Tye Dillinger debuts: Curt Hawkins is in the ring coming back from commercial, and he’s upset no one is talking about him, so he offers an open challenge to the locker room. “I’m gonna give you to the count of 10” – cue Tye Dillinger’s music. The crowd goes nuts for him. Tye gets some of his offense in and wins with the Tye-Breaker. If Tye can be booked right, he could get over on a lower midcard level, maybe even midcard level competing for a title in another year or so. He has more charisma than either Apollo or Mojo, so this could work out. For now, at least it’s a fresh face on a roster that was exposed a couple months ago for its lack of depth.
Corbin beats Ambrose in a street fight: This match was all over the place. It had chair shots, multiple table spots, whippings with straps, hard bumps, everything. Corbin wins with the End of Days in the middle of the ring though. This is the match that these two should have had a Wrestlemania. It provided roughly ten minutes of exciting action. Why they didn’t do this makes no sense as this could have been used halfway through the show to re-energize the crowd. Thankfully, it provided at least one entertaining match on this poor show.
Naomi retains over Alexa Bliss: Alexa invokes her rematch clause and challenges Naomi. Alexa works the injured leg, but ultimately, Naomi overcomes and makes Bliss tap out to the same finisher that won her the title at ‘Mania. This move seemingly has no generic or specific name because commentary has yet to call it anything other than a submission move. This match was good enough for what it was – a way to solidify Naomi’s title reign. If Bliss is moving out of the main event picture now, it will be interesting – or perhaps uninteresting – who they will move into that spot with such a weak roster right now. They might be able to salvage something with Carmella and Ellsworth for a month or two, but beyond that, what is there? The roster shake-up might bring some worthy female over to help out.
AJ wants to stay on Smackdown and shows Shane respect: Shane McMahon came out to talk about the roster “shake-up” announced by Vince McMahon last night. He didn’t give any new information; he simply repeated that Smackdown is the “land of opportunity,” which begs the question: why is Randy Orton champion? Regardless, AJ Styles comes out. He says that Smackdown is “the house that AJ built” and he doesn’t want to go anywhere. He says he also owes Shane something and extends his hand to him. They shake hands, and AJ jocularly acts like he’s going to attack him before laughing to which Shane smiles and nods. JBL says it’s two warriors showing respect for one another.
Shinsuke Nakamura debuts: The Miz and Maryse came out dressed as John Cena and Nikki Bella and made fun of them, the same as they had been in the build up to Wrestlemania. The were leaving the ring when a violin player appears in a spotlight at the top of the entrance and starts playing. The crowd reacts immediately because they know – it’s Shinsuke Nakamura. The music finally hits, and Nakamura does Nakamura things. The Miz and Maryse are awkwardly trapped in the ring until Shinsuke gets there, and they finally exit. The segment ends after he’s finished his entire entrance routine, and the show goes to commercial. This is…an odd way to debut Nakamura. Maybe it was simply weird to see him in a main roster ring. Maybe it was interrupting Miz for no apparent reason and getting no explanation for it. It feels like there was a better way to debut him against someone more…appropriate. Nakamura is someone that needs to be handled delicately for his debut, and this doesn’t feel like a good sign so far. Hopefully, next week is better.
Bray Wyatt challenges Randy Orton/Erick Rowan returns: Randy opens the show to a markedly mixed reaction from the crowd. He says that he kicked Bray’s “ass” at Wrestlemania. Bray appears on the titantron and says that he wants to challenge Orton to a “House of Horrors” match, which the egghead Orton go along with: “I don’t know what a House of Horrors match is, but I accept.” He know Bray is in the building tonight, and he wants him to come down. The lights go out. Bray is in the ring when the return. He attacks Randy, but Randy gets the better of him temporarily. Randy gets tossed from the ring, and a masked Erick Rowan attacks him on the outside. The two men start a double team, but Luke Harper’s music hits. Rowan runs out to meet him, but Harper takes him down. Bray goes for a Sister Abigail, which Harper escapes, then gives him a big boot. Harper and Orton stand tall to a retreating Bray. Bray always feels like he’s retreating. This has to be one of the weakest characters on the roster at this point. He can’t win a feud. He can’t even take someone by surprise anymore. He is always running away, even when he has others helping him. I don’t know what a House of Horrors match is either, but at this point, I reject it.
Orton and Harper beat The Wyatts: This was a mediocre tag match with Harper selling most of the match for the Orton hot tag, but mostly everyone was going through the motions. Randy was ready to hit the RKO when the lights go out. This led many to assume something was going to happen – a new member of the Wyatt family, a Harper turn to reunite, something – but when the lights came on, Bray was on the ramp, seemingly having teleported out of the ring. This set up Rowan to take the RKO and pin with Bray sitting on the ramp shaking his head as if saying, “you aren’t going to get me with that again.” The crowd was confused as to what happened, and they can’t be blamed. It didn’t make a lot of sense, and it served as a weak ending to the show.
The Final Analysis: Compared to RAW last night, this was a lackluster and downright boring show. Smackdown gets Tye and Nakamura, but the debut for the latter was strange. He get the reaction, certainly, but without a clear rationale, he was just an entrance in a vacuum. The casual audience tuning in might have little idea who he is or what any of it was about. His pedigree and accomplishments weren’t discussed at all. Nakamura being on the show immediately makes Smackdown a must watch, but WWE has to be careful with his introduction. The other segments were fine to good, except the awful Randy and Bray segments, but nothing advanced at all; consequently, the show felt like it was treading water just as it was before ‘Mania. Hopefully, after the shake-up next week, storylines start getting developed and the show can get back on track.