Maybe it’s because I drink during Smackdown, but for some reason all of these story lins are presented better on Thursday than they are Monday. I felt last night’s episode of Smackdown did a much better job at selling the audience on TLC than Raw did.
Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio
When was the last time Smackdown opened with a match? It was refreshing because it was different. While their match wasn’t Survivor Series good, they still put on an amazing show. I find the two styles they bring to the table mesh extremely well together. The thing I noticed the most in this match was Roman’s ability to sell. It was obvious that the finish would be a DQ, but I thought the presence of the teams added to the match. The post match brawl lead to some fun antics and I absolutely loved the spot where Roman superman punched Rusev. Overall, this was great way to kick off the show.
Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler
Why? The match itself was pretty good, but I wasn’t emotionally invested. I thought it was ridiculous that Breeze had to job, especially to a move that’s not even Ziggler’s finisher.
The New Day vs The Lucha Dragons
The New Day promo was good as usual, but I thought Big E was the stand out on the mic. I didn’t mind watching a tag match. I just thought a singles match would be more effective. It was refreshing to watch Woods in the match instead of seeing him ringside. Big E did a decent job at playing the comedic third man, and I loved how he failed at playing the trombone. While the match itself was short, it was highly entertaining.
Contract Signing- Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose
Honestly, I thought this should have been the main event segment. Initially I doubted the lawyer being there, but it worked out in the end. The short brawl between Owens and Ambrose was amazing and intense. There hasn’t been much build for this feud, but this segment was efficient enough.
Ryback vs The Ascension
I haven’t been a big fan of the Ryback-Rusev feud, but I thought this match helped with the build. In fact, I wouldn’t mind if Rybqck had these type of squash matches at least once a week. It would keep him relevant and looking strong until something better came up.
Paige vs Becky Lynch
While these two women are capable of putting on a good match, I thought another promo for the Diva’s Title feud would have been more effective. I think they should have kept Becky off from television until the PPV, where she could have inserted herself into the feud. Some fans might have an issue with the finish, but I loved it. Booking submission moves to look strong is a smart move by the WWE. Oddly enough, I’ve only noticed this in the divas division.
Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, & The Usos vs The League of Nations
I honestly believe this cntest could have occurred after the opening match. It would make sense considering all the superstars were out at the time, and it would’ve allowed for Ambrose-Owens to close the show. Surprisingly enough, these two stables haven’t had a match, and knowing this made everything more enjoyable. Jerry Lawler’s jokes are usually a hit or miss, but he got a laugh out of me when he made a Ronda Rousey reference. Most of the match moved pretty slowly, and it only showcased one feud. The finish of this contest was perfect, because it allowed for Roman to look strong, but it kept Sheamus looking somewhat credible.
How come Raw wasn’t built like this show? This episode of Smackdown has me much more excited for TLC. Maybe it’s a sign of how two hours work better than three. The low point of the show was Breeze vs Ziggler, while the high point was the contract signing. Overall, I give this a solid 7.5/10.