This week on Smackdown Live, Dolph Ziggler squares off against Kevin Owens. WWE Champion AJ Styles battles Baron Corbin in a non-title match.
World Wrestling Entertainment presents Smackdown Live
From: Phoenix, AZ
WWE Champion AJ Styles kicks off Smackdown Live promoting the Fastlane main event, which is now a fatal five way match. Styles knows he can beat any man he wrestles against, but this match brings a different kind of challenge. He basically doesn’t have to be pinned in order to lose the title. AJ knows that in a one on one match he can beat anyone that steps up to him.
Baron Corbin makes his way out and reminds Styles that he defeated Styles the last time they wrestled each other. Thus, Corbin believes he has AJ’s number. AJ is an athlete, but Corbin is a fighter. Kevin Owens comes out and says he’s going to win the title. Owens doesn’t think Baron is tough, but is reminded that Baron beat him last week. Styles chimes in and says that Owens has to have Sami Zayn cut off from his back. Owens says that Sami let him down last week, and blames Shane McMahon for that.
Shane McMahon comes out and says we don’t want talking but rather action. Thus, Shane books two singles matches. Styles will fight Corbin in a non-title match while Owens will battle Dolph Ziggler in singles match. Oh, and that match will be next.
Opening Contest: Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens: Ziggler goes after Owens with right hands and takes him down to the mat. Owens slams Ziggler face first onto the announcers table but Ziggler stops Owens with a quick dropkick before going back to the floor. Ziggler slams Owens face onto the announcers table and they get back into the ring. Ziggler counters a slam and dropkicks Owens. They go to the floor where Owens sends Ziggler back first into the guard railing. Ziggler dropkicks Owens off the apron to the floor. Owens sends Ziggler ribs first into the apron to get the advantage. Owens misses a senton splash. Ziggler takes Owens over with a snap suplex. Ziggler rubs Owens eyes over the top rope. Ziggler cuts Owens off with an uppercut but misses a splash and hits the corner. Owens hits a cannonball splash for a two count as we go to split screen commercial.
During the break, Owens kept control of Ziggler with a senton splash for a two count and kept Ziggler on the mat with a sleeper. Ziggler and Owens crash to the floor after Ziggler had a sleeper hold on Owens as we return to full screen. Ziggler plants Owens with a jumping DDT. Ziggler uppercuts Owens and Owens goes shoulder first into the corner and Ziggler hits a swinging neckbreaker. Owens blocks a superkick with a gut buster and a middle rope elbow drop for a two count. Ziggler stops Owens on the top rope but gets shoved off the top. Owens goes for a swanton but Ziggler gets his knees up. Ziggler connects with the Fame-Asser managing only a two count! Ziggler avoids the pop-up powerbomb to hit the Zig-Zag for another two count. Ziggler splashes Owens in the corner but Sami Zayn’s music hits and distracts Ziggler. Zayn runs towards the ring but stops. Owens superkicks Ziggler from behind and wins the match. (***. I hate the distraction finish. This felt like a moment where Ziggler needed to win to continue to build moment towards Fastlane. Despite his lack of stable momentum, Ziggler has managed to get the crowd invested in his wrestling as evident here. There were several good near falls and the action as solid throughout. I think the wrong guy went over.)
Jinder Mahal makes his way out to cut a promo and says he has a secret about WWE United States Champion, Bobby Roode. The secret is that Roode has his own Top Ten List and Roode is at the top. Mahal and Orton aren’t even on the list! Mahal believes that Roode think he’s the new legend killer, but Mahal has respect for Orton. Roode makes his way out and assures us the list is fake and that Mahal is desperate to be US Champion to the point that he’s trying to cause friction between Roode and Orton. Mahal wants Roode to admit that he thinks he’s better than Orton. Roode isn’t going to say that and says this is about them and not Orton. Eventually, Orton comes out and attacks Mahal leading to Roode hitting a DDT on Orton but Mahal takes the champ out with Khallas to end the segment. I was hoping I was wrong about the triple threat match.
Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are arguing over who should be challenging Roode. They bicker and Shane says it’s going to be Orton and that’s final.
Second Contest: The Riott Squad (Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan) vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte, Naomi & Becky Lynch: Charlotte and Logan start the match and the champ wants a piece of Ruby. Naomi tags into the match and rubs her butt into Logan’s face in the corner. Logan stops Naomi with a shoulder block but misses a couple punches. Naomi kicks Logan on the leg and tags in Lynch. Logan is hip tossed by Becky and Naomi. Becky continues with a twisting legdrop. Logan yanks Lynch down by her hair and tags in Riott. Lynch counters a double suplex attempt and dropkicks the ladies with Naomi. Morgan gets involved but gets clotheslined by Charlotte as we go to commercial.
Lynch arm drags Riott a couple of times and keeps control of her left arm. Naomi gets a sunset flip on Riott for a two count. Morgan tags in and gets a rollup on Naomi for a two count. Morgan and Naomi shoulder block each other but they don’t budge. Naomi bulldogs Morgan over the middle turnbuckle and hits a split legged moonsault.
Naomi takes Riott and Morgan out with a dive to the floor but Morgan sends Naomi into the ring steps for a two count. Logan enters and has a modified cobra clutch on the mat but Naomi isn’t giving up. Logan decks Naomi with an elbow strike and continues to stomp on Naomi. Logan prevents a tag but Naomi hits a head scissors to break away. Naomi tags in Charlotte and the champ cleans house taking everyone out. Charlotte chops Logan several times followed by a knee lift. Charlotte delivers a neckbreaker and a running boot. Morgan gets kicked off the apron and Logan chop blocks Charlotte’s left leg. Charlotte kicks Morgan away and Lynch heads to the top rope hitting a missile dropkick. Riott misses a clothesline and Lynch delivers a heel kick followed by an exploder suplex. Lynch tosses Riott with another suplex and clotheslines Riott. Lynch tries an armbar and counters a rollup with the Disarmer. Morgan makes the save but Charlotte tosses Morgan with a suplex. Logan kicks Naomi and Lynch sends Logan to the floor. Riott delivers the Riott Kick for the win. (**1/4. They all worked a fine match and did a good job with the amount of time they were given. It appears that Riott is going to be the next person to challenge Charlotte for the title. She needs the momentum and a victory helps in that regard.)
Backstage, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens meet up and are glad they are back on the same page. Zayn says that Owens needs his guardian angel to have his back. Zayn promises to take care of anyone in the match for Owens. Zayn also says when the time is right he’ll lay down for Owens, which confuses Owens.
Third Contest: Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin vs. The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E) in a number one contenders match: Woods and Gable start the match with both men avoiding attacks with leapfrogs. Woods gets the first offensive move with a clothesline for a one count. Woods runs into a kick from Benjamin on the apron and Benjamin delivers a spinebuster for a near fall. Benjamin scoop slams Woods but Woods is able to fight back with strikes and a boot to the gut. Benjamin nails Woods with a running knee strike as we go to a split screen commercial.
During the break, Gable keeps control of Woods and nearly wins the match. Benjamin puts Woods on the top turnbuckle but Woods fights back with strikes. Benjamin nails Woods with a leaping knee strike. Woods knocks Benjamin off the middle rope and hits a missile dropkick. Gable and Big E get the tags and Big E tosses Gable with overhead suplexs. Gable counters to hit a belly to belly suplex on Big E! Gable nearly wins the match and argues with the referee. Gable heads to the top rope and lands on his feet. Big E plants Gable with a slam in the corner. Big E goes for the Big Ending but Gable avoids it. Big E gets punched on the middle rope and Benjamin tags in holding Big E as Kofi gets on the apron. Gable hits a modified bulldog but Woods makes the save on the cover. Woods sends Gable to the floor and Woods decks Benjamin followed by a shining wizard for the win. (*1/2. The finish is certainly going to continue the angle of Gable and Benjamin getting screwed over. New Day and Usos are capable of a great match, but they need to be able to have a bigger tag division and fresher matches. I would have preferred Gable and Benjamin to win here and finish their feud against the Usos at Fastlane.)
Following the tag match, the Bludgeon Brothers make their entrance.
Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte will put the title on the line against Ruby Riott. That quickly becomes official for Fastlane.
Fourth Contest: The Bludgeon Brothers (Luke Harper & Erick Rowan) vs. John & Joe Doe: As you might expect, the Bludgeon Brothers dominate the match and win with a double crucifix powerbomb.
Backstage, Baron Corbin cuts a cellphone promo about how he is better than AJ Styles and that’s the truth about him. He’s going to be the new WWE Champion at Fastlane.
A video package promoting Shinsuke Nakamura is aired. He’ll be challenging the WWE Champion at WrestleMania, whomever that may be.
Main Event: WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin in a non-title match: Styles starts the match with several kicks to Corbin’s legs and right hands in the corner. Corbin misses a clothesline in the corner and Styles chops him several times. Corbin drops Styles with a forearm strike as we see Dolph Ziggler watching on a big television. Corbin knee lifts AJ but AJ fights back with a few chops. Corbin tosses Styles to the apron where AJ attempts a sunset flip but has to switch to hitting a dropkick and a running forearm to a seated Corbin. Baron bails to the floor to regroup. Corbin catches Styles on the floor hitting a backbreaker as we go to commercial.
Corbin slides to the floor in the corner but quickly comes back in and decks Styles with a lariat for a two count. Corbin keeps control of Styles on the mat with a headlock. Styles sends Corbin face first into the top turnbuckle and Corbin misses a spear hitting the ring post shoulder first. Styles sends Corbin to the floor with a baseball slide dropkick. Styles nails Corbin with a sliding knee strike on the apron. Corbin tosses Styles onto the announcers table but Styles quickly gets up and hits a slingshot forearm for a near fall! Corbin slams Styles for a near fall. Corbin forearms Styles on the top turnbuckle a few times but AJ is able to strike Corbin off. Corbin avoids AJ coming off the top and plants AJ with Deep Six for a two count. AJ counters the End of Days and locks in the Calf Crusher. Corbin is able to break free from the hold by driving the champ head first onto the canvas. Corbin grabs Styles attempting a springboard forearm and Corbin says that AJ can’t beat him. AJ punches Corbin away and hits the Phenomenal Forearm for the win. (***. I thought it was just as good as the opening match. Corbin held his own in there pretty well and they had an entertaining match. I was kind of thinking Corbin would win to give him a big victory heading to Fastlane.) After the match, Sami and Owens attack Styles knocking the champ to the floor. They go to the announcers table but Corbin plants Zayn and Owens with End of Days.
Smackdown Live was a solid show this week as they setup several matches for Fastlane and had several entertaining matches on the show. Fastlane doesn’t have my interest like Elimination Chamber does, but I’m holding out hope they can get me there.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.