WWE Smackdown wrestles it out in Bakersfield

Karla Gutierrez, Photo Editor

“WWE Smackdown Live” on the USA Network had a television taping happen at the Rabobank Arena on Feb. 13. The doors opened with a near full audience at 3:30 p.m. This show included wrestlers like the current WWE Champion AJ Styles, current WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, Randy Orton, etc.

The show started at 4:50 p.m. with a dark match [a non-televised match] with the “Perfect Ten” Tye Dillinger vs. “The Miracle” Mike Kanellis. A dark match hypes up the audience before the actually show begins. That match ended with Dillinger being the winner.

Greg Hamilton then started the countdown of when they were going live on the USA Network.

Then the lights dimmed; they showed the promo that is always in the beginning of the  show “Then. Now. Forever.” The show started off with WWE Superstar Dolph Ziggler, who has been off TV for about a month after a return in the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, waiting to face his opponent Baron Corbin for a chance to be qualified in a match for the WWE Championship at an upcoming pay-per-view called “Fastlane”.

When suddenly Corbin didn’t show up for his entrance and was shown on the big jumbotron being attacked backstage by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. After they were done attacking Corbin, they went after Dolph Ziggler. Owens and Zayn brawled with Ziggler all around the audience. Unexpectedly, Corbin showed up and put up a good fight, but wasn’t suitable enough to handle Zayn and Owens.

It was later announced by Smackdown Live commissioner Shane McMahon that Baron Corbin was going one-on-one against Kevin Owens and if Corbin won the match he would enter the triple threat match for the WWE Championship, making it a fatal four way; that is four competitors in the same ring . Same stipulation was applied for Ziggler’s match against Zayn.

The WWE Championship match at “Fastlane” is a very important match in the card because whoever walks out of “Fastlane” as the champion will have a guaranteed spot at the biggest event of pro wrestling, WrestleMania.

After that segment ended, it was time for the women’s action where Sarah Logan, being accompanied by the Riott Squad [which consist of Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott], faced off against Charlotte Flair. Though, Flair didn’t come alone either. She was accompanied by Becky Lynch and Naomi. The match went back and forth, but at the end Flair finished Logan off with her finisher “Natural Selection” getting the one, two, and three.

Baron Corbin vs. Kevin Owens was the next match. Both of these men play a “heel” character, but the audience was cheering Corbin to win the match. This has not happened considering the fact that Corbin has been playing a bad guy since the beginning of his career.

This match had very high points that were getting the crowd into it. Corbin and Owens were alternating shots and moves. It wasn’t until Corbin was thrown to the ropes by Owens and he stopped himself. Owens went to give him a “closeline”, which got ducked by Corbin, and Corbin gave Owens his own finisher “End of Days” getting the win and entering the WWE Championship match at “Fastlane.”

The next segment didn’t come “outta nowhere” as Bobby Roode, the current WWE U.S Champion, was looking for someone to defend his championship in his “U.S Open Challenge.” Though he wanted someone in particular, Randy Orton. “The Viper” Randy Orton came out and had a stare down, that was until Jinder Mahal with Sunil Singh [valet] interrupted.

Mahal was just stirring the pot with Roode and Orton to get Roode on Orton’s bad side. That wasn’t until Orton had enough and did an “RKO” out of nowhere to Sunil Singh. A brawl broke out and was ended with Mahal giving Orton his finisher “Khallas.” Mahal standing tall between Orton and Roode.

The crowd was more interested in the segment with the New Day, a tag team that consist of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E. The segment started with the New Day having more than four stacks of pancake trays, then have Big E partake in eating them in less than eight minutes to break a record. The segment was intervened by another tag team of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable.

Benjamin and Gable were trash talking to the New Day and saying that they don’t take anything seriously. Then Gable offended them by throwing a pancake on the floor. Gable saying “Nobody likes pancakes.” Shelton adding, “From now on, we’re eating waffles,” throwing the tray of pancakes off of Big E’s hands.

They had a short match that ended in a celebration of pancakes as the New Day took the win in the match.

The main event was up and it was “do or die” for Dolph Ziggler. If he didn’t win this match, he was, not only going to miss an opportunity at the WWE Championship, but also miss out of WrestleMania.

Sami Zayn v. Dolph Ziggler did have some people off their seats. The anticipation of who was going to win was felt throughout the arena. Then one little mistake by Zayn and it was all over. Zayn going for “Helluva Kick,” which is where Zayn goes to one corner of the ring waiting for the right opportunity to give his opponent a big boot to the face. Ziggler dodges  under Zayn, getting Zayn stuck to the turnbuckle and then hits Zayn with a big superkick.

Ziggler gets the win over Zayn. Pointing at the big WrestleMania sign after his win knowing that he will go on to “Fastlane” to fight for the WWE Championship in a fatal-five way.

After Smackdown Live went off the air on the USA Network, they had their WWE Mixed-Match Challenge show on Facebook Live, which a show where they paired up a men and women wrestler together as a team and they’re wrestling to win a grand prize of $10,000 for an organization of their choosing.

It opened up with Elias and Bayley, a mix tag team from Raw [the other brand], playing the guitar. It was interjected by the fan favorites Rusev and Lana, from Smackdown Live, where the fans chanted “Rusev Day.”

This match lasted 20 minutes with some very crowd drawing moments. There’s a moment where Lana grabs Elias’ guitar and wanting to break it, but Rusev insist that she should break it and puts it down. The little thing that Elias did got the crowd laughing, which was he checked if his guitar still was in tune.

The match ended with Bayley going for a “Bayley-To-Belly” off the top rope and then Lana sliding under Bayley and dropping her on the rope. Lana getting the pin and her first win in WWE ever.

The crowd started to leave after the Mixed-Match Challenge, even though there was still one more show to go. 205 Live is a show that is for wrestlers that are 205 lbs. and under. Also considered to be called the Cruiserweights and known to do all the high flips.

The show started off with a qualifying match to see who will go on to finals to face off for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at WrestleMania. It was Akira Tozawa clashing against Mark Andrews.

This match went back and forth between the two knowing what’s at stake. At the end, Andrews going for a “shooting star press” [180-degree flip from the top rope], but Tozawa moving out of way. Tozawa kicking Andrews on the head and going for the pin, but was reversed by Andrews; therefore, giving the Andrews the victory.

The last match of the night was Tony Nese vs Drew Gulak. These two had a lot of chemistry and were battling for their spot. Eventually, Gulak took charge in the last minutes of the match and was dominating over Nese. Gulak ended the match a dragon sleeper on Nese. Gulak looked determine as got out of the ring and held the vacant WWE Cruiserweight Champion.