Smackdown – May 16, 2017

Smackdown
Date: May 16, 2017
Location: SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
Commentators: Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton

We’re back stateside with the go home show for Sunday’s Backlash. We have a few matches announced as it’s Baron Corbin vs. Randy Orton and a “first time ever” match between Jinder Mahal and AJ Styles. I put it in the quotes because while it’s the first time the match has ever happened, I really don’t know if that’s worthy of mention it never happening before. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

We open with Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel with Kevin emphasizing that the original host will NEVER, EVER be seen here again. After a clip of the Chris Jericho beatdown, Owens introduces his guest in French, only to have AJ Styles (not the guest) interrupt on his own. He never did well in French class but on Sunday, he’s taking the US Title and bringing it back to the USA. Styles is ready to fight not but here are Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers to interrupt. Mahal is supposed to be the guest and doesn’t seem pleased. The three all talk trash but Owens runs from AJ.

AJ Styles vs. Jinder Mahal

Owens is on commentary. Feeling out process to start without much of note to start. Jinder sends him to the apron though and AJ scores with a slingshot forearm to a kneeling Mahal. Some kicks to the chest have Mahal rocked and AJ follows up with a shortened Phenomenal Rush. A hard knee drops AJ though and we take a break.

Back with Jinder working on a chinlock for a good while. AJ fights up and crotches him on the top before dropkicking Jinder out of the air. Another forearm has Jinder in trouble but he kicks AJ in the face for two. Owens keeps cheering for Mahal but shouldn’t he want the match to go on as long as possible so AJ can be hurt even more?

The fireman’s carry into the flip neckbreaker gives AJ two but the Singh Brothers offer a distraction, allowing Owens to hit AJ in the knee with the belt. Somehow the referee doesn’t wonder why AJ has down and hurt his knee. The cobra clutch slam (the Kalas, Punjab for finish) gives Mahal the pin at 15:45.

Rating: C. Better than I was expecting here with the only logical ending and there’s nothing wrong with that. Mahal needed this win and it advances Styles vs. Owens at the same time. That’s one of the best things they can do at the moment as it accomplishes everything at once. Mahal is still passable in the ring but that’s about all you can give him, which isn’t enough for the spot they want him in.

It’s Fashion Files time with more pictures and Post-It notes stuck to the walls. Breeze comes in with a blond wig and taped on mustache, whom Fandango praises for his expertise as a master of disguise. Tyler has found a number of fashion felonies, including EVERY BARON CORBIN shirt being a wolf design. The Usos are scary but their hair is like a mop. Breeze takes off the mustache, asking what in Versace’s name is he wearing. They load up a high five but Breeze says freeze frame, leaving them both hanging in the air.

Randy Orton is ready for Mahal.

Breezango vs. Colons

Joined in progress with Breeze fighting out of some trouble and getting two on Epico. The cousins keep him in trouble though and Primo grabs an armbar. Breeze avoids a charge though and the hot tag brings in Fandango to clean house. Everything breaks down and the Falcon Arrow gives Fandango the pin at 3:18.

Rating: D+. Just another match here but it’s nice to have Breezango on a roll heading into the pay per view. I doubt they win the belts but I could go for a title change. The Usos are barely doing anything with the belts (not to say Breezango would) but it would be nice to switch things up for a little bit.

Post match the Usos come out to say they’ll win on Sunday because this is the Uso penitentiary. They’ll remain vicious and give you stitches and that’s not paranoia.

Here’s Shane McMahon for a contract signing for Sunday’s six woman tag. Natalya uses her uncle’s catchphrase and signs while Tamina and Carmella sign without saying anything. Becky laughs off the idea of being offered a spot on the team and can’t wait to slap all three of them. Naomi tries to dub the team Royal Glow Fire and threatens to snatch them bald. Charlotte promises a win but after that she’s coming for the crown.

Ellsworth cuts Shane off and says he can take care of himself. Shane has no idea what he’s talking about but it’s clear that Becky is staring at Ellsworth. Neither Charlotte nor Becky has a shot him though and Carmella is coming for his title. A fight nearly breaks out so Shane makes Carmella vs. Naomi for right now.

Carmella vs. Naomi

Non-title. Joined in progress with Naomi hitting a Thesz press and a running forearm in the corner. Naomi misses a knee drop though and gets sent face first into the mat. The threat of the Rear View sends Carmella outside and Ellsworth gets ejected. We take a break and come back with Carmella running away from some kicks and screaming a lot.

Naomi shuts her up with a dropkick, only to have Carmella kick her in the face and send her outside. The champ fights up again and hits a jawbreaker but Tamina and Natalya break up a cover, meaning it’s a double ejection. Charlotte and Natalya get in a fight with them first though and Naomi goes over to kick Tamina in the back. The distraction lets Carmella grab a rollup for the pin at 11:21.

Rating: D+. I’m still trying to get past Naomi’s attempts to get “I’m gonna snatch you bald!” over as a threat/catchphrase. She can’t threaten to beat them up or hurt them but rather take their hair? Is she a reincarnation of Brutus Beefcake? Anyway not a great match or anything but it did well enough to st up the match on Sunday.

Dolph Ziggler has been watching all the Shinsuke Nakamura footage he can find in WWE but there’s nothing to see. Instead, here’s a Ziggler highlight package. Ziggler can’t wait to beat Nakamura.

Sami Zayn has been granted a match with Baron Corbin for Backlash (That wasn’t official yet?) because he thinks Corbin feels threatened by him. Corbin jumps him from behind and says stay down.

Randy Orton vs. Baron Corbin

Non-title. They shove each other around to start with Corbin popping Orton in the jaw to take over for the first time. One heck of a clothesline gives Baron two and we take a break. Back with Orton missing a middle rope knee drop and getting caught in a chinlock. Corbin hammers him down again and some posing gets quite the negative reaction from the fans.

Baron says the people’s reaction is why he’s hurting Orton but he misses a charge into the corner. JBL keeps calling both of them great closers as Orton hits the hanging DDT. The RKO is broken up and Deep Six gives Baron a close two. Back up and the RKO gives Orton the pin at 13:20.

Rating: C. Corbin took WAY too clean of a loss here when he’s supposed to be a big deal going forward. I’d bet on him getting a title shot in the near future but why should I care about him if he just lost clean here? I’m fine with Orton winning a match but the booking here is a bit questionable.

Post match Mahal comes out for a distraction so the Singh Brothers can come in for the attack. Mahal holds up the title to end the show.

Rusev never appeared despite being advertised.

Opinion: C-. This was a rather flat show heading into what feels like a flat pay per view. I’m interested in Styles vs. Owens and that’s really about it on the entire card. What am I supposed to care about other than that match? Breezango? The six woman tag? Jinder Mahal? They’re fine for a big Smackdown but it doesn’t quite work that well on a pay per view. The show was good enough but nothing I’ll remember in a day or two.

Results

Jinder Mahal b. AJ Styles – Kalas

Breezango b. Colons – Falcon Arrow to Primo

Carmella b. Naomi – Rollup

Randy Orton b. Baron Corbin – RKO

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