OPENING SEGMENT- fine
You know those few moments you occasionally have when you temporarily forget that Bryan is retired and his music plays and you get excited and then you remember and you get all sad? I hate those so much.
Bryan announces that he will soon be a father. Miz comes out to interrupt him and tells him should “do something you’re suited for and become a stay-at-home dad.” They argue and interact with the crowd until Baron Corbin comes out so he and Miz can argue. I’m tempted to just fast forward until the other four guys in the Elimination Chamber come out but my darn integrity stops me from doing so.
Next out was Dean, whose promo was meh. Then came AJ, who was very good. Next came Orto- wait… no. Bryan interrupted them and essentially said “okay. We get the point. No need to carry this on any longer. Time for some wrestling.” THIS is why Smackdown is often more enjoyable than Raw.
FATAL FOUR-WAY MATCH: Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose vs. The Miz (w/Maryse)- 7/10
JBL said that “if you ever want to counter a wrestling move, just punch someone in the face,” so we know that he doesn’t watch much New Japan.
Great opener. The story here was Miz using Bryan’s moves and also just generally being a heat-magnet. The spot with Maryse pulling him out of the ring after the Phenomenal Forearm was great. Corbin pinned AJ, but they didn’t make anywhere near as big a deal out of it as they should have.
If Raw in Smackdown are in this competition that they keep telling us about, why are they plugging each other’s PPVs? If there are two PPVs each month then plugging the other shows PPVs won’t get them any additional subscribers, so why do it?
LUKE HARPER PROMO- good
Kick me out of the Wyatt Family, will you? Fine. I’ll go find my own poorly-lit, smoke-filled room. With blackjack! And hookers!
Wow. If you take a guy away from the Wyatt Family then all of a sudden he starts saying words that actually mean something in the context of the feud.
INTERVIEW WITH NIKKI AND NATTIE FROM SEPARATE ROOMS- After careful study of this video it has become clear to me that Tyson Kidd has clearly done much better for himself than John Cena. Nattie blew Nikki out of the water in every conceivable way here. When Nikki interrupted her in that whiny voice with that horribly wooden “enough with the lies. It’s gotten so old” I actually screamed at the TV for Nikki to “shut up and let Nattie finish her sentence!”
It took four years of Total Divas for someone to finally figure out that it would be a good line for someone to call Nattie a “crazy cat lady.”
You know what? Maybe I wasn’t being fair to Nikki before. She was better than usual in this segment. If she puts a little more work in maybe she’ll be able to reach the level of second understudy in a high school play.
This was bad. There were two or three good lines in here, but it wasn’t worth sitting through what often felt like a repeat of promos we’ve heard a million times over the past two months.
And I know we’ll never get it, but now I kind of want to see Nattie sending, like, Mandy Rose to try to seduce John Cena. That would be hilariously bad television.
APOLLO CREWS vs. DOLPH ZIGGLER- 0.5/10
Apparently these two used to be friends. You’d never know it based on the zero times we’ve seen them be friendly with each other. Crews wins by roll-up in, like less than a minute. Dolph attacks him after the match with a chair (while the crowd chants “ONE MORE TIME!” lol) until Kalisto comes out to make the save for Crews. Dolph manages to fight Kalisto off and lays him out with the chair, too. Have any of Dolph’s matches since he turned heel not ended like this?
DANIEL BRYAN YELLS AT DOLPH BACKSTAGE- this resulted in Bryan booking Dolph against both Crews and Kalisto in a handicap match for the PPV. As JBL immediately noted “THAT’S NOT FAIR!”
TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE (see what I did there? If not, asks a Brit) CONTRACT SIGNING- very good
This was the contract signings for both women’s matches in one segment. I thought Naomi still doing her entrance for this came off as a little bit self-absorbed. When Mickie said that she was a six-time women’s champion, I was certain she was counting with TNA numbers but apparently she one the Divas Championship once and the Women’s Championship five times. Her claim to being the “one and only” six-time champion is, however, quite incorrect, as Trish won the Women’s Title seven times.
I loved Renee’s response to Mickie mocking her ability to do her job. While being 100% professional she managed to get that little hint of “okay. If you want do to my job then go ahead, asshole” in her voice. It was brilliant.
Mickie cut an awesome promo, but I think a good chunk of this feeling like a great heel promo was how much the writers made sure that she uttered the phrase “women’s revolution.” There are very few things in the world more annoying than WWE speak.
Becky cut a very good promo, then Alexa blew her out of the water burying both Becky and Naomi. Whoever wrote Naomi’s promo should have been flogged. The moment she said “Alexa, you didn’t forget about me!” she came off as way too lame to be a champion. Then, after her promo, she sucked-kicked Alexa like a heel. This set off a schmoz which ended in a dive to the floor where only the quick arms of Mickie James prevented Naomi from smacking her face on the floor.
AMERICAN ALPHA, RHYNO, HEATH SLATER, TYLER BREEZE, & FANDANGO vs. THE USOS, THE ASCENSION, THE VAUDEVILLAINS- 4/10
I love how Fa-Breeze managed to turn babyface completely by accident and without anyone realizing it. The match was fine. The Ascension won. Rhyno will never, ever not be over.
JOHN CENA vs. RANDY ORTON (w/Bray Wyatt)- 6.75/10
This is WWE so every time they talk about something, they have to make sure that someone uses whatever stupid tagline they’ve come up with for it. For Orton vs. Harper they have decided to refer to it as a “sibling rivalry.” If we follow their metaphor, Brother Randy has convinced Father Bray to kick Brother Luke out of the house. That’s a lot more extreme than just a “sibling rivalry,” but sure, let’s keep using our dumb tagline to push this instead of talking about the very human emotions Harper is feeling.
The match was very good, but it’s also nothing we haven’t seen before from these guys. This was their first televised match against each other in well over two years, but it still managed to feel stale. Then the predictable overbooking showed up to drag things down even more. We got a ref bump so Cena could make Randy tap with no ref. Then Bray attacked Cena. Then Harper showed up and “finally” “broke free of Bray’s control” or whatever and attacked Bray, which might have actually meant something IF HE HADN’T ALREADY DONE IT AT THE ROYAL RUMBLE! Orton popped up to try to give Harper and RKO but Harper shoved him off into an AA by Cena and the ref recovered and counted the pin.
A mediocre episode of Smackdown, although I guess I have to give it credit for hitting all of its spots as a go-home show. All you really need to see from this show was the opener and the women’s segment.
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