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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- May 23, 2017

by Scrooge McSuck

Jinder Mahal

- Presented live on the USA Network from Toledo, OH. Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted. We're two days removed from Backlash, and advertised for tonight is a big announcement from Shane McMahon concerning Money in the Bank, Smackdown Live's next exclusive Pay-Per-View/Network Special.

- We recap Jinder Mahal becoming the NEW WWE Champion. Yes, that really happened. "What does this mean for Smackdown Live?" Answer: Probably the lowest rating since the move to live Tuesdays. A police escort arrives to usher in Mahal and his undersized cronies. They've got a magic carpet, because why the f*ck not? Mahal does make a good "smells like poop" face, I'll give him that. Jinder-Mania is running mild!

- Shane McMahon comes out, hopefully to deliver the news of his big announcement after being reminded of the Mahal travesty (he's still better than '04 JBL. At least he didn't beat someone we adore like Eddie Guerrero). Randy Orton has asked for his rematch, and Money in the Bank will be in his hometown of St. Louis, MO. So much for Rusev getting the title opportunity he demanded and has since been ignored. Next point of business is the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, with the prize of a guaranteed contract to face the WWE Champion whenever he chooses to cash it in. Introducing the five participants... A.J. Styles, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, and Dolph Ziggler. Kevin Owens comes out, but he's NOT one of the five participants. It's really Shinsuke Nakamura. Well, that makes the roster depth issue even more of a concern to fill out the undercard, but the Network is only $9.99, so why bother trying?

Kevin Owens is upset over the snub, despite being victorious at Backlash, while his opponent that lost is in the match. He says Shane is jealous that KO beat Styles when he couldn't do the same at WrestleMania. Shane says that because of his performance, he will also be in the Ladder Match. Corbin cuts Owen off, with a malfunctioning microphone (you want to borrow mine?!), demanding the briefcase be awarded to him now and save us time. Styles interrupts his huffing and blowing to remind us this is the House that A.J. Styles Built™. He calls Owens the WWE version of Eric Cartman, along with referencing everyone else's nicknames. Thank goodness, he didn't call Shinsuke "The Artist." Corbin calls Zayn a "Rudy" who is cashing in one good moment and he'll ride it for the rest of his life. Zayn offers to beat him again, and we won't have to wait until Money in the Bank. Owens tells them both to shut up, and Dolph tells him to shut up. He's the only one in the ring who actually has won a Money in the Bank, and he's going to do it again. He singles out Dolph and says he can call him "Mr. Money in the Bank." Shane calms things down and says tonight, there will be a Backlash rematch between Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn, and in the Main Event, Dolph Ziggler and Kevin Owens takes on A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.

Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair (w/ Naomi) vs. The Welcoming Committee:

I'm shocked we aren't getting a straight-up rematch from Backlash. Natalya and Carmella are representing the team, because there's no faith in Tamina being useful in the ring. Naomi doesn't even get her own entrance, that's how important her title reign is. Sorry, I'm harping on it, but it's true. Becky and Carmella start. Carmella with a side headlock takeover, but Becky counters on the follow through. Crisscross, they fight over a hip toss until Becky takes Carmella over with a back slide. Becky with the finishing half of a sunset flip. Natalya runs in, but Charlotte knocks her out with a dropkick. The match continues in a split-screen for commercials. Becky surprises Carmella with a baseball slide. Becky gets tripped up, allowing Carmella to take control. She slams Becky into her shoe and hits the Bronco Buster for a two count. Natalya with a snap suplex for two. Becky escapes a chin-lock, but gets carried back into the heel corner for some double mud stompin'.

We return from the "commercial break", with Becky fighting out of another chin-lock, only to get caught in the corner, again. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Becky kicks out and tags Charlotte. She runs wild with chops. Neck breaker and big boot gets two. Charlotte goes to the top rope, but Tamina's distraction allows Natalya to come from behind with a release German Suplex. Becky tags back in and comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Carmella with a forearm and slap. Becky quickly goes for the Disarm-Her, and despite Ellsworth's efforts to make the save, foiled by Naomi with the world's worst kick, Carmella taps at 7:40. Most of the match would've taken place during the commercial. ** This was fine. I like the idea of showing the match during the commercials, but my eye-sight isn't the best for split-screen.

Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin:

Backlash ReMatch, and like the last match, I don't doubt the likelihood of the Backlash loser going over tonight to balance out the 50/50 booking. Only the end of Zayn's entrance is shown, which means we're rushed for time. Lockup and Corbin with a Biel throw across the ring. Corbin goes to follow up, but Zayn with a school boy... for three at 0:25?! Post-match, Corbin attacks from behind and stomps away. He tosses Sami to the floor and throws him into the timekeeper's area. Corbin with a chair shot across the back, knocking him into the crowd, now. He carries Sami around and drops him across one of the equipment tables. The punishment continues, with Corbin pounding across the back of his neck, with Sami's head resting across the security barricade. And NOW the referees determine that's enough.

- A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura bond backstage. Tonight, they'll be teaming up for the first time. Styles refers to their past in Japan. Nakamura says tonight they're a team, but at Backlash, he's turning Styles' house into his playground.

- The Fashion Files: The Final Report, with the Fashion Police, Breezango (they should just officially go with the other name, but you know, Breezango is too creative to let go). The Mean Street Posse is wanted for Gang Activity. Shane McMahon is standing by, and here come Breezango, who understand if he wants their badges back. "Their Day One is H must've been stronger than ours." They hand over their guns, too (water guns). Tyler starts dropping his trousers, but Shane cuts him off and says they've earned their spots on Smackdown Live and they'll both be in singles action with the "Uggos".

- Jinder Mahal's Punjabi Celebration is NEXT. I don't know what Punjabi celebrations, so I'll accept this as the most authentic Punjabi Celebration that could ever possibly be conceived. JBL thinks it's awesome, only because it rivals him for worst "first time" WWE Champion ever crowned. Deep down, I wish they would use him as a new Iron Sheik, and job him in 4 ½ minutes to a REAL Champion. Mahal is still on his kick about being disrespected for looking and talking different. I just noticed his custom plates is just generic "Jinder Mahal." I guess it's better than my suggestion, a coiled-up turd. Mahal continues his promo in Punjabi. I'm seriously surprised there wasn't an interruption.

- Lana is still coming soon to Smackdown Live.

Tyler Breeze (w/ Fandango) vs. Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso):

It's been a while since we've had the half and half of a tag team rivalry in matches like this. Breeze is still holding onto their box of what I'm assuming is evidence or disguises. Jey immediately grabs the microphone, complaining they don't deserve another match. Fandango with a distraction via water pistol, and Tyler rolls him up for three at 0:25. Well, that would be cool for a finish if we didn't see the surprise roll-up half-an-hour ago!

Fandango (w/ Tyler Breeze) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso):

Jimmy with a boot and uppercut. Breeze plays around with Jey, using handcuffs, leading to a game of cat and mouse. This distracts Jimmy, and Fandango rolls him up too at 0:47. What is with these cheap roll-up finishes tonight? Post-match, Fandango has a microphone malfunction. He says the Usos look like they've been caught wearing white after Labor Day. They want another shot at the titles, unless the Usos are afraid that a couple of real men will look better with titles around their waists. The Usos want the match... RIGHT NOW!

WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Usos © vs. Breezango:

That was quick decision making by Shane McMahon. Jimmy blitzes Tyler with a running clothesline as the match begins during the commercial break. The Usos double-team Breeze in their corner, and Jimmy slams down their box of props in disgust. HOW DARE THEY! They hit their version of the Decapitation, but still don't bother going for a cover. Jey with a Super-Kick to the midsection and a chin-lock as we return from the split-screen. Fandango gets the tag and unloads on Jey with jabs and clotheslines. Jey puts the breaks on but runs into a spinning heel kick. Fandango with a Tornado DDT for two. Jey counters a suplex and sends Fandango shoulder-first to the post. Double Super-Kick to Breeze, Double Super-Kick to Fandango. Fandango gets the knees up on a Splash and cradles Jimmy for two. Fandango with the Last Dance, but Jey follows with the Splash from a blind tag, and that finishes at 5:48. Did Tyler get concussed on the floor or something for the last two minutes? ** Another decent match, but not enough time to mean more than that. This probably means the end of anything meaningful for Breezango. Bring on the New Day!

- Shane McMahon is on the phone, but Natalya walks in to ask for a shot at the Women's Title Match, especially since she was victorious at Backlash. James Ellsworth interrupts and says she belongs at the back of the line, because Carmella has pinned Naomi twice. Becky interrupts that, and says it's her title to reclaim. Tamina says all of them had their chances, and now it's her turn, but Tamina laughs her off because she's too busy giving him the goo-goo eyes. Charlotte makes the final interruption, and I'm assuming we'll get another Five-Way Match booked, and next week, they'll have an Elimination Match, with the winner facing Naomi at Money in the Bank.

A.J. Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens & Dolph Ziggler:

TV Main Event. They DON'T show the entrances for anyone but Kevin Owens. I guess he's the Champion, so it kind of makes sense. Styles and Ziggler (wearing a shirt) start. Lockup and a series of chain wrestling counters. Crisscross, Styles avoids a dropkick and connects with his own. Nakamura tags in, but Ziggler wants nothing to do with "The Artist", and tags out to KO. Nakamura interrupts his trash talking with strikes, but Owens quickly bails to avoid a Kinshasa... and now we take a commercial break without the split-screen?

We return from the break, with Nakamura annoying Owens with his unorthodox style. He takes KO over with a snap mare and drops a knee across the chest. Into the corner with Good Vibrations. Owens hangs him up across the top rope and stomps away. Ziggler in, raking the eyes across the top rope. Nakamura with forearms, but Ziggler goes to the knee and hits a booty-shaking neck breaker for a one count. Nakamura fights out of a chin-lock, but gets thrown down by the hair. Ziggler ties him up, allowing Owens to come in to pick up where he left off. Owens with a snap mare and knee to the back. Shinsuke fights out of another chin-lock, but Owens cuts the comeback short. Owens with a running clothesline and Cannonball for two.

We come back from our last commercial break, with Nakamura surprising Ziggler with a roll up for two. Ziggler quickly comes back with a dropkick for two. Owens with a senton for two. Dolph misses a charge, meeting the post instead. Styles finally gets the hot tag. He hits Ziggler with the Phenomenal Blitz and sliding forearm for two. Ushigoroshi for two. Styles calls for the Styles Clash, but Owens with a distraction, allowing Ziggler to drop him across the top rope. He tosses Styles out of the ring, and Owens quickly follows with a senton. Styles fights out of a chin-lock, but gets taken over with a high back drop. Ziggler sets Styles up across the top turnbuckle, but Styles slips through the legs and connects with an inverted face-buster. Nakamura with the hot tag and unloads on Owens with strikes. Whip to the corner, he sets Owens across the rope and hits a running knee lift for two. Owens blocks the reverse Exploder, but gets caught with the follow-through spinning heel kick for two. Ziggler goes for the Famouser, but Shinsuke tosses him with the reverse Exploder. Styles with the Pele Kick to Owens. Ziggler with the Super-Kick to Styles. Shinsuke knocks Dolph out of the ring with a dropkick, and the KINSHASA~! finishes Owens at 17:00 (shown). ***1/4 Standard house show main event, with not a heck of a lot happening, but they were still putting on a solid effort until the big finish. You'd think more would have been done to hype Shinsuke's TV in-ring debut, but I digress. I just want to see Styles vs. Nakamura in a WWE ring, and I'm sure we will see it sooner than later.

Final Thoughts: Interesting show this week, with a few highs and lows. The top of the card for Money in the Bank has already been declared, and now we're going to get three more weeks of random combinations of the six men involved in the Ladder Match. Randy Orton couldn't be bothered to make an appearance to get some sort of redemption against Mahal, especially when we've come to expect interruptions for these kinds of celebrations. The Women's Division is already desperately in need of moving on to a new Champion, but I feel like they're holding off on Charlotte for whatever reason. Breezango won two quick falls before losing a title rematch, so who knows where that leaves them. Still better off than American Alpha, obviously. No mention of the New Day, no mention of Rusev... Better week than we've seen lately, but still some things that could use tweaking.

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