Honestly, I can’t recall the last time an episode of Smackdown felt so meaningful and rich in substance. Now that all the dust of the draft has settled and feuds are starting to form, it’s clear that Smackdown will give the stacked roster of Raw a run for their money.
Based on the events that occurred in the main event segment of Raw, it only made sense that Shane and Bryan address the security team about Brock Lesnar. Also, I like how they announce matches different from Raw as we got all the important ones laid out in a cold opening. The fumble in this segment was Bryan referring to Apollo Crews as Apollo Creed.
Dean Ambrose/Dolph Ziggler
I thought it was essential for Dean Ambrose to open the show with a promo for two reasons. One, he needs to remind the fans that he’s still amazing on the mic and can set the tone for any show. Secondly, we fans so badly wanted to see how they’d kick off his feud with Ziggler. Both Ambrose and Ziggler did a magnificent job in this segment. They each had a certain edge to their personalities, which translated into passion for winning. I’m glad this wasn’t just the two complimenting each other, because I that just wouldn’t be entertaining enough to carry a feud.
I thought Bray Wyatt was a pleasant surprise. He seamless transitioned into the segment, and garnered an amazing reaction. Along with that, this was a great set up for an unpredictable main event.
Kalisto vs Apollo Crews vs Baron Corbin
The WWE knows that this roster lacks the depth that Raw has, so they need matches such as this one to build a strong mid card. Earlier in the show, Bryan said he wanted the IC title, not the Miz, which I thought added some credibility to the actual belt. From that, it showed how important they consider the three men involved in this match.
I absolutely loved this match. At no moment did it feel dull, because all three men were heavily involved. Along with that, I thought each competitor was just as involved as the next, and there wasn’t one particular individual carrying this contest.
Eva Marie vs Becky Lynch / Carmella & Natalya Interview
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get enough of Marie’s entrance. It’s just such a natural fit for her character, and she knows how to pull it off. Oddly enough I was looking forward to her match against Becky, however I enjoyed what they did much more. I found it extremely effective for building her character and giving her heat.
People continuously harp on Carmella for sounding bad on the mic, but I liked how she was presented in her interview. She sounded genuine with Rene, and when confronting Natalya. This segment showed me, the WWE is serious on pushing multiple feuds in the Smackdown women’s division, which is a great sign.
American Alpha vs The Vaudevillians
For those that don’t know, the crowd back in Full Sail would chant Gable’s name to the tune of Kurt Angle’s theme, and I’m glad that chant has made its way to the main roster.
The match wasn’t too long, and it was obvious that American Alpha would get the convincing win. The new Smackdown tag team looked great in their debut, and their electrifying in ring style has already given the fans a reason to care about them.
AJ Styles/John Cena Promo
The two were clearly setting up for round two of their feud, but this was still an exciting promo to watch. We haven’t seen the two interact one on one since mid July, so their reigniting their program felt fresh.
Styles was amazing in this promo. I can’t be the only one that thought his initial shot at Nashville was towards the brass of TNA. That may have just been an Easter egg in this promo, as he didn’t directly insult his old employer. Also, his ability to gain heat was incredible. He knew the crowd was there to boo him, and he just rolled with it by insulting children. I wasn’t sure how John Cena would respond, however he came back with a promo even more passionate. There’s just something about his promos where he discusses his love for the business that gives me goosebumps.
Sometimes feuds can became stale in substance when heading into a second PPV match, although that doesn’t appear to be the case for these two.
Fandango vs Randy Orton/Brock Lesnar Interferrence
Fandango had all the reasons in the world to challenge Orton to a match. Randy publically insulted him two weeks ago, so he should be upset. That’s a small detail, but it was great for continuity.
I didn’t actually think Lesnar would appear on this show. As much as they teased it, I thought the most they’d do is have Paul Heyman show up and cut a promo after Randy’s match. I’m not complaining about what happened, because I thought it was awesome. Within 24 hours, the WWE has created a heated feud between these two, which I think will only get better.
Carmella vs Natalya
I knew there wasn’t enough time for Camrella and Natty to have a proper match, so I was wondering how they’d resolve something that quickly. Well, the ambush was a great follow up of their segment from earlier.
Dolph Ziggler vs Bray Wyatt
Dolph’s whole demeanour on this show felt so real. All week I’ve been reading how some people don’t find his presence in the main event scene as believable, and it’s great to see him play off that feed back.
In my eyes, Bray Wyatt is a main event player, as he always remains a priority. Considering how Ziggler just won last week, this match was just as unpredictable as Balor vs Reigns from last week’s Raw. I couldn’t vision either of them being pinned clean in this main event.
I always thought that these two had great chemistry with each other. Bray’s aggressiveness goes perfectly with Ziggler fast pace style and over selling. The two were able to tell the simple story that was being told all throughout the show. It was that exact story telling that made the last few moments so intense.
While Ziggler did come out victorious, both competitors left this match looking strong. Ziggler now continues his miracle run, which only makes his story more interesting. By no means did Bray lose any credibility by losing, as he looked like a complete monster.
For all the flack Smackdown was given last week, they definitely made up for it this week. From start to finish, I thought this was the strongest episode of Smackdown I’ve seen in years. The wrestling was excellent, and so was the story line progression. There was no low point to this show, however some of the high points included the Ziggler/Ambrose promo, Cena/Styles promo, and Wyatt vs Ziggler. Overall I give this show a 9.8/10.