By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Night two of the Superstar Shakeup is in full swing. With The Miz, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, and Alexa Bliss moving to Raw, did SD Live make the right deals to soften the blow or did they drop the ball on the 1-yard line? The answer to that pressing question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.
· Kevin Owens is now on SD Live. Most importantly, he shaved his beard!!!
· As expected, Sami Zayn has been traded to SD Live as well. This is long overdue, but the never ending saga of Owens vs. Zayn continues because both men share the same real estate once again. Despite that small quibble, Zayn will inject some much-need life in the upper mid-card scene.
· Baron Corbin came out to warn Owens that he couldn’t take him in a fight after KO claimed that he could beat every superstar in the back in order to maintain his status as the new Face of America.
· AJ Styles came out and reminded everyone whose house it was as the fans showered him with love.
· Daniel Bryan came out and announced that the United States Championship won’t be defended on the blue brand until Owen faces Chris Jericho for the title at Payback in three weeks with the winner becoming an official member of the SD Live roster.
· To ensure that the next number one contender was already in line, Bryan booked Zayn, Corbin, and Styles in a Triple Threat Match set for later tonight as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a hot way to start the show. Owens and Zayn making the switch was expected and it’s nice to see Corbin acknowledge that he was owed a title shot after defeating Dean Ambrose in a street fight last week. Styles staked his claim as the top guy on SD Live which pushed the segment over the top.
· I am still crossing my fingers that Styles doesn’t get traded to Raw in some kind of last-minute deal. Until the show goes off the air, everything is fair game.
· Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan ended via disqualification when Rowan rammed Orton’s head with the steel steps thanks to a distraction from Bray Wyatt.
· Wyatt taunted Orton on the Titantron which led to the DQ finish. The match was decent while it lasted, but it was pretty nondescript for the most part. It appears that Rowan will be Wyatt’s long-distance henchman for the foreseeable future.
· The Usos defeated American Alpha to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship when Jey Uso pinned Chad Gable with the Superfly Splash for the win.
· Once again, The Usos and American Alpha had a very good match that featured high-octane action from start to finish.
· Gable took a quick trip to Suplex City when he delivered a series of German and Exploder Suplexes to Jimmy and Jey Uso. Gable followed things up with a picture perfect moonsault for a near fall.
· AA almost regained the Tag Team Titles when Gable dropped Jimmy with a bulldog from the top rope only for Jey to break up the pin.
· Jimmy went up top and landed the Superfly Splash only for Gable to roll him up with an inside cradle for another near fall.
· The highlight of the match came when Gable and Jordan caught The Usos in midflight and delivered a pair of Belly-to-Belly Suplexes on the floor. It was a great spot that popped the crowd.
· Ultimately, The Usos outsmarted Gable when Jey made the blind tag while Gable had Jimmy rolled up for the pin. Jimmy nailed Gable with a Superkick which allowed Jey to hit the Superfly Splash for the win.
· After the match was over, Epico and Primo attacked Gable and Jordan as they made an impactful debut on SD Live. Let’s hope they left their Shining Stars gimmick on Raw because they have what it takes to be a good tag team without a shitty gimmick weighing them down.
· Mojo Rawley greeted Jinder Mahal with a loss when he nailed Mahal with a wicked running forearm for the win. Since SD Live was in Boston, Rob Gronkowski made an obligatory cameo appearance as he threw his drink in Mahal’s face to pay him back for what happened at WrestleMania last Sunday.
· Rawley showed off his amazing agility when he leaped over the barricade with the greatest of ease to celebrate with Gronk and his fellow hype brothers. That was the highlight of the segment which is faint praise, but praise nonetheless.
· Shane McMahon trolled the crowd when he teased that a second-generation star was joining the Women’s Division on SD Live. Everyone assumed that it was Charlotte, but it Tamina Snuka made her way down to the ring instead. To say that the fan reaction was tepid would be an understatement.
· Shane eventually delivered the goods when he announced Charlotte as the new cornerstone of the Women’s Division. The Queen’s quest to become a five-time Champion is well within reach. With plenty of solid workers to carry the division, the women will continue to be a strong asset for Team Blue.
· Sin Cara and Rusev have also made the switch to SD Live. The blue brand is the perfect landing spot for Rusev. It will give him a fresh start and new opponents to work with. I still think he has untapped potential as a babyface because he has such a funny personality. However, being a badass monster is not a bad backup plan either.
· Tye Dillinger defeated Aiden English with the Tye Breaker in a decent match. English has tapped into his old Broadway Singer persona from NXT. We shall see if it gains traction over the next few weeks.
· Lana is joining Rusev on SD Live as well. And it appears that she will be a member of the Women’s Division. Good for her!
· Dolph Ziggler learned that you never cross the King of Strong Style as Shinsuke Nakamura knocked Ziggler on his ass after Ziggler tried to blindside Nakamura with a Superkick.
· It appears that Nakamura’s first feud will be with Ziggler. Ziggler is a very good wrestler who sucks as a heel. However, Nakamura’s in-ring prowess and charisma will balance things out. This was a nice way to get Nakamura on the show while putting some meaningful heat on Ziggler for a change.
· The New Day is coming to SD Live as well. Here’s hoping that Big E. and Xavier Woods get some downtime while Kofi Kingston recovers from his ankle injury.
· AJ Styles nailed Sami Zayn with the Phenomenal Forearm to become the number one contender for the United States Championship. The triple threat match featuring AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, and Baron Corbin was very good, but the crowd was a little lukewarm when Corbin was on offense early on.
· The fans eventually warmed up to the match as the action became more fast-paced. Zayn dropped Styles with a beautiful Blue Thunder Bomb for a near fall.
· There was a tower of doom spot that went a little haywire, but Styles cleaned things up by hitting the 450 Splash on Corbin for another near fall.
· The finishing sequence was great as all three men traded big boots and kicks that popped the crowd. Zayn nailed Corbin with a Helluva Kick, but he made the costly error of celebrating too soon which allowed Styles to drill him the Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
· Styles will face Kevin Owens or Chris Jericho for the US Title after the Payback PPV. Since Jericho is going on tour with Fozzy next month, one can presume that a Styles-Owens feud is upon us. Styles and KO are world class wrestlers who can tear down the house on any given night. It’s a storyline that writes itself if the creative team doesn’t get too cute.
· After waiting with bated breath for an entire week, Styles is still the Face That Runs the Place on Tuesday nights. I owe the Wrestling Gods a solid for keeping Styles on the blue brand. Let’s hope it stays that way. Fingers crossed!
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was solid. SD Live replenished the cupboard by adding Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Charlotte to the main roster. These key acquisitions will help the blue brand thrive during the spring and summer months.
· Epico and Primo are a talented tag team, but they’ve been saddled with one lame gimmick after another in recent years. Hopefully, the Powers That Be will let them be themselves because their in-ring work has never been a problem. Let’s hope a change of scenery does just that.
· Rusev is another wrestler who should not be overlooked once he recovers from his shoulder injury. The Bulgarian Brute is solid in the ring and his personality pops off the screen. If he is booked properly, we might have a marquee star in the making.
· SD Live survived the Superstar Shakeup as they added some necessary pieces to the puzzle to replace the stars they lost to Raw last night. Plus, the in-ring action was solid as the Tag Team Championship and Triple Threat matches stole the show from a wrestling standpoint.
· SD Live has managed to make the most out of their small roster. The allocation of airtime for the main divisions need to be sorted out, but I think the blue brand is on solid ground heading into Post-WrestleMania season.
· Quick Side Note: Let’s hope the creative team doesn’t forget that Owens is owed a WWE Championship opportunity since the switch from Raw prevents him from challenging for the Universal Title. That is a loophole that shouldn’t be ignored.
· Double Side Note: The end is in sight as Randy Orton faces Bray Wyatt in a House of Horrors match at Payback for the WWE Championship in three weeks. The shark can finally get some rest because (s)he has been jumped over and pissed on far too much in recent months. It’s time for our aquatic friend to get a much-needed break.
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!