By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Laredo, Texas at Sames Auto Arena
Tom Phllips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton plugged Goldberg for later, as well as Shane calling out Roman Reigns. Kofi Kingston made his entrance in the arena with Xavier Woods. Kofi said if there is anything he’s learned over the past 8 months, it’s that life is crazy man. He said he thought he had seen and done it all after 11 years. He gave a shout out to friendship and pancakes, and then said it hasn’t been all highs.
Kofi took pride in being able to fight through the lows, and that provided him with the opportunity of a lifetime to win the WWE Title at WrestleMania. He said he took great pride in being able to tell people that anything is possible, and then introduced video package of his trip to his birth country of Ghana. Kofi teared up a bit after watching it, as it was a moving experience for him. Kofi then said that he was finally able to go back to Ghana after 26 years, and look a child in the eyes and tell them you can be whatever you want to be. He said it was an amazing feeling, and he was able to see family and hug his Grandmother for the first time in 30 years.
Dolph Ziggler walked out and called Kofi an inspiration. He said if this was friday, he’d be in the ring beating his ass, but he respected him and his journey too much to do it tonight. Dolph then said it was all about him, and how he got to be who he is. He then introduced a video package of his own career highlights. Dolph said he gave the WWE his soul, and yet it was Kofi who got the opportunity and the championship, and it should have been him. Dolph called Kofi a hero, but one day people will realize that he is the hero of this story and it should have been him.
Kofi told him that nobody is saying he hasn’t had a great career. He defeated Kofi to win his first Intercontinental and US Championships. Kofi said he’s been passed over and knows what it feels like, but Dolph seem to be forgetting some things. He then rolled footage of Dolph complaining and walking out at various stages of his career. Kofi then said if it was supposed to be him, it would have been. But when things don’t go his way, he quits and walks out, and takes himself out of the game.
Kofi said the difference between him and Dolph is that he never quit. He never quit on himself, or his brothers, or the WWE Universe. He told Dolph that at Super Showdown, it won’t be him, and as long as he’s WWE Champion, it will never be him. Dolph stood in silence and pointed to the screen, and then another video aired of Dolph assaulting Kofi the past few weeks. After the video, he said it would be him on Friday.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens made their entrance. They will face Kofi and Woods next…[c]
My Take: That was a good promo segment when the men were talking, but they played a few too many videos for my taste. Am I the only one who thinks it’s really awkward for two men to have pre-arranged video presentations planned for their confrontations? Maybe Gulak was onto something with Powerpoint.
1. New Day vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens: Zayn and Woods started, with Woods hitting a dropkick and then applying an arm twist. Kofi tagged in and Dolph Ziggler was shown watching the match from the traditional WWE angle. Kofi tackled Owens and then backed him into the corner with strikes. The heels took control on Woods and isolated him in their corner…[c]
The heels controlled the break until Woods was able to make a hot tag. He cleaned house and quickly dispatched Sami Zayn with Trouble in Paradise for the win.
New Day defeated Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in 7:32
After the match, Dolph Ziggler leveled Woods and Kofi. Backstage, Shane McMahon cut a promo and said anything Roman can do, he can do better. He said he was headed out ot the ring to call out Roman, and he wondered if the Big Dog would show up, or the wounded pup with his tail between his legs.
Alexa Bliss made her entrance for an interview with Bayley on Moment of Bliss…[c]
My Take: That felt very much like a throwaway match. The Ziggler attack was pretty paint by numbers. Hopefully Bayley and Bliss can deliver an interesting promo segment.
Bliss said it was a special blue brand edition of Moment of Bliss. She was she was happy to be tonight’s wild card, visiting from WWE’s more prestigious and desirable brand. She then brought out Bayley.
Bliss hated her coffee and demanded someone replace it. She then to a swish of the new coffee and told the guy to put it in her other mug. Bayley asked if she was going to ask any questions, but she said she was going to wait for her coffee. Bliss asked her about when it all began at Money in the Bank.
Bayley said it wasn’t just a lucky night, she had worked hard for years to get that moment. Bliss just wanted to talk about herself, and her cash in on Nia Jax, and how the Smackdown Women’s Championship meant something when she was Champion. Bayley started to respond, but Bliss thought her Coffee was coming. Bayley slapped it out of her hand and got in Alexa’s face.
They were interrupted by Carmella, who spoke about being a former Champion and Ms. Money in the Bank. She said if anyone got a shot, it should be a Smackdown Superstar like her. Bayley agreed, but Bliss took it as a personal challenge. Charlotte interrupted and said she has spoken to her friend Shane McMahon, and there will be a match between Alexa, Carmella, and Charlotte to determine Bayley’s challenger at Stomping Grounds. The announce team hyped up Goldberg for later.
Carmella was shown backstage and R-Truth popped out from behind some equipment. He said he’s tired of defending the 24/7 Title. He said he’s sent texts, voicemail, and DM’s trying to get a hold of Shane McMahon. Carmella’s phone rang, and Truth realized he has been using Carmella’s phone. Shane called, and Carmella handed him the phone. He booked Truth in a match right now, and said his opponent is already on they way to the ring. Truth stormed off, and Carmella overheard Shane say the match stipulation, but didn’t tell the audience.
Elias strummed his guitar in the arena…[c]
My Take: Well, that Moment of Bliss segment felt like a waste. There wasn’t much character advancement, and it’s obvious we’re getting a Bayley vs. Charlotte rematch at Stomping Grounds. Truth being put in an actual match may be an improvement over being chased backstage, but it sounds like it’s going to be gimmick nonsense.
Elias was in the ring, and R-Truth made his entrance for a Lumberjack Match. The lumberjacks can’t win the title during the match.
2. Elias vs. R-Truth: Elias won after a knee lift after a very short period of time.
Elias defeated R-Truth for the 24/7 Championship at 0:40
After the match, the lumberjacks attacked each other as Elias and R-Truth slipped out of the ring. Apparently, R-Truth regained his championship under the ring away from view of fans. The announcers openly questioned how the timekeeper saw the fall, or why the ref followed them under the ring. Shane is up next…[c]
My Take: Who is this for? It’s not me, I can tell you that.
Aleister Black was in a dark room. He said he made an open challenge last week, and maybe the Smackdown roster is smart enough not to take him up on it. He said he’s not a hard man to find, and his locker room has a sign with his name on it. Black then said he understands the punishment he inflicts isn’t your Daddy’s WWE. He got angry for a moment, and said he would sit there impatiently waiting until someone knocks on his door and picks a fight.
Shane McMahon made his entrance. The Revival was with him in the ring. Shane made Greg Hamilton give him a grandiose introduction. Shane congratulated the Revival on their performance from last night, and threw to footage of the beating they put on Roman Reigns last night on Raw. He asked the crowd to imagine what he would do on Friday, if that’s what he was capable of on Raw. He likened his relationship with Reigns to training a new dog. Every once in a while you have to put the dog in the corner so it knows it’s place.
Sometimes certain dogs are higher spirited than others, and they need special attention. He claimed he would snip and neuter the Big Dog on Sunday until he was ready to sit at his heels. Roman Reigns music hit and the Revival headed up the stage to fight him. He quickly took them both out and headed to the ring. Drew McIntyre approached from around the ring out of view and hit a Claymore Kick.
Shane instructed Reigns to be setup, and Shane delivered another spear and mocked Reigns by doing his signature taunt. He told him he would see him on Friday, and then left with Drew McIntyre.
After the beating, the announce team plugged Goldberg for the first time ever on Smackdown. The Women’s match between Charlotte, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss is next…[c]
My Take: This was another straightforward heat segment similar to Raw. Shane got a strong reaction for the taunts at the end of the segment, so it is working on a portion of the fanbase, but personally I can’t wait for this feud to be over. Shane is consuming television time that should be given to his lackeys.
All three women were in the ring for the next match.
3. Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte vs. Carmella: Alexa got dumped to the floor quickly. Charlotte hit a forearm on Carmella, and then Alexa sent her out to the floor. Bliss hit Charlotte with a Sunset Flip Bomb, and got a near fall. Bliss was sent out again, and Carmella applied the Code of Silence on Charlotte. Flair stood up and escaped the hold, and then slammed Carmella. Bliss entered and hit a big right hand on Carmella.
Flair and Bliss scuffled briefly before Carmella re-entered and sent both women to ringside. Mandy and Sonya walked down, and Carmella exited the ring. Bliss sent Carmella into the barricade. Charlotte confronted Sonya and Mandy, and then laid into Bliss with chops. Back in the ring, Bliss hit a drop kick for two…[c]
Carmella hit a top rope head scissors on Flair out of the corner for a near fall. A moment later, Charlotte applied the Figure 8 on Carmella, but Bliss broke it up with a Twisted Bliss. Carmella broke up the fall at the last moment. Charlotte hit Natural Selection for on Bliss for another near fall. Carmella hit Charlotte with a superkick, but couldn’t capitalize because Mandy tripped her up from the apron. Bliss hit a DDT and covered Carmella for the win.
Alexa Bliss defeated Carmella and Charlotte at 9:33
After the match, footage was shown of Lesnar’s teased Cash In from Monday’s Raw. Lars Sullivan will be interviewed by Kayla Braxton next…[c]
My Take: Really silly that Bliss has to come over from Raw to challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. I guess it is better than going right back to Charlotte, which seemed certain, but why not build up any one of the half dozen women on Smackdown that are waiting in the wings?
Kayla Braxton welcomed Lars Sullivan out to the ring. The announce team plugged his 3 on 1 Handicap match with Lucha House Party on Sunday. A boring chant broke out before he spoke. Kayla mentioned his rampages and asked him what drove him to do the things he does. Lars asked if anyone would question a Nightingale for singing, or a Lion for stalking and tearing apart it’s prey? He said he’s been described as one word. He asked Kayla to say the word. He assured her that he can take it. She said freak.
Lars said when a Lion performs it’s primary fuction, they call it a lion. When he performs his primary function, people use that particular word. He said his primary function is to maim, dissect and vivisect people. Lars said his purpose is to show the world that reality isn’t sunshine and rainbows, it’s full of freaks like him. Kayla then asked about the Lucha House Party. Lars responded with a nursery rhyme. He recalled three blind mice, see how they run. See how they get caugh, and see how he rips their tails apart and paints a picture with their bodily fluids.
Goldberg was hyped again for later. Andrade made his entrance with Zelina Vega. He’s in action next…[c]
My Take: That was a solid first impression for Lars. He’s got a ways to go before he really feels like he’s in control of the crowd on the microphone, but he showed a lot of promise there. Here’s hoping he’s earnest about changing his personal beliefs, otherwise it’s a bit hard to root for the guy.
Apollo Crews made his entrance, but got jumped before the bell. Andrade hit a Hammerlock DDT, and Finn Balor ran down and started a brawl. Balor landed a few haymakers, but Vega grabbed him from the apron and opened the door for Andrade to leave him laying with a Hammerlock DDT.
The announce team introduced a video package of Undertaker’s promo from Raw. Backstage, goons waited outside Goldberg’s locker.
My Take: We’re going to get three relatively short matches tonight, which makes seven matches in five hours of WWE TV this week.
We got another video package for Triple H and Randy Orton.
Goldberg made his entrance in the arena. He bowed to the fans. The show has 8 minutes remaining. The Goldberg chants started, and he asked the crowd not to do this to him again. He thanked the crowd, and said it was time to get down to business. Goldberg then said he has been waiting 20 years to find out what it would be like to get in the ring to the Undertaker, and now he gets to find out.
Goldberg addressed Undertaker and said that he agreed with not wanting the family man Goldberg anywhere near Taker, so he left his ass at home. He then said that Friday Night, he guaranteed Undertaker that he would get the ass kicking Goldberg that he’s been looking for, so he can see how he stacked up against him. Goldberg then said on Friday Night, he would be next….to Rest in Peace.
Gongs hit and The Undertaker appeared behind Goldberg. They had a face to face confrontation, the gong hit again, and Taker was gone. Goldberg told Taker to bring his jock strap and tighten that bitch up, because it’s going to be a ride. Goldberg has been in the ring for 7 minutes and he’s sweating through his shirt. He left up the ramp and the announce team had to improvise 3 minutes worth of Super Showdown Hype to get to the top of the hour.
My Take: That edition of Smackdown was light on action, but they spent the majority of time focused on the major Super Showdown matches, so it made some sense in that context. The lack of any women on the show hurts, as well as the lack of significant build for the majority of the undercard matches. It’s a show that’s carried by Triple H, Randy Orton, Goldberg, and The Undertaker, and they haven’t exactly been fixtures on TV over the past month. Shane vs. Goldberg was perhaps the program that got the most build on TV, but it’s hard to get excited about the company’s top star getting the ring with the owner’s son, who introduces credibility problems every time he steps in the ring.