This wasn’t a complex episode of Smackdown, yet it was effective as a go home show. Each feud was given the right amount of screen time, and nothing felt neglected. If you plan on watching No Mercy, make sure you watch this show beforehand.
Kane vs Bray Wyatt
My favourite part of these to wrestling is that we always manage to receive a reference of their rivalry from 2013. There’s many times where the WWE drops that ball on continuity, but the relationship between Wyatt and Kane is not one of them. Due to that history, they’ve always had great in ring chemistry.
I didn’t have too much of an issue with how this match ended, but it truly felt like Wyatt should have came out on top. If they had played the Orton video after Bray had picked up the pin, it would have been just as effective as what they did. I don’t understand the WWE’s fear of letting the eater of world’s win clean.
Nikki Bella vs Alexa Bliss/Alexa Bliss & Carmella vs Nikki Bella & Becky Lynch
With the brand split being three months old, it was surprising how this was the first time Bliss and Bella had squared off. I’m not complaining, as it felt fresh to an extent. With Carmella being part of the announce team, it was obvious this one on one wouldn’t last very long. It’s worth noting that Carmella was absolutely amazing during her short time on commentary. I absolutely love how she’s turned up her New York accent, and her insults were fabulous (no pun intended). It’s amazing how Carmella has managed to separate herself from the nickname “Enzo-light”.
The added tag match wasn’t bad at all, and it didn’t give away too much of the feuds that were presented. In fact, it worked as solid preview for the PPV matches. Technically, Becky did lose clean, but it was done well. Carmella’s superkick that assisted Alexa’s finisher came across as natural, and it went with the flow of the match.
Hype Bros vs The Vaudevillians
Did anybody else completely forget that the Vaudevillians were on the Smackdown roster? Based on their appearances since the brand split, it’s safe to say they’re currently sitting at the bottom of the food chain.
At first, it was odd to see the Ascension make their way out to observe this match, but it made matters more interesting. That alone shows the fans how the writers on Smackdown are willing to give the lower card acts some sort of angle. The Hype Bros are an entertaining tag team, so I feel they deserve a feud, and this teased program with the Ascension should do just fine.
Miz TV- A Dolphumenary
Wow. While this video package was meant to be an insult towards Dolph, it was very well done. Jokes aside, it actually did wonders at covering all the low points of of his career, and it worked as a great retrospect to how wrestlers need to pay their dues before becoming a top talent.
It didn’t look like the promo between Dolph and Miz could top the video package, but then two members of the Spirit Squad made their way out. This felt very reminiscent of Rock, This is Your Life. Also, I never thought I’d see Kenny Dykstra in a WWE ring, as we’ve all heard of his issues with the company. Overall, this segment added a lot to what was already a heated feud and it can easily be the main event for this Sunday’s PPV.
Jey Uso vs Jason Jordan
For those that didn’t notice, the match graphic we saw before the commercial break said this was going to be Jimmy Uso vs Jason Jordan.
Instead of having Jey lose within seconds of the match starting, why didn’t Jimmy interfere instead? That way the Usos didn’t have to look bad, and they still could have worked the beat down angle that occurred.
Jack Swagger vs Baron Corbin
Considering how this has been showcased over the past two weeks, would it hurt if they had at least promoted this match last week? They obviously needed this to further the angle, but it could have gained more traction with a bit of promotion.
Based on the finish of this match, it made the ref look completely incompetent and kayfabe wise, he should be fired as soon as possible. However, having Corbin unintentionally wasn’t that bad of an idea. At first I thought it was quite lame, but after some thought, it turned out to be a creative way to extend the feud. It came across as a rookie mistake, and that worked with the announce team consistently putting Swagger over as the veteran. Since neither man lost clean, it keeps their program even.
AJ Styles/Dean Ambrose/John Cena Face-to-Face
If it were up to me, these three should have cut a 40 minute promo. Their mic chemistry is just brilliant, mainly because of how they play off of each others words. While Cena and Ambrose have stood out the most within the past two weeks, this segment was all about Styles. At no point did he come across as a cartoonish heel, but instead he was a man that spoke with confidence. It’s important that top heels receive a chance to speak like this, as it helps showcase them in a more serious light.
When was the last time Cena simply resorted to violence? He didn’t even bother explaining himself to Ambrose and Styles. That part alone made this promo and feud more intense. This feud has given John a chance to be someone different while still being the character fans are familiar with. It’s a testament to how he doesn’t need to turn heel to be a fresh persona.
Including Talking Smackdown, this show did an excellent job at creating excitement for this Sunday. Every feud was presented properly, and most of them were given the right type of cliffhanger. The low point of the show was Jey Uso vs Jason Jordan, while the high point was the closing segment. Overall, I give this episode an 8.5/10.