The roster was thin this week for Smackdown do to a tour happening in the Middle East, but the show must go on. The WWE had select superstars to work with in order to put together the second half of their weekly programming, and they didn’t do such a bad job. What was so great about this was that they focused purely on feuds and builds, no nonsense (well except the Fandango-Adam Rose match). This was a case of “less is more”.
Well I enjoyed that the opening segment was based on the tag team division, it was a great way to put importance of them. The El Torito joke was hilarious, and I have no idea how any of these guys kept a straight face, because I was laughing very hard. This was an effective segment, because it set the tone for the night, and it let us knew who was going to be involved. Sometimes I don’t mind having pre-intro segments, it’s refreshing after awhile and makes the segment feel more important than it may be.
Bray Wyatt vs R-Truth
It was obvious, Wyatt didn’t care much for R-truth’s entrance, and his face showed it all. The crowd was very into R-Truth, they went along with him any given chance. Truth had much more offense than I thought he would get, in fact for the first half he was making a good case for winning. The momentum lasted a while for Truth, but it had to come to a stop. Wyatt had to destroy Truth, in order to gain a little more momentum heading into next week’s Raw. The match itself wasn’t bad, they kept me entertained. To have Wyatt on the show over guys like Ambrose, Rollins, Rusev, etc. meant that the audience needs see him consistently to realize he is truly a large threat. Having him kept in the minds of fans is only another hint that he will be calling out the Deadman sometime soon.
Paige vs Summer Rae
I’ll admit it, I enjoy hearing the Bellas on commentary. They’re actually pretty funny, which I couldn’t say about a year ago. The only thing I can’t stand about having superstars on commentary is that it can be distracting from the match. Paige and Summer Rae did a decent job in the ring, but the camera was trying to focus on the commentary team and the match. At times it was hard to appreciate the bout in front of us. At least they’re trying to keep this feud relevant, and it might be the most consistent in terms of build.
See for yourself, it wasn’t a bad match.
Adam Rose vs Fandango
So this a thing now? Is this the confirmation that Fandango has indeed become a babyface? This can actually make for a good comedic feud, I do hope they build more from this. The match already went longer than the one last week, and it was nice to see some simple wrestling in the ring. Also, great to see Fandango pick up the win, but I’m not sure if a win over Adam Rose means anything. Michael Cole brought up a great question, why don’t the rosebuds just quit? I wonder if that story is going anywhere, because it’s been happening for quite a while. Rose continues to bully his party friends, and it’s just not realistic that they stick around.
Daniel Bryan & Roman Reigns vs The Tag Team Division (Tag Team Turmoil)
This crowd was not as hot for Bryan as the Columbus crowd was from Monday.
Their “YES!” chants were out of sync and quiet. I thought this would be a Reigns crowd, but it turns out they popped just as hard for him as they did for Bryan. They must have missed R-Truth. Bryan and Reigns showed some great tension between each other, at least they sold the angle from Monday. Miz and Mizdow were the right pairing to start off this match. The turmoil between the two teams here was suiting, but for a match that was going to last the rest of the show, they couldn’t rely on comedic spots.
Once the Usos came out I’m glad they acknowledged the relation to Roman. In fact it was great to know Roman was wrestling his cousins, it made for a better in ring story. Surprisingly, this crowd was hot for the Usos, which made me realize the crowd was one of those strange ones. The in ring psychology in this match was great, because the Usos were working together as a team and taking their time to create game plans. All at the same time, Reigns would take his time because he knew how dangerous his cousins could be. This was a more ruthless side of the Usos, and I wish they’d wrestle like this more often. Their moves were more aggressive, and same with their attitude. The tension was building after Bryan almost murdered Jimmy with kicks, and then the two Fastlane competitors did an awesome job at arguing with each other outside the ring. Sometimes we forget how talking during a match can add more drama. Reigns taking Bryan off Jimmy was another great way of showing that Roman does care about his family. This match had fast pace, and I started to think maybe this should be the Fastlane main event. Bryan was showing some heel tactics here, which left me speechless. I don’t believe he is turning into a heel, I just think it’s another way of showing aggression between the two.
Check out the first half highlights here.
After the Usos were eliminated, I felt they could have come out last, simply because these two teams wrestled so well together. Next up we had the Los Matadores, and it was tough for them to top the Usos. I was excited to see Slater Gator, because it was Heath Slater’s return to television. The returning tag team didn’t last long, but we as an audience has to realize they needed some rest spots. After all, this match was a majority of the show. Did it make much sense to DQ the Ascension? They could have at least been counted out, all while making it look like Bryan and Reigns were exhausted.
Of course Kane and Big Show would be the last ones to come out, why wouldn’t they? This was nothing more than the opener we witnessed on Raw. I know Bryan is a specialist of working long matches, but it made no sense he was taking the grunt of this Authority beat down. The tease for the tag had me going crazy, because I’m sure we all wanted Roman to lay out Kane and Show. Unfortunately they didn’t go with this spot, they decided to create extra drama between the Authority. The drama between these two was unnecessary; they should have lost without it. To my surprise, Reigns and Bryan created a feel good moment, and if you didn’t smile, you’re probably not human. Overall this match was very exciting, and well paced.
Check the second half of the highlights here.
Obviously the roster was thin for this show, and that can probably be blamed on the Abu-Dhabi tour, but they pulled it off. The first few matches were decent and short, nothing bad really came from them. The main event was probably one of the better matches we’ve seen this year. Overall I give this show a solid 7.6/10 or B.