Photo Credit- WWEonFOX Twitter account
Last week’s show demonstrated one of the biggest issues with Smackdown as of late. While the segments with Roman Reigns and the Usos are great as always, the rest of the show feels lackluster by comparison. With Smackdown slowly closing in on the Hell in a Cell PPV, how will the show attempt to rectify this? Let’s find out.
GOOD: First up is a backstage segment with Roman Reigns and Jey Uso. Roman and Jey rewatch the main event from last week. Reigns turns to Jey and says that he owes him for saving him from what he deemed to be another upcoming loss last week. Roman says that the worst thing Jey can do is embarrass the family and asks Jey if Jimmy understands that. Jimmy makes his way to the ring and says that the Usos were robbed last week out of the tag team championships not only due to the botched referee call, but Roman causing the DQ in the second attempt. Jimmy says that Roman stuck his nose where it doesn’t belong and speculates if Roman did this on purpose. He says that Roman’s issue is that he’s jealous that he has returned and wants to represent the family in his own way with his brother. He says that he wants Jey back by his side and says that tonight he’ll do something that he “won’t regret.” Roman tells Jey to take care of this. A really good opening segment that furthered the storyline in a simple but interesting way. Very interested to see what Jimmy has up his sleeve.
GREAT: Jimmy and Jey are backstage arguing. Jimmy asks if Jey thought they would win the titles last week, to which Jey agrees. He then says that Jey had the opportunity to go back with Jimmy but he froze and says that Roman is the real embarrassment to the family. Jey says that he sticks by Roman because Jimmy was gone for a year with his injury and he had no choice but to go with the Tribal Chief. I really, really enjoy the banter between these two. It definitely comes across as two brothers legitimately fighting over a real familial issue. This also adds a new layer to Jey’s character, showing more visual conflict with where his loyalties lie. The Usos deliver once again.
GOOD: Up next is a tag team match, Big E and Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn and the Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews. Right off the bat I’ll say that while I really like all four of these guys it might be time for them to move on and do something new and fresh with new people. Big E returning as a part of the IC title feud once again is definitely a reactionary result of Aleister Black’s surprising release last week. However, I’m really not interested in seeing Apollo vs Big E yet again if that is the route they decide to go. Overall, however, these four men once again deliver a fun TV match. This match got a lot more time than I expected and the sequence between Sami and KO especially was really fun to watch. However, other than that the match felt like your basic TV tag match with a basic story of isolating the opponent until the eventual hot tag. Regardless, that still in no way makes the match bad at all or takes away from my overall enjoyment. Post match Apollo cuts a promo saying he didn’t lose this match and he was burdened with Sami as a partner. Apollo says that next week will be Owens and Big E vs him and Commander Azeez. Sami takes exception to Apollo belittling him, accusing him of “working” with Kevin Owens to keep him away from the IC championship. Zayn gets a Nigerian Nail from Azeez for his troubles.
Result: Owens and Big E win via pinfall after Owens hits Zayn with the stunner.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating: 3.25 stars
AVERAGE: Chad Gable apologizes to the Street Profits for what Otis did to them last week and says that he got the tag match between the Profits and Alpha Academy that was scheduled for tonight cancelled. Gable says that sometimes Otis can be overprotective and hard to control. The profits insult Gable and Otis, saying that while Gable can’t control Otis, they can. This prompts Gable to make a new challenge to face one of them in a one on one match later tonight. Montez ultimately is chosen to face Gable tonight and Gable also says that Otis will be barred from ringside. A weird segment that seemed a bit pointless in the grand scheme of things, as a cancelled match just turned into another one immediately after. This begs the question why didn’t they just book a singles match to begin with? However, Otis was put over decently strong here as an untamable beast and Chad Gable vs Montez Ford should be really good hopefully.
GOOD: Jey Uso returns to Roman and says that Jimmy will meet with him in their locker room as opposed to Reign’s locker room. Roman takes exception to this but laughs it off and ultimately agrees to humble Jimmy and go to his locker room. A short segment but furthered the show-long storyline well enough.
POOR: Up next is a rematch from last week as Liv Morgan takes on Carmella once again. I’m not a huge fan of the “most beautiful woman in all of WWE” gimmick so far as this just screams 2010 divas feud to me, and these two women are definitely above fighting over something as trivial as this. Overall this match was nothing special, almost beat for beat the same match as last week in-ring wise. The only added element was Carmella trying to get over her new gimmick. A classic case of WWE 50/50 booking here.
Result: Liv defeats Carmella via pinfall after hitting the Oblivion.
John Cerenzio WR Star rating: 1.5 stars
POOR: Up next is the return of Bayley’s talk show segment Ding Dong, Hello! with special guest Seth Rollins. Bayley shows off her updated show set, with pictures of her past achievements which fits her character perfectly and I love it. Seth says that he’s a huge fan of Bayley and says that she will beat Bianca at Hell in a Cell. It pains me that a majority of this segment was nothing but incessant laughing, with Bayley showing clips of Bianca and Cesaro being “embarrassed” as Bayley and Seth laugh uncontrollably. The doorbell rings and Seth answers the door to see a returning Cesaro. Cesaro beats up Seth and tears up Bayley’s set along with Seth’s suit. Seth runs away over the barricade as Bayley is devastated at her set being destroyed. Bianca comes out to laugh at Bayley as retaliation for weeks of Bayley laughing at her. This segment was honestly really bad up until Cesaro showed up and that’s all that saves it from being a bad segment.
GOOD: Up next Rey Mysterio gives an update on Dominik’s condition, saying that he’s still hurt. Rey says that it hurts knowing Roman hurt his son while he could do nothing to stop it. Mysterio vows to call Roman out to the ring to get his revenge by the end of the night. I like Rey talking about how Rey’s family was hurt by someone who claims to be a man that does everything for his family. But other than that, this was a very standard Rey Mysterio feeling sorry for his hurt son promo that was really nothing different than when the Mysterios feuded with Seth. However, Rey always manages to deliver the promo with enough conviction to keep me invested.
GREAT: Up next is Chad Gable vs Montez Ford. This was a great technical wrestling match between two amazing in-ring wrestlers. During the match, Angelo Dawkins is backstage cheering on Ford but is attacked by a newly clean shaved Otis. It’s really a shame that the finish wasn’t clean, not to mention that Otis’ run in was very botched, resulting in Gable having to kick out of From the Heavens. However, the match up until that point was very fun to watch and kept my attention throughout most of it. Give these guys a rematch with no commercials and a clean finish and we’d having something really special here. Post match Otis decimates Ford and hits a massive splash from the top rope. An injured Dawkins tries making the save for Ford but Otis fights him off as well and hits Ford with a Vader bomb. While the finish wasn’t the most ideal way to end what up until this point was a great match, I still really enjoyed mostly everything this had to offer. Gable and Ford are fantastic in ring workers and Otis continues to look like a monster. If they keep running with these respective dynamics I’ll be a big fan of this feud.
Result: Montez Ford defeats Chad Gable via DQ after Otis attacks Ford.
John Cerenzio WR star rating- 3.25 stars
BAD: Up next, yet another rematch from last week on this show as Shinsuke Nakamura takes on King Corbin. Another short match with yet another case of 50/50 booking. Post match Corbin attacks Nakamura followed by Rick Boogs and goes to get his crown back but, once again, Nakamura steals the crown. Please, please, please just do something, literally anything new with this storyline. I’m so tired of seeing the same exact thing every single week. This is why this week’s segment is bad as opposed to poor because there is no attempt at furthering anything from last week at all.
Result: Shinsuke defeats Corbin via pinfall after a roll up.
John Cerenzio WR Star Rating- 1.25 stars
AVERAGE: King Corbin goes to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville and demands that something be done about Nakamura stealing his crown every week. Sonya pitches the idea for the “battle for the crown” next week to see who will officially get the title of crown. FINALLY! SOME PROGRESS! However there is no real reason given why Corbin should fight for something that is technically his other than “the crown looks good on Shinsuke.”
MUST WATCH: Roman and Jey go see Jimmy in the locker room and Roman and Jimmy continue to bicker about Jey and where his loyalties should lie. Jey is finally fed up and says he is sick of both Jimmy and Roman. Jimmy blames Roman for Jey’s actions and tries squaring up to Roman for a fight. Roman is disgusted by Jimmy’s childish actions and says that he should be thinking with his brain and do what’s best for the family. He says that Jimmy is technically the older brother as he came out first and Roman says that Jimmy is failing as an older brother to Jey. Roman gives Jimmy an opportunity to fix this. Wow. What a fantastic segment. Much like the previous Usos segment, the way this dynamic is written once again shows how realistic and legitimate this conflict feels, coming off as real family dilemmas. I’m really interested to see where Jey’s loyalties ultimately lie. Absolutely great stuff.
MUST WATCH: Finally, Rey Mysterio calls out Roman Reigns and calls Roman a bastard for attacking his son. Rey acknowledges Roman as a man he wants to beat up and says he wants Roman one on one in a Hell in a Cell match. Roman says he acknowledges Rey as a father but Rey out of nowhere pulls out a kendo stick and starts striking Roman. Roman fights back until Dominik shows up with a kendo stick as well and starts striking Roman. However, Roman gets the better of Dominik and powerbombs him out of the ring. The camera angle definitely made it apparent that Dominik clearly landed on some type of padding. However kudos to WWE for not showing the padding and ruining the spot. This was a crazy main event segment, but I feel they’re trying to rush this feud going into Hell in a Cell a little bit. I don’t feel that Roman vs Rey needs to be inside the cell necessarily, as this feud just began last week. This just feels like putting them in the cell for the sake of using the cell more than once on the show. However, if next week’s progression is anywhere near as fun as this was than I will have no problem with it being inside the cell.
Overall, this was a fairly entertaining episode of Smackdown in several areas. The main event scene is heating up between Rey and Roman and the dynamic of the Usos continues to be captivating to watch. This week also greatly benefited from some interesting and good booking outside of Roman and the Usos with the build of Otis as a monster heel. However, while Ford and Gable and the tag team match were fun, in-ring wise the show continues to fall into the main roster traps of repeat matches and 50/50 booking.
Overall Show Rating: 7.6/10