By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from Fresno State University. Payback might’ve been a Raw exclusive PPV, but SD Live was represented as Randy Orton faced Bray Wyatt in a House of Horrors match that lived up to its namesake in the worst possible way while Chris Jericho became a member of the blue brand when he defeated Kevin Owens to become the new United States Champion.
With Jericho going on tour with Fozzy later this week, one can only assume that his reign as US Champ will be a short one. Was I proven right or did Y2J have another surprise up his sleeve? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.
· Shane McMahon welcomed Chris Jericho to SD Live since he defeated Kevin Owens at Payback to become the new United States Champion. Jericho came out and got a hero’s welcome and vowed to defeat Owens tonight in their rematch.
· AJ Styles made his way to the ring and reminded Jericho that he put SD Live on the map last year. Styles brought up their history as a short-lived tag team with a t-shirt emblazoned with Y2AJ to make things official. Y2J turned on Styles after losing to the New Day last year on Raw which resulted in a WrestleMania match between the two which saw Jericho come out on top.
· Style had no problem taking the US Title from Jericho at Backlash if he was able to get past Owens tonight. Jericho was about to put Styles on the LIST for doubting his ability to beat his former best friend when KO’s music hit.
· Owens insulted that McMahon, Jericho, and Styles and told the Phenomenal One to get out of his ring. Styles took his advice and attacked Owens on the ramp which led to a back and forth brawl until WWE officials broke things up as the opening segment came to an end.
· This was a fine way to start the show. Jericho was entertaining on the mic and WWE did a nice job playing into the history of Jericho and Styles from last year. The odds of both men facing off the US Title is slim, but acknowledging their past was smart because it does tease a potential feud down the road.
· Owens was the surly heel who hated everyone and played his role to perfection as well. Overall, this made me look forward to the main event while putting some much-needed shine on the US Title as well.
· Jinder Mahal defeated Sami Zayn with the Cobra Clutch in a decent match. Mahal was in control for the most part, but Zayn had a burst of offense flurry down the stretch.
· Zayn had Mahal in position for the Helluva Kick, but Singh Brother A pulled Mahal out of the way. Zayn re-thought his strategy and tried to do a flip dive on the outside, but Singh Brother B grabbed his leg which led to the finish.
· Mahal’s wrestling was fine, but it’s not eye-catching or exciting. As I mentioned last week, his true test will come when he faces Orton for the WWE Championship at Backlash in a few weeks. We shall see if he steps up his game on the big stage.
· Tye Dillinger made quick work of Aiden English when he pinned English with the Tye Breaker. It appears that English had a nervous breakdown after the match because he was weeping and pulling his hair out. Perhaps singing a song from Hamilton will lift his spirits.
· English’s night got worse when Chris Jericho put him on the LIST for crying like a baby on his new show. Jericho also put Renee Young on the LIST for no apparent reason.
· Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina Snuka attacked Charlotte backstage after she got the jump on Natalya first. They slammed her into some equipment items moments before her tag team match with Naomi. They really know how to welcome a girl to a new show by giving her an ass whopping as a housewarming gift.
· Natalya and Carmella defeated Naomi and Charlotte when Carmella pinned Naomi with a roll-up thanks to a yank of the tights.
· Naomi fought valiantly on her own until the numbers game caught up to her. Charlotte eventually made her way to the ring, but the backstage beat down left her at less than 100%.
· She made the hot tag to Naomi and the SmackDown Women’s Champion went to work on Carmella. Naomi had Carmella beat with The Rearview, but Natalya distracted the referee which prevented him from making the three-count.
· Naomi nailed Natalya with an Enzuigiri, but James Ellsworth provided another distraction which led to the finish.
· Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina continued to attack Naomi and Charlotte until Becky Lynch slowly made her way to the ring.
· It appeared that Lynch was going to join the heels as she shook their hands in a sign of camaraderie. Ellsworth was waiting for his handshake, but Lynch tossed him into Tamina instead.
· Lynch’s decision came back to bite her as the trio of mean girls laid her out as well before heading backstage.
· This was a good way to put heat on the heels once again. The babyfaces have to fight through adversity in order to take out the Bitter Brigade at Backlash.
· Also, this will give fans a reason to cheer for Charlotte because she has been humbled in recent weeks. She has to cut back on The Queen speak, but I believe her improvement as a talker will make the transition from heel to face easier to digest.
· Dolph Ziggler defeated Sin Cara when he nailed the high-flying Luchador with a Superkick for the win. The match was solid as Sin Cara had a chance to shine, but the outcome was never in doubt because Ziggler is being groomed for a match against Shinsuke Nakamura at Backlash.
· I have to admit that The Fashion Files Segment featuring Breezango was cute.
· Kevin Owens regained the United States Championship when he dropped Chris Jericho with the Popup Powerbomb in a good main event match.
· Owens and Jericho told a nice story in the ring as Jericho targeted Owens’ injured hand while KO was in survival mode by escaping the Walls of Jericho on a couple of occasions.
· The momentum swung in KO’s favor when Jericho slid out of the ring only for Owens to nail him with a Superkick followed by a DDT on the floor. Jericho never recovered from the spot which led to the finish.
· Jericho was nursing his neck as EMTs tended to him in the ring. Noticing that he had an opening, Owens attacked Jericho and laid him out with another Popup Powerbomb before heading backstage.
· Jericho was helped out of the ring, but Owens attacked him while he was heading up the ramp. KO grabbed a steel chair from behind the barricade and threatened to hit Jericho with it. Instead, he wrapped the chair around Y2J’s neck and rammed him into the ring post.
· Jericho coughed up a spittle of blood while Owens marveled at his handiwork as SD Live went off the air.
· This was Jericho’s farewell injury angle because he is heading back tour with Fozzy this weekend. Y2J likes to leave in a blaze of glory while giving the rub to someone else on the way out. Owens fits the bill perfectly which should give KO good heel heat moving forward.
· Jericho will be back someday and one can only assume that he will get a measure of revenge on his former best friend.
· In the meantime, Owens has a US Title match against AJ Styles at Backlash in a few weeks. They already have built-in heat which will serve both men well heading into the championship bout in Chicago. The atmosphere should be electric with the in-ring action pushing things over the top.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The wrestling portion of the broadcast was nothing special outside of the main event. It was a heel heavy night in terms of outcomes as the trio of Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina wiped out the babyfaces for the second week in a row. Jinder Mahal, Dolph Ziggler, and Kevin Owens picked up wins while Tye Dillinger was the saving grace in terms of a face escaping certain doom by beating Aiden English.
· In many ways, this felt like a maintenance show because the crew has to catch a flight to Glasgow, Scotland to kick off the SD Live European Tour later this week. With next week being a taped show in London, WWE really has to turn up the volume in terms of hype because the following Tuesday is the go-home show for Backlash and they need to have all of their ducks in a row to make sure that this PPV doesn’t die on a vine like Payback. Let’s hope the company takes care of business because SD Live feels less must-see since the Superstar Shakeup.
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!