After a recap of AJ Styles’ beatdown of Shane McMahon from last week we head to the back where AJ is meeting with Daniel Bryan. Bryan tells AJ that he is rehired and that Shane is currently on his way.
AJ then makes his way out to the ring and talks about how he has no remorse for what he did last week. AJ cuts an awesome promo accepting Shane’s challenge and calls himself untouchable because without him there is no Smackdown. He finishes by saying that he is going to meet Shane in the parking lot again tonight and beat him up again.
We go backstage again and Bryan is on the phone with Shane, only to get interrupted by Baron Corbin. Corbin asks if Dean Ambrose has accepted his challenge for Wrestlemania yet and then decides to take the night off. Bryan makes a match between Corbin and Randy Orton for tonight instead.
American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) (c) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) (WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
American Alpha has really failed to bring the spark that they had on NXT onto the main roster, I think partly because they haven’t been given the promo time to really show off their natural charisma. Meanwhile, the recent heel turn of The Usos has been perfectly executed and made them a million times more interesting to me.
This was a very strong title match helped by a very hot crowd, even if the opening was a little formulaic. Once things developed into more of a back and forth match these two teams knocked it out of the park, with The Usos pulling out some Revival-esque heel work. I am surprised the titles change happened this close to Wrestlemania, but with a match like that I am not going to complain. Jey Uso pins Jason Jordan with a Superkick ****
We get a backstage promo from Luke Harper on Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, and that next week he will destroy Bray.
After that we get an incredible parody of Total Bellas with The Miz and Maryse playing Cena and the Bellas. This was honestly one of the funniest promos I’ve seen in a while and nothing I can write here will give it the credit it deserves. Watch this.
Baron Corbin vs. Randy Orton
These two had a total nothing match until Dean Ambrose comes out, for some reason on a forklift, to distract Baron. Orton pins Corbin with an RKO **
After the match Ambrose tells Baron that he accepts his challenge for a title match at Wrestlemania and then hits him with Dirty Deeds.
After a commercial break Orton is being interviewed backstage about Bray Wyatt, when the lights begin to flicker. They go out and when they’re back Randy is surrounded by goons in Sheep masks and beaten up. Bray then comes out and tells Randy that he is now one with Sister Abigail and is stronger now for it. This entire feud is total silly B-movie stuff but that vibe kind of works for Bray, I am not sure how I feel about it all.
Fandango (w/Tyler Breeze) vs. John Cena (w/Nikki Bella)
Tyler Breeze is dressed up as Nikki Bella for some unexplained reason, although it is pretty funny. Cena makes quick work of Fandango, as you would hope, and Nikki takes out Tyler Breeze. Cena submits Fandango DUD
Becky Lynch vs. Carmella (w/James Ellsworth)
Natalya is out on commentary for this match, and she almost instantly attacks both women. Mickie James and then Alexa Bliss come out as all of the women brawl, with Alexa standing tall. I know the show is short but two quick segments like this back to back is a weird choice. No Contest DUD
We get a quick promo from Neville talking about his match with Mustafa Ali on 205Live, which should be a hoot.
We get Part 2 of the Total Bellas parody. It was just as awesome as the first part. I don’t believe the rumours that John Cena is going to propose to Nikki Bella after the Wrestlemania match, but considering how hard this parody was pushing the joke that Cena will never propose it must be the plan.
Shane McMahon then makes his way down to the ring, while AJ is still waiting for him in the parking lot. Shane is sporting a black eye and calls out AJ, who slowly makes his way to the ring. Like incredibly slowly. Once he gets to the ring, he tells Shane to calm down and he apologises for what he did. This was in nice contrast to AJ’s promo from the start of the show. Shane attacks AJ and the two brawl, ending with Shane putting AJ through the announce table with a diving elbow drop to end the show.
Smackdown has been a fun show since the brand split, and while this wasn’t the strongest episode it did give us the awesome tag match, some fun skits, and was just generally a breeze to watch. I still believe that the pacing of the show in the middle was a little bit off, but the important point still got over which is the key. None of the Smackdown Wrestlemania matches excite me on paper, but I have a perverse interest in the mixed tag match and AJ/Shane and both are at least being built well.
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