Usually when half of the roster is overseas, the television product suffers, but that wasn’t the case last night. This episode of Smackdown was a great example of how detail in midcard story lines can be effective.
Chris Jericho & AJ Styles vs The Social Outcasts
Even though Jericho’s promo was short, he knocked it out of the park. Initially I sighed when I saw the Social Outcasts made their way out, but the trio did a great job at fitting in. The roster was definitely short, as many of them were in Germany throughout the past week. In these circumstances, pulling double duty is okay. It also wasn’t a bad way of creating a story between Styles and Jericho for the night. Overall, this was a great way to set the tone for the episode.
Dudley Boyz Promo
After this promo, I remembered why Bubba Ray in particular was good on the mic. This was the closest we’ve seen to the Bully Ray heel character in TNA, and I hope to see more in the future. Not only did they put their characters over, but they put over the tag division. Their desire to dominate the tag division was immense, and I hope it allows for them to be a serious contender.
Sasha Banks vs Naomi
Sasha is out of Team BAD, and the production team needs to know that. There’s no reason Naomi’s Team BAD entrance should include Banks’ name on the tron. Also, Becky didn’t need to be on commentary, as she added nothing. Her role in this match would be more effective as someone at ringside. Nitpicking aside, I thought Sasha and Naomi had some great chemistry. Of course Sasha is the star, but Naomi looked strong through her move set. Regardless of the result, she made Team BAD look like a threat heading into Fastlane. Even though this is a secondary program for the women’s division, it left me wanting more. The drama on the outside was great, and it translated into an entertaining match.
Wyatt Family Promo
It was generic, however the energy was great. It definitely got them over as a threat.
Neville & The Lucha Dragons vs The Cosmic Wasteland
Neville’s comic book feud with Stardust was a few months old, but by mentioning this, there was context to this match. While this added to the contest, I was upset that Kalisto had no interaction with Del Rio on this show. After the way Cena built up the US Championship, the champ should never be involved in a throwaway match.
Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles
Due to the Germany tour, there was no sign of Reigns or Ambrose on this show, and I was okay with that. By making this the main event, the WWE automatically made this feud feel like something important. Thankfully this match received the time it deserved, because it delivered. There wasn’t a moment I tuned out. Not only was the build up perfect, but the work rate was top notch. Their match on Raw two weeks ago was decent, however this one turned out to be better. The spot of the match, and the episode was Jericho landing the lionsualt twice in one show. Normally it’s countered by his opponents, although it’s awesome to see it executed. Believe it or not, I was completely fine with this finish. I’m aware it’ll go into a third match, and Jericho needs a win to stay credible against an opponent such as Styles. Also, this match was quite satisfying since it ended cleanly.
As mentioned in the review, this show did great considering they were short handed. Yes, there was a fair amount of recaps, but the show itself still proved to be entertaining. Oddly enough, a shorter episode of Smackdown showcased feuds quite properly. The low point was the six man tag match, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show an 8/10.