May 21, 2017
City: Rosemont, IL
Venue: Allstate Arena
Panel: Renee Young, Booker T, Peter Rosenberg
Social Media Lounge: Dasha Fuentes
Commentary: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
Brand: SmackDown Live
Theme Song: “Highway” by Bleeker
Renee Young introduces the panel, the show, and Dasha Fuentes in the Social Media Lounge. The panel then starts off by talking about Ziggler vs Nakamura.
Buildup for Nakamura vs Ziggler.
Booker T is super excited to see Nakamura’s debut. Rosenberg hypes Nakamura and strong style.
In a WWE.com exclusive from SmackDown this past Tuesday, Tye Dillinger was talking to Renee Young about how excited he is to be at Backlash. Aiden English interrupts and says that he will debut a new move on Dillinger. Dillinger responds by telling English not to cry when he beats him again.
James Ellsworth joins the panel to talk about the women’s tag match. Ellsworth says The Welcoming Committee is feeling great. Rosenberg asks Ellsworth what he does exactly. Ellsworth says he’s “the homeboy” of The Welcoming Committee. He helps them plan and strategize. The panel then presses Ellsworth about his relationship with Carmella, but Ellsworth evades the question and leaves the panel. Rosenberg picks The Welcoming Committee to win tonight.
The panel talks about Corbin versus Zayn. Booker T thinks Zayn will find a way and will succeed. Rosenberg says Corbin is scary. Renee and Booker pick Zayn, Rosenberg picks Corbin.
The panel moves on to talk about the tag title match. Booker isn’t a fan of Breezango, but he likes Tyler Breeze and Fandango. The Usos are Booker’s boys though. Erick Rowan wanders up to the panel as they’re talking and puts the show on hold. Rowan wanders away without saying anything, and Rosenberg continues by saying The Usos will win tonight. Booker agrees with Rosenberg, but Renee picks Breezango.
Kayla Braxton asks Ziggler if he’s prepared for tonight. Ziggler says he is. Nakamura won’t deliver on his debut. Ziggler is going to put on a clinic.
Buildup for Owens versus Styles for the US Title.
Rosenberg thinks Styles is the best superstar in the world. Booker doesn’t necessarily think Styles is the best, but he does think the match is a dream matchup. Booker picks Owens, Rosenberg picks Styles.
Social Media Lounge
Dasha Fuentes welcomes Sami Zayn and asks him some questions from Twitter. Zayn seems to take a little offense to the label of “underdog” that he’s been given. He also says that he might not have a positive attitude all the time, but he recovers from big losses quickly.
Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger
(referee: Jason Ayers)
Result: Tye Dillinger wins via pinfall after a Tye Breaker
Time: 7:03 (1 break)
This was okay. The first half of the match was kind of slow, but it opened up towards the end. This one wasn’t surprising, but I enjoyed it for what it was, a simple match to warm up the crowd. I really liked Aiden English’s tights though. That was probably the best part of the match. I’m not such a fan of Dillinger’s ridiculous entrance hear with his massive scifi-looking light-up collar. Anyway…
The panel attempts to carry on with the show when Erick Rowan once again wanders up. Rowan sits down and goes through his bag of masks. He seems irritated, but he still doesn’t speak. He eventually decides to wander away again.
The panel finally gets to talking about the WWE Title match. Booker says Mahal looks good, and Rosenberg wonders if Orton is taking Mahal lightly.
Clips of how Jinder Mahal made it into the WWE Title match and what he’s done since then.
Not a lot happened on this Kickoff. As usual I would like to see more interviews and segments from some of the people competing, but they did have a few. I think this was a pretty average kickoff show.
Match of the Night
Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger
This was an okay warmup.