WWE SmackDown Live Full Results, Grades and Highlights for June 13, 2017

WWE need to just rename Smackdown Live to Fashion Files. It's their show.

OPENING SEGMENT: Tom Phillip welcomes us to New Orleans, noting that we’re five days away from the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. The men’s ladder match participants would square off in a six-man tag team match. JBL promoted a face-to-face encounter between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton, while Byron Saxton plugged an eight-man tag match between the New Day/Breezango and the Usos/Colons.

New Day danced down the aisle flanked by a Dixieland band that augmented their recorded theme. The musicians rocked unicorn horns as New Day tossed beads into the crowd, then snapped off the band’s final blare of sound like late-night talk show hosts. An appreciative crowd greeted New Day as Kofi Kingston gave props to the Soul Rebels for their musical accompaniments. Kingston said they had to make a grand entrance, as New Orleans is home to next year’s WrestleMania. Xavier Woods declared that, once New Day beats the Usos on Sunday, the twins can return to their work as extras in the “off-off-off-off-off-off-off-Broadway rendition of Straight Outta Compton.” He said that New Day will bring the tag team championship back to New Orleans at Mania, but the trio’s hip-swiveling was interrupted by the Usos. Uce told New Day that this ain’t no game, and they are the ones:

– That’s been grindin’.

– That’s been puttin’ in work.

– That at Money in the Bank, still gonna be SmackDown tag team champions.

Before they could further identify themselves, Breezango interrupted the proceedings. Fandango told the Usos there had been a break in their case, and their Day One was not so H. If anything, Tyler Breeze said, their Day One was G – for “Gross.” He said the Usos don’t have the authority to lock up anyone, and the Fashion Police should know. Breeze ordered his partner to “Book ’em, Dango!” The Colons instead walked out to insult Breezango as “Fashion Freaks”, calling them the worst detectives ever. Primo claimed that they didn’t trash the Fashion Police Department, but promised that his team would trash them in the ring. Big E told the Colons that his team was about to lawfully enforce “our boots betwixt your buns”, then launched into the “New Day rocks” chant.

The New Day and Breezango vs. The Usos and Primo and Epico Colon

Woods and Kingston were the active competitors for New Day, as Kofi started off against Epico. Kingston showed off his hops with some leapfrogs before dropping Epico with an elbow. New Day hit an impressive tandem kick/clothesline/splash/flying elbow on Epico. He fared no better against Fandango, who danced his way out of a sunset-flip attempt to land a leg drop. Breezango hit stereo elbows on Epico for a two count. JBL commented on New Day’s beads, claiming it looked like they were headed out to famed karaoke bar Cats Meow after the match.

Epico finally maneuvered Breeze into his team’s corner, allowing the Usos to batter him with strikes. Primo ground Breeze down by twisting his neck 90 degrees to the left. Breeze hit his opponent with an enziguri, then partnered with Woods to turn a flying headscissors into a splash on Primo. Woods dropkicked Primo’s throat into the middle rope for a two count. He and Primo exchanged chops in the corner, a stalemate broken by Woods hitting the Honor Roll. The faces cleared the ring with double clotheslines, then celebrated as Woods commandeered his trombone.

We stay with the action through the commercial break as the heels took a powder on the outside. Woods picked up where he left off, pelting Primo with right hands, then tagging in Breeze. Prince Pretty once again failed to hold the advantage, getting dragged to the opposing corner. The Usos utilized a blind tag to waylay Breeze and take the advantage. Breeze sold a sustained beating well, showing off his ability to play face-in-peril. Epico pounded his opponent with right hands, then made his own blind tag to allow his team to hit twin dropkicks on a seated Breeze. More impressive double-teaming from the Colons earned a two count. The Usos entered to hit a Demolition-esque strike off the turnbuckle while Breeze was in a side back-breaker position. Breeze fought back with a jawbreaker, but Epico cut him off on a tag attempt. Epico taunted Fandango, then held Breeze in a delayed vertical suplex before dropping him for another two count. He fended off another Breeze charge with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

Breeze eventually neutralized the cousins by throwing Epico into Primo, then clotheslining Primo, forcing him to DDT his own partner. He tagged Woods, who dropped the Usos with running strikes. Woods blind-tagged Kingston before somersaulting over the top rope on the Colons. Kingston then hit a springboard chop on Jimmy Uso before calling for and executing the boom-drop. He missed Trouble in Paradise, then blocked a kick and hit the move. Jey Uso broke up the pin, and Primo tagged himself in during the ensuing breakdown. Kingston rejected his backstabber attempt, then tagged Woods. They executed a double-team move remarkably similar to that which the Usos used earlier in the match (a double-stomp while Primo was held in the side-backbreaker position), giving their team the win.

Result: The New Day and Breezango beat the Usos and Primo and Epico Colon when Xavier Woods pinned Primo Colon following a double-stomp off the top rope.

Grade: B

Phillips said that Charlotte Flair would wrestle Natalya tonight ahead of the first-ever women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match. We go to commercials – the last of which serves notice that “free agent” John Cena returns to SmackDown Live on Independence Day. This commercial showed a ton of Cena media appearances, and left no doubt that he’s the biggest star the blue brand has to offer.

Back from break, AJ Styles warned Shinsuke Nakamura about Sami Zayn’s propensity to get overexcited for big matches. Zayn then walked up to ask what they wanted to do tonight. Styles was surprised that was all he wanted, and said they were good. Zayn said they were a little better than good. He said they should probably talk strategy, and asked if his teammates had any ideas … then launched into a convoluted series of “what if” scenarios while Styles and Nakamura waited for him to stop speaking. Styles told Zayn they were set, prompting Zayn to start pumping up Styles with verbal praise. He threw his right hand up, then withheld it, suggesting that his team postpone all high-fives for their victory celebration. Zayn left to stretch out; Nakamura shrugged and said, “I like him.”

Mojo Rawley stood backstage with Dasha Fuentes, who reminded viewers of his loss last week to Jinder Mahal. Rawley thanked Shane McMahon for the opportunity to face the champion, but said he came up short. Mojo said the loss was “devastating”, and he’d been beating himself up for the last week. He said there’s a small part of him that’s glad he lost, as he knows how he handles adversity and bounces back from defeat. Rawley vowed to use the loss as a springboard into his future, and that his best was yet to come. A hand clapped down on Rawley’s back. He turned to face his former tag team partner, Zack Ryder. The New Orleans crowd cheered as Ryder told Rawley that they had unfinished business – as a team. They embraced as we go back to ringside.

Naomi made her full entrance as Phillips said she’d be in action next on SmackDown.

Naomi vs. Tamina

Phillips showed footage of Tamina superkicking and pinning Naomi in the six-woman tag team match last week. As the two prepared to fight, Lana’s strangely concocted music played as she shimmied to ringside. A “We want Rusev” chant started as Naomi threw strikes in the corner. Tamina headbutted Naomi as the referee held the champion back. The powerhouse tossed her former Team BAD partner across the ring multiple times, then clamped on a chinlock. JBL said that Naomi has no way to study any film of Lana to prepare for her at Money in the Bank. This statement is also likely true of everyone reading this recap, giving us an advantage against any WWE superstar (according to JBL’s logic). Saxton asked if Lana would be nervous, pointing out she’s never had a singles match in WWE. He correctly asked what Lana would do if she got embarrassed and lost at Money in the Bank, giving the sense that the challenger is fighting just to establish her in-ring career.

Tamina absorbed a roundhouse kick, then caught Naomi’s leg on a second attempt and clotheslined her. She bashed Naomi in the corner, slamming into her skull with a running hip smash. Tamina went to a rear chinlock, then took her opponent back down with a short-arm clothesline for a two count. Saxton said that Money in the Bank could be Tamina’s “coming out party” after returning from a knee injury. Naomi created separation with some kicks, but got caught and slammed on a cross-body-block attempt. Tamina went to the top rope, but Naomi knocked her off, then hit a split-legged moonsault for the win.

Result: Naomi pinned Tamina after a split-legged moonsault.

Grade: C+

Immediately after the three count, Lana (wearing her floor-length blue dress) snuck into the ring and bashed Naomi from behind. She picked up Naomi and executed an inverted sit-out spinebuster. She grabbed the championship belt and held it up smiling as JBL called her move “unbelievable”. Phillips questioned whether the color commentators believed Lana was capable of a move like that. This announce team is setting the bar for Lana’s debut match about two inches off the ground. Saxton said this could be their shocking reality; after Mahal’s title win, such a statement bodes well for Lana’s chances.

Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers walked confidently backstage. The Mahal-Orton confrontation takes place next.

The Singh Brothers announced Mahal’s arrival. He emerged wearing a blue seat and grinning malevolently. In a cool visual, the show’s floor graphic appeared to roll out a red carpet that kept pace with Mahal’s steps. The three heels entered the ring, which was adorned with a large rug. Mahal took the microphone, twice telling the fans to rise and show respect for their WWE champion. He said he’ll expose Orton as a coward this Sunday, when “Cowboy” Bob Orton will be sitting front-row with other legends. Mahal said Orton fears him. Since Backlash, Mahal said, Orton has been hiding in the weeds like “a scared, defanged garter snake”. He said he’d use this fear as a sword of enlightenment to cut down his opponent’s legacy until there was nothing left of the Orton name. He said the day of the viper has passed, and the sun has risen on the new era of the Modern Day Maharaja. Mahal then spoke Punjabi, triggering “USA” chants.

Orton’s music interrupted this extended monologue to a large pop. Mahal ordered the Singhs to confront Orton before he could enter the ring. As the champion stared up the entrance ramp, Orton crept into the ring and hit an RKO onto the rug. He celebrated, then slithered out of the ring as the Singhs reentered it. Orton walked through the crowd, then posed as JBL said he was looking to become world champion for the 14th time. Phillips said Orton would fight for his family, hometown, and legacy this Sunday. They replayed the RKO, which Orton hit in-stride, completely blindsiding Mahal.

Back in the locker room, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler were shown preparing for their tag match. Kevin Owens entered; his partners didn’t look thrilled to see him, and let him know they wouldn’t be following his lead. Owens told them they have two options: work together to take out their mutual enemies, or fight each other and walk into the ladder match in poor condition. He advised that, while they didn’t need to be best friends, they shouldn’t be their own worst enemies.

Orton strode backstage as Renee Young caught up, asking him for his reaction to Mahal’s claim that his legacy was on the line Sunday. Orton told her he just said everything he needed to say to Mahal. He said he’d take back the WWE championship in his hometown.

Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya

Good mat wrestling and athleticism displayed by both women early in this match. Charlotte got the best of their exchange until Natalya brought her down with a hair pull. Natalya kept applying a hammerlock to Charlotte, who managed to counter with a backdrop and knee drop. She went up to the middle turnbuckle, where she was pushed over the top rope and to the floor. Natalya demanded acclaim from the audience. Bringing Charlotte back into the ring, she locked in an abdominal stretch. Charlotte nearly countered the hold before Natalya brought her down, then ran up her back before hitting the queen with a running dropkick. Natalya whipped Charlotte into the turnbuckle. She went halfway on a Flair flip before landing inside the ring and absorbing Natalya’s discus clothesline for a two count.

Natalya hooked Charlotte into a surfboard. Charlotte got out, only to be sent facefirst into the middle turnbuckle. Undeterred, she took Natalya over for a backslide, then knocked her down with chops. Charlotte landed her running knee drop, then strutted to the fans’ delight. She suplexed Natalya, then stepped on her stomach on the way to the top rope. Charlotte moonsaulted onto Natalya for a near fall. Carmella and Ellsworth were shown watching the match backstage, enabling JBL to employ a “beauty and the freak” line. Charlotte went back to the top rope, but was caught this time for a sit-out powerbomb. Big move for Natalya that nearly ended the match. Natalya tried to hook Charlotte into a sharpshooter, which the queen countered with a slap. Charlotte failed to get the fall with a rollup, then hit a big boot for another two count.

Natalya surprised Charlotte with a small package for two. Charlotte responded with a kick to the left leg, then hit Natural Selection for the victory. These two have had admirable chemistry for years, and always seem to deliver a good match. Charlotte pointed up at the Money in the Bank briefcase as Phillips said one woman would earn the opportunity of a lifetime this Sunday.

Result: Charlotte Flair pinned Natalya after hitting Natural Selection.

Grade: B

The announcers touted the two ladder matches scheduled for Money in the Bank, then promoted (and laughed at the name of) the Great Balls of Fire pay-per-view match between Brock Lesnar and Samoa Joe. Phillips waxed on about whatever as we plunge into the black-and-white noir world of the Fashion Files. Fandango recalled that his old man used to tell him there’s no way to win, just ways to lose more slowly. And to stop playing with dolls. Fandango paid tribute to Scott Hall by saying that they scored one more for the good guys with their win in the eight-man tag match. Our new Fashion Files episode: “Sweet Victory”.

Fandango said it was time to celebrate, but he still had a bad taste in his nose. He gazed at his pecs in a mirror, then wondered where his main man Breezey was. Another camera showed Breeze slumped against an overturned table, still clutching his water gun. An askew bulletin board labeled a Sami Zayn pic as “Generic”, while a DX-era Road Dogg photo carried a “WOOF!” caption. Breeze casually kicked his teammate, who reacted angrily and said he’d been attached. He recalled being attacked by hideous monsters. Fandango completed a police sketch of two perps with greasy hair, super-dry skin, and one arm. This description was then amended to two arms. Fandango asked if his finished sketch rang a bell; Breeze said it did, as the two left in search of the culprits. The camera panned in on Fandango’s sketchpad drawing of two stick figures as the segment concluded.

A segment ran on a boy named Jarrius Robertson. He’s the kid who made a basket in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game earlier this year. Jarrius just underwent a liver transplant. They showed him making his own ring entrance before the show began, as WWE superstars lined the outside of the squared circle to cheer him on. The kid exploded into a cartwheel inside the ring, then ran around high-fiving the elated wrestlers. Back live, Jarrius stood up at ringside to energetically dance while the crowd applauded him. He popped his shirt and dabbed, showing a ton of charisma and perhaps putting himself in line for a Warrior Award at next year’s WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New Orleans.

Lana walked confidently backstage, where Fuentes approached her and told her she’s caused a lot of controversy during the last two weeks. Lana proclaimed she doesn’t care what Fuentes or the WWE Universe thinks about her. She bragged about attacking Naomi, and promised to shock the world Sunday by becoming the “first-ever ravishing SmackDown women’s champion.”

AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Baron Corbin

Ziggler grabbed a wristlock on Nakamura to open the fight. Nakamura countered, then hit a big kneedrop on Ziggler before stepping into Good Vibrations. JBL said Dolph has competed in six Money in the Bank ladder matches. That’s got to take a physical toll. Ziggler responded with a hard dropkick, then tagged in Owens, who pounded Nakamura down. Corbin tagged in to throw strikes. The heels seemed to work seamlessly, as Owens requested prior to the match. Ziggler reentered to taunt Nakamura while punishing him with a rear chinlock. JBL stated again that Dolph was the favorite to win the contract on Sunday. Ziggler missed a leaping elbow, and Styles tagged in to forearm Ziggler and Corbin. Styles snared Ziggler with a pump-handle gutbuster. He then hit a fireman’s carry neckbreaker, forcing Owens to break up the pin. Zayn tossed Owens outside, then hit a front flip over the top rope onto Owens. Styles looked for a quick victory via the Styles Clash, but Ziggler countered with a DDT. Zayn and Corbin tagged in, with Zayn running into a deep six.

Back from commercial, Zayn fought back against a Ziggler chinlock. Dolph cut off his comeback with an elbow, then dragged his foe back to his team’s corner. Owens punched and kicked Zayn, who got his knees up to thwart an Owens senton. Both men regained their feet, and KO landed his own DDT for a two count. Corbin bullied Zayn, pummelling him with right hands in the corner. Saxton said Corbin doesn’t care about being politically incorrect (whatever that means in the context of trying to earn a contract to face the WWE champion). Sami sidestepped a Corbin charge, but the Lone Wolf slid outside the ring and dove back, pouncing on Zayn as he tried to make the tag. Owens came in only to be brought down with a blue thunder bomb, but Corbin again prevented the tag. He clotheslined Sami in the corner, but Zayn landed his own big clothesline as Corbin ran towards him again.

Zayn dipped under a running Ziggler, then deked out Owens and Corbin in succession, letting all three men dump themselves on the concrete. He crawled towards his corner until Ziggler and Owens pulled his teammates off the ring apron at the last second. Back inside, Corbin hurled Zayn across the ring. But AJ stunned Corbin with a forearm from the apron, allowing Zayn to hit the Helluva Kick for the three count. JBL yelled, “He got him again!”

Result: Styles, Nakamura, and Zayn beat Owens, Ziggler, and Corbin when Zayn pinned Corbin following a Helluva Kick.

Grade: B-

Ziggler ambushed Styles with a forearm seconds after the match ended, then stomped at Zayn. Owens threw Nakamura into the barricade, then brought a ladder into the ring. He and Ziggler picked it up, slamming the steel into Zayn and Styles. The two superstars jawed at each other over which man would win Sunday, then were both blasted by Corbin. He picked up the ladder and hit his erstwhile partners with it. Corbin set the ladder up mid-ring and climbed towards the blue Money in the Bank briefcase. Nakamura reentered the ring and tipped the ladder over, sending Corbin tumbling off throat-first onto the top rope. Nakamura took aim and dropped Corbin with a Kinshasa. Shinsuke then reset the ladder and ascended to grab the briefcase. Given that he just knocked Corbin off the thing, climbing the ladder for no real reason seems a poor choice. Regardless, Nakamura held up the briefcase as the crowd sang along with his music to end the show.

 

HIGH SPOTS

– New Day’s entrance. The live band was a fun touch for a televised event, and served as a reminder that WrestleMania 34 will emanate from N’awlins. Their vibrant music also got the crowd engaged immediately, ensuring a hot start for the show. New Day feels fresh after taking two months off.

– Sami Zayn’s performance. Zayn maximized his minutes with some great selling in the main event, further cementing his role as the underdog who can score the big win.

 

LOW BLOWS

– WWE Championship scene. The world title is an afterthought on this show. WWE isn’t even attempting to make us care about this match, which points to a lack of faith in Mahal. We heard briefly that Orton’s father and other legends would be in attendance for this match, but received no information on who specifically would show up. Or why. Orton called himself the Legend Killer for years. No word on why some legends now allegedly support him. SmackDown’s main event scene is marking time until Cena returns on July 4.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

This show was a serviceable two hours setting up Sunday’s pay-per-view. The Orton/Mahal confrontation was limited to one move and no direct words. On the women’s side, Becky Lynch went unseen while Carmella appeared only to watch her competitors’ match on a monitor. Perhaps the biggest question looming over Money in the Bank is whether SmackDown pulls the trigger on making Lana its women’s champion. She seems to be slotted into what would have been Eva Marie’s role as the antidote to the women’s revolution. We’ll find out Sunday if she can pull off a match well enough to lead her division.

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