The John Report: WWE Smackdown Live Review 04/04/17

Live from Orlando, Florida this is Smackdown Live for episode #920. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Thanks to Melo Man for the creative banner up top.

There was a video package showing highlights from this past Sunday’s WrestleMania while focusing on the stars of Smackdown Live.

The pyro went off in the Amway Center in Orlando as Tom Phillips said they are sold out. The announce team of Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield and David Otunga welcomed us to the show.

The announcers mentioned matches coming up: Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss, Baron Corbin vs. Dean Ambrose and Miz/Maryse call out John Cena and Nikki Bella. JBL said the same things that they said on Raw about the fans being passionate and vocal.

Randy Orton Addresses the WWE Universe

Randy Orton, the new WWE Champion, made his entrance. He is a 13-time WWE/World Champion in WWE. Good reaction for Orton with mostly cheers, but some boos there as well.

Orton talked about how Bray Wyatt thought he had power of him, but Orton said at WrestleMania he proved that he is Wyatt’s master and Bray will never forget his name.

Wyatt appeared on the video screen. Wyatt told him he is the master of nothing. Wyatt claimed the Era of Wyatt has only just begun and he’s going to reclaim what is his. Wyatt noted he had a rematch, but he told Orton he had something special for him. Wyatt said he’s going to drive Orton to a new level of insanity. Wyatt claimed he would change the way Orton views the entire world and they are going to hear Randy scream and cry. Wyatt said one of them will be sentenced to eternal damnation. Wyatt challenged Orton to something he calls a “House of Horrors Match.”

Orton said he has no idea what that match is, but he accepts his challenge. Orton told him to come down to the ring so Orton can whip his ass one more time.

The lights went out and when they went back on, Wyatt was in the ring. Wyatt attacked, but Orton dropped him with a powerslam. Orton was pulled out of the ring by somebody with a mask on his face. It’s Erick Rowan, who took off the mask. Wyatt beat up Orton around ringside. Luke Harper ran out for the save. He went by Rowan in the aisle and went into the ring to drop Wyatt with a boot to the face. Wyatt and Rowan left while fans chanted “Luke” for Harper as Luke stood with Randy in ring.

Analysis: That was a hot opening segment. Wyatt’s interview on the video screen was obviously taped because he was in the ring very quickly after it was over, so was likely under the ring or close anyway. Good to see Erick Rowan back in action. He was cleared a month or two ago and held off TV. I thought he might help Wyatt win at WrestleMania, but that didn’t happen. Harper is gaining momentum as a face although I wouldn’t be shocked if he turned heel soon. The segment also set up the obvious tag match for later, which is a common theme of opening segments. Holla holla holla.

The Miz and Maryse were interviewed by Renee Young. Miz said that it was typical Cena to do the marriage proposal at WrestleMania to get attention. Maryse said they forced Cena to do it with how much they mocked him. Miz said they are calling out John and Nikki. He said this will be the last time we see John and Nikki on Smackdown Live for a very long time.

Analysis: I enjoy their act a lot. The loss at WrestleMania sucked for them, but they should have no problem getting their heat back.

Naomi vs. Bliss for the SD Live Women’s Title up next.


Images aired from WrestleMania.

It was announced that Orton and Harper would team up against Wyatt and Rowan as expected.

Naomi entered for a SD Women’s Title match as images were shown of her title win at WrestleMania. She’s a two time Smackdown Women’s Champion now.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss

Bliss attacked early on with a hair whip takedown. Naomi came back with a bulldog that sent Bliss into the middle turnbuckle. Naomi with a running kick on the floor as the show went to break two minutes into it.


Back from break, Bliss was in control because that’s how it usually goes in a match coming back from a commercial. Bliss worked on the left leg of Naomi while I noticed a beach ball in the crowd. As Bliss worked over the leg of Naomi, the fans were occupied with whatever was going on wit ha beach ball in her crowd. Bliss stretched the left leg to put pressure on it. Naomi started the comeback by avoiding a corner charge, hitting forearms to the face and a back suplex as the crowd came alive for her. Naomi put Bliss on her shoulder, tossed her off and hit a kick to the head for two. Why even put her on her on your shoulder if you’re just doing a kick? That’s odd. Bliss kicked the knee and hit a DDT for two. Bliss avoided a kicked and did another hair whip. Naomi came back with Rear View (Flying ass attack) for a two count. Naomi came back with a hard kick to the head off the top rope. Bliss pulled Naomi off the middle rope when she was on there. Bliss went for a pinfall attempt, Naomi countered and put on her head/arm submission for the win after 11 minutes.

Winner by submission: Naomi

Analysis: **3/4 Good match to put over the champion with a clean win. I like how Bliss worked over Naomi’s knee for the entire match and Naomi sold it really well.  Better than most people would sell the injury. Naomi using a submission finisher is smart for her because normally she might do a top rope moonsault, but Bliss prevented that and Naomi found another way to beat her. I’m not sure who Naomi’s next rival may be. Charlotte comes to mind, though, because I think she’s going to be moved to Smackdown.

Coming up is Ambrose vs. Corbin in a Street Fight.

A commercial for Total Divas aired. It’s back tomorrow and looks as terrible as ever. Actually, Maryse in a bikini isn’t terrible, so that’s a positive at least.


Curt Hawkins entered the ring and issued an open challenge for the count of ten. It’s Tye Dillinger making his Smackdown Live debut. Nice!

Dillinger received a huge ovation from the crowd as well as a lot of “ten” chants since he’s the Perfect Ten. He looked very happy to be there as he should be.

Tye Dillinger vs. Curt Hawkins

Dillinger took him down early and did the “ten” taunt to him. Crowd was on fire as Dillinger hit clotheslines and a stomp on Hawkins. Dillinger did the ten punches in the corner with the crowd chanting “ten” for all of it. Dillinger picked up Hawkins and hit the Tyebreaker for the win in two minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Tye Dillinger

Post match, Dillinger fired up the crowd some more and smiled.

Analysis: * Easy win to put over Dillinger as a popular newcomer on Smackdown. He’s got a connection with the audience with the simple “ten” chants. It’s not that complicated to get over with the crowd sometimes. I’m happy for him as a guy that signed with WWE over a decade ago, got fired while in developmental, hired back a few years ago, caught fire in NXT and now he’s where he belongs on the main roster. Good for Dillinger.

Coming up: Miz and Maryse call out John and Nikki.


Images were shown from WrestleMania.

Mojo Rawley was interviewed backstage by Dasha Fuentes with the Andre the Giant trophy beside him. Rawley said he was so glad to have his buddy Rob Gronkowski there to celebrate with him. Rawley said he hadn’t slept for a few days. Rawley talked about Andre the Giant’s drinking, time with the ladies and wondered what he would be like on the dance floor. Rawley said he had his WrestleMania moment, but he’s just getting started. Rawley asked “can you feel it?” talking about excitement and she said not really, but he said Andre can feel it.

Analysis: I still don’t believe Mojo was the best choice to win the battle royal, but it’s easy to see why WWE has high hopes for him. He’s a hard worker with a positive attitude and a lot of energy. His matches aren’t that exciting, though, so he has to improve that in area.

There was a clip of Vince McMahon from Raw talking about the “Superstar Shake-up” that is coming next week.

This Monday on Raw is the official Superstar Shake-up with JBL claiming that everybody wants to come to Smackdown.  Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon will be on later to discuss the Superstar Shake-up.

The Miz and Maryse were shown walking backstage because they’re up next.


Miz and Maryse address John and Nikki

John Cena’s music hit. The Miz and Maryse entered the arena in their John and Nikki outfits.

They entered the ring to a big ovation and “yes” chants. Cena said his house rules say that you may not say “Cena Sucks” in this arena, so the crowd said it of course. Cena told Nikki he loved her and Nikki had a giant ring on her finger. Cena said he had a moment that made him seem like a more relatable human being.

John said that effective immediately they are leaving WWE. Fans chanted “Yes” for that. John said they are going to Hollywood with John saying they are going to be gone for a very, very long. John said: “You won’t be able to see us…Goodbye.” They went to leave.

Analysis: Great job by Miz and Maryse as usual. They have perfected those impressions. John and Nikki are both on a hiatus from WWE for several months with Cena doing a movie while Nikki has to rest her neck injury.

Cue a violin player. The crowd went wild because they knew what was coming…Nakamura!

The music hit as former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance to a thunderous ovation from the capacity crowd. Nakamura took his time getting around the ring doing his usual gyrations. The spotlight was on him in the ring while Miz and Maryse stepped outside. Great moment as the crowd hummed the song the entire time. The crowd seemed to get louder as it was going on.

After a few minutes, the music stopped and the fans chanted “Nakamura” while he was in the middle of the ring. His music started playing again with Phillips and JBL putting him over as one of the most exciting superstars. Segment ended with Nakamura looking happy to be there.

Analysis: That was a lot of fun. Great to see Nakamura on the main roster after a year in NXT. He’s one of the five best performers in the company and will make everybody around him better. I’m very excited for him on the main roster and think Smackdown is the better show for him. The crowd was really happy to see him, as am I. It would have been nice to see Miz try to talk to him and ask him what he’s doing there, which could have led to a kick from Nakamura. Instead, they kept it simple with just the Nakamura entrance. This could lead to something with Miz and Nakamura, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Miz and Maryse are moved to Raw.

Ambrose vs. Corbin up next.


Baron Corbin made his entrance first. Dean Ambrose made his entrance second to a good ovation.

Street Fight: Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin

This is not for Ambrose’s IC Title.

Corbin went for a chair early on. Ambrose with a dropkick and then he shoved Corbin over the announce table. Ambrose with a forearm that sent Corbin over the barricade at ringside followed by an elbow smash. They went to break two minutes into it.


As the show returned from break, there was a lot of furniture in the ring including several chairs and a table stacked against the turnbuckle. Corbin picked up Ambrose and drove Ambrose back first into the table against the turnbuckle. Corbin found a strap under the ring and brought it into the ring. Corbin whipped Ambrose in the back with the strap and hit him in the chest with it as well. Corbin wedged a chair between the ropes, but Ambrose sent him head first into it. No chairs to the head in WWE, but you can shove a guy into a wedged chair. Weird huh? They did a slugfest followed by Ambrose hitting a running clothesline. Ambrose got the strap. He whipped Corbin with it followed by a clothesline that sent Corbin over the top. Ambrose up top with an elbow smash onto Corbin on the floor. Ambrose put Corbin on a table on the floor. Ambrose hit a flying elbow drop to put Corbin through the table. That looked cool. They went back into the ring, Ambrose up top and Corbin whipped a chair at him leading to Ambrose crotched on the top rope. Corbin hit the End of Days for the win in ten minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Baron Corbin

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a really good Street Fight. They made the most of the ten minutes they were given and worked at a fast pace. Sometimes guys have matches where weapons are legal and they don’t use them. These guys used a lot of weapons. I liked seeing the strap as something that can cause pain in addition to the chairs and tables. I liked the two table spots they did as big moments. Crowd popped big for them as they usually do for those moments. Finish was really well done with Ambrose going for a top rope move, Corbin stopping that with the chair and finishing him off right after. Great work by both guys working hard in front of a hot crowd that loved the match. Corbin winning made sense because now he can get another IC Title match to win the title.

Up next is Shane McMahon.


Images were shown from WrestleMania.

Shane McMahon Addresses the WWE Universe

Commissioner Shane McMahon made his entrance to a big ovation. He was in good spirits after his loss at WrestleMania on Sunday. Shane stood in the ring with a microphone.

Shane noted that on Monday’s Raw, his father Vince McMahon announced a Superstar Shake-up. He spoke about how it means excitement and new challenges. He said that every superstar on Raw should be praying that they end up on Smackdown Live while noting that they have created the land of opportunity.

The great AJ Styles made his entrance. He’s got a shiner by his left eye. Plenty of cheers for Styles usual and the fans chanted “AJ Styles” for him.

Styles said he doesn’t know what this Superstar Shake-up is, but he doesn’t want to go anywhere. Styles said that Smackdown Live is the house that AJ Styles built. Loud “yes” chants.

Styles said that after WrestleMania he feels like he owes Shane something. Styles pointed at the shiner under his eye. Styles extended his hand and Shane shook it. Styles teased a punch, Shane was ready for it and Styles left.

Analysis: It’s obvious that Styles was going to turn face in the near future, so that was likely done to push him in that direction a bit more. Shane didn’t answer questions about the Superstar Shake-up. It was just a generic promo to bring out Styles. I think it’s very possible they move Styles to boost Raw, but if he stays where he is that’s fine too.

Wyatt and Rowan vs. Orton and Harper up next.


On Talking Smack later, it’s Renee Young hosting with Shane McMahon (no Daniel Bryan there this week) and the guests are Naomi and Tye Dillinger.

Austin Aries did a promo to shill 205 Live later in the night.

Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan made their entrance. Rowan’s got a modified sheep mask with some tubes or something attached to it. Luke Harper made his entrance for the face time followed by the WWE Champion Randy Orton. It was noted by JBL that only three people have more than Orton’s 13 World Title reigns: John Cena, Ric Flair and Triple H.

Bray Wyatt & Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper & Randy Orton

Rowan took down Orton and they went to break one minute into it. Maybe it was twenty seconds. That was quick to the commercial.


Orton tagged in Harper as the show returned from break. Harper took down Wyatt with a clothesline and a senton splash. Harper sent both heels on the floor and hit a suicide dive on Rowan. Wyatt came back with a clothesline on Harper on the floor. Senton by Wyatt followed by a Rowan splash for two. Rowan whipped Harper hard into the turnbuckle leading to Harper taking a sternum bump against the turnbuckle. Rowan hit a spinning slam on Harper for a two count. The crowd chanted “sweet” after every nearfall on the show. Harper got his boot up and Wyatt came back with a clothesline for two. JBL joked that he hopes they get Chet Chetterfield from Southpaw Regional Wrestling on commentary after the shakeup next week. Rowan hit an impressive dropkick for a two count. Wyatt tagged in, charged at him and Harper hit a Boss Man Slam type move although he didn’t hit it perfectly. Hot tag to Orton against Rowan with a powerslam. Wyatt hit Orton with a forearm to the back. Orton hit the draping DDT on Wyatt. The Wyatt Family logo appeared during the match as the lights went out. When the lights came back on, Wyatt was in the aisle. Harper hit a superkick on Rowan and Orton hit a RKO for the win after 12 minutes.

Winners by pinfall: Randy Orton & Luke Harper

After the match, Wyatt was laughing on the ramp. He didn’t seem concerned about the loss.

Analysis: *** Good tag match to put over Orton and his partner Harper. Rowan rarely wins in tag matches. He’s usually the guy that gets pinned in tag matches. That’s been his role for a few years now. The story of the match was Wyatt shutting off the lights, then running up the aisle to avoid a confrontation and he didn’t seem to care about the loss.

The show ended right at 10pmET with Orton posing with the WWE Title.


Three Stars of the Show

1. Shinsuke Nakamura – Welcome to Smackdown.

2. Tye Dillinger – Welcome to Smackdown.

3. (tie) Baron Corbin

3. (tie) Dean Ambrose


The Scoreboard

8 out of 10

Last week: 7

2017 Average: 7.18

Average Post Brand Split (July 26, 2016): 6.72 – Raw is at 5.76

Last 5 Weeks: 7, 7, 6.5, 7, 8

2017 High: 8 (Jan. 3, Jan. 24, Feb. 28)

2017 Low: 6 (Jan. 10, Feb. 21)


Final Thoughts

It gets a 8 out of 10.

Very good show with a lot of fun moments. I was entertained throughout. Same score as Raw.

The three main matches on the show were all pretty good with Naomi winning clean, Corbin getting his win back from Sunday and a quality main event tag match to put over Orton.

Great to see Nakamura and Dillinger on the main roster. They are very talented all around performers that should be on the bigger stage that the main roster provides. I would have liked to see Nakamura do more, but I can understand saving it for the future.

The crowd was loud, but also much more behaved than on Raw. Less chants and more interest in the actual show.

That’s all for now. Go Toronto Raptors, Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays.

John Canton –

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