This show was a great example of WWE using Smackdown as an entertaining go home show for their upcoming PPV. Throughout this episode every story line was advanced, and left me excited for all matches on Sunday. This show eased off on the recaps, and it did wonders for them. I think WWE should model most Smackdowns like this one.
I loved how Ambrose opened the show, he had so much emotion and reminded us why he’s amazing on the mic. There was no way I could stop myself from laughing at the idea of Dean using his one phone call in jail by calling Roman Reigns. At least they explained how Ambrose got his hands on a police automobile, because I’m sure it was bothering a lot of fans. Overall, I thought this was an effective promo. The lunatic fringe kept it short and to the point.
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs The Lucha Dragons
A lumberjack match was a smart way to get the tag division in one match to build up the Elimination Chamber on Sunday. Even when the New Day is just standing around they still get the biggest reaction from the crowd. The two teams in the match were working very well together, especially Kalisto and Kidd. Jerry Lawler’s history lesson on lumber jack matches was comical and I wasn’t sure if he was joking or telling the truth. If any of my readers can confirm or deny this, it would be greatly appreciated. I thought both teams used their double tams moves well and I’d love to see more teams be as effective as them. There must have been as many hurricaranas as there were Cesaro uppercuts. This contest was another case of how Sin Cara can steal the show just as well as Kalisto. I truly enjoyed Kidd’s sharpshooter on Kalisto because I actually believed the luchador would tap out. I’m glad the Dragons picked up the victory in this exciting match and I might put them as the favorite to win on Sunday. This was probably one of the best opening matches we’ve seen on Smackdown in quite some time.
R-Truth vs King Barrett
This matchup is actually quite fresh. I thought the two put on a fluid and simple match. Barrett continued to show how he can transfer his heel character in the ring with complete ease. I thought that the former BNB did a good job at selling Truth’s finish, but I was more shocked on the result. This was a match that could have used an interference earlier on. Of course it’s necessary to make Truth look credible but not at the cost of the man who won King of the Ring a month ago. Maybe it would be a good idea to have them win squash matches instead .I think Truth and Barrett might have the same odds of winning at Elimination Chamber.
Lana had a solid interview, because she was able to speak her mind and expand her character. It sounded even better that she spoke down to Rusev. I’m glad the Bulgarian Brute cut his promo in a calm composure, it was a great change of pace.
Rusev vs Ryback
Oddly enough these two worked the match at an extremely slow pace with switching wrist locks. I was expecting them to execute hard hitting maneuvers right away. The vertical suplex was pulled off well by both competitors, it showed how strong and agile they are. I feel the beauty of watching these two wrestle is that we know none of them are going to look weak at any point. The highlight of this contest was watching the two compete outside of the ring. It’s no secret that Rusev injured himself and I was impressed he continued to wrestle. I thought it was evident that the man was in a crucial amount of pain. I’ve never seen a match end in a DQ because of multiple Irish whips to the steel post, but it might have been the only way to end this quickly.
Paige vs Naomi
The commentators did a swell job at promoting this contest and making it feel important. I laughed at how Naomi started the match because it was actually a funny heel tactic. I thought Paige received on of the biggest pop when she shouted her signature saying. While the two wrestled a simple match I think they made up for what the fans were given on Monday. After that pop Paige received, I’m glad she picked up a clean win. Overall, this was a smart way to create excitement for the triple threat match on Sunday.
Kevin Owens Promo
After watching Kevin Owens steal the show with his opening segment on Wednesday, I was excited to see him speak on Smackdown. Owens promo style made it even more clear how him and Cena will be perfect together. I do think they could have went without the Takeover recap. Overall, I found this simple promo a good way to get the fans excited for Elimination Chamber.
Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns vs Kane & Seth Rollins
Rollins’ shove on Ambrose was absolutely perfect, and the way he ran away after made it even better. This rematch was a rehash of their match on Monday. The only difference was that Kane and Rollins were playing heel slightly more. I was happy to see that they used the commercial break early in the match, because they were able to organically pick up steam without ruining it for the viewer at home .Ambrose truly is great at taking beatings before a hot tag, I think it suits his character very well. The reversal spot with Roman and Seth was a thing of beauty and it looked great with Reigns delivering a hook to the head of Rollins. I enjoy seeing the New Day getting involved with main event feuds, but why would they help Kane after he put them in a 10 vs 3 match on Raw? Also, why wouldn’t they at least do some damage? They are the tag champs after all. The spot of the match, if not the past few Smackdowns was Roman’s superman punch to Kofi in mid air. It was executed beautifully by Reigns and sold even better by Kingston. At least Rollins got a chance to stand tall at the end and finally look good at the end of a tag match. We now know that every once in a while Kane’s plans actually work.
This show was extremely entertaining. They had some odd moments that made me wonder why, but they found a way to keep me hooked. The entire show moved at a steady pace which helped advance story lines. I think Smackdown did a better job at creating hype for Sunday than Raw. There was just a right amount of promos and a solid amount of in ring action. The low point of the show was watching Barrett lose, while the high point was Roman’s superman punch to Kingston. Overall, I give this show a 7.9/10.