TYE DILLINGER vs. AIDEN ENGLISH
Result: Tye Dillinger gets the win with the Tyebreaker.
Reaction: This match was what it was. It was simply a rehash of the match the two men had on Smackdown with English getting a little bit more offense in. Both men will remain on the lower midcard as neither have done anything that impressive including this match.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER
Result: Nakamura wins with the Kinshasa.
Reaction: This was about the worst possible way to debut Nakamura. He needed to win quickly, not take every move of Ziggler’s and get beaten on for ten-plus minutes before pulling off a few moves and hitting his finisher. The pop he received when his entrance started to the end of the match diminished about 80 percent, which shows the match did nothing but deflate the crowd. Nakamura should have dominated this match with Ziggler getting a minute or so of heat. Instead, it made Nakamura look like he could take a beating and that’s it.
THE USOS (c) vs. BREEZANGO for the SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: The Usos win after a superkick to retain.
Reaction: This match was simply laughable and not in the way the writers wanted laughs. Breezango could have been given this opportunity to look a little more credible, but they choose to have Tyler Breeze wrestle in numerous idiotic disguises which got a pop from the crowd but killed this match. The Smackdown tag team scene is still in shambles.
BARON CORBIN vs. SAMI ZAYN
Result: Zayn picks up a rare win with the Helluva Kick.
Reaction: This was probably the best overall match and booking on the show. Zayn received a great pop when he came out, and as usual, his selling was rock solid. Corbin is still looking good in limited situations, and that continued here. Most of the audience felt like Sami was simply going to sell and comeback but eventually lose, so when he won, there was a loud reaction. This was a surprising booking decision to give Zayn a clean win over the protected Corbin. Sadly, they’ll probably book them 50/50 with Corbin getting a strong win this Tuesday or next.
NAOMI, BECKY LYNCH, and CHARLOTTE vs. NATALYA, CARMELLA, and TAMINA
Result: Natalya picks up the win for the team by making Becky tap out to the Sharpshooter.
Reaction: This match was a fairly standard six-person tag team match with Naomi selling the most. Natalya getting a submission win over Becky doesn’t seem to make any sense. It keeps Charlotte and Naomi strong and gives Natalya a win that she hasn’t gotten in a while, so presumably Nattie will get a title shot soon. This match felt like it needed something else to happen in it though.
KEVIN OWENS (c) vs. AJ STYLES for the UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: Kevin Owens won via count out when AJ’s leg was caught in a hole in the announcer’s table.
Reaction: This was the best overall wrestling match on the card with both men delivering lots of great offense and action. The count out victory for Owens is an okay finish, but having AJ get his leg get caught in a damn announcer’s table was simply overthought. His injured leg could have simply prohibited his reentry instead of cables in an announcer’s table. This keeps this feud going but it could have been a simpler finish.
ERICK ROWAN vs. LUKE HARPER
Result: Luke Harper won after a half-botched Discus Lariat.
Reaction: There is nowhere for these men to go which makes this match immediately pointless. The wrestling was simply bad. Rowan is not a good worker, and the two men’s chemistry is simply non-existent as evidenced by the number of miscues and botches. Harper winning will probably prolong this feud and that’s not a good thing for them or the audience.
RANDY ORTON (c) vs. JINDER MAHAL for the WWE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Result: Jinder Mahal. JINDER MAHAL wins the World Title with the Khallas after Singh Brother distraction.
Reaction: Randy came out swinging and got the crowd hot, and the crowd stayed rather hot throughout. The match was a bit better than most expected although Jinder uses even more rest holds than Randy does. Randy looked energized here, but Mahal is not good in the ring. The past week has done nothing to show Mahal has what it takes to be at the top of the card, which makes the decision to put the top strap on him even more shocking. One can only presume he will serve as a transition champion for someone else, possibly Nakamura. What is more interesting is what they will do with Randy now.
The Final Analysis: This was rather bland and uninteresting show. The Owens/Styles was near as good as expected although the ending was lame, and the Zayn/Corbin match was decent. The big news – Jinder winning the damn World Title – is the most intriguing if only to find out what the hell WWE has up their sleeves with this decision. Everything else was either unimportant, bland, or both. The shake-up, in its infancy still, feels like it’s hurt Smackdown ultimately.