Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
New Day & Breezeango beat The Usos & The Colons
New Day opened Smackdown Live in quite spectacular fashion – being accompanied down to the ring by a New Orleans brass band, a neat way to promote next year’s Wrestlemania in the city. The Usos, Breezeango and the Colons soon all interrupted them, and before you know it, holla holla, playas – we got an 8 man tag.
Kofi Kingston actually made his in-ring return from injury here, wrestling his first TV match since early March. It was Xavier Woods who got the pin on Primo, though, probably meaning they’re losing to the Usos at Money in the Bank.
Zack Ryder Returns
Kingston wasn’t the only returning wrestler on Smackdown – Zack Ryder, who’s been out with injury since December, turned up backstage while his Hype Bro Mojo Rawley was being interviewed. The two have unfinished business – the tag team title shot they won in the match where Ryder got injured.
Naomi beat Tamina
Naomi beat Tamina in a five minute match, but it was only really to set up an angle where Lana beat down Naomi afterwards – where she did a wrestling move! A pretty damn good looking wrestling move, at that. And not just because she performed it barefoot, although that has gotten the Lana’s feet fanpage worryingly excited.
A friend told me about that page.
Jinder Mahal Viper Attack
The presentation of Jinder Mahal is very good – from the Singh Brothers introduction to the carpet in the ring. But he’s still a bit quiet on the mic, and not in an intense, menacing Jake Roberts way. Jinder got the usual Punjabi promo heat, until Randy Orton ran in from OUTTA NOWH-outta the crowd actually – and hit an excellent RKO.
With Money in the Bank taking place in Randy’s hometown of St Louis, their feud has made much of The Orton family being at ringside for the WWE Championship match – which makes it likely they’ll be involved somehow.
Multi-generational wrestling families or not, though, this remains one of the least interesting feuds on Smackdown.
Charlotte beat Natalya
Charlotte looked very good beating Natalya in a ten minute match.
Fashion Files: Sweet Victory
In the latest Fashion Files segment, Fandango found Tyler Breeze attacked in their office. Thanks to Fandango’s superb drawing skills, the Fashion Police were able to work out who their antagonists were…some stick men.
AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura & Sami Zayn beat Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler
Both teams got backstage strategy meeting skits before their six-man tag main event. Kevin Owens was allowed to show his cold, calculated heel persona, pitching the heels put their differences aside to take out the faces ahead of their Money in the Bank match. Sami Zayn, however, got to do his best Woody Allen impression.
Zayn plays the neurotic match planner very well, but it is in no way the best use of his character, making him seem like a dork backstage rather than the plucky babyface that gets over so well in the ring. Unfortunately because he’s so good in the role, they’re only going to give him more cheap laughs like this.
And it’s a shame, because the main event was magnificently orchestrated on Zayn’s non-hot tag – which was delayed with hope spot after hope spot, and then never needing it anyway when he hit Baron Corbin with a Helluva Kick to win.
The heels attacked everyone and each other with a ladder afterwards, but Shinsuke Nakamura ended standing tall. CageSideSeats claim he’s the planned winner, but the bookies still have Corbin as the favourite. All I know is my original prediction – a late addition of Rusev to the match – has been Rusev crushed.
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.
As far as WWE go-home shows have been recently, this was a pretty good one. The bar for measuring that, however, is practically non-existent.
The main event had a really inventive subversion of the hot tag formula, and it was great to see Kofi back in action, but there was hardly anything else of note on the show – not even from the tag division, which has been the standout of WWE in recent weeks.
This week’s Smackdown is Smack Bang in the Middle.
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