While the Rumble wasn’t overly mentioned on this episode, it certainly felt like a show that was two weeks away from it. This episode showcased a great amount of storytelling, wrestling, and overall entertainment
Who would’ve predicted that Smackdown would be the show to open up with an authority figure? Since it’s not a common occurrence for Tuesday night’s, it was refreshing. Along with that, we barely see Shane McMahon cut live promos so it was also a treat for the fans.
The banter between AJ and Miz was perfect, because it’s rare that we see two heels argue with each other the way they did. I actually applaud the writers for not making them attack Cena. With that being said, The Miz in particular was the stand out. His promo had the right amount of passion and energy, which showed that he belonged a segment with two of the top guys in the company.
John Cena on the other was a major disappointment. While AJ and Miz were taking matters seriously, he was simply used for comedic relief, which didn’t fit. His dialogue didn’t take away from the promo, but it failed to add anything of importance.
AJ Styles vs The Miz
Similar to their promo, it’s rare that two heels wrestle each other in singles competition. In my opinion, it sets the tone of Smackdown being the show that’s based on wrestling. It shouldn’t matter if two men are considered to be evil, they should be able to compete to show who’s best. The two have wrestled in the past, but this dynamic was much more interesting.
In terms of their in ring work, these two proved to have solid chemistry. They showcased an entertaining back and forth, which was great for the Miz. Even though he’s not in the current WWE title picture, it’s crucial that the fans know that all of the top competitors aren’t too far from each other in terms of skill. That’s a simple way of keeping most roster members strong.
As per the finish, it was the right way to go. The Miz isn’t in a position to lose clean, and neither is Styles. Also, it made sense that Cena stood tall, because he didn’t just wrestle a grueling match like the other two.
Nikki Bella/Natalya Promo
I didn’t think they could replicate nor top last week’s brawl, but these two did. In fact, this time Natalya was able to cut a killer promo that only made the brawl feel more personal. Natalya usually receives a lot of flack for being weak on the mic, but this program is proving her naysayers wrong. There’s no denying that this has been the best program she’s been involved in.
The writing team deserves some credit, as they didn’t allow for this to feel like a rehash of last week’s angle. Yes, it was a brawl, but it was executed under completely different circumstances.
Dean Ambrose vs Randy Orton
The awesome part about this match is that it made sense for happening. The Wyatts beat down Ambrose two weeks ago, so the IC champ should certainly want retribution. This particular match reminds the fans that characters from different feuds can still interact with each other. Along with that, it showcases continuity in the overall Smackdown narrative.
As far as the actual match went, it was slightly underwhelming. For the most part, it was too slow, and it was riddled with rest spots. Like many matches in the middle of a show, it didn’t pick up until the last few minutes and that made this feel even more formulaic.
Aside from my complaining of the match pacing, it still managed to further the Wyatt Family story. Their dispute was similar to last week’s, yet the fall out was executed differently. As a fan that watches week to week, this definitely felt unique to that program. I’m sure most fans are excited to see how this all unfolds.
The King’s Kourt w/Dolph Ziggler
This promo needed to start slow, because the words that were exchanged between Ziggler and King were rather intense. The moment felt heated, and Dolph’s disrespectful words were perfect for his new heel character. Considering how they were in Memphis, a superkick to the King was an excellent way to draw heat from the crowd.
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch
The promotion that this match received was perfect, and the reason for it happening made sense. Two wrestlers should only be in a cage if they need to resolve a heated feud, and that’s what this felt like.
Alexa’s in ring work is limited, but it didn’t feel that way during this match. She used the right amount of offence needed in a cage, and it made her look like a legitimate threat to Becky. Also, Becky herself was superb from start to finish. There’s no denying Lynch carried the match, which was evident in her offence and selling. She also delivered the spot of the show when she executed the beckspolder suplex from the top rope.
The interference from La Luchadora could’ve been handled much better. The whole point of the cage was to keep her out, so she shouldn’t have walked in so easily. She could’ve at least climbed the cage. Regardless of that, the rest of that angle was well done as it left the fans guessing. I’m not sure yet, but it appears Mickie James may be aligning herself with Alexa Bliss, and that could end up being an interesting story for both. If not, the fans still receive a dream match in James vs Lynch. Overall, it ended up being a fun way to end this show.
Did this show have a few flaws? Yes. At the same time, those flaws were scattered and were only minor details to the show. Every program was progressed, and once again, fans have a few reasons to tune in next week. I have no idea how Smackdown continues to deliver quality television, but I hope they can keep this pace going.
The low point of the show was Cena’s involvement in the opening segment, while the high point was Bliss vs Lynch. Overall, this episode receives an 8.5/10.