Smackdown – April 21, 2016

Smackdown
Date: April 21, 2016
Location: O2 Arena, London, England
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, Byron Saxton

It’s the last show on the UK tour and we’re in the same building we were in on Monday for Raw. These shows can range from nothing special to more interesting than usual but Smackdown tends to be just your run of the mill show. We’re getting closer to Payback though and the card is looking stacked. Let’s get to it.

We open with a long recap of AJ vs. Roman on Monday, including Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson beating Reigns down.

It’s time for MizTV with Maryse handling the introduction before Miz brings out guest AJ Styles. Miz gets right to the point of asking about AJ being tight with Gallows and Anderson in New Japan, to the point that he knows them better than anyone else. Styles denies being behind the attack but he never told them NOT to attack Reigns. Miz continues being awesome at needling as AJ eventually gets annoyed at him for asking about Gallows and Anderson over and over again.

The fact of the matter is that AJ doesn’t need them to beat Reigns but Miz thinks that being a better “rassler” isn’t going to get it done because Roman Reigns is the guy. Miz says he can handle the truth from AJ but Maryse tells him to go Will Smith. This leads to a rather romantic moment which disgusts AJ so badly that he backfists Miz in the face.

AJ vs. Miz is set for later.

Ryback vs. Kalisto

Non-title for no apparent reason other than Kalisto loses here because the title is back to meaning nothing. Ryback runs him over in the corner and the GOLDBERG chants begin for reasons of general annoyance. Kalisto’s kicks have little effect as Ryback gorilla presses him down and sends him shoulder first into the post as we take a break. Back with Ryback doing his delayed superplex for a delayed two count.

Ryback puts him in the Tree of Woe for kicks to the ribs, only to miss a charge and go shoulder first into the post. Kalisto’s kicks to the chest and corkscrew cross body stagger Ryback and the hurricanrana driver gets two. Ryback hits a quick Meathook but the Shell Shock is countered into a DDT for two more. The Salida Del Sol is countered into the Shell Shock to give Ryback the pin at 9:42.

Rating: C-. It’s clear that WWE wants to put the title on Ryback and I have no idea why they just don’t do it at this point. Kalisto means nothing as champion at this point as he won the belt and then did nothing with it ever since (as is so often the case) so just give it to Ryback who could be a decent monster for someone to slay later on. First though, we get a rubber match because that’s how the midcard titles roll around here.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Never mind as Corbin jumps Ziggler during the entrance and beats him down on the floor as has become his custom.

The Miz vs. AJ Styles

Non-title again. Miz gets clotheslined down to start and AJ goes old school with a Muta Lock (bridging Indian deathlock with a chinlock) but Miz gets his head out and rolls to the floor. Back in and AJ gets caught with some knees to the back, only to hit a quick dropkick (Lawler: “That was a miso soup dropkick wasn’t it?”). A spinwheel kick drops Miz again so he hides behind Maryse, allowing him to get in a left hand to drop AJ.

Styles gets sent into the barricade and we take a break. Back with Miz stomping away in the corner and hitting that running clothesline. We hit the chinlock (because of course) but AJ jawbreaks his way to freedom. A big boot drops Styles again (Miz can throw a nice boot) but it’s a double cross body to put both of them down. AJ is up first though and gets in the running seated forearm for two. Miz starts going after the knee before a DDT gets two more.

The Skull Crushing Finale is countered into the fireman’s carry backbreaker onto the knee (which Lawler pronounces correctly for once) for another near fall but AJ dives into an atomic drop. We hit the Figure Four for a bit until AJ turns it over with Ranallo doing a great job of putting over AJ as someone who will never quit.

The Calf Crusher goes on out of nowhere but Miz is too close to the ropes. Styles hit the Pele and that’s enough for Miz who tries to walk, only to run into Gallows and Anderson. Miz makes the mistake of turning around and it’s a slingshot forearm to set up the Phenomenal version for the pin on Miz at 17:55.

Rating: B. I know I’m in the minority but I’ve been a big Miz fan for a long time now. No he’s not going to get back to the main event or anything but he’s more than capable of having a strong performance against someone who can walk him through a match. They’re doing a really good job of setting AJ up as someone who could shock the world at Payback. That’s an impressive feat, especially if they go somewhere else with this Bullet Club story after the pay per view. Oh and well done on having both midcard champions lose clean in less than an hour and a half.

We look at the end of Raw with Jericho and Owens taking out Zayn and Ambrose.

Ambrose and Zayn are ready for Owens and Jericho in tonight’s main event. Spotted dick is referenced but they can’t decide on a cool team name.

In what might be a dark segment that won’t air on the TV show, Miz and Maryse are still in the ring after the match. Miz says he knew Gallows and Anderson were with AJ but that just showed he was right. Tonight there was an injustice and he demands an investigation on this match right here and right now. Miz doesn’t care how long it takes because he wants someone to come out here.

Cue Shane McMahon to say what’s up London. That’s not cool with Miz because he should be a priority to everyone on any show. He pokes Shane a bit and that’s not cool with the red show boss. Miz pokes him a few more times so Shane punches him in the face and drops him with the back elbow to the jaw before clotheslining him out to the floor. Again, not likely to make the show but a cool thing for the crowd.

Post break, Gallows and Anderson say they’re here to make an impact and aren’t here with Styles. They’ll debut on Monday against the Usos.

Paige/Natalya vs. Naomi/Tamina

Tamina and Natalya get things going but it’s quickly off to Naomi for her stupid wiggling headscissors without any actual damage being done to Natalya. Seriously, the Divas era is done so stop that nonsense. Paige comes in to help with a double wishbone before it’s already back to Natalya because Paige being in the ring in front of her home crowd would be a waste of time.

Naomi drops Natalya again and shouts that Natalya wants to wrestle. Well kind of yeah. We hit the chinlock from Tamina for a bit before Natalya easily gets over for the tag off to Paige. Naomi gets sent into the buckle and the Rampaige gets one with Tamina making the save. Natalya comes back in and it’s a Sharpshooter to Tamina while Paige gets Naomi to tap to the PTO at 5:33.

Rating: D+. I like that double submission ending as you let Natalya look good while Paige gets to win in front of her home country. It’s really tiring to see her lose all the time but with the way the division has been realigned, maybe she has to be moved down to the lower levels. I’m still a fan of hers but she’s really not up to the top level at this point.

Fandango vs. R-Truth

Goldust is guest referee and this is fallout from Goldust teaming with Fandango instead of Truth last week. They trade knockdowns and trade hip swivels. More dancing ensues with Goldust joining in until Truth lays Fandango out with the Lie Detector for the pin at 1:53. I have no idea where they’re going with this but if they could get to the point already, it would be most appreciated.

Goldust and Truth dance post match with Goldust looking terrified at the thought of trying the splits.

Here are Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady for a chat about the tag team tournament final. Enzo gets through the opening spiel before the Vaudevillains cut him off. English thinks Enzo has mange so Enzo thinks the Vaudevillains are a couple of haters. Apparently the G stands for gentlemen so Enzo is going to be honest with him. That thing English said about him having rodent mange……well Enzo really doesn’t know what it means.

Gotch insults Enzo’s rhyming (hater) and English says that it’s going to take two real men to show what a real era should be like. After they win the tournament, Simon promises to use proper pronunciation and ask “how are you doing”. Cass thinks that’s SAWFT. This was a really good exchange and a much better introduction to the Vaudevillains than we’ve seen so far.

Greeting From Puerto Rico.

Dean Ambrose/Sami Zayn vs. Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens

Jericho and Zayn get things going with Sami doing that reverse leapfrog and armdragging Chris down into an armbar. Dean comes in and has to spin out of a Walls attempt but can’t get Dirty Deeds as we head to a break. Back with Owens elbowing Ambrose in the head and slowly hammering away. Jericho can’t keep Dean in the corner though and it’s off to Sami for the high cross body and a near fall.

Sami loads up the corner climbing wristdrag but opts to dive onto Owens instead. Makes sense. That’s fine with Owens as he pulls Sami outside and pounds away as Dean has been down WAY longer than he should have after a beating. It’s back to Jericho for a chinlock followed by a Lionsault for a very calm near fall. The Blue Thunder Bomb doesn’t even warrant a cover here but it’s a double tag to Ambrose and Owens with the latter running into a boot in the corner.

Dean hits the suicide dive through the ropes but Owens gets in a superkick for two. The fans are having some issues getting into this one even though it’s certainly not bad. A quick Dirty Deeds and the Helluva kick have the heels in trouble but Dean goes up instead of covering, allowing Jericho to crotch him on the ropes, giving Owens a quick pin at 12:53.

Rating: C. Totally standard Smackdown main event tag match and while that’s fine, it’s certainly nothing you need to see. I like the idea of putting two feuds into one match but they’re out of combinations to do before the pay per view, which is a common problem WWE runs into. Ambrose getting pinned via cheating is a good idea as well.

Owens is very pleased with the win to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. The wrestling was stronger tonight but my goodness some of the booking decisions made my head hurt. As usual the midcard titles mean nothing because they’re just midcard titles and a way to make people look good by beating midcard champions. It’s so backwards compared to the way things used to go and went for years that it makes no sense but I’m sure WWE can explain it better to you than I could. They speak crazy like that you see.

Results

Ryback b. Kalisto – Shell Shock

AJ Styles b. The Miz – Phenomenal Forearm

Paige/Natalya b. Naomi/Tamina – PTO to Naomi

R-Truth b. Fandango – Lie Detector

Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho b. Sami Zayn/Dean Ambrose – Owens pinned Ambrose after Jericho crotched him

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