WWE SmackDown Live 05/02/17 features the debut of Chris Jericho on the blue brand – and apparently Kevin Owens getting a rematch for the U.S. Title. Standard logic says that Owens wins the belt back, but this IS WWE we’re talking about. Also, on deck for tonight is Shinsuke Nakamura not wrestling, Charlotte and Naomi teaming up to face Natalya and Carmella, and Mahal potentially getting a face pop for saving us from the House of Horrors. Should be a wild show from Fresno tonight!
WWE SmackDown Live 05/02/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. “Earlier today”, Jinder Mahal is engaging in a photo shoot while holding the WWE Championship. Shane McMahon appears and tells Mahal that “around here titles are earned”. Mahal is left with no choice but to hand over the WWE Championship to Shane. The SmackDown Live GM tells Mahal that he has to face Sami Zayn in a match tonight. Mahal sneers and Shane leaves with the belt.
Updated “post-Shake-Up” SmackDown credits, no pyro, and we’re live in Fresno, California. Shane McMahon’s theme hits and he’s out first. Shane hits the ring to announce the newest member of SmackDown Live, Chris Jericho. Y2J (w/ new List of Jericho Titantron) is out to a big Y2J chant. Jericho gives the crowd they want, what they need – the new Show of Jericho, smack it down, maaaaaan. Shane says he’s thrilled to have Jericho on Team Blue, however, Jericho has to defend the U.S. Title tonight against Kevin Owens.
AJ Styles’ music hits and he’s out. AJ cuts a promo on Jericho that references their feud and clues Jericho in that SmackDown is now the “House that AJ Styles Built”. AJ references the Y2AJ t-shirt and says nothing would please him more than to take the U.S. title from Jericho at Backlash – if he lasts that long as champ. Jericho fires back by saying at Payback he “made KO TO, he was tappin’ out, maaaan!” and claims to be the new Face of America. Jericho goes to put AJ on the List of Jericho when KO’s music hits.
Owens is out and says it’s pathetic that Jericho, Shane, and AJ are in the ring arguing about things that don’t matter. The crowd chants “you tapped out” at Owens, but he shoots it down by saying that doesn’t matter either. Owens says tonight will be worse than the Festival of Friendship and WrestleMania for Jericho. Owens turns his attention to AJ and tells Styles to get out of his ring. AJ heads down the aisle and jumps Owens. Refs attempt to pull them apart, but Shane ends up having to get in between them.
Later tonight? Naomi & Charlotte Flair team up to take on Natalya & Carmella.
Meanwhile, Jinder Mahal and S & S Security are backstage… walking!
Back from break, we see footage of the pull apart between AJ and Owens. We learn that Shane has banned AJ from ringside during tonight’s main event.
Next, Sami Zayn (w/ footage of the beating he received from Corbin on last week’s Talking Smack) is out. We’re reminded that Corbin has been fined and was suspended for this week’s show.
Mahal (w/ S & S Security – seriously, they’re Mahal’s “J & J Security”) is out next. We’re shown some stills of the “House of Horrors” match from Payback to help explain why Jinder Mahal is a thing that is happening right now.
Match #1: Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ the Singh Brothers)
Sami ends up bleeding from the mouth and essentially serves as Jinder’s tackling dummy in this match. Sami builds up a mild comeback by hitting a half-hearted tornado DDT and attempting a Helluva Kick. But, that damn “numbers game”. The Singh Bros. run interference on the outside and this allows Mahal to walk up behind Zayn and hit him with the Cobra Clutch Slam to pick up the victory.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – It was clear that Jinder was going to be fed some easy squash wins heading into Backlash. However, I wish someone other than Zayn had to take the loss.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch is backstage… walking. She happens upon the Welcoming Committee and includes Ellsworth when she calls them “ladies”. Instead of fighting, Nattie and Carmella attempt to sell Becky on the idea of joining them. Natalya plants the idea in Becky’s head that she should be getting title shots – not Charlotte. Becky hears them out and says that she’ll consider their offer. Don’t do it, Becky! This will just give you three more women that can turn on you!
Next, we see Tye Dillinger. He’s backstage. He’s… walking.
Back from break, shocker – we get a Nakamura hype video instead of having him work a match or even physically see him. I guess I sort of understand why they’re introducing him to the main roster this way. But, I definitely prefer how they brought him into NXT over this stuff.
Meanwhile, Ziggler is backstage holding court with (what I assume are) some local indie wrestlers – including a woman who is barefoot. Dolph’s promo buries Shane and Daniel Bryan and Shane is standing behind him while this is going on. Shane puts over Nakamura and Ziggler sarcastically says he was really “impressed” with Nakamura’s entrance. Ziggler tells Shane that you impress people around here by doing what he’s going to do to Sin Cara in their match tonight. I suppose with his tough guy backstage rep, doing something to Sin Cara would be a way to impress people.
Out in the arena, Aiden English has entered and is in full-on Artiste mode singing in a spotlight. I wasn’t a huge fan of the gimmick during its initial run, but this does give me a bit of nostalgia for the golden era of NXT, so it is nice to see this character again. He’s eventually interrupted by Tye Dillinger.
Match #2: Aiden English vs. Tye Dillinger
Absolute squash match to get Dillinger over. He busts out a new version of the Tye Breaker where he spins English a bit before hitting it. By the numbers babyface squash match, but still effective and Tye is still super over.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Hey, at least they’re letting Dillinger wrestle matches – squashes or not. Also, I like where this Aiden English stuff may be headed.
Post-match, English starts throwing a tantrum in the ring and starts crying. Is he legit sad or is he just acting? He IS the Drama King, after all.
Later tonight? Two guys from Canada fight over the United States Championship.
Back from break, Chris Jericho is backstage… walking. He happens upon Renee Young (who he calls Ronnie) and starts to cut a promo on Owens. Aiden English walks by and he’s visibly upset and crying. Jericho tries to puff him up by complimenting his looks, his singing ability, and his hairy chest. But, well, you know what happens when someone cries on Jericho’s new show? You know what happens when tears are pouring out of your face? Jericho raises his pen and Aiden English pleads for Jericho not to do it – all by facial expressions (acting!). But, alas, Jericho must add Aiden English to the List of Jericho. English resumes crying and Jericho adds “Ronnie” to the List for no reason whatsoever.
Next, we see footage from last week’s Women’s Championship match that ended with the Welcoming Committee crashing the match and attacking Charlotte and Naomi.
Meanwhile, Dasha is backstage with Charlotte. Flair claims that the Welcoming Committee just delayed the inevitable and she will take the SmackDown Women’s Championship. The Committee shows up and a three on one beat down happens. Charlotte gets tossed into some road cases and the Committee “welcome” her to SmackDown Live – even though she’s been there a few weeks now. I guess this makes Charlotte “questionable” for the tag match.
Naomi enters for that match as we head to break.
Back from break, Naomi is alone in the ring. Natalya’s music hits and the Committee follows her out.
Match #3: Naomi & Charlotte Flair (w/ “injury”) vs. Natalya & Carmella (w/ Tamina & James Ellsworth)
Naomi begins by fighting a handicap match. Eventually, Naomi and Nattie ram into one another with a double cross body and Charlotte’s music hits. Charlotte heads to the ring while selling her ribs and gets a hot tag from Naomi. Charlotte ends up going in peril, but manages to hit a hot tag to Naomi. Nattie is able to distract the ref to prevent a three count after Naomi hits Carmella with a Rear View. From there, Ellsworth provides a second distraction that allows Carmella to roll up Naomi and get the cheap win.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Maybe it took seeing the entire Raw women’s division live last night to realize this… but I think I prefer the Raw Women’s Division to SmackDown’s now. Just about the only thing that could keep my attention here would be a Becky Lynch heel turn in the post-match segment.
Post-match, a brawl breaks out and Charlotte and Naomi start getting stomped. Becky’s music hits and she gradually makes her way to the ring. She looks at Charlotte and Naomi’s crumpled bodies – and then shakes Tamina’s hand, Carmella’s hand, and Nattie’s hand. Becky hugs Nattie, but can’t bring herself to shake Ellsworth’s hand. It was all a ruse! Becky tosses Ellsworth into the other three women and ends up getting beat down. So close to something interesting happening in this division… so close. That, and I’d have loved for Becky to “join ’em – THEN SCREW ‘EM” by burning Nattie’s house down with zero consequences. Oh well.
Later tonight? KO vs. Y2J.
Back from break, the question remains – which happens first: Will New Day debut on SmackDown or will they let Nakamura wrestle a match?
Next, we see Sin Cara (w/ no entrance) sporting a blue, airbrushed body suit. Not so sure about that one. Ziggler is out next.
Match #4: Dolph Ziggler vs. Sin Cara
This happens. Dolph wins. Do not care.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Remember when Sin Cara “signed up” for the Cruiserweight Division?
Up next? Main event time!
Back from break, Lana will dance for you one time, disappear for three weeks, and then return as Rusev’s valet. Just you wait. I know my #Emmalina history.
Noam Dar tells us to watch 205 Live tonight so we can see him get revenge on Rich Swann for breaking up his relationship with Alicia Fox. Just when I thought that program was over…
And now, the main reason to watch this week’s show. The Fashion Files. Yes. It is a cop show starring Breezango. It has a Law & Order opening credits sequence. It is amazing. There are far too many details to go into in this recap, but the bulletin board behind Breezango is loaded with amazing Easter Eggs. This was so good. Seriously. Watch the clip in the YouTube embed below. If you liked Total Bellas Bulls**t and/or Southpaw Regional Wrestling – you will love this.
Essentially the gist here storyline wise is that Breezango are set to take the titles from The Usos at Backlash. Also, I’m spitballing here, but I think that Mojo Rawley will appear on The Fashion Files: SVU – because his style of dress is especially heinous. More of this stuff, WWE. PLEASE!!!
Meanwhile, Jericho (w/ light up scarf) is out for his title defense. Owens is out last because even WWE doesn’t respect Jericho’s two-day title reign.
Back from break, we get the Popeye’s Chicken recap which shows Jericho winning the title at Payback. The audio during this terrible and it sounds like it was remixed by Aphex Twin.
Match #5: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Kevin Owens (U.S. Championship Match)
This was good. Probably not as good as the triple threat I saw on Raw last night – but still pretty good. Jericho attacks the hand he injured at Payback, but KO is able to fight through multiple Walls of Jericho predicaments without tapping out. The action eventually spills out of the ring and KO gives Y2J a stiff DDT onto the floor. Owens follows that up with a superkick, but only gets two. Owens pulls Jericho up by the face, but Chris gets in one final desperation roll-up for 2. From there, Owens stomps Jericho in the head, hits the pop-up powerbomb, and regains the U.S. title.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – At least Jericho didn’t take the title on tour with him. I think I enjoyed the WrestleMania and Payback matches a bit more, but this was good for a free TV main event. I still feel like WWE pulled the trigger on this two-day title reign just to swerve the IWC. I see no other reason to do this.
Post-match, EMTs flood the ring to check on Jericho – who is now holding his neck. Owens looks somber, but runs back in and gives Jericho a second powerbomb. Refs flood the ring to protect Jericho and Owens leaves with the title. EMTs and refs start to help Jericho to the back and Owens is NOT FINISHED WITH HIM. KO rushes Jericho at ring side and gets a folding chair. KO opens it, sticks Jericho’s head in the opening, and rams him head first into the post.
We go off the air with KO walking to the back and Jericho writhing in pain on the ground. I can’t wait until Chris Jericho’s triumphant return later this year at the Good Golly Miss Molly PPV.