Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel: Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke Nakamura is a fantastic wrestler, has incredible charisma and an awesome theme song. His only weakness is cutting promos. Booking knowledge dictates you should disguise that flaw while emphasising his strengths. Not for WWE! Where he is currently destined for week after week of in-ring promos.
Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn soon interrupted Kevin Owen’s Highlight Reel segment with Nakamura, and – holla, holla – you know where this is going.
Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura beat Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin
The four had a really fun TV tag match, where Nakamura picked up the win after Owens and Corbin accidentally clashed with each other. That means Nakamura has won three out of his three main roster matches, two of them with pins on KO – setting up a United States title match down the line. But, honestly, wins and losses don’t matter.
The New Day Debuts!
New Day debuts on Smackdown Live! New Day debuts on Smackdown Live! ...I need less syllables for that chant.
After being off TV since the Superstar Shake-Up, Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods made their WWE return and Smackdown Live debut, interrupting an Usos promo. This was a tantalising glimpse at the excellent mic work we can expect from this feud, with the returning trio back to their best after several months of Road to Wrestlemania limbo.
The only issue is Shane McMahon booking them immediately in a Tag Team title match at Money in the Bank. As Jinder Unhinderers keep telling me, Smackdown is the land of opportunity, where title shots are meant to be earned.
Fashion Files: The Men Who Knew Too Little
In a feat previously thought impossible, Smackdown are somehow managing to book two tag team division storylines at the same time! The latest Fashion Files skit was a brilliant parody of film noir, complete with black and white visuals, a husky Fandango voiceover and Tyler Breeze as a femme fatale. Their new case? Finding who trashed their office. Later on, they beat the Colons.
Three exciting tag team acts on Smackdown, and somehow none of them are American Alpha.
Women’s MITB Match Announced
All five women looked very good here as they clashed before the No. 1 contenders match even got underway – with Natalya getting put through a table and Charlotte doing her top rope moonsault to the outside. Even Tamina looked pretty intimidating. Shane McMahon came down to make the announcement Pro Wrestling Sheet first reported last week: we’re getting a women’s Money in the Bank ladder match on June 18th.
Randy Orton Responds
Randy Orton addressed the WWE Universe for the first time since he lost his title at Backlash. He played up the strong and silent American archetype, which the below guy in the crowd cheered free of irony. Jinder Mahal appeared on the screen to remind him that America isn’t great, and he’s the WWE Champion.
Randy is getting his title rematch in St. Louis, meaning he’s most likely losing in his hometown. Which brings us onto the main event!
Dolph Ziggler beat AJ Styles
Surprise, surprise – AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler had a really good 15 minute match. And just as sarcastic surprise, surprise – AJ lost in his hometown.
WWE’s weird reluctance of getting people over aside, I actually quite enjoyed the sudden finish – Ziggler’s superkick on AJ caught in the ropes. I really like out-of-nowhere, knockout endings. It gives the sense that anybody can win suddenly, and somewhat reasons why Ziggler – who lost to Nakamura – can beat AJ in 15 minutes. It’s a shame this wasn’t played up on commentary, as it’s a much-ignored storytelling device that would make WWE feel unpredictable in a good, MMA way, rather than their current ‘let’s make Jinder Mahal champion today’ way.
So that was this week’s Smackdown Live in about 4 minutes, here’s the usual ratings recap from top to bottom: SmackDamn, Smacktastic, Smack Bang In The Middle, Ellsworthy and Raw.
All the matches got a decent amount of time, and the wrestling was pretty good. The angles and in-ring promos were also very enjoyable. While nothing instantly memorable, this was a solid episode, continuing the steady build of a very exciting tag division.
This week’s Smackdown is SmackTastic.
Check back on Flickering Myth every day for round-ups of the biggest professional wrestling news…