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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- April 4, 2017

by Scrooge McSuck

Smackdown Live

- Smackdown Live Episode #920 was live from the Amway Center in Orlando, FL, FINALLY, FINALLY, wrapping up a long WrestleMania Weekend. After a combined 13+ hours recapping NXT TakeOver, WrestleMania 33, AND Monday Night Raw, I almost don't want to watch this episode. Tom Phillips, John "How Have I Not Been Fired for Harassment" Layfield, and David Otunga are calling the action, unless JBL decides to verbally abuse Phillips, too. We get the "WrestleMania crowd that is not the common fans, who cheer the bad guys and boo the good guys" speech. We are promised a Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss AND Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin rematch. The latter is Non-Title, so your predictable outcome is predictable.

- We recap all the stuff from WrestleMania involving Smackdown. If you need to know, click the link.

- NEW WWE Champion, Randy Orton, comes out to kick things off. After that turkey of a match at WrestleMania, I don't know if I want to watch Orton vs. Wyatt ever again. Crowd is mostly negative towards him, which is funny, since he's the GOOD GUY. "They're passionate fans, David!" Orton says he left out an important part to his "if you can't beat them, join them." When you get the opportunity, you make sure to beat their ass. Orton proved at WrestleMania that he is Bray's master, and he will never forget his name. Wyatt quickly interrupts from his nondisclosed location filled with smoke (and maybe a mirror). Wyatt has a special plan for Orton before he gets his rematch. He wants to fight in a match that not only pushes the body, but the mind, and he will drive Orton to a new level of insanity. He wants to watch Orton scream and cry, and see his soul devour itself. He wants to fight Orton in a "House of Horrors" Match, whatever that is that like Raven's Clockwork Orange House of Fun? Orton has no clue what that is, but he accepts, and offers to whoop Bray's ass one more time. The lights go out, and when they return, Wyatt attacks from behind. Erick Rowan shows up, wearing a new, "creepier" mask, and throws him around. "Who is that?" SERIOUSLY? IT'S THE SAME GUY WHO'S WORN A BROILER SUIT AND GOAT MASK FOR THREE YEARS, YOU STUPID IDIOT. They do a 2-on-1 beating until Luke Harper's music ques the unlikely save. I smell a tag team Main Event!

- Renee Young is backstage with The Miz and Maryse. Miz says John Cena is the only person who uses a proposal for making a WrestleMania Moment. It's because of them that Cena was forced to propose, so Nikki Bella owes them thanks. Tonight, the Miz and Maryse are calling out John Cena and Nikki Bella, and this will be the last time you will see them on Smackdown Live for a very, very, long time. With the "Superstar-Shakeup", who knows what will happen and where certain Superstars will end up!

WWE Women's Championship Match:
Naomi © vs. Alexa Bliss:

Alexa Bliss gets her guaranteed rematch, having taken the loss in the Six-Pack Challenge (a match I short-changed in the rating, but not by too much) that crowd Naomi a 2-time Women's Champion, just now making her first title defense of both reigns. Bliss gets to rock her "Riddle Me Bliss" tights a second time, and I'm sure a lot of people missed the concept at Mania with how rushed the match was. You notice Greg Hamilton is smart enough to pause after one fall, knowing the "passionate" crowd will do it to, but JoJo couldn't buy the hint at Mania? Bliss with a quick boot and clubbing blows across the back. Bliss with a snap of the hair for two. Naomi counters a headlock by ramming Bliss to the turnbuckle with a bulldog. Naomi follows her to the floor and hits a running leg lariat as we take a break.

We come back, with Bliss working the knee. Naomi with a kick to the face, so Bliss slams the leg into the canvas for two. During the break, we see Bliss jam the knee of Naomi across her shoulder to put her in this predicament. Bliss changes course, wrapping the leg around the middle rope. Bliss with another hair snap for two, then back to working the leg. Naomi comes back with forearms and a back suplex. Fireman's carry into a roundhouse kick for two. Bliss kicks the knee and hits a snap DDT for a near fall. Bliss hooks the leg again and ducks an enzuigiri. Naomi escapes an STO, but gets taken down by the hair, again. Naomi with the Rear View (out of nowhere) for two, losing time making the cover. Bliss runs into the knees, but prevents a split-leg moonsault. Bliss sweeps her off the ropes and tries to use the ropes for leverage, but Naomi counters with a sunset flip and hooks the Lucha Stretch for the tap out at 6:21 (shown) to retain. **1/4 Solid match, kept short, and they did a good job masking Bliss' shortcomings by having her work the leg instead of aimless chin-locks. Her matches weren't anything special, but this will likely be our last appearance for Bliss on Smackdown Live (sad face).

- Curt Hawkins is in the ring talking about the Superstar Shake-Up. People should be taking about him. He's going to issue an OPEN CHALLENGE and give them to the Count of TEN...

Tye Dillinger vs. Curt Hawkins:

Who did NOT see that one coming? After years in development (over the span of two runs, one dating back to over a decade ago) and becoming a smark darling in NXT, Tye Dillinger FINALLY makes his main roster debut. Perfect crowd to introduce the Perfect Ten™. Lockup, Hawkins with a waist-lock. They go through a series of counters until Dillinger takes him over with a snap mare and flashes ten following a cartwheel. Lockup to the corner, Hawkins with a cheap shot to the midsection. He takes Dillinger over with a back suplex. Dillinger rallies with rights and chops. Whip is reversed and Dillinger hits a diving forearm. Dillinger with knees and a short clothesline. He unloads with mounted corner punches (ten of them), and finishes with the Dye Breaker at 1:55. The gimmick probably doesn't hold a high ceiling, but it's nice to see the guy get his due.

- On an unannounced note, WWE Smackdown Live bids farewell to Simon Gotch, who was granted his release Wednesday Afternoon. Reports are that Aiden English will get a slight push as a solo worker out of the situation. Maybe... Theatrical Singer English comes back?

- Dasha Fuentes is backstage with Mojo Rawley (wearing a ridiculous jacket), the winner of the 4th Annual Andre the Giant Battle Royal (with mild help from Gronk). Mojo and Gronk celebrated together and he hasn't been to sleep since. I believe that, just by looking at him. Mojo tries to talk up Andre's legacy (as a drinker and being a ladies man). The bar has been raised, and now it's time to throw some weight on it.

- "John Cena" and "Nikki Bella" come out, and duh, it's The Miz and Maryse playing dress-up again. Miz makes a somewhat suggestive remark about Cena's towels and what people really use them for. "I'm John Cena. Recognize. Rule #1 of John Cena's house rules: You may not say "Cena Sucks" at any time in this arena. John Cena would like to get romantic for a second... Nikki, I love you." "Nikki" is wearing a comically large stone on her engagement band. "Cena" says like everything in his life, the Diamond is not real. "Effective immediately, Nikki Bella and myself are leaving the WWE." Crowd cheers. "We're going to Hollywood... We're going to be gone for a very long time. You can't see us. Good bye!" No More Cena chant. Suddenly, we cut to a violinist and everyone better know what happens next... the long (much longer than needed) awaited debut of SHINSUKE NAKAMURA on the Main Roster, and this crowd gives him as much of a "Mega-Star" reception as you can ask for. He comes out, poses, and that's it. During the break, they had Dolph Ziggler cut a promo on him to set up a Dark Match for after 205 Live.

Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin:

Ambrose is still the reigning Intercontinental Champion, but this is Non-Title. Makes sense, how does Corbin deserve a second Championship Match when he lost clean at WrestleMania Kickoff? Corbin carries Ambrose into the corner and stomps away. Ambrose ducks a clothesline and counters a Fallaway Slam, but runs into an STO. Corbin grabs a chair, but Ambrose dropkicks it into his face, then knocks him over the announcer's table with a tope suicida. Ambrose hops off the table, knocking Corbin over the barricade with a forearm, and follows with a diving elbow drop.

We return from commercial, with a bunch of chairs and a table in the ring. Ambrose gets a boot up on a charge, but gets speared through the table! Crowd seems behind Corbin. Wasn't Ambrose a smark darling for at least a little while? Corbin pulls out a leather strap and goes to town on Ambrose with it. He wedges a chair between the ropes for (not much) later. Ambrose puts the breaks on and trips Corbin into the chair, instead. Corbin blocks Dirty Deeds and they slug it out. Ambrose with a knee and diving clothesline. Ambrose with the strap for some whipping fun. He sends Corbin over the top with a clothesline, and there's ANOTHER table ready. Ambrose with the flying elbow drop from the top to the floor. Ambrose lays Corbin across the table and scales the ropes, again, and drops another elbow. Back inside, Corbin throws a chair at Ambrose, straddling him across the top rope, and End of Days finishes at 7:58 (shown). *** Good brawl, and much more exciting than what they delivered at WrestleMania. Can they stretch this out until Backlash? When is Backlash... MAY 21st?! Yeah, we're getting a special episode of Smackdown sometime before then, I guarantee it.

- Shane McMahon (where has Daniel Bryan been?) comes out to address the WWE Universe and Smackdown Live Locker Room about the Superstar Shake-Up taking place next week. Shane continues to promote Smackdown Live as the Land of Opportunity. A.J. Styles interrupts, almost to a hero welcome. He doesn't know anything about the Superstar Shake-Up, but he doesn't want to go anywhere. Smackdown Live is the house that A.J. Styles built. He'll be damned if someone comes over and tries to take that from him. After WrestleMania, he feels like owes Shane McMahon something... and they shake hands. He teases a cheap shot, but poses instead and that might be the end of the A.J. Styles Era of Smackdown Live (another sad face).

Randy Orton & Luke Harper vs. Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan:

Monday Night Raw got Finn Balor back from injury. Smackdown Live got Erick Rowan. Somehow, I don't feel as excited for the latter as I did the former. Nice to see Orton and Harper have bonded over Orton dicking Harper out of the Wyatt Family. Orton and Rowan start. Rowan avoids an RKO and falls over doing his spinning heel kick... and we take a break! We come back with Orton avoiding a corner rush from Wyatt. Harper in with a clothesline and running elbow in the corner. He drops Wyatt with an axe-handle and hits a somersault senton. Wyatt and Rowan end up on the floor, so Harper follows with a tope suicida. Wyatt avoided the contact, letting Rowan take the blow, and lays Harper out with a clothesline. Wyatt with a running senton and Rowan with a splash for two. Rowan controls with a chin-lock. Whip to the ropes and Rowan with a twirling forward power-slam for two. Wyatt takes over putting the boots to Harper. Wyatt meets a boot in the corner, but recovers with a short-clothesline for two. Rowan with a slow-motion bulldog into the corner. JBL makes a Southpaw Regional Wrestling reference since NOTHING is happening. Rowan with an avalanche and dropkick for two. Orton finally gets the hot tag and plants Rowan with a snap power-slam. Wyatt prevents the draping DDT, only to get knocked to the apron and nailed with the DDT instead. The special effects flicker, and Wyatt has disappeared from the ring. Rowan attacks from behind, but Harper with a Super-Kick, and RKO out of Nowhere finishes at 8:19 (shown). ** Decent match, but a lot of these guys have poor chemistry (or maybe Rowan just sucks).

BONUS MATCH: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler:

Since I'm feeling it and someone was nice enough to record it and post it all over YouTube, I might as well see how little Shinsuke does and how much the crowd still eats it up with a spoon. Nice of them to keep the 205 Live logo on the ring screen. Ziggler hangs back in the corner to avoid contact. The crowd hums Nakamura's theme as we wait for first contact. Lockup into the ropes and Shinsuke hangs his head for some grooving, puzzling Ziggler. Nakamura with a knee to the midsection, snap mare, and jumping knee drop. Nakamura with Good Vibrations in the corner. Ziggler avoids a charge and connects with a dropkick for only a one count. "Shinsuke's gonna' kill you" chant. Ziggler rakes the eyes and hooks a chin-lock. Ziggler taunts the crowd with Nakamura's mannerism, so they chant "please don't do that." Ziggler does a balancing act on his head while holding onto another chin-lock. Something is happening in the crowd to distract people... Beach Ball Mania 2? Someone popped the ball, drawing "A**hole" chants, so good for him. Nakamura fights free, only to get kicked low. He gets the better of a slugfest and nails a pair of roundhouse kicks. Whip to the corner and he runs in with a high knee. Running knee to the midsection for two. Dolph avoids the Kinshasa and connects with a DDT for two. Nakamura blocks the Super-Kick, takes Ziggler over with a reverse Exploder, and the KINSHASA~! finishes at 8:29. Typical Dark Match. A few minutes of solid action wrapped around a long rest-spot.

Final Thoughts: Next week is the big shake-up of the rosters (or a handful of talent swapping brands), and Backlash isn't for six weeks, so there's a lot of time to develop storylines before we reach that point. Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt continues, with a House of Horrors Match challenge accepted, and there's unfinished business for Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin for the Intercontinental Title. Who knows the immediate future of the Women and Tag Title situations, and then you have the debuts of Shinsuke Nakamura and, to a lesser extent, Tye Dillinger, to add fresh talent to the roster. The big names mentioned moving from Smackdown to Raw are A.J. Styles and Alexa Bliss, with New Day and Charlotte possible returns. I'm all for Charlotte, since she adds a quality worker, but Smackdown needs a body to replace Styles at the top of the card, and simply adding Nakamura without something in return for Styles is weak sauce, especially with Cena gone for most of the year, and the depth chart weakening once we get by names like Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt.

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