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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (2/27/18)



All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter.



  • Sami Zayn w/ Kevin Owens VS Baron Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Naomi w/ Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair VS Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad; Ruby wins.
  • Aiden English w/ Rusev VS Shinsuke Nakamura; Nakamura wins.
  • John Cena VS AJ Styles; Cena wins and joins the WWE Championship match at Fastlane.


JOHN CENA returns to SmackDown!

The Face that Runs the Place is back on the Blue Brand. He didn’t punch his ticket to Wrestlemania with the Elimination Chamber, but he promised to be here to find a new path. Cena encourages the LA fans to make some noise, because this IS SmackDown. Allow Cena to remind you why he is here: like 99.9% of the SmackDown roster, they want a Wrestlemania match. The only one with a guaranteed match is Shinsuke Nakamura, so yes, even Cena is trying to find his way. He’s heard of this Fatal 5 for Fastlane, and “I want in.” But he isn’t here for a handout, he’ll do “whatever it takes” to earn a spot. So to get right to business, he asks someone come out to tell him what he must do. As such, SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon appears!

Shane O’Mac welcomes Los Angeles to the show, as well as John Cena. Cena, one of the most decorated superstars in the history of WWE, right here on SmackDown. Now, everyone knows what Cena said last night on Raw. A superstar of Cena’s magnitude wants his part on the Grandest Stage of Them All, but what Cena wants puts him in the path of the WWE Championship. The fans duel, “Let’s go, Cena!” “Cena sucks!” Cena knows the fans are divided, so this is just a great idea to put him in. Shane reminds Cena he’d be “smack dab” in the middle of a match only two weeks away. And if Cena won, he’d not only main event Wrestlemania–fans chant for “Rusev Day!”–Cena would make history by becoming the unprecedented 17 time World Champion. Now, SmackDown is the Land of Opportunity, but there’s– Daniel Bryan!

The SmackDown General Manager gets another great ovation of “YES! YES!” from the WWE Universe, and for once he’s in agreement with Shane. The Land of Opportunity let each of the challengers earn their spot. If Cena wants it, he’ll get his opportunity in the main event. If Cena wins, he’s in. Main event of SmackDown to main event of Fastlane. So who is Cena’s opponent? Someone Cena is very familiar with: the WWE Champion himself, AJ STYLES! Everyone except Cena loves the sound of that! Can Cena beat the Phenomenal One to then earn a chance to beat him and four others at Fastlane?


Sami Zayn w/ Kevin Owens VS Baron Corbin!

The Underdog promised his best friend that when the time comes, he’ll “do the right thing”. For now, Sami just has to see if he can defeat the Lone Wolf 1v1 to gain some momentum before the furious Fatal 5 at Fastlane!

The bell rings and the two tie up. Corbin powers Sami to a corner, but then Sami shoves him back. Sami puts Corbin in the corner, then tauntingly pats him as he breaks. Corbin chases Sami out of the ring, but gives him time to return. Sami baits Corbin into a shoulder and slingshot, but Corbin runs him over with a shoulder. Corbin glares at Kevin on commentary, but Kevin brushes it off. Sami slips out and then counters Corbin with strikes. He bounces Corbin off the table, Sami pursues him back into the ring. Sami bounces Corbin off buckles but Corbin rocks Sami back with a right hand. Corbin goes out to fetch Sami, putting him into barriers. Sami ends up near the timekeeper’s area, but then dumps Corbin up and over into the fans!

Daniel Bryan watches backstage with Shane. They’re doing this again? Doing what? Letting Kevin be on commentary. Whether Shane likes him or not, Kevin does great. It’s entertaining, if you like interference. Unless Bryan promises Kevin won’t interfere. Why would Kevin interfere? While they’re talking, Sami refreshes the ring count at the last possible moment, then returns to brawling with Corbin on the outside. Sami puts Corbin back in the ring while we go picture in picture.

Sami clobbers Corbin with elbows, then hits him while he’s down. Corbin takes crossface after crossface punch, and then haymakers. Sami wraps on a chinlock but Corbin works to pry his way out. Sami hammers away with more crossfaces before putting the lock back on. Corbin uses power to stand up with Sami on his back, then throws him off! Corbin runs but Sami drop toeholds him onto ropes! Sami comes back and stomps Corbin, grinding his boot into Corbin’s chin. He lets up at the ref’s count, and takes his time stalking Corbin. Corbin hits back, but Sami clubs him on the back. Sami tries but can’t suplex Corbin, Corbin suplexes Sami instead!

The two stir and slowly get to their feet. Corbin runs in but into a boot, then Sami clobbers him with a clothesline. Sami rains rights on Corbin, but Corbin makes his way back up. Corbin powers Sami all the way into a corner, but then runs into an elbow. Sami hops up and boots Corbin away, before flying crossbody! TWO! Sami keeps his cool, and wraps on another chinlock as we return to single picture.

Corbin endures the hold, but works his way up and out. He fires body shots but Saim hits with elbows. Bryan is still watching as Corbin rocks Sami. Shane returns with popcorn while Corbin misses and runs into a post.

Sami gets tot he apron, climbs up top, then flies again. Corbin catches him, into the Choke Slam Backbreaker! Corbin puts Sami on the top rope but Sami fights back. Sami grabs Corbin but the tornado is denied with power! Corbin tries to long dart but Sami slips out, so Corbin slides out and in for the wicked lariat! Cover, TWO!

Kevin applauds his friend’s resilience. Kevin doesn’t pay too much mind to Cena potentially being added to the WWE Championship match while Sami dumps Corbin out. Sami slingshots but Corbin catches him again, and looking at Kevin, he tosses Sami on the announce table! Kevin and Corbin trash talk before Corbin goes into the ring. Sami surprises with a small package, TWO! Sami boots Corbin, chops then goes acrobatic for the tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! But while Kevin focuses on the match, Dolph Ziggler comes out of nowhere to SUPERKICK him in the back of the head!

The Show-Off gets more retribution for last week by slipping away into the shadows. Sami sees his best friend down on the ground, and this allows Corbin to come back, End of Days! Corbin wins! An assist to Ziggler, no doubt, but then he even gets Corbin with a ZIG ZAG! The Show-Off is determined to be WWE Champion, will anyone get in his way this time?

More backstage with Shane and Bryan.

Seems Bryan’s boys got what was coming to them. Maybe Bryan should go check on them? No that’s okay. Can Bryan go home early to be with his wife and kid? Go ahead, tell them hi for Shane. With Bryan taking his leave, what will happen to SmackDown with Shane going solo?


Sami & Kevin regroup backstage.

They would like to know what just hit them at ringside. Where did Ziggler even come from? Sami was about to beat Corbin but then surprise, surprise. Speaking of, Shane comes by and they ask if he saw that. Yep.

But before they talk conspiracies, Bryan left, so maybe they should go after him. Brie doesn’t like it when they’re late for dinner. It never ends with Shane! Is there anything #Kami can do to stop this grudge?!


Naomi w/ Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair VS Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad!

After pinning the inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion, The Squad Leader is primed to challenge for the title at Fastlane. Before then she looks to take down another former champion, but her Squad will have to worry about the Lass Kicker and Queen being ringside. Will Ruby #StartaRiott or will she #FeelTheGlow?

The bell rings and the two get in each other’s face. Ruby shoves but Naomi gives forearms. They go back and forth but Ruby whips Naomi to a corner. Naomi goes up and Twerk Attacks back! Then Naomi slides to slap Ruby right out of the ring. The Squad regroups but Naomi slips out to pursue, her friends in tow. Sarah and Liv stand with Ruby as they stare down #RoyalGlowFire but the ref keeps the peace. We go to break while the tension mounts.

SmackDown returns and Ruby thrashes Naomi about in a seated full-nelson. The fans rally for Naomi as she endures. Meanwhile, Carmella is in the Social Media Lounge, #AskCarmella.

As for Ruby, she throws Naomi down to reapply a chinlock. Naomi gets up again and fights out. Ruby suplexes but Naomi slips out. Each woman throws a kick to duck a kick, but then double roundhouses bring them both down! The Squad shout for Ruby to get up while Becky & Charlotte cheer Naomi on. Ruby is up first, but Naomi kicks back. They kick, and it’s Naomi turning up the volume, step-up enziguri and rallying with elbows! Naomi dodges then kicks back to throw Ruby to ropes, springboard roundhouse! Cover, TWO!

Naomi keeps her cool but the Squad reach out for their leader. She jackknifes, TWO, so she whips Ruby. Ruby avoids a Rear View to then mule kick Naomi down! Ruby goes over to Naomi, but Naomi is on an apron. Naomi kicks back and then climbs up top. Naomi flies, but Ruby gets under. Ruby runs but into the scorpion kick.

Naomi goes for but is denied her corner bulldog, and Ruby brings her in for the Riott Kick! Cover, TWO! The Squad Leader is 2-0 on #RoyalGlowFire, can she get the 3-0 sweep by beating Charlotte at Fastlane?


The Fashion Police are visited by Josh Duhamel.

The star of Unsolved: Tupac & Biggie! They’re each big fans of the others. Though, at least Breezango solves cases. No they’ve done parodies. Shh, before they parody his show. They’re gonna give you a closed case, with Big E. Or, the New Day, at least. Guys, no, it’s Biggie Smalls, not Big E. Yeah they knew that… But Big E here is a notorious rapper. “12 job applications, all blank, I’m lazy. Two babysitters, no babies!”

Uh, yeah… But Duhamel isn’t a real detective, either, “it’s all make believe, man.” But they looked up to him… What do they do now? Well, The New Day is excited for the series premiere. Existential crises aside, will The New Day best their old rivals in The Usos ahead of their title rematch at Fastlane?


Awwwwww… LA~!

Clap for your world famous, four-time champs, and feel, the powah~!

Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods bring boxes of New Day pancakes as they hit the ring. And “ya boys” are going to secure their position on the Grandest Stage of Them All, aka Wrestlemania. But to do that, they go to Fastlane to take on their greatest rivals. Those two guys pushed them to their limits from Money in the Bank to Hell in a Cell. Who? Who who? Jey & Jim Uso! That rivalry is hotter than Big E’s inner thighs in the summer, and winter. Spritz please. More spritz. They defeated Gable & Benjamin to become the #1 contenders to the W, W, E, SmackDown, Tag Team Championships. The New Day respect the Usos, but that won’t stop them from beat them, either. They’re gonna go down to New Orleans and swivel hips with everyone because, “New! Day Rocks!” But to respond, The Usos appear!

“There they go again”, spreading positive power through pancakes. But yes, they went to war, and the one team left standing with the titles, and that was The Usos. They don’t look back. The Usos used to be just like the New Day with the dancing, singing and running around like a box of skittles. Jey got tired of it. It didn’t get them to the next level. Power of Positivity? Here’s some reality: nine years, the Usos were grinding; nine years, blood, sweat and tears; nine years, the Usos worked to prove they belonged at Wrestlemania. But that’s the thing: Wrestlemania, year after year, the Usos got passed over. Nine years, zero ‘Manias! From 27, to 28, to 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 #SIDELINE. But this year, this ‘Mania, #OURTIME! The fans agree with that.

At Fastlane, that’s Goal Line, 4th & Inches, but the Usos are gonna run right through the New Day. They’re gonna be MVPs, first round draft picks, the starting line-up! That’s the difference between them and the New Day: the Usos adapt and overcome, but the New Day stands still. Fastlane to Wrestlemania, Welcome to– But the New Day speak up. Five years, they’ve been kicking down doors and setting records. The New Day hosted while the Usos ate catering. And they ain’t here because of their daddies! The New Day rushed the field and took what they wanted. At Fastlane, they’ll take those back, and become not one, two, three or even four, but FIVE TIME tag team champions! “And there’s not a damn thing either of you can do about it.”

The mics drop but everyone gets in each others’ faces. However, another duo appears. The Bludgeon Brothers, Harper & Rowan!

The harbingers of havoc walk into the ring, armed with their heavy hammers. They stare down the Usos and the New Day, but the Usos and New Day give them space. The fans ask, “Why you scared?” but neither the Usos or New Day pay it any mind. Harper & Rowan may want after those titles, but when will they get their chance?


Shane McMahon was visited by Team Rusev Day.

Aiden English & Rusev say that there have been no Happy Rusev Days the last few weeks. That is because Shane doesn’t want these two to show their skills. Shane must be jealous of them. Shane decides that there will be a match, but just for English. And against who? Shinsuke Nakamura! Will the Drama King stand a chance against the King of Strong Style?


Dolph Ziggler speaks.

“I didn’t come back to SmackDown Live to get lost in the shuffled.” The Show-Off is the “most decorated superstar and greatest athlete” ever. He’ll rise up above everyone at Fastlane, even the “Golden Boy” Cena. Will Ziggler prove it and truly make that reality?


Backstage interview with Bobby Roode.

How does the GLORIOUS One feel about defending against The Viper, Randy Orton? He’s excited! Roode said he wants to be the best United States Champion ever, so he’ll test himself against one of the best. Though, Orton does seem to have an issue with Roode. After everything Orton has done, it surely can’t be because of the SmackDown Top Ten, right? Speaking of, Orton comes over and eyes that championship. It’s not about the list, it’s about the title that he’s never had in the 16 years he’s been here. Roode’s just the guy he has to run through to take it. Will the Viper become a Grand Slam Champion at Fastlane? Or will the US Championship remain GLORIOUS?


Aiden English w/ Rusev VS Shinsuke Nakamura!

The fans chant, “Rusev Day!” for the Bulgarian Lion and his friend in the Drama King. English is Ryan Gossling but “LA is smog-filled and bland~!” There are false artists, and Shinsuke’s the least. Everyone knows there’s only one true Artiste. The fans agree, but English must say, no one here is worthy to celebrate RUSEV DAYYYY~! That all said, the violins kick in and the Rockstar arrives! Will Nakamura make a masterpiece out of English’s face hitting his knee?

The bell rings, English and Nakamura circle and the fans are thunderous already. Nakamura gets a waistlock but English elbows out. English gets a wristlock but Nakamura rolls and reverses the hold. Nakamura brings English to a knee but English stands up to whip. Nakamura reverses but English knock shim down. English bows but gets a kick, then can’t get hold of Nakamura. Nakamura dares English to “C’mon!!” He runs in but gets a knee then a knee drop from Nakamura. Nakamura goes to stomp but English rolls out! That doesn’t stop Nakamura, he comes out to go after English. He puts English in the ring but Rusev roundhouses Nakamura down!

The Drama King may have a chance, while we go picture in picture.

English slips out to fetch Nakamura, then climbs up top. He flies for the artistic headbutt, cover, TWO! Nakamura winces while English throws hands on him. English snampares and wraps on a chinlock. He sings while he grinds and squeezes Nakamura. Rusev cheers English on, but Nakamura moves around to work his way up to his feet. Nakamura fights out with body shots, but English mule kicks him to a corner. English throws hands and stomps, then backs off at the ref’s count. He drags Nakakmura up, whips him corner to corner hard, and Nakamua falls to the mat. English keeps stomping while we return to single picture.

English puts Nakamura in another corner, then hoists him up top. The fans duel while English climbs up. Nakamura fights him off, then adjusts, but Rusev distracts. English pounces, then fireman’s carry to a reverse Death Valley! Cover, TWO! Rusev is frustrated on English’s behalf, and English insists “It’s Rusev Day!” He stomps Nakamura to a corner, and insists “I’m the Artiste!” He whips Nakamura corner to corner, then runs in, but Nakamura puts him on the top shelf! Nakamura rolls back and goes for the knee, but English evades. English climbs up, flying crossbody but he rolls off. They run, Nakamura hits with the Dynamic Dropkick!

Both men are down and Rusev can’t believe what he’s seeing. He coaches English to stand up, but Nakamura unleashes a strike fest. Nakamura kicks away on English, then rocks English with the other side. He whips English corner to corner for the knee, and Good Vibrations! Nakamura drags English up and onto that top rope, Top Shelf knee! English goes down and Nakamura fires up. KINSHASA! Nakamura wins, proving the King of Strong Style is greater than the Drama King. The Artist has a match at ‘Mania, but who will he face for the world title?

John Cena appears, and crosses paths with Nakamura.

Cena points to the Wrestlemania sign, letting Nakamura know that he means to see him there.

Can he defeat the Phenomenal One here to take a step closer to that incredible match-up?


John Cena VS AJ Styles!

For the leader of the Cenation, it’s “win and you’re in” in terms of the Fastlane WWE Championship match. However, defeating THE WWE Champion is no easy task. Will Styles be able to keep out a familiar foe to keep things to only a Fatal 5?

The fans are already dueling at the bell. Styles and Cena hear out the “Let’s Go, Cena!” “AJ Styles!” echoing while Kevin & Sami watch from backstage. Cena and Styles tie up and push each other around. Styles gets a waistlock but Cena works his way out with a stiff back elbow. Cena throws hands then snapmares Styles to a cover, ONE. Cena keeps on Styles with a chinlock. Styles works his way up and out, then powers out. Cena runs Styles over, covers, ONE. Styles goes to a corner but Cena is upon him with heavy rights. Cena stomps before backing off, but comes back to snapmare and cover again. TWO, but Cena stays close. He puts on another headlock, trapping an arm to turn it into a half-nelson.

The fans keep dueling as Styles stands up and fights out. Styles chops and punches Cena into a corner, then whips corner to corner. He runs in but into Cena’s boots. Cena hops up, tornado DDT! TWO, and Cena grows annoyed. The champion is in a bad way as we go to break.

SmackDown returns and Styles escapes Cena, only to get hit with the spin-out powerbomb! And everyone knows that means, “You Can’t See Me!”

Five Knuckle Shuffle hits, then Cena lifts Styles. Styles grabs ropes to deny the finish, then fireman’s carry for Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO! Styles is a bit frustrated, but he simply stands up and brings Cena around. The fans duel as Styles prepares, but Cena trips him up to catapult him! Styles bumps buckles, then Cena scoops Styles for a TKO cutter! Cover, TWO!

Corbin watches backstage as Styles crawls to a corner. Cena brings Styles up to the top, then climbs up to join him. Cena prepares the fireman’s carry from up there but Styles fights out! Styles then puts Cena in the torture rack, for a towerhacker bomb!

TWO! The fans are thunderous while Ziggler tunes in to watch. The fans declare “This is Awesome!” while Styles brings Cena up for the Clash. Cena denies, shovels Styles up on hsi shoulders, Electric Chair facebuster! TWO! #Kami also watch as Cena slowly backs up. Cena glares at Styles, and tells him it’s better to not get up. Styles still stands up, so Cena runs him over with a lariat! TWO! Cena is running out of ideas on what to do to Styles. He shakes his head and dares Styles to get up so they can finish it. Cena runs but Styles Pele kicks him down! Both men are down again, we go to break.

SmackDown returns once more, and both men are down again. Styles gets to one corner while Cena goes to the adjacent. Over the break, Styles actually hit Styles Clash, but Cena kicked out! Then Cena would dodge the Phenomenal Forearm, hit the AA, and Styles would kick out. That brings us to the two world champions standing up, and Styles bringing Cena down with a clothesline! Cover, TWO! With few ideas left, Styles springboards but misses the lionsault! Cena hits Styles with a Code Red! TWO! But into the STF! Cena has Styles in his submission and in the middle of the ring! The fans chant both ways but Styles has nowhere to go. So he rolls sideways to a cover, TWO!

They get up, Cena runs in but hits buckles. Styles springboards, Phenomenal Forearm! TWO!! But how?! The fans are going wild while Styles gets to his feet. They chant “This is Awesome!” while Styles positions Cena. Styles goes back to the apron, takes aim and springboards again, the 450 hits knees! Fireman’s carry, another AA! Roll through, to a third– no, Styles slips out! Cena pursues, but runs into steel steps!

The referee checks on Cena and Styles, somehow they’re both okay to continue. Styles gets in the ring first, but he chooses not to wait for Cena and the ring count. He goes back out, but Cena grabs him for an AA on the table!!

The fans lose their minds at the wreckage before them! Cena gets back in the ring and leaves Styles to the mercy of the count. Styles crawls towards the ring, but the count is at 8! He gets in at 9! Cena doesn’t want to accept it, but the match continues. Frustration boils over for the 16 time world champion as he drags Styles up. He wants that third, but Styles slips out to the Calf Crusher! Styles bends that leg back as hard as he can! Cena endures, reaches, but looks at the Wrestlemania sign. He rolls, lifts Styles up, and hits a Reverse AA! CENA WINS!! Through grit and determination, Cena makes the WWE Championship a Six Pack Challenge!

But Kevin & Sami return.

But Baron Corbin beats them to the sucker punch! The Lone Wolf goes right after Cena, but #Kami joins in. Styles stands up but Kevin and Corbin go after him, what with Styles being champion and all. That’s when Ziggler returns! He rushes the ring and SUPERKICKS Corbin! Kevin goes after him, but Ziggler fights him off. Sami comes over, SUPERKICK to Sami! Ziggler, Cena and Styles stand tall, but then Ziggler takes Styles out! Cena picks Ziggler up, AA!

It’s chaos to end SmackDown, how much more chaotic will the championship match be?!


My Thoughts:

What a wild SmackDown to have this close to Fastlane! But not perfect. Cena appears as promised, and as expected, he says he doesn’t want his star power to just gift him what he wants. It felt like Shane was going to say Cena couldn’t be part of the WWE Championship match, but Bryan came out to make it happen anyway. Sadly, Shane and Bryan continue to go against their original vow to not make SmackDown about them, but what happens next? We keep cutting to them during what was a solid Sami VS Corbin match. Ziggler hitting Kevin was a great surprise, and it gets revenge on him and Sami at the same time. And of course, Shane has to put himself into things by rubbing the screw job in the face of #Kami. Bryan leaving is also an interesting detail, perhaps we’ll get more on that next week.

The Women’s Division was alright this week. Naomi and Ruby put on a good match, but we get another random cut to Carmella. We all know she’s Ms. Money in the Bank but she had no immediate relevance to the match because Charlotte wasn’t active. I do see that they’re building to something with Fastlane: Charlotte is 2-0 on The Squad,  and Ruby is 2-0 on… well those Charlotte is friends with. The winner at the PPV gets the 3-0 sweep on the other side, along with the title. Maybe then Carmella cashes in and moves towards Wrestlemania, but not sure. The Tag Team Division is on fire, though, given how Usos and New Day tore into each other, only for Bludgeon Brothers to silence them both with just appearing. With the little time left, I hope Harper & Rowan find their way into the match to really make it interesting.

Roode and Orton have a good exchange in regards to the US Championship, and while Orton finally becoming a Grand Slam Champion would be great, that really should be more of a Wrestlemania Moment. Maybe Jinder Mahal will end up interfering and then we go to ‘Mania with it. Rusev Day continues to be over but poor English is no match as Nakamura’s warm up jobber. Cena pulling a Finn and interrupting Nakamura’s celebration was pretty interesting. Then Cena and Styles have an almost PPV level match, and #CenaWinsLOL. But I do like the subtle signs of Cena turning, like his death glares at Styles and slamming Styles through the announce desk. It’d be something if he lost at Fastlane to turn Heel and open him up to facing all sorts of opponents in a whole new way.

My Score: 8/10