OPENING SEGMENT- passable
Carmella came out and cut a promo on Asuka. She showed video packages, then claimed that Asuka’s WrestleMania loss shattered her psyche. Once they got done with the video package part she started cut a promo that felt MUCH more natural to her character, and it was MUCH better.
Then Asuka came out, and Carmella shockingly managed to show no fear. Then Mandy and Sonya came out. Sonya was wearing a gi with rainbow trim, which looked ridiculous. Mandy then cut a promo claiming she was certain she could beat Asuka tonight. Sonya then took the mic and said that she should be the one to face Asuka instead. Carmella then asked Asuka which one of them she wanted to wrestle, but then said that if Asuka was smart, she would just leave.
Then Paige came out and saved me from having a conniption by telling them all that SHE is the one who makes the matches, not them. Paige then gave Asuka the same choice, but Asuka (possibly giving in to Carmella’s earlier goading) said that she’ll take ‘em both because she’s hardcore, so Paige officially sanctioned a…
HANDICAP MATCH: Asuka vs. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville- 4.5/10
Carmella was on commentary for this match. The heels beat Asuka up for a long time but she made comeback and won. After the match, Carmella had a stare-down with Asuka. Mandy tried to attack Asuka from behind but Asuka foiled it, only for Carmella to lay her out with the title.
MIZ & NEW DAY BACKSTAGE- New Day are here to apologize to Miz for being jerks. Wow. I was not expecting that. To make things up to him for their behavior on MizTV last week, they want him to help them choose which of them will compete in the MITB match (or, as Big E. had originally put it, “help us reveal our member to the entire WWE Universe). They wanted him to pick the name out of a hat, but they tricked him and made him stick his hand in pancake batter. What a bunch of jackasses! Miz vowed revenge on them, and I really hope I get to see him get it in tonight’s big six-man tag when he teams with Samoa Joe and Rusev against New Day.
LUKE HARPER (w/Erick Rowan) vs. KARL ANDERSON (w/Luke Gallows)- 1.5/10
Harper destroyed Anderson but then Anderson got a roll-up and won. This was the first loss a Bludgeon Brother has lost since the gimmick debuted, and I actually thought the way the announcers framed it did a good job of building up to the PPV. The announcers kept calling Anderson’s win a “miracle” and wondered if “another miracle could happen” at the PPV. I know this all sounds terrible, but it somehow managed to work for me.
JIMMY USO & NAOMI PROMO- very good. And it wasn’t shot on a phone, either!
MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH: Jimmy Uso & Naomi vs. Aiden English & Lana- 5/10
Holy crap they actually explained why Rusev wasn’t at ringside (he was preparing for his match later)! Okay… now explain to me why Jey Uso wasn’t at ringside for his brother’s match like he usually is. The match was better than I expected it to me, mostly because Lana didn’t botch anything and Aiden English wasn’t completely boring.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE CONTRACT SIGNING- bad
They did this backstage in some sort of conference room instead of in the ring like usual. AJ cut a promo on Nakamura that probably wouldn’t have sounded painfully overdramatic if they did it in the ring, but the way they shot this with the big close-up of AJ made it feel way too over the top. Nakamura responded by being childish rather than the usual more effective forms of being a jerk. AJ got upset and slapped him, and was escorted out. Nakamura then signed the contract. This was bad, but at least it was short.
BECKY LYNCH vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR- 6/10
They had a good, solid wrestling match that Becky won. Corey Graves is claiming that this is the latest in a series of losses that could have “mentally broken” Charlotte… which is basically the same thing they’re doing with Asuka. They hug after the match.
DASHA FUENTES INTERVIEWS SAMOA JOE- awesome
How proud do think Creative is of that awful clichéd bullsh*t they had Dasha say to build up the MITB matches as “friend vs. friend, foe vs. foe, and every Superstar for themselves?” Joe then came in and saved this with an awesome promo.
Next week Paige will host a “Women’s Money in the Bank Summit.” Yes, a “summit.” Like these are four people who don’t regularly speak to each other and must be flown in from all over the world. Why can this company not just call things normal names?
RENEE YOUNG INTERVIEWS BIG CASS- I thought Cass was mostly good here. The only times he got into real trouble with his delivery, IMO, was when he tried to say something in a mocking tone, at which point he came across like someone trying too hard. The delivery is a little stiff, but hopefully he’ll overcome that in time.
DASHA, SIN CARA, & ZELINA VEGA SEGMENT- good
Vega interrupted Dasha’s interview and claimed that being friends with Sin Cara had made Almas week. They have a match next week. Almas then jumped Sin Cara from behind.
THE NEW DAY vs. THE MIZ, SAMOA JOE, & RUSEV (w/ Aiden English & Lana)- 5.75/10
They seemed on their way to having a perfectly fine six-man tag until someone decided that Miz should attempt to get revenge on New Day for their earlier bullsh*t not by beating them in a wrestling match like he said, but by having Rusev and Joe hold Big E. while Miz took a plate of pancakes and tried to throw it at him. Big E. avoided it and the pancakes accidentally hit Joe and Rusev, who were, for some reason, so infuriated by this that they beat Miz up and walked out on him, leaving New Day to hit their move and pin him. Yes apparently someone thought that instead of doing a normal finish and having the heels pin a member of New Day who isn’t going to be in MITB so no one gets hurt, it would be better to do a finish where the wrestlers act like idiots and no one gets over… all for the sake of giving the seven year-olds a cheap, one-time laugh because Miz threw pancakes at the wrong guys. The fact that this company is going to be paid so much when they put sh*t like this on the air is appalling.
This was a totally middling episode of Smackdown that was dragged down into the dirt by that main event finish. The show was at the point where it wouldn’t have been good or anything, but with a great main event it would have been mediocre… but instead we got that crap.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Byron Saxton- “Look at the incredible year Naomi has had; winning the WrestleMania Women’s Battle Royale.”
One thing in five months constitutes an “incredible year,” apparently. And that’s without even getting into how completely meaningless said accolade is.
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