The wait is over, and Smackdown has officially began it’s run on the USA Network. We’ve known about this for quite sometime, so fans could only be excited to see how the WWE may change the show’s outline.
It was great that they introduced Mauro Ranallo right off the bat, and keeping it short was probably the best way to go. Hopefully they’re giving the fans some credit on knowing who he is.
I found it difficult to take this promo seriously, because I’m sure many of you know that Cena is to undergo surgery sometime soon. However, he did an awesome job at making this show feel important. It’s a shame that the feud between Cena and Del Rio has been inconsistent, because they have great chemistry in every way. Overall, this promo was kept light hearted, but was enjoyable for the most part.
Alberto Del Rio vs Kalisto
They couldn’t have picked a better match to start the show, assuming they had a larger audience watching at home. The two work well together, and wrestled at a fast pace. They made a wise decision to keep Cena at ringside, as it made the contest more attractive to casual viewers at home. With Kalisto being smaller, and great at selling, Del Rio looked like an absolute monster. Of course they could have had Alberto come out on top, but there would have been no fun in that. I thought this was a good way to get the crowd excited, and possibly set up a feud between the two competitors.
This segment was created just to get most superstars onto this episode, but it worked for me. The best part of this segment was when the New Day put their hands up when the Miz did. The R-Truth spot was also quite funny, but it was completely sold by the Miz and the New Day.
The New Day & The Miz vs R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler, Neville, & Goldust
This match wasn’t meant to progress any type of story, but it was highly entertaining. All of the competitors looked energized, and happy to be there. If the performers aren’t having fun, the match will always suffer. The moment of this match was easily the Miz dancing with the New Day; it made me realize that the two parties should work together more often. The post match antics with Ziggler were quite unnecessary, because it didn’t make much sense that he’d take out his partners, but then apologize to Goldust about it.
Charlotte vs Becky Lynch
My thoughts on Mauro Ranallo were quite neutral up to this point in the show, but he impressed me at the start of this match. Not only did he build up the wrestlers, but he made the match feel important along with the title itself. If he can continue to call women’s matches like this, we can expect for them to receive better reactions. This contest went roughly around 10 minutes, and the two deserved it. Based on the story they’ve been given over the past weeks, the competitors did a superb job at translating it into the ring. Charlotte did an amazing job at playing the cocky heel, while Becky was just as good as being a babyface that was frustrated. I didn’t anticipate a title change in this match, and the finish they booked was the right way to go. It allowed for the challenger to look strong without having to move the title.
Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose
Similar to their last match on Smackdown, the WWE did an awesome job at building this up throughout the show. Not only did the two have quality backstage segments, there were replays of crucial moments in the feud. Within the past few weeks, Smackdown has become the show for the IC Title, and it’s definitely working. This allows for the superstars to show why it’s an important title, which is slowly giving it more credibility.
Even though both men have wrestled each other multiple times within the past month, they know how to keep the in ring action fresh. I believe this is also a testament to how well they can tell a story every week. Similar to the previous match, I wasn’t anticipating a title swap. Instead they gave us something better than a clean win, which was a full out brawl around the arena. This type of brawl worked extremely well for this feud, because it shows us how much these two hate each other. Also, with the most radical moments in this feud being the table spots, this just looked astonishing.
For their first episode on the USA Network, I was extremely impressed with what was presented. There weren’t too many segments/matches, and that allowed for everything to feel more monumental. Also, Ranallo was a welcomed change that really did do wonders for the show. The low point of the show was Ziggler’s post match outburst, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show an 8.5/10.