Written by: JR
The opening promo did a good job of introducing some of the new Smackdown acquisitions and set up the main event for later tonight. I noticed that Owens came out in a suit and trimmed his beard which may be a sign of a slight gimmick tweak. He proclaimed himself as the “Face of America” since he’s currently the US Champion. He also made comments about Canada being a superior country compared to the US which obviously got heat from the crowd. Owens trolling the crowd with his “Face of America” moniker will add an interesting element to his heel character. It may be clichéd but it still should be entertaining.
The Rowan vs Orton match was unusual mainly because Rowan was standing tall at the end of the match and looked strong. During Orton’s entrance, he once again came out to a lukewarm reaction from the crowd. Wyatt appeared on the titantron during the match to talk about his House of Horrors match with Orton at Payback. The House of Horrors match sounds more and more unappealing after each week. Even worse, we all know that Orton will win since Wyatt has been moved to Raw. So Bray Wyatt will challenge someone to his own special match and is still going to lose. It makes him look even more pathetic. No wonder why Bray’s character has never been taken seriously. Now that he’s moved to Raw with an already stacked upper card, Wyatt most likely will flounder and become an afterthought.
The Tag Team Title match was a good match which is expected between these two teams. Unfortunately American Alpha didn’t get a strong crowd reaction and hopefully the creative team will spend more time giving AA vignettes to connect with the crowd in this new chapter of the brand split. After the match AA were attacked by The Shining Stars which didn’t even look right since the Shining Stars have been jobbers for so long. A funny moment was hearing the crowd chant “Delete” at the Shining Stars after they attacked AA. Their response was justified because out of all the tag teams to come from Raw, Shining Stars were very low on the list of desired tag teams to make the switch.
The Mahal vs Rawley match was just another way for Gronk to get his TV moment and make Mojo look good. The only reason Mojo got a positive reaction this week was because Smackdown was in Boston and we know that Gronk is adored in that area. I still think having Mojo win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal over people like Big Show and Braun Strowman is one of the worst booking decisions this year. WWE can only visit Massachusetts so many times and in every other setting Mojo doesn’t consistently get positive reactions.
The segment introducing the two newest members of the Smackdown Women’s Roster was OK. I wasn’t a fan of Shane swerving the fans because when he introduced Tamina first, his description of the first woman made it sound like it was Charlotte. The crowd was chanting for Sasha during this segment because Boston is her home city but she wasn’t part of the shakeup. Even without the addition of Sasha, I feel that the Smackdown Women’s Division is in good shape right now.
*Kevin Owens opening promo
-Interrupted by Baron Corbin then Sami Zayn then AJ Styles.
-Daniel Bryan sets up Triple Threat match later tonight to determine #1 Contender for US Title after Payback (Styles vs Corbin vs Zayn)
*Erick Rowan vs Randy Orton Ends in DQ when Rowan hits Orton with the steel stairs.
-Interrupted by Bray Wyatt promo on the titantron.
*American Alpha vs The Usos for the Tag Team Titles Winner: Usos
-The Shining Stars attack AA after the match
*Jinder Mahal vs Mojo Rawley Winner: Mojo
-Gronk is seen at ringside; throws a drink in Jinder’s face when he’s outside the ring
*Shane McMahon promo about Women’s Division; invites all of the women out to the ring.
Additions: Tamina, Charlotte
Ziggler and Nakamura had a good segment which planted the seeds for their feud and eventual PPV match. Ziggler is a great first opponent for Nakamura and I expect them to have MOTN when they eventually face off.
Aiden English has reverted back to his singing “Artiste” gimmick from NXT. Recently his Vaudevillian partner Simon Gotch was released which should be a great opportunity for English to show his skills as a single competitor. Tonight his only role was to put over Tye Dillinger.
The main event was spectacular and was easily the match of the week. Zayn making his long awaited switch to Smackdown has already paid dividends and Styles winning this match will set up a future classic with Kevin Owens.
*Other additions: Sin Cara, Rusev & Lana
*Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English Winner: Tye Dillinger
*Dolph Ziggler promo
-Interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura
Addition: New Day
Main Event: Styles vs Corbin vs Zayn Winner: Styles
Overall this was a solid show. I highly recommend the Triple Threat main event and the Tag Team Title match. The current roster for Smackdown looks far superior to the SD roster after the first draft.
Grades for Smackdown additions:
Kevin Owens: A-
Owens is a MAJOR upgrade over Dean Ambrose. He’s a great heel with a midcard title who is capable of having great matches.
Sami Zayn: A-
One of the top workers in the company and a great face character for the midcard. I’m not thrilled about Owens and Zayn being on the same show AGAIN however.
Shining Stars: D
They still work here? I’m assuming that they’re going to replace The Vaudevillians as the go-to jobber heel tag team for SD. It seems like they’ve ditched their crooked travel agents gimmick (which sounds even more ridiculous when you describe the gimmick).
Jinder Mahal: F
Originally I was going to just rate him a D because jobbers have their place in wrestling. However, after his reckless stiff forearm to Finn Balor on Raw which gave Balor a concussion I’ll have to give him an F. If you’re in a jobber role, you’re supposed to make your opponent look good and most importantly BE SAFE. Finn Balor obviously is favored by management so I can imagine that Jinder will be in the doghouse for his actions. At this point Jinder isn’t even a reliable jobber which is the only reason WWE brought him back to begin with.
Honestly she’s been away for so long that I can’t even remember her talent level. However, she has a dominant presence and can play a Nia Jax like role for the Smackdown Women’s Division which has been desperately needed. I’m looking forward to her work on Smackdown.
I wasn’t very happy about this move because Charlotte has been involved in the title scene for several consecutive months on Raw and she most likely will continue that dominance on SD. Naomi’s title reign may be winding down if they decide to hotshot the title to Charlotte. Overall I’ve never been a fan of Charlotte but trading her for Alexa Bliss definitely will be an improvement when it comes to in-ring talent.
Sin Cara: F
They moved him away from 205 Live? For what? On top of that, he’s been a negative locker room influence with his known temper problems and will turn 40 this year. A puzzling move but chances are that he’ll be placed in a jobber role or possibly even released by the end of the year.
Rusev and Lana: A-
Rusev has been an underrated talent who not only is a versatile worker but has personality. Putting him in the World Title scene wouldn’t be out of the question which may be necessary in the near future. Rusev is another great acquisition for Smackdown.
We saw a vignette during the show of Lana giving a preview of her future gimmick. It seemed to be similar to Fandango’s early dancing gimmick. I look forward to what she has planned.
New Day: A
New Day will provide a much needed shot in the arm for the struggling Tag Team Division. I also hope that Kofi or Big E will compete for the WWE Title in the future since Orton has been an underwhelming champion and has gotten weak crowd responses. Kofi recently had ankle surgery and will be out of action for several weeks but Xavier and Big E won’t have a problem stepping up in his absence.