After delivering a potential Raw of the year candidate, I was pleased to see that the WWE was able to follow with a strong episode of Smackdown. Considering we’ve reached the holiday season, I actually wasn’t expecting a sub par show.
I must admit, that title looked pretty good on Roman. His promo worked because it was simple, it wasn’t filled with jokes, and most importantly there weren’t any recaps. Roman actually came across better than Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior went on a tad bit too long, and it was tough to not zone out. His promo could have easily been cut in half. The visual of Reigns taking out a group of security guards was rather exciting, and to me it’s a sign that they’ll keep him more aggressive moving forward.
Ryback vs Alberto Del Rio
This wasn’t the most interesting match up, but it was fresh, and it had context (from Monday night). The one thing I took from this contest was how far Ryback has fallen on the tier list in the WWE. He’s still capable of beating jobbers, but he’s not in the same league as Del Rio, Rusev, Ambrose, Owens, etc. Those men don’t lose very often, but I can’t say the same thing for the big guy. However, I wasn’t expecting Ryback to tap out, after the League made their way out. Apart from the match, this was a solid segment for the heel faction, as they made the most of generating heat from this crowd.
Titus O’Neil vs Tyler Breeze
I had seen a spoiler online earlier in the week that Breeze lost to Titus, and I was ready to vent. After watching, I didn’t mind the loss, because it was through a distraction. I’m liking the idea of him feuding with Goldust, because their eccentric personalities will make for a great program. The backstage segment between the two was absolutely hilarious, and they’re showing chemistry early on.
The New Day vs Lucha Dragons
How does the New Day continue to find new material for every promo? Apart from Cena, I don’t believe there’s another superstar(s) that’s as innovative as them.
This was a time where I wish WWE utilized more jobber tag teams. After seeing these two teams nearly kill each other at TLC, they should be kept apart for a week or two. Instead, give one of the two teams (preferably Lucha Dragons) an easy win, so they can gain some steam for their actual feud. Regardless, I’ll always enjoy watching Kalisto. Even in matches that are average, he never fails to amaze me. Along with that, Big E made my night by attempting to play the trombone but failing. I do wish this match was shorter, because at one point it started to drag.
Brie Bella vs Becky Lynch
Initially, I thought we were just going to see a pointless Becky-Brie match, but I’m glad they used this time to further the story of Charlotte’s heel turn. The finish and following backstage were perfect ways to push the breakup of Lynch and Flair.
Kevin Owens vs Dolph Ziggler
Could they have used the main event spot for Sheamus-Reigns? Of course, but it was more effective for the Intercontinental feud. It simply allows for the WWE to build the credibility of the title, and the superstars involved.
I absolutely loved how they spent the entire show promoting this match. In that show long promotion, we saw both Owens and Ziggler cut some great backstage promos which only intensified their encounter. The two men also backed up their words, as they never took the foot of the pedal. For the most part, they kept the moves quite simple, but just made them look more stiff. The spot/bump of the match was Owens’ DDT onto Ziggler. It made me cringe because of how painful it looked. It also helped that the announce team continued to sell how devastating it was. The near fall after Ziggler’s super kick made me jump out of my seat, Owens’ timing was brilliant. I had expected Kevin to win clean, but I was happy with the finish they gave us. Based on how the match went, it allowed for both men to look resilient, while still maintaining KO’s jerk like image.
I went into the show thinking it would consist of all filler, but it was the opposite. I applaud the WWE on there willingness to progress story lines on Smackdown at this time of the year. The low point of the show was Ryback vs Del Rio, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this episode an 8/10.