I sat down and watched Smackdown Live last night without taking note, simply for the idea that I could enjoy the show for what it was and then I would rewatch in the morning when I wrote my review. I’m glad I did. This was one of the best episodes of Smackdown that I’ve seen in a while. I’ve become emotionally invested in a pay per view that is pretty much filler before WrestleMania.
Our show starts out with John Cena. He gets a mixed crowd reaction but that doesn’t phase ol John, he’s here and ready to go. He delivers a passionate promo about finding his road to WrestleMania and how it comes through Smackdown. He says he wants in on the title match at FastLane. My heart sank a little at this moment. Then…Shane McMahon comes out. Shane praises John for being one of the greats and how this is the land of opportunity…but then out comes Daniel Bryan. He says he’ll give John a chance at the FastLane title match if he can beat his opponent tonight…AJ Styles!
Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn:
Corbin looks strong throughout most of the match, hitting some excellent spots in this matchup. Sami has his moments as well. Kevin Owens was on commentary so that seemed to be a focal point of a lot of the match. The twist here comes when Dolph Ziggler comes out of nowhere and super kicks KO, to which KO and his chair fall down. While this is going on, Baron hits the End of Days on Sami and gets the win. Ziggler then proceeds to hit a Zig Zag on Corbin and leaves the ring. Everyone is laid out. Great match overall and the addition of KO commentary made it even better.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Ruby Riott (with Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan) versus Naomi (with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair)
Decent match between the two, nothing really that special to go over. The match wasn’t really anything to write home about. Naomi got a few good flurries in but Ruby ended up winning with a Riott Kick after Naomi missed a running bulldog into the corner.
Winner: Ruby Riott
Backstage we see the Fashion Police with actorman Josh Duhamel. He plugs the Tupac/Notorious B.I.G. and another show of his. New Day show up as well. Mindless comedy skit to be honest.
New Day make their way to the ring. They cut a promo on making their way to WrestleMania and facing their biggest rivals at FastLane. Out come the USOs with another great promo about how they’ve been in the WWE for 9 years and been to zero WrestleManias. As they go on about how they are the future, Big E interrupts and says they earned their spots at every Mania they’ve been to. They didn’t stand on the sidelines, they rushed the field. Big E delivers an incredible promo here and I’d highly recommend watching it somewhere because it’s worth your time. Both tag teams are fantastic and I’m excited for something that I’ve seen many times before. Just as tensions start to boil, out come the Bludgeon Brothers. Everyone leaves the ring as they enter.
Next is Aiden English and Rusev talking to Shane McMahon. They complain about not being on TV for two weeks and Shane puts Aiden in a match against Shinsuke Nakamura. Easy peezy.
Ziggler is next on the promo list, saying he doesn’t want to get lost in the shuffle and that he’ll win at FastLane and go on to WrestleMania.
Bobby Roode is after this, saying he wants to be the greatest United States Champion and that he’s excited to face Orton. Randy shows up and talks about how he wants that title since it’s the only one he hasn’t had.
Aiden English vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Aiden sings a song before with the words at the bottom of the screen. Entertaining as always. Shinsuke makes his way to the ring and we get this thing started. Aiden English got some really good offense in on the Royal Rumble winner. Notable parts of the match were pretty much all of Aiden English’s offense, the Death Valley driver on Nakamura, and the beautiful Kinshasa at the end of the match to give Nakamura the win.
As Shinsuke‘s music plays and he celebrates, John Cena’s music hits and he walks down to the ring. Both Cena and Nakamura point at the WrestleMania sign. The sign stands tall over them.
AJ Styles vs John Cena:
This is the most aggressive I’ve seen John Cena in a long while. He came after AJ with a fury, like a man on a mission. He hit a beautiful Blue Thunder Bomb on AJ at one point that made me think AJ would lose right then and there. There were many near falls, almost count outs, and kicks at two that had me on the edge of my seat for the first time in a long time. After what seemed like the 50th AA of the match, John finally picks up the win.
Winner: John Cena
After the match, all hell breaks loose. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens run down to the ring, Baron Corbin attacks Cena from behind, then so do Sami and Kevin. Kevin then attacks AJ. A wild Dolph Ziggler appears and super kicks everyone, then attacks Styles. Cena then attacks Ziggler and then the show ends.
This episode of Smackdown was light years ahead of last weeks episode. Each match provided good entertainment and more than one storyline had progression this week. I am not a fan of Cena being added to the match at FastLane. The possibility of ruining Styles vs Nakamura at WrestleMania makes me angry but I have faith that WWE will find something for John to do besides getting involved in the one match that actually made me want to be at Mania this year.
That’s all we have for this week folks. Stay tuned for more exciting content on WrestlingwithWrestling.com, follow me on the Twitter machine at @buuurch1, and as always take care!