Smackdown Live Review – April 16

This week’s edition of Smackdown Live took place from Montreal, Quebec, and it was the second and final night of the Superstar shakeup.

Kicking off the night’s festivities was  Kevin Owens with his ever-so-popular talk show “The Kevin Owens Show.”

Owens received a hero’s welcome from his home country fans. I personally enjoy Owens as a babyface, his comedy and quick wit on the microphone is second-to-none in the WWE.

This would bring out the newly crowned WWE champion Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, but without Big E due to an injury suffered last week in their match.  The trio in the ring had some clever back and forth comments, leading to Kevin Owens (Big O) becoming an honorary member of the New Day.

Not only was Owens gold in the segment, but it was also nice to see a less serious side of Kofi once again. While it is important for Kingston to be taken seriously as the WWE champion, he cannot lose what got him there. So keep throwing pancakes the and gyrating the hips because that won’t hurt his appeal as a true WWE champion in my eyes.

After a great opening segment that got the crowd into the action, Smackdown’s first addition of the night made his way to the ring in the form of the Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor.

Balor would debut on the blue brand facing Ali. These two superstars both have similar high-flying skillsets and that was on full display throughout this matchup.

Shockingly (sarcasm) when given the time these two had a rather good TV match, and though he was unsuccessful, Ali brought the fight to the IC champion on his first night on Smackdown Live.

I would love to see more matchups such as this one in the coming weeks with Balor. He has a whole new roster full of potential opponents and hopefully WWE can take advantage of having Balor on the blue brand.

We then saw Charlotte Flair for the first time since the Wrestlemania Main Event last Sunday, as she made her way to the ring to take on Carmella.

While these two have a bit of history against each other (Mella cashed in Money in the Bank on Flair last year) this match was alright, but the crowd did seem engaged throughout. Mella eventually tapped out to the Queen as she looks to move on after losing the Smackdown Women’s Title.

Mella is pretty much locked into her role on the mid-card on Smackdown, but it will be interesting to see what and who Charlotte Flair is involved with post-Wrestlemania. Flair has spent much of the past couple of years in the title picture, and a break from the main event scene may do Flair good.

But Flair will likely soon be after her former best friend again, as it is hard to see Charlotte out of the Women’s title picture for an extended period of time.

In the aftermath of the loss for Mella, that eerie music of Lars Sullivan began playing and ‘The Freak’ slowly marched down to the ring. R-Truth attempted to stand up to Sullivan, but Lars made quick work of him.

Lars continues to carve out a path of destruction on both Raw and Smackdown, with WWE building him up to be an unstoppable monster. These beat downs are good for the time being, but eventually WWE will need to get Sullivan in a storyline with someone to truly begin his ascent up the card.

Becky Lynch showed up once again in Montreal to proudly display her two titles and to declare that her titles are a passport that allows her to show up on either brand to slap the heads off anyone she so chooses.

While Becky on the mic is pure gold, this segment was more for the newest additions to the blue brand and that was Ember Moon and Bayley. These are two superstars in definite need of a fresh start, and this again reinforces my point from last night’s Raw review that Becky will have challengers coming at her from all angles and will need to keep her head on a swivel.

After a back-and-forth from the three women in the ring, the Women’s Tag Champions, the IIconics, made their way down the ramp. After they talked for a few minutes, Paige interrupted the group in the ring to debut her new tag team she’d be managing.

For a nice tease, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville came out and believed Paige was getting Absolution back together. However, this was not the case as Asuka would make her way out, and moments later her partner, a debuting Kairi Sane would do the same much to the delight of the crowd.

There was a slew of Women in the ring, and the newly formed team charged down to the ring to make an impact on their debut. This predictably led to an eight-woman tag team match. Sane wound up pinning Peyton Royce for the win.

Like last night, I get you want to make the debuting talent look strong, but does it really need to be at the expense of the newly-crowned women’s tag champions?

While the match was okay overall, I see this as more of a way to start up a new feud for women’s tag team titles as well as giving Becky a challenger on the blue brand in the form of (hopefully) Moon or Bayley.

As set up earlier in the night, a new-look New Day (with Big O) took on the trio of Rusev, Nakamura, and Cesaro. This was quite a fast-paced matchup with the faces getting to shine. It wasn’t a great match by any means, and I don’t think it will lead to anything, but it was a solid showing from Kofi, Xavier and Kevin Owens.

Then came the Main Event segment, that was advertised as the “biggest acquisition in Smackdown history.” Vince McMahon marched down to the ring to announce that it was…drumroll, please… Elias.

The crowd was rightfully dead for this announcement, but Vince acted like he was fully behind this, putting over Elias. However, this was just a swerve as the music of Roman Reigns suddenly echoed throughout the arena, and the ‘Big Dog’ made his way to the ring, then nailed Elias with a Superman punch, then turned to the chairman and cleaned his clock with another Superman punch.

Reigns then uttered a simple, yet impactful phrase. Smackdown Live was his yard now. The former Universal Champion then mad his way back up the ramp, only to turn around and hit Elias with a thunderous spear.

This show overall seemed a bit scattered. While there were new debuts and shakeups, it did not really feel like many, if any storylines were started from this episode. But to be fair, I will rightfully give the shakeup a few weeks to set in and let WWE get new storylines going before harshly judging Smackdown Live.

I give this weeks episode of Smackdown Live a 3 out of 5.

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