Date: April 4, 2017
Location: Amway Center in Orlando, FL
The Big Takeaway --
Shinsuke Nakamura debuted and received a massive ovation. He didn’t have any direct contact with anyone but did interrupt The Miz and Maryse. Tye Dillinger also made his SmackDown debut by defeating Curt Hawkins.
They planted the seeds for an AJ Styles face turn. He shook hands with Shane McMahon and announced his desire to remain on SmackDown Live.
Bray Wyatt will get a title rematch against Randy Orton in a House of Horrors match. We’ll have to wait to find out what that is. Baron Corbin beat Dean Ambrose in an entertaining non-title street fight.
No further details were provided for superstar shake-up on Raw. John Cena and Nikki Bella were not on the show. Neither was Daniel Bryan, although he is in the graphic for Raw this Monday.
Show Recap --
The show started with a recap of the SmackDown matches at WrestleMania. Tom Phillips announced a sold out crowd at Amway Center and JBL made sure to preemptively mention they were in bizarro world.
They announced Alexa Bliss challenging Naomi for the title as well as a street fight between Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin.
WWE Champion Randy Orton is out to start. He got a strong mixed reaction. Orton said he proved he was Bray Wyatt’s master. Wyatt appeared on the screen. He said Orton was the master of nothing and the era of Wyatt has just begun. Wyatt had a rematch coming but he wanted a different kind of match, one that would push Orton mentally. He called it a House of Horrors match.
Orton didn’t know what that was but he accepted. Orton wanted the match right now but the screen went black before Wyatt could answer. The lights came back on and Wyatt was in the ring behind Orton. He attacked Orton but Orton got the better of him. Suddenly, Orton was pulled out of the ring by Erick Rowan and tossed into the barricade. As Rowan and Wyatt put the boots to Orton, Luke Harper ran down to make the save. The crowd chanted “Luke” as he and Orton stood tall.
Renee Young asked Miz and Maryse about John Cena proposing to Nikki Bella. Miz said it was very much like Cena to use a proposal as a marketing opportunity. Maryse said Nikki should thank them because they pushed the issue so hard that Cena really had no choice. Miz said they would call out Cena and Nikki tonight and it would be the last time we see them for a long time. The crowd cheered.
Randy Orton & Luke Harper vs. Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan is tonight’s main event.
Women’s Championship match: Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss
Naomi was all over Bliss early on but Bliss had control after a commercial break, working over the leg. The crowd is playing with a beach ball. Naomi came back with forearms and a high kick for a two count. Bliss then kicked her leg out of her leg and hit a DDT for two.
The crowd got back into it and did dueling chants. Naomi hit the Rear View but couldn’t make the cover right away because of her knee which allowed Bliss to kick out. Bliss blatantly tried cheat holding the ropes on a cover but Naomi countered into the submission she used at WrestleMania and Bliss tapped out. Naomi is still your Women’s champion.
Tonight’s Ambrose vs. Corbin Street Fight appears to be a non-title match.
Curt Hawkins was in the ring and thought we should be talking more about him and less about the superstar shakeup. He issued an open challenge and was about to start a 10 count but that brought out Tye Dillinger. Dillinger got a big pop and lots of Ten chants.
Tye Dillinger defeated Curt Hawkins
Dillinger won quickly with the Tye Breaker. The crowd chanted “ten” with every strike he hit. The announcers put this over as a good acquisition.
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asked Mojo Rawley about winning the Andre the Giant battle royal with help from his friend Rob Gronkowski. Rawley talked about his big celebration with Gronkowski and sincerely put the win over as the best moment of his life. He asked Fuentes if she could feel what’s next and she responded, “not really.” Rawley said he and Andre can feel it.
The SmackDown announcers cut to a clip from Raw of Vince McMahon announcing the superstar shake-up. (The graphic showing Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan standing next to each other makes me excited for something, that’s for sure.) Shane McMahon will be here tonight to address the roster about the shakeup.
Shinsuke Nakamura Debuts
The Miz and Maryse came out to John Cena’s music, dressed as Cena and Nikki Bella. The crowd cheered and chanted “Yes.” Miz, as John Cena, said rule number one was not to chant “Cena sucks,” so the crowd chanted it. Maryse, as Nikki, had a comically large ring on her finger. “Cena” robotically declared that he loved her and announced they were leaving WWE. He yelled good-bye and led the crowd in a “no more Cena” chant.
As Miz and Maryse were about to leave, a violinist suddenly appeared and played Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme song. Nakamura came out and received a huge damn ovation. There were dueling chants of “Nakamura” and “Holy shit.” Nakamura posed for a bit until his music started again. That was it. (Miz and Maryse bailed when he hit the ring.)
Non-title Street Fight: Baron Corbin defeated IC Champion Dean Ambrose
Corbin grabbed a chair but Ambrose dropkicked it into him and followed with a suicide dive. Ambrose then tossed him into the crowd and nailed an elbow off the barricade. Ambrose posed as the crowd around him cheered on. Commercial break.
After the break, Corbin drove Ambrose through a table which was positioned against the turnbuckles. Corbin then whipped him with a strap. He tried driving Ambrose into a chair positioned between the ropes but Ambrose countered and tossed Corbin into it instead. Ambrose ran wild and wildly whipped Corbin with the strap. Ambrose followed with an elbow drop to the outside.
Ambrose placed Corbin on a table outside the ring then hit a flying elbow drop off the top turnbuckle. With Corbin back in the ring, Ambrose went to the top again, but Corbin tossed a chair at him and hit End of Days for the pinfall win. The match was just under 11 minutes. It was enjoyable while it lasted but the finish felt a little abrupt. Still, these two needed a match like this.
Shane McMahon addresses superstar shake-up
Shane got a nice round of applause and “Shane O’Mac” chants. Shane seemed moved by that and thanked the crowd. Shane said any Raw superstar would be lucky to end up on SmackDown Live and the crowd cheered. He said the fans helped make SmackDown the land of opportunity.
AJ Styles interrupted. The crowd loudly chanted for Styles, who has a black eye. Styles said he doesn’t want to go anywhere because SmackDown was the house that he built. The crowd chanted “Yes.” Styles didn’t want anyone coming over and taking that from.
Styles said he owed Shane something and offered a handshake. Shane shook his hand and the crowd cheered. Styles faked a cheap shot but then chuckled. Styles posed and Shane nodded at him as he left.
Naomi and Tye Dillinger will be on Talking Smack tonight with Renee Young and Shane McMahon. Austin Aries plugged the 205 Live number one contender’s match.
WWE Champion Randy Orton & Luke Harper defeated Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan
Rowan seemed to catch Orton hard with a spin kick, then fell down. Orton rolled outside and they cut to commercial. Orton made a hot tag to Harper after the break and he tossed out both Wyatt members. He hit Rowan with a suicide dive but ate a clothesline from Bray allowing the Wyatts to take control.
The crowd chanted for Harper who eventually made the mild tag to Orton. Orton nailed Bray with a draping DDT but the lights went out. The lights came back and Bray was sitting on the ramp. Rowan tried to use the distraction but failed. Harper superkicked him into Orton who hit an RKO for the win. This was lame.
Final Thoughts --
It’s exciting to finally see Nakamura on SmackDown. Outside of that, this was mostly a normal show. The Orton/Wyatt stuff needs to end quickly.