With the Beast in the East special right around the corner, it was safe to expect that this Smackdown wasn’t going to mean much. Losing half of the roster will still have noticeable effects on the show itself. Other than touching up on 2 main story lines, this episode was used as filler for this week’s WWE programming.
Usually I couldn’t care less about the video packages the WWE uses before Smackdown, but this particular one was well done. They continued to keep me hooked until the replayed a similar video package of the Authority beating down on Lesnar. That moment was shown in the first video package, it doesn’t need to be shown again. For a promo that began strong, this one fizzled out quick as Rollins wouldn’t stop summarizing Monday night. I might as well have skipped to the end, where Rollins announced the matches for the night. The best part of this entire segment was knowing that Ambrose vs Wyatt would open the show.
Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt
For a show that would be lacking superstars, this was a wise move on the WWE’s part. The star power in this contest is enough to get any crowd excited. Instead of connecting their past feud, I liked how the commentators used this match to connect Ambrose’s comradery to Reigns, who happens to be feuding with Wyatt. This gives the match a fresh spin. Dean did a splendid job at building up that suicide dive, the crowd was really excited to see him and that spot. From that moment I felt the two began to showcase their chemistry with each other. Fans may complain about these two wrestling more than often, but it looks great when they can use that past history to put on an awesome show opener. I was pleased with the finish because it was clean, something we don’t see much of on a regular basis. Overall, great match, and it could have been the main event.
R-Truth vs Adam Rose
A throwaway match, but I enjoy watching R-Truth. For the most part, the two worked a steady pace, but there was nothing here for the fans to care about. This contest would have come across more entreating if Truth had some sort of angle.
Ryback vs Mark Henry
These two men surprised me with a solid outing two weeks ago on Raw, so I was interested in seeing if they could duplicate that. For the most part they found a way to keep me hooked in the opening moments. The pace slowed down not too long after that. They worked the slow rate in a smart way, by ensuring most moves were high impact and hard hitting. The spot of this match was vertical suplex from Ryback. It was another example of a simple move looking effective and smooth. There was no doubt that Ryback would win, but it left me wondering whether Henry has now become a glorified jobber.
Brie Bella vs Naomi
The matchup didn’t come across as intriguing, but I was interested in seeing if Naomi would win clean. On the diva totem pole, I see Brie lower than Naomi, I was wondering if the WWE saw it the same way. An early highlight of this contest was listening to Jimmy Uso. He wasn’t very prominent last week, but he’s slowly finding his groove. I shouldn’t have been disappointed in the result, as part of me was expecting a disappointing loss. The WWE is clearly pushing “team Bella” but that shouldn’t come at the cost of lowering another top diva on Smackdown. This contest could have easily ended in a DQ.
The Primetime Players vs The Ascension
It was refreshing to see the PTP take a small break from teaming with Neville and wrestling the New Day. With their main program overseas, this was a brilliant way of showcasing the champs and building their credibility within the tag division. The spot of the match was when Young dropped Viktor onto the apron because it made me cringe. It was difficult to take Jerry Lawler seriously, as he stated that the Ascension isn’t a team to take lightly. With a massive string of losses, they’re the team people shouldn’t take seriously. I don’t care if Titus’ hot tag is becoming repetitive, I mark out every time I see it. Overall, well worked match, and quite entertaining.
The Bulgarian Brute has been the one man show when it comes to this less than stellar feud. Even with Summer Rae holding him down, he finds a way to shine. This program has become so weird that even when Rusev makes misogynistic comments, he comes across as a babyface. He ended the promo on a very strong note though. I just can’t wait until he makes his in ring return.
Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins
The countdown on J&J’s apple watches was a clever way to get the crowd amped for Roman’s inevitable entrance. After watching a string of matches that meant nothing, it felt weird to watch a match that carried plot substance. With the crowd behind Roman, it made most of his moves look more impactful. For this particular contest, it was wise for them to show the audience how much of a force Rollins can be when he has back up. While Seth looked decent in his role, Reigns was the stand out. He did a great job. He did a great job at selling and looking like a resilient competitor. All of this looks much better when the crowd is behind a wrestler. This was one match that didn’t require a clean finish and I’m glad they chose the route of a DQ. It’s been a while since the babyfaces have ended the show on a high note, so I was pleased with how the show ended. Overall, this let the crowd go home happy while leaving the story on a good note.
Like I said in the review of the last match, this show was mediocre. For the most part this felt like a house show, in terms of seeing matchups that weren’t going anywhere. The only matches that meant anything were the first and last. The low point of the show was Brie vs Naomi while the high point was Wyatt vs Ambrose. Overall, I give this show a 7.1/10.