Photo Credit- WWE
Last week’s Smackdown felt more or less the same as previous weeks. The show had great segments with Roman Reigns and the Usos, as well as a great opening match between the Usos and the Street Profits, but the rest of the show by comparison fell kind of flat in some areas. However, with the announcement of not one but two title matches for tonight’s show, could Smackdown once again prove why it’s the A show?
GREAT: Roman Reigns is out first and talks about how he’s changed his position on The Usos getting their tag team title shot. Roman says that Jimmy better be right about them winning tonight and summons them to the ring. Jimmy continues to dodge acknowledging Roman as the Tribal Chief and switches gears to discuss how the Usos will become seven time tag team champions tonight. Roman wishes them luck in their match and makes it clear that the “family” is watching and that they better win the titles tonight. This segment was simple but effective, clearly laying out Roman’s desire for the Usos to win the titles to bring more prestige to the family, rather than for their own benefit and potentially upstaging the Tribal Chief.
GOOD: Up next is the Mysterios defending the Smackdown tag team championships against the Usos. Right off the bat the match does a good job emphasizing the atmosphere of “bloodline vs bloodline” as this match is father and son vs two brothers. A lot of good back and forth action in this match. Post match the Usos argue with the referee over the botched finish but the referee says his decision stands. A good way to further the storyline between Roman and the Usos in a more interesting way rather than doing the predictable thing and give the Usos the belts. The botched finish also keeps the Usos a bit stronger and builds a case in defense against Roman’s anger. However, this does put the future of the tag division into question.
Result: The Mysterios retain after Dominik reverses a top rope splash from Jimmy into a small package. Jimmy had his shoulder up but the referee didn’t see it.
John Cerenzio WR Star rating- 3.25 stars
Great: After the match, Roman summons his cousins to his room and berates them about losing to the Mysterios. Roman saying that the Usos lost to a child (Dominik) was especially hilarious. Roman says that there is still time left in the show to fix this and tells them to up their game. Roman calls Jey “Jimmy” and when Jey corrects him, Roman says that “it doesn’t make a difference.” A really good way to create sympathy for the Usos and get more heat onto Roman.
Poor: Up next Kayla Braxton has a sit down interview with Seth Rollins. Kayla asks Seth why he attacked Cesaro and Seth responds by saying that he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. Seth takes off his mic and the interview ends pretty quickly after that. While this could have gotten Seth decent heat for not explaining his actions, this segment was WAY too short to really build anything substantial to further the feud.
Average: Chad Gable is backstage with the Street Profits and says that they’ve been on a downward spiral as of late and offers them a spot in Alpha Academy. The profits decline and walk off. An interesting idea for a story that I hope goes in an interesting direction.
Average: Up next, the Usos talk to Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville about overturning the decision for the tag title match earlier tonight. Sonya and Pearce say that they will give them an answer by the end of the night.
Poor: Up next is Carmella vs Liv Morgan. I’m interested to see what WWE does with Liv Morgan as a singles star once again after the sudden release of Ruby Riott earlier this week. Liv pulled off a few interesting moves in this match but the match wasn’t long enough for her to really be showcased. Plus her losing this match was a rather odd choice considering they gave her a pre match promo about giving Carmella the “Liv Morgan makeover,” potentially teasing a new dynamic to her personality. Post match Carmella has Josh Hamilton announce her as “the most beautiful woman in all of WWE.”
Result: Carmella wins via submission after using the Code of Silence.
John Cerenzio WR star rating- 1.5 stars
Average: Pearce and Sonya stop the Mysterios from leaving the building. They say they’ve reviewed the footage from the match earlier and inform them that they have to once again defend the tag titles later tonight against the Usos and the Mysterios accept.
Average: Up next, the Smackdown Women’s champion Bianca Belair comes out and talks about Bayley. She says that Bayley’s constant laughing at her gets to her a little bit, but says that Bayley is no different than everyone else that’s ever doubted her. Bianca issues a challenge to Bayley for a match at Hell in a Cell and asks Bayley to come out and give her a response. Bayley appears on the titantron via satellite laughing once again and says that the world doesn’t revolve around Bianca. Bayley saying she’s in her “special place” and the room is a bunch of pictures of herself is hilarious. She accepts Bianca’s challenge and videos of Bayley laughing take over the thunderdome screens. A really solid start to this segment that was hurt by the incessant laughing. I love both of these women but this feud needs to evolve beyond just Bayley laughing at Bianca.
Good: Up next, Otis is backstage with the Street Profits and says that Chad is only trying to help them and demands that they apologize to Chad. The Profits refuse to apologize and say that Chad is doing nothing more than hold Otis back. Otis retaliates by beating up the Street Profits. A better segment than the one from earlier as it created an interesting story for the feud and I’m interested to see what the endgame is for this potential feud between the Street Profits and Alpha Academy. However, I can see this ending before it has a chance to get off the ground.
Poor: Up next is King Corbin vs the “King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura. A pretty basic match that unfortunately never got out of first gear due to its short length. Post match, Corbin once again tries to steal back his crown but Rick Boogs stops him once again and Shinsuke gets it back. I’m hoping this feud evolves past stealing the crown every week and they just do a match with the official title of king on the line. But until then it’s just more of the same that we’ve seen over the past several weeks with these two with no real growth.
Result: Corbin wins via pinfall after stacking up Nakamura.
John Cerenzio WR star rating- 1.75 stars
Average: Up next was supposed to be Apollo Crews defending the Intercontinental championship against Kevin Owens with Commander Azeez barred from ringside. However, on his way to the ring Azeez jumped Owens backstage, pushing a crate into Owens. A decent enough loophole to get around Azeez not being at ringside and helping Crews get an advantage over Owens.
Great: After returning from commercial break, the intercontinental championship match is officially underway. Owens is clearly showing signs of injury on his way to the ring but shows good babyface fire in refusing to give up his opportunity and go through with the match anyways. The story of the match centers around Apollo focusing on Owens’ potentially injured ribs, a logical strategy. Owens’ selling of the ribs was masterful and the story of Owens trying not to go high risk too often and aggravate his injury was great as well. I greatly enjoyed this match. Post match, Sami Zayn jumps the ring and hits Owens with the Helluva Kick, berating him for his pride to go out there while injured and says this is “karma” for Owens ignoring Sami.
Result: Apollo retains the championship via pinfall after hitting Owens with a Death Valley driver on the apron.
John Cerenzio WR star rating- 3.75 stars
Good: The Street Profits have one final segment where they address the Alpha Academy and say they will have a match against them next week. In my opinion the profits are at their best when they know the right time to get serious and this was it.
Average: Up next is the rematch for the smackdown tag team championships with the Mysterios defending against the Usos once again after the shenanigans that transpired earlier in the night. The match isn’t as good as the match earlier in the night but the post match certainly makes up for that.
Result: The Mysterios retain via DQ after Roman Reigns hits Dominik with the Superman Punch
John Cerenzio WR star rating- 2.5 stars
MUST WATCH: Roman absolutely obliterates the Mysterios, hitting them several times with steel steps. Roman is visibly upset at the Usos at almost losing to the Mysterios once again and continues to take out his anger on them. Roman throws Rey over the barricade and puts Dominik in the guillotine choke. Jimmy tells Roman to stop and says he’s going too far. Jimmy leaves the ring while Jey continues to show loyalty to the Tribal Chief. This was a really cool ending to the show. I would be totally cool with a potential Roman Reigns/ Rey Mysterio feud.
Overall, this week’s Smackdown was a show that was on par with last week. The show had two fun title matches, especially the IC title match. Roman is great as always and WWE not giving the Usos the tag titles is smart to further that storyline. Plus the potential of Roman vs Rey is a very unique direction to take this. However, Smackdown continues to be plagued from the rest of the show being painfully average to good at best. They have good ideas for storylines, but there’s one little detail in each feud that makes me not like them as much as I should or there isn’t enough progression in storylines to keep me as interested going forward.
Overall Show Rating: 7.5/10