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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (3/27/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Bobby Roode & Randy Orton VS Jinder Mahal & Sunil Singh; rescheduled as…
  • Bobby Roode & Randy Orton VS Jinder Mahal & Rusev w/ Aiden English; Mahal & Rusev win.
  • Becky Lynch VS Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad; Becky wins.
  • The New Day VS The Bludgeon Brothers; no contest.
  • Dolph Ziggler VS Tyler Breeze w/ Fandango; Ziggler wins.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura w/ AJ Styles VS Shelton Benjamin w/ Chad Gable; Nakamura wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown looks back to last week.

The most amazing thing was announced that night: Daniel Bryan is cleared to compete! The Yes Movement’s leader gave an emotional speech recounting his two years of fighting for his dream, and how his wife, Brie Bella, supported him every step of the way. It’s not clear where and when Bryan will return to the ring–though Wrestlemania is a good choice–but will Bryan compete for the WWE? “YES! YES!”

But then Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens would appear. They didn’t want to be on SmackDown but then just had to be there for the amazing news. However, Bryan had to address what they did to the Commissioner, Shane McMahon. Bryan supported them up until that moment, and had to make another hard decision. Bryan fired Kevin & Sami. So Kevin & Sami attacked Bryan! Bryan fought back like he’d never missed a step, but it wasn’t enough. Kevin & Sami got the better of him, and now Bryan’s health is back in question. Will the GM be here tonight to address the issue?

 

Bobby Roode & Randy Orton VS Jinder Mahal & Sunil Singh!

While the GLORIOUS One wants the United States Championship back from The Viper, the two will team up because there’s a third man in the hunt. The Modern Day Maharaja will get his own chance at the title as it is a Triple Threat at Wrestlemania! With just 12 days left, can former and current champions work together to stay ahead of the so-called uncrowned US Champion?

However, Mahal points out the “unprovoked” attack on Sunil makes it so that he can’t compete. He swears that Sunil the “noble tiger” would’ve put the hurt on them, but it’s alright. He’s traded up to a lion! The Bulgarian Lion, that is!

Bobby Roode & Randy Orton VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh & Rusev w/ Aiden English!

Another former United States Champion joins this tag team match as Rusev joins Mahal in the ring. Mahal starts with Roode and Mahal gets the waistlock, but Roode works his way out to the standing switch. Mahal elbows Roode to a corner then throws heavy rights and stomps. The referee backs Mahal down, and fans boo, but then Roode fires back with haymakers and chops. Mahal headlocks but Roode powers out, only for Mahal to run him over. Mahal runs but Roode hip tosses him down, then hits the atomic drop. Roode turns Mahal for the neckbreaker but Mahal shoves him away, Roode uses that to hit Rusev. Roode boots Mahal away, then hits the GLORIOUS Blockbuster! Cover, TWO, and Mahal slips out of the ring. Sunil gets up on the apron, but Orton brings him off to throw him into the barriers!

Roode argues with him that he would’ve taken care of Singh, but at least they’re in control while we go to break.

SmackDown returns to Orton hitting Rusev with a European Uppercut. Roode tags in and bumps Rusev on buckles, then chops him. Orton tags back in, and keeps Rusev away from Mahal to then dropkick him down. Roode tags in, and Orton allows him to show his stuff. Roode dropkicks Rusev, then stomps him at the ropes. Another buckle bump and a tag from Orton, but Rusev starts to fight out. Orton puts him in an open corner and stomps away on the Bulgarian Brute. Orton backs away at the ref’s count, but Rusev roundhouses Orton down! Cover, TWO, and Rusev tags in Mahal. Mahal stomps away on Orton, then drops the springboard knees over and over. He grinds a knee into Orton and lets up at 4, to mock Orton and his fans.

Mahal brings Orton up but Orton hits back, only for Mahal to stomp and kick him back down. Mahal drops elbows and an ax handle, then tags in Rusev. Rusev stomps on Orton, then suplexes him up and over. Cover, TWO, but Rusev keeps his cool and tags in Mahal. Mahal hops up while Rusev holds Orton, for a flying ax handle. Mahal drops more elbows, then wrenches Orton in a half nelson chinlock. The fans rally and Orton gets to his feet. Orton reaches, then back suplexes Mahal down. The rally continues, and the two men crawl for their corners. Hot tag to Roode! Roode rallies on Mahal, corner clothesline to neckbreaker. He hits Rusev for good measure, then climbs up quickly. Roode takes aim, Mahal slowly stands up, flying clothesline!

The fans are all fired up as Roode winds it up. GLORIOUS Pose, to the kick and- No, Mahal reverses and swings, but ends up in another SPINEBUSTER! Cover, Rusev breaks it! Rusev runs at Roode but Roode dumps him out, only for Mahal to boot Roode down! Cover, TWO, not that Orton seems concerned while we go picture in picture.

Mahal tags in Rusev and they stomp on Roode. Rusev stomps Roode more before putting him on the ropes, to kick in the back. Rusev glares down at Roode, then drags him over for a running elbow drop. Cover, TWO, but Rusev keeps between Roode and Orton. He puts Roode in a modified chinlock, trapping one of Roode’s arms, but Roode works his way up to his feet and fights out with right hands. Roode runs, but into a dropkick! Rusev Day celebrates but Orton mockingly applauds. Cover, TWO, Rusev tags Mahal. Rusev brings Roode up while Mahal climbs up, for another flying ax handle. Roode fights back from a corner, chopping Mahal back. He whips but Mahal reverses, and Roode hits the buckles hard. He brings Roode up again, to give him a throat chop and a choke against the ropes. Mahal stretches Roode back, then stomps again.

Mahal drives a knee into his back, then puts him in the half nelson chinlock. Roode endures while we go single picture again, even as Rusev taunts him. Roode fights out of the hold with body shots and chops, but runs into Mahal’s big knee! Cover, TWO, but Mahal keeps Roode grounded while he tags to Rusev. Rusev stomps Roode’s back, then brings him up for an overhead suplex. Rusev brings Roode up to forearm him in the lower back, then choke him against the ropes. Roode gasps as he crawls to the open corner, but Rusev drags him away again. Tag to Mahal and Mahal stomps Roode. Mahal drives in the knee into the spine, then puts Roode back in the half nelson chinlock.

Fans rally again and Roode feeds off that to fight out again. He counters Mahal’s punches with punches, then chops. He whips but Mahal reverses, Orton tags in and Roode forearms Mahal down. Roode realizes the tag was made, but defends that he had Mahal. Mahal tags in Rusev, but Orton rallies on him. Spinning powerslam! Fans fire up while Rusev gets to the apron, but Orton is upon him. Draping DDT! Orton hears the voices, Mahal comes in but Roode intercepts, only to get knocked into Orton! Roode clotheslines Mahal out, but Orton turns Roode around. Roode shoves Orton, Orton RKO’s Roode!

But that gives Rusev an opening, MACHKA KICK! Rusev covers, Rusev & Mahal win!

Winners: Mahal & Rusev, Rusev pins

The Bulgarian Lion did help Mahal win this match tonight, but Rusev also pinned the US Champion. Whether or not the Maharaja wins the title off the Viper, will Rusev be next in line for that title on the other side of Wrestlemania?

 

Jinder Mahal & Sunil Singh find Rusev & English backstage.

Mahal thanks his friend to help him win, and invites them to a Post Wrestlemania Punjabi Celebration when he wins the United States Championship. In fact, be sure to be at Wrestlemania to watch it in person. Front row, even! Wow, how generous! But Rusev has a better idea. He pinned the current champion, so he’s going to find Daniel Bryan and ask the Triple Threat becomes a Fatal 4 Way. It’ll be #RusevMania~~~! So much for Mahal being in a good mood. Will the Viper be able to hold onto his title now that he has three opponents?

 

AJ Styles encounters Shinsuke Nakamura in the locker room.

Nakamura asks if Styles is okay. He’s getting worried, because last week, Styles wanted but didn’t need to help. Perhaps Styles is losing his confidence. Styles defends that he’s never had confidence issues. Yes, which is why Nakamura wants Styles at his best, because Styles wants the same. Nakamura has a match tonight, and wants Styles in his corner. He needs Stylse in his corner. True, Chad Gable will follow Shelton Benjamin out there. But Styles won’t do this for Nakamura, he’s doing it for the Wrestlemania match. Styles will be Nakamura’s corner man, but will Nakamura need him?

 

Becky Lynch VS Ruby Riott w/ the Riott Squad!

To strengthen the Women’s (R)Evolution, Wrestlemania brings us a Battle Royal for the women to parallel the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Can the Lass Kicker light the Road to Wrestlemania on fire against the Squad Leader?

The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Ruby gets the headlock but Becky powers out, only for Ruby to run her over. Ruby eggs Becky on, and they go again. Becky gets teh waistlock to headlock to hammerlock, but Ruby elbows out. Ruby throws Becky down, then covers, but Becky slips out. Becky runs and rolls to then side step and slip around to dropkick Ruby. Ruby gets out of the ring and regroups with the Squad but Becky won’t give her much time. Becky goes out and kicks Ruby, but the Squad distracts. Becky almost falls for it but still forearms Ruby and puts her in the ring. Ruby throws a shoulder but Becky dodges to kick. Ruby catches the kick, to then STO Becky onto the apron!

The Squad Leader takes her time fetching Becky, to ram her into the LED apron. Ruby throws Becky into barriers, then back into the ring. Cover, TWO, but Ruby keeps on Becky by driving a knee into the spine. Ruby grabs at the arms and brings them back for a half surfboard, but the fans rally for Becky. Becky feeds off the energy to power up and arm-drag Ruby, but Ruby comes back with a clothesline. Cover, TWO, but Ruby keeps her cool. Becky gets to ropes but Ruby chokes her against them. Sarah Logan gets a cheap shot behidn the refere’s back! Ruby stomps on Becky, then brings her up to whip her back in. She kicks Becky while she’s down, then stalks her. Becky fights back with body shots, but Ruby knees low. Ruby whips but Becky reverses, and Becky hits a clothesline!

Both women are down but stirring. Ruby hits Becky with a haymaker so Becky hits back. They brawl back and forth, then Becky gets the fiery edge! She swings but Ruby backslides, TWO! Becky rallies with more clotheslines, then the calf kick. The fans fire up as she runs but Ruby puts her on the apron. Becky hangs on and hits back, to then climb up top. Sarah distracts and Ruby gets up, but Becky jumps up and over. Becky turns around, but runs into Deadly Nightshade! Ruby covers, with feet on the ropes, the ref sees that! Ruby argues she wasn’t, but keeps on Becky with the arm wrench. Becky reverses for the takedown attempt but Liv distracts now, so Becky swings Ruby into Liv!

Liv falls and topples Sarah over, then Becky gets Ruby down for the Disarm-her! Ruby rolls, TWO, Mahistrol from Becky! Becky wins!

Winner: Becky, by pinfall

But she can’t enjoy the victory, because the Squad attacks! Becky fights them off, backed against the ropes, and dumps Liv up and out of the ring. She then throws Sarah out the same way, and controls the ring. If Becky can do something like that during the Women’s Wrestlemania Battle Royal, she’ll make history as its inaugural winner!

 

Daniel Bryan is in Pittsburgh!

The fans give the SmackDown General Manager an ovation of “YES! YES!” as he stands onstage. They also chant, “Daniel Bryan! *clap clap clap-clap-clap*” for him. Bryan has a mic, and says, “Honestly, I love being in Pittsburgh.” Pittsburgh likes hearing that. But as for last week, it was one of Bryan’s greatest moments, because he finally got the news he was waiting for. Bryan can continue doing what he loves, and the support the WWE Universe has shown–such as the chant of “You Still Got It!”–is great, but Bryan does have a job as SmackDown GM. SmackDown was meant to be the Land of Opportunity. Therefore, Bryan will give Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn one last opportunity. The fans say “NO! NO!”, that’s not a good idea.

Bryan presents his proposal: Kevin & Sami VS Shane & Bryan at Wrestlemania! The fans actually LOVE that idea!  Shane has been hospitalized, but he should be ready in time. The stipulation is: if Bryan & Shane win, Kevin & Sami remain fired; if Kevin & Sami win, they win their jobs back. Because again, Land of Opportunity.

Bryan has been asked, “Why have you given Kevin & Sami so many opportunities?” Because they’re two of the greatest performers in this generation, and because he’s known them for 15 years. Bryan gave them chances because they’ve struggled together, and to return the kindness they’d shown him in the past. He’s also done so because it’s his job as GM. Bryan has a lot of jobs, things he’s supposed to do, like sit in board meetings, fill out paperwork and wear formal attire.

But Bryan is sick of meetings, of paperwork, and wearing blazers! Bryan has fought for years to live his dream, to wrestle again! Yet Sami & Kevin wanted to take that away? Bryan doesn’t care how many kicks or powerbombs he takes, he’s back and will fight at Wrestlemania! The fans once again chant “YES! YES!” Now, Bryan has tried avoiding certain phrases, because he’s a role model and a GM. But this is not Bryan the GM, this is Bryan the fighter, the Bryan who is gonna kick the asses of Kevin & Sami!! Bryan is all fired up and so are the fans! Will Bryan & Shane be able to keep Kevin & Sami from getting their jobs back as a Wrestlemania Moment?

 

Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable speak.

“I’m not a Rockstar, I’m not an Artist. What I am is a real athlete.” They’re not just real athletes, but the best athletes! Yet they don’t have a Wrestlemania match? That’s fine, Benjamin knows the drill. “If it’s not happening for you, you make it happen.” Benjamin vows to “turn it up” tonight, will he be able to defeat the King of Strong Style just days before his WWE Championship match?

 

The New Day VS The Bludgeon Brothers!

“Awwwwwww… Steel City!” Don’t be sour! The four-time tag team champs are here, so feel the power! However, Harper & Rowan wrecked Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Big E and both Jimmy & Jey Uso at Fastlane, then kept going in dominating Jimmy & E the SmackDown after, then the Usos again last week. Can the Power of Positivity–and pancakes–work against these brutal behemoths this week?

The New Day speak. They were sitting pretty on the Road to Wrestlemania, and put New Orleans into their GPS, but then found that the Road to Wrestlemania “was littered with trash.” Or perhaps, it was bludgeoned with trash. “Large, smelly, disgusting, sweaty, hairy, terrible, horrible, no good very bad pieces of trash!” But don’t get confused, the trash is who? Who who who? Harper & Rowan! The New Day will adopt the highway and remove the Bludgeon Brothers from the road. Those two have a problem, and it’s that they left New Day able to walk! The New Day vow to go through the Bludgeon Brothers to get back their W, W, E, World, Tag, Team Championships~! Because, New Day Rocks!

Harper & Rowan appear, and we have our match as we go picture in picture. Harper goes to start against Woods, but Woods dropkicks him out of the ring! Woods keeps going, to FLY onto Harper on the outside! Rowan is there, Woods dodges, but Harper gets in the ring with Woods. Woods dodges Harper, then mule kicks a leg to knee lift Harper. Big corner forearm smash and tag to Big E for a bigger corner tackle. Tag back to Woods and Big E keeps on Harper while Woods climbs up. They mug Harper, then put him in an open corner for more forearm smashes. Big E whips Woods in but into a dropkick! Rowan comes in to dropkick Big E, and the Bludgeon Brothers drag Woods over.

Harper tags Rowan, Rowan runs to splash on Woods. He drags Woods up again, for the pumphandle stretch and backbreaker while we go single picture. Rowan drops an elbow, then a knee, then tags Harper. Harper runs while Rowan holds Woods, for the low elbow to the back. Harper rakes Woods’ eyes, then drags him up to put him in a corner. He chops Woods, then whips him corner to corner, but Woods SUPERKICKS out of the corner. Roaring elbow rocks Harper, and the fans rally with “new! Day Rocks!” But Rowan goes over to grab Kofi and shove him into Big E! Big E goes down and Woods misses his tag! Rowan keeps going, putting Big E into barriers. Harper comes back to corner splash and boot Woods while Rowan keeps throwing Big E around.

Rowan feeds Big E to Harper, then fetches the hammers! But then the Usos appear to attack!

The referee throws the match out while Rowan misses Jey and goes into the post. Big E pounces on Harper, but Harper fights him and Woods off. Kofi joins in to dropkick Harper out, but then the Usos come in and argue with the New Day. Only for the Bludgeon Brothers to return with those hammers! Usos & New Day clear out just in time, but no one wants to get close to those mallet-wielding mad men. Will anyone in the SmackDown Tag Team Division be able to tame the titans known as Harper & Rowan?

 

SmackDown looks at the coming Queen VS Empress.

Charlotte Flair has been a Women’s Champion at every level of her WWE Career, because she not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. She currently holds the SmackDown Women’s Championship, but that is in danger as the undefeated Asuka chose her for Wrestlemania. Only one can reign as THE SmackDown Women’s Champion, but who will bend the knee?

 

Dolph Ziggler VS Tyler Breeze w/ Fandango!

Prince Pretty and the Lord of Dance both want to win this year’s Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but the Show-Off wants to steal the show. Ziggler and Breeze feuded in the past, has Breeze grown enough in that time to match the former world champion?

The bell rings, and one thing is clear: Fandango wants to dance! He gets up on the apron and gyrates because he wants to.

Breeze applauds but Ziggler wants him to stop. Fandango climbs down, only to climb up again. Ziggler doesn’t care, he clobbers and stomps Breeze at the ropes. He waits for Breeze to stand, then dropkicks him back down. Ziggler scrapes his boot on Breeze’s face, then stalked him before jumping up. Breeze catches him and catapults him into buckles! Ziggler slumps out of the ring, and Breeze recovers in the ring a moment before going out to fetch him. Ziggler hobbles close to Fandango, Fandango moves away, but Breeze gives chase, so all three men are running around the ring.

Fandango makes it past Andre’s statue while Ziggler slips back into the ring. Breeze follows, and blocks Ziggler’s Superkick to give him an enziguri in return! Cover, TWO! And Fandango is still running around the ring. Breeze tries to get Fandango’s attention, but this distracts Breeze. Ziggler rolls up, ONE, Breeze rolls up back, TWO. Ziggler dodges in the corner, ZIG ZAG!! Cover, Ziggler wins! Oh and Fandango ran out of breath.

Winner: Ziggler, by pinfall

The Show-Off admires the statue, then turns to SUPERKICK Fandango down. Ziggler means business ahead of Wrestlemania, can he put his name on the plaque for 2018?

 

Shinsuke Nakamura w/ AJ Styles VS Shelton Benjamin w/ Chad Gable!

The Phenomenal One agreed to accompany the King of Strong Style to ensure they both stay as close to 100% as possible. With the Gold Standard having his fellow real athlete nearby, will Nakamura need Styles’ help? Or will he just give them both a #Knee2Face?

The bell rings and the two slowly approach each other. Benjamin gets a quick takedown but Nakamura pushes him away. Nakamura kicks but Benjamin evades, and the two circle again. They tie up, Benjamin knees low then clubs him. Benjamin whips but Nakamura reverses, Benjamin blocks the hip toss but not the knee! Nakamura snapmares and kicks Benjamin, then drops a knee. He puts Benjamin in a corner, kicks and stomps him more, and gives Good Vibrations! Benjamin slips out of the ring while fans duel over Nakamura and Styles, we go to break.

Smackdown returns once more, and Benjamin has Nakamura in a chinlock and body scissors. The fans rally and Nakamura works his way back to his feet. He fights out of the hold but Benjamin knees low. Nakamura slips out of the scoop then runs for the Dynamic Dropkick! Both men are down, but Nakamura stands up first. He dares Benjamin to “C’MON!” Benjamin does, but runs into the knee and kicks! Nakamura whips Benjamin then runs in for the knee, then hoists Benjamin up for the Top Shelf knee! Nakamura aims but gable hops up to distract, so Styles trips Gable up, and Gable hits the apron. Benjamin avoids the Kinshasa and puts Nakamura in a corner for the step-up knee. Northern Lights! TWO! And Styles grows a bit worried.

Benjamin stands up, vowing to finish. he jumps, but Nakamura counters into the cross armbreaker! Benjamin tries to escape but ends up in a Triangle Hold! It becomes a cover but Nakamura keeps his shoulders off, only for Benjamin to turn that into a Half Crab! Nakamura reaches for ropes, Benjamin drags him away, but Benjamin ends up back in the Triangle! Benjamin resists, then reaches around, but Nakamura won’t let go, so Benjamin deadlifts. Nakamura lets go, Benjamin Dragon Whip kicks! Nakamura flounders to a corner, but he boots Benjamin away to then hop up for a flying knee! He takes aim again, KINSHASA!! Cover, Nakamura wins!

Winner: Nakamura, by pinfall

The Rockstar rocks the Gold Standard, and Styles helped out after all. Nakamura picks up a mic and asks Styles to join him in the ring. Styles does, with his own mic. Nakamura thanks Styles for being in his corner, but says he didn’t need his help. He just wanted Styles to see how Nakamura will beat him at Wrestlemania. Styles sees the games Nakamura is playing, but there won’t be game s at Wrestlemania. This isn’t just a Dream Match for the fans, but for Styles, too. It’s a dream because they’re going to tear the house down! But Styles’ dream match goes differently. Styles and Nakamura are two of the best, but when Styles beats Nakamura, Styles will prove himself THE best, that he is Pheonomenal, and that SmackDown is the House That AJ Styles Built!

But Nakamura just laughs. Nakamura says this is why he’ll win at Wrestlemania: Styles is too emotional. Nakamura leaves the ring, but Gable & Benjamin jump Styles! They stomp away, but Nakamura returns to fight them off, inverted exploder for Gable and the strike fest for Benjamin! Styles is down, Nakamura fires up and takes aim! Styles stands, KIN- Not!

But he promises there will be a #Knee2Face. Nakamura pats Styles’ head, then leaves the ring again. Are the mind games only growing stronger between the champion and challenger?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A much better SmackDown than as of late, and luckily in time for Wrestlemania. The opening video package was well-made, then the opening match having a surprise was a good move. Fans love Rusev, Rusev gets the win, and gets what he wants by making the United States Championship match a Fatal 4 Way! Whether or not that’s good booking, the match will be really fun with all the intertwining story. Though, we do get a bit of the same in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match, as it seems Bryan’s hand is forced to give Bludgeon Brothers the same deal when they again overpower one of the top teams. I hope it’ll be tornado rules, it’d get a bit tiresome with the hot tags in and out.

Becky has a good match with Ruby Riott, even though the Riott Squad is starting to weaken. Though, that in itself makes them the same as Absolution on Raw so there’s still no distinction between Women’s Division factions. But Becky getting momentum going into the Women’s Battle Royal is good for her, she needs a spark so that she can go back towards the title post-Mania. Ziggler does about the same with his win against Breeze, but since SmackDown’s Mojo Rawley won last year, I’d expect a Raw superstar wins this year, so Ziggler’s momentum might not matter.

Bryan gives another great promo, and gives us the match we expected of him and Shane against Kevin & Sami. Sami & Kevin winning to return is the logical outcome, but I wonder if the way to that outcome will be the surprise. And the Styles VS Nakamura story is still pretty strong, and I liked Nakamura’s way of messing with Styles at the end there. He’s dancing on the line of being Styles’ friend, rival and enemy and it’s pretty entertaining. Things might get turn with the go-home, but it’s still going at the right speed because, as Styles said, they will put on an amazing match.

My Score: 8/10


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