Hello Misfits. It’s time for this weeks Smackdown Live review. The WWE is on the Road to Wrestlemania and Smackdown Live has one more stop before it gets there which is WWE Fastlane. This year Raw will be taking Elimination Chamber and Smackdown will be hosting Fastlane. On tonights episode we find out who will face AJ Styles a Fastlane because Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn face each other in a singles match where the winner is crowned the new number one contender. Also we’ll find out more about this new Smackdown top ten list. Rusev is jumping on his United States Championship title shot opportunity right away and facing Bobby Roode tonight. Dolph Ziggler returned at the Royal Rumble yet he hasn’t been on Smackdown Live since. I’m also really curious to see what is next for the Smackdown Women’s division. Carmella nearly cashed in last week but other than that there hasn’t really been any real solid angles in the division since the Royal Rumble. There’s a lot of loose ends and a lot of nothing happening but lets find out what changes tonight.
Smackdown comes to us live from Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri
– Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves are on commentary.
Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan Shane welcomes everyone to the show. Shane says normally he would be happy about tonight’s main event but he is not. The main even has huge implications. Whoever wins the match tonight will go on to face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. Shane doesn’t think Owens or Zayn deserves another shot but someone he respects does. Daniel Bryan comes to the ring. Shane says the both sign on for Smackdown being the “Land of Opportunity”. When the crowd feels as tho someone is deserving of a chance it’s their job to listen. Shane doesn’t think Bryan is listening. The crowd starts to chant “Rusev Day”. Shane says “duly noted”. Shane says he thinks that the WWE Universe wants to see someone who is more deserving to challenge for the title. Bryan notes that the referee made a mistake at the PPV and this seemed like a good opportunity to rectify it. Bryan adds that since he booked Shane’s least to favorite people in a match where they would tear each other apart he figured Shane would give him a raise.
Shane says he is looking forward to watching them ripping each other’s head off. Even still Bryan has been giving Owens and Zayn chance after chance. Shane can’t understand why Bryan keeps doing it. Shane says Bryan changed the WWE landscape forever with the Yes Movement. Owens and Zayn may have come up the same as Bryan but they are not Bryan. The Yep Movement is a cheap imitation of Bryan’s greatest creation. Don’t let Owens and Zayn manipulate you any further. Bryan asks Shane what he is trying to say. Shane says Bryan is living vicariously through Owens and Zayn. AJ Styles’ music hits and he makes his way to the ring. Styles says he has traveled over 10,000 miles defending the WWE Championship. Styles was built for the grind. Styles can put up with anything. The only thing he can’t put up with is Smackdown management obsessing over Owens and Zayn. Styles doesn’t care who wins tonight. Shane and Bryan need to just stay out of the way tonight. Opinion This was a good opening segment where everyone nailed their promos and told the stories they were supposed to tell. They basically made sense of everything happening with Zayn/Owens/Styles. The two Authority figures seem to still be agreeing to disagree with the current booking decisions involving Owens and Zayn but theres been no progression in the tension between the two. The moment where it finally seemed as if things were going to get juicy between Bryan and Shane-O, AJ Styles came out to air his own opinions on everything that has been going on. It’s quite easy to relate to Styles standpoint as a fan. We’re tired of this obsession the Authority figures have with Zayn/Owens, so if its going to keep going on then give us something to stay interested in or lets move on.
– Backstage, the New Day is answering Twitter questions
– AJ Styles runs into Shinsuke Nakamura backstage. Nakamura reminds Styles that he will beat him at Wrestlemania.
Charlotte Flair def. Liv Morgan w/ Riott Squad
In a solid match Charlotte defeated Liv Morgan by taking her out with a big boot and making her tap out to the figure eight. The other two members of the Riott Squad were ejected from ringside after trying to get involved. Opinion This was a perfectly fine match where the outcome was inevitable. Liv is showing progress in the ring but she was also working with a very talented Charlotte who does a great job of making her opponents look good. I was curious why there weren’t any other girls involved in this segment. It would have been cool to have Becky out there for Charlotte to even the odds or even Carmella on commentary or making herself a sitting area on the stage after last weeks antics. There was something more creative here that could have been done but it just wasn’t.
– Backstage, Renee Young asks Owens if the outcome of his match later tonight will affect their friendship. Owens says for once Young asked a good question. The person she should ask that question is Zayn. Can Zayn handle losing to him?
The Bludgeon Brothers def. Local Talent
In a squash match the Bludgeon Brothers defeat local talent after hitting them with a double crucifix bomb. Opinion
– As the Bludgeon Brothers are walking to the back the Usos come out and they share a brief moment before commercial break.
Jimmy says last week they told us what day one-ish was all about. Tonight they are out here tell us about what being locked down is all about. Jey says he ain’t talking about taking cold showers or being locked down for 23 hours out of the day. Jimmy says a lot of cats out here are out here acting hungry. Jey says they can’t eat until the Usos say so. A lot of cats are out here sleeping on the Usos. 2017 was the year of the Usos. They went from they might be aight to match of the night When you feel someone creeping out on you, nah, it’s not paranoia, nah it’s the Usos!
Opinion This was a good promo and even better than last weeks. The Usos are on fire and have been since their new attitude after the brand extension. They kind of reminded me of the Briscoes from ROH tonight but with their own unique personalties shining through. I like how they revisited who they used to be to compare to who they are now. I know the twins are over and fans such as myself are digging this era of the Usos, However, the hardest part is trying to figure out if they are babyfaces or heels but in the end maybe being in the shady grey area is partially the reason why they are still so over with the fans. They are not good guys and they are not bad guys…they are just the f’n Usos.
– Backstage, Bryan unveils the advent of the Smackdown top 10 list. AJ Styles, Charlotte, Shinsuke Nakamura, Naomi, Bobby Roode, The New Day, The Usos, Becky Lynch, Randy Orton and Tye Dillinger are listed as the top ten in that exact order from Styles being number one and Dillinger as number ten. I have no idea what this means or what it is significant for.
– Backstage, New Day is upset about being so low on the list. Kingston and Big E. are consoling Woods by rubbing pancakes on his face.
Backstage Social Media Promo: Rusev Day
Aiden English says he prepares as an artist should… But Rusev? He prepares like a warrior does. Rusev is shown pumping iron. Rusev gets up and yells “Machka!” Opinion
I do not know why the WWE is getting really big with these social media promos. They feel kind of low budget for a billion dollar company but I guess they are trying something different.
United States Championship
Bobby Roode (C) def. Rusev w/ Aiden English In a really competitive match Bobby Roode defeated Rusev when countering an attempt for the accolade into a GLORIOUS DDT.
Following the match as Roode is celebrating, Randy Orton slithers his way into the ring out nowhere and RKO’s everybody. Opinion
This was a tremendous back and fourth match where both guys looked great in the end. Roode managed to sneak away with his United States Championship after a hard fought battle against a motivated Rusev. I’d love to see these two continue their rivalry. The flurry of RKO’s that followed after the match was great and its great to see Orton involved with the US Title picture now. I’d love to see him hold it briefly to become a grand slam champion as well. This was definitely the highlight of the night for me.
Backstage Social Media Promo: Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
They make fun of Breezango and the Ascension in another social media like promo.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin def. The Ascension
In a quick tag team match that was a bit more competitive than the one the Bludgeon Brothers had earlier, Gable and Benjamin picked up the victory after hitting Viktor with their altered doomsday device finish. Opinion These two teams did what they could with the time given to them and personally think they did a great job. The was Gable and Benjamin gaining some momentum back after being on the losing end in their feud in the Usos. It sucks it was at the expense of the Ascension who really could use some momentum but oh well. I feel like there could have been some fun shenanigans here too with Breezango getting involved but that wasn’t the case. I miss when the Fashion Files were a weekly or every other week thing. Did they ever solve their mystery?
– Backstage, Zayn says tonight is his chance to step out of Owens’ shadow. Owens will stop at nothing tonight but then again neither will Zayn.
#1 Contender Match
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
AJ Styles was out on commentary for this match. In a really good main event, the match ends in a no contest when Owens crawls out of the ring and Zayn gets in Styles face when he gets outside of the ring causing Styles to deck Zayn, then Owens ending the match. Styles dives over the top onto Zayn and Owens.
Daniel Bryan comes out on the stage and says because of Owens and Zayn’s performance tonight and the fact that Styles got involved, Styles will face Owens and Zayn in a triple threat match at Fastlane for the WWE Championship. Opinion These two guys have wrestled each other for years and know each other so well. Its very evident every time they get in the ring with each other. They took this match seriously and didn’t let their friendship come in the way of them being competitive with each other or from trying to win. The finish was creative and the simplest way to book what they were leading to which was the triple threat match. It could have been executed differently but with the same result but it is what it is. I was hoping they had this match at Royal Rumble but they went with the handicap match which all makes sense now if they were saving it for Fastlane. I can see this being another decision of Dragon Boy’s that Shane-O might find questionable.
This was a decent episode of Smackdown Live. There was some good wrestling such as Roode/Rusev and the main event. Orton slithering his way into an angle was the highlight to me. Rather than the main event picture though, nothing else is really clear for the rest of the roster going into Fastlane. This episode continued to leave us with more questions than answers but the real issue is, the questions havent really changed from the previous weeks. It’s a more of a whats going to happen next generally and when? There was very little progression here besides the main even picture. Anyway, check it out if you got time or last check the highlights. I’d also definitely recommend checking out the Usos promo from tonight because it was awesome. Rating – 6.5/10