Smackdown Live Review 07/18/2017


Hello Misfits. It’s time for this weeks Smackdown Live review. This has been an interesting week for Smackdown Live with a ton of news surrounding it. The first news I should address is the fact that WWE powers to be have scrapped Talking Smack as a weekly program. However, they will still be having them after PPVs. The hosts of Talking Smack weren’t aware of this but found out via social media just like a lot of us. I personally think this sucks because it was something that made Smackdown unique and special. It also made up for the extra hour Raw has compared to Smackdown. I loved how it was unscripted and the wrestlers really got to get their characters and angles over themselves. I don’t think the powers to be liked that and it sucks. The second big news was that Jason Jordan was revealed as Kurt Angle’s son on Raw the previous night. So after all my weeks concerned about when American Alpha will return to TV, that question has been answered since they’ll both be single stars now. This is the go home show for Smackdown before Battleground so let’s get to the review.

Smackdown comes to us live from Legacy Arena at The BJCC in Birmingham, AL.

– Smackdown kicked off with its intro and what not announcing the Punjabi Prison would here.

The Punjabi Prison
The Singh Brothers were on the stage to introduce the WWE Champion, the “Modern Day” Maharajah Jinder Mahal, who was in a suit. Plenty of angry faces from Mahal like usual. The Pujabi Prison was around the ring. There’s a 16 foot inner structure and a 20 foot outer structure. Mahal defends the WWE Title against Randy Orton inside the Punjabi Prison on Sunday at Battleground.
Mahal and the Singh Bros stood in the ring with one structure on them. The outer structure lowered with JBL saying it was an incredible, barbaric structure. The structure does look impressive. Mahal told us to behold the Punjabi Prison. Mahal said the Prison will be the final resting place of Randy Orton’s legacy, so fans chanted “USA” at him. Mahal told the Singh Brothers to explain the rules of the match.
The Singh Brothers talked about the rules noting there are four doors around the ring attended to by referees. Those doors will open for 60 seconds to allow the competitors to get out. The outer structure that is 20-foot-high has no door. You have to climb out. Mahal said there are no rules with no countouts and no disqualifications.
Mahal said two men will enter the Punjabi Prison, but only one Modern Day Maharajah will walk out as WWE Champion. Mahal spoke in Punjabi to piss off the crowd leading to more “USA” chants. Randy Orton’s music hit.
Orton appeared in his wrestling gear with a microphone in hand. Orton said that Mahal is either the bravest S.O.B. he’s ever met or he’s just not that bright. Orton told Mahal that he’s making a conscious decision to be locked up in the prison with Orton without any help from the Singh Brothers. That led to Orton saying the Singh Brothers are the only reason Mahal took the title from him in the first place. Fans chanted “Randy” for him as Orton made his way down to the ring. Orton told Mahal there will be no escape on Sunday, no running or hiding.
Orton claimed he had nothing to lose since Mahal took his title, embarrassed his title and tried to take his dignity, which led to Orton slowly climbing up. Orton told Mahal he is the 50th WWE Champion that has the weight of the entire country of India on his shoulders and 1.3 billion souls on his back. Orton asked what Mahal will do when those 1.3 billion souls consider him a disgrace. Orton reached the top of the outer structure. Orton told him that this will be his view after he leaves Mahal in the ring and right before he takes back what is his. Orton said the announcement will be “And Your New WWE Champion, Randy Orton.” Orton’s music played to end it. It went about 14 minutes.
I thought this would have been later in the show or at the end of the first hour but it fit here. I think it served its purpose and both guys cut promos that made sense and made you want to watch the match. The fans who may have never seen the structure got too see it. The Singh Brothers shared the rules with those who have never seen the match. Jinder tried selling us on the fact that this match was in his favour and he was going to disgrace Orton. Orton made sense in trying to make Jinder look naive because not only is he locking himself alone with Orton in this structure but its locking the Singh brothers out. It was quality and well written stuff.

Jimmy Uso def. Kofi Kingston
In a fun and competitive match, Jimmy Uso defeated Kofi Kingston when rolling through a diving cross body to roll up Kofi for a three count.
Once again we are treated to one of the New Day members taking on one of the Usos. I kind of wish the Usos’ temporarily had a third ally or someone managing them but doesnt really matter. Its just me quarterbacking from my couch with ideas. Solid match with a shocking clean finish. Makes you wonder if the WWE put Usos’ over clean here because the New Day take the titles this Sunday. Fun fact, The Usos are the longest reigning Smackdown tag team champion of this new linage so far.

– Shane McMahon was backstage with the women’s division. He hyped the five-way elimination match at Battleground before asking which superstars wanted to give the audience a good performance here tonight. Basically everyone said they wanted to fight Lana, prompting Tamina Snuka to scream at them to back off. Natalya tried to stir the pot and suggested that Charlotte fight Becky Lynch, which led to some bickering between the two. Charlotte claimed that she’d beaten Becky every time they were in the ring together, and Shane said he wanted to see them go at so he made the match official.

Chad Gable Interview
Chad Gable did a sit down interview with Renee Young. Chad said “what?” to react to what happened. Renee asked if Jason mentioned anything to him, but Chad said that Jason said nothing to him. Chad said it would have been nice to have some heads up while noting that Jason was acting weird for a while. Chad talked about how Jason called him after Raw and he understood what Jason was going through. Chad said that they accomplished a lot as a team like winning the Smackdown Tag Team Titles from Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt, so he’s going to support Jason. Chad spoke about how he has some ideas for what’s next and he said he’s not going to share. Chad ended it noting this is a great chance for everybody to see Chad Gable on his own.
Well I guess this needed to happen since Gable just lost his tag team partner to an angle on Raw where Jason Jordan has been revealed as Kurt Angle’s son. I would have preferred Gable making quick work of someone followed by addressing the situation in the ring. He did showcase that he seemed upset that Jordan didn’t tell him but I don’t think that its meant to lead to anything but just to sell the angle more. Once again, it served its purpose and was a way to kick start Gables career as a singles star. I think he’ll do tremendous if taken seriously and booked correctly. He has the wrestling skill but now its time to see if he has that ability to connect with the fans.

Mike Kanellis w/ Maria Kanellis def. Sami Zayn
Finally Mike Bennett…Kanellis makes his in ring debut against Sami Zayn. Mike Kanellis defeated Zayn when Zayn set up for the Helluva Kick but Maria hit the ring and got in between them. The referee escorted her back to ringside and Mike took a cheap shot off the distraction with a big closed fisted right hand. Mike then hit a Samoan Driver to win in his WWE in-ring debut.
I’m glad we finally got Mike’s debut but I’m curious to why they didn’t hold off on it until Battleground. I wonder if they’ll even be on Battleground. It was fine, but it also felt rushed. Zayn was offense for the majority of the match whereas Kanellis got in some punches and kicks and not much else before the finish. I think the gimmick for the Kanellis couple is that Maria will help him win matches and that he isn’t very good on his own. I think that could be interesting.

John Cena Promo
John Cena made his entrance to mostly cheers while the fans snag “John Cena sucks” for his song as usual. The ring had the American flag on a pole on one side of the ring and the Bulgarian flag on the other side. Cena faces Rusev in a Flag Match at Battleground on Sunday.
Cena said the WWE Universe is excited because you will see amazing things at Battleground. Cena plugged other matches on the card including the Punjabi Prison match with the prison above the ring. Cena asked what will we remember from Battleground? Cena claimed we will remember a Flag Match. In one corner, the flag of Bulgaria and the other corner has the flag of the USA. Cena said you had to grab the flag and cross the line.
Cena said the reason you will remember the Flag Match on Sunday because you will see one of two things: The USA flag in victory or the flag of Bulgaria. Cena said that he knows that he hasn’t been your favourite son and that people don’t like him, but he thinks tonight we can all agree that all of them love that right there pointing at the American flag. Cena wonders if this Sunday if that flag will fly or will that flag fall. Cena told us that he’s ready for the match and he knows anything can happen, but he’s ready for it. Cena said “I am ready.” Cena fired up doing his loud voices with the crowd chanting “USA” right on cue. Cena talked about how America fought for independence and fought to keep it. Cena kept talking about how the flag has flown high through everything they have gone through. Cena even referenced 9/11: “When the towers fell, in the end, the flag flew high.” This Sunday, he said we’ll remember that those colors do not run, those colors kick ass.
Cena grabbed the US flag off the pole and waved the flag in the ring. Cena’s music played, so Rusev attacked him “from out of the WWE Universe” according to Phillips. Just say crowd. Rusev stomped on Cena and applied the Accolade submission. Cena got back to his feet with Rusev on his back. Cena drove Rusev back into the turnbuckle, but Rusev held on. Fans chanted “USA” as Cena tried to fight it again. Rusev continued to hold on and had Cena locked into the Accolade. Cena passed out to end it. Rusev grabbed the Bulgarian flag to end it. Rusev stood on the ramp and planted it on the ramp to end it. Cena was still out in the ring.
Considering this is the second USA vs. the outside world angle on Smackdown, with the first being the Orton/Mahal angle this all seemed pretty meh. If it wasn’t for the Rusev attack on Cena, this segment was basically the cookie cutter patriotic promo. The crowd cheered “USA” at all the right times, but this feud is pretty lame because it’s just pushing the same “USA vs. Everybody” story that WWE loves to try to do. It’s not like Rusev represents a country that the US hates either. It’s just Bulgaria. I know this just is a buffer feud between these two until they move forward but its very typical WWE. I hope Rusev moves on to bigger things after this and Cena helps make someone else’s career.

Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
In a teariffic match Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte with a disarm-her making Charlotte tap out. Natalya was on commentary for this match.
This was a great match between two friends. They worked a really good match for TV that was better than other TV matches and it had a great pace. I was invested the entire time and they never lost my attention. It crazy how different the Charlotte character feels on Smackdown compared to Raw. Charlotte was the top dog and nearly unstoppable there whereas on Smackdown she’s not as dominant and just as good as any of the other top women. I was kind of shocked that they had Charlotte tap rather then it being a more decisive a close call with a counter pin or something where it looked like Becky got one over on Charlotte.

– Becky offered her hand after the match and the two shook it out, so it looks like things are good between two of the Horsewomen. Tamina Snuka made her way out with Lana close behind, while Natalya hit the ring and attacked Becky and Charlotte. The heels cleared the ring and Natalya went after Lana, but Tamina made the save and kicked Neidhart square in the face to protect her… friend? I think friend is what we’re going with right now.

– Naomi was backstage for an interview with Renee Young. Naomi said it’s unfortunate that she won’t be defending her title at WWE Battleground, but she will be the first person in the ring to congratulate whoever wins the number one contender’s match. Naomi continued to talk about Summerslam. Carmella eventually cut her off and dismissed Renee Young. Melee reminded Naomi that everywhere the title goes, she’ll be following with her Money in the Bank briefcase.

– It’s time for an X-Files themed edition of the Fashion Files. “The Truth is Not H”. There’s a sign on their bullet board that says “I Want To Bo-Lieve”. Tyler Breeze said there’s no such thing as ghosts or aliens and suddenly there’s a weird moaning sound coming from behind a curtain. They went to check it out, but it was just Aiden English doing his warmups. A delivery boy has a package for them, and the Fashion Police thought he was an alien and couldn’t believe that he breaths air like a human being. Fandango repeatedly asked “what’s in the box” for the David Fincher reference of the night. They opened it up and it was the decapitated head of their pet horse Tully, with a note that indicated we’ll all find out what’s going on at Battleground. LOL It’s all so stupid yet so funny. I love it.

Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin def. AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura
Baron Corbin tries to attack Shinsuke during his entrance but Shinsuke saw it coming and these leads to a brawl between the two. Owens comes out to help Corbin which leads Styles to run from the ring to help Shinsuke and there was a brief brawl before the match as we go to commercial.
In a really good main event, definitely better than last week Baron Corbin and Kevin Owens defeated AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura when Styles hit the enziguri and Pele Kick on Corbin but Owens got in a tag, Styles didn’t see the tag, Owens hit a super kick and Popup Powerbomb for the pinfall on Styles.
 This match was better than last weeks main event. It helped showcase two rivalries going into the PPV and the heels went over making me believe the babyface’s reign supreme at Battleground. I’d recommend checking out this match. It was a fun and exciting TV match.

Final Thoughts
This Smackdown filled and covered everything it had to going into this Sunday’s PPV. Every segment served its purpose and they worked to sell us on this Sunday’s event. There were three good matches and a decent one which will be remembered for Mike Kanellis making his WWE in ring debut. It was a solid show overall and definitely enjoyed watching it. It flew by which means I was sports entertained.
Rating – 7/10

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