I’m sitting here at 3:30 AM finishing up this post. Like many people around the world, my eyes were glued to US election coverage. At the same time, I wasn’t going to let it ruin my review of Smackdown.
Once again, AJ found a great way to turn this crowd against him. He’s arguably the most over star on the roster, yet he’s one of the few that knows how to change that. On top of that, he had a meaningful heel rant, which goes a long way for his character.
Like Raw, it was smart that AJ put aside his differences with Dean to focus on the Survivor Series match. At the same time, this segment flowed different from the one on Raw. This one was more about the superstars, and it wasn’t about the Authority figure selling the high stakes of Survivor Series. Albeit, Shane eventually came out, but he didn’t take the spotlight as much as Stephanie did. Plus he was also the last person to make an entrance. It’s small (or sometimes big) details like this that make Smackdown stronger in terms of writing.
My only gripe with this promo was the amount of time they spent on Ellsworth. It was fine that he came out with Ambrose, but there’s no need to make him a focal point. He didn’t need to be the “mascot” and that came across as a forced attempt to keep him involved with AJ/Dean.
The Vaudevillians vs Breezango
Out of the two teams on the entire roster that fashioned kilts this week, it’s fair to say that Breezango pulled it off better. To top that off, they were given the quick win. They certainly deserved that victory, because they’re underrated and underutilized. Hopefully this is a sign that they’ll be receiving more screen time.
Natalya vs Naomi
I thought JBl brought up a good point about who’s word means more on the Smackdown women’s team. That leads fans to wonder what exactly will Natalya’s purpose be come Survivor Series. If the whole point of having her ringside is to deal with the different feuds, why doesn’t every team have a coach? The writing team definitely needs to give her more depth for this role.
Apart from that, this was a match that needed to be about the drama instead of the work rate. I’d rather see the team interact this way because it allows for them to tell more of a story.
Baron Corbin vs Kalisto
I wonder why they decided to keep Corbin away from the six man tag. It seems odd that they got cold feet on him and inserted him into an injury angle.
I do applaud them on allowing Kalisto to look strong leaving this brawl. That gives his some of the momentum he lost over the early part of this year. The luchador has a lot to offer to Smackdown, so it’s essential that he can still look like a threat.
Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss
With the election coverage being on during this show, it wouldn’t have been a terrible idea to put this on last. With the election coverage being on, the ratings were going to be low anyways. Plus, this has been built since early October, so I’m sure fans were excited to see this over anything else.
From the very start, these two didn’t hold back once. They hatred between them is strong, and it was only right that they showed that through the pacing. Becky’s always great in the ring, but I thought Alexa was the standout performer. Her personality came across extremely well, and that allowed for her work rate to look more colourful. We’ve also seen that in Lynch many times, but sometimes it’s more refreshing to see it from another competitor.
The official for this contest looked like a complete moron during the finish, but other than that I didn’t mind it. That keeps this feud going on, and it gives the Smackdown women’s team an extra bit of drama. With that being said, I thought it was also pretty stupid how Shane, the commissioner of Smackdown, was so quick to say “the referee’s decision stands”. It made him look incompetent as a fair boss.
Curt Hawkins vs Apollo Crews
There wasn’t a reason to care for this match, but it’s great to see that they called back to the interaction from three weeks ago. It also gave Crews a chance to make an appearance after a short hiatus.
For a match that didn’t have a ton of meaning, it was certainly the most shocking part of the show. I never thought we’d see Hawkins ever win on Smackdown. However, it wasn’t the worst booking decision, because they’ve given us more reasons to care about Curt over Apollo.
Wyatt Family vs Dean Ambrose, James Ellsworth, & Kane
Oh man, they really missed the opportunity to make AJ team up with Dean and James. That would’ve made for some great backstage segments and funny spots in the match.
In ring wise, the excitement didn’t exactly come until the last half of the match. Sometimes the first half of six man tags can get annoying simply because we’re subjected to slow mat/strike based wrestling. With Kane and Harper taking themselves out of the match, we were given a great moment with James. He was able to bring this crowd back to life, but also made Wyatt look like an absolute beast after taking a vicious Sister Abigail.
As excited as I was for the announcement, it turned out to be a complete let down. By making Shane McMahon the fifth member only tells us that he’s held higher than every other available option. That also tells the fans that McMahon is at the same level of all the main event players on the entire WWE roster. Say what you want about Stephanie McMahon putting herself over, but it’s obvious that Shane exhibits similar tendencies. To this day, I don’t understand this need for the McMahon children to be considered as important as the wrestlers on screen. There’s still another week for them to change this, but I doubt it.
This was a strange episode of Smackdown because for every good moment, there was something just as lame. I think that statement applies to everything other than the two small matches (Crews vs Hawkins & Vaudevillians vs Breezango). I find that odd, because usually Smackdown doesn’t have that issue. For the most part, the stories are always clear. The low point of the show was Shane being announced as the fifth member, while the high point was Becky vs Alexa. Overall, I give this show a 5.5/10.