By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from San Antonio, Texas at AT&T Center
The show opened with the announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves as they introduced the screen exploding moment between Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman on Raw. It was said that Lashley was discharged from the hospital, but Braun Strowman was rumored to have suffered multiple fractures and a ruptured spleen. Kevin Owens then made his entrance for the KO Show. Owens got some boos as he sat down in the ring. He welcomed everyone to the Kevin Owens Show, and said his guests tonight will be teaming up at Extreme Rules to face Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre. He mentioned that no one would have ever expected their opponents Roman Reigns and The Undertaker to team up.
He then introduced Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. He read off their introductions off of queue cards in a comical manner, taking long pauses when switching between his note cards. Shane said the introduction he was given was not up to par, and told Greg Hamilton to introduce him correctly. After the introduction, Owens showed footage of the Undertaker confronting Shane and Drew on Raw. Shane mocked the spookiness of the situation, and Owens questioned whether or not he was afraid of The Undertaker.
Shane insisted he was not, because he was hot right now, just having run through Roman Reigns and The Miz. He said they would run through The Undertaker at Extreme Rules, and added the stipulation that it was a no holds barred match. Drew piped up and said Undertaker and Roman Reigns would step in the ring with the Best in the World and the Most Dangerous Wrestler in the World. He said people have seen what they are capable of in a regular match, but now it’s no holds barred. Shane is willing to do anything to himself to win, and McIntyre promised an assault unlike anything we’d seen before.
Owens introduced more footage, in which Shane looked a bit afraid of The Undertaker while he made his entrance. Owens tongue in cheek explained it as a guttural reaction, and it was a total coincidence that he ended up in the fourth row. Shane asked what he was getting at, and he said he was just trying to help avoid any confusion. Shane told Owens to read off the cards like they agreed upon before they went out there. Kevin read off the card that Shane defeated Roman Reigns without anyone’s help, and then went off script to ask him how it felt to make his return in 2016 only to lose to The Undertaker.
McIntyre stood up and demanded the interview be ended, which prompted Dolph Ziggler to come out. He tried to interrupt Owens, who told him to quit whining about how it should have been him. Owens told him it was kind of him 8 years ago, but it wasn’t, and it won’t be again, but it will never be again. Ziggler told him he should be champion right now, and Owens looks like he belongs in hot dog eating contests. Owens said that in order for Ziggler to be Champion, he actually has to start winning wrestling matches. Ziggler and Owens bickered over who deserved the next Title match against Kofi Kingston.
Shane stepped in and made a match that teamed Owens and ZIggler against Heavy Machinery, and the winners would get added to the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match at Extreme Rules. Owens and Ziggler bickered off mic and then Owens demanded his music be played so he could leave. Backstage, Daniel Bryan was asked for comment on the main event, and Bryan said they would walk in and out of Extreme Rules the Planet’s Tag Team Champions. His match with Big E is next…[c]
My Take: Shane and McIntyre’s pairing is losing steam rapidly, and Roman Reigns has been mysteriously absent on Smackdown recently. Adding KO and Ziggler to a random tag match for an undeserved opportunity at the Smackdown Tag Championships doesn’t light my world on fire. It wasn’t a badly delivered opening segment but the content was a bit lackluster.
Backstage, Big E and Xavier Woods were interviewed by Kayla Braxton about their match becoming a Triple Threat. They were upset about not having to be pinned or submitted to lose, but said they are always ready for a fight. They said they would kick down the door to become the six time WWE Tag Team Champions. They then made their ring entrance. New Day was followed by Bryan and Rowan.
1. Daniel Bryan vs. Big E: They tied up and Bryan tried to apply an abdominal stretch, but Big E flipped him over his back and did some gyrating. He then stood in the middle of the ring and dared Bryan to charge at him. Bryan couldn’t knock him down, and then Big E locked in a stretch of his own. Big E then hit a big lariat that caused Bryan to reel out of the ring and to the floor…[c]
Big E gave chase out to the floor and Bryan used Rowan as a roadblock to stall and buy himself time. Eventually Bryan engaged again, but Big E remained in control with mounted punches in the corner. Bryan took over with a chop block on Big E’s formerly injured knee, and then applied a half crab. He then wrapped Big E’s knee around the second rope and applied leverage, and then gave the knee a running drop kick. Bryan slapped Big E to taunt him, which started his comeback. He hit a pair of overhead belly to belly suplexes. Bryan tried to cut him down with kicks, but Big E avoided the last kick and hit another suplex.
Big E tried a spear off the apron, but Bryan avoided it and Big E was sent to the floor. Bryan tried a dive, but Big E intercepted him. Rowan jumped in and sent Big E into the post behind the ref’s back. Woods tried to intercept, but got swatted away. Bryan then hit a running knee and got the victory.
Daniel Bryan defeated Big E at 9:33
After the match, Rowan and Bryan celebrated up the ramp. Big E sold his knee and looked dejected. Backstage, Kayla interviewed R-Truth and showed some footage of Drave Maverick winning the WWE 24/7 Championship from last night. Truth said he was going to join Drake and his wife on their honeymoon in…..San Antonio, because three on a honeymoon is better than two. He said he was coming for him because he wanted his baby back. Elsewhere, Alexa Bliss said she was kicking NIkki Cross out of the next, so she could host Bayley on A Moment of Bliss next…[c]
My Take: A solid match from Bryan and Big E, but they never seemed to reach top gear. The 24/7 title has its moments, but that Truth promo wasn’t one of them. Nikki Cross hosting a Moment of Bliss should be interesting. We’ll see if it can live up to the high standard of the last one with Bayley.
Nikki Cross made her entrance for A Moment of Bliss. She was a bit awkward and excited, per usual. She said hello San Antonio, and then thanked Alexa Bliss, who she said she loved and admires the most. She said she had an accent, so she would talk slowly to be the best host that she can be. She then introduced the Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley.
Nikki thanked Bayley for being there. Bayley said she was surprised to see Alexa give up her hosting duties, and told Nikki that she didn’t need to do her bidding. Nikki said she wasn’t doing her bidding, she was hosting her show. Nikki then said she was there to ask the tough questions, and asked why she called Alexa a liar. Bayley said that’s because she was a liar, and Nikki replied that it wasn’t the Alexa she knew. She said she was tired of Bayley dragging Alexa’s name through the dirt after all her contributions to the division, and it would stop now.
Bayley asked why she was facing Alexa at Extreme Rules and not her, and Nikki said she didn’t know. She then challenged Bayley to a match right then and there, and Bayley accepted. Nikki then stormed towards the ring looking fired up…[c]
My Take: Nikki help up her end of the performance well, and was endearing in the role as host. Here’s hoping they deliver a better match after the break.
2. Bayley vs. Nikki Cross: Bayley controlled the early going with a suplex and some strikes. Nikki jumped on Bayley’s back, and eventually dumped her through the middle rope to the floor. She then tossed Bayley back in the ring and hit a tope rope cross body for a two count. Nikki then hit a clothesline in the corner and a bulldog. Bayley reversed a neckbreaker attempt into a pinfall for a near fall. Nikki then went for a tornado DDT but Bayley tossed her aside. She then hit a Bayley to Belly and got the win.
Bayley defeated Nikki Cross at 4:49.
Kofi Kingston was shown backstage, and will be face to face with Samoa Joe next…[c]
My Take: That match was enjoyable for how short it was. I’m not a fan of the 50/50 booking, but it was a solid effort from both women.
Ali cut a promo from the streets and said he would one day become WWE Champion. He said he would inspire people when the people realize that they had a champion that had a story like them, and looked like them, and fought for them.
Kayla Braxton was in the ring, and introduced Kofi for this interview segment. He threw pancakes. Video was shown of Samoa Joe putting Kofi to sleep twice. Joe then made his entrance and told Kayla to leave the ring. Joe told Kofi that him telling Kayla to leave was an act of benevolence. He said Kofi knows something about benevolence, because he is on the receiving end of it all the time. Joe said game recognizes game and he knows a hustler when he seems one. Some guys hustle with a scam, and others do it with charisma. He said Kofi will probably have his boy Woods out here as a hype man, and maybe Big E can be his butler.
Kofi said he defeated Daniel Bryan by himself at WrestleMania, he defeated Dolph Ziggler by himself at Stomping Grounds, and he defeated Kevin Owens at Extreme Rules without any help. He said he feels bad for Joe, because all he’s done lately is lose the US Championship to Ricochet and sneaking up from behind. He then told Joe that he was a little too big to play hide and seek.
Joe responded that Kofi is always quick on his feet, just like at WrestleMania when he had his family out there to sell his image and all of his new merch. He said he was always on brand, and it was who he always has been. Kofi replied and called Joe jealous, and he knew why he was jealous because he’d never have a moment like he did at WrestleMania to share with this kids.
Joe then he’s always coming out to tell the truth about people, so he’d offer an experiment to show them who Kofi really is. He said over the past two weeks when he put him to sleep, he realized that he was the next WWE Champion. But if he shook his hand, the people close to him would be safe until Extreme Rules. Kofi instead offered a middle finger, and gave Joe Trouble in Paradise.
Backstage, Heavy Machinery said they faced two teams with 18 combined championships. He said they had never won one as a team, and said they weren’t brothers like them. Tucker said they would implode, and they would take care of business. Otis said they would win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships because they were coming. Apollo Crews walked towards the ring…[c]
My Take: A good promo from Joe and Kofi, but I’m surprised to see them go after Joe’s recent failures and have him take the kick to close the segment. I would have expected him to be delegitimized like that heading into Extreme Rules.
We got more footage of Lashley and Strowman going through the video board on Monday. They then showed a video posted to Lashley’s twitter. He said Braun got exactly what he deserved, because what he did wasn’t wrestling. He claimed Strowman knew exactly what he was doing, but he didn’t care. Lashley said Braun got the worst of it, as he should have. He claimed next time he wouldn’t send him to the hospital, he would send him to the morgue.
3. Andrade vs. Apollo Crews: The match did not have televised entrances. Andrade hit double knees for a near fall. Crews fired back with a press slam and a lariat that sent Andrade out to the floor. He then hit a moonsault from the apron and tossed him back into the ring for a two count. They worked their way out of the ring and back several times as both men tried to take control…[c]
Andrade missed double knees again Crews hit a few lariats to take control. He then hit a press slam and a standing moonsault for a near fall. Andrade struggled to take control, but hit a back elbow that staggered Crews and sent him to the floor. Zelina hit a head scissors that sent Crews into the announce table. Andrade then hit a hammerlock DDT and covered for the win.
Andrade defeated Apollo Crews at 7:56
After the match, KO told Ziggler that he should stand in the corner while he does the work. Ziggler made the same offer. Owens acknowledged that neither of them have had much luck since they came back on their own, and said they might have luck as a time. Ziggler reluctantly agreed and said they needed to be professional. Ember Moon was shown backstage angrily walking towards the ring. Carmella popped into frame and wished her luck. She faces Mandy Rose next…[c]
My Take: Andrade and Crews didn’t find magic in the ring. It wasn’t bad, but I think both characters being somewhat cold limited the potential of the match. I presume the interference means this feud continues.
Backstage, Aleister Black said someone knocked on his door last week, and no one was there. He said he applauded that person, because not only are they going to fight physically, they will fight a spiritual battle. He offered the person a chance to reveal themselves at Extreme Rules, so they could pick a fight with him. He said he felt invigorated, and welcomed the challenge.
4. Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose: Sonya distracted Ember, which backfired as Ember landed a big right hand. Mandy fired back with some punches of her own and choked Ember on the bottom rope. She then tossed her into the corner and hit a running knee strike for a near fall. Ember fired back with a springboard codebreaker, and an Eclipse from the top for the win…[c]
Ember Moon defeated Mandy Rose at 3:28
The announce team pronounced that Ember Moon just made a statement victory on Smackdown. Backstage, Shelton Benjamin was asked who he thought would win the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. The camera went in for a tight shot of his face. His eyes darted around and he just smiled…[c]
My Take: I’m not sure Mandy Rose is the kind of talent you defeat as a major milestone victory, but it’s about time we got more Ember Moon in the ring on Smackdown. I have no idea what they are doing with Shelton Benjamin. It might turn into something interesting, but Shelton has never been a big personality guy, so we’ll have to see where it goes.
New Day joined in commentary at their picnic table. Bryan and Rowan were at the regular announce table. They bickered about the state of the Tag Team Division. Ziggler and Owens made their entrance, followed by Heavy Machinery.
5. Heavy Machinery vs. Ziggler and Owens: Otis grabbed a waist lock and slammed Ziggler twice. Owens pulled Ziggler out of the ring. Bryan talked trash about New Day not taking their careers seriously enough. New Day attacked Rowan and Bryan. Bryan hit another knee in Big E. Rowan turned over the Pancake Announce table and put Woods through it with a Claw Slam…[c]
Tucker hit a nice looking dropkick on Owens. Ziggler low bridged him to the outside and slammed him into the barricade. The heels then isolated Tucker and made quick tags in and out trading holds. KO mocked Otis, and that caused Tucker to fire up and hit a back elbow. Otis got the hot tag and cleaned house. He hit a headbutt and a suplex on Ziggler for a two count. Dolph fired back with a big DDT and then tagged in Owens.
Otis sent Owens to the floor and then hit a Catepillar on Ziggler. Owens then hit a superkick on Otis, but Ziggler accidentally hit Owens with a kick. This allowed Tucker to enter and send Owens to the floor. Heavy Machinery then hit the Compactor on Owens and got the win.
Heavy Machinery defeated Owens and Ziggler at 11:12
After the match, Owens hit a stunner on Ziggler and said it was his show as Smackdown went off the air.
My Take: Heavy Machinery is in the triple threat, and now Owens and Ziggler have a feud. It was a decent outcome, but the match really sagged in the middle. The crowd popped for the Worm, Compactor, and the Stunner, but there wasn’t much else to get excited about. Here’s hoping this is the beginning of Owens turning back into a babyface…which he was rushed out of due to lack of opponents for Kofi Kingston a few months ago.