Heavy Hitters, Heavier Hearts – Smackdown Live Recap and Reaction – August 29, 2017

Before we get into the events of tonight’s Smackdown Live, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have already been victimized by Hurricane Harvey and with those in the continued path of nature’s rage along the gulf coast.  If it is within your means, please help as you can.  You can assist the Red Cross in their efforts by texting Harvey to 90999 to donate $10, or you can support JJ Watt’s efforts to aid the city he loves by going to YouCaring.com/JJWatt.

Now let’s get to tonight’s Smackdown from Little Rock, Arkansas, where we finally welcome back the US OPEN CHALLENGE!

Kevin Owens is finally out of chances, which means that AJ Styles can finally bring us the United States Open Challenge as it was previously presented by John Cena.  AJ Styles, being one of the most talented members on the roster, has the opportunity to really bring out some amazing talents and put on showcase matches without the burden of 50-50 booking or having to see the same damn match 900 times before a new feud is started and you get 900 of that match.  I’d really like to see this formula applied to more of the championships, the tag team championships in particular.  If The Usos and The Shield/The Bar want to claim that they own the tag team division on their respective shows, prove it.  Smackdown is flush with tag team talent that needs to screen time and love (cough, cough Breezango).

For our inaugural open match, AJ will take on………THE PERFECT TEN!  Tye Dillinger is the first to answer the call.

Or maybe not.  He gets jumped by Baron Corbin on his way to the ring.  AJ seems like he’s ready to wrestle Corbin, but Dillinger rebounds and knocks Corbin off the apron, demanding the referee start the match so that he gets the first opportunity.

The match was incredibly short, as AJ dodges a Tye Breaker and rolls into a Calf Crusher for the tap out.  After the match, Corbin continued to attack Dillinger but AJ takes him down when he attempts to get in the ring.  This whole thing was a shame and I really hope that Dillinger gets to respond to the call again down the line.  I sort of hate how he has kind of disappeared into the Smackdown roster even considering the mad pop he got when he debuted.

AJ Styles defeats Tye Dillinger in the first United States Open Challenge match of the new era.

That’s a big ass main event

Let’s open the show:

If you didn’t listen to our newest episode of the podcast, do it now.  If you did, then you know that we are all pretty damn high on both Jinder and Rusev, and if you have a pulse you’re a Nakamura fan.

Jinder opened the show already greased up and in ring attire instead of his typical suit and tie.  Jinder, who Wikipedia reminds us is a “Canadian Professional Wrestler”, wants to remind us all that we’re xenophobic Americans who judge him for his appearance.  That’s not really the case, which we also discuss on the podcast, but we don’t help our case when we feel the need to launch into a USA chant everytime he speaks.

The Singh Brothers apologize to an angry Jinder Mahal for their embarrassing loss last week in handicapped action against Nakamura.  This entire segment went on entirely too long before Nakamura interrupted it.  The Singh’s were knelt down to kiss Jinder’s feet, it was all too much, even the commentary team seemed lost trying to keep even the slightest conversation going.  Nakamura went into the lion’s den and found himself outnumbered 3 to 1, so Randy Orton came out to even the odds, but that just drew Rusev.  The four villains here put a beating on the good guys.

Following a commercial break, we find out that Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura will wrestle next week to determine the number one contender for Jinder’s title.

And the Match itself:

…was well underway when we came back from the commercial break prior to it.  What the hell, Smackdown?  We’re going to have to call this a 3-on-2 handicapped match, as I wouldn’t really call the Singh Brothers (at least not the Singh Brothers incarnation of the Bollywood Boyz) 2 people with these other 4 involved, but the distraction is there.  This was a pretty solid match all around, but in the end, Rusev experiences his first Kinshasa as Shinsuke and Orton pick up the victory.  Interested to see those two go one on one next week, and so is Randy Orton.  So much so that he ain’t waiting a week.  Shinsuke Nakamura takes an RKO Outta Nowhere during the post match celebration.

The Rest of the Show:

  • Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable def. The Ascension: So new American Alpha, with the re-debuting Shelton Benjamin, pick up the win like the old American Alpha tended to, because Chad Gable took a pretty solid beating before landing the hot tag.  At the very least, at least they’re going to have to acknowledge a third team in the title picture otherwise what was the point in even bringing Shelton Benjamin back into the fold for this.
  • Glorious Bobby Roode wins a squash match over Mike Kanellis via the Glorious DDT.  I don’t really have to go into any more detail than that.  I’m just glad that Kanellis is essentially Smackdown’s Curt Hawkins because that whole gimmick is a joke that hasn’t worked from the get go.  In any event, Smackdown is finally GLORIOUS!
  • Kevin Owens interrupts Aiden English, but not for a match.  The “Arkansas rednecks” aren’t cultured enough to appreciate his talents, so Owens aids English by saving him from wasting his time performing for deaf ears.  Owens is out to further the pending feud with Shane McMahon.  Shane is in attendance as well.  He lets KO know that he, much like the entire WWE Universe, is tired of hearing him complain.  He’s going to get jumped in a parking lot again to set up this match.  Shane tells him to get out of the way because Aiden English has a match against Sami Zayn.  Owens stays on commentary.
  • Aiden English def. Sami Zayn: Kevin Owens doesn’t stay on commentary, but rather jumps in the ring and takes the referee jersey off the official in the match, then lands a pop-up powerbomb on Sami Zayn and fast counts the pinfall for the English victory.
  • A Burger King commercial turns out to be a tribute to Sgt. Slaughter.
  • Dolph Ziggler is backstage with Dasha, where he reminds us that he exists and to make fun of everyone else’s gimmicks because it seems to be working for them but he has kind of disappeared after a decade of hard work.
    • Why has the Twitterverse been shitting on Dolph Ziggler so hard lately?  Of all the guys in WWE, at least I know that when he’s in a match he’s going to perform.  I like Ziggler a lot.  #GiveZigglerAChance.
  • The Usos beat The New Day on another blind tag finish via rollup.  Fresh off what I feel was the match of the weekend in Brooklyn, this match was for the opportunity to pick a stipulation for the title rematch.  If I had to guess, I would say it’s a solid wager that it will take place at the next Smackdown PPV inside Hell in a Cell, which will serve as the Usos Penitentiary.  Also, Xavier Woods is injured, so the Freebird Rule is out of play for a while and the tandem of Kofi and E will be working matches while he recovers.
  • The best the women’s division was given this week was Tamina winning a squash match against a jobber, so watch the Mae Young Classic, it is awesome.  Next week Natalya will take on Carmella (non-title) and in two weeks Naomi is cashing in her rematch clause.  Tamina is terrible.  Lana was apparently worse because now she’s relegated to being the hype man for Tamina.  The Jobber got a hell of a lot of love from the Little Rock crowd, probably because the alternative was Tamina.  I also think she murdered the jobber when she botched the simplest of things like tossing her opponent outside of the ring after the match….
  • The Fashion Files Season 2: I won’t break tradition just because we’re on season 2.  Watch the segment.


Final Thoughts and Reaction:

There was a lot here.  The lack of legitimate Women’s division representation is always disappointing.  Not letting Dillinger have a real opportunity at the United States Championship felt shi**y.  Main event was good, and that’s always important.  It was a B- show, but that’s completely acceptable.

I’ll be back tomorrow for 205 Live, and next week I’m running the gamut, as I take over Raw while Jeremy is in Europe for a few weeks.  So you can expect a slew of Matt Hardy and King Maxel photos, probably for no reason other than they’re damned adorable.

NOW GO WATCH 205 LIVE!  Then binge your way through the first round (episode 1-4) of the Mae Young Classic.