In what would be the final Smackdown on the USA Network before their move to FOX, the show would begin with a video package recapping all the destruction that Erick Rowan has been causing these last few weeks with his interview with Michael Cole voicing over the carnage.
The show would start properly with Rowan coming down to the ring and cutting a typical heel promo over chants of “you suck” calling himself a creator over the destruction he has wrought, and letting everyone know that might makes right.
Daniel Bryan would then come down to the ring and challenge Rowan to the first match of the evening. Rowan would dominate Bryan through not just one commercial break, but two. His hubris would, unfortunately, start getting the best of him during the picture-in-picture as he spent most of that commercial break panhandling to the crowd. Bryan would take advantage of the situation, getting Rowan in the Labelle Lock, but Luke Harper would create the distraction and after a legit issue with Bryan’s leg getting tied up in the rope in a way where Bryan was actually screaming for the referee to help him, Rowan would drop the Iron Claw once more for the win.
Rowan and Harper would begin setting up another assault for Bryan, but Roman Reigns would run to the ring and Superman Punch Harper and spear Rowan after Bryan landed the Flying Knee on Harper.
That’s how you start the last episode on USA Network. This match was far more entertaining than any of the 20+ minute matches on Raw last night, despite the little guy vs big guy match formula that I’ve been gradually becoming more and more annoyed with over the last month. Grade: A-
To set up an interview between Michael Cole and Kofi Kingston, we’d get another video package, but this time with all Brock Lesnar highlights at his most vicious, with a Paul Heyman voiceover. During the interview, Cole would ask Kofi why he would accept a challenge against Lesnar, and after going over his milestones as WWE Champion, he would talk about the promise he made about being a fighting champion.
Chad Gable would come down to the ring and cut a promo about having Baron Corbin on the ropes last night on Monday Night Raw, but Mike Kanellis would come out and interrupt him with more short jokes. The two would have an impromptu match where Gable would win with the ankle lock in a one-minute squash match.
What made this match even weirder, after Gable won without breaking a sweat, Elias would pop up on the jumbotron to sing a song about Gable’s size. At this point in time, I’m getting bored with this storyline. I know it’s building to Gable’s new persona: Shorty G, but let’s get to the point already.
Charlotte Flair & Carmella vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley: In what would be a relatively quick, enjoyable match between the competitors. Banks and Bayley would dominate over Carmella, making quick tags, and after multiple tags from both sides, Carmella would deliver superkicks to the heels, but after trying to roll-up Banks, Banks would counter with the Bank Statement.
R-Truth would soldier carry Carmella out of there just in the nick of time as the 24/7 match stipulation was no longer in effect, and the Women’s Division came charging down to the ring, chasing after the two, leaving Charlotte Flair alone with the heels in the ring. She’d do a good job defending herself, but the numbers game would get the best of her. Luckily for her though, Becky Lynch would come down to the ring and clean house.
WWE is continuing to push Sasha Banks as a strong competitor for Becky Lynch, from match to little quips during interviews, and I think it’s great, especially since wherever Banks is, Lynch is somewhere nearby, keeping her in check in a way. What I don’t like is the anti-babyface thing going on with Bayley. I feel it has no place with this Banks build WWE is currently doing. Grade: B-
Nakamura vs. Ali: Remember when WWE was big on Ali? I know I asked that question before, but since WWE has decided to take last week’s match and copy it to this week, I figured I’d do the same with my question.
Just like last week, Sami Zayn would provide interference for Nakamura long enough for him to land the Kinshasa, and pick up the win. I’m hoping this is leading to something, preferably a win, but at this point, does anybody care now? Grade: D-
We’d get a video package of what happened last week between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon, which would lead to Shane McMahon in a room with three lawyers, all shaking their heads barely moving their mouths. Were they having a telepathic conversation? I saw Shane and the woman’s mouth move a little, and then the lawyer between them clearly saying “sure.”
The New Day vs. The B-Team: I’m always in the mood for something random, and this match is precisely that. I assume we’re trying to create some momentum for The New Day after their loss to The Revival, but nobody was taking their match seriously.
The B-Team would put up a good-ish fight, but it was when Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas would do the B-Train, Big-E would join in on the fun, take out Axel, then set Dallas up for the Midnight Hour, and the win.
So random… Grade: C
Mandy Rose was handing out autographed MAXIM magazines backstage with Sonya DeVille. She would end up taking a selfie with Heavy Machinery’s Otis before heading down to the ring for a match against The Kabuki Warriors.
The Kabuki Warriors (still a terrible name) vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya DeVille: If there were two women in the WWE that has something to prove, it’s Asuka and Kairi Sane. After WWE relegated these two amazing talents to their race, we’ve barely seen them on television. Of course, not just them, but any of the talent in the Women’s Division that isn’t blonde or one of the Four Horsewomen.
And isn’t it great that Mandy Rose is continuing the vain storyline that started with Nikki Cross and carrying it over to Kairi Sane?
The match would end with the Kabuki Warriors picking up the win with Kairi Sane delivering the Insane Elbow on Mandy Rose. Grade: B-
After another round of tit for tat between Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens, Kevin would challenge Shane to a ladder match. If Shane wins, Kevin leaves the WWE. If Kevin wins, Shane leaves the WWE. There wasn’t an announcement to when the match would talk place, but my money is on Friday Night Smackdown.
The final segment, to end an otherwise random night of wrestling, Becky Lynch would have a backstage interview where Sasha Banks would jump her. The two would duke it out, but Sasha Banks would get the best of her. This is nothing more than promo fodder for their match at Hell In A Cell next week. The match would end with Becky Lynch holding her ribs.
For the final Smackdown on the USA Network, this was exactly what I was hoping for: an entertaining two hours. I’m certainly looking forward to next week when WWE debuts their new stage designs, and maybe we’ll see pyro once more.
This week’s episode of Smackdown Live is a very high B+.