Smackdown Live Recap – April 25, 2017

The Good

Jinder Mahal steals the WWE Championship: After Randy Orton beat Erick Rowan, Jinder Mahal came out an cut a promo similar to the one he cut last week: he’s wealthier, has more class, is stronger, and so on.  He says he will take the title away from Orton.  He and Orton trade blows, but The Bollywood Boyz come out and help Jinder.  Jinder gives Orton his cobra clutch slam finisher and takes the title.  He is shown later in an SUV limo as it’s pulling away.  He hanging out the sunroof holding the title.  Beyond beating up Orton, this is an actual heel that is receiving heel heat, which is more interesting than anything that happened with Bray in the last two months.

Tag Team Gauntlet challenge:  American Alpha beats the Colons in 5:17  in a middling match.  Breezango then beat the Ascension in less time to become the #1 contenders.  This was the right move as Breezango was the only team that received any reaction from a fairly dead audience.  This seems like a face turn for Breezango and a renewed push.  The matches weren’t great, but this was the best outcome possible.

Charlotte and Naomi’s title matched ends in a DQ:  Charlotte and Naomi were putting on a good match.  It helped that Naomi wasn’t botching many moves tonight, but this shows Charlotte is definitely the creme of the women’s division as she can put on entertaining matches with anybody.  The attack of both women by Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella is some new female oddities (i.e. women they don’t know what to do with) stable left something to be desired though.  Presumably, this leads to a face turn by Charlotte, which might not be the best idea.  They should keep Charlotte a tweener at most or still a heel who is out only for herself.  That would be the more nuanced and interesting story, but alas.

The Bad

Nakamura and Ziggler segment:  Shinsuke Nakamura comes out to be interviewed by Renee Young.  As soon as the interview is getting ready to start, Ziggler’s music hits.  He comes into the ring and takes the mic from Renee.  Nakamura, in a nice touch, goes over and lifts the ropes for Renee to leave the ring.  Ziggler “conducts” the interview, but in reality, he goes into a long, boring promo about how Shinsuke is actually Michael Jackson in disguise.  Shinsuke then takes the mic.  He asks Dolph what his “problem” is.  He then refuses to let him talk and cuts a promo in Japanese that ends with “jackass.”  Ziggler kicks him, but Nakamura gets the upper hand with a reverse exploder suplex.  He goes for the Kinshasa, but Ziggler rolls out of the ring.  This was Nakamura’s first main roster moment where he stood across from someone in a mic war.  It doesn’t go great.  His facials were a bit too pronounced and it felt like acting.  They also had him speak Japanese, which isn’t a good sign.  None of this was helped by how bad the premise of Ziggler’s promo was.  That said, the crowd treated Nakamura well despite this, so there is excitement over him.  They need to avoid putting Nakamura in this position often.  He’s better as a single person promo.

The Drivel

Randy Orton beats Erick Rowan in a no-DQ match: This was decent and given appropriate time, but the outcome wasn’t very surprising.  Erick Rowan’s selling at times, especially when he staggering on the apron for thirty seconds before being pushed off through a table, was particularly laughable. Orton wins with the RKO. Afterwards, Orton cut a short promo where he said, “I don’t know what a House of Horrors match is, but I feel like Sunday I’m gonna find out.”  Well, yeah, you will, Randy, because that’s when the match is scheduled.  This cannot end soon enough.  It’s amazing how, in two months’ time, Jinder Mahal became more intriguing than Bray Wyatt and how dull Orton became after being engaged in an interesting story.

Styles beats Corbin: AJ and Baron Corbin have a rematch from last week.  The match was pretty much the same as even Owens is on commentary at ringside, but it was still a high quality for the little amount of time given.  Styles got the pin off a roll-up.  Afterwards, Kevin Owens attacks Styles and Corbin joins in.  Sami Zayn comes out for the save.  Owens rolls out of the ring, and Zayn attacks Corbin, taking him out with the Helluva Kick.  Owens returns to the ring and knocks Sami out of it. He then gives AJ a Pop-Up Powerbomb and stands tall with his United States title in the ring.  This match was solid overall, and it’s nice to see two heels that don’t like each other attack a babyface just because they are heels and bullies.  Everyone got a decent reaction out of this segment, and it did its job, but without a legit face turn from Styles, everything just feels…off.

Final Analysis

This was an average episode with a couple of interesting decisions, namely the continued Jinder Mahal push and the Breezango push.   The latter is probably short-term and the former might be more legit.  The crowd wasn’t too great, which lessened the impact of the segments, but the show didn’t give them a lot to get excited for.  After the interest of the shake-up, it feels like WWE has no plans or too many plans.


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