With the WWE moving on in the tournament, this episode of Smackdown was a must see for any hardcore fan (in terms of story progression through matches). The talent was given an ample amount of time to perform, and that goes to show how seriously the WWE is taking the tournament.
After watching the Wyatts get man handled on Raw, I thought it was only fitting for them to open Smackdown. The only thing wrong with this promo is that they treated Monday’s beating like it was nothing. Although they didn’t properly sell the incident on Raw, I was surprised with how they challenged Taker and Kane. For a while I was guessing they’d book a four on two, but it looks like we’ll be getting a four on four. Say what you want about Smackdown, but that part of Wyatt’s promo excited me.
Fandango vs Braun Strowman
This match didn’t last long, and I felt bad for Fandango.
King Barrett vs Neville
I really liked the placement of this match. It may have not been the actual opening match, but it sure felt like it based on the length of the previous one. The only thing I didn’t understand was the lack of Sheamus. If Barrett accompanied the Celtic Warrior on Raw, why wasn’t it reciprocated on Smackdown? I’m actually quite shocked that these two haven’t worked a proper feud yet. I’m aware they’ve wrestled in the KOTR finals, and a PPV pre-show, but they deserve better. Not only are they the same nationality, but their ring chemistry is off the charts. That type of feud writes itself. There wasn’t any crazy spots, but I thought the two wrestled a technically sound match. The execution was near flawless. Honestly, I did not expect Neville to come out with the win, but in hindsight, I guess it made sense. Neville and Owens have proven themselves in the ring, and I think they’ll steal the show come Monday.
Kalisto vs Ryback
Who would have guessed that these two would have clicked so well? Right from the beginning, these two kept the action going. The spot of the match occurred early on, and it was Ryback’s triple powerbomb. These two did an awesome job at telling the David and Goliath story during this match. The beauty of watching Kalisto wrestle someone larger than him is how he sells it. Also, watching his opponents throw him around gives the fans a great visual effect. While I predicted Ryback to win, I’m happy Kalisto went over. Simple victories such as this are great ways to get lower card guys over.
Alberto Del Rio vs Stardust
In my eyes, I saw this match as an equivalent to Owens vs Titus. We all knew that Stardust would job, it was just a matter of how long he’d last. The exciting part of Del Rio’s return is watching him wrestle different characters. While he may have wrestled Cody Rhodes before, he hasn’t competed with Stardust. This alone makes all of his matches fresher than before. This contest went seven minutes, and that was slightly too long. In terms of the food chain, Stardust is nowhere close to Alberto, and I believe a shorter match would have been better. It took Del Rio eight minutes to beat Cena, meaning all of his wins should occur in less time. The two wrestled a decent match, this was easily the most boring one of the night.
The Usos vs The Wyatt Family
This contest was oddly put together with no purpose, but that didn’t hold back the performers. While the match up wasn’t following story line, these four men performed extremely well. It was obvious they were just in it to have a ton of fun. The Usos should be applauded for their ability to adapt to different styles, because their versatility was evident in this contest. My only issue with this match is that it didn’t set up anything for the returning tag team. Unless they plan on working with Taker and Kane at Survivor Series, it was hard believe they had no real place on the card. They need a feud as soon as possible. Overall, this was a fun match, as I couldn’t stop watching. The Usos never fail to entertain, but I just want something more from them to keep me caring.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting Smackdown to focus on the tournament as much as it did. If anything, that’s a good reason to tune into the show, because in certain aspects it truly delivered. The low point of the show was the Del Rio-Stardust match, while the high point was the Kalisto-Ryback match. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t overly excited. This show deserves a 7/10.
Before you enjoy your weekend, make sure you watch the Undertaker tombstone a turkey: