In the wake of WWE Backlash, I’m certain most fans were anxious to see how Smackdown would play out. This episode didn’t hold back any punches, and they gave the viewer everything they wanted to see.
The only thing I could think of during AJ’s entrance was how good that championship belt looked on him. This man knows how to walk and talk like a champ. I absolutely loved his promo, but it was clearly meant to garner more boos than cheers. However, lets keep in mind they were in Philly, so the smark levels were through the roof. Regardless of that, Styles didn’t let that the aspect of this promo ruin it for him.
When John Cena interrupted this segment, I was pleasantly surprised, and it seemed like the live crowd was as well. From a kayfabe stand point, who is Cena to demand a title shot against AJ? I always enjoy what he has to say, but this just didn’t make much sense. However, Cena did recover once he comforted Ambrose, and his argument was quite logical. I wasn’t sure how Dean was going to retaliate, but didn’t let those comments make him look like somebody lesser than John and AJ. The only thing I believe they could have changed from this was how they added the doctor of thuganomics into the title picture. Instead of handing him a chance, Shane should have made him earn it, and that could have also given the show some extra substance.
Hype Bros vs The Usos
I mentioned in my review of Backlash how these two had some amazing chemistry, but apparently they weren’t allowed to show that in this episode of Smackdown. This match ended as quickly as it started, but at least it left the Usos looking strong.
The Miz/Dolph Ziggler Promo
One thing I’ve always loved about the Miz (even before his pseudo-shoot promo) is that he always manages to put his IC title first. Most of the previous champions within the past few years have failed to do that they way the Miz has. Along with that, this promo was an excellent reminder of how strong the chemistry is between him and Maryse.
Somehow, it doesn’t matter how many times Dolph loses, he always find a way to get the audience behind him. I for one wanted to see him get his rematch. With that being, Daniel Bryan came across as a complete idiot in this promo, and it rubbed off on Ziggler as well. The Miz used simple logic, and then just walked out, leaving the two babyfaces to look incredibly stupid. Maybe that’s just an indication of how much stronger his mic skills are.
Apollo Crews vs Baron Corbin/Jack Swagger Debut
We saw Crews vs Corbin at Backlash, so I’m not sure how many people truly cared to see the rematch. Thankfully it just ended in a beat down.
It was hinted at on Raw that Swagger’s contract was up, which teased a possibility of him jumping shows. I’m just curious to see how well they rehab him at this point. His debut promo sounded strange, and didn’t really give the audience anything to care about. It looks like they might be setting him up to feud with Corbin, but is he a believable challenge for the lone wolf?
Women’s Fatal Five Way
This was essentially a rematch from last night, but since the women involved did such a great job, this can’t be seen as a bad thing. Once again, it gave each woman involved a chance to shine, and that’s what makes the Smackdown women’s division better than Raw’s.
It appears that the each of these competitors have developed a strong chemistry with each other. Considering how there’s only six of them, it’s crucial that this be the case. Their chemistry remained strong from start to finish, and I’d venture to say that this match was smoother than the six pack challenge. Nikki and Natalya came across as the two stand outs, and as veterans they should. The two still managed to look like the top dogs of the division, but they allowed the newer women to look good.
As someone that’s enjoyed Alexa from her days in NXT, I couldn’t have been happier that she won. What made it even better was how she got the pin on Nikki. Hopefully this upcoming feud with Becky will give her a chance to become the top heel I know she can be.
Heath Slater Contract Signing/Heath Slater & Rhyno vs The Ascension
This was simply a feel good moment, like Slater’s win at Backlash. In fact, having him and Rhyno wrestle the Ascension immediately after was a great decision. It was obviously going to be an easy win for the tag champs, and this kind of quick win made the two look more credible as a team. Also, I applaud the writing staff on letting Heath and Rhyno have their night. There’s a few weeks left until No Mercy, so there’s no need them into their next feud.
Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt Promo
Before Backlash, this was a pretty entertaining feud, but after the Kane vs Wyatt match, this has lost a ton of steam. This promo in particular felt extremely boring, and I just didn’t care. Other than the two disliking each other, it doesn’t seem like either of them have anything to gain. Hopefully by next week, they’ll come back with something fresh, because I still believe there’s potential for this program.
AJ Style & The Miz vs Dean Ambrose & John Cena
After popular demand, the WWE found a way to incorporate James Ellsworth into their programming. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t mark out when Daniel Bryan introduced him to AJ. While I was looking forward to seeing Styles team up with an enhancement talent, the continuity with the Miz was well done. He believes that he belongs in the main event, so it only made sense that his character forced his way in.
The team dynamic in this match was interesting, because Cena and Ambrose didn’t get along, but Style got along perfectly with the Miz. This was executed well, because it was ironic how AJ struggled to find a partner at all. Also, the action was pretty solid, as we were given a chance to see every competitor for an equal amount of time. It’s important to note that this still wasn’t about the in ring action, as the focus was still the drama surrounding all the wrestlers involved. That’s exactly why Dean delivering the Dirty Deeds to Cena after the match was a great way to go off the air.
Even though Raw put forth a good episode this week, there was no way they were going to top this show. Smackdown was coming off the high of Backlash, and there was a lot they explored and delivered. Also, they did a brilliant job at presenting most stories, as they were all kept quite simple. This show just does an amazing job at making all these wrestlers feel intertwined, and that gives it a certain charm. The low point of the show was the Randy/Bray promo, while the high points were the fatal five way and the opening segment. Overall, I give this show an 8.5/10.