WWE SmackDown Review (5/9): AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal, Who Won This Week's MVP?

Standout Moments

1) Murky Waters - Orton got us started, wanting to make it very clear to everyone that a refrigerator didn't cost him that incredible "House of Horrors" match, it was that pesky Jinder Mahal and his goons. Mahal immediately came out to cut a very subdued promo. He actually sounded pretty sick and I'm not exactly sure why WWE would make him do a lengthy promo if his voice couldn't hold up. Surprisingly, Kevin Owens joined the party and is not happy with just being the U.S. Champion and "The Face of America." Putting everyone on notice, he's coming for Orton's title and to become "The Face of the WWE." If things weren't complicated enough, AJ Styles hit the stage to a nice pop from the crowd- oh, here comes Baron Corbin and now Sami Zayn!

Really dig how WWE has been looking to setup future title feuds on both shows, just keeps this train going, right? I mean, we're at a great point to test out guys to see if they are ready for the next level, keeps thing fresh. Initially, I thought there was zero chance Mahal could beat Orton for the title, but now? I'd say there's a least an outside shot at it happening. Once that's done with, you have Owens, Styles, and even Rusev gunning for the WWE Championship.

2) Bond Together Naomi should probably never be a ring announcer, that intro for Becky Lynch was somehow worse than James Ellsworth talking. As much as I like the idea of the Welcoming Committee, Charlotte just suddenly joining up with Naomi and Becky Lynch feels weird. She now cares about the rules and tried to hold Naomi back from attacking Tamina, which ended up costing Becky Lynch the match. It's very possible Becky or Charlotte will simply jump ship in a few weeks though as there's clearly a lot of tension within this unofficial alliance. I like the idea of it, but something just feels off, maybe it's rushed?

3) *Types Furiously* - S--t! I was all pumped to put Luke Harper in the "Trending Up" section, wrote a bunch of glowing remarks, only for WWE to let Erick Rowan get the cheap win over him. Are you kidding me?! Harper was one win away from taking on Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania! Instead, he's off TV for a month, lost to Bray Wyatt, was dumped out of the Andre Battle Royal by Titus O'Neil, and now this. The free fall has been frustratingly incredible to witness. If WWE insists on Harper losing, at least have it be towards someone like Corbin, who has a future, not a perennial talent enhancing mute. Where's the Tylenol?...

4) Good, Not Great - Promo by Ziggler was better, but it made no sense, there were times when fans were insanely behind Ziggler. We're talking fans making fun of other fans for being so rabidly dedicated to Ziggler, despite WWE never fully getting behind him. Nakamura's lines were straight to the point and the action between the two was a lot of fun. I'm still very much looking forward to the match, despite this being a relatively weak feud.

5) Tag Team Match, Playa - The last time I really got psyched for WWE 6-man tag matches was when The Shield were doing their thing a couple years back. Otherwise, I'm pretty conditioned to zone out, despite the talent involved. Last night had plenty of excellent players in the main event, unfortunately, WWE tends to fall into the formula of beat the tar out of one babyface and then everyone get in their cluster of finishers before the ending. I will say it came as a surprise that Mahal picked up the win over Orton. Mahal has been exceedingly dominant in this feud thus far, and despite my thinking that he has an outside shot to win the title, Orton will most likely get the win that truly matters.

Trending Up

The Usos They cut some strange promos, I'll give you that. "12 Days" went to places that I'd prefer not to revisit, but they are a hell of a lot better than what they did as good guys. It's something different and I'm always down for wrestlers to go out on a limb. It would be a shame if they didn't get on social media and do their own take on "12 Days of Christmas" or put out videos just counting down the days until their match, "11 Days!"

Trending Down

Sami Zayn Apparently, it's a dig at how Zayn is backstage, but WWE making him look like a complete neurotic dork is really weird and for me, less likeable. It seems to be a preference thing though as I saw plenty of people on social media who enjoy this over-talkative shtick he does with other wrestlers. Zayn was beat down for an incredibly long time in the main event, before getting some payback in the later phases of the match, typical stuff there, this is more about the backstage segment.

This Week's MVP

Breezango MVPs for two weeks in a row, "Wee-Ooo-Wee-Ooo!" WWE is finally letting these guys go and it's so much fun to watch. You know Breeze and Fandango are involved in the planning, because they are so many tiny details to watch for in their segments. A photo of British Bulldog with notes saying "Fashion Faux Paw" pointing to his bulldog, Matilda, "The Old Foggy Apple," The Usos are "The Uggos," and The Ascension yelling uncontrollably in a small room. Loved how Breeze tried to kick the door down, and then simply just opened it, goofy segments paired with solid matches could just work with these two. Later in the night, they took on and defeated The Ascension (fairly easily), while getting a solid reaction from the London crowd.

Overall Thoughts

I'd totally play that SmackDown Live arcade game. I'm still ignoring those 205 Live promos. I'm very confused as to why Mojo Rawley is now a tour guide for children and how he got that Andre trophy all the way to London. Looking forward to getting back to live shows next week, taped one always feel less important, since WWE knows many fans read spoilers and skip the show.

Grade (out of 10): 5.5 (Last Week: 6.5)


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