It’s the first proper week of the new post shakeup Smackdown Live (with a few loose ends that still need to be tied up at the Oil Rumble and Backlash). It’s also the go home show for the Oil Rumble itself. Will they do enough to make people watch the WWE Network at an unusual time on a Friday? It’s on at a great time over here in Ireland but will we do enough to make the yanks get up early? That’s the real challenge.
We open this week’s Smackdown Live with Miz TV where Daniel Bryan was the advertised guest. Note that I said advertised. Miz says that’s hes missing a title and he will get the IC title back on Friday at the Oil Rumble and tie the record of 9 title reigns. Miz says that Daniel Bryan is angry because Miz told him the truth to his face. After Miz had his daughter, he doesn’t hold any bitterness anymore and he’s surprised Daniel doesn’t feel the same after his daughter was born. He must not have the same bond. Miz says that he’s the better man. If Daniel wants to punch him in the face, come do it.
After a while, Big Cass’s music hits instead. Cass says that he’s the guest now. He got cleared the same day as D Bry and Bryan took all the spotlight from him. Cass says that Daniel looks like his garbage man or that he should be laying tiles. Sure what’s wrong with that ? Cass goes on to say that up to age 16, he was small himself and was picked on. But then he grew. Storytelling at it’s finest people. Daniel reminds him of when he was small. Cass have to do bingo halls or go “all around the world”. D Bry never went “all around the world”. That’s codeword for TNA. Learn your codewords Cass. Says that small people deserve to be beaten down. Would 15 year old you feel the same Colin? He’s going to make sure Daniel goes back to where he belongs, beaten, battered and retired and he won’t cast a shadow over him again. I don’t think Cass knows how shadows work.
A little bit later, we see Daniel backstage on the ground clutching his arm after being attacked earlier which prevented him from coming out for Miz TV. Later on again in the show, Daniel comes out of the trainer’s room and says that he’ll be good to go for the Rumble. He got attacked by Cass, shocking stuff. He’s going one on one with Big Cass at Backlash. “Everyone is the same size when they’re on the mat and tapping out.”
In the longstanding rivalry of dick punches, Renee chats to AJ who let’s us know that that there is gonna be a 6 man tag match tonight between Nakamura/Rusev Day vs himself and 2 partners that he describes as Too Sweet. The Club is back together. The Club reunite backstage. Kevin Dunn fucks up and brings the Smackdown audio up before they finish talking. The Dashabot 3000 knocks on Nakamura’s door. Aiden English answers and says no interviews.
Onto the match and Shinsuke has new remixed music with guitar and Japanese lyrics so the crowd can’t sing along. It sounds like a bit of a mess to be honest, too much stuff is going on with it. It’ll do the job with him being a heel though. Nice fun match, nothing special. Nakamura wins with a Kinshasa to the back of Luke Gallow’s head.
Immediately afterwards, AJ attacks Nakamura. This leads to once again AJ getting hit in the dick by Nakamura. Godammit AJ, wear a cup. Nakamura then went for a Kinshasa on AJ but Anderson dived in the way and took it instead. Nakamura hit one more Kinshasa on Karl as AJ watched on helpless.
We had a contract signing for the match between Carmella and Charlotte at backlash. Renee is overseeing for some reason. Where the fuck is Paige? Isn’t she supposed to be GM? Carmella is out first and complains to Renee that the champion was introduced first. She’s damn right there. Carmella also complains that the crowd didn’t give her any respect after her highlight reel last week. She says she will play the same highlight reel again so they can give her a standing ovation. She plays it. They don’t. So she plays it again. Nice heel heat. Or they are really trying to fill time.
Charlotte interrupts the package halfway through this time though. Carmella dances around the ring. Renee tells her to be professional. Charlotte signs the contract then smashes Carmella’s head into the table. End segment. The announcers inform us that Carmella signed the contract during the break. Gripping stuff.
It’s time for the IIconics. We debated this on the podcast last week and some people love their mean girls gimmick. Some people hate it. Personally I’m a fan. We get more of the same this week so I expect to have the same split. Billie and Peyton comment on how hot they look. Peyton then does a Becky impression, lucky charms, the usual lot. They use science to determine that they are better than Asuka. So it’s now the Empress of Yesterday. “We are the future and the future is…” Becky Lynch’s music apparently.
Becky and Asuka come down and we have a tag team match playa. The match starts in a box in the corner during an ad break. This felt like a really long ad break, most of the match took place in the box. Peyton technically tagged out towards the end when she grabbed Billie hand to stop a rollup but the ref ignored it. Billie tried to come in to interfere, but she sees Asuka and runs away. Becky accidentally takes out Asuka. Billie distracts Becky, Peyton throws her into the ring post then covers with feet on the ropes for the win. Dirty cheating heel. Asuka’s winning streak is well and truly gone now so. And WWE are making the most of it.
With cross brand matches for both the IC and US titles coming up this week, god knows what way they will actually be next week but we got some buildup for eventual feuds should Jeff retain. Sticking with the theme of the night, Shelton Benjamin vs Jeff Hardy Randy Orton
Jeff’s music stops halfway down the ramp and Randy comes out and he’s in the match instead. It’s a Randy Orton match so I zoned out for most of it. Towards the end, Randy feigns to throw Benjamin onto Jeff, but Jeff moves. Randy then throws Benjamin onto the announce table. A mystery masked man comes through the crowd and chop blocks Jeff at ringside. Security chase him into the ring and Randy unmasks him to reveal Sunil Singh, the sneaky bastard. He hits him with an RKO (not outta nowhere). The distraction lets Shelton hit Paydirt and get the win.
So overall quite a mixed bag here. Smackdown is supposed to now be the wrestling show but there were a whole load of non wrestling segments here. A lot of those will divide opinions, particularly the women’s ones. also no authority figures shown on screen at all this week. They were both mentioned as if they were there but no actual on screen sighting. This is especially weird for Paige since she’s been in the job 2 weeks, had 1 making fun of Teddy Long segment last week and nothing this week. Just seems odd.
Everything is going to still be up in the air until after Backlash so I’ll reserve full judgement on the new Smackdown Live until I see what they are doing once they finally have their set roster with no crossbrand stuff. But as of now, we are still in #FireRoadDogg territory. I’ve said it plenty of times but give HHH the reigns on Smackdown and see what he can do.
The IIconics def. Becky Lynch & Asuka by pinfall
Jimmy Uso def. Rowan by pinfall
Shelton Benjamin def. Randy Orton by pinfall
Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English def. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson by pinfall
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