Date: April 11, 2017
Location: TD Garden in Boston, MA
The Big Takeaway --
The newest members of SmackDown are US Champion Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Charlotte, The New Day, Rusev, Lana, Primo & Epico, Jinder Mahal, Tamina, and Sin Cara.
Despite all of the changes, AJ Styles was standing tall to end the show. Styles defeated Zayn and Baron Corbin to become number one contender for the US title. Officially, Kevin Owens is not yet a member of SmackDown. The winner of the Owens vs. Jericho match at Payback will become US champion and will join SmackDown. Styles awaits the winner.
Also, Shinsuke Nakamura’s first WWE program will be against Dolph Ziggler. Nakamura was over huge once again tonight.
Show Recap --
Tom Phillips, JBL and Byron Saxton are on commentary.
Kevin Owens is on SmackDown. He shaved his beard and is wearing a grey suit with blue tie. “Welcome to the brand new Kevin Owens Show.” Owens knows it must confuse people that he’s the US champion despite being from Montreal, which received a lot of boos.
Owens said Canada was much better than the United States, and Canadians make better athletes. The crowd chanted “USA.” Owens reminded them that the Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins all the time. Owens spoke French until he reminded himself the morons on the crowd only speak one language. Owens declared he was only here for himself, the new face of America.
Baron Corbin interrupted. Corbin knew that Owens could beat up anyone in the crowd, but Owens can’t beat him up. Corbin beat Dean Ambrose last week which made him run to run, and Owens ran to SmackDown after losing to Ambrose on Raw. Corbin was owed a title match and wanted Owens’ title. Owens said he didn’t deserve it.
Sami Zayn interrupted. Owens was stunned. Zayn said he was finally on SmackDown and got a pretty big reaction. Corbin told Zayn nobody cared that he was here. AJ Styles came out next to a huge reaction. Styles said this wasn’t the Kevin Owens Show, this was about SmackDown Live--the show AJ Styles built.
Daniel Bryan came out. Bryan said the Owens vs. Chris Jericho match was announced before the shakeup and the winner of that match will become a member of SmackDown. The title won’t be defended on SmackDown before Payback but he put Styles, Zayn and Corbin in a number one contender’s match tonight.
Shane McMahon will address the Women’s division tonight.
Non-title match: WWE Champion Randy Orton defeated Erick Rowan via DQ
Orton hit a draping DDT and set up for the RKO two and a half minutes into the match when Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen. Wyatt informed Orton he would see him soon at the House of Horrors. I mean, we knew that already. When the lights came back on, Orton went outside after Rowan but Rowan nailed him with the steel steps for the DQ. Rowan followed with a full nelson slam (a move Orton has been using) in the ring.
Tag Team Championship match: The Usos defeated American Alpha
The Usos didn’t get an entrance. Before the match, JBL said… ah, who cares.
After a break, Jason Jordan made a hot tag to Chad Gable who hit rolling Germans and an Exploder to each Uso. Gable followed with a moonsault for a nearfall. Gable applied an armbar over the ropes but was caught with a superkick by Jimmy. Gable caught him with a rollup for a nearfall.
Jordan tagged in and they nailed a Steinerizer but Jey broke up the cover. The Usos tossed AA outside the ring and tried duel suicide dives, but they were caught by Jordan and Gable who nailed suplexes. Back in the ring, Jordan was superkicked and fell back outside. They double-teamed Gable and an Uso finished him off with a big splash for the win. Short match but it was all action after the break.
After the match, Primo and Epico (as they were called) attacked American Alpha. The crowd chanted “Delete.”
Before going to commercial, they announced Jinder Mahal was the newest member of SmackDown and would face Mojo Rawley after a break. I’m not sure WWE understands the point of an act break.
Mojo Rawley defeated Jinder Mahal
Rob Gronkowski was at ringside here in Boston. JBL called him… nope, still don’t care. The crowd chanted “We want Gronk” as the match got started. Jinder went outside to confront Gronkowski but Rawley intercepted. This allowed Gronkowski to toss a drink in Mahal’s face, which was funny.
Rawley won with a running punch then jumped into the crowd to celebrate with Gronkowski. He then jumped on the announce table and put on JBL’s hat. Not a fan of Rawley but this was a good segment for him.
State of the Women’s Division
Shane McMahon came out to a good reaction and he thanked the fans. He also thanked the former SmackDown wrestlers who are now on Raw for helping him and Daniel Bryan prove that SmackDown was the land of opportunity.
He said that was true of the Women’s division and introduced the entire division, starting with the champion Naomi. Natalya, Carmella (with James Ellsworth) and Becky Lynch followed. That’s it. The crowd sang Lynch’s song. McMahon congratulated Naomi on winning the title.
Ellsworth grabbed the mic and called Naomi a horrible champion, “duh!” He said people only tune into SmackDown to watch Carmellsworth. Naomi threatened to beat up Ellsworth.
Shane introduced the newest member of the division, a second-generation wrestler whose father is a Hall of Famer. The crowd was expecting Charlotte, but they got Tamina instead. JBL put over Jimmy Snuka. Yeesh.
Shane was about to leave, but the crowd was either chanting “We want Charlotte” or “We want Sasha.” Either way, Shane came back in the ring and introduced Charlotte. She made it halfway down the ring and they cut away to Sami Zayn getting ready backstage. That was that.
They announced Sin Cara was coming to SmackDown. Also, Rusev. (No mention of Lana either way.)
Aiden English was in the ring and treated us to a song. Unfortunately, he was interrupted.
Tye Dillinger defeated Aiden English
Dillinger’s ten chants were super over. He won quickly with the Tye Breaker. Hopefully English isn’t a Curt Hawkins-level jobber because he got pretty good heat here just for singing.
They aired a good little video package for AJ Styles.
Forget what I said earlier about Lana. She got her own hype video. She’s also joining SmackDown and appears to be getting repackaged.
Dolph Ziggler was in the ring complaining about the superstar shakeup taking attention away from him. He said he was staying on SmackDown Live and people booed.
Shinsuke Nakamura interrupted. Huge reaction. Ziggler asked, Who do you think you are? This led to giant “Nakamura” chants. He smiled at Ziggler, then the crowd sang his theme song. Ziggler gave him the mic. “Do you want to know who I am? I am Shinsuke Nakamura.” The crowd chanted his name. Ziggler tried to catch him with a superkick but Nakamura caught him and just pushed him down. He posed at Ziggler who bailed.
This was simple and good. And they’re taking full advantage of the crowd’s love for Nakamura.
A Corbin video package aired. The triple threat match is next. A Zayn video package aired after a break.
They announced The New Day are coming to SmackDown.
TJ Perkins plugged his match on 205 Live. He called Austin Aires a loserweight and Jack Gallagher a rejected circus freak. What a heel.
US Title Number One Contender’s match: AJ Styles defeated Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin
This is only the second time Styles and Zayn have been in the ring together on WWE television. Styles and Zayn somehow couldn’t get Corbin up for a double-team suplex, so Corbin suplexed the both of them. Zayn and Styles tossed Corbin from the ring leading to a face off and dueling chants for the two. Corbin took out Styles outside the ring and Zayn nailed Corbin with a moonsault leading to commercial.
Zayn tossed Styles out of the ring and hit an Exploder on Corbin. Styles caught Zayn with a fireman’s carry neckbreaker and Corbin nailed Styles with a clothesline. Styles caught Corbin with a running knee outside the ring and Zayn used the Blue Thunder Bomb on Styles for a nearfall.
Corbin got Zayn in the electric chair position but before Styles could hit anything, Zayn rolled through with a small package on Corbin for a two count. Corbin followed with Deep Six but Styles broke it up.
Styles nailed a springboard 450 splash on Corbin but Zayn just barely broke up the cover. Zayn hit big boots to each guy but Styles came back with a Pele kick. Styles countered a Styles Clash and used a Helluva kick to knock Corbin out of the ring. Finally, Styles caught Zayn with a Phenomenal forearm and scored the pinfall win. Strong match that went just under 17 minutes.