Smackdown Live Review 04/18/2017


It’s the first episode of Smackdown Live following last week’s superstar shake-up. Therefore, we’ll really get to see how Smackdown Live does while finding their groove with this updated roster. Last week we just saw Charlotte appear on Smackdown but how will she make an impact this week? Last week we found out the number one contender for United States Champion after Payback but will we find out who Orton’s next rival will be? Smackdown is in a rebuilding phase since this shake-up and I’m intrigued to see how they rebuild.

Smackdown comes to us live from KFC Yum! Centre in Louisville, KY

Charlotte Promo
Charlotte Flair is kicking off the show tonight. The Queen said it’s been seven days since she arrived on Smackdown Live and she’s already lost her patience. Charlotte asks if Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are on summer vacation already, or perhaps binge watching the Fast & Furious, because she’s fastly growing furious. Charlotte demands to be put in a match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and is cut off by Naomi. The champ says Smackdown Live doesn’t have queens, but they do have champions – and you’re looking at one. Naomi says she hates to see Charlotte out here begging for opportunity, and wants to do this right here and right now. Naomi drops the title and decks her in the face, and the two brawl until a referee comes out and gets in between them.
This brings out Shane McMahon, who says we’re going to see a fight here tonight, but challengers have to earn their opportunities. If Charlotte defeats Naomi tonight, she becomes the number one contender. Naomi turns her back to talk to the fans and Charlotte immediately rushes the ring and lays her out from behind. She tries to pose with the title, but Naomi recovers and goes on the attack again, dumping her from the ring. The two stare each other down as Naomi holds her title in the air.
Last week when Charlotte made her first appearance on Smackdown Live she never got to say a word. Charlotte basically came out and just posed last week so it was great that she got time on this weeks episode to talk. Charlotte finally feels fresh and new being on Smackdown Live. I wasn’t sure if she was automatically going to be apart of the Championship picture but its very clear that she is going to be. Charlotte came out and took the top spot just by making a statement and asking for it. I do expect to see Charlotte as the Smackdown Women’s Champion sometime soon but I think Naomi deserves a proper run with the belt. These two will put on incredible matches against each other since they’re both athletic as fuck.

– After the commercial break, Natalya is backstage waiting for Shane McMahon in his office. Natalya complains that Charlotte just came to Smackdown Live and immediately got an opportunity. Shane brings up that all she had to do was ask, but is cut off by Carmella and James Ellsworth, who also have a bone to pick. Tamina Snuka comes in and adds her voice to the mix. They’re all clearly upset at Shane, but Natalya says she has an idea and doesn’t need management, and takes the girls away to have a conversation.

Number One Contender for the WWE Championship
Six Pack Challenge
Jinder Mahal def. Mojo Rawley, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowen and Luke Harper
Jinder Mahal picks up the victory after pinning Sami Zayn when The Bollywood Boyz held Zayn back from going for the Helluva Kick and Jinder hit the cobra clutch slam on Zayn. 
This was a pretty entertaining match with all underdogs. Everyone was made to look good, even Rowen at points. I’m hoping Rowen and Harper would team again and may go after the tag team championships. I’m glad Mojo never won. Ziggler is somewhat in a feud with Shinsuke Nakamura so I wasn’t expecting him to go over. I was rooting for Zayn because he seemed like the safest bet but that is what would be expected. The WWE decided to go with the unexpected and had it look like Zayn was closing in on a win only to debut the Bollywood Boyz on the main roster aiding Jinder Mahal to pick up the win. Talk about unexpected. I love it and if this is going to become a new stable, I’m really looking forward to it. I said I’d do bhangra in my room if Jinder won…I wonder how many of you won’t let that go. This is a huge opportunity for Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz. I’m extremely happy for all of them. It was really unpredictable.

Jinder Mahal/Randy Orton/ Bray Wyatt
Jinder gets on the mic and says that the fans never accepted him. He wonders if it’s because of his heritage, or the fact that he speaks two languages, or that he’s just better than them. He says they’ll have to accept him as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion!
Randy Orton comes out and congratulates Jinder on winning the match. He says his prize won’t be the WWE title, but rather an RKO and a beating at his hands. He turns his attention to Bray Wyatt, and says he doesn’t know what a House of Horrors is, but he will burn it down again, all the same. The lights go out and we get a creepy Bray Wyatt promo on the tron, with Wyatt saying the champ has no idea what he’s gotten himself into, interspersed with random horror footage.
Jinder Mahal cut an awesome promo about discrimination and hatred towards him because he’s a minority. The man had heat the moment he picked up the victory and throughout his entire promo. The fans really dislike him and thats great for his future as a heel. This was a great traditional anti-american promo. Orton came out and tried to balance his current feud and future feud but it came off weird because I wondered why Jinder Mahal never defended himself against Orton’s comments or even attacked him after the Wyatt promo to start building their feud. I think its both good and bad that we have no idea what this “House of Horrors” match. It’s intriguing but I also fear the WWE has no idea what it is either.

– AJ Styles is being interviewed about the upcoming match between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. He says it doesn’t matter who wins, because he’s still here on the “house that AJ Styles built”, and he’ll take the U.S. title from whoever manages to win the match at WWE Payback. Baron Corbin walks in and mentions that Styles didn’t beat him to get a title shot, and AJ says he’d be happy to do it again tonight. Corbin accepts the challenge, and reminds him that he asked for this…

– The New Day coming soon and a Shinsuke Nakamura video package

– Charlotte is shown on her way to the ring, but she runs into Natalya, Carmella, James Ellsworth and Tamina Snuka. They mock her and say how grateful they are to just be in the “presence of greatness”. Charlotte walks past them but is roughed up a bit on her way. The tension mounts…

If Charlotte Wins she’s the Number One Contender
Charlotte def. Naomi
In a super competitive match Charlotte pins Naomi after a Natural Selection.
This was a solid women’s match and it was given a lot of time. This was only a taste of we’d see between these two women in future. I’m patiently waiting to see them get PPV time or something. It made sense that Charlotte went over because the fans hate it when she does and it allows her to make an even bigger statement with a victory on her first active night on the roster. It also makes her contender who earned the title by defeating the champion. Similar to how Naomi beat Alexa a ton of times which led us fans to continuously question when she would get her title shot. This also should further piss off all the girls angry that Charlotte is getting this opportunity her first week on Smackdown. I can see them ruining the championship match next week.

– Charlotte is walking backstage after her victory, and again walks into the group of heel women (and James Ellsworth). She smiles and gives them a “woo” as she walks off, and the heels do not look happy.

Epico & Primo def. American Alpha
The Colons got the victory when Primo rolled up Jordan for a surprise win after a back and forth match.
Decent match. Epico and Primo seem to be distancing themselves from the Shining Stars gimmick even though they’re still wearing those tights. If that is the case, they have a ton of potential being themselves. I kind of feel bad for American Alpha and how they havent really lived up to their fullest potential on Smackdown Live. Yeah, they are former tag team champions but I personally expected so much more from them after the original draft.

– Antoher Lana vignette

Kevin Owens “Face of America” Open Challenge
Kevin Owens def. Gary Gandy
Owens takes the microphone away from the ring announcer and says he’s doing a terrible job. He introduces himself as the “United States of America Champion” from Montreal, Canada. He then asks the jobber in the ring who his name is, and he’s introduced as Gary Gandy from Louisville, Kentucky which gets a good pop from the crowd. Owens beats the heck out of him for about 30 seconds and then hits the pop-up powerbomb for the win.
After the match Owens tells all the fans to put their hotdogs down and listen to him. He says that as long as he remains the United States Champion he will continue to be the face of America. Owens says that nobody, including AJ Styles and Chris Jericho, will take that away from him. He takes a seat on commentary to bring some much needed Canadian influence to the booth.
Kevin Owens it the Face of America and still Mr. Entertainment.

AJ Styles def. Baron Corbin
AJ Styles wins via countout after Styles hits a running Phenomenal Forearm from the apron to knock Corbin over the barricade into the crowd and Styles got back into the ring before the 10 count.
This was a competitive match and both guys were trying to outshine the other. I’m still whatever  about Corbin but add Styles in the ring and Owens on commentary really made this main event  enjoyable. Styles and Owens had a staredown after the match was over and the US Title really does feel so much more important than the WWE Championship right now.

Final Thoughts
This episode was good but it feels as if Smackdown Live still hasn’t found their groove. I say give it a couple of more weeks and after these rivalries from before the shake up wrap up at Payback before Smackdown really takes off with this new roster. I don’t know how well these multiple segment matches help Smackdown Live. Three matches on this card went multiple segments which lead to a lot of people being left off TV including the tag team champions, The Uso’s and Shinsuke Nakamura. I also wish Smackdown just had an extra 15 minutes to use if they wanted because I feel like things would have more time to develop. A lot of Smackdown just felt like their was quite a bit to just get used too. I’m loving the tweak in Owens gimmick with the entire “Face of America” thing. I’m extremely excited to see what happens with Mahal and the Bollywood Boyz as well. I think a lot of foundation was just laid out in this episode and things are really going to pick up these upcoming weeks. I’ll admit though, everything does feel fresh and new.
Rating – 6.5/10