Finally Smackdown has come back to Thursdays and on an easier day to watch. There’s also no better way to solidify the move to Thursdays than by giving the viewers a new and improved theme song, Black and Blue. We were set for a jam packed night that WWE has been promoting for a few weeks (Thursday commercial), but most of all, we’re excited to see Daniel Bryan back in action.
-Daniel Bryan starts the show off, and enters the ring with loud cheers. I can’t stand many of Bryan’s promos, but he does a great job at keeping them simple. He sticks to the point and doesn’t get sidetracked by any other topic. Unfortunately after 7 minutes his promo started to sound redundant. Kane proceeded to come out with the Authority, and I was shocked because I thought this would be saved for the main event. Either way, I needed Bryan to remind us why his in ring ability makes up for his lack of mic skill. This match began at a very fast pace, allowing for the audience to get absorbed right away. Bryan showed no ring rust, meaning he must be practicing. Once Bryan caught fire, this crowd went into mayhem, they were loving every part of this match. J&J security interfere and it ends in a DQ win for Bryan, which is truly a shame. This is the first match for the most over superstar in WWE, and they threw it away. The Authority then chase Bryan up the ramp until Reigns and Ambrose made the save. Triple H then announces there will be a 6 man tag match later in the evening with Bryan, Ambrose, and Reigns vs Rollins, Big Show, and Kane. This might not be the equivalent to Bryan getting a clean win, but they tried to make up for a terrible finish. Unless they still doubt Bryan, he should be closing the show with a win on his own. This segment could have definitely been executed a lot better.
-Bray Wyatt appears on the screen to cut a promo, but at this point I would like to see him speak in the ring. Why does WWE feel the need to keep him confined to taped promos? He doesn’t have a history of botching his lines, or lacking crowd reception, and because of this I cannot understand WWE’s willingness to hide him. This was Smackdown’s return to Thursday nights and he just got relegated to a taped promo, another poor booking decision by WWE creative.
-Next up there will be a mixed tag match with Miz, Mizdow, and Alicia Fox vs The Usos and Cameron. Since last Monday I’ve been dying to know what Alicia Fox’s role will be in this Miz-Uso angle. I’m aware she is currently feuding with Cameron, but she also has great onscreen chemistry with the Miz. She is even great at using the Miz’s heel tactics, such as tagging out Mizdow. If creative is smart, they’ll book Fox with Miz a little longer. After some in ring commotion, the Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Jimmy or Jey (I can’t tell them apart) and gets the three count. Honestly, I enjoyed this match, it was fun and entertaining. This was the best part of Smackdown so far.
-Whoever has been writing these Reigns promos has finally gotten one right! This is the type of promo that Reigns needs to cut more often, simple, to the point, and with the use of his threatening deep voice. He does not need humor to get over with the crowd. I had a smile on my face during this segment, I just hope they follow this template for his future promos.
-Paul Heyman stands in the middle of the ring, and introduces himself. He is fired up and extremely angry about Rollins’ actions on Raw. He does a great job at selling why Lesnar will man handle Rollins come the Royal Rumble. Rollins then comes out, also very angry. He tells Heyman that he’s not scared of Brock and that he chooses to cash in his Money in the Bank brief case tonight. Rollins then threatens to curb stomp Heyman if Lesnar can’t accept his challenge, which leads to the two getting uncomfortably close in the corner. I am sure every viewer and audience member felt just as uncomfortable as Heyman looked. Paul tells Rollins that the Authority can easily be removed from power once again, and eventually he will need someone who can help him more than they already do. While explaining this to Rollins he slips out of the ring. We knew Rollins was already good on the mic, but he has become a lot better since dueling with Heyman twice in one week. After this segment, this show began to pick up the pace.
-After 70 minutes, I finally realized this Smackdown has been quite promo heavy. The third match of the night is Nikki Bella vs Natalya. Based on Monday’s results, I expected Natalya to get the short end of the stick due to Brie Bella interfering. I was completely wrong, before Nikki could act on Brie’s distraction, Paige slapped Nikki which kept her down and lead to Natalya applying the sharpshooter for the win. This came as a surprise, probably for most people watching. It’s not common for a champion to tap out, especially in a non-title match. While it’s not common for a champion’s match to end that way, I liked the decision of Natalya going over, it was much needed for her character.
-After the commercial break, we get rematch from last week’s Smackdown with Barrett and Sin Cara. I wish Sin Cara would bring his NXT tag title with him, it would be great for continuity and gives him more credibility. The commentators don’t even mention anything about him being a NXT tag champion. These two had a decent match, and good finish. The ending was great for letting the fans think Sin Cara may pick up the upset again, but Barrett pulled through and reminded the fans why he’s the Intercontinental champion. Barrett does deserve a better program, but I guess until the Rumble is over, he will continue to feud with Sin Cara or be an Authority affiliate.
-The main event commences and the participants begin to make their way out. The match started off how any other tag match normally does, slow paced. Eventually all 6 men find themselves outside the ring and by the announcers desk, chaos then ensues. The outside brawl was a great way to show these faces were not fond of the heels. Once everything cools down the match gets back on track. Reigns and Big Show get sidetracked outside the ring, while Ambrose makes the hot tag to Bryan. The lunatic fringe makes sure nobody interferes, and Bryan hits Kane with the flying knee for the three count. Normally 6 man tag matches get too cluttered, but in this particular match Rollins, Ambrose, Reigns and Bryan were all used well. If Bryan had picked up the win at the start of the show, it would have felt better, but I guess this was a good way to get him involved with others in the Royal Rumble. While Bryan is celebrating his second win of the night, Triple H comes out to inform him that he will be facing Kane again next week, but if he loses he can’t participate in the Rumble. I wish he would be facing another monster heel, maybe Rusev or Big Show, because his business with Kane is getting repetitive and boring. The concept of this match is amazing though, because it has been quite some time since Smackdown has had an important match before a PPV. They should continue this trend. Overall, I loved this match, it utilized each wrestler perfectly.
Watch the highlights of the main event here.
-As I mentioned before, this Smackdown was very promo heavy, but that’s not a bad thing. Other than a weak opening segment the show picked up, and we saw some decent matches with clean finishes. Let’s not forget that Reigns delivered a good promo that suited his character, maybe somebody in WWE is finally listening to us internet fans. All and all, I give this show a 7/10 or a B-.
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