Rob’s What mattered
1. Give it away
The main event between Roman Reigns and Rey Mysterio was great. The developments throughout the night were just what this feud needed. It appears Jimmy Uso and Reigns are on the same page for now. Mysterio looked great in his challenge and the offense he mounted against Reigns. Reigns is consistently excellent at this point. I like that they gave this away on SmackDown. It works for me to occasionally have these big matches on weekly and save room for longer matches on the PPV. Especially, in this case, it worked to space out the Hell in a Cell matches with at least two more coming this weekend.
2. Big E and Big O
The match this week was nothing special, but I love that the backstage segment continued the old feud between Big E and Kevin Owens. On the New Day Podcast, Big E admitted it pained him to see Owens stand in for him in the New Day when Big E was injured, even as part of a short bit. Big E and Owens have such different styles that the conflict makes sense. This attention to detail, character, and history is exactly what makes SmackDown the superior WWE product.
3. It’s over, isn’t it?
In the battle for the crown, Shinsuke Nakamura beat King (Baron?) Corbin. It was a good match but hard to distinguish from their last four matches. I like that Nakamura beat Corbin. Even though the reasoning doesn’t make sense, Corbin’s King gimmick has run its course and Nakamura clearly needs something new to capitalize on his great in-ring work lately.
Reverse Hipster What mattered
Trapping and beating down an injured Dawkins was a great way to further Goatis as Heels. One week after taking out Ford, they have probably taken out Dawkins. They look like dastardly heels and have an edge they have been missing. Also, now the match between Alpha Academy and the Street Profits will mean that much more.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
People don't usually think of Corbin when they think of nxt guys WWE messed up but he belongs in the conversation. He was wrecking people down in NXT but has been torn apart by stop-start booking in WWE. He wins The Andre The Giant Battle Royal but it leads him nowhere. He wins MITB but he fails to cash in on Jinder. Gets a match with Cena but gets destroyed. Wins King of the Ring but loses his crown to a thief. Now he will be ranked among the worse Kings of Ring there ever was.
2.The Ic Title Scene
The soul purpose of this match was really to hype Commander Aziz. However, he looked slow and tired in the ring. It wasn't the most impressive in-ring debut. Also, Sami and Ko fighting in a match program that would be considered stale if you only counted the events of this year is not exciting.
3. Cesaro And Seth Rollins
Cesaro looked like he was about to have an interview but Seth Rollins crashed it. This was bad for two reasons. One we need to hear Cesaro talk he has been out for weeks and I wanted to hear his side of this feud. Two After the brutal beatdowns Seth laid on Cesaro they shouldn't be able to sit together. Cessaro should be whooping Seth's ass on site.
4. Bianca vs Bayley
Once again WWE gives the woman barely any story and all of the pressure is on them to make this match memorable. They just beat each other up and laugh at each other and I just want better for the top of the woman's division especially.
5. Hell in the Cell
Roman and Rey had their match moved for no reason at all. I thought we were going to get a crazy development or PPV quality match on free tv. Because we all knew Roman was going to win but we thought the match would be great. It wasn't. The match wasn't bad but it was bland. Rey gets in a lot of damage but Roman mostly no-sells the weapons there is no evidence of any long-term effect of the weapons. Also as soon as Roman takes control and throws Rey into the cell and it seems like things are heating up the match just ends with a poor man's version of his submission finisher. The finish is honestly the most unforgivable part. Rey is fighting for his son and he taps out he gives up on his son? Why couldn't he be choked out or knocked out? This is not the time for Rey to give up this is the time for Rey's body to give out on him.
It feels strange to say that the tribal chief story isn't good. But it hasn't been these last two weeks. Jey had an I quit match where he was beaten into submission. Jimmy said I wouldn't quit if it was me. Yet he has given in to Roman way easier all his defiance wiped out just cause his brother is upset and it doesn't make sense and it's hurting the storyline.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. No women
Besides the promo segment between Bianca Belair and Bayley, SmackDown did not highlight any of its female talents. They had no matches this week, compared to Raw having three women’s matches. This is the one area SmackDown is consistently hitting a wall. Their female talent performs at the PPVs, but there is not enough depth in the roster to perform weekly without being overexposed.
2. No contest
I didn’t love the segment between Alpha Academy and Angelo Dawkins this week. I think it served its purpose, but there should be consequences for the Alpha Academy considering the singles match didn’t even start before they double-teamed Dawkins. I think WWE could have had a more creative way to continue this feud.
3. Too many replays
SmackDown is only a two-hour show and typically better than Raw, so it’s particularly upsetting when they spend about a half-hour on story summaries and replays from last week and this week.
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