Can someone explain to me how this episode of Smackdown felt more meaningful than Raw’s go home show?
Opening Segment/Miz TV
They really didn’t need to do several replays of last week’s finish. The fans aren’t stupid, and they know AJ’s feet clearly touched the floor first. Speaking of AJ, he was incredible here with Shane and Daniel. They may have worked a simple insult angle, but it totally worked in terms of comedic timing.
Before the match could even be set up, this inevitable Miz & Maryse vs Cena & Nikki match has been heavily criticized by fans from the online community. Those fans have all the right to be upset, because in a way this feud takes away from the big match allure Cena has built for himself. With that being said, there were some strong aspects to this edition of Miz TV, such as the Miz’s promo. His tone remained the same as usual, yet the material felt completely genuine. When he finally told Cena why he threw him out of the battle royal, I believe the Miz became 100% logical in his decisions. Yes, he is a villain, but it’s still important for his intentions to make sense to him.
As for Cena, his promo was excellent, but at times it was hindered with the overuse of his joking tone. Him wanting to act goofy took away from his logical points. This is something Cena is consistently panned for, but he usually won’t take it further into his intense feuds.
Quite honestly, the insertion of Maryse and Nikki came across as forced. They didn’t add much to what Cena and the Miz were arguing about, making the slap from Maryse as unnecessary as the one’s Stephanie McMahon usually dishes out. The only thing I took from the segment is that I really want to see Miz vs Cena for Mania.
Becky Lynch vs Mickie James
It was smart of the WWE to promote this match in advance, but they could’ve done more to set it up last week. The two had no interaction last week and that made this a tad bit cold. What was the purpose of it? Was the winner going to gain anything? The only reason I ask those questions is because the two were just involved in a heated feud, so this match should act as more than a throwaway.
Putting that aside, Becky did an awesome job at selling her victory. She legitimately acted like she just won the women’s championship.
Alexa Bliss/Natalya Backstage Promo
The writers on Smackdown haven’t been shy from creating tension between heels. I believe it’s opened up a whole new world, and has made the show fresher. If Natalya vs Bliss is scheduled for sometime in the future, fans should be excited. It’ll be something new for the two, and each competitor can easily excel from it.
Luke Harper vs AJ Styles
With this match kicking off the second hour of the show, there was certainly something big planned for the main event segment. Initially I feared it would be Crews vs Ziggler, but that was not the case.
For both men involved and the fans, this was definitely something new. The matchup was fresh, and the small rivalry created between the two was intense. Along with that, this may have cemented Luke Harper as a credible babyface. It’s one thing for Cena to receive cheers while feuding with AJ (who’s extremely over), but it’s an incredible feat for any other wrestler on the roster.
Work rate certainly wasn’t an issue between these two men. Both AJ and Harper are fluid workers, and they had chemistry from the moment the bell rang. Harper was able to use his size and speed, which acted as the perfect foil to AJ’s craftiness.
The finish was a bit whacky, but I think it needed to be. Harper has become so hot, that having him lose flat out clean wouldn’t have been the greatest decision. At the same time, AJ’s momentum continue’s with a win.
Dean Ambrose vs Curt Hawkins/Promo
Ambrose has been on the receiving end of multiple beatings from Corbin, so having him crack jokes didn’t feel natural. This was 10 times worse than what Cena was doing earlier in the show. Also, it took away from anything Corbin was trying to say.
Dolph Ziggler vs Apollo Crews
I’ll be honest, I was actually planning on skipping this match entirely. However, it started off extremely hot, with Crews blindsiding Ziggler. For Crews, that was out of character, which means it was one of the few interesting things he’s done since his WWE deubt. In fact, much of Apollo’s presence here was different from usual. For someone with such a dynamic offence, his added aggression was a great fit for the stipulation.
Everything that felt new with Crews went down the drain when Ziggler picked up the win. Dolph is a cold act, and gained nothing from this win.
Well, I didn’t see anything of this coming, at least not this week. The show had lead people to assume they would see some sort of AJ-Wyatt confrontation, which only made the Randy babyface turn so much more intense. For the WWE, this style of angle is something they haven’t executed in a while. When was the last time a big feud was furthered outside of an arena? Randy burning down the grave of Sister Abagail was the perfect way for him to turn on Bray and it automatically made this feud more personal than a simple RKO out of nowhere. Also, nobody should down play the emotional selling of Wyatt.
Side Note: They could’ve done without the multiple zoom ins on Randy’s face.
Much of the midcard suffered on this show, but the three main event angles made up for that. Unlike Raw, this wasn’t a go home show and it could afford to have a few loose ends. Also, two hours with some filler is much easier to watch than three hours of mainly filler.
The low point of the show was the Ambrose-Corbin promo, while the high point was the closing segment. Overall, this show deserves a 7/10.