Reverse Hipster What mattered
Jey gets hung out to dry
This match and segment alone blew Raw out of the water. I loved the way they stacked it. It felt like two stories were coming together. Seth's revenge feud and Cesaro new feud meeting together. However, then things got better when Daniel appeared. Daniel started talking real spicy about Roman, and then Roman had to come out. However, the big dog destroyed Daniel and Cesaro, calling them main event losers (ouch).
Then there is a tag match, and it starts hot. Before the bell even rings, there is a brawl and coming out of the break; it just looked great. This match was long, but it did not feel that way. Cesaro got the better of Seth again, and Seth just left the match. I feel like Roman will not take kindly to Seth turning on his cousin just like he turned on Roman. However, after Cesaro and Bryan defeated Seth, the real fun began. Cesaro spun Jey, and Daniel Bryan just lit into Roman. Roman left his cousin in the spin cycle, and I am astonished Jey did not take it personally. Also, I love that Daniel is talking for Cesaro. He is making him look larger than life.
2. Rey and Dominik vs Alpha Academy
This was not a number one contender's match, but it should have been. That being said, this match was excellent. The highlight for me was when Dominik hit the sliding sunset powerbomb. This tag team division keeps going off in their matches, so I hope WWE gives them more meaning.
3. Roman challenges Daniel
Roman bypasses Cesaro and goes to Daniel. Daniel was on Roman's head all night with his promos, and finally, he had enough. Cesaro gave Daniel his blessing, but Roman added the stipulation that Daniel has to leave Smackdown if he loses. I am excited to see this match, but I am pretty sure Bryan will either straight up lose or win by DQ or count out. Still, this was an exciting development that makes me excited for Smackdown next week.
4. So you are saying theres a chance
Ko fought Apollo for the intercontinental championship, and a lot of cool things were set in motion. Firstly Ko is now beefing with Apollo and Big E. So there could be a triple threat or even a fatal fourway with Sami Zayn for the intercontinental championship. Ko and Apollo had a decent match, but in the end, it was Apollo's second in command that distracted Kevin Owens before hitting him with a Nigerian nail.
I am also super excited that Sami talked about the doc and seemed to be back into his conspiracy character. Also, he promised we would get the doc. As you know, if you read the Rundown regularly, I really need to see that doc. I am hyped for it.
However, it was not all positive. The downside of this match is that Apollo was booked like a loser. He won, but it was his help that got him the win, and then he was stunned by Big O and then beat up by Big E.
5. Tamina Train
I actually marked out for Reginald's return; I thought it was awesome. I was also very entertained by the Tamina Nia Jax match. Tamina and Nia were very physical, and I liked the aggression. What I did not like was the finish. They were a little sloppy, and that sucked because overall, I really liked their match, and I am happy Tamina won.
I am happy to see Alister Black back. I like the aesthetic of his promo. I thought the visuals were great, and he delivered them well, and he looked great. However, his promo was lackluster. It seemed like he was missing something, like he needed to say two more sentences on each point. Also, I do not think going to funerals as a kid is as creepy as he meant it. Also, I got Bray vibes. Bray used to call his foes the real monsters, and it seemed like Black was using a bit of Bray's 2013/2014 run. I hope the content of the promos improves next week because I like him, and I am excited about his return.
7. Pat McAfee
I like his presence on the show. I feel like he adds genuine excitement to the commentary table, and I think that has been missing. My constructive criticism for Pat would be to avoid fighting with Cole. Pat seems way more like someone giving the heel perspective than an actual heel on the commentary team. I just do not believe his insults to Cole, and they feel more out of place than anything. Also, I feel like we have enough of that trope already that Pat does not need to do it as well.
Rob’s What mattered
1. Cesaro skyrocketed to main event scene
It seems that last week wasn’t a false alarm, and Cesaro is going to stick around the main event scene to challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship. He had a good showing in a tag match this week that was kind of long and pointless but a good showcase of all the stars. He was on the screen for the majority of this SmackDown. WWE was wise to pair him with Daniel Bryan because Bryan did a good job talking for him and carrying his part of the feud. Importantly, Cesaro doesn’t feel out of place in this feud, and everyone should be excited to finally see him in a world title match.
2. Great matches for next SmackDown
This SmackDown definitely felt like a placeholder for next week. Kevin Owens and Apollo Crews had a great match that ended in a distraction roll-up finish. They announced there would be another title match next week with Crews and Big E, but I feel like we could have got there a different way. Regardless, the SmackDown mid-card scene seems exciting with Crews, Owens, Sami Zayn, and Big E all still involved in the Intercontinental Title picture.
The main event scene announced that Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan would fight next week. They didn’t elaborate what they meant, saying Bryan would be putting his SmackDown career on the line, but it feels like it should be exciting and consequential. The ring work between these two is always good. Assuming Reigns win, Bryan can move on to the next thing and Reigns can move on to his feud with Cesaro.
3. Great in-ring action for tag teams
I’m still not sure where the tag team division is headed, and there haven’t been storyline developments, but I’m going to focus on the positives. The Mysterios and the Alpha Academy are still killing it in ring. They got a longer match at a good spot near the end of the night. They still have great chemistry. I’m not sure if this feud has been a placeholder for them, but WWE would be wise to capitalize on all their talented teams and make a story out of this division.
4. Black is back
Aleister Black had a short but very well-produced vignette on SmackDown. SmackDown is a better show to utilize Black, and his new character seems exciting, creative, and driven. Taking creative risks is what makes wrestling exciting from a story perspective. Black was one of the most talented in-ring workers on NXT, so I’m excited to see what the blue brand does with him.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. The heels in the main event scene make no sense
A good heel is defined by being jaded but justified. A heel’s point of view should be skewed certainly, but they should also have some logic to their reasoning. The heels in the main event scene were frustrating in all the wrong ways. Roman Reigns made no sense by saying that Cesaro wasn’t on his level, so he would never give him a title match. Reigns is a cocky champion, of course he should think no one is on his level. But is his solution then to never challenge anyone? Later in the night, he challenged Daniel Bryan, who he has beaten multiple times. I know this was meant to be a heel move, denying the rising babyface an opportunity, but it came off like Reigns didn’t understand how title defenses work.
Seth Rollins went on to walk away from the tag match, saying he didn’t need any of this. Um, yes you do, Seth. Rollins lost to Cesaro at WrestleMania and is currently kind of directionless. He needed to get a win in the tag match to get back on the right track and show management that he was worthy of a future title opportunity. This is the consequence of a show that clearly doesn’t think wins and losses matter.
Jey Uso tagged on to the theme of not making any sense, insisting he was better than Bryan and Cesaro. Even though Cesaro had Uso’s number last week and Bryan beat Uso multiple times, he insisted he could destroy them. After they won, Uso still held that they weren’t ready for the head of the table Reigns. What was the point of the match then? This segment throughout the night felt like maybe it was rushed creatively so none of the heels knew what their character motivations were.
2. Nia Jax vs. Tamina
Another week for this feud in the what didn’t matter section. The in-ring work was sloppy, and the segment lacked time again. They didn’t make any major developments in the feud. There is still tension between Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, and Reginald with no development. Tamina won with an ugly looking rollup, and WWE still hasn’t announced that there will be a rematch between these two teams, meaning we are destined to see pointless too-short segments between these women for the foreseeable future.
Reverse Hipster What didn't matter
1.The woman's championship
Why are we announcing Bayley as the challenger on a PPV for a major title in a backstage segment? Already it feels like not a big deal, and that is not good. Also, why did Bayley get this opportunity? What has she done to earn it? I am not saying I do not want to see this match, but can we build it up with a story and present it as a big deal?
Do you think Smackdown was good why or why not?
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