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Smackdown – May 23, 2017

Smackdown
Date: May 23, 2017
Location: Huntington Center, Toledo, Ohio
Commentators: Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton

Somehow we’re living in Jinder Mahal’s WWE, which could mean several things. First of all, we’re in for a Punjabi celebration tonight, which could mean a good number of possibilities. On top of that Mahal needs a challenger, who is likely to be Randy Orton in a rematch. We’re also about a month away from Money in the Bank so it could be time to set up the ladder match. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the end of Backlash with Mahal winning the title.

Mahal and the Singh Brothers arrive with a police escort and the champ having a rug laid out for him. So…..yeah he really is the new JBL, complete with his own Bashams.

Here’s Shane McMahon to open things up. He’s impressed that Mahal won the title but we need to move forward. First of all, Randy Orton is cashing in his rematch contract at Money in the Bank in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. On that same show we’ll be having the Money in the Bank ladder match and it’s already time to announce the five (SWEET) competitors: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler and…..someone other than Kevin Owens, who comes out here despite Shane saying he’s not in the match.

The actual fifth entrant is Shinsuke Nakamura but Owens isn’t cool with being left out because he beat Styles at Backlash and AJ is in the field. Maybe he’s not in there because Shane is jealous of Owens beating AJ when Shane couldn’t do it. Shane actually agrees and makes Owens the sixth entrant. Corbin tells Owens to stop talking and promises to win. AJ says his catchphrase because this house isn’t being blown down by a lone wolf. He calls Owens WWE’s Eric Cartman and says he doesn’t care who he has to beat.

Sami can’t say much as Corbin cuts him off and calls him the Rudy of Smackdown Live. That sounds like Corbin wants a rematch but Owens and Ziggler get in an argument before anything can happen. Dolph promises to win again but Nakamura introduces himself as Mr. Money in the Bank. Shane makes AJ/Nakamura vs. Owens/Ziggler and Zayn vs. Corbin for tonight.

Natalya/Carmella vs. Becky Lynch/Charlotte

Carmella headlocks Becky to start but a dropkick sends Carmella outside for a break. Back with Charlotte coming in off the hot tag and cleaning house, only to get dropped by some double teaming. Naomi dives onto Tamina and it’s back to Becky for a quick Disarm-Her and the tap at 7:40.

Rating: D+. Some might call this fine, but I’d like to think I can come up with something a little better than that. If nothing else it seems like a waste of time as they might as well have just done this on Sunday if they’re going to beat the Welcoming Committee this easily. The stable (if you can call it that) continues to be nothing more than a way to fill in time and the alliance of heroes is pretty clearly only there for the sake of waiting around until they all fight each other.

Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin

Neither gets an entrance…..and Sami rolls him up for the pin at 21 seconds. They were on a roll for the first half and it was looking like it had serious potential but that next six seconds just fell apart. At least they fixed it in the end.

Corbin beats the heck out of him after the match, including crushing his head against the top of the barricade with a series of elbows. Sami does a stretcher job.

AJ thanks Nakamura for what he taught him in Japan but now they’re both going after the same thing. At Money in the Bank, Nakamura is going to turn AJ’s house into his playground.

It’s time for the final Fashion Files, which takes place in Shane’s office (including a wanted poster, accusing the Mean Street Posse of gang activity). Breeze brings in his stuff and thinks they’re fired. They even turn in their (squirt) guns and a bunch of cleaning supplies. Shane: “You do know that you’re not real cops right?” Fandango: “That’s what my dad tells me.” Breeze takes his pants off but Shane says they’re having singles matches against the Usos tonight. They’re back on the case and Fandango takes a doughnut.

Here’s the Punjabi celebration, complete with a band and dancers. Mahal says 1.3 billion people are celebrating the new champion and the Americans hate him because he’s different. He’s proven everyone wrong and showed that India is on the rise while America is in decline. We hear some Punjabi and fireworks go off with no one interfering to wrap it up.

Lana is still coming.

Jey Uso vs. Tyler Breeze

Tyler still has his bag of stuff…..and rolls Jey up for the pin at 23 seconds after spraying him with the squirt gun. So he shot on Jey?

Jimmy Uso vs. Fandango

Breeze puts on a wig and gets Jey to chase him into the ring, allowing Fandango to roll Jimmy up for the pin at 44 seconds.

Fandango: “You Usos look like you just got caught wearing white after Labor Day.” Breeze wants a rematch for the titles, which is actually on right now.

Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Breezango

The Usos are defending and we’re joined in progress with Fandango coming in off the hot tag. A tornado DDT/dropkick combination gets two on Jey but it’s quadruple superkicks to set up the Superfly Splash, only to hit Fandango’s knees. Jey gets small packaged for two and the Last Dance crushes Jimmy, only to have Jey hit the Superfly splash for the pin to retain at 2:48 shown. So to recap, the champs lose on joke finishes and then the popular act loses a short match after losing their big title shot two days ago. Yeah I’m sure this kind of booking has nothing to do with the ratings being so bad. Clearly just the NBA.

Natalya comes in to Shane’s office and demands a title shot. The rest of the Welcoming Committee, Becky and Charlotte come in with the same demands. A big argument breaks out (because that’s what women do, at least in WWE’s eyes) so Shane makes a fatal five way #1 contenders match for next week.

Kevin Owens/Dolph Ziggler vs. AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura

That argument cost us AJ/Nakamura’s entrances. AJ shoves Ziggler around to start before it’s off to Nakamura vs. Owens, which the fans certainly seem to enjoy. Some early strikes put Owens on the floor but the threat of a Kinshasa sends him bailing to the floor. Back from an early break with Ziggler raking Nakamura’s eyes across the top rope before grabbing a headscissors to keep him on the mat.

We hit the chinlock (required in an Owens match) for a long bit until Nakamura fights up, only to be taken back down until we take a second break. Back again with Nakamura getting over for the hot tag to AJ, who immediately brings the strikes. A good series of them sends Owens to the floor but he drops AJ again and we’re back to the chinlock.

AJ fights up again and kicks his way to freedom, allowing the hot tag off to Nakamura. House is cleaned again with a series of kicks but Ziggler grabs a Fameasser for two. Everything breaks down and Ziggler saves Owens from the Styles Clash, only to eat a running knee from Nakamura. The Kinshasa ends Owens at 24:33.

Rating: B. Insert your own complaint about the champ taking a fall when Ziggler is right there. This felt like a bit match and a lot of that is due to having an actual dream team for the face side. I can live with this kind of a match instead of the normal ten minute trading wins between the ladder match participants. It’s always nice to have the main event feel important and that’s what this did.

Overall Rating: C-. The main event was good but I don’t think it’s enough to make up for the rapid fire matches we had in the middle of the show. Was there really a need for three matches in a row to have a rollup finish in less than a minute? Is that really the best possible option? They kept Mahal short, which is probably best for everyone involved. He’s not the worst idea in the world but we’re certainly at the point where the less of him we see, the better. We’re firmly on the way to Money in the Bank though and that can make for some dull shows, which hopefully isn’t the case this year.

Results

Becky Lynch/Charlotte b. Carmella/Natalya – Disarm-Her to Carmella

Sami Zayn b. Baron Corbin – Rollup

Tyler Breeze b. Jey Uso – Rollup

Fandango b. Jimmy Uso – Rollup

Usos b. Breezango – Superfly splash to Fandango

AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura b. Kevin Owens/Dolph Ziggler – Kinshasa to Owens

 

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