If a show goes by fast, that means it was enjoyable. Sure, Smackdown wasn’t perfect, but it moved at a fluid pace.
With the WWE announcing Orton vs Bray during the past weekend, why did Shane and Bryan need to announce it during the opening of this show? The two took their time and went through highlights of the past few weeks, which felt like nothing more than filler. While I didn’t quite enjoy this, at least it got the live crowd energized.
James Ellsworth & Carmella vs John Cena & Nikki Bella
I don’t know about anybody else, but I was looking forward to this match quite a bit. This was the first Cena & Nikki we’re teaming together, and that added a lot to the excitement. I may not be a big fan of their Wrestlemania program, but it made for entertaining television.
The match didn’t last long, but for what it was, it was highly enjoyable. With that being said, The Miz & Maryse certainly stole the segment. The promo from the Miz was extremely smooth, and Maryse’s come back to Bella was perfect. Surprisingly enough, these four are doing a great job at building their Mania program.
Dean Ambrose vs Curt Hawkins
As bad as their promo from last week was, the two somewhat made up for it here. This wasn’t anything special, but Dean and Baron kept it simple. Along with that, Ambrose destroying Hawkins was incredibly funny.
I didn’t think this would amount to anything else for the night, but I was wrong. The ambush from Corbin backstage was effective for the feud, and it was executed well. It was brutal, and it got me to buy into their program. Along with that, I completely marked out for this.
Alexa Bliss & Mickie James vs Natalya & Becky Lynch
The back and forth between the women was nothing more than generic. I also found the Mania announcement of the multipal woman match to be a lazy option. These women have been better booked than the ones on Raw, so why can’t they have something as story driven?
As per the tag match, it was unique, mainly because of the Becky-Natalya partnership. Apart from that, most the action was forgettable as we’ve already seen Alexa and Mickie beat down Becky many times. The in ring action may not have been anything special, but the post match antics certainly were. The Mickie-Alexa break up was surprising, as it seemed like something that would take a few weeks. I for one marked out when that happened.
AJ Styles vs Randy Orton
Out of everything that Smackdown has produced since the brand split, this was definitely the biggest match up so far. For years fans have been dreaming about this, and it finally came to fruition. I’m surprised this wasn’t saved for a PPV.
The two kept the first bit simple, but it was as fluid as it could be. From the get go, it was apparent that they had natural chemsitry. The different strengths were showcased well here, and it added to the overall intensity. It was great to see Orton use his strength and AJ use his craftiness.
Unlike most heel vs babyface matches, this didn’t have any kind of predictable formula. Instead, the two wrestled an even match that displayed a strong back and forth.
Regardless of who won, the spot of the match was undoubtedly AJ’s Phenomanel Forearm fake out. That was the spot most fans anticipated, however it was done better than what most expected. Overall, it added to the finish the great finish.
I absolutely love how the writers for Smackdown realize they don’t need to have a ton of matches to produce a strong wrestling show. This is a formula they’ve been utilizing since the late December, and it’s working for them.
The low point of the show was the opening segment, while the high point was the main event and the mixed tag match. I don’t want to include the women’s tag match as a low point, because even though I wasn’t a fan of the direction, it still had meaning. Overall, I give this episode an 8/10.