Reverse Hipsters What mattered
1.You're not better than me
The triple threat title story between Daniel, Edge, and Roman is heating up. Edge started the show, and it seems like he is in Roman's head, and he knows it. However, what is becoming clear is that Daniel Bryan is in Edge's head, and Edge knows it. Edge says he does not like how Daniel has done things. He says he went into business for himself, but as the ultimate opportunist, that seems disingenuous. Edge and Daniel go back and forth, and we can see a slow burn of tension that ends with Edge telling Bryan that he is not better than him.
Later that night, Daniel and Roman have a contract signing, but Roman says he has changed his mind and seems like he will big-league him. However, in a brilliant moment of continuity, Daniel says that Roman is scared because he knows that Bryan is better than him because he was able to make Jey Uso give up something Roman was not able to in there I quit match. Roman and Jey are enraged. Roman signs the contract, and Jey offers to be a special guest enforcer, but then the ultimate opportunist appears and challenges Jey for the position next week. Then they erupt into a braw with Daniel taking out Edge and standing tall.
I can't wait to see the Edge against Jey next week, and this makes the Fastlane match even better. Also, Daniel is in both Roman and Edge's heads, but he is at a considerable disadvantage. No matter who wins the special enforcer job, it is not good for Daniel because both Jey and Edge want Daniel Bryan out of the title picture. Also, who will Edge reveal himself as at Fastlane? He still does not quite fit in his own program. He is middling right now. He is not as inspiring as Daniel Bryan, and his Smackdown opening segment with Bryan proved that. Also, Roman has the monster heel angle covered, so where will Edge fit in?
2.The Street Profits & Dominik and Rey Mysterio vs The Dirty Dawgs & Alpha Academy
Oh my god, this match was crazy, match of the night. These teams were flying around, giving us non-stop action, and I was on the edge of my seat. The faces won spectacularly, but the heels put up a great fight. Also, this was an excellent way to advance the stories of both of these feuds. The Mysterio's got some revenge, and the Street Profits got the win and have yet another claim to the tag team titles. I hope this is symbolic of a shift in the tag team division.
3. Big E's return
Big E was furious like never before. I believed him when he said he was going to rip Apollo apart. However, Apollo did not come out and accept E's Challenge, and I understood why. Instead, Big E issued an open challenge. Corbin almost accepted, but then Sami came out and accepted, and I thought it was hilarious. I give up I cannot fight Corbin and Sami any longer. They are too funny together. They have me cracking up every week. Corbin is the perfect straight man for all of Sami's nonsense. Also, a side note, is anyone else super hyped to see this finished Sami documentary, or is it just me?
Sami got decimated. It was a good match, but Big E was not in the mood for Sami today. After Big E successfully defended his title Apollo attacked from behind, mugging Big E and standing tall he is doing a great job as a heel; I want to see him get beat up.
4.One woman's trash is another woman's treasure
I am loving the Reginald vignettes. I love that he is allowing the woman to further their characters. I do not think we have seen Nia act like this before, and I think the way Shayna hates all of this is hilarious. Also, I think Sasha actually likes Reginald. She seems to be genuinely affected by him dating Nia. Also, it is giving us a fantastic title match next week between Nia and Sasha.
Also, Tamina and Natalya actually defeated Sasha and Bianca, which shows they are being taken seriously, and I love it. I hope they get added to the Fastlane match. Also, I love that they have started matching, and they now look more like a tag team. Also, the Sasha and Bianca feud is off to a strange start. They were fighting like friends when they had not interacted before this feud. I do not know why they are taking this route, but I do not care as long as they get this Sasha feud to where it needs to be.
5. You will never be on my level I won't let you
I wish they had used someone else besides Murphy for this. He did not need to lose twice, but that is a nitpick. Overall I am happy to see that the feud between Seth Rollins and Cesaro is getting more personal. Seth destroyed Cesaro this week with curb stomp after curb stomp. It was brutal. However, it was also the Seth Rollins I missed. I am rooting for Cesaro, but the better Seth looks, the more critical the win is for Cesaro, and Seth looked great this week. Speaking of looking great, I am also glad Seth wore a shirt this week. Anyway, I think this match will be spectacular as long as it's given enough time. I also like that they are involving nakamura but if he has a bone to pick because of Cesaro why not run out and help?
Rob’s What mattered
1. Daniel Bryan and Edge
Maybe I’m biased because we just wrote our Top 10 Acts of the 2010’s, but I can’t help but feel like Daniel Bryan is building up another WrestleMania 30. It feels like the WWE Universe is firmly behind him again, and he’s doing a better job as a babyface than Edge. The opening segment with Edge was excellent, and he did a good job closing the show in an average contract signing to promote next week’s SmackDown and Fastlane. Don’t be surprised if we get another Yes Movement, and Bryan weasels his way into the main event of WrestleMania again.
Edge is great too. Edge consistently adds to segments with his presence on SmackDown. It’s refreshing to have a legend who is still willing to show up on weekly TV, even if it’s not always for a match. Maybe it’s because he is a legend already, but he seems to add legitimacy to all of his segments and elevate the talent he works with. The feud between Edge and Daniel Bryan is as intriguing as Edge and Roman Reigns. I love that Edge is poking Bryan, saying he didn’t get the job done at Royal Rumble and Fastlane. It lines up with Edge’s character as the ultimate opportunist. While Bryan has failed every opportunity this year, Edge has succeeded at every turn. The announced match of Edge and Jey Uso next week is an added bonus. They seemed to have great chemistry in their backstage segment, and Edge will surely win to become the enforcer at the match at Fastlane. His involvement in this main event feud is underrated, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.
2. Building Sasha Banks vs. Bianca Belair
I think this was the perfect booking to start building conflict between the challenger and SmackDown Women’s Champion. After weeks of being partners, Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair went on the KO Show. I absolutely love that WWE talk shows allow the blending of different superstars who wouldn’t otherwise interact and utilize talent to build feuds in other divisions. Kevin Owens did his job perfectly, adding stakes to the tag match at Fastlane by comparing Banks and Belair to John Cena and Shawn Michaels tag team more than a decade ago. Owens said this tag match was for their legacy, but would they be able to get along knowing they would be competitors at WrestleMania?
Banks and Belair shined in their promo work, slowly escalating their conflict from passive remarks to declaring that they were better than the other. It all led to a tag match with Tamina and Natalya with new matching looks that built their reputation as a cohesive team. The match was nothing special in-ring, and I didn’t love Reginald’s involvement, but everything served perfectly as a plot point in the longer-term feuds. It feels like Reginald’s infatuation with Nia isn’t shared by Shayna, and that could be their downfall as a team. The match built Tamina and Natalya as a team, implying they could challenge for the titles down the road. Most importantly for WrestleMania, this match drove a bigger wedge between Banks and Belair. They both made it clear that they care the most about winning, and they weren’t able to work together to make it happen, blaming each other for the loss. What does this mean for Fastlane? If there is similar plot development in the Women’s tag match at Fastlane, I can forgive it being a pointless rematch.
3. Big E returns
Big E came out in bandages and crutches, clearly still feeling the effects of Apollo Crew’s attack two weeks ago, but he shed them quickly to show that it hasn’t affected him too much. He cut maybe the best promo of his career on Crews, and it is an absolute must-watch with a plethora of quotable fire lines. Since Crews didn’t come out to respond, Big E issued an open challenge that was first answered by King Corbin. But since Corbin took too long to get to the point, Sami Zayn rushed out and said he accepts the challenge. I absolutely laughed out loud when Zayn rushed into the ring like a child calling dibs on a seat at the lunch table. Even though this wasn’t his story, Zayn did a great job making it about him, his documentary, and his quest to regain the Intercontinental Championship he was screwed out of. But this segment was about Big E. He outmatched Zayn from the beginning with powerful moves and pure adrenaline from his feud with Crews. After the match, Crews ran in and assaulted Big E again. This feud absolutely needs to end with a featured match at WrestleMania. I’d wager to say that the heat between these two will conclude in a singles match that will be the best of both their single’s careers.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins?
I am all in on the feud between Seth Rollins and Cesaro. There’s a chance that it could lead to the best match at this year’s WrestleMania, and the build to the match is dynamic and personal. Last week, I commented on Rollins ring gear, and I loved his ring gear again this week. It feels like everything is coming together for Rollins’s heel persona. Rollins looked vicious and calculated in his attack on Cesaro. Most intriguing, though, was a staredown between Shinsuke Nakamura and Rollins backstage. I would love to see these two mix it up, maybe at Fastlane or as a long match on SmackDown. This is the exact thing I love to see in WWE booking, a great use of some of their most talented in-ring performers.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't matter
Nothing, I enjoyed Smackdown from start to finish. What a comeback from last week Smackdown blew Raw out of the water.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. SmackDown Tag Team Division
This was a good effort in-ring from all the talent involved, but the tag division was again just thrown a match with no rationale, no character development, and no creative direction. The Street Profits, Mysterios, Alpha Academy, and Dirty Dogs are all talented in-ring performers, but it’s hard to get excited about these matchups when we have seen some combination of them for the past three weeks. I’d really love to see this all lead to an impactful WrestleMania match, but at this point, the feud is overexposed in-ring and under-developed creatively. Right now, I’m pessimistic the match at WrestleMania will be insignificantly thrown together.
2. Cesaro and Murphy don’t get time AGAIN
I already admitted that I liked everything they’ve done in the Seth Rollins/Cesaro feud, but it feels like Murphy has been underutilized in the process. It also hasn’t let Cesaro showcase his best feature, having great matches. The booked rematch against Murphy was uncreative, but it could have been salvaged, a redemption from last week. Maybe the best way to build Cesaro would have been to let him have a 5-star match with Murphy. Give them 20 minutes. Cesaro still looks strong in winning, and Rollins looks like even more of a heel when he attacks Cesaro at the end of a long match.
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