Just like last night’s Raw, WWE SmackDown Live 05/09/17 is also taped from the UK. Much like the red brand’s show, I’m going into this with very low expectations and have avoided the spoilers. With Backlash just a few weeks away, I expect the feuds surrounding the announced matches will ramp up. Also, with tonight being a taped show I imagine we may go back to the “SmackDown tag main event” that used to be a staple before SmackDown went live. Maybe Mahal and Owens vs. Orton and Styles or something along those lines. Let’s get to the recap.
WWE SmackDown Live 05/09/17 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. We open with a video package explaining why Jinder Mahal is a thing in 2017 WWE.
Standard SmackDown credits, pyro, and we’re taped from London.
Orton’s music hits and he heads to the ring. He cuts a promo claiming he didn’t lose the House of Horrors match because of Bray Wyatt (or the fridge – he acknowledged the fridge!) – it was Mahal’s fault. Cue Jinder and S & S Security. Jinder shows us the pre-emptive photo shoot he did with the title and claims he’ll be winning the title for his people at Backlash. He threatens to cut a promo in Punjabi, but that’s too exotic for WWE and Kevin Owens interrupts.
KO heads out and says we need to stop this crap now. No one cares about the House of Horrors, India, or England (cheap local heat!) – nope, the only thing that people should care about is Kevin Owens – The New Face of America. Owens claims he didn’t just regain the title, he ended Jericho’s career. That means no more Y2J, no more “stupid idiot”, no more “drinking it in”, even no more “List of Jericho”. Because of Owens, Jericho couldn’t “even last 2 hours on SmackDown Live”. Owens vows to vanquish Styles at Payback and puts both Orton and Mahal on notice – saying his next move will be winning the WWE Championship and becoming the “Face of WWE”. Owens re-cuts the final part of his promo in French (because he can) and apparently French is okay, but Punjabi is not.
AJ’s music hits and this is beginning to feel a lot like we’re getting a tag team main event. AJ gets a huge reaction and cuts a promo on Owens – reminding him that this is the “House that AJ Styles Built”. Styles tells Owens to enjoy being the “Face of America” while he can, because he’ll never be the “Face of SmackDown Live”.
Corbin’s music hits, but before he can really say anything he’s jumped from behind by Sami Zayn. The expected brawl breaks out – complete with the Singh Bros. saving Mahal from getting hit with “Vintage Orton”. Looks like we’re getting a six-man main event.
Later tonight? Ziggler “has a message” for Shinsuke Nakamura. This is not a repeat.
Up next? Becky Lynch vs. “Welcoming Committee” leader, Natalya.
Back from break, without having seen him, we learn that Shane McMahon has made the expected six-man main event.
Meanwhile, Ellsworth is in the ring and is cutting a promo on the local crowd. Carmella takes the mic, calls herself an American Princess, and introduces Natalya. Tamina, nearly always mute, stands there looking mean – which is something she excels at. Natalya is out next.
Naomi’s music hits, and she’s out to introduce Becky Lynch. Man, this is getting silly. Becky is out and she and Naomi head to the ring. Charlotte’s music hits next and SHE’S out. Charlotte says she doesn’t need anyone to introduce her, so she introduces herself and we go to break.
Back from break, the bell rings.
Match #1: Becky Lynch (w/ Charlotte Flair & Naomi) vs. Natalya (w/ Welcoming Committee)
I wanted to like this, but I’m kind of annoyed that the entire division has gotten wrapped up in this “Charlotte vs. Welcoming Committee” feud. Sure enough, this match exists to set up a six-woman match for Backlash (confirmed later in the show). Naomi gets stripped of the title when she was legit injured, but still back in time for Mania – but this time she’ll probably go thirty days without a defense and it’ll be just fine. Sometimes it is hard to be a wrestling fan and also be a fan of logical writing. Anyway, this match exists and Becky vs. Natalya is always fun, but the finish is fodder for the six-woman match at Backlash and thus isn’t super interesting. Becky is up on the ropes, gets distracted by the brawl on the outside, Natalya pulls Becky down and pins her.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Not being a fan of the “Welcoming Committee” angle makes it hard for me to care more about the SmackDown Live women’s division than the Raw women’s division right now. Setting up a six-woman match for the PPV instead of a title match doesn’t help things.
Later tonight? More talking from Ziggler. Yay.
Up next? A special London edition of the Fashion Files (aka – the best thing going in WWE right now).
Back from break, Lana will dance for you… soon… maybe.
Meanwhile, we see Charlotte and Naomi backstage bickering over why Becky lost the match. Naomi threatens to “snatch Charlotte bald” and Charlotte asks Naomi if she’s going to “glow on” her. Becky is the voice of reason and she says this is exactly what the Committee wants – them to be a house divided. Becky asks for a six-woman match at Backlash and asks if Naomi is in – she is. Becky asks Charlotte, who appears to be sarcastically interested. Becky gets them to the “Shield all hands in” pose. Man, one of them (likely Charlotte) will turn on Becky… I just know it.
Okay, time for Fashion Files: Special London Unit. Sadly, they don’t use the word “heinous” in the intro, but I’ll give it a pass. So, this week’s episode involves Breeze dressed up like a bobby and Fandango dressed up like Sherlock Holmes. They see spilled paint on the ground – Fandango tastes it and determines it is lead-based paint by the taste. Breeze believes that only the Uggos (Usos) would be crazy enough to use that. They approach a room with a keypad lock on the door and hearing yelling and grunting behind it. After a failed attempt to kick it in, they realize it’s unlocked. Inside? The Ascension, with chains, just screaming. Breezango shut the door and Breeze exclaims that he’s “too old for this shirt”. There are bunch of other references in there that once again that made me smile. This is great television. Watch the segment in the video below:
Meanwhile, back in the arena OMG THEY LET LUKE HARPER OUT OF THE COMBO LOCKED ROOM THEY’VE BEEN KEEPING HIM IN!
Back from break, Erick Rowan is out to face Luke Harper.
Match #2: Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
Sigh. So, Rowan goes over here after an eye-gouge and a new spinning slam finisher. WWE is dropping the ball so hard with Harper it’s ridiculous. He’s sparsely used on TV, despite being one of the more over guys on the SD Live roster. You throw us Harper-ites a bone this week by finally having him on TV again and then job him out to Erick Rowan – the perpetual “we have no idea what to do with this guy beyond throwing a sheep mask on him and using him exclusively to protect Bray Wyatt from losing even MORE often”. Sigh. Just disappointing to say the least. If this pointed to them doing something new with Rowan that’d be one thing, but it’s not.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Best case scenario right now is this leads to a Harper vs. Rowan Kickoff Show match at Backlash that doesn’t really need to happen.
Later tonight? Six-man tag.
Meanwhile, Dolph Ziggler is… walking. Soon, Dolph Ziggler will be… talking.
Back from break, Ziggler comes out and cuts the same promo he’s been cutting since turning heel. No one appreciates him and Shinsuke Nakamura is just some dude with an entrance. Nakamura eventually comes out, full entrance, and faces off with Ziggler and tells him to “shut up”. Nakamura says he will show Ziggler what he’s made of, right now, and produces a ref. But, nah, Dolph is the Braun Strowman of inaction and he’s not finished wasting our time yet. He will fight Nakamura on his terms (aka – at Payback). Sigh. This feud is easily the most boring thing on WWE TV right now.
Meanwhile, Sami Zayn has downed all of the 5-Hour Energy (all of it in the entire UK) and is attempting to hype up Orton and Styles in the locker room. It goes about how you’d expect. At one point, Sami closes his eyes to visualize their victory and when he opens them up again, he’s alone. Sami admits that’s on him because he got a little too intense. Poor Sami.
Back from break, this “New Day is coming soon” arcade game styled promo airs.
Meanwhile, already in the ring? The Ascension. Breezango are out next. Wow, Fashion Files AND a match this week? We’re blessed.
Match #3: Breezango vs. The Ascension
JBL is insufferable on commentary during this. He slags off Breezango for their outfits when he’s a guy that used to paint runes on his chest. Glass houses, bro. Anyway, this is a short affair to put Breezango over ahead of Backlash. Fandango ends up getting the win with a leg drop off the ropes.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Your standard “put the challengers over strong ahead of the PPV” match, but Breezango are the best thing going on the show right now, so this gets a bump up from “Middle”.
Post-match, the Usos are out to get weird. They say “12 days” a billion times and remind Breezango that it’s not paranoia creeping up behind them, it’s the Usos.
Later tonight? Six men. One match.
Back from break, Brian Kendrick cuts a promo on Tozawa ahead of tonight’s 205 Live. School is back in session!
Meanwhile, Mojo Rawley is backstage giving some kids a tour. He tells them a story about Andre the Giant and then shows the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy. One of the kids kicks Mojo in the shins in what has to be one of the greatest moments of WWE TV.
After that, Rusev is showing cutting a promo into his phone, complaining that he hasn’t heard anything from Shane McMahon about wanting a title shot. He’s going to show up at next week’s show to get an answer out of Shane in person.
Back in the arena, heel entrances: Mahal (w/ Singhs), Owens, and Corbin. Break time.
Back from break, Zayn, AJ, and Orton enter.
Match #4: Randy Orton, AJ Styles, & Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal (w/ the Singh Bros.), Kevin Owens (w/ U.S. Championship), and Baron Corbin (w/ banter)
Easily the best match on this show, but it’s nothing spectacular. Standard “faces go in peril” fare with a hot tag happening after the commercial break. About what you’d expect two weeks out from a PPV on a show that WWE knows will be spoiled hours before it airs due to the tape delay. We get a hot finish sequence with everyone hitting signature moves, which ends with Mahal getting one over on Orton by way of a Cobra Clutch Slam. Eh, whatever.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Average and about what I expected from WWE tonight. I’m not saying they phoned this in, but it wasn’t too shocking either. You knew Mahal would get the visual pin over Orton at some point before Backlash and it made sense to do it here.
We go off the air on Mahal and the Singhs posing on the ramp, while Orton recovers in the ring.