Smackdown Live! continues proving a 2-hour weekly show is easier to take in than 3-hours. Jinder Mahal is in the Title Picture, and while that’s somewhat surreal, it works. Now we have Tyler Breeze and Fandango finally getting their shine. I’m glad I tuned into Smackdown again this week.

Opening with Nakamura and Ziggler was fine, but I was tuned out until Nakamura pronounced “Ziggler” on the mic. The longer Nakamura is around, the stronger his English will be, and the better we’ll all be for it. Giving him the Baron Corbin treatment (AKA: staring feud with Dolph) is no surprise, but I think these two will put on a much better show than Corbin/Dolph.

A.J. Styles versus Baron Corbin (Kevin Owens on Commentary)

With the split rosters, AJ and Corbin may be one of my favorite current possible match-ups. They seem to compliment one another perfectly in style/size/experience. The chokeslam-into-backbreaker is a nice variation, and addition to Corbin’s moveset. Another quality TV match between these two, even if it ended in a roll-up victory. The post-match beating from Baron/KO was funny, and led to some Sami Zayn. Nothing wrong with that. We’ll see how it goes at the PPV on Sunday.

Beat the Clock Challenge: American Alpha versus Primo & Epico

Usually I’m pretty hard on commentary, but JBL/Phillips/Otunga actually did a good job of telling the story of “BEATING THE CLOCK”. Primo and Epico may still have worked their normal routine, but at least JBL said it was the wrong strategy, as it was to slow the pace of the match. “The Grand Amplitude” as a reversal was well spotted.

Time to Beat: 5:17

Rusev claims he’s getting a Title Match at Money in the Bank, so there’s hope for him being a WORLD CHAMPION.

The most boring stable in wrestling interrupts Becky Lynch, who I had muted anyway. WWE promos are tough on the ears these days.

No DQ Match: Randy Orton versus Erick Rowan

Flat-out brawl. WWE has done a good job of giving Orton an interesting run. Smackdown in-general seems to add gimmicks to matches more commonly than Raw, which keeps it feeling fresh. The commercial break really messed up the story, as Rowan had just gone through a table, but was in-control when the show returned from break. The RK-OLE’ finish was predictable, but fits Erick Rowan’s seemingly stupid character.

Orton and Jinder took turns cutting monologues, and then the Bollywood Boys helped jump RKO. Jinder winning the title might be more interesting than Orton’s run, but I wonder who would he go up against after?

Beat the Clock Challenge: The Ascension vs FaBreeze (AKA: Breezango)

The second beat the clock match rarely fails, and that theme maintains here, as FaBreeze are the new Smackdown #1 Contenders. I guess American Alpha and The Colons have their own feud to deal with before either moves on to The Usos. I’ve been wanting to see more FaBreeze since they were teamed up last year, and this may be the storyline that gets them going.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi (C) versus Charlotte Flair

The champion entered first…

Another match ravaged by commercials. Naomi is clearly athletic, but her offensive is pretty lame. The fast kick combo, the #AssBasedOffense, and really not much else. Charlotte brings all the stuff she got from her dad, crazy moonsaults to the outside, a powerbomb in this match, and more each week. Charlotte Flair continues to be the best female WWE has to offer.

I figured the Lame Gang would come interrupt this match, and they basically saved Naomi’s title reign. It was funny seeing Charlotte and Ellsworth in the same segment.

Top 3 Stars of SD Live!

  • * FaBreeze/Breezango: Finally earned their own title shot!
  • ** Jinder Mahal: Starting to make people believe as he escaped in his SUV Limo WITH the WWE Title.
  • *** Erick Rowan: Hung with The Viper in a battle. Did a good job of softening Orton up for Bray in a loss.