte is jealous of them, and calling them powerful additions to the roster. She eventually walked away unscathed…[c]
My Take: The Clash of Champions show is coming together quickly, but honestly there aren’t really any major selling points for me yet. I’m hoping the last 45 minutes of this show can change my mind a bit. The Lumberjack stipulation and adding Ziggler to the US Title Match, along with the Tag Division jumble just makes it feel like they just want to cram as many people on the show as possible.
We saw a long video package that recapped the AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal feud, and ended with Mahal attacking the Singh Brothers. Charlotte was already in the ring with Tamina. Lana, Carmella, and Nattie were at ringside.
3. Tamina vs. Charlotte: Tamina controlled the early going with some strikes. Charlotte reversed out of a clothesline and hit a kick that got her a two count. Tamina fired back and hit some shoulder charges in the corner, and then picked her up for what looked like an Alabama Slam, but then backed her into the turnbuckles…[c]
Tamina controlled the action during the break, but as the show came back Charlotte quickly turned the tables. She hit a clothesline and a big boot, and then applied the Figure Eight for a quick tap out victory.
Charlotte defeated Tamina at 7:33.
After the match, Nattie told Charlotte to enjoy her final moments at Champion, and said this was a preview of their lumberjack match at Clash of Champions. Lana and Carmella were up on the apron. The Riott Squad then entered and Ruby told the audience to prepare for their feature presentation. She got in Carmella’s face. Sarah Logan made a quip about how the other women looked as scared as long tail cats in a room full of Rocking Chairs. Liv said no place was safe when a riot breaks out. Tamina took a shot at Logan, and a brawl broke out. Charlotte managed to escape up the ramp as the other women eventually separated at a stalemate.
Backstage, Owens thanked Bryan for hearing him out, and asked for his decision. Bryan agreed with Shane, and Orton would be handcuffed to the ropes.
My Take: I’m wonder if Bryan will have rigged the cuffs in a way that Owens will be able to escape. The women’s division has just added three more people to a mess. They apparently can’t be bothered to make compelling singles feuds.
At ringside, Owens was handcuffed to the ropes. Bryan told him if he didn’t do it, he would be suspended, because he kept interfering in matches. Orton then made his ring entrance…[c]
4. Randy Orton vs. Sami Zayn: The match was joined in progress as Orton tossed Sami out of the ring and gave him a suplex onto the barricade. He then tossed him over the announce table. Zayn flipped out of another suplex and made an escape to the area over by Kevin Owens. Zayn finally engaged Orton, but Orton quickly took the action back outside and tossed Zayn into the barricade and announce table before suplexing him onto the announce table, where he crashed into one of the LCD monitors.
Owens offered a distraction, which allowed Zayn to hit a baseball slide and send Orton into the barricade. Zayn then tossed him into the ring steps. Sami ended up with a nasty looking welt on his back from where he landed on the monitor, something Orton is familiar with when he did it to himself at WrestleMania 30. Zayn then hit some strikes and kicks and tossed Orton back to ringside, where Owens mocked him…[c]
Zayn had the advantage and went to ringside to check under the ring. He hit a hard right hand to Orton and then grabbed a bolt cutters from underneath the ring. He went to free Owens, but he couldn’t because Orton intercepted in time. Orton then shoved Owens into the ring post. Orton hit a superplex in the ring, which had both men down for a bit. Owens was able to free himself, but Orton quickly knocked him down to the floor. Orton hit a draping DDT on Zayn, and then went for one on Owens, but Zayn rolled him up from behind for a near fall. Zayn was able to avoid an RKO and went for Heluva Kick, but Orton rolled him up and got the win.
Randy Orton defeated Sami Zayn at 14:21.
After the match, Owens assaulted Orton from behind. He and Zayn pummeled Orton until Shinsuke Nakamura made the save. He hit Owens with a Kinshasa and then Orton hit Zayn with an RKO. They seemed to end the show a bit too early, as they hit the moves again on the opposite guy to kill some more time. Backstage, Orton and Bryan were talking in front of a monitor. Bryan asked Shane if he was done punishing them now. Shane said he was just getting started. He inserted himself into the tag match at Clash of Champions as the referee, and if Owens and Zayn lose, they will be fired from all of WWE. Bryan looked at Shane with a measure of disdain to close the show.
My Take: It appears that Bryan is more openly showing his distaste for Shane’s personal vendettas. If there is a a possibility that Bryan may get cleared by WWE, I’d wager he could have a WrestleMania match with Shane McMahon ready to go. Nakamura being added to the Tag Match didn’t surprise me, as he hadn’t been featured on the show and didn’t seem to fit anywhere else. It has the potential to be a really good match, and will probably feature the wackiest booking of the show. If they put Shinsuke in the match just to take the pin for his team, which seems plausible given the stipulation, then it’ll further cement his diminished importance to the brand and WWE in general.