By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Denver, Colorado at Pepsi Center
R-Truth and Carmella were in the ring for a knockoff episode of MizTV. Truth welcomed everyone to TruthTV and said What’s Up. He called her the “Andy Richards” to his Conan O’Brien. I’m sure Andy Richter is impressed. He then shined up Carmella and called her his fabulous Tag Team Partner for Mixed Match Challenge. She then introduced Daniel Bryan, calling him the Yes Man. By the way, the announce team is the usual group of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton.
Bryan entered and sat down, and got a very disjointed chant from the crowd. Truth said he wanted to have Bryan on as his first guest, because he had a lot of questions. Bryan said they were in Denver, so hit me with your best questions. Truth grabbed is glasses and some note cards. He said Bryan has been foiling Miz’s plans for 8 years, and then brought up the other Carmella. He told the real Carmella that he was glad she dyed her hair, because they were confusing people.
He then asked about Bryan’s match at Super Showdown, but first paused so he and Carmella could have a 7 second dance break. Bryan said this show was infinitely better than MizTV. Truth said he had an animal segment next, but first he wanted to hear about his match at Super Showdown. Bryan said it would be a cathartic match, and asked if Truth knew what that meant. Truth said he did of course, but Bryan should explain it to fans.
Bryan said it would help him feel better about the energy he spent on coming back to WWE, to finally put The Miz behind him for good. He said he also has unfinished business with the WWE Championship, because he only ever got to defend hit one time before having to go on hiatus due to injury. He said he also has unfinished business with The Miz, and Super Showdown lets him accomplish two very important goals, and that is cathartic to him.
Miz interrupted and told Truth that he was in idiot. Truth said he was an idiot that stole his talk show. This started a TruthTV chant. Miz told Bryan that he would always be known as the guy who sticks to his principles, and give the fans hope, and that’s exactly why he’ll never beat him. He said Bryan can foil one of his 300 ideas on any given night, but he’ll always be able to find a way to win when it counts. He told Bryan that he could never do that, because if he did he would destroy the legacy and identity of Daniel Bryan, and take away the hopes and dreams of all the fans in the process.
Truth clapped back at Miz and told him that he can’t run his mouth like that on his show. He told him he was banned from TruthTV for life. Miz fired back and told him that it was his show, so it didn’t matter what Truth thought. Truth Challenged Miz to a match for his show back, and when Miz tried to balk, Truth called for another Dance Break. Miz walked backstage to Paige, who told him to get out there and win his show back…[c]
My Take: A wild opening segment if for nothing else than Truth being ridiculous. Bryan keeps repeating the same stuff over and over again, which is disheartening. The WWE Championship stuff is fresh, but I keep waiting to hear Bryan connect with the crowd on something other than the nostalgia of what he was before his prior retirement. Miz was good here, as usual, but I’m not sure he feels Main Event level at this point.
1. Daniel Bryan vs. The Miz: Daniel Bryan joined on commentary. R-Truth got going early with some clotheslines and a nice kick. Miz regrouped on the outside and turned things aroudn in the ring with a DDT. Miz applied a half nelson crossface hold to ground Truth, and then tried for a backslide, but they ended in a stalemate. Miz took control again with some kicks to the gut…[c]
Miz went to a chinlock during the break, kept Truth grounded with holds and stomps. He hit a corner clothesline and a double axe handle from the top rope. Truth fired back with a vertical suplex into a jawbreaker that got a near fall. Truth then fired up the crowd and went for a scissor kick, but Miz avoided it. Truth came back with a flying forearm for another near fall. The Miz used the official to get between him and Truth, and then gave him a thumb to the eye. He then hit the Skull Crushing Finale. Miz stared at Bryan and asked him if he got him. Miz then stole then hit Daniel Bryan’s Busaiku Knee for the win.
The Miz defeated R-Truth at 9:12.
After the match, footage was shown of Becky Lynch interrupting a Charlotte Photo Shoot to beat the crap out of her. The Bar then made their entrance in the arena…[c]
My Take: I liked The Miz tormenting Daniel Bryan here, but I think Bryan needs to find some righteous anger to set this feud back on fire. He was able to channel it a little bit when Brie was out there and Miz was threatening physicality with her, but I think he needs to find that anger for his own reasons. The Match with R-Truth was fine, but they never really found a strong flow.
Sheamus said they are still a joke, dragging out the same old insults week after week. Sheamus said the crowds respect them because they show up to fight. They don’t just set the bar, they are the bar…
2. Sheamus vs. Big E: The match spilled out to the apron early, where Big E hit a big splash on Sheamus. He had to roll out to recover, while Big E celebrated with his team…[c]
Big E hit some overhead belly to belly suplexes, but couldn’t hit a third. Sheamus charged him in the corner, but E caught him with a Uranage for a two count. Big E posed and went for a big splash, but Sheamus got the knees up. Sheamus then hit a powerslam and covered for a near fall. Big E got revived by the crowd and went for a spear through the ropes, but Sheamus got a knee up. Big E then went for a Big Ending, but Sheamus held the ropes to escape and hit the Brogue Kick for the win.
Sheamus defeated Big E at 8:33.
The Bar celebrated after the match with a selfie. Backstage, Paige asked AJ not to destroy everything at ringside, because the monitors on the announce table are very expensive. AJ said he was just there to sign on the dotted line, and if he needed to destroy anything, it would be Samoa Joe. Elsewhere, Lana walked and grabbed Rusev out of his locker. He told her that Aiden will pay for what he did, but he has to know why he attacked him last week. They then started walking towards the arena…[c]
My Take: Sheamus winning here make sense to build the threat level for The Bar, but with so many rapid fire events coming up, it’s going to be difficult to build any real anticipation for these title matches with so little opportunity to heat things up.
Rusev and Lana made their entrance. Video was shown of Aiden English’s post match attack from last week. Rusev said last week, his friend and partner Aiden English betrayed him on the most important Day of them all. He said he did it on Rusev Day, and that makes him a traitor. Rusev then said before he crushed his soul, he wants him to come out and explain himself.
English walked out on stage, and told Rusev that none of this was his fault. He claimed that when he found Rusev, he was the Superathlete, talented but nobody cared about him. He said he saw potential in him, and helped him become the man that he is today. He then threw to a video package of their exploits together. The crowd chanted Rusev Day after the video, and English recalled crowds chanting their names all throughout the entire WrestleMania show.
He then threw to another video package that implicated Lana as the result of their problems, and showed a video that laid out his evidence. Rusev looked confused, and English said that Lana was loyal and “honest” with Rusev. The crowd chanted for Lana, but Rusev asked Lana if she was going to tell Rusev about that one night in Milwaukee. He then dropped the mic and walked away. Lana looked disgusted and Rusev didn’t know what to think.
The announce team then threw to a video package of AJ Styles getting choked out by Samoa Joe at the contract signing for WrestleMania. Samoa Joe’s locker room was then shown. Naomi and Asuka were shown backstage, with Asuka pummeling some hand mitts that Naomi was wearing…[c]
My Take: Well, this Rusev/English drama went in a far different direction than I expected. I’m curious to see where it goes, but I have very low confidence in the payoff. WWE has not shown the ability to pay off an angle like this in a long time, at least not in a satisfying way.
Backstage, Lana said she’s not sure what Aiden’s even talking about. Becky Lynch walked up and said Milwaukee was a fun town. Lana told her to mind her own business. Becky said she’s the champ of the Women’s division that Lana tries to compete in, so that makes her Becky’s business. She then said Lana better solve her Milwaukee business, because when she’s done with her later, she won’t be physically able to carry her bags out of the arena. Becky walked off after eyeing up Lana and laughing about Milwaukee. Rusev asked when the last time they were in Milwaukee was. Lana looked sad and walked off, saying she couldn’t deal with it right now.
In the arena, The Iconics were in the ring, but were interrupted by Naomi and Asuka before they could speak. Video was shown of Naomi and Asuka arguing with Mandy and Sonya earlier. They then made their entrances in the arena.
3. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose vs. Asuka and Naomi: The Iconics were on commentary. Asuka started the match with Mandy, and grabbed a hold of some arm twists. Mandy escaped and tagged to Sonya, who hit Asuka with a clothesline. They made rapid tags and tried to cut off Asuka on the heel side of the ring. Asuka fired back and hit Sonya with a release overhead suplex and made a hot tag to Naomi.
She entered the ring and hit a hip attack and a leg drop on Mandy. Sonya offered some interference to break up the pin. Mandy then hit a clothesline and tagged in Sonya. Mandy tried to overstay her welcome and double team, but Asuka hit a hip attack that sent her to the floor. Naomi regained control and tagged in Asuka for a head kick and the victory.
Asuka and Namoi defeated Sonya and Mandy at 4:12
Becky vs. Lana was plugged for later, and the contract signing with AJ and Samoa Joe is upcoming as well. Shinsuke Nakamura is next…[c]
My Take: Rusev seems intent on solving the Mystery of Milwaukee, and Lana was incredulous that he’d consider there was anything to it. I must admit this is better than a long drawn out promo about English’s growing resentment of her. The Women’s tag match was another throwaway, building towards a match that no one cares about in the arenas in the US because they’ve killed The Iconics act on the Main Roster. I’m sure it will get a good reaction in Australia.
Tye Dillinger was already in the ring. Shinsuke Nakamura then made his entrance.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger: Tye backed up Nakamura into the corner and landed some shots, but it didn’t last. Shinsuke turned the tables and fired up for a Kinshasa, but Tye avoided it and hit a superkick. He followed up with a Frog Splash and got a near fall. Tye mounted Nakamura in the corner, but was pulled down by an interfering Randy Orton. The bell never rang…
The match ended in an apparent No Contest at 4:48
Orton mashed Dillinger into the barricade, the steps, and then dropped back into the ring. He then pulled Dillinger through the apron and hit a draping DDT on the floor. He then mocked Dillinger’s 10 pose. After Orton’s beating, Nakamura gave Dillinger a Kinshasa and sent him into the screen ring apron. I can’t imagine that was intentional.
The announce team plugged the contract signing. Backstage, Lana prepared for her match. Rusev walked up and wished her luck. She asked him if he believed her, and he said yes. He just asked “Why Milwaukee?”, and she she got frustrated that he would consider anything Aiden says because he’s a liar. She then walked away and said she had to go for her match….[c]
My Take: I really hope this was throwing us off the bait, and Orton has bigger fish in mind for his next victim. The Kinshasa on the outside looked pretty rough. I hope Dillinger isn’t concussed, there’s already been one rough injury this week. I’m still left wondering how weird they are going to get with this English and Lana program.
Backstage, Orton was asked why he attacked Tye Dillinger. He just said the Perfect 10 crap just pissed him off. Becky Lynch made her entrance in the arena. Lana was already in the ring.
5. Becky Lynch vs. Lana: Becky grabbed a hammerlock and hit a drop toe hold as the crowd broke into Milwaukee chants. Becky then hit a waistlock takeover as Lana looked frustrated. Lana slapped Becky across the face and hit mounted punches. She then hit a kick, and a bulldog a moment later for a two count.
On the outside, Becky tossed Lana into the barricade and told the crowd she’d send her back to Milwaukee. Lana fired back in the ring with a kick and headed to the top rope, but Becky pulled her down. Becky then hit a Bexploder Suplex, and applied the Disarmher for the win.
Becky Lynch defeated Lana at 5:44.
Backstage, Aiden English was asked about what exactly happened in Milwaukee. He said not right now, but next week he would have video evidence. Elsewhere, Paige was briefing the security jobbers on what to do during the contact signing…[c]
My Take: Becky gets another TV Win, and no Charlotte in sight. It was said that she was sent home earlier after the attack, and I must have missed it if it was mentioned earlier in the show. I was waiting for a post match attack here, but it never came. The Milwaukee Video Evidence should be a hoot. I find myself sympathizing with Randy Orton being tired of the Perfect 10 crap.
Paige was in the ring, and announced again that the Super Showdown match between AJ and Joe is no countout, no disqualification match. Can you be counted out in a No DQ match that doesn’t specifically mention it? Seems redundant. Anyways, AJ made his way out to the ring. Paige called out Samoa Joe, but he didn’t show up. AJ said he’s more likely to attack him from behind, but he’s got eyes in the back of his head tonight. Styles called their match in Australia right up Joe’s alley, because he doesn’t follow the rules. Styles then signed the document, but as he was signing Joe popped up on the tron.
Joe was in the dark in a neighborhood, and he bent down to show a Mailbox marked Styles. Styles looked at Paige and said he’s at my house. Joe strolled up to the steps and sat down, and he asked Styles how he was feeling now. Styles got increasingly apoplectic in the arena, as Joe got closer to the door. He told Styles that this helplessness and rage he feels will be exacly how he feels when he beats him for the title in Australia, so he should hold onto it. He said this entire thing has been about consequences. When he denied him the WWE Title, that was one thing, but when he stole it from him, that demanded consequences. Joe then rang the doorbell and said Daddy’s Home, and the show went black.
My Take: An interesting way to sell the Super Showdown match, but not usually one that results in a title change. I really enjoy the personal nature of this feud, and I hope they have something in mind for both men coming out of it, because they’ve given good performances despite some bad material at times. It’s hard to imagine AJ losing a match when the feud has become so much about his family and his integrity, but it’s also difficult to determine where you’d go with Joe if he loses as well. This will be one to watch coming out of Super Showdown.