The Hulu preview image for this week’s Smackdown features Neville and Kalisto so that is a good sign. I am optimistic as this is also A.J. Styles’ Smackdown debut. We start off with a recap of the events of the Royal Rumble and RAW. We then start off things in Tampa with the New Day. Has Kofi explained why he wears Iron Sheik boots? We’re shown a clip from RAW where The New Day faced off with The Rock on the mic and got taken out by The Rock and The Usos. So far this show has been 7 minutes of recaps. Back in real time, The New Day say that The Rock should should be ashamed of himself and that he doesn’t have gold like they do. They criticize Rocky’s use of harsh language, saying he has a “doo doo mouth,” and remind him it is a PG show. The Miz comes down and says he was also humiliated by The Rock and that he does not get upstaged. The Usos interrupt. They make fun of the fact that The Miz is still talking about main eventing Wrestlemania 4 years ago. Titus O’Neil and Dolph Ziggler join The Usos at ringside and they charge the ring and clear out The Miz and New Day. Did Prime Time Players break up again and they just didn’t bother to tell anybody? Darren Young wrestled in the Royal Rumble pre-show so it’s not like he’s hurt.
The New Day & The Miz vs. The Usos, Dolph Ziggler, and Titus O’Neil
Xavier starts off against Jay but quickly tags to The Miz. Jay gets Miz in a headlock but The Miz sends him into the ropes and Jay responds with a shoulder tackle. Some good work to get things started between Jay and The Miz. Lots of great trash talking by Xavier as Jay tags in Jimmy and they hit a double elbow on The Miz. The Miz nails Jimmy with a jawbreaker and tags out to Kofi. Jimmy tags in Titus, who nails Kofi with a big slap to the chest in the corner. Kofi tries to get away but Titus drags him into the corner and hits another slap. The crowd asks for another and Titus obliges. He tags in Dolph who hits a standing dropkick and gets a two count. Kofi goes for the eyes and then hits a dropkick. He tags in Xavier who hits a dropkick of his own. Xavier powers Dolph into the corner and tags in Big E. Big E hits a big slam and gets a two count. Dolph makes a comeback and gets a hot tag to Jimmy Uso. Jimmy hits the corner splash and clears the ring.
Big E surprises Jimmy with a belly to belly suplex and The New Day takes control. The Miz joins in on the Unicorn Stampede followed by Miz’s corner clothesline. Kofi is tagged in and Jimmy attempts to make a comeback. Kofi gets a hot tag to Xavier but Woods gets smashed into the ropes and Jimmy makes the tag to Titus while Woods barely tags in The Miz. Titus clears the ring and all hell breaks loose. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Woods and The Usos take care of the rest of The New Day with superkicks and dives to the outside. The Miz goes for a Skull Crushing Finale on Dolph but Titus comes from behind and nails him with Clash of the Titus to get the pinfall. This was a great, fast paced match but it’s time to find some new opponents for The New Day.
Neville vs. Kalisto (U.S. Championship Match)
This should be a great match. Some quick action to start at the bell. Kalisto goes for a monkey flip and Neville lands on his feet. Kalisto nails a great flying headscissors out of a handstand and Neville goes to the outside. Kalisto goes for a hurricanrana off the apron and Neville catches him and goes for a running powerbomb but Kalisto reverses it into a hurricanrana into the barricade. They both land hard. After the break Kalisto goes for a springboard hurricanrana but Neville turns it into a powerbomb and gets a two count. Neville takes control and they go up to the top rope. Kalisto turns the tables on Neville and hits an amazing hurricanrana from the top rope. Mauro calls it a super frankensteiner. I think that is the same thing but I am not really sure. I think I need to take a class on wrestling moves. Let me know your thoughts if you are reading this. Neville comes back with some stiff kicks to the midsection of Kalisto. He goes for a deadlift suplex but Kalisto counters with a sunset flip and gets a two count. Neville goes for another suplex and this time Kalisto counters with a modified Salida Del Sol and gets the three count for the win. This was really good. There were some near botches but both of these guys worked hard and made it look great.
The Highlight Reel with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose
Man, I wish Jericho was back full time. He has looked great during this run. He is always great on the mic and has proved he definitely is still great in the ring. Jericho starts things off by talking about the Royal Rumble, reminding us he went 51 minutes. He then talks about RAW and his match with AJ Styles, which was amazing. He hypes up Fastlane, which will feature a triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Brock Lesnar to determine who will face Triple H at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship.
Jericho introduces Dean Ambrose, who comes to the ring with flowers. Jericho then introduces Roman Reigns, who seems to be getting a decent reaction, especially from kids. Again, it’s hard to tell what is real on Smackdown but judging by the looks on people’s faces he is getting a good response. Ambrose gives the flowers to Jericho, saying his set could use some decoration as it basically consists of one TV in the middle of the ring. Reigns and Ambrose say that their friendship won’t be affected by their Fastlane match but they are prepared to beat the heck out of each other. Jericho asks them about Lesnar and the fact that while Reigns knows what to expect, Dean hasn’t been in the ring with Lesnar. Ambrose says he’s not afraid because he’s indestructible. He has no time to be scared because a trip to WrestleMania is on the line. Reigns responds by telling Dean that Lesnar is for real and he doesn’t understand. He is unlike anyone he’s competed against. Dean says that technically he doesn’t have to beat Lesnar, he just has to beat Reigns. Roman responds by saying it will be the first time because Dean hasn’t beat Roman.
The Wyatt Family interrupt. Bray says The Wyatts slayed the Beast at the Royal Rumble. Reigns says he doesn’t know what Bray is talking about and that he should come down to the ring so they can settle it with their fists. Bray says tonight he plans to put Roman, Jericho, and Ambrose to the test. He challenges them to a match tonight and tells them to run. Remember when Jericho turned his back on Dean and Roman just a few months ago? I guess no one else does either. How do you have a show with a big writing staff and claim you are just as great as scripted dramas and stuff like that happens all the time? Just put AJ out there so I can try to not be bothered by this.
The Social Outcasts are in the ring after the break. They say they should have been the hottest thing trending after RAW and the awesome Bo Rida rap battle but instead everyone is talking about AJ Styles. Axel is upset that AJ ended his year long run in the Royal Rumble and calls him out.
Curtis Axel vs. AJ Styles
Man, everything about AJ is awesome. The theme song is really warming up on me. If you missed his match against Jericho on RAW you owe it to yourself to check it out. Axel is no Jericho but I am looking forward to this match as well. AJ hits an awesome dropkick to start things off followed by some stiff kicks and a knee drop. Axel hangs on to the ring apron and comes back with a clothesline. He then nails a series of stomps on AJ in the corner and a big dropkick. He follows this up with a backbreaker. He goes for an elbow off the second rope and AJ rolls out of the way. AJ nails a huge clothesline followed by a roundhouse kick. He goes for a fireman’s carry but Axel gets out of it.
AJ hits a beautiful Pele kick off the second turnbuckle and gets a two count. The Social Outcasts try to distract AJ and AJ nails Rose with a flying punch and then takes out Bo and Slater with a dive to the outside. Axel tries to drag AJ back in the ring but AJ catches him on the ropes. He goes for a springboard attack but Axel nails him with a kick. Axel goes for a Perfect Plex but AJ gets out of it and hits a Pele Kick followed by a Styles Clash for the three count. Awesome. The Outcasts try to attack AJ after the match but AJ is too quick for them.
Charlotte vs. Natalya
Natalya and Charlotte had the match that truly sparked a revolution in NXT but somehow I’m doubting we’ll get anything close to that tonight. We do get some great chain wrestling and back and forth to start things off. Natalya hits a snapmare and runs right over Charlotte’s face. She follows this up with a dropkick. Charlotte gets a rope break and surprises Natalya with a huge kick to the face. Charlotte takes her time going for the pin and gets a two count. She locks Nattie in an abdominal stretch and Natalya manages to reverse it . Charlotte attempts a reversal but Natalya turns it into a backslide. Charlotte gets out of that right away. Natalya hits Nattie by Nature and then a German release suplex. Charlotte rolls out of the ring. Natalya tosses her back in and Ric distracts Natalya with some woos. Charlotte takes advantage by hitting a chop block and then gets Natalya in the Figure 8 to get the submission victory. Charlotte locks Nattie in the Figure 4 after the match and Becky Lynch makes the save. Charlotte stares down Becky on the ramp. This match got more time than I thought it would and was a great match. I’m glad Becky is still in the mix as I was worried she would be an afterthought after Sasha made her return at the Royal Rumble.
R-Truth is stretching outside the arena and Goldust joins him. He asks if he can run with R-Truth. R-Truth seems a little unsure about it. He seems to still think Goldust is asking to sleep with him. Goldust assures him he just wants to be in a tag team but then says he needs a groin massage and R-Truth takes off. I don’t mind them teaming up, it could actually be pretty fun but I’m already kind of tired of these skits. They sound like they were written by a 12 year old.
The Wyatts vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho
Jericho starts things off against Erick Rowan as it’s Harper, Rowan, and Bray in for The Wyatts. Jericho tags in Ambrose and they double team Rowan. Ambrose hits a big dropkick and tags in Roman. Roman hits some strikes in the neutral corner. He drives Rowan into his corner and tags in Jericho. Rowan takes control and he tags in Harper as they hit a double team on Jericho. Harper hits some palm strikes followed by a stiff kick. He goes for a backdrop but Jericho hits a big boot. He hits an elbow off the turnbuckle and goes for the Walls of Jericho. Harper powers out of it but Jericho responds with an enziguri and gets a two count. He then hits a running clothesline into the corner and then goes for a mounted ten punch but Harper counters with a delayed vertical suplex.
When we come back from break Bray is in and nails Jericho with a clothesline. He tags in Rowan who grinds his fists into the temple of Jericho. Jericho tries to come back with some punches but Rowan counters with a backbreaker and gets a two count on the pin attempt. He tags out to Harper and Harper gets Jericho in a modified reverse figure four leg lock. Jericho gets out of it with some strikes to the face but Harper locks him in a sleeper hold. Jericho again powers out and goes for a crossbody but Harper counters with a Michinoku Driver and gets a near fall. That was pretty awesome. Harper is one of the most underrated wrestlers on the roster and Jericho is bringing out the greatness in him. Harper hits a big boot to knock Reigns off the apron and then goes for a running splash on Jericho but Jericho hits a Codebreaker and tags out to Ambrose while Harper tags in Rowan.
Ambrose hits a Thesz press on Rowan and follows this up with a forearm and a running bulldog. He hits an elbow off the turnbuckle and gets a two count on Rowan. He then hits a slingshot dive onto Bray on the outside. Rowan goes for a dive but Ambrose lowers the rope and Rowan lands hard on the outside. Ambrose tosses Rowan back in the ring and goes for a diving attack but Rowan counters with a spinning heel kick and gets a two count. Rowan tags in Bray, who hits a big senton on Ambrose. He goes for Sister Abigail but Ambrose counters with a rollup and gets a two count. Bray nails him with a punch but Ambrose hits a rebound clothesline. He gets a hot tag to Reigns as Bray tags in Harper and Reigns goes to town on Harper. He hits a series of clotheslines in the corner and then nails a big boot on Harper and goes for the pin. Rowan breaks it up Ambrose takes out Rowan and Jericho nails a springboard dropkick on Wyatt. Jericho and Ambrose then hit double springboard planchas to the outside on Wyatt and Rowan. Pretty awesome.
Back in the ring, Reigns goes for a Superman punch but Strowman hits him from behind in the corner and Harper gets a rollup off the distraction for a two count. Reigns hits the Superman punch and goes for the pin but Strowman breaks it up, dragging Reigns out of the ring. The ref calls for the bell and Ambrose tries to get a sleeper on Strowman but Strowman slams him to the ground. Jericho attacks Strowman but Strowman tosses him across the announce table. The Wyatts drag Reigns into the ring.
The Big Show comes down and takes out Harper and Rowan on the floor. He faces off with Strowman. Harper and Rowan attack Show from behind and the Wyatts all gang up on Show in the ring. Roman comes in and goes for a Superman punch on Strowman but Strowman catches him in a chokehold. Big Show gets up and gets Stowman in a chokehold. He tosses Strowman out of the ring as Bray goes for Sister Abigail on Reigns. Roman gets out of it and nails a Superman punch on Bray. Jericho and Ambrose get back in and take out Rowan, leaving Harper all alone. The Big Show throws Harper right into a Reigns spear and the good guys stand tall in the ring. I guess Big Show is a good guy again. This was another really good episode of Smackdown. I enjoyed all the matches, especially Neville vs. Kalisto and AJ vs. Axel.