If you have yet to catch up with this week’s Raw and Smackdown, I’d recommend just watching this show. It was the go home show that was needed for Fastlane.
Dolph Ziggler & The Lucha Dragons vs The League of Nations
I don’t remember caring for the six man tag that we saw on Raw, so I braced myself for boredom. I couldn’t stop thinking about the news of Barrett not renewing his contract. One can only imagine what his reasoning for that decision was. Maybe it was due to having a diminished role on the roster. It surely doesn’t help that he’s the cheerleader for the League of Nations. Similar to Monday, I wasn’t invested. The main highlight for this match was Owens’ guest appearance on commentary. He greatly sold his persona along with his hate for Ziggler.
Tamina vs Sasha Banks
This was a big deal. We haven’t seen Sasha in singles competition for a while, so it surprised me that she was wrestling on this show. To me this showed how important this Smackdown was. Listening to Cole narrate the drama in Team BAD was comical. While it’s just the tale of one star wanting to branch out, he made it sound like high school drama. I thought Sasha got a pretty good match out of Tamina. It wasn’t a technical wonder, but it made Banks look strong, which was the goal. The tension between Becky and Sasha was showcased well along with reconciliation backstage. With confidence, I can say I’m highly excited for the tag match at Fastlane.
Chris Jericho vs The Miz
There was no need for the pre match promo between the two. If it was a scheduled match, why wouldn’t Y2J give his answer after he’s done competing. It’s not a big deal, but just a small detail. I thought the announce team did a great job at explaining the Miz’s role in this feud. His character is simply interjecting himself into the feud, without any reason, in order to steal the spotlight. That explanation made it easier to follow his role. Not to my surprise, this turned into a quality match. I must admit that I’ve been impressed with Miz’s work rate lately. He know’s that his most recent opponents are two of the best workers, so he continues to bring his “A” game. When was the last time someone tapped out to the Walls of Jericho? I know I can’t remember. Either way, I was glad to see Jericho win with his signature submission. Y2J needs to look his best heading into Fastlane.
I couldn’t believe how intense the post match promo was between Jericho and Styles. Honestly, I was expecting Chris to grab the mic and just say he wants AJ at Fastlane. Instead, we were given an intense stare down, with some great acting. Both men deserve an applause, especially Jericho. He did a magnificent job at making their Fastlane match feel grand.
Dean Ambrose/Paul Heyman Backstage Promo
Ambrose continues to steal the spotlight from both Lesnar and Reigns in this feud. His acting alone was brilliant, and I’m starting to hope he comes out on top this Sunday.
Charlotte vs Natalya
Every time I see these two compete, I can only think about their great match back in NXT. Even when they’re not trying to replicate that, their chemistry is evident. This was a short match, however it was effective. I even liked how the audience was given a small preview of Fastlane by Brie Bella running in after the match. There wasn’t much hype before this week, but they found a way to create some.
R-Truth/Goldust Backstage Promo
These two have been funny in their past segments, however this was the best one yet.
The Dudley Boyz vs Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose
The Dudleys haven’t been in a match since their heel turn, so I was excited to say the least. For anybody that’s familiar with Bubba’s work in TNA, they’ll know he was an amazing heel. He was definitely able to show that side of his character in this match. In fact both Dudleys were awesome at dictating the tone of this contest. They truly knew how to work the crowd in favour of Reigns and Ambrose .Sometimes the small details in a match can make a huge difference. One detail that I loved was when Roman tagged himself in after Bubba pushed him. That show of aggression is what his fans want to see on a weekly basis.
Going into this match, I was hoping for a clean finish. However, I was pleased with the DQ. Anytime Lesnar’s involved, the match comes second. While he was only on this show for three minutes, he made the largest impact in the post match brawl. I can’t think of a better segment to leave me excited for Sunday.
With Raw being the train wreck that it was, Smackdown needed to deliver as a go home show. I think this episode did more than just deliver. This has been one of the best go home shows I’ve seen in months. They kept it simple by not over booking (exclude the first match), and explaining why every feud was important. The low point of the show was the six man tag, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this show a 9/10.