WWE Smackdown is live from Atlanta, GA this evening. We will have complete coverage of the event, as it airs, starting at 8pm Eastern.
Already scheduled for the evening is a Fatal Five-Way Elimination Match to determine the #1 Contender for Naomi’s Smackdown Women’s Championship. The winner will challenge Naomi for the title at Money in the Bank.
Join us here for all the details of the show as it happens, and follow along on Twitter, @RingRap!
The show opens with a vignette from Charlotte Flair. She says she’s genetically superior, and that’s why she’ll win the Fatal Five-Way tonight. Carmella says she’ll take her opponents to school. Natalya says she’ll prove she’s the best there is, was, and ever will be. Becky Lynch will represent the fighting Irish. Tamina says it’s time for her to become the #1 contender. Rapid fire statements from all five ladies in the match tonight.
We go to the intro music as the show begins proper. Tom Phillips, JBL and Byron Saxton welcome us.
Kevin Owens stands in the ring for an episode of “Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel.” He welcomes us to the new Highlight Reel, with the new Face of America. He talks about how Chris Jericho claims to have invented the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but he never won the match. An AJ Styles chant breaks out. Owens continues, saying he’ll climb every rung of the ladder and grab the briefcase, which contains a contract for a WWE Championship match – anywhere, any time. He says when he wins, he’ll be the face of the entire WWE.
He introduces one of the people he’s “going to step on” – Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura makes his full entrance, and there’s the sound of pyro going off (but no visible pyro). He runs the ropes for his “Yeah-Oh!” pose, nearly runs into the Jeritron 5000, and spins to the opposite side instead. The fans sing his song as Owens speaks – he doesn’t care if Nakamura thinks he’s a rockstar. He tells him that’s enough of his stupid dancing – it’s his show, and Owens invited Nakamura because he’s shrouded in mystery. People want to know why he’s there, what his future holds, etc. “Do you know what happened to the last person that walked around claiming to be a rockstar?” He says he sent Chris Jericho and his scarf off to an early retirement. Owens vows that if Nakamura shows up at Money in the Bank, it’ll be the day the music dies.
Nakamura starts to speak, but barely gets two words out before Baron Corbin interrupts him. He says noone cares what Shinsuke has to say. Corbin wants to see some actual highlights from a “real superstar.” We see a clip of his attack on Sami Zayn last week. Owens isn’t happy Corbin interrupted him and says he’s been beating up Sami for 15 years, so he’s not impressed. Corbin balks at Owens, and says he’s not going to respect “Cartman’s” authority. Corbin says in three weeks he becomes Mr. Money in the Bank.
Nakamura calls both of them forgetful. He says last week he pinned Owens. He reminds Corbin that Sami Zayn beat him twice too. Corbin enters the ring and both he and Owens attack Nakamura. Sami Zayn runs down and makes the save, and the two fend off Owens and Corbin. Zayn grabs a mic and says his fight with Corbin isn’t over, and the fight with he and Owens is never over. He (naturally) challenges the two of them to a tag match, with Nakamura as his partner. The announcers wait to see if it’s authorized by Shane McMahon, and we go to break.
They’re still hesitant to let Nakamura speak, but he’s not exactly doing much to ease those fears either. I can understand his English for the most part, but every now and again, there’s a word or two that’s not so clear. If he’s to become that true top-tier guy everyone hopes him to be, he either needs a manager, or he needs to improve, otherwise Vince McMahon will pull the plug on him.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin & Kevin Owens
The Action: We come in from commercial and the bell rings. Nakamura and Corbin start it out. Nakamura uses some fancy footwork to reverse a wristlock. He taunts Corbin, who pushes him away. Nakamura hits a set of knees and kicks. Sami Zayn tags in. Corbin tags in Owens.
Zayn hits a head scissors, sending Owens out of the ring. He follows him around, and it’s a trap! Owens stomps Zayn. Corbin tags in. Sami unloads on Corbin on the top turnbuckle. He does for a suplex. Corbin reverses it. Owens takes a cheap shot and Corbin gets the advantage. We get a set of tags and Corbin hits a powerslam as we go to break.
The action continues, picture-in-picture style during the break. Corbin tosses Zayn out of the ring, and Owens attacks him after a ref distraction. Owens and Corbin continue to have control over Zayn. Zayn starts to hype up, but Owens cuts him off. Back from the actual break, Zayn hits a Blue Thunder Bomb. Corbin tags in, and takes out Nakamura. Zayn goes for a roll-up, gets two, and eats a spinebuster for his troubles. He hits a desperation clothesline and tags in Nakamura.
Owens is legal too, and feels Nak’s wrath. Nakamura is on fire, hits a flurry of knees and kicks. He sets Owens up on the top turnbuckle, hits a rolling knee and a two-count. Corbin breaks up a pin attempt and Zayn attacks him. He sends Owens into Corbin, and the two start fighting each other. Corbin drills Owens. Zayn sends Corbin over the top rope, and Nakamura hits the Kinshasa for the win.
Winners: Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura
A formula match, with the faces working together and the heels bickering at the end. This program has taken some of the luster off of Nakamura, making him feel like just “one of the guys.” It’s up to him to stand out at this point, which he’s doing well so far.
The announcers plug the WWE Network. They plug the upcoming matches, but up next, The Usos have a message.
We return to The Usos in the ring. They say the fans are looking salty because The Usos are still the Smackdown Tag Team Champions. The fans thought American Alpha would beat them. Nope! They thought Breezango would beat them. Nope! Just like they thought the Atlanta Falcons would beat The Patriots. Nope! They say noone goes hard like they do in WWE, but then they’re interrupted… by The New Day!
Big E, Xavier Woods, and Kofi Kingston make their Smackdown debut. Woods says “Ya boys are back!” He says they couldn’t think of a better place to debut than Woods’ hometown of Atlanta. Kofi starts to speak, but The Usos interrupt them, asking if they got lost skipping down the yellow brick road. Kofi says it’s a skip-clap. The Usos say they have the tag division on lock, and welcome them to the Uso penitentiary. Big E looks at the Tag Titles and says “we likes ’em, and we wants ’em.” The Usos suggest they leave before they take the Unicorns out back “Old Yella Style.” Woods makes fun of them, says they think they run the show with their cute hats and hoodies. They know who actually runs the show – Shane McMahon, and Shane told them they had special opponents at Money in the Bank. Kofi says they better get ready for New Day to become the new Smackdown Live WWE Tag Team Champions. They lead a “New Day Rocks” chant as The Usos walk away, trash talking.
Time away has done The New Day some good. It’s the same act, but on a different canvas. The fans were happy and into their schitck. As far as The Usos go, they’ve got one of the best promo styles in WWE right now. They’re not always great – sometimes their subject matter falls flat – but tonight they were spot on.
Later tonight, AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler, plus a look back at Jinder Mahal’s Punjabi Celebration from last week.
We return from break to the recap of Jinder Mahal’s celebration.
Next up, a Fashion Files segment, a bit different than the last. It seems to focus on Fandango. He talks about how he and his partner let The Uggos slip through their fingers. He comes across an open door at the “Fashion Police Department,” like someone broke in. He enters the room, which is torn apart. A woman stands in the shadows, but it’s not a woman – it’s Tyler Breeze, in a dress. Fandango wonders why he’s under cover, Breeze says he thinks he’s still under cover, and the two can apparently hear each other’s thoughts. Anyhow, he tastes a spray of cologne, trying to identify who broke in. Apparently they’ve found their next case, but we don’t know who…
Creative, but heavy-handed with the jokes. Plus, Tyler Breeze wearing a dress seems to be a thing now.
The women make their entrance for the Fatal Five-Way… Charlotte Flair up first. We go to break. When we return, James Ellsworth stands on the ramp, ripping into the fans and demanding they stand up for Carmella. As Tamina makes her entrance, an inset promo from Naomi wishes all five good luck, but says it’s doesn’t matter who wins – they’ll feel the glow.
Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Tamina in a Fatal Five-Way Elimination to determine the #1 Contender for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
The Action: A brawl breaks out before the match even begins. Lynch and Carmella fight outside of the ring. Natalya hits a pair of suplexes on Charlotte. The referee has zero control. Meanwhile, Lynch throws Carmella into the time keeper’s area, then walks the barricade and hits a flying forearm. The referee begs everyone into the ring. Tamina rips apart the announcer’s table as more referees come out. Charlotte manages to get the better of the exchange, hitting a suplex and a top rope moonsault to the floor onto Natalya and Tamina. Carmella leaps onto Charlotte out of the timekeeper’s area. Lynch hits a Becksplex at ringside, then eats a superkick from Tamina. Charlotte hits a boot to Tamina, Natalya clotheslines Charlotte. Nattie tries to set Charlotte up to go through the announcer’s table, Charlotte sends her into the steps instead. She picks Natalya up and powerbombs her through the table.
Shane McMahon comes out among the chaos. He plays to the crowd, says the women’s division is on fire, but they’re so focused that the match didn’t even begin. He says because the competition is so crazy, he wants to do something historic – and he makes it official that the five of them will compete in the first Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The fans love it.
The women’s division sure has come a long way in a short amount of time. This brawl was pretty brutal and awesome, and I’m ok with the idea of a Money in the Bank ladder match (though I do fear for their safety). That all said, I’m really disappointed we didn’t get our advertised match. I was looking forward to tonight’s elimination match, and we didn’t get it. They could’ve determined a #1 Contender and still had a Money in the Bank match for the remaining women, and it would’ve been just fine.
The Colons vs. Breezango
The Action: Oh, I get it now. The Colons. Cologne. Ugh. Anyhow, Breeze is wearing a dress and wig for this match, and I forgot Primo and Epico were a team.
Primo is not amused by the dress or wig, so he stomps on Breeze and rips both off. Fandango tags in, wearing the trenchcoat from before. He shoots Primo in the face with a water pistol. He sends Epico to the floor and tosses Primo over the top rope onto him. We go to break.
Once again, the commercial is picture-in-picture. The Colons use heelish tricks and distractions to get the advantage. Out of the break, Fandango rolls Epico up for two. Epico takes Breeze off the apron, and Fandango can’t make the tag. Epico sets Fandango up for a suplex off the top rope. Fandango reverses it into a sunset flip powerbomb.
Tyler Breeze leaps onto the apron for the tag, but he’s wearing the janitor outfit. He makes the hot tag and is on fire. Primo tries to take away the mop and walks into an Unprettier for the win.
Breezango is getting a little too silly for my liking, but they’re on TV, they’re winning matches, and the fans seem to be into it. Anything that improves the tag division is ok by me.
Backstage, Renee Young interviews AJ Styles. She asks him about his match against Dolph Ziggler. He says he’s building momentum today. Ziggler interrupts and “apologizes.” He says it may be the House that AJ Styles Built, but Ziggler laid the foundation. He reminds him of his Money in the Bank win and successful cash in. Ziggler asks him if he wants to fight right there and now. Styles takes off his shirt and is ready to go. Ziggler says he’ll wait til he sees him out at the ring.
Up next, Randy Orton speaks. And sure enough, out of the break, Randy Orton does indeed come out to the ring. He says “In case any of you have been living under a rock for the past 17 years, my name is Randy Orton.” He runs down the list of legends he’s defeated, and reminds us of his father, who headlined the first Wrestlemania. He says if his grandfather was alive, he’d smack him for losing the title to a guy like Jinder Mahal. He says his grandfather was the silent type – he didn’t talk about how he’d do something, he just did it. It was the American Way. And that’s what Randy is going to do at Money in the Bank – get his title back.
Orton talks about respect being a two-way street, but Jinder is too arrogant to realize that. He thinks he’s earned respect. Orton says the only thing Mahal has earned is a good old fashioned American, Orton ass kicking. He talks about Money in the Bank being in his hometown, and says he can’t show his face there if he doesn’t win. Orton says ask all the greats – Harley Race, Verne Gagne, and others from that generation – winning is the only option. He takes a cue from his grandad, and he’s gonna stop talking – at Money in the Bank he’ll become Champ for the 14th time.
Orton’s music starts to play, but Jinder Mahal’s music kicks in. Mahal appears on the Titantron, and says Orton is just like every other ignorant American, telling stories about his grandfather and father while the country is in decay. He says Orton is a symbol of the past, living on what was. “Behold the present, behold the future.” He holds up the title as the Singh Brothers clap.
As the segment ends, Orton gets back up on the ropes, posing for the fans.
A better and more natural promo for Orton, who often sounds robotic and overly scripted. The only downside is he seemed to speed through it. I wish he took a few extra breaths instead. That said, I’d much rather get this from him than the promos we normally do. At least this sounded somewhat passionate.
After the break, we get a hype video for 205 Live – Sasha Banks and Rich Swann hype up the show.
Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles
The Action: Styles gets a hometown reaction, being from Gainsville, GA.
Styles hits a dropkick early on. Ziggler sends him ribs first into the posts. Styles recovers outside the ring as we go to break. We return to Ziggler in control. Styles counters and both men are laid out. Styles hits a snap mare into a low forearm. Flapjack facebuster for two. Ushigaroshi for two.
Styles teases a Clash. Ziggler makes it to the apron. He knees out of a suplex attempt, but Styles connects and suplexes him into the turnbuckles instead. Styles goes for a Clash off the top rope, Ziggler counters and hits a DDT off the top rope instead. Ziggler catches Styles with a headbutt. Styles counters with a backbreaker. Styles rushes in, eats a knee to the face. Ziggler brings Styles up top and goes for a superplex. AJ slips through the legs, taking out the legs. He misses a splash, but catches Ziggler with a calf crusher in the middle of the ring. Ziggler claws at Styles’ face, and he breaks the hold.
Ziggler hits the Zig Zag, but it’s only worth two. Ziggler sends Styles onto the apron. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but gets caught in the ropes. Superkick to the head and Ziggler gets the win.
The Winner: Dolph Ziggler
A necessary win more than anything. Ziggler needs wins to retain credibility going into the Money in the Bank match. He’s getting more comfortable with this heel persona and it shows, and I’m more interested in Ziggler right now than I have been in years.
Not a bad episode of Smackdown overall. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get our advertised main event, the Fatal Five-Way women’s match, though their brawl was pretty impressive. It gets us to Money in the Bank and the ladder match, but it leaves Naomi without a match. Not perfect, but something.
Randy Orton had a good promo. We had a short (but enjoyable) main event. The tag division got a boost from New Day and Breezango continues to get a push. No Tye Dillinger, however.
Overall, an enjoyable show.
Thanks for watching along with me tonight. Be sure to send in your Favorite Thing in Wrestling for tomorrow’s Ring Rap Audio! See you next time!