Sometimes it’s tough to imagine how the WWE can put on a dumpster fire on Monday, yet give the fans something solid on Tuesday. I’m aware both shows have different writing teams, but all those ideas still need to go through Vince, Hunter, or Stephanie. I’ll try not to ask too many questions, and just appreciate what they gave us on this episode of Smackdown.
It’s felt like ages since the last episode of Smackdown. I’m sure much of that can be attributed to the fact that we saw two consecutive Raw themed shows. At least that allowed for those show to feel fresh.
Considering everything that’s going on in Smackdown’s narrative, this promo was a great opener for this show. It flowed smoother than their last promo, and felt much more memorable. However, it would have been more effective if Bray was at least on the ramp.
Having this as the episode’s reoccurring story arc also helped the feud feel more meaningful. Randy’s journey into the dark parts of the Quicken Loans Arena is exactly what makes any Bray Wyatt feud unique. Wyatt is one of the few supernatural characters on WWE programming, so it only makes sense if his feuds include some type of departure from reality.
American Alpha, Heath Slater & Rhyno vs The Ascension & The Usos
The only thing the Usos needed to ditch was their theme song, and it appears they’ve finally done so. The new theme song sounded a tad bit generic, but it works for their new attitude. With that being said, this was hardly the most memorable part about the Usos, as David Otunga finally told us what Rikishi told him on the set of a movie.
This was a simple and smart way to work a triple tag feud into one match. For those of you that forgot, the Usos are set to compete against Rhyno & Slater at No Mercy, but are still involved in a heated feud with American Alpha. This allowed for the Usos to progress their new feud with the champs, while maintaining the heat in the other one. Usually crowded matches like this can damage a show’s momentum, but that can’t be said about this one.
Carmella & Natalya vs Nikki Bella & Naomi
Out of everything on this show, I initially assumed this would be the closest thing to filler, but I was wrong. Carmella and Naomi in particular used this rematch as an opportunity to showcase some personality. Also, the four women involved still put on a decent match. My only gripe with it was how Carmella pinned Nikki, because it didn’t look natural. In that case, a school boy pin would have been much more effective.
After Carmella and Nikki are done with their feud, it would be great to see Carmella lock horns with Naomi. Both competitors wrestle an athletic style, and if they can tighten up their overall pacing, I think they have the potential to put on a fun match.
The Miz’s Homecoming
Are they trying to make the Miz a babyface? It was tough to hate him after seeing that incredible video package. I also saw it as a reminder of how far he’s come since his WWE debut.
It seems like this crowd wanted to cheer the Miz, but he’s one of the few people in the WWE that can turn those cheers into boos. I originally yawned when Ziggler interrupted, but little did I know these two would go on to cut an emotional promo. After the Miz verbally murdered Dolph, I never thought Dolph could come back at him the way he did. Ziggler’s promo’s have started to sound the same, but the added tone allowed for this to feel real. Once again, these two have my full attention for their match at No Mercy.
Becky Lynch/Alexa Bliss Beat Down
This segment last no longer than a minute, yet it still worked and furthered their feud. This short beat down (no pun intended) from Alexa showed the fans that she can be vicious, and it gives us something to look forward to for next week’s go home show.
Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles
I’m not sure if anybody was expecting a title change on this show, but it was interesting to see exactly how they’d get around it. Considering how they had to work around commercial breaks and limited timing, I thought these two did a great job at working this match. In fact, the pace was faster in the start of this match, than it was in the start of their Backlash match.
Unlike most televised main events, this wasn’t one sided at any point. Instead, both wrestlers got a chance to shine and look equal. That’s an important detail before the triple threat, because it gives the fans a sense of unpredictability. This theme was worked into the finish, and it played well. Styles choosing to get Cena involved showed his intelligence, as he knew Cena would retaliate (which would eventually cost Ambrose). Along with that, Cena needed to stand tall over the two competitors after the match. He’s lost to both of them recently, and he needed to remind the audience he’s still on their level.
The announce team deserves credit on adding to the story of this contest. Usually Cena is quite boring on commentary, but he gave context to their triple threat at No Mercy and put over both competitors.
From start to finish, this episode of Smackdown was a solid wrestling show. Every current story was told, and each wrestler followed a natural progression for their respective program. There wasn’t anything extraordinary about this show, but it still left me satisfied and excited for next week. There weren’t any low points, but high points include the Miz-Ziggler promo and the main event. Overall, I give this show a 8/10.