By Seán McGlone – News Editor
TD Garden played host to WWE’s Smackdown Live on April 12. The second night of the “Superstar Shake-up,” Boston fans were treated to a number of surprises as superstars were exchanged between Smackdown Live and Monday Night Raw.
The “Superstar Shake-up” had been introduced presumably to help with slumping ratings, and as a way for WWE to move superstars around without having to hold another complete roster draft. The night before had seen the likes of Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose, former WWE Champion Bray Wyatt, and “The A-list Couple” The Miz and Maryse crossover to Raw.
The show started with United States Champion Kevin Owens being introduced as the newest member of Smackdown Live. Owens, a Canadian native, would then deliver a promo where he would say he was the new face of America, and teased the crowd about how often his Montreal Canadiens beat the Boston Bruins.
Owens was soon interrupted by Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, and former WWE Champion A.J. Styles, all demanding a shot at Owens’s championship. Smackdown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan would then come out to inform the three men that none of them would get a chance at the United States Championship until after Owens defends it against Chris Jericho at Raw’s “Payback” on April 30. However, the three men would be competing in a triple threat match in the main event later that night to determine who the number one contender would be after “Payback.”
The show would later feature New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski, making another appearance at a WWE show in support of his real-life friend, WWE Superstar, Mojo Rawley. Gronkowski had helped Rawley train for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at Wrestlemania. At Wrestlemania, Gronkowski had sat front row to watch the match, but after superstar Jinder Mahal threw a drink in Gronkowski’s face, Gronkowski involved himself in the match, hitting Mahal with a shoulder tackle. At Smackdown Live, Gronkowski sat in the front row once again, this time for a singles match between Mahal and Rawley. Again Gronkowski and Mahal exchanged words, but this time Gronkowski threw a drink in Mahal’s face. Rawley then threw Mahal back in the ring and pick up the victory after hitting Mahal with a running punch.
Later, Smackdown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon introduced the two newest members of the Smackdown Women’s division, Tamina and former four-time Women’s Champion, Charlotte. After that, fans saw the first meeting between superstar Dolph Ziggler, and fan-favorite, Shinsuke Nakamura. The two would exchange words before Nakamura blocked an attack from Ziggler, likely setting up a feud between the two.
The taped episode of Smackdown Live ended with the triple threat match made earlier in the night. The match ran for about 20 minutes, during which there were a number of changes in momentum, but ultimately Styles hit Zayn with the Phenomenal Forearm to pick up the victory.
With the excitement of the “Superstar Shake-up” fans were presented new match opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Other former members of the Raw roster such as The New Day, Sin Cara, and Rusev & Lana were also announced as new members of Smackdown Live. The show was exciting with a number of twists and turns that would show how the landscape of WWE can change so quickly. Ratings in the coming weeks will ultimately determine the success of the “Superstar Shake-up.”