Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The SmackDown Files: The Homecoming From Hell - An AJ Styles Story (5-30-2017)

By: Keila Cash

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Traditionally, my hometown has not been the best when it comes to crowd head. They’ve improved over the past couple years, but it’s still a struggle to keep them awake during the show. Did my ATLiens represent The A like a boss or did they let me down once again? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.

·        SD Live got off to a fine start with another edition of Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel. Shinsuke Nakamura was Owens’ guest and he mocked Nakamura’s rock star persona and vowed to put him in early retirement like Chris Jericho when he steps over him to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

·        Baron Corbin interrupted the proceedings and showed a recap of his beat down on Sami Zayn from last week. Owens had a great line about Corbin beating up Zayn for two minutes while he’s been doing it for fifteen years. KO was offended that Corbin crashed his show and told him to get the hell out of his ring.

·        Nakamura reminded both men that they lost their respective matches last week and they responded with a 2-on-1 attack until Zayn made the save. Shane McMahon booked Zayn and Nakamura vs. Owens and Corbin which took place after the commercial break.

·        Owens was entertaining on the mic as always. Corbin was decent, but Nakamura struggled a bit which caused a tepid “What?” chant to break out. Fortunately, the fans were able to comprehend the gist of his promo before things went off the rails. All in all, this was a better installment of the Highlight Reel than the one that took place a couple of weeks ago.

·        Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin when Nakamura nailed Owens with the Kinshasa for the win. The match was solid for the most part, but it was the bickering between Owens and Corbin that led to their undoing down the stretch.

·        Zayn threw Owens into Corbin which caused both men to have a shouting match. There was a bit of shoving before Corbin clocked Owens with a punch. The kerfuffle allowed Zayn to clothesline Corbin out of the ring which set up the finish.

·        The New Day announced that they would be facing The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at the MITB PPV in a few weeks. The back and forth promo exchange between both teams was entertaining which gives the Tag Team Division some much-needed energy. Their feud and subsequent matches should be fun to watch if everything is booked properly.

·        The film noir edition of The Fashion Files was great. Fandango and Tyler Breeze…How I Love Thee.

·        The Fatal 5-Way Elimination match featuring Charlotte, Carmella, Tamina, Natalya, and Becky Lynch never got underway because all hell broke loose before the referee rang the bell.

·        The action was good as Becky Lynch laid out Carmella with a clothesline which sent her over the timekeeper’s area. Charlotte delivered a moonsault from the top rope onto Tamina and Natalya at ringside. Lynch dropped Carmella with an Exploder Suplex on the floor before Tamina nailed her with a Superkick. Charlotte responded with a big boot of her own before Natalya nailed her with a clothesline.

·        Natalya was about to put Charlotte through a table, but Charlotte slammed her against the steel steps before Powerbombing her the through the announce table moments later.

·        Shane McMahon came out and announced the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

·        The rumor of such a match taking place has been circulating for a few weeks. The Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match threw everyone for a loop, but it was a nice way to set up the MITB Ladder Match. This is another huge step for the women to show up and show out on the big stage. Let’s hope they seize the day and make the best of this opportunity.

·        Breezango defeated The Colons when Tyler Breeze pinned Primo with the Unprettier. The comedic stylings of Breezango were on full display once again. Breeze dressed like a woman while Fandango wrestled in his trench coat before taking off it before the commercial break.

·        Squirt Guns were also used along with Breeze reprising his role as the Janitor who mops up the ring with flair and style. Once again, their antics played well in the arena which is a win for them. It would be nice to see Breezango dial back the silliness, but they are maximizing their minutes on television which is a positive in this day and age.

·        Randy Orton cut a straightforward promo about how he was going to give Jinder Mahal an old-fashioned American ass whopping at Money in the Bank and become a 14-time WWE Champion.

·        Orton’s pride was on the line because MITB takes place in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. He wanted to take his late grandfather’s approach by letting his actions speak louder than words.

·        Orton spoke with conviction and sounded alive on the mic for a change. However, his rah-rah speech came to a halt when Jinder Mahal appeared on the big screen.

·        Mahal cut a basic promo about Orton clinging to a bygone era that is dead and gone. He vowed to continue his reign as the modern-day Maharajah at MITB as he raised the WWE Title high in the air while blocking the face of Singh Brother B which was unintentionally hilarious. Orton responded by doing his signature pose as the segment came to an end.

·        Mahal is already being slotted as a supporting character nine days into his WWE Title reign. He’s been booked strong, but his presentation doesn’t scream main event player just yet. I guess Mahal is still in the Build-A-Star Training Academy…

·        In a Rite of Passage that all WWE Superstars must go through, AJ Styles lost in his home state to Dolph Ziggler in a good main event match.

·        They were on short on time, but they worked their asses off to put on a show for the fans. Sadly, the outcome left the crowd feeling numb which caused SD Live to end on a sour note.

·        Styles tried to hit Ziggler with the Styles Clash on multiple occasions, but he was unable to pull off his finisher.

·        Ziggler hit Styles with the Zig Zag for a near fall. It appeared that Styles had the match won when he went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Ziggler knocked him off the top rope and nailed P1 with a Superkick for the win.

·        Questionable booking aside, this was a good way for Ziggler to build momentum heading into the MITB Ladder Match. Meanwhile, Styles has to get back on track without the benefit of 50/50 booking. Let’s hope the Powers That Be has a trick up their sleeve next week. Fingers crossed! 

·        Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent. The in-ring was action was okay for the most part. The Atlanta crowd was livelier than usual, but the air was let out of the room when AJ Styles lost to Dolph Ziggler. What a way to get the crowd excited for 205 Live. *Insert Sarcasm Here*

·        This was a maintenance show that added a few pieces to the Money in the Bank puzzle as WWE added The Usos vs. The New Day for the Tag Team Titles and the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match featuring Charlotte, Carmella, Tamina, Natalya, and Becky Lynch.

·        The rest of the card looks skimpy in terms of mid-card feuds, but there is enough time to add a few matches before the PPV. With two more live shows to go, time is of the essence. Let’s hope the creative team can get the job done. Fingers crossed!

On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls! 

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