After hearing the news about Seth Rollins’ injury, the only thing I could think about during this show was how they’d handle it on TV. Obviously this show was taped before, so there was no update. In a sense it felt pointless because of how much of the story can change by Monday.
Alberto Del Rio vs Neville
If Zeb Colter wasn’t so great at cutting promos, I would’ve completely lost my mind watching this weird angle. I’d be fine with the whole “Mexamerica” gimmick if it was kept to a minimum, but their use of it is getting out of hand.
Unlike R-Truth, Neville was obviously going to put up a fight. The two put on a great match two weeks ago to qualify for the fatal four, so I was thrilled for this contest to say the least. Like I’ve mentioned before, Del Rio thrives on wrestling with high flyers such as Neville. While watching this match I started to think of Neville’s spot on the card. I’m starting to believe his role may receive a promotion as Rollins was injured earlier this week. I don’t mean that Neville will jump into the main title picture, but I’d imagine everybody moves up a spot .Of course my opinion on this topic slightly changed when he was torn apart post match.
Really? A Del Rio-Swagger feud? It was decent the first time, but I feel this could have been a good opportunity for someone else. Nothing against Swagger, but his absence from TV doesn’t exactly make me excited for his return.
The Usos vs The Ascension
This was a great match up for the returning Usos. It gave them a spot on the card to have fun and remind fans that they’re back. Also a simple win over the Ascension puts them in a solid spot to feud with the New Day. I’m aware that some hardcore fans aren’t big Uso fans, but I was glad to see them back. They wrestle with a ton of excitement, which makes them fun to watch.
The Wyatt Family vs The Lucha Dragons & The Primetime Players
I really thought this match came out of nowhere, as neither team had anything to do with each other. Also, this was a terrible spot for the Lucha Dragons considering how they were booked on Raw. Why did they need to have a traditional Survivor Series match, especially with these teams? Obviously the Wyatt Family wasn’t going to be put in a position to get eliminated in the match, and that’s why I think a normal eight man tag would have sufficed .The only thing I liked about the concept was how it was used to promote the concept of the upcoming PPV. It seems to me they did their best to make Kalisto look strong, but at the same time they put him in a compromising position. At one point I thought Titus had an opportunity to eliminate either Rowan or Harper, but that went down the drain once Strowman was tagged in.
I understand the purpose of making the Wyatts look credible, but I strongly believe it could have been done another way. Essentially this was a 14 minute squash match.
King Barrett vs Ryback
Honestly, I couldn’t care less about this match. Both men have had nothing go on lately and it showed. This mundane match up was a direct result of part of the roster being in Europe. I didn’t like the idea of Barrett jobbing out that quickly, but I was just happy to see it end quickly.
Natalya vs Tamina
I absolutely loved how they teased the break up of Team BAD. It was wise of them to not go full force with it, because having them slowly turn on each other will be more satisfying. The only thing I would have changed was Natty’s Facebook interview. Her calling out the Team BAD “leader” would have been more effective if done in the ring or a backstage interview on the show. I wasn’t interested in them match so much, but I like where this angle is going. This is proof that the divas don’t need the title to have an interesting feud.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens
After Raw, I started to guess that Owens and Ambrose would feud over the IC title, and it was quite apparent on this show. That may have been the plan when this show was taped, but I’d consider this idea scrapped after Rollins was injured. If anything, expect Ambrose to be closer to the main title than the IC title by next Monday. While Dean is set to take on more responsibility, so is Owens. With the main champ forced to forfeit his title, Kevin is the highest ranked champion on the roster. It’s a slight shame though, because these two showcased some awesome chemistry. If anything, they might feud going into the new year, after the main title tournament. Not only do they click on the mic, but they clicked in the ring. For some reason their characters are perfect for a feud. I very much enjoyed this contest since my eyes were glued to the screen. When was the last time a heel pulled a move like that to win a match? I thought it was creative, and perfect for getting Owens some heat.
Other than a few small moments, this episode of Smackdown felt insignificant. I’m aware the roster was split up for the European tour, but they could have put some more effort into this show. It was like a house show more than an episode of Smackdown. The low point of the show was the eight man elimination match, while the high point was the main event. Overall, this episode deserves a 5/10.