It’s going to be a busy two hours of SmackDown, coming at us live from Louisville, Kentucky! We’ve got a bunch of #1 contenders to figure out, as SmackDown moves on and looks ahead toward Backlash (even though it’s World Champion and United States Champion are doing battle on the RAW-exclusive Payback in a couple weeks). So, without further adieu, let’s dive right in.
Best Match of the night:
I’d argue we had a couple. I can’t and won’t pick between the two, so I will just offer them both up.
First, the six pack challenge. I always tend to come into these kinds of matches with apprehension, because they do have a tendency to break down into something more like a car wreck than a wrestling match. It happens, I mean, you have six guys, all trying to get in a spot or two for television, so what are you going to do? This one worked out OK, and I suppose gets some help on the list based on the surprising and unexpected winner.
The second, I’d go with the main event. AJ is just an incredible performer, and Corbin will be too, given some more seasoning (he’s already very good). And, I think it’s safe to say that the match was used, or will be used, to set up a triple threat match for the United States title, assuming Owens retains in a couple weeks. If that’s the case, it could be a very good match…but man, is WWE on a triple threat binge or what?
Worst match of the night:
Kevin Owens and his “Face of America Open Challenge”. Don’t get me wrong, the gimmick itself is kind of funny and interesting. But it was a jobber match against a local guy, and when Owens got on the mic after like 30 seconds of a match, he called the fans/crowd out of shape, but he sounded gassed himself.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
This is awesome
Star of the Night
Folks, believe me when I say I never, EVER, expected to type this one in here…but by virtue of his six pack victory, perhaps (more like absolutely?) his biggest victory of his career thus far…I give you…Jinder Mahal.
Spot of the Night:
Not a whole lot that really wowed me. Some nice action during the main event, but not much that screamed “spot of the night”
Jobber of the Night:
Gary Gandy, from Louisville, Kentucky. I apologize if I mis-spelled the name, but you get the idea, and you all know who I am talking about. Poor guy got fed to Kevin Owens.
Upset of the Night:
Jinder Mahal winning the six pack challenge. I know, it also wins our next award…but seriously, folks, this one has to be one of the biggest surprise wins of the year. Like, it’s mid-April, and I don’t know if another upset win could top this one (unless, of course, they actually put the belt on Mahal at their next PPV?)
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Jinder Mahal will face Randy Orton at Backlash.
Sorry folks. This is NOT an April Fools joke. It is not a misprint. It is not a typo. Now, while his physique looks impressive (perhaps, a little too impressive?), unless WWE is just desperate to sell subscriptions in India (entirely possible, would not be the first time they pandered to a geographical region), this one is just baffling. Like, why on Earth, how on Earth, did Jinder Mahal warrant a WWE Championship shot-on a PPV, no less-when I can’t even remember the last time he was vying for a lesser singles title or a tag title.
Botch of the night:
Maybe not a botch or two, but I thought the Charlotte-Naomi tilt was a bit sloppy, if nothing else. There was one exchange where Naomi did her handstand, but instead of it looking like she was being innovative with offense, it looked more like she was just waiting for the expected Charlotte move. And then (this is definitely more sloppy than botch), there was the whole exchange that ultimately, sloppily, sent both women to the outside over the top rope. Either there was a missed communication as to how that was supposed to go…or they goofed. I cannot believe it was supposed to look that awkward.
Commentary of the night:
Byron, give the man a chair, hes the Face of America.
(I will admit, I was looking kind of forward to a new face on SmackDown’s booth, but it didn’t change much. And, apparently I was oblivious until like last week, about the whole Mauro/JBL saga…and now that I’ve learned a bit about it, it makes me kind of very surprised that Layfield is still on TV. Unless WWE brass didn’t like Ranallo anyways, I would have thought a Cole-for-Ranallo swap would have made sense, though Cole might not have wanted to switch. Or, WWE could have just ditched the flip-flopping JBL and gone with a more honest-to-God heel announcer, but one who people actually want to work with.)
LOL Moment of the night:
For me, it was KO, post-match, berating the fans for being out of shape (honestly, when he started, I thought he was channeling his inner Rick Rude). It made me laugh, however, because he sounded winded after what was like a 25 second match. I think it was over in even less time than his Goldberg match.
Nice of WWE to acknowledge the passing of Rosey, Roman Reigns’ older brother.
Primo and Epico have looked good two weeks in a row. I would have to say it’s a good thing they ditched the timeshare gimmick when they swapped brands. Seriously, whoever thought that one up should be drug tested.
It would appear the Bollywood Boys have shown up on SmackDown.
Charlotte, like former SmackDown champ Alexa Bliss, earned a title shot in her first opportunity to do so.
Do I sense a Styles/Corbin/Owens match for the US Title?
The writing wasn’t great. As others have pointed out, the opening segment between Naomi and Charlotte felt, at times, to be really awkward. And while I am fully aware of the partnership between USA, WWE and Universal, the Fast and Furious plug was just bad.
The six pack. The main event.
On Mahal’s win, I say this: it was not expected, but at the same time, that’s kind of really why the win is so awesome. If you had asked 10,000 WWE fans if, before tonight, they ever expected to see Mahal fighting for a World Title (or, even the right to fight for one), I think 10,000 of those fans would have said no way.
After the final bell:
It was certainly an interesting show. It started off awkward, which was surprising considering you started the show with Charlotte and Naomi. But, it flowed pretty well the rest of the way through, and we got a few really good matches this evening. Win-win.