New Day returns for the tag titles: The Usos came out to talk about how no one is able to beat them. During their recitation of opponents they beat, “AWWWWW, Atlanta” comes over the mic. The New Day comes down to the ring to a decent pop. They did their usual antics, but since it’s been awhile, it felt a little fresh. Regarding the Smackdown Tag Team Titles, Big E simply said, “We likes ’em, and we wants ’em.” Apparently, Shane McMahon has given them a shot at the titles at Money in the Bank. It was surprisingly good to see The New Day back on TV, which goes to show how a break can help anybody. This should also freshen up the tag division a little.
Women’s #1 contenders match: The action started before the bell even rang. It all quickly got out of control with brawling and high risk moves on the outside highlighted by Charlotte powerbombing Natalya through a table. The women are all beaten on the outside when Shane McMahon’s music hits. He comes out and says that the action is so hot that he is scheduling the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match. This was a solid segment. It made sense that all of the women wanted to tear into each other given the events of the past couple weeks, and the MITB match might be pretty good in tonight was any indication.
The Fashion Files – Breezango starts a new case…against The Colons: In this edition, they mock a film noir with Fandango doing voiceover and finding the Fashion Files office having been broken into. He and Tyler Breeze, still undercover, this time in a dress, find perfume that apparently will lead them to their next case. This wasn’t terrible like in previous weeks, but they kill the illusion of this being real at all. Are these segments Breezango playing mind games? Are they in on the joke or not? It simply doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it makes them look like buffoons in a bad way ultimately.
This leads them to The Colons who they believe destroyed their office (even though there really isn’t an actual office). Fandango wrestled in his trench coat for part of the match. Then Breeze near the end of the match dressed up as a janitor again. Breeze got the pin after an Unprettier. This is getting Breezango over for sure, but at what cost really? They will never be taken seriously enough to win titles, and Breeze at least is better than this.
AJ Styles gets pinned by Dolph Ziggler: Ziggler ended up beating Styles uncermoniously after a superkick. Not much more needs to be said. The thinking is probably that Dolph needs a win to be taken seriously in MITB and AJ is over enough to take the lose, but WWE has used the AJ can take the L philosophy a little too much since Wrestlemania. Eventually, there’s a point where someone can’t take the loss anymore and a pecking order needs firmly established.
The Mixed Bag
Multi-man opener leads to tag team match: Kevin Owens opens the show running The Highlight Reel. His guest is Shinsuke Nakamura. Owens runs down Nakamura when Baron Corbin interrupts to talk about him beating down Sami Zayn. Zayn then comes out, and this inevitably leads to a tag team match, playa. Corbin and Owens got into fisticuffs which led to Nakamura hitting the Kinshasa for the victory. The reaction during the match was rather muted, but by the end, the crowd was fully behind Nakamura and Zayn. Still, this was a boring way to use the talent; the writing differences between RAW and Smackdown are non-existent at this point. They are both overusing these multi-person talking segment opener leading into a tag or six-man match.
Randy Orton/Jinder Mahal promos: Randy came out and discussed his wrestling lineage. His father main evented the first Wrestlemania. His grandfather was part of the Silent Generation that just went out and did what they needed. He says he plans to follow his grandfather’s tradition and give Jinder Mahal a “good old-fashioned American ass-kicking.” Jinder appears on the screen with an Indian flag draped behind him and tells him he’s just like every other ignorant American and he should be respected. This was a really effective Randy Orton promo, the first in a while, but the video of Jinder was a little off-putting. WWE is taking this pro-America, anti-foreigner aspect just a little too far when they don’t need to.
The Final Analysis: This episode of Smackdown wasn’t terrible for being in the middle of the pack of episodes before the next pay-per-view; it was simply bland at times. The women’s segment worked out well and The New Day returning was good. WWE is over-relying on having the participants in the MITB match wrestle each other each week (and it doesn’t stop next week with Nakamura taking on Owens), which is exactly what Raw is doing with the multi-man #1 contenders match this Sunday. It’s repetitively boring and stale writing, a crutch they are leaning too heavily on. After last night’s Raw, it feels like Smackdown and Raw flipped writers as well during the shake-up.