Smackdown

Black and Blue – Harper and Noble are Family Edition (Apr.24)

Only 3 nights away from Extreme Rules, the WWE had one last chance to create an impression, but on a smaller scale. I do think they used their time wisely to continue feuds, whether it was through matches or promos. Also, it was easy to notice that the wrestlers were having fun tonight in this lighthearted environment.

Opening Segment

There wasn’t anything special about Seth Rollins’ promo here, he basically recapped everything that happened on Monday. I actually enjoyed Kane’s promo for Smackdown, because we finally got to see him build on his new role as “guardian of the gate”. After Kane got going, it gave Rollins a chance to elevate his substance. The big red machine did a solid job at working his character in this segment, and I’m highly convinced he might have been the superstar of the week. I liked how they attempted an impromptu match with the possibility of Rollins laying down for Kane, because it was a neat for creating drama heading into this show and the PPV. The humorous twist with Seth laying down was quite effective, and it added to his mini feud with Kane. Once Ambrose and Harper made their way into this segment, they made a smart choice to not make it a match at that moment. While the segment was crowded, they played it off well and found a way to set the tone for the show. This opening was much better than the one we saw on Monday.

Dolph Ziggler & Neville vs Sheamus & Bad News Barrett

I don’t think Sheamus has bad mic skills, but if anybody from his team was going to cut a prom it should have been Barrett. While Neville is much smaller than Sheamus, once they begin moving in the ring, they both do a decent job at making the size difference look small. This wasn’t a match to push Neville, but they made a smart move by inserting him into a tag team with Ziggler. The match itself self was formulaic, but because these men know how to work they made it feel much more entertaining. Having Neville pick up the pinfall was a good choice, because it gave him some much need credibility, and made him look strong.

Bray Wyatt Promo

This promo sounded the same as Monday’s. After watching this, I realized we won’t be seeing him at the PPV, unless he interferes in somebody’s match.

Naomi vs Natalya

Normally Natty is given a chance to look more competitive against Naomi, but in this particular match, she hardly had the upper hand against her. Compared to how even their feud was about a month ago, I’m shocked they had Natty job out this easily. I like how they’re pushing Naomi into a bigger role, but that doesn’t mean she should be towering over divas that can compete on her level.

Rusev vs Ryback

There was nothing special about Rusev’s promo, it had the same premise as his other ones. The big guy was very over in this match and I felt bad he didn’t have any program for the upcoming PPV. I was excited to see this match, but towards the middle, it became way too predictable, and slow. These two have put on decent matches before, so I think their slow match could have been a rare occurrence. For two superstars that deliver such hard hitting moves, it seemed to me that they held back during this contest. I usually wouldn’t agree with a DQ ending, but this bout needed it. They needed to keep both men looking strong, and this was the best way. Beating down Ryback with the chain was great heat for Rusev, and I enjoy how he continues to further the gimmick of his Extreme Rules match.

Luke Harper/Seth Rollins Backstage Segment

It didn’t last very long, but I enjoyed the humor in this segment. A skit like this goes to show how J&J security can still be useful in terms of being effective characters on TV.

Kofi Kingston vs Cesaro

This might have been one of the better promos from the New Day. They kept their words simple, and subtly let us know we should not like them. The matchup between Cesaro and Kingston was a good choice by WWE bookers, but I think they could have let them wrestle a little longer. The two put on a good outing before the extra-curricular activity began. There’s no doubt that they’re booking the tag champs as the babyfaces heading into Extreme Rules, and it’s a good fit for them.

Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs Luke Harper & Seth Rollins

I enjoy when they pair up Ambrose and Reigns, it’s a solid form of continuity in their friendship and story line. There weren’t any over the top moves in the early stages of this match, but all men executed their simple spots well. Having Roman and Dean double team Seth was an effective way in showing how much they despise his existence. This format of this match was much different, because every man had an ample amount of time to wrestle. The hot tags from Roman and Harper were worked well by both men, because they managed to work the match in the ring, while cause chaos outside the ring. The near fall spot actually made me mark out, because I thought for sure Roman was down for the count. What I enjoyed about the ending was that the chaos never stopped, each competitor gave it their all and gave us the first “this is awesome” of the year for Smackdown. I didn’t like the decision to have Rollins eat the pin, it could have easily been Luke Harper. Should they not protect their champion’s image? I understand Roman is meant to be the next “guy”, but his push shouldn’t interfere with Rollins’ champion status.

Conclusion

Other than the main event, most matches on this show felt below average. With that being said, they made up for that with some story line continuity heading into Extreme Rules. Also this show felt much more lighthearted, which masked some of the mistakes that they made. Overall I give this show a 7.3/10

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