This week’s Smackdown Live will feature a 5-Way women’s elimination match between Natalya, Charlotte Flair, Tamina, Becky Lynch and Carmella. The winner gets a SD Women’s Title shot against Naomi at Money in the Bank on June 18.
Live from Atlanta, Georgia this is Smackdown Live for episode #928. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport.
The show started with the five women in the 5-Way match doing individual promos about how they are going to win. They each spoke for about ten seconds.
The Smackdown intro video aired.
The pyro went off by the stage and the crowd was loud in Atlanta.
The Kevin Owens Highlight Reel
Kevin Owens, the United States Champion, was in the ring hosting his Highlight Reel segment. He ripped on former Highlight Reel host Chris Jericho for never winning Money in the Bank even though he created it. Owens pointed at the MITB briefcase above the ring, which he said he’ll win and cash in the briefcase to win the WWE Title to become the Face of WWE. Owens introduced his guest, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura made his entrance to a big ovation as the crowd went wild for him. They were humming along with his catchy theme strong as usual. Even when the music stopped, they were humming along.
Owens ripped on Nakamura saying that he sent a rock star in Chris Jericho into early retirement. Owens talked trash about Money in the Bank and told Nakamura that Money in the Bank when the music dies. Nakamura tried to speak, but he was interrupted.
Baron Corbin made his entrance. He said nobody cares about Nakamura and called for some of his highlights. Replays aired from last week when Corbin destroyed Zayn so badly that Zayn was stretchered out of the arena.
Owens told Corbin that he’s been beating up Zayn for 15 years, so Corbin has nothing to brag about. Owens told Corbin he’s not invited and to get the hell out of there. Corbin asked if Owens wanted to respect his authority and called him Cartman – Styles did that last week. Corbin said in three weeks he becomes Mr. Money in the Bank.
Nakamura reminded Owens that last week he pinned him. Nakamura told Corbin he forgot to show the two times where Sami Zayn beat him. Corbin, who was on the apron, got into the ring.
Corbin and Owens attacked Nakamura with punches. Sami Zayn ran out for the save. Zayn sent Corbin out of the ring and Nakamura hit a punch on Owens to send him out of the ring.
Zayn told Corbin that their fight is far from over. Zayn reminded Owens that their fight is never over. Zayn suggested they have a tag match right now. The segment went to break there.
Analysis: It’s no surprise that they set up a tag match since there’s Money in the Bank coming and we are going to see the six guys paired up every show for the next three weeks. It would be nice if WWE didn’t start nearly every show this way, but as I say all the time they are set in their ways. Also, it’s noticeable that Owens was called “Cartman” again for the second week in a row. That creative team sure likes the fat jokes. Anyway, it’s a fresh matchup so that’s good at least.
The bell rang after the break with the announcers noting that Shane McMahon made the match during the break. What a surprise.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin & Kevin Owens
Nakamura started with Corbin. Zayn tagged in against Owens and hit a headscissors. The announcers said that Zayn had “bruised ribs and a concussion” from last week. Storyline concussions are different from real ones because if it was real he may not be back so soon. Corbin tagged in against Zayn, pushed him back against he ropes and Owens hit a kick to the head after the ref made Corbin back away. Corbin countered a Tornado DDT attempt with a powerslam and they went to break three minutes into it.
Back from break, Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Owens. Corbin got the tag in and knocked Nakamura off the apron. Zayn got a rollup for two. Corbin with a spinebuster earned a two count. He should do that more often – it’s a good power move that would fit well in his arsenal as a regular move. Corbin trash talked. Corbin went off the ropes and Zayn decked him with a clothesline. Nakamura tagged in against Owens with a running kick to the head. Nakamura with knees to the face and a running knee in the corner. Nakamura propped up Owens on the top rope and hit a running knee to the ribs for a two count. Fans chanted “Nakamura” as Nakamura hit a spinning kick to the head for two as Corbin made the save. Zayn back in and he went after Zayn with punches. Zayn sent Owens into Corbin, so Corbin yelled at him. Owens shoved Corbin and Corbin punched Owens. Zayn with a clothesline that sent Corbin over the top to the floor. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa running knee strike on Owens for the pinfall win after 10 minutes. Owens sold it really well.
Winners by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura & Sami Zayn
Post match, Nakamura and Zayn celebrated the win. They also looked at the MITB briefcase above the ring.
Analysis: *** That was a pretty good tag match as expected from wrestlers as talented as them. That’s the formula we’re used to in TV matches that get ten minutes or more. Zayn was the face in peril, Nakamura got the hot tag, was on fire and Zayn was there to take care of Corbin leading to the pin. If they got a few more minutes it would have helped, but they were able to get all the good spots in. I’m not surprised that Nakamura got the win. They are booking him strong as they should. It was the second week in a row where Nakamura pinned Owens in a tag match. It’s possible they may have a feud post MITB over the US Title. It would make sense.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton appeared on camera. They shilled the WWE Network events.
Coming up later: Women’s 5-Way elimination match.
The Usos were shown walking backstage and they are up next.
The Usos, Smackdown’s Tag Team Champions, were in the ring not in their ring gear. Jimmy and Jey talked about teams that people thought were going to beat them. Jey said just like these fans in Atlanta thought the Falcons were going to win the Super Bowl. That drew a big reaction and a lot of boos from the crowd in Atlanta. The promo was interrupted by The New Day.
The New Day trio of Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston made their entrance to a big ovation. In the ring, Woods said the boys are back. Woods said hey to his mom in the crowd and told her she had a nice shirt. Woods noted it was his hometown of Atlanta.
The Usos, who were on the floor, interrupted them and mocked their skipping. Jimmy said that they have the Smackdown division on lock. The Usos welcomed them to the Usos penitentiary. Big E said we know what goes on in a place like that. Big E said they like the tag titles and they want them. Woods said they can do this the easy way or the hard way. The Usos said they run this show.
Woods: “You think you run the show? Honey, that’s so cute!” Woods said they know the man that actually runs the show, Shane McMahon. Woods informed The Usos they have some special opponents at Money in the Bank, but they can’t remember Who…Who…Who. Kingston said it was them. New Day did their “WWE Tag Team Champions” hip shaking routine. The promo ended there.
Analysis: That was fine. I have a minor complaint because WWE has been doing a better job of having people earn title matches, yet here’s New Day just being given a shot. They should have them in a match against Breezango or American Alpha to earn it. Obviously New Day has credibility as the longest reigning tag champs ever, but fans want to see people earn title shots in the ring. I thought there would be some kind of physical altercation, but that didn’t happen.
Later in the show is AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler in the main event still to come.
Up next they look back at Jinder Mahal’s Punjabi Celebration.
There was a replay of Jinder Mahal’s “Punjabi Championship Celebration” from last week’s show. A replay of a celebration? That’s bizarre, but that’s what they did.
A Fashion Files video aired about Fandango. It was shot in black and white. He walked up to some door that said Fashion Police Department on it. It had broken tables and various pics of WWE superstars. There was a silhouette of a woman. It was Tyler Breeze dressed as a woman. Fandango: “Why is he still undercover?” Breeze: “He thinks I’m still undercover.” They could hear the other guy. They found some cologne, Fandango complimented Breeze in the dress and Breeze said they found their next case.
Analysis: The story is their office was destroyed and they had to find out who did it. That was not as funny as some of their other videos although the line about Breeze not being undercover while wearing a dress was funny.
Charlotte Flair made her entrance for the women’s match as we near the top of hour two.
Back from break, James Ellsworth did a promo to introduce the “guardian of my galaxy” Carmella. The other women made their entrance individually: Tamina, Natalya and Becky Lynch.
Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match: Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella vs. Tamina vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
The winner of this match faces Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Title at Money in the Bank on June 18.
The women started brawling before the referee could even ring the bell. Natalya hit Charlotte with suplexes. Carmella fought with Becky Lynch on the floor. Tamina hit a Samoan Drop on Charlotte in the ring. Lynch sent Carmella over the barricade. Lynch ran across the barricade with a punch on Carmella on the floor. Tamina cleared off the announce table. Tamina went after Charlotte, but Charlotte shoved her into the ring apron and sent her into the ring post. Charlotte hit Natalya with an overhead suplex on the floor. Charlotte went up top and hit a moonsault onto Natalya and Tamina on the floor. That’s so impressive. Carmella jumped off the barricade onto Charlotte. Lynch hit Carmella with a Bexploder, Tamina with a superkick to Lynch, Charlotte boot to Tamina and Natalya hit a spinning clothesline to Charlotte. Natalya teased a move on the announce table and Charlotte shoved her into the steel steps. Referees stood there telling them to stop. Charlotte picked up Natalya and drove her through the table with a Powerbomb. Big pop for that.
Analysis: That was a really good brawl. I liked the intensity shown by all five of them. The way they started it by not having the ref ring the bell was well done. It made it look like a tough situation for him right away and then it just grew from there. The moonsault by Charlotte was spectacular while the table spot is rare for women to do. Nice job by Charlotte and Natalya pulling it off well.
Shane McMahon, the Smackdown Commissioner, made his entrance. Shane said this is amazing. He said the women’s division is on fire. He noted that the match didn’t even begin because they all want it so bad. Shane suggested they do something for the first time and something that’s historic.
Shane set up a five-way women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Money in the Bank on June 18. The crowd cheered while most of the women were smiling.
Analysis: The first ever women’s Money in the Bank match was reported by Pro Wrestling Sheet a few weeks ago. I didn’t know how they were going to set it up, but it worked after the way this match disintegrated into a brawl. This was such a better segment than what the women did on Raw. It’s not that hard to let your performers actually wrestle…or in this case fight…to make the crowd care more.
Coming up: Randy Orton is there and Breezango vs. The Colons.
The Colons (Primo & Epico) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
Breeze started in a dress again. The Colons took it off him. Fandango got in there and he had a water gun because he’s police, but not with a real gun. Anyway, went to break one minute into it.
Epico worked on Fandango after the break with a chinlock. Breeze was knocked off the apron, so when Fandango tried to tag out he couldn’t do it. Backbreaker by Epico. Primo tagged in and Fandango with a clothesline. Primo with a flatliner for two. Fandango battled with Epico on the top and Fandango hit a sunset flip Powerbomb. Breeze got back on the apron in the janitor outfit. Breeze tagged in, kick to the head of both guys and the crowd was cheering. Primo and Fandango battled over a mop. Breeze hit the Unprettier on Primo for the pinfall win after seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Breezango
Analysis: * It was a comedy match. Mildly funny. I know it was done to add some character to the Breezango duo, but it was a little too much this week. Hard to get into their matches sometimes when they wear silly outfits like that or incorporate water guns into matches.
AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Renee Young. Styles talked about how he’s building up momentum on the road to Money in the Bank. Dolph Ziggler showed up to interrupt. Ziggler reminded Styles that he’s a guy that won MITB, cashed in the briefcase and became a World Champion. Ziggler asked him if he wants to do this now. Styles said that’s how they do it in the ATL. Ziggler said he’ll see him out there.
Analysis: Quality main event match still to come. Styles is from the state of Georgia, so it’s a hometown crowd for him.
Randy Orton is up next.
Coming up on Talking Smack later is Renee Young hosting with Shane McMahon and the five women in the Money in the Bank match are the guests.
Randy Orton made his entrance. He gets a WWE Championship rematch against Jinder Mahal at Money in the Bank. Good ovation for Orton.
Orton talked about how he’s beaten the best that this business has ever seen: Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker to name a few. Orton pointed out that his father was in the main event of the first WrestleMania and noted it was in his blood. Orton said if his grandfather was alive he would slap him in the face for losing the WWE Title to Jinder Mahal. Orton spoke about how his grandfather was part of the silent generation that got the job done. That led to Orton talking about respect with Mahal thinking he has earned respect. Orton said the only thing Mahal has earned is an American, Orton family ass kicking. Orton noted Money in the Bank is in his hometown of St. Louis and said that winning is the only option. Orton talked about how at MITB he’ll become champion for the 14th time. He dropped the microphone and went to pose, but he was interrupted.
Jinder Mahal’s music started up. No sign of Mahal in the building. Mahal appeared on the video screen. Mahal said Orton is like every other ignorant American that talks about a bygone era. Mahal talked about how Orton was a symbol of the past and Mahal claimed that he’s the future. Mahal had the Singh Brothers with him with an India flag behind them. The Singh Brothers clapped as the camera zoomed in on Mahal’s face. Orton posed and that put an end to it.
Analysis: A simple promo exchange from both guys. Orton talking about his family and history is a bit rare for him, but I like it. That makes him more sympathetic as a face even though the people that hate him think he is only there because of his family. Mahal’s promo was robotic and basic like usual for him.
Main event is Styles vs. Ziggler up next.
There was a promo from Sasha Banks and Rich Swann talking about 205 Live. Banks called it 125 Live referencing her weight.
Next week on Smackdown: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens.
Analysis: That will probably be a win for Nakamura meaning the third straight week where Owens loses to him. That’s their first televised singles match.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance for the main event. Mostly boos for him since he’s a heel. A clip aired of Ziggler cashing in Money in the Bank and winning the World Title on the Raw after WrestleMania 29 in 2013.
AJ Styles entered to a big ovation from the fans in his home state. He was wearing Atlanta Falcons red and black colors.
AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler
The match started at 9:47pmET. Ziggler hit a back elbow. Styles came back with a perfect dropkick. Ziggler sent Styles rib first into the steel ring post as the show went to break one minute into it.
Back from break, Styles countered a chinlock with a back suplex. Styles nailed punches, kicks, clothesline and a running forearm smash. Styles did a kip up. Styles picked up Ziggler and slammed him down face first. Ziggler avoided the Styles Clash, went for a cover with his feet on the ropes and the ref made him stop it. Styles hit the fireman’s carry into a knee to the back (called the Ushigoroshi) for a two count. They battled by the ropes with Styles hitting a snap suplex that sent Ziggler back first into the turnbuckle. Styles teased a Styles Clash off the top, but Ziggler came back with a leaping DDT off the top. That was great. Styles countered a Fameasser and went for a Styles Clash, but Ziggler broke out. Headbutt by Ziggler. Styles countered a Zig Zag attempt by hitting a backbreaker. Both guys were out on the mat. Ziggler came back with a running knee to the face. Ziggler went for a superplex, Styles slipped out. Each guy countered holds. Styles rolled up Ziggler and applied the Calf Crusher submission. Ziggler broke free by grabbing the face of Styles. Nice spot just as Ziggler was about to tap out. Ziggler sent Styles face first into the middle rope and hit the Zig Zag for two. Ziggler went for a superkick, Styles avoided it and Ziggler staggered. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm off the top rope, Ziggler tripped him up and Ziggler hit a Superkick for the pinfall win after 12 minutes. The pin was near the ropes and it looked like AJ might have been against the ropes, but Ziggler kept him away. Clean pin.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: ***1/2 Great match. I wish they get more time. I didn’t expect Styles to lose, but this was considered his hometown (he’s from nearby Gainesville not Atlanta) and WWE loves to book a wrestler to lose in their hometown. I don’t mind Styles losing because he wins plenty of matches while Ziggler needed a big win for credibility. I thought that maybe the foot of Styles was on the ropes for the pin, but it wasn’t. It’s a clean win for Ziggler.
There was a replay of the finish and Ziggler celebrated the win. The show ended right there because it was 10pmET and that’s sign off time like usual.
Three Stars of the Show
1. AJ Styles
2. Dolph Ziggler
3. (tie) Shinsuke Nakamura
3. (tie) Kevin Owens
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
2017 Average: 7.05
Average Post Brand Split (July 26, 2016): 6.73 – Raw is at 5.84
Last 5 Weeks: 5, 7, 6.5, 7, 6
2017 High: 8.5 (April 11)
2017 Low: 5 (May 16)
It gets a 7.5 out of 10.
That was a very good show this week. I enjoyed most of it. The opening tag was good and the main event was better. The women’s segment wasn’t a match, but it was done really well while setting up a big match for the future with the Women’s Money in the Bank match.
I thought the Orton/Mahal segment could have been better. Very basic. Also, Breezango’s act is pretty silly, but that seems to be the direction with them.
— WWE (@WWE) May 31, 2017
The next Smackdown brand PPV is Money in the Bank on June 18 in St. Louis. Here is what we know so far.
WWE Championship: Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton
Money in the Bank Ladder Match: AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The Usos vs. The New Day
Money in the Bank Women’s Ladder Match: Natalya vs. Carmella vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Tamina
Please give a listen to our TJRWrestling Podcast on Podbean, which has at least one new episode per week and sometimes two in a week. You can subscribe on iTunes by searching “TJRWrestling” for it.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading.