I haven’t been a fan of the current WWE product, but this episode of Smackdown showed me how the worst stories can booked to look good at times. Clearly, it takes time for new programs to settle in for fans, and it showed here.
I discussed the lack of story line continuity on Smackdown for this week’s Wednesday Wrap Around, but my complaints were answered with this promo. I thought Roman did a phenomenal job at leading this promo, which is a surprise because long promos aren’t his strong suit. What made this a strong promo for Reigns was how he used it to push his story further, instead of recapping what’s already happened. I initially enjoyed the back and forth between Sheamus and Reigns, but it started to drag. The New Day could have made their entrance earlier, while the proposed match could have been announced when Sheamus made his way out. While it did go on for too long, I found this an effective way to kick off the show.
Tyler Breeze vs Neville
Even if this match didn’t go well, I loved how fresh it was. Considering that the two worked in NXT together, I was sure they’d put on a clinic. These two men were hungry to put on a great match, and they did. At no point did they slow down; the two had me marking out after most moves. Not only was the match fun, Ziggler was dynamite on commentary. I couldn’t have asked for a better opening match, and they set the bar quite high for the rest of the show.
Divas Backstage Segment/ Becky Lynch vs Brie Bella
Apart from the terrible insults and confusion of Brie’s character (babyface or heel?), I thought Charlotte was great. Her character had more charisma and confidence on the mic, hopefully she can continue this new found attitude.
Usually I can’t stand Brie, but I thought she worked well with Becky in this contest. While Bella’s offense is terrible, she showcased her ability to sell here. This match didn’t last very long, and I liked how the finish was booked. I’m glad they chose to progress their story on this show.
The New Day vs The Usos & Dean Ambrose
I’m still puzzled as to why Ambrose wasn’t involved with Owens on this episode of Smackdown. Maybe KO has taken some time off this week, but that’s just my speculation.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the New Day and the Usos look great together in the ring. The Usos explosive in ring style mixed with the new Day’s cowardly style makes for entertaining television. At first Dean felt like the odd one out, but he did a good job blending in with the rest. Along with this, he did a superb job at selling the beat down from the New Day. Jimmy Uso’s hot tag was executed perfectly, and it lead to a solid finish. It allowed for New Day to look strong, but maintain their heel persona. In my opinion, it was just as fun as the opening match.
Bray Wyatt vs D-Von Dudley
A week ago I wasn’t a fan of this feud, but ever since Monday’s segment, these superstars have my full attention. I personally liked how Bray finished Dudley quickly, as it showed how strong he’s become within the past few months. Without playing too dirty, the Wyatts came across very strong in the post match beat down. This was a great follow up to Raw.
The League of Nations vs Roman Reigns
I didn’t think this was the best idea for the main event, because at times it made the League look too weak. What made matters worse was how they still tried to cheat, even though Reigns was outnumbered. As most of you know, I’m a huge mark for Reigns, but the early part to this contest was ridiculous. This wasn’t terribly worked, but watching the League beat down on Reigns became boring. However, it was mildly fun watching Roman’s comeback (his spots are fun). I wasn’t a fan of the finish, as it made the newly formed heel stable look extremely weak. Even though it ended in a count out, I still took it as the single babyface taking out three heels (including the champ) badly enough that they couldn’t roll into the ring before the count. This wasn’t the worst match ever, but it wasn’t the greatest way to end a strong show.
I found this to be an extremely strong episode of Smackdown. Essentially, the WWE used the same stories as they did on Raw, but they finally found a way to make them click. This goes to show how much of a difference good booking makes. The low point of the show was the main event, while the high point was the six man tag and the opening match. Overall, I give this episode an 8/10.