WWE SmackDown results, review: Orton and Mahal square off, new No. 1 contenders
Jinder Mahal stealing the WWE title from Randy Orton was one of few highlights on SmackDown
It's tough to tell whether SmackDown Live put forward a decent show this week or it was simply a tad better than one of the worst editions of Raw in recent memory. Either way, it did advance some storylines despite SmackDown not having its Backlash pay-per-view for another four weeks.
New No. 1 contenders for the SmackDown tag team championship were named through a Beat the Clock Challenge, Randy Orton got his first taste of Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers, and the SmackDown women's championship was on the line in the main event.
Here's everything that went down on Tuesday night.
WWE SmackDown results
In the ring -- Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler: Nakamura was billed to start the show, but Ziggler interrupted his interview before it started. Ziggler then pretended to interview Nakamura but jumped in before he could speak and eventually joked -- for too long -- that Nakamura was Michael Jackson. He also said Nakamura's name translated to "petty, pathetic, overrated freak." Nakamura responded by speaking in Japanese and calling Ziggler a "jackass," turning the tables on a Ziggler attack with a suplex before Ziggler ran out of the ring.
WWE has done Nakamura no favors through his first four weeks on SmackDown. He's now being referred to as "The Artist Known As ...," which is obviously awful. Nakamura has yet to wrestle or showcase his strong style, which is not being even mentioned. Horrible job by the booking and writing teams, especially after promoting this as the opening.
AJ Styles def. Baron Corbin via pinfall: United States champion Kevin Owens was on commentary during the match and left his chair at one point to yell at Styles, who kicked him in the face. Styles rolled up Corbin for the 1-2-3 after a good match only to be attacked by both Owens and Corbin after the match. Sami Zayn came to his rescue, chasing Owens out of the ring and hitting Corbin with the Helluva Kick. Owens eventually returned to knock Zayn down and hit Styles with the Pop-Up Powerbomb.
American Alpha def. The Colons via pinfall in 5:17 (Beat the Clock Challenge): With new entrance music and tights, The Colons were back to jobbing as they never appeared to be a threat to take down Alpha. Jason Jordan shoulder tackled Primo Colon out of the ring so he and Chad Gable could hit Grand Amplitude for the win.
On the TitanTron -- Rusev: In a video taped seemingly from a gym, Rusev said he didn't like general manager Daniel Bryan or commissioner Shane McMahon and disagreed with Vince McMahon's superstar shakeup. He said the only way he will perform on SmackDown is if he receives a championship match at Money In the Bank, otherwise he'll just pack up his bags and return to Bulgaria. (That is two PPV events away on June 18.)
Interested to see where this goes. At least it's different.
Backstage -- Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella and Tamina Snuka: In an interview, Lynch said she didn't like that Charlotte Flair immediately had a title match but respected her method of demanding what she deserved. Natalya and her new crew appeared and demanded Lynch choose whether she's on Flair's side or theirs regarding the situation.
Randy Orton def. Erick Rowan via pinfall in a No Disqualification Match: Orton hit Rowan with a kendo stick and launched him into a table before the commercial break. Later, Rowan avoided an RKO and hit Orton with the steel steps. Eventually, Orton played ole by avoiding a charging Rowan, who ran into a steel chair propped up between the turnbuckles, and hitting him with an RKO. Orton cut a quick promo afterwards about the House of Horrors match, promising it will be Bray Wyatt's "eternal hell."
In the ring -- Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal: After Orton finished speaking to Wyatt, Mahal's music hit and he made his way to the ring. He condemned Orton for overlooking and disrespecting the true No. 1 contender. "I'm the true horror; you should be worried about me," he said. "... You disrespect me because I look different. You disrespect me because of your arrogance and lack of tolerance. But at Backlash, I will take back my respect. I will take the glory of the world WWE championship back to me and my people." Mahal then spoke Punjabi before attempting to go after Orton, who immediately thwarted him and set him up for the middle-rope DDT. The Singh Brothers, who were again first referred to as the Bollywood Boyz, stopped Orton and allowed Mahal to hit a cobra clutch slam. Mahal walked away with the WWE title and was later shown riding off in a limo with it in his arms.
Hopefully this is the last we see of Rowan with his Wyatt Family gimmick. He and Luke Harper both need a total character refresh because they're talented superstars who deserve better. There was a slight "U-S-A" chant when Mahal appeared, but the crowd gave him absolutely no reaction while he spoke or when the Singhs attacked Orton. Mahal has the enthusiasm and the look, but the mic work is no good.
Breezango def. The Ascension via pinfall in 2:41 to become the No. 1 contenders (Beat the Clock Challenge): The Ascension had the upper hand early and looked poised to knock off Breezango. Instead, Tyler Breeze nailed Viktor with a Supermodel Kick and Fandango followed with the Falcon Arrow to pick up the win in half the time of American Alpha's victory.
Don't mind this. New Day isn't in the picture yet, and it can't always be Alpha against The Usos. Just wish Breezango had a better gimmick, but maybe they can make something out of this. Here's an early Backlash prediction: The Usos retain their titles.
Women's Championship -- Naomi (c) and Charlotte Flair fought to a no contest: The fun, athletic match -- with a lot of near falls from both women -- was predictably stopped prior to a finish after Natalya, Carmella and Snuka attacked the two women. Snuka and Carmella both kicked Flair in the face while the crowd lightly chanted, "We want Becky." The three attackers stood tall in the ring afterward.
The crowd completely no-sold this because, let's be honest, who cares about Natalya, Carmella and Snuka -- especially when they interrupt a fantastic match. This obviously sets up a six-woman tag team match with Lynch next week and gives the division an opportunity to hold this Naomi-Flair match again at Backlash.
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