First Miz cuts a promo saying he’ll win the IC Title in the Ladder Match at Greatest Royal Rumble, and therefore tie Jericho’s record for the most IC Title reigns in history. Then he brings out Bryan, claiming that Bryan and Birdie don’t have the same bond that Miz has with his daughter. He says a bunch of other outrageous stuff, but then claims that becoming a father has changed him, so he says that if Bryan still wants to come out and punch him in the face then that’s fine.
Bryan doesn’t come out, even after several calls. Then Big Cass comes out instead. He’s wearing a suit, and makes a big show of putting on his jacket and a fancy watch. Miz is confused as to why Cass is out here. Cass says Miz should interview him instead. Cass is angry that no one cared about him while he was injured and when he was cleared to return (which happened on the same day Bryan was cleared).
Miz tells Cass that he doesn’t his help with Bryan. Cass responds by telling Miz “not everything in this world is about you.” Miz cut a big promo on Cass so Cass threatened to beat him up. Miz successfully managed to turn Cass’ attention back to Bryan. Cass cut a great promo on Bryan and the fans.
Before I got too angry, they managed to answer the question of “what happened to Bryan” (he got laid out backstage), but it would have been nice if the announcers had shown some sort of concern for him when he was missing.
IICONICS PROMO- it’s only their third week on the roster and they’ve already had their entrance cut for a commercial. I get that their gimmick is the mean girls who think they’re a lot funnier than they actually are so they’re trying to be cringe-worthy on purpose, but they’ve hit the point where they’re so cringe-worthy that I feel embarrassed while watching it.
BECKY LYNCH & ASUKA vs. THE IICONICS- 4/10
The IIconics got beaten up for most of the match but won when Peyton pinned Becky with her feet on the ropes. Can we at least give them a clean win?
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS AJ STYLES- We’re getting Nakamura, Rusev, & English vs. AJ & two mystery partners.
ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS VIDEO PACKAGE- good
USOS & NAOMI BACKSTAGE- very good.
Jimmy wants her not to put herself in danger by coming out to the ring last week. She won’t agree to do it. She has a bad feeling about tonight’s match because of the looks she saw in the Bludgeon Brothers’ eyes last week. This came off as completely real and natural. A married couple acting a like a real married couple.
ERICK ROWAN (w/Luke Harper) vs. JIMMY USO (w/Jey Uso)- 3.75/10
Rowan beat Jimmy up a bunch, and then was about to hit him with a powerslam when the lights went out and Naomi did her full entrance, complete with dancing. This distracted the Bludgeon Brothers and allowed Jey to Superkick Harper and Jimmy to do similar and pin Rowan. I really didn’t like this finish simply because the Bludgeon Brothers seem like the type of guys who won’t be distracted by someone’s erotic dancing.
BACKLASH WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH CONTRACT SIGNING- very good
Renee brought Carmella out first… and Carmella grabbed a mic and buried Renee for it, saying “in what world is it acceptable to introduce a champion before the challenger.” Preach on!
She cut a promo on the fans for booing her and her video package last week, so she says she’s going to play it again and that the fans should give her the respect she deserves and stand up and applaud after it. She wasn’t happy with the reaction she got, so she demanded that the video package be played yet again and said that we would do this until the fans got it right.
The video package started again but was interrupted by Charlotte coming out. They signed the contract. Carmella was a jerk, so Charlotte shoved the table over onto her. Charlotte didn’t say a word the whole time, which I thought was something the announcers really should have focused on. It made Charlotte feel laser-focused. Having Renee moderate this instead of Shane or Paige was a little weird, but other than that, this was very good- especially Carmella’s promo.
DASHA TRIES TO INTERVIEW SHINSUKE NAKAMURA- Aiden English pops out of Nakamura’s locker room to sternly tell her “no interviews.”
SHELTON BENJAMIN vs. RANDY ORTON- 4.5/10
Jeff came out first even though Randy Orton was Shelton’s opponent, in an equally awkward play off of last week’s awkwardness. A masked person clipped Jeff’s knee on the outside. Randy caught him and unmasked him as Sunil Singh, then gave him an RKO. This let Shelton hit Randy with Paydirt and pin him. The thing with Sunil obviously builds to Jeff vs. Jinder but once again I’m certain there will be no consequences for a wrestler showing up on the other guy’s show, which just makes you wonder why they don’t do it every week?
NEW DAY ACT LIKE GOOFS BACKSTAGE- cringe-worthy and horrid
Sheamus & Cesaro show up to announce that after they win the Raw Tag Team Titles at the Greatest Royal Rumble they will go back to Raw. So… if a champion switches brands he/she/they brings the championship with him/her/them, but if somebody(ies) from the other brand wins a title, the title drags him/her/them to the show it is currently attached to? I think that does actually match up with everything we’ve seen and been told, although it would be really nice if they would just come out and tell us how this all works.
The reason they don’t, of course, is that they like to have their “flexibility” if they want to tell a story that requires things to work differently in the future, but the problem with that is that the parameters of the setting don’t allow for you to do that. As I ranted on last night on Raw, it makes zero sense for a professional sporting league (which is what a wrestling promotion is in kayfabe) to not have these rules officially codified and announced. And if you want to change the rules because of a story you want to do, all you have to do is announce a change in the rules- just like MLB did before this season- and people will accept it (although you shouldn’t do it too often and should do it in a way where it doesn’t feel like you’re changing it just to do this one storyline you want to do).
Stupid sh*t from all five men ensued.
AJ’S PARTNERS WILL BE GALLOWS & ANDERSON- cool.
SAnitY VIDEO PACKAGE- I choose to purposely misinterpret the part of this video that said “CHAOS ARRIVES” as meaning that the entire CHAOS faction in New Japan is jumping to Smackdown (presumably to back up their old leader in his war with
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS DANIEL BRYAN- AWESOME promo
Bryan is coming out of the trainer’s room. He is heavily taped up and has ice on his shoulder. He assures us that he’ll be ready to go at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Renee asks him what happened, and Bryan proceeded to cut an awesome promo on Cass, who he now has a match at Backlash against.
They said that Paige signed this match. While we’re on this subject, it seems pretty clear that neither Shane nor Paige are at the building tonight, but the way they have shot these segments (especially the earlier one where Renee interviewed AJ but was camped outside of what a sign told us was Shane’s office) did a great job of at least making it feel like they were here in kayfabe (though Renee officiating the contract signing kind of hurt that).
SAMOA JOE PROMO- fine.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA, AIDEN ENGLISH, & RUSEV vs. THE CLUB (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson)- 6.25/10
Does it anyone else find it a little weird that they haven’t let Rusev cut a single promo to hype up his CASKET MATCH WITH THE UNDERTAKER?
Nakamura’s entrance music has been remixed and has picked up some lyrics. Corey Graves said that Nakamura requested this change because he was tired of the fans singing along.
The match was a little disappointing but Nakamura pinning Gallows was the right finish, and the post-match segment was excellent build to AJ vs. Nakamura, and also gives Gallows a character moment than can be built off of later by having him sacrifice himself for AJ.
Another good episode of Smackdown despite yet again being sub-part in the ring. In hindsight, it’s really the AJ/Nakamura stuff, the Bryan/Miz/Cass stuff, and the women’s title stuff that is carrying the show, with everything else being either meh or bad, but that’s all of the major stuff that is going on so the show feels like it is building to the important things very well.
I can’t wait for the Greatest Royal Rumble to be over, simply so I don’t have to hear the phrase “in the beautiful city of Jeddah” every four minutes.