Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, & Byron Saxton
It’s more Fastlane build this week as The Miz takes on Jey Uso and…other things related to the PPV happen, I think. Also R-Truth is here for another U.S. Title open challenge so that’ll be fun! Anyway let’s get to it.
- WWE CHAMPION: ‘The New’ Daniel Bryan
- WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPION: R-Truth
- SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPION: Asuka
- SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
- The Miz vs. Jey Uso (**)
- OPEN CHALLENGE: R-Truth [c] vs. Samoa Joe vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio for the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/2)
- Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. The Bar (**1/2)
- Naomi vs. Mandy Rose (NR)
- Kevin Owens vs. Rowan (NR)
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan and Rowan make their way out to open the show. Bryan’s got himself a fancy puffy vest, like a wilderness Marty McFly. Bryan gestures to the TitanTron and we get a video recap of Kofi Kingston being replaced at Fastlane by Kevin Owens last week, as well as Kingston and Owens beating Bryan and Rowan in the main event. Back live Bryan says he remained silent last week while everything happened but this week it’s his turn to speak and demands silence. Rowan tells the crowd to shut up as well as to open their ears for the enlightenment of D-Bry. Crowd responds with respectful si-just kidding, we get ‘Kofi’ chants. Bryan says he’s not here to talk about Kofi Kingston because he’s nothing but a supporting player and is where he should be: with The New Day on a promotional tour of India. Bryan lays into Kevin Owens, saying he doesn’t deserve a shot at the WWE Championship because he’s a nobody; but that also makes him dangerous for a nobody has nothing to lose. Bryan says he has everything to lose because he’s the PLANET’S CHAMPION.
Kevin Owens interrupts Bryan mid-rant. Owens says he spent the last five months on the shelf watching the product like a fan, but everything Bryan has done made him sick. Owens says Bryan deserves to have his condescending mouth shut and he’ll be the one who will do it. Bryan calls Owens ’empty calories’, Owens admonishes him for resorting to low-brow fat jokes. Bryan says Owens is the low-brow one which is why the fans relate to him. Owens mocks Bryan’s reality show and Rowan, Bryan says the reason he doesn’t have a 7 footer in his corner because he’s out of friends. Owens agrees, saying the loss of his friends was his fault, but he didn’t need anyone to pin him clean last week. Owens says he never meant to take Kofi’s opportunity but it’s his intention to take the WWE Title at Fastlane. Owens enters the ring, Rowan stands between them. Owens attacks, Bryan escapes the Stunner and sends him right into the claw of Rowan who slams him to the mat.
- I enjoyed this segment. I’m glad Kevin Owens is back, though it’ll take some time to get used to him as a face. He’s good in the role but he’s been such a jerk for his entire NXT/WWE run that I gotta adjust.
–The Usos make their way out to the ring. Immediate shade thrown at The Miz and Shane McMahon. Jimmy Uso is sick of the Miz/Shane bromance and does a DEAD-ON MIZ IMPRESSION then mocks Shane for wanting to jump off everything. This is great. We don’t deserve The Usos.
–The Miz and Shane McMahon are out next to retort, I guess we’ve got some time to fill on this show. Shane says their passion and wear their hearts on their sleeve but it makes them the best tag team in the world. Miz tells Jey if he loses focus for ONE SECOND he will exploit and beat him. Miz vows to make Shane and his Dad proud at Fastlane. The Usos try to attack but Miz and McMahon clear them from the ring as we go to picture-in-picture commercial.
The Miz [w/ Shane McMahon] vs. Jey Uso [w/ Jimmy Uso]
Jey with a side headlock, Miz escapes and gets taken down with a shoulderblock. Miz dodges a superkick but gets clotheslined out to the floor, Jey following up with a suicide dive. UUUUUUUCE. Jey rolls Miz in and locks in an armbar. Miz escapes via right hand, Jey gets sent to the apron. Miz slides under his legs and trips him up, sending Jey head-first into the apron. Miz rams Jey into the announce table and rolls him back in, connecting with a flying double axhandle for a two-count. Miz quickly transitions into a chinlock so the commercial break should be ending soon.
HEY I WAS RIGHT! Jey escapes the chinlock and connects with a spinning kick to the mush. Jey ducks a clothesline, Miz escapes a Samoan Drop and connects with back-to-back double knees in the corner. Jey counters the seated clothesline with a backslide for the 1…2…Miz kicks out and plants Jey with a DDT for the 1…2…Jey kicks out. Jey counters a Skull Crushing Finale with a Samoan Drop followed by a hip splash. Miz tries to counter the Superfly Splash with his feet but Jey catches them. Jey rolls Miz up, Jimmy tries to give him extra leverage but Miz still kicks out. Shane takes out Jimmy, Jey gets distracted and falls victim to the Skull Crushing Finale for the 1…2…3.
The Miz defeated Jey Uso via pinfall with the Skull Crushing Finale (5:03)
- Decent match. Miz said he would take advantage if Jey lost focus and he did just that, so it’s nice to see him practice what he preaches. I hope The Usos wipe the floor with them on Sunday though they are SO MUCH BETTER. (**)
–Kayla Braxton is backstage with Charlotte Flair. Flair dares Becky Lynch to come and have a “friendly discussion” with her tonight. WOOOOO WINK. Alright. Lynch got wrecked by Ronda Rousey last night so we’ll see what kind of shape The Man is in.
-US Champ R-Truth and Carmella make their way out to the ring. After a commercial break R-Truth says he wants to be like his childhood hero John Cena, but he didn’t realize Cena issued an Open Challenge every single week. Truth is already tired after doing this once. Truth says he sees John Cena everywhere, from the poster in his bedroom to a movie about an alien robot car (HA!). Carmella says Truth has to be brave…after the DANCE BREAK. Awesome. The Challenge starts NOW and it’s…Lacey Evans? Well obviously not but she’s here to strut anyway. Truth tells ‘MISS SEXY GLOVES’ to come back, but apparently she doesn’t want none. Samoa Joe comes out to accept the challenge…as does Rey Mysterio…and Andrade! Truth is VERY MUCH NOT into this.
U.S. TITLE OPEN CHALLENGE
WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
R-Truth [c] [w/ Carmella] vs. Samoa Joe vs. Andrade [w/ Zelina Vega] vs. Rey Mysterio
We join the match in progress, Joe cooly walking away while Mysterio tries a crossbody. Ha. Joe tosses Truth and Andrade out of the ring, and drops an elbow on Mysterio for a two-count. Joe throws Truth into the barricade, chops Mysterio, and chops Andrade. Andrade chops back so Joe hits even harder. Joe brings Andrade and Mysterio back into the ring as the crowd…doesn’t really react. Poor guy. Andrade belts Joe with forearms and a spinning elbow. Joe dodges a corner knee, and out goes Andrade. Joe follows up with a suicide dive/flying forearm. Mysterio goes after Truth, Joe chops him in the spine. THAT’LL TEACH YOU TO WRESTLE, REY REY. Joe picks Mysterio up, Truth dropkicks him from behind and…another commercial? Fair enough.
And we’re back in time for Andrade to hit the Three Amigos on Mysterio. Andrade and Mysterio do Eddie Guerrero taunts at each other, Andrade tries a superplex but Truth attacks from behind and picks Andrade on his shoulders. Andrade counters with a victory roll for the 1…2…NOPE. Mysterio catches Andrade with a headscissors, Truth with Stinger Splashes on everybody. Truth tries again on Joe, who counters with a urinage. Andrade drops Joe with a missile dropkick and counters a seated senton from Mysterio with a power bomb. YES. Andrade with a moonsault, Joe breaks it up before a count can be adminstered and sends Andrade shoulder-first into the post. Truth belts Joe with a spinning heel kick and a corner splash. Mysterio charges, Truth with a twisting crossbody. Truth drills Joe with a spinebuster and dumps Mysterio onto him for a DOUBLE FIVE KNUCKLE SHUFFLE for the 1…2…Joe kicks out. Joe dodges the Ax Kick and applies the Coquina Clutch. Mysterio breaks it with a 619, Truth rolls Mysterio up for the 1…2…THIS TIME MYSTERIO KICKS OUT. Andrade dropkicks Truth off the apron, Mysterio with a baseball slide splash on the champ. Andrade makes Mysterio pay with a sunset bomb to the floor (after a few seconds as Mysterio doesn’t seem too keen to take it. Vega takes Truth out with a hurricanrana from the apron, Carmella drops Vega with a superkick. Mysterio connects with a Canadian Destroyer-ish followed by a 619 and Frog Splash for the 1…Joe breaks it up with a senton, urinage to Andrade for the 1…2…3!
Samoa Joe defeated R-Truth [c], Andrade, & Rey Mysterio to win the WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP (10:12 shown)
- A great fatal four way match with some really cool spots and a surprising finish. About time Samoa Joe won a title, and hell, about time he won a match. That’s cool and all but I’m bummed that R-Truth won’t get to defend the title against John Cena at WrestleMania like I made up in my brain. Oh well. I hope Truth keeps the challege going despite having lost the title. (***1/2)
–The New Day have sent in a video of their promotional tour in India. They aren’t at SmackDown but they will be at Fastlane.
–Aleister Black makes his entrance for the next match.
-After a commercial Kayla Braxton is backstage with new U.S. Champion Samoa Joe. Joe says he doesn’t pander to the masses and won’t be doing dance breaks. Joe is ready to make the whole locker room go night night if they try to step to him. Coolcoolcoolcool.
Aleister Black & Ricochet vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)
Apparently Black and Ricochet will be challenging for the RAW Tag Team Championship at Fastlane. News to me since I don’t watch RAW and YOU CAN’T MAKE ME. Apparently DirecTV Now took offense to this and has shut itself down. Cool. I only pay too much money for this service.
Ricochet with a dropkick and standing shooting star press to Sheamus for an early two-count. Ricochet gets distracted with Cesaro, Sheamus knees him off the apron and to the floor as we go to picture-in-picture commercial. The Bar continue working over Ricochet with their UNLIMITED POOOOWAH and cheap shots. Sheamus with a bully-level reverse side headlock, muscling the much smaller Ricochet like a ragdoll, Cesaro tags in and gets a nearfall then goes to a reverse chinlock.
Back to full picture and Cesaro has Ricochet in a submission. Ricochet fights out of the corner, hitting a rolling DDT on Cesaro. Black finally gets the tag and goes STRIKE CRAZY on Sheamus. Black with a springboard moonsault followed by a pump knee for the 1…2…Cesaro breaks it up and gets in another cheap shot for the heck of it. When in Rome, I guess. Cesaro tags in and connects with a flying kneedrop while Black is over Sheamus’ knee for the 1…2…Black kicks out. Black catches Cesaro with Black Mass, Sheamus gets sent to the floor. Black tags in Ricochet and belts Sheamus with a splash, Ricochet hits Cesaro with the 630 Splash for the 1…2…3!
Aleister Black & Ricochet defeated The Bar when Ricochet pinned Cesaro with the 630 Splash (5:23 or so)
- THE. BAR. DESERVE. BETTER. Good match and all, Ricochet is never not impressive, but still. THE. BAR. DESERVE. BETTER. (**1/2)
Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura sneak attack Black and Ricochet mid-celebration. Out come The Hardy Boyz for the save.
Naomi vs. Mandy Rose [w/ Sonya Deville]
Never not excited for Naomi’s entrances. Might be my favorite part of WWE TV whenever she’s on. Apparently Naomi and Rose were or still are feuding but I was on wrestling blackout at the time so I don’t remember or really care about it.
Naomi connects with a sliding slap, which RULES, followed by a sitout jawbreaker. Deville distracts Noami so Rose can hit the pump knee followed by a double underhook facebuster for the 1…2…3. WELL THEN.
Mandy Rose defeated Naomi via pinfall with a double underhook facebuster (0:46)
- Apparently their BIG FEUD isn’t really much of a thing after all. (NR)
Asuka attacks Rose and Deville on the entrance stage, sending them both into the LED screens.
-Kayla Braxton is backstage with ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles who has something to say about the turmoil around the WWE Championship scene. WHY THOUGH? Styles says Kofi was robbed of his title shot and is interrupted by Randy Orton who scoffs at Styles for caring about other people getting title shots. This is why it took him 15 years to get to WWE. Whatever, Randy. Go be boring on a show I don’t watch.
Kevin Owens vs. Rowan [w/ Daniel Bryan]
Bryan is on commentary for this one. Owens counters a couple of splash attempts with a boot then runs into a big boot from Rowan. Ha. Rowan slashes Owens and follows up with a DROPKICK. Nice. Owens rolls to the floor, Rowan begs him to re-enter the ring. Bryan continually calls Owens a lazy coward until Owens attacks him. Rowan attacks from behind and hits a crossbody on the floor. Bryan attacks Owens as well as the bell rings.
Kevin Owens defeated Rowan via DQ (1:40)
- Fair enough. (NR)
Rowan starts clearing the announce table but out comes the returning Mustafa Ali for the save! Not Sami Zayn? Right on. Ali is a house of fire for a minute until Bryan catches him with a flying knee from the apron. Owens hits Bryan with a Stunner, Bryan and Rowan escape.
Charlotte Flair makes her way out to close the show. Charlotte shushes the crowd so they can watch last night’s RAW conclusion where Ronda Rousey beat the hell out of Becky Lynch, turning heel in the process (?). The video package includes FAKE PUNCHING NOISES LIKE A MOVIE AND IT’S HILARIOUS.
Flair condescendingly calls out Becky Lynch, who makes her way out still using a crutch. Her arm seems fine though after last night, so that’s a plus. Becky says her body has hurt before and it will hurt again if that’s the price it takes to get in Flair’s head. Becky says she’s in ‘Ronnie’s’ head as well, one minute wanting to face her at WrestleMania and the other minute trying to avoid it. Becky is still here, still standing, and ready to fight again. Becky says she has nothing to lose so Flair beats her down, going after her knee. Becky hits Flair with her crutch and locks in the DIS-ARM-HER! Becky threatens to rip her arm off, saying it’s HER title, until a pair of referees pry her off. Flair bails from the ring and Becky (sorta) stands tall to end the show.
- I’m absolutely SHOCKED this “friendly” conversation turned into a brawl. This certainly happened. I’m glad Becky at least got some offense in though and got to stand tall instead of losing ANOTHER limb and ending up having to crawl to the match at Fastlane or whatever. I think we all know where this is headed and while I commend WWE for at least trying to get us interested in having it be a triple threat at WrestleMania it should have been Ronda/Becky one-on-one.
Overall Thoughts: A great U.S. Open Challenge and funny Usos promo notwithstanding, I gotta be honest: this episode of SmackDown left me a bit cold. The pacing felt real slow, almost like segments were being dragged out to fill the runtime instead of ending when they should have. It didn’t really get me any more interested in what Fastlane has to offer on Sunday either, which is a damn shame, but it’s still a good card on paper so I’ve got my fingers crossed. After being continuously impressed with SmackDown the past few weeks I recapped it, this did not bring out the same emotions. That sucks.
- Match of the Night: Truth vs. Samoa Joe vs. Andrade vs. Mysterio
- Moment of the Night: Jimmy Uso’s Miz impression. Actually that whole Usos promo, to be honest.