Reverse Hipster's What Mattered
Gasoline on the Fire
I was already excited for Roman versus Daniel Bryan at Fastlane. They have so much history. Daniel is the reason Roman got booed in the first place. Roman is the one who was chosen as the golden boy and put in some key spots when fans felt like it was Bryan's time. Now they meet again, Bryan as the face as hot as he ever was. Roman as the heel champion, hotter than he ever was. They add in the special enforcer, and I get even more excited because now the match has the excellent in-ring capability and potential impact but more significant storyline implications. However, they were not done.
Roman and Daniel then cut their promo's this week, throwing gasoline on the fire that is this Fastlane main event. Daniel promised to break Roman to make him tap out. It is a significant promise and a smart one because there is nothing the special enforcer can do if Roman taps. Also, could you imagine Daniel tapping out Roman? Roman fires back that he would rather die than tap out, and he reveals that he never has before. So the potential of Roman tapping or not on top of everything else just makes this match even more, cannot miss.
2. Edge the enforcer
I like what they are doing with Edge showing his replays from ten years ago made his return to the ring feel more important, and it reminded us that Edge is a sympathetic babyface. I am still feeling Daniel more, but if they continue down this path, maybe they can get Edge to Daniel Bryan's level of babyface at least. Although I have the sneaking suspicion, they will turn Edge heel at Fastlane.
The match Edge had with Jey Uso was not his best match ever, but it was solid. Also, side note, I loved his blue trunks straight fire. I also appreciate that Jey and Edge told a story Jey worked on Edge's ribs, and Edge worked on Jey's Arm. Honestly, I feel we do not see enough wrestlers working a body part that will play into the finish. I think Jey and Edge showed you could do that and be creative with your moves. I like the choice of Edge as the enforcer; it is predictable because it is the correct choice Edge offers the most storyline potential.
3. Breaking through the Cracks
Wwe must have heard the Iwc's complaints because Reginald is nowhere to be seen, sadly. His surga mama Nia Jax took on Sasha for the title, and I was excited for this champion versus champion clash, but it did not deliver in the ring. It is not the wrestler's fault. It is just the nature of the match; it was more about the storyline than showing the two off inside the ring. I thought Sasha could have won without help, but this match did serve to further the story interestingly. Shayna kicked Nia and cost her the match, so now we see cracks forming between the two of them. Nia is really upset with Shayna.
I will say I am not sure why Shayna cares. They are not exactly friends, or at least they are not supposed to be. However, I like them as a team, and I am willing to accept the premise that they have become friends even if that has not been shown well. Shayna gets a match with Bianca, who helped cost Nia the match earlier. Shayna promises to deal with Bianca. However, there is a problem Bianca cannot lose ahead of her Wrestlemania main event, and Shayna cannot lose as she is feuding with the Raw champion going into mania. However, the creative team found the perfect solution. After Shayna was distracted by Nia leaving during her match cause she was mad. Tamina and Natalya came and laid the smackdown on both Bianca and Shayna.
Interestingly Sasha did not run out to help, and neither did Nia. Both teams are fractured going into Fastlane, and Tamina and Natalya look stronger than ever. They need to either be in line for a mania match or be added to the Fastlane match. They are done being overlooked.
4.Tag Team division Bubbles
This week we saw the tag division push it to the next level again when the Mysterio's beat the Street Profits in a surprising upset and the Alpha Academy defeated them. The number one contender is unclear, but a few clear things are that the smackdown tag division is entertaining, talented, and competitive. I think they are building towards a four-way at mania, and if they do that, it would be awesome.
I am excited to see this documentary. If the hype package was any indication, it should be hilarious. However, it could be a dramatic detail of Sami unraveling. This week he lost to Corbin, and I think they are trying to show that even his best friend Kevin Owen's does not understand what is happening. He is losing it.: Sidenote the hype package for the match that nobody asked for was hilarious.
Sami Zayn is operating at such a high level that he is annoying and funny and dramatically unraveling all at the same time. I love Kevin and Zayn, but if they do end up fighting this year, they are going to need one hell of a twist because we have seen them fight 1,000 times. Overall, though, so far, so good.
6. Big REvenge
Big E and Apollo had to be separated, and Big E cut another great promo on Apollo. Then he finally got his hands on Apollo and beat his ass. Apollo escaped, but I am excited to see Big E get his hands on Apollo at Fastlane. I think it is too early for E to lose the title, but I have no idea where this program is going. I am just enjoying the ride.
7. Seth Vs Nakamara
I do not know why Nakamura is fighting Seth. They could have done a better job explaining his motivation. Also, I really hope Cesaro's one on one at mania does not become a triple threat. Nevertheless, I am hyped for Nakamura vs. Rollins at Fastlane. They are both excellent in-ring competitors, and they could have a classic!
Rob’s What mattered
1. Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, and Edge
They didn’t have to do much on this SmackDown to continue convincing us this feud is worth watching. Everyone is overdelivering every week. Roman Reigns is a great heel champion. His promo this week reminded everyone that he should be the focal point of this story. He is the guy to beat. Edge is the returning veteran. Is he still as good as he once was? So far, he has delivered. He wants to be the one that takes down Reigns, which makes an interesting dynamic between him and Daniel Bryan. Bryan is the ultimate underdog. Can he weasel his way back into the main event of WrestleMania again. The match between Reigns and Bryan on Sunday should be excellent. I don’t even know what I want more: Bryan vs. Edge, Reigns vs. Edge, or a triple threat at WrestleMania. At this point, I trust SmackDown creative’s vision.
The SmackDown main event between Edge and Jey Uso delivered. Jey Uso has been a consistently great part of Reigns’s character, and this development has given him the chance to showcase that he can be a great singles star. Edge didn’t hold back despite this being his first match on SmackDown in a decade. Bryan delivered the line of the night. When asked by Corey Graves if he would rather have Edge win to become the enforcer instead of the clearly biased Uso, Bryan said, “I’d rather this not be a thing.” I laughed out loud and what a perfect answer. Graves and Bryan continued to drive up intrigue for the enforcer angle, saying that Uso was the devil Bryan knew but Edge was the devil you don’t know. Bryan speculated that Edge doesn’t think he can beat him, as there seems to be some reason Edge wants to keep Bryan out of WrestleMania. Maybe Edge just wants to beat Reigns at WrestleMania. Either way, this angle is a homerun. I can’t wait to see what happens at Fastlane.
2. Big E vs. Apollo Crews
The satellite interview was the perfect way to progress this feud. These two continue to nail their promo work for this feud. I’m torn on what I want to happen. On one side, I wanted them to save this passionate feud for WrestleMania, but on the other side, I respect that they are striking while the iron is hot. I didn’t know how bad I wanted to see them fight until Big E chased down Apollo Crews backstage in a golf cart. It was the perfect amount of physicality. It was brutal but brief, just a taste of what we will get on Sunday. Kudos to these two for elevating a midcard feud to one of the most intense feuds in WWE today. I’m looking forward to Fastlane.
3. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn vs. King Corbin was a short-lived but fun side path on the greater road to WrestleMania. They had entertaining segments leading to this short match, but the obvious highlight is Kevin Owens on commentary and the kick from Zayn. They are destined to do this forever. While some feel like Owens vs. Zayn is overdone, I can’t get enough of it. In my opinion, it is an all-time great pro wrestling feud, and it deserves a slot at WrestleMania. It’s also the perfect reward for both guys. Owens feud with Roman Reigns elevated the Universal Champion and captivated the SmackDown main event scene for months. Likewise, Zayn has been one of the most consistently entertaining acts with his conspiracy theory character. This time is different from the last few times we’ve seen Owens and Zayn. This time, Owens will be the babyface to Zayn’s heel. This time, it will be on the biggest stage of them all with a looming promise from Owens to do something off the pirate ship at Raymond James Stadium. I can’t think of a better metaphor for the way these guys have slowly built up a reputation in wrestling over time.
4. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
This was a good, fun match that progressed the story nicely. Even though I’m not sold on the Women’s Tag Team match for Sunday, this match made it more intriguing. It looks like Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair get along better than we thought; and now, there is tension between Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, who never got along that well in the first place.
The worst part of this was that both teams competing for the Women’s Tag Team Championship aren’t really teams at all, but rather individuals progressing their own storylines. I also didn’t like that this match was for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. In kayfabe, why would you threaten the championship match between Banks and Belair at WrestleMania? The best part of this was Michael Cole repeatedly pronouncing it as Shayna Bazz-ler, even though we’ve been led to believe it’s pronounced Baze-ler for the better part of a year.
5. Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for Fastlane
The segment was nothing special, but I’m excited we’ll be getting this match at Fastlane. It’s the perfect progression of the Seth Rollins and Cesaro feud. In storyline, it makes sense that Shinsuke Nakamura would defend his partner for a large part of last year. In wrestling, it’s a great match that everyone should be looking forward to, and it makes sure that Rollins and Cesaro aren’t overexposed before their WrestleMania match. Here’s hoping they get time on Sunday! Also, another obligatory shoutout to Seth “Drippin’” Rollins, who is now getting more wide attention for his ring gear over the last few weeks. That’s a great addition to his heel gimmick.
6. SmackDown Tag Team Division
I know I ripped on this division last week, but it’s only because they are so damn talented. This week, they had two matches that showcased just how good everyone involved is in ring. I love the tag team of the Mysterios. Rey still has it; in fact, I’m not convinced he ever lost it. Dominik consistently impresses me in the ring. They looked great over the Street Profits, who in my opinion are the best overall team SmackDown has. Chad Gable and Otis took advantage of the Mysterios being worn down in the second match. The Dirty Dogs are weak champions, but they served their function. They clearly don’t want to defend the titles unless they absolutely had to, and they added with contributions on commentary. I’m still not sure where this is headed, but if they can deliver even better in-ring work at WrestleMania with a developed feud and more time, the SmackDown Tag Team division is in great shape.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Bianca Bel Air and Shayna Baszler no contest
I liked the idea for this segment, following up on the Sasha Banks and Nia Jax segment earlier, but I think it detracted from the first segment. Banks didn’t come out to ringside for Bianca Belair, undoing the idea from earlier in the night that they were more unified. Jax left Shayna Baszler at ring side, and I would have preferred they leave the murky kick from earlier in the night a cliffhanger for Sunday’s match. Natalya and Tamina interrupted the match, and they absolutely should have. They should be mad. They are one of the only teams in the division. They beat the challengers last week, and they weren’t rewarded for it. But in the scheme of selling us on Sunday’s match, it did absolutely nothing to make me want to watch the match at Fastlane. In fact, it mostly undid the good from the first segment.
2. Be careful, Edge
I love that Edge is willing to have matches on weekly TV. It helps him greatly to be willing to contribute to feuds every week, and it shows how much he loves the business. Still, I can’t help but cringing watching some of the high-risk spots he had in his match with Jey Uso. We’ve seen people come back from injuries too soon, going straight back to high-risk spots and hurting themselves again. Edge’s return last year was even one of those short-lived injuries, even though I wouldn’t describe his work with Randy Orton as full of high spots. I know Edge spent the better part of the last two years getting ready, but WWE doesn’t have the best reputation for safety. I hope Edge and friends backstage are working extra hard to keep him safe, especially going into intriguing WrestleMania feuds. I’d love to see Edge available year round for the next few years so he can get the retirement run he deserves and stay healthy enough to enjoy life with his family post-wrestling.
Reverse Hipster what didn't matter
Why isn't Billie Kay on Tv!!!! Everything Smackdown did was good, but we have gone too many weeks without our Billie Kay fix. WWE network exclusive, are you joking me? Bring Billie back to primetime!
Points of contention
DId the woman segment make you more excited for fastlane or less?
Is Sami zayn vs Ko overdone of are you just excited for it?