This edition of Smackdown was the last chance for the WWE to convince fans to tune in on Sunday for HIAC. They didn’t do a stellar job, but they didn’t do a bad job either.
I didn’t really have any opinion on Kane and Rollins’ interaction, but it was the New Day that made this segment enjoyable. Their interaction was the Director of Operations was absolutely hilarious.
Seth Rollins vs Cesaro
Could you ask for a better opening match? Not only were the two men allowed to work a clinic, but they were given enough time. I personally liked how Rollins had a fear of leaving this match, it definitely gave it context. These two men haven’t competed on TV for a few months, and this contest reminded me of their amazing chemistry. The action was non stop and every move was worked fluidly. It was a tough call, but the spot of the match was Cesaro’s running uppercut outside of the ring. While Seth did attempt to leave on multiple occasions, he definitely left looking stronger.
What exactly is Stardust doing in the crowd with the Ascension? They’ve done this before and it hasn’t lead anywhere. To me that seems like something for the live crowd to enjoy.
I don’t care what anybody says about Nikki, she sounded a whole lot better than Paige and Charlotte. I found her lines to be fluid and less forced. This promo was easily the weakest part to the show, but I’m glad they found a way to tie two stories together.
Nikki Bella vs Paige
Has Becky Lynch wrestled a singles match lately? I think Nikki vs Lynch would have been more entertaining, just because of how fresh it would be. From February to July, we watched Paige wrestle Bella, and it didn’t captivate me on this episode. Also, it went too long. Apart from this, I thought giving Nikki the win was a smart way to give her momentum. She’s been an afterthought for the past few weeks, but this win gave her some more attention.
Any other week, I would have disregarded this promo for a filler segment, but this week it meant something. I’m sure most people already knew the spoiler, but even then I couldn’t help but sit on the edge of my seat waiting for Breeze. Tyler was absolutely perfect in his debut, I couldn’t imagine it being any better. Him and Ziggler appear to have awesome chemistry. This is a feud I can very well get behind.
The Lucha Dragons vs Sheamus & King Barrett
Being a huge fan of NXT, I knew it would be difficult for this tag team match to top the previous segment.
I understand that Rusev is teaming with Sheamus and Barrett on Sunday, but he looked out of place standing ringside during this match. Since we’ll be seeing another variation of this match on Sunday, I had a tough time getting invested, although Kalisto’s hot tag changed this for me. I felt bad that he had to eat the clean pin. The post match celebration was pretty cool just because each man had a prop to show off.
Bo Dallas vs Ryback
What this match needed was KO on commentary. At the same time, it didn’t last long enough for Owens to even come out. After getting beat by Rollins on Monday, I thought a squash match was appropriate for the big guy. I actually enjoyed this two minute contest, just because it was easy to watch.
Along with the match, KO’s backstage interview was good enough to excite me for the IC title match on Sunday.
The New Day vs Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose
Selling injuries isn’t very common these days, but it was pleasant to see Xavier off the show. Not only does this sell the injury, but it makes the powerbomb from Bubba look devastating, which shows the fans how strong the Dudleys are. If anybody else ran around claiming to be a unicorn, it just wouldn’t work, but the New Day is finding a way to make it “cool”. There’s no hiding that Roman and Dean look great with the New Day, and I wouldn’t be opposed to the two teams feuding after HIAC. They could even work a traditional Survivor Series match together. I felt Kofi and Big E did a fine job at making up for Woods’ trash talk. They didn’t talk that much, but when they did, I chuckled. The spot of the match, if not the show, was Reigns’ superman punch to Kofi because it had a ton of visual appeal.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this match and how it ended. I’m sure it sent the crowd home happy while it sent me to bed happy.
Other than two matches that could have been shorter, I found this to be a solid Smackdown. The wrestling was on point and story telling was done subtly. The low point of the show was Nikki vs Paige, while the high point was Breeze’s debut. Overall, this episode receives a 7/10.