I can’t say I loved Smackdown this week, but I love how easy it is to go through a full episode. Last night I decided to watch the Sens opening game against the Sabres, and still had time to finish Smackdown without any stress. I was hoping after the Sens won Smackdown would deliver with an awesome show, but I guess I couldn’t have it both ways.
Two weeks in a row the opening segment for Smackdown has been a follow up to Raw’s main event. This is something I can get used to. I can also used to the New Day opening every show, because they absolutely ripped this Philadelphia crowd apart. What I love most about these three is their use of current day memes, and their analogy of Drake vs Meek Mill was a perfect example of this. Dolph’s promo sounded modest and believable. He came across as a man that was hurt by someone he once considered an apprentice. Overall, this was a wicked segment because they got a chance to drop some great mic work and transitioned well into a match.
Dolph Ziggler vs Big E
These two have a decent amount of history together, and I’m glad they touched upon this. It shows me that the writers do know the meaning of continuity. When the New Day started their own commentary, I had wished they would just be given headsets. I can’t even focus on anything else because Xavier is just too distracting (in a good way). They were so distracting that I went back and watched the match again, which was pretty good. E and Dolph have natural chemistry; I bet that comes from them once teaming together. I found the Dudleys to be useless in this match, because they couldn’t even contain the New Day when they distracted the ref.
Rusev/Lana Backstage Segment
I didn’t care about anything else in this segment other than Summer telling Rusev she got him a match against Ryback. I’m glad they showed this, because it allows us to see that Summer is still a manager and helps Rusev as a wrestler.
Team Bella vs Charlotte, Becky Lynch, & Natalya
Wow, Charlotte, Becky, and Natty had an extremely long entrance. Why couldn’t they just come out to one theme song? It’s not a shock to me that Natty would team with them, so there’s no element of surprise. Regardless of my petty complaint, Natty fit in well with her teammates, and I’m starting to believe she would have been a better choice than Paige from the start. While Nikki and Charlotte are competing in a rematch at HIAC, it doesn’t feel like that. Even in this match, you couldn’t tell the two are feuding. Instead they put more focus on Paige’s hatred towards her former friends. The commentators didn’t help either, as they hardly mentioned the upcoming title match. The finish was probably the worst part, because it made no sense for Nikki to tap on this show. Why should I be invested in their rematch if Nikki has already lost clean, twice? It’s fair to say this match left me with a bitter taste.
Rusev vs Ryback
While a win in this match wouldn’t give Rusev a spot in the IC title match at HIAC, I’m happy the commentators let the fans know he would basically be next in line. Had they not mentioned this, it would feel nonsensical. The work rate was average, but the real highlight was Owens insulting the announce team. I can listen to him making fun of others all day. Apart from his jokes, he continued to put over his championship, and that allows me as a viewer to see why this title is important. This was one match I thought could have ended in a DQ, because I didn’t see how this benefited Rusev. Prior to this match Rusev had only been pinned clean twice, so why waste a third on a random episode of Smackdown?
King Barrett vs Neville
I can’t paraphrase it, but King made a cheesy joke about Barrett’s sleeveless shirt and the right to “bare” arms. It actually had me chuckling for a straight minute. As you may know, I love it when they follow up on events from Raw, and this was one. Neville had a legitimate reason to be upset with Barrett, so a match between the two made sense. I forgot the two had a mini feud earlier in the year, and I also forgot how well they mesh together. The spot of the match was Neville’s sell on the bull hammer. It looked like he was shot. I was pleased with this match, and it would have been awesome if they were given more time.
Randy Orton & Roman Reigns vs The Wyatt Family
If anybody’s wondering why Orton and Wyatt have such great chemistry, it’s because they were once competing quite a bit at house shows. I’ve witnessed them in a singles match live, and am still waiting for their feud. Braun Strowman has improved a lot since his debut in August. At one time he could only stay in the ring for two to three minutes, but I can tell he’s able to hold his own now. I absolutely loved how he was able to take on Orton and Reigns at the same (damn) time. Another detail I appreciated in this match was how they kept Reigns and Wyatt apart for most of the match. It made me pop even harder when they finally started to fight .Overall, this was solid main event that was an effective way to build Roman-Bray.
I can’t say I was happy about this episode, but I wasn’t fully disappointed. The middle two matches really put me in a bad mood, so it was tough to enjoy the last two. The work rate on this show was good, but I questioned some of the booking decisions. The low point of the show was either Ryback-Rusev or the divas match, while the high point was the opening or closing. Overall, I give this episode a 5.7/10.