Raw was full of surprises, and it gave us a reason to look forward to Payback. Since Smackdown has become more relevant, it needed to deliver a decent follow up. After last night’s show, I can easily say it was a success.
It’s only been one week, however Roman has been dynamite as a character. He’s fully embraced the fans, and it’s working. Even though half of the crowd was against him, it didn’t affect him in anyway. Plus, nothing he said sounded forced.
This promo was the first time Styles and Roman stood in the ring together. I found it quite intense. Normally these types of segments occur on Raw, and I’m happy it was used on Smackdown. It was kept short, but there was no better way to showcase their first interaction. These two are selling a simple feud, which is champion vs number one contender. It doesn’t need to be complex because it’s a proven formula.
Lucha Dragons vs The Vaudevillians
I usually get annoyed of the Vaudevillians, although that wasn’t the case on this show. Their time in NXT was up, as they over stayed their welcome. The duo has actually wrestled the Lucha Dragons quite a few times, so there was no need to create new chemistry. In fact, it’s probably the reason the two teams worked together on this show.
Once again, Mauro Ranallo stole the show with his ability to call this match. He could have easily just called the Vaudevillians a tag team that wrestles an old school style, but instead he went in depth. For a their first match on the main roster, I thought it was pretty good. They never gave too much away, yet they came out looking strong. My only gripe about this contest was Kalisto taking the clean pin. It should have definitely been Sin Cara, as the US champ doesn’t need that kind of loss.
Natalya vs Summer Rae
The only thing I took away from this match was how entertaining Charlotte was on commentary. Obviously Natty was going to win, but it was up to Flair to sell their ongoing feud. It’s worth noting that the in ring action was still quite impressive. There’s no hiding that Natalya can get a good match out of any competitor.
Zack Ryder vs The Miz
Maryse’s return to the WWE has gone under the radar. With so much happening on Raw, I also forget about her return. Oddly enough, Miz is the last person that needs a mouth piece, because he’s one of the better mic workers on the roster. However, since his actual wife is his valet, the two work as an on screen pair.
Why not just save this match for Payback? It would have allowed for them to build an actual feud. Maybe the Miz could have cost Ryder a normal singles match, as that would have created some heat. If not that, Ryder could have done a heartfelt promo about the Miz cheating to defeat him on Raw. I knew the title wouldn’t switch hands within the same week, so I had a tough time buying into the action. Based on the finish, this match went on too long.
Curtis Axel vs Apollo Crews
I’m starting to think Apollo Crews will be a great fit on the main roster. I know I had my doubts, but his presence is more noticeable on a bigger stage. His entrance alone showed that. It would be great if he could remain in a feud with the Social Outcasts. They’ll keep him looking strong, and relevant.
Emma/Becky Lynch Backstage Segment
These two were great together. The tension felt real, and that alone has me hooked for a potential feud. If there’s one thing that Smackdown does better than Raw, it’s taping these backstage interviews/confrontations.
Dean Ambrose vs Tyler Breeze
Ambrose’s post Mania appearance made him look like a superstar. They consistently promoted it during the show, and he received a massive pop.
In a kayfabe sense, why hasn’t Breeze retired from professional wrestling? He might have more success if he returned to modelling. After two big losses, Ambrose needed a squash match to demonstrate his value.
Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens vs Cesaro & AJ Styles
Jericho’s entrance was definitely a tease of him feuding with Ambrose. There’s no other reason he’d come out while Dean’s music was still playing. Speaking on entrances, I love what Cesaro does with that suit. It’s a neat effect that gives him a bit more character.
Who ever said that Owens wasn’t a supportive tag partner? He joined Jericho’s tantrum, which was easily the highlight of this match. Cesaro was booked rather strong during this contest. To me that was evident because it took both Jericho and Owens to keep him down. Maybe I’m over analyzing it, but that’s a good sign that the WWE likes to keep him as a threat. Keep in mind, it wasn’t a normal two on one, because Cesaro didn’t struggle much. Considering that they’re pushing Styles as a top babyface, it only made sense that he would receive the hot tag, along with the pin. Sami Zayn’s appearance was needed for this match. It justified Owens getting pinned, and it furthers their on going feud. Overall, the main event was well put together.
Smackdown wasn’t as surprising as Raw, but it acted as a great follow up show. Most of the main feuds were progressed, and the new talent was showcased. I don’t think I could have asked for more. The low point of this show was Ryder vs Miz, while the high point was the main event. Overall, I give this episode of Smackdown an 8/10.
As promised, here’s an other original meme to keep you laughing into the weekend.