By Steven Flora
After an amazing WrestleMania, the SmackDown Live After Mania proved difficult to keep up with a star-studded Raw. However, with the appearance of a ‘Perfect 10’ and the King of Strong Style, SmackdDown Live most certainly put on a solid show.
King of Strong Style emerges
Arguably the biggest story of the night came when two-time NXT champion Shinsuke Nakamura made his debut on the main roster. The charismatic superstar interrupted The Miz and Maryse who (quite satirically) mocked the newlyweds (John Cena and Nikki Bella) and even managed to get a “No more Cena” chant going through the Amway Center. Nakamura’s debut undoubtedly received the loudest ovation of the night as he's set to make an impact on SmackDown as he did on NXT. It’ll be interesting to see how Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan treat Nakamura as the rare and special talent that he is.
SmackDown Live becomes a Perfect 10
Tye Dillinger def. Curt Hawkins: The story began with Hawkins (he’s not that important don’t worry) addressing, sorry, boring, the crowd about how the focus should be on him and not the ‘Superstar Shakeup’. After a minute he issued an open challenge which was answered by none other than NXT’s Tye Dillinger. The Perfect 10 made his debut to an outstanding ovation from the crowd as he finally made his main roster debut. Just by hearing the crowd’s reaction, you can certainly tell Dillinger will be a popular superstar in WWE for years to come. The match began with Dillinger taking control as Hawkins tried to find a way out of Dillinger’s onslaught. Rapid fire punches (10 to be exact) and a Tye-Breaker later, Dillinger scored a pinfall in his debut match.
Side Note: I’m so happy for Dillinger, a guy who worked his way up the ranks from FCW to NXT and now WWE. This guy put over every upcoming talent and to see him finally getting what he deserves is just amazing to say the least.
Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton in a House of Horrors match?
You’re probably thinking to yourself, what is a ‘House of Horrors’ match? And to tell you the truth, no one knows because nobody explained it. SmackDown Live opened up with new WWE Champion Randy Orton who boldly stated (about Wyatt), “I am now the master and you are my slave”. Wyatt appeared on the Titantron to cash in on his rematch clause however it would be in a ‘House of Horrors’ match. Orton accepted and before he knew it, Wyatt appeared in the arena and attacked him. An underwhelming return by Eric Rowan neutralized any comeback by Orton until Luke Harper made his way to the ring to even the odds. As a fan of the Wyatt family I have to say both Harper and Rowan have joined forces and turned on each other so many times, you end up being confused as to who’s on who’s side. Very confusing indeed.
Ambrose and Corbin go head to head ... AGAIN.
Baron Corbin def. Dean Ambrose (c) (non-title match) in a Street Fight: Fresh of their average WrestleMania bout, both Ambrose and Corbin went at it again, only this time in a street fight, woo. The match began as both competitors picked up from where they left off and brawled all the way to the outside, even into the crowd at one point. Ambrose managed to take control as he threw Corbin into a steel chair and then proceeded to land an elbow drop to Corbin through a table. Corbin managed to capitalize and hit the End of Days for a pinfall victory over the Intercontinental champion. This match was undoubtedly boring and they seriously need to end this feud quickly.
Other notable moments
Naomi and Alexa Bliss went toe to toe in a forgettable WrestleMania rematch. The match itself was average at best and although Bliss had her moments where she shined bright, The Wicked Witch of WWE felt the glow when Naomi used a modified Rings of Saturn to retain her SmackDown women’s’ title. Winner: Naomi (c).
Shane McMahon came to the ring and thanked the people of Orlando for an amazing weekend. Almost immediately AJ Styles came to the ring and proclaimed he doesn’t want to leave SmackDown Live, as he made it the A show (debatable). Styles gave out a handshake to which Shane accepted and to be quite honest, this segment just seemed pointless. This could have easily taken place backstage and instead you’re thinking to yourself, what was the point?
Overall SmackDown Live Rating: B-
Things to look forward to next week
The tag team division!
How will The Miz respond to Nakamura’s debut?
The explanation of what a House of Horrors match is.
What’s next for the Perfect 10’?
Who will challenge Naomi for her Smackdown Women’s championship?