With Smackdown not having another PPV between now and Wrestlemania, the writers have to make sure every episode counts. So far, the TV product has been brilliant, and it appears it’ll remain that way until April 2nd.
As someone that’s been watching Naomi since her WWE debut, I find it tragic that she had to vacate the Smackdown women’s championship. Naomi’s reaction was absolutely heart breaking, and it’s unfortunate because it appeared she finally hit her stride.
While Naomi relinquishing the title was a real life sad moment, Alexa’s entrance couldn’t be better timed. Along with that, Alexa’s promo was a perfect transition. If history has shown us anything, that’s never an easy task for wrestlers in her position.
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch
For a title match, this wasn’t very long. At the same time, it didn’t need to be, as it was in place for creating tension and heat within the women’s division. Also, for a short title match, the quality wasn’t bad.
While Becky was on the losing end, the pacing allowed for her to look strong. With that being said, Alexa didn’t look weak, but instead she appeared to be a crafty heel. Even though Bliss won through cheating, it was one of the first times she didn’t appear to be a cowardly villain, which was quite refreshing. Overall, this turned out to be a fun start to Smackdown.
American Alpha vs Fashion Police
American Alpha is on top of the tag team division, but that doesn’t mean they should run through opponents the way they did here. It makes them look strong, although it won’t help the division in the long term. They may be feuding with the Usos for now, but what happens after that? How do the writers go about heating up any of the other teams?
There’s no hiding that the Usos were the highlight of this segment. Their promo was absolutely amazing, and it may have been the best mic work the two have ever showcased. As of now, the Usos feel like a legitimate threat to the tag titles.
Nikki Bella vs Natalya
I won’t lie, part of me was more excited for this falls count anywhere match than the battle royal. That’s a not a knock on the main event, but more of a compliment to how well this feud has been booked. Considering how this program has been going, they couldn’t have set a better stipulation.
Once again, Nikki proved that she can very well hang with the rest of the women’s division. For someone that once had trouble keeping up with “real” wrestlers, it’s great to see her excel in different stipulations such as this. With that being said, Natalya was also quite fluid, as she clearly carried the pace.
I didn’t expect these two to do anything more than wrestle at ring side, so I applaud them for exploring their surroundings as much as they could. Their usage of big spots throughout the arena were quite effective and it added to the intensity.
In the moment, Maryse’s interference was extremely entertaining to watch, but it may be a gruelling confirmation of a rumoured Wrestlemania program. Aside from that, the finish was done well, and it was a great way to end the feud. It was also hilarious to see the Miz run in as the voice of reason.
10 Man Battle Royal
Like most battle royals, the first half didn’t feel important whatsoever. In the case of this match, the lack of urgency and importance was caused by the amount of wrestlers that obviously wouldn’t win. While Smackdown has easily been the better show, moments like this are a strong indicator of why the blue brand lacks depth.
Seeing Dolph attack Kalisto with a chair at ringside was an eye roller, but that quickly changed as Apollo tried to attack Dolph with a chair. That was the most aggression we’ve ever seen from Crews, hence it being the most character he’s ever shown on screen.
Once the match came down to six men, this became extremely entertaining. The wrestlers involved did a tremendous job at working their spots perfectly. Corbin-Ambrose was simple, yet effective for their feud heading into Mania. Along with that, Miz-Cena wasn’t so bad considering how fans aren’t too keen on their inevitable couples feud.
Kudos to both Styles and Harper for making the last bit of this match as entertaining as they did. Going into this show, Harper was the clear favourite to win this battle royal, but even then the last few minutes felt unpredictable. I for one thought the draw was strong way to cap off the show, as it creates intrigue for next week. Also, it put Harper into a bigger spot as he’ll be wrestling AJ for a chance to compete for the title.
This episode of Smackdown only had four matches, yet it was capable of furthering every story. How amazing is that? The writers of the blue brand clearly know how to utilize their two hours.
The low point of the show was American Alpha vs Fashion Police (match only), while the high points were the main event and Nikki vs Natalya. Overall, this episode deserves an 8/10.