If you haven’t watched Smackdown yet, I encourage you to check it out. With that being said, you’ll enjoy certain moments, while despising others. In other words, the booking team was very consistent.
Roman Reigns vs Rusev
Wow! Having a match open the show was a different spin on things. Also, it wasn’t just any match, it was match with two top card guys. Neither of these men are technical wizards in the ring, so they played to their strengths. While it was short, they made the most of their brawling styles. This may be one of those questions we’re not supposed to ask, but why would the referee allow the League of Nations to stand ringside? They were clearly causing trouble from the very beginning. Either way, I loved how this contest was concluded. Not only did it give the fans another match to look forward to, but it allowed for a moment of tension between Reigns and Ambrose.
Kalisto vs Kevin Owens
Jerry Lawler has been brilliant as a heel commentator. He’s back in his natural role, and his jokes have become funnier. I especially enjoyed his zika virus joke when referring to Kalisto.
I’m not sure if this was the best match for Kalisto or Owens. If anything, each competitor could have been given a weaker opponent for the show. Both men needed to leave this match looking strong, instead they both left looking weak. Owens already lost once this week, he didn’t need another one. Even if it was through distraction, it only makes his character look foolish. Along with this, Kalisto didn’t look any better by getting thrown at other wrestlers outside of the ring. I understand he plays the “underdog”, however he’s still the US Champion and not ragdoll.
Ryback vs Eric Rowan
I actually like Ryback’s new ring gear, it allows for him to look more intimidating. If he had to make any sort of tweak, I’d recommend him getting some type of design on his trunk. With the big guy debuting a new look, I knew he was going over. Plus, Eric Rowan is the group pin eater for the Wyatts, so I didn’t expect him to gain an upset victory. What’s the point of making the Wyatt Family look so menacing if they can’t even pick up victories on television? From a viewer’s perspective, I don’t see how they can be a threat to someone of Brock Lesnar’s stature.
Becky Lynch/Sasha Banks Backstage Segment
This turned out to be an awesome segment. Both showed their characters true motivations, and their banter flowed. I don’t want this alliance to last for long, but it would be entertaining until Fastlane.
The Miz vs AJ Styles
I highly believe this should have been the main event for this episode. The tag team match could have easily been bumped into this spot. If they were to put this on last, it gives the fans a reason to see the Styles-Jericho feud as a top program.
By giving this context on Monday, I was able to invest my emotion to a large degree. There was also a good deal of chemistry between the Miz and AJ. It turned out to be a very competitive match, and that allowed both men to look great. Like most fans I was anticipating the Styles Clash, and I was surprised he used a calf crusher to win. This shows the audience the vastness of his arsenal along with the intensity he brings to the ring. Mauro Ranallo also deserves credit for selling the finish.
The New Day vs The Social Outcasts
This was an odd match up, because both teams are heels. It’s not very common for this to happen, so I was thrown off to say the least. What made matters more interesting is that both teams cut heel promos on each other. While the setup of this match confused me, it was quite funny to see them interact. I found their chemistry to be so humorous that I wouldn’t mind them feuding until Fastlane. However, in order for this feud to work, neither team could change their demeanor.
Charlotte vs Alicia Fox
Thankfully weren’t subjected to another Brie/Charlotte match. I’m not implying that their encounter on Raw was that bad, but if their feuding, it would take away from a possible match at Fastlane. Also, this was a great way to give Charlotte a win after losing on Monday.
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs Rusev & Alberto De Rio
After seeing Styles vs Miz, I couldn’t have been more certain about that match swapping places with this tag team on the card. Don’t get me wrong, I was still excited to see if they’d tease anymore tension between Reigns and Ambrose. My only issue with this match was Del Rio. Why wasn’t he doing anything involving Kalisto? Every feud was showcased on this episode expect that one. In my opinion, that was lazy booking which lead me to question why I should care for their match at Fastlane.
For a moment I was worried they wouldn’t tease anything between the two Shield brothers, but I’m glad they gave us a small moment. It’s too early to have them fully implode and having small moments as they did will do a lot for when it finally happens.
*Side Note: Hats off to the WWE for ending the show by promoting a match for next week. It really makes it feel more important.
This had to have been one of the most inconsistent episodes of Smackdown I’ve seen in months. While it was only shown in two matches (Owens vs Kalisto & Rowan vs Ryback), the odd booking effected the long term outlook. Also, these are considered top end programs. The low point was Kalisto vs Owens while the high point was Styles vs the Miz. Overall, I give this show a 5/10.