After this show, I’m sure the WWE could consider it’s European tour a success, in terms of storytelling. This episode of Smackdown was kept basic, however it delivered with a ton of action.
Opening Segment – Miz TV w/AJ Styles
Maryse is becoming better every time she’s on television. She’s always had natural charisma, and this is the most it’s ever shown.
Styles was excellent in this segment. He looked extremely comfortable as a top babyface, and that makes me happy as a fan. The Miz worked as a perfect catalyst for this promo. I thought he worked well in showing how AJ is still a bayface, and not a conniving heel. Overall, I thought this was a solid way to open the show. It immediately showed that the WWE is focused on showcasing the main event feud.
Kalisto vs Ryback
So Kalisto isn’t hurt, but Ryback has become completely irrelevant. Normally I enjoy watching Kalisto compete, however, I couldn’t care less for this contest. I feel it’s time that him and his US title find a new wrestler to compete with. It also doesn’t help that Ryback has been kept off television since Mania. The finish to this match made no sense. Why did Ryback need to win? If they’re looking to set up a rematch at Payback, this should have ended in a count out. That way the champ doesn’t look so weak.
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin/Beatdown
I feel this segment was well executed. They never got a chance to wrestle, but they got a chance to further their feud. The beatdown made Corbin look like a monster, and I couldn’t have booked it better myself.
The Miz vs AJ Styles
With their promo being so fresh in our minds, I’m glad this match was scheduled earlier in the show.
The Miz was the perfect opponent for Styles. It wasn’t going to be a squash match, and it would allow for both men to look strong. The match was well worked by both competitors, and the announce team was tremendous at telling each man’s story. The spot of the match was Miz using his wife as a shield. It was effective for him, as it turned the momentum, and made him look like a true heel. This contest turned out to be a lot stronger than I thought it would be. Even though the outcome was predictable, I was still on the edge of my seat. Gallows and Anderson were perfectly used in this match. They may not be working with Styles, but it makes the fans question their motives.
I didn’t mind Shane McMahon addressing the Miz, but I didn’t approve of how this segment turned out. Why couldn’t Shane schedule a rematch for Raw? He could have also put Miz in his place by insulting him. I just can’t stand authority figures attacking the talent. It doesn’t really help anybody.
Naomi & Tamina vs Natalya & Paige
These women had a lot to follow up with. After Gallows & Anderson announced their in ring debut, and Shane attacking the Miz, it was tough to focus on anything else. I thought this worked as a decent buffer for the rest of the show. It was also smart of them to give Paige & Natty the win. That crowd wanted to see the home town girl pick up the victory.
R-Truth vs Fandango (w/Goldust as referee)
Fandango is over in London, so it’s great to see him booked on both Raw and Smackdown. The theatrics in this contest were over the top, but they made me laugh.
Enzo & Cass/Vaudevillians Promo
I can’t recall the last time the Vaudevillians cut a promo, but they did a brilliant job here. They kept to their gimmick, and it was quite effective in making them look like a threat. Enzo was great as usual, but Cass sounded somewhat robotic.
Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho vs Sami Zayn & Dean Ambrose
I love how these four superstars have been the focal points of this past week. It’s been great for Zayn and Owens especially, as it makes them look like main eventers instead of mid carders. Jericho and Owens were hilarious as a team. Their banter was on point, and it could be appreciated by any wrestling fan. For a heel tag team, they had amazing chemistry. I’d love to see them together more often. The spot of the match was Zayn’s cross body from the top rope. It’s a routine spot for him, but it just looked very smooth on this show. I wish Owens at least worked in his finisher before pinning Ambrose. I understand he was crotched on the top ropes, but it didn’t seem like enough for him to be pinned directly. Either way, I was happy with the end result. The celebration from Jericho and Owens was a perfect way to cap off the night.
Through and through, this turned out to be a highly entertaining show. Everything about it carried substance, and nothing could be considered a throwaway. I might not agree with some of the booking decisions, but I don’t mind as long as stories are being furthered. The low point of the show was Kalisto vs Ryback, while the high point was Styles vs the Miz. Overall, I give this episode a 7.5/10.