After watching this episode of Smackdown, it’s interesting to see where the brand has come since that first week. This is now the third week where it’s been better than Raw in terms of quality.
Miz TV was the perfect segment to kick off the show. As a fan, the Ziggler/Ambrose program has been the most interesting, so I’m glad they opened with it to fulfil my appetite.
For two babyfaces, these two continue to show dislike for one another. From what we’ve seen in the past, this isn’t always the easiest type of feud to showcase. During this promo, both Ambrose and Ziggler continued to demonstrate this. Their back and forth was excellent, as it was worthy of a go home confrontation. Ziggler especially stood out in this segment, and his superkick was easily the highlight.
The Usos, American Alpha & Hype Bros vs Vaudevillians, The Ascension, & Breezango
From the get go, this match was too crowded. An eight man tag would have sufficed. I do appluad JBL and Mauro for putting over the entire division. There wasn’t a point where any of the tag teams were talked about as a joke (something JBL is known to do).
Apart from the cluster in the ring, my other gripe was how half of the teams didn’t even get a chance in the spotlight. This just felt like a showcase for the Usos and American Alpha. They could have easily split this match, allowing for the heel teams to gain some shine as well.
Naomi vs Eva Marie
I absolutely loved Naomi’s new entrance! She appears to have returned as a babyface, and this entrance perfectly suited her.
Like most fans, I was on the edge of my seat as to how they’d get Eva out of this match. Well, they definitely didn’t disappoint, because having Eva miss her match due to traffic was quite creative.
Randy Orton vs Heath Slater
Heath Slater must be one of the happiest workers in the WWE locker room right now. He’s currently being used as a light catalyst in the main event program for Summerslam, and that has to be a testament to how great he’s been on TV lately.
I actually liked how this match played out, because giving Orton a quick and clean win would have been unoriginal. Instead, Randy looked like a monster by just beating Slater into a DQ. Also, his german suplexes were a nice touch during the beat down.
Heath Slater Backstage Segment
Somehow, Heath continues to top his previous promos. While this one was more comedic than the one on Raw, it was through the roof hilarious. Plus, I was genuinely happy for his character when Shane pulled out the contract, but my heart sank when it was taken back.
I don’t know about anybody else, but Slater was definitely the MVP of this week (in terms of television).
Eric Rowan vs Dean Ambrose
This wasn’t the smoothest of matches, and because of that I had a difficult time paying attention. However, it was a smart way to give Dean a win on this show, and I’m glad it didn’t turn into a beat down from the Wyatt Family.
Becky Lynch & Carmella vs Natalya & Alexa Bliss
The more I watch Smackdown, the more I’m starting to enjoy their women’s division over Raw’s. That’s saying a lot, considering they don’t even have a title to feud over. I just find great how all of competitors are starting to receive an equal amount of attention, where as on Raw we only see Charlotte, Sasha, and Nia. The women on Smackdown are also more intertwined, so that makes a huge difference.
The work rate in this match wasn’t bad either, I quite enjoyed how Natty and Natalya carried the flow. However, that wasn’t the highlight of the match, it was actually Eva running away from Naomi, while she was trying to distract Becky. For a moment I thought Marie would get clocked by Lynch, and I was amazed how she completely avoided any sort of physical confrontation.
John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio
Ever since Cena lost to Del Rio at Hell in a Cell last October, we haven’t heard much about it, until this show. It was great that they used that match as a back drop to this one. This could have easily felt like a throwaway, however it had context. Similar to last week, Del Rio was presented as true threat to his opponent. He hasn’t been doing much within the past few months, but this has been the best they’ve booked him. Small details such as this can easily help revive someone’s character.
I was actually anticipating these two to wrestle a slow and safe style, but it was actually the opposite. Cena was taking most of the beating, although that didn’t stop them from keeping up a fast pace. I thought this allowed for Cena’s quick come back to come across as more natural.
Throughout this match, AJ was superb on commentary. He managed to stay in character, and made his emotions apparent. With that being said, I thought he’d get the last laugh on Cena after the match, but that wasn’t the case. Normally Cena is always laid out in the middle of the ring days before a big match, so to have him in the opposite position was a nice change. What made this even more interesting was that it eclipsed any between Cena has received from Styles.
On Monday night, Raw put forth a lackluster go home show, but wasn’t the case for Smackdown. In fact, they fully delivered with all their main programs, and still had time to push the under card feuds. The low point of the show was the 12 man tag, while the high point was the opening segment. Overall, I give this episode of Smackdown an 8/10.