By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Providence, Rhode Island at Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Shane was shown backstage and was approached by Elias. He apologized for what happened at Money in the Bank, and blamed his loss on being affected by the crowd reaction to his performance. He said he lost focus, and the entire event was a blur. Elias said the entire McMahon family deserved better, and offered to be in Shane’s corner at Super Showdown. Shane declined the offer, but said he would be in Elias’s corner later on when he faces Roman Reigns. Elias said he was going to go wait for Roman to arrive.
In the arena. The announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton plugged Kofi vs. Zayn for later. New Day made their entrance and Kofi and Woods stood on the stage and said tonight marked the return of Big E. They brought out someone covered in a black sheet, and uncovered a man that was not Big E. Woods asked who he was, and said his knees were so ashy he was going to start a fire. He was wearing a Big E sized singlet, but it was 5 sizes too big. Woods and Kofi kicked him backstage, and the real Big E made his entrance with the New Day Pronouncement.
All three men walked to the ring, and there were gifts and a sign in the ring to welcome Big E back to the show. Big E played to the crowd and got a nice reaction. He smelled Kofi’s underarm and Woods hair for some reason, and said he missed them and the WWE Universe. Woods said he has been fire on Twitter, and Big E pulled his phone out to send a tweet. Woods whispered that Becky’s Mom is taken, and Big E said he wanted her. They both agreed that she was fine….but Kofi told them to chill because they want him to be a serious Champion.
Kofi made mention of Brock Lesnar’s Money in the Bank win, and it got booed. Woods then said Kofi managed to KO KO, and they all busted out laughing. This brought out Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, who said that Big E didn’t deserve a party for being out 6 weeks. He was gone for 9 months and got nothing. Big E said they’d give him the same thing Kevin Owens got on Sunday, and that’s nothing.
KO stormed to the back while Zayn said that the only reason Owens didn’t beat him in 5 minutes flat was because he was distracted by his best friend being beat down and hung upside down. Zayn said the crowd should stop cheering this toxic culture that New Day is creating. Woods continually interrupted him with the trombone. Sami said he would shut them up later when he beats Kofi in front of all these trash people and show them that their pancakes and hip swivels are a joke.
Kofi replied and told him not to get distracted by the pancakes and hip swivels, because when it was time to throw down, they throw down. And when he got in his way, he would walk right through him. Bayley and Becky will take on Charlotte and Lacey later. Backstage, Carmella was walking backstage when she ran into Apollo and Drake maverick looking for R-Truth. She found R-Truth in a costume, who asked for her help him evade all of his challengers. She agreed and they walked into a corridor. In the arena, Ali made his entrance…[c]
My Take: It’s good to see Big E back, but the humor with Kofi and New Day doesn’t land as much as it should, and I think it could end up taking away from the potential of this feud if it continues unabated. There are probably fans that really enjoy the goofy humor, and Zayn and Owens did a good job of being sufficiently annoyed by it, but the new Champ could definitely use a good dose of adversity and babyface fire.
Andrade and Zelina Vega were in the ring when the show returned.
1. Andrade vs. Ali: The announce team spoke about Andrade needing to “build momentum” on his way to Super Showdown. Andrade did his tranquilo pose in the ropes. Both men traded lariats, but Andrade’s hit harder, and Ali got turned inside out. He recovered and hit a poisoned huracanrana for a two count. Andrade fired back with a dropkick that took Ali out of mid air for a near fall….[c]
Andrade dominated the offense during the break. Andrade sent Ali to the floor and dove at him on the outside. He then shoved Ali off the apron into the barricade as he tried to climb back into the ring. He answered the 10 count at 8. Andrade focused on the back and went for three amigos suplexes. He then tossed Ali back first into the turnbuckles. Ali rolled to the floor, but Andrade followed and slammed him into the barricade and then back first into the post. He then threw Ali into the timekeepers area.
Andrade climbed back into the ring and demanded the ref start the count. Ali stumbled several times on the way to the ring, but made the 10 count by the skin of his teeth. Andrade hit double knees to his back in the corner, but Ali kicked out. Andrade picked him up for a hammerlock DDT, but Ali surprised him with a roll up pinfall and got the surprise victory.
Ali defeated Andrade at 11:32
The announce team brought up Elias vs. Roman Reigns, and Lacey and Charlotte vs. Becky and Bayley. Backstage, Carmella gave R-Truth makeover with a blonde wig. She said he was serving looks, and gave him a bra. He asked her to open it, because he’s always had trouble with it. Carmella vs. Mandy Rose is next…[c]
My Take: Ali and Andrade worked very hard, but the finish seemed like a bit of a goof. I understand the idea of having Ali show the ability to persevere after taking a hellacious beating, but the way the pinfall occured lacked the element of surprise. He didn’t roll him up from behind or immediately after an offensive move. He just kind of bowled him over and pinned him. I bet they wish they could have that one back, as it didn’t protect Andrade enough. I guess we’ll probably get the 50/50 rebound match next week.
We got a Lars Sullivan video package, but it didn’t contain anything new. Mandy was in the ring, and Carmella made her entrance. Truth was with her, wearing his belt, so I guess this is the world’s worst camouflage attempt.
2. Carmella vs. Mandy Rose: Carmella hit a Thesz Press, but Mandy escaped and quickly rolled to the outside. Mandy entered the ring again, but Carmella hit her with a Superkick. Sonya interjected herself in the match, and got beat down. Carmella hit Mandy with another Superkick. The Smackdown under card then made their way out and chased Truth. So I guess that’s the end of the match. He ran off with Carmella on his back.
The match ended in an apparent no contest.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton interviewed Bayley and asked her about her night at Money in the Bank. Bayley said it was a brutal night, but she would do it all over again. She said she has always exceeded the expectations set for her, but people still doubted her. She said that she’s moved past the hugs, and she wants the competition in the back to bring their best. Elsewhere, R-Truth and Carmella walked in and out of the Women’s Locker Room with some screaming. They continued to be chased by the B-Team, Jinder Mahal, Brian Kendrick, Apollo, Drake Maverick, etc…[c]
My Take: I guess WWE wanted to have several segments per show that resemble Zombie movies. Mandy got completely punked out in her match with Carmella, which I don’t quite understand. Truth carrying Carmella around was a funny image, but that’s about it. Bayley taking on a more serious character is welcome in my book, but she has to improve how she delivers her emotional state on the microphone. It’s still too monotone.
Elias was shown waiting for Roman Reigns while he played the guitar. Sami Zayn made his entrance for the next match. Backstage, Big E was shown on the ground injured. He said it was Owens. Kofi made his entrance while Sami cackled in the ring.
3. Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn: Kofi started the match fired up. He sent Zayn to the floor and then hit a clothesline on the outside. In the ring, Kofi beat down Sami in the corner. Sami fought his way out and sent Kofi to the floor with a back body drop. He then tossed Kofi into the steps and did a dance to annoy the crowd. Sami continued the beat down in the ring, and stomped on Kofi in the corner. Kofi fired back with a big dropkick, and Sami retreated to the floor. Sami had a big red scrape or welt on his side from a bump earlier in the match…[c]
Sami hit a superplex and set up for the Heluva Kick. Kofi avoided it and took Sami down with a flying forearm and punches. Zayn then hit a double stomp and went for Trouble in Paradise, but Sami avoided it. Kofi managed to hit it a second time, and got the win.
Kofi Kingston defeated Sami Zayn at 8:23
Bayley and Becky vs. Charlotte and Lacey is up next. Paul Heyman walked out with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Heyman talked trash and said now was the perfect time. Dolph Ziggler then made a return and attacked Kofi Kingston from behind. He took Kofi down and pulled him out to the floor. He then draped him over the bottom turnbuckle and pulled him into a tree of woe position.
While he was hung upside down, Ziggler gouged at his eyes. At ringside. Ziggler tossed Kofi over the announce desk. He then wrapped a chair around his head and threw him into the side of the announce desk. He then stomped on Kofi with a chair on him until refs pulled them apart. Dolph came back one more time and stomped on Kofi after wrapping him up in a chair. Kofi ended up doing a stretcher job. WWE’s medical professionals did a great job of repeatedly moving Kofi’s neck while placing him into the board. After Ziggler left, a New Day Rocks chant broke out. As they got towards the top of the stage, Kofi attempted to roll off the stretcher, and eventually got to his feet and left under his own power….[c]
My Take: The early part of that beat down seemed like it happened in slow motion. The tree of woe and eye gouge spot didn’t go well, but it improved after that. What is Dolph Ziggler’s motivation this time? If he doesn’t have a radically new character, people are going to cool off on this quick. It’s hard to buy him as a world champion after the last few years of booking, and it will take some work to reverse that impression.
Roman Reigns was approaching the arena from the parking lot, and Elias serenaded him from the top of the Smackdown equipment truck. He said it was time to take the Big Dog for a walk. Roman kept walking, and looked embarrassed for Elias.
In the arena, Lacey Evans made her entrance, followed by Charlotte. Becky was interviewed backstage, and was asked about her state of mind. Becky said she doesn’t feel right without her blue belt, but if someone has to have it without beating her, she’s glad it’s her. Bayley walked up and said she kind of likes the sound of Bayley two belts. Becky said after they are done with them, she’s coming for her next. This came across as both playful and serious. Becky then made her entrance, followed by Bayley…[c]
3. Charlotte and Lacey Evans vs. Becky Lynch and Bayley: The match began during the break, with Charlotte getting dumped to the floor. Lacey entered the match and tried to take down Bayley, but was quickly repelled. Charlotte got back into the match with a Big Boot and some stomps on a downed Bayley. Charlotte prevented a tag by pulling Becky from the apron, and then worked Bayley back into the heel corner and tagged in Lacey. They made some quick tags and Charlotte continued to grind on Bayley.
She escaped after an extended beating and made a hot tag.Becky tagged in a cleaned house. She knocked Lacey off the apron and sent Charlotte crashing into the corner. Becky rolled up Charlotte, but she reversed and grabbed the ropes for leverage. The ref saw it and refused the three count. Becky turned Charlotte into a Disarmher, but Lacey ran in and hit the Woman’s Right. Becky rolled to the corner and made a tag. Bayley sent Lacey flying off the apron, and then surprised Charlotte with a roll up for the win.
Becky and Bayley defeated Charlotte and Lacey at 8:37
After the match, they went backstage to Truth and Carmella making their escape. Truth had to fight off the B-Team and Jinder Mahal, but was able to avoid a pinfall and run out into the parking lot to presumably get away for the evening.
My Take: I’m surprised they didn’t go for more heat in the Woman’s Tag Match. Since the next major show is in Saudi Arabia and the Women won’t have a PPV title defense in a while, you’d presume we’ll see some title matches on television sooner or later. We’ll have to wait another week until they start to justify it with the booking.
Dolph Ziggler was interviewed backstage and asked why he attacked Dolph Ziggler. He said it was an honest question that deserved an honest answer. Dolph said he wasn’t going to give her the answer, he would give it to all of them. He then walked out towards the stage with the microphone.
Dolph said if he was out in the crowd he’d be booing him too. He said this goes back to when Ali got hurt and Kofi stepped up, and it should have been in. He said Kofi ran the gauntlet, and it should have been him. He walked out of the Elimination Chamber a star, and it should have been him. And at WrestleMania, he fought Daniel Bryan and was the better wrestler, and the better man, and it should have been him.
Dolph went on to say that Kofi continues to outperform his critics expectations, and he earned the respect of the crowd, and they love him and it should have been him. He said he beat down Kofi because he had to. Dolph got manic and said that at Super Showdown, he would defeat Kofi Kingston for the WWE Title because he has to. He would get the love and respect of the crowd because he deserves it and it should have been him.
The announce team then introduced a video package that detailed the history between Randy Orton and Triple H. It was a recap of everything from Evolution forward. Shane McMahon then made his ring entrance with a microphone. He then introduced Elias, who played a little tune…[c]
My Take: That was a pretty good individual performance from Ziggler, but I wasn’t a fan of the material. Desperate and unstable characters work in certain environments because they are often overlooked and manage to surprise the heroes when they least expect it. That’s what happened earlier in the show. But the usual payoff is that the hero gets smartened up to the schemes and the villain gets a lopsided comeuppance. Is that the story they are telling here? If so, how is it markedly different from anything Ziggler has done in the last few years?
Roman Reigns made his entrance.
4. Roman Reigns vs. Elias: Roman dominated the early going. He hit several punches and sent Elias to the floor, where he hit a drive by kick. Roman then turned his attention to Shane, who distracted him enough to allow Elias to kick the middle rope into Roman’s junk and hit a DDT. He then sent Roman hard into the post, and hit a lariat on the outside…[c]
Roman was in control and hitting clotheslines in the corner. He then hit a big boot and played up to the crowd. Roman fired up for a superman punch, but Shane grabbed his leg, which gave Elias an opening for a leaping knee. Elias set him up in the electric chair position, but Roman escaped and set Elias in position for a superplex. He then picked up Elias for a Samoan Drop from the top, but Elias slipped out and hit a sit out powerbomb for a near fall.
Elias pulled Roman to his feet, and they traded punches. Reigns took down Elias and hit a drive by kick on Shane on the outside. The distraction allowed Elias to lay out Roman with a lariat and hit a top rope elbow for a near fall. Elias took off the turnbuckle cover as a distraction and Shane fed him his guitar behind the ref’s back. Roman ended up hitting a spear and getting the pin anyways.
Roman Reigns defeated Elias at 11:51
After the match, Shane jumped Reigns and attempted to hit him with the guitar, Reigns avoided it and hit a Superman Punch, but Drew McIntyre snuck up from behind and laid out Reigns with a Claymore Kick. Shane and Drew trash talked Reigns to close the show.
My Take: Elias continues to look completely outclassed by Reigns, so I guess they are going to define him out of the main event for now. Drew making good on his promise from Raw was a nice surprise at the end of the match, but I am already starting to feel the fatigue of this storyline struggling under its own weight. Shane has Elias, the B-Team, and now Drew McIntyre as his lackeys, and I don’t think a single one will end up benefiting from being involved. There is the outside chance that Drew gets a win over Roman in a TV match at some point, but it feels a bit hollow considering what happened at WrestleMania. This feud would be much more interesting if that match had ended differently.