Smackdown Rundown: The Return of Fans
1.Bianca Belair vs Carmella
Fans are finally back, so it was interesting to see what fans loved and what they didn't. This match was one of the fan favorites based on crowd reaction. This match honestly should have main evented. Bianca and Carmella had a well-received well-paced compelling match where both competitors shined. Bianca(Espy Winner) added another notch to her belt and reinforced the idea that she is the women's champion to beat in all of WWE. Carmella showed off that she is still a great competitor who can take anyone to her limit at any time. Her biggest obstacle is probably WWE's lack of depth because it forces her in this position. She is the most capable challenger, but it's not her time, so until she gets a real program, she will be on the losing side of these kinds of feuds because she is the best suited to push the stars.
2. MITB Fatal Fourway
This match didn't have any stakes and shouldn't have been the main event. However, it was awesome nonstop, high spots to get us hyped up about MITB. Kevin Owens jumped off a ladder and put his elbow through Nakamura's soul and him through a table. Seth Rollins curb stomped Big E on a ladder and won the match. I agree with Rob this MITB has the potential to be the best one ever, do you agree?
Edge was another act that fans seem to absolutely love, and he was on fire. First, he teamed with Rey and Dominik against the Usos, which coincidently also happens in the storyline I booked a few weeks ago, Jey Uso Singles Title Storyline (Read it here ). The match was a great start to the show, and even though Roman's tribe won, Edge got the last laugh, beat up everyone, and even made Roman tap after the match. Then Seth Rollins and Edge had an excellent backstage encounter where Seth threatened to finish what he started in 2014 when he made Cena bring back the authority. I personally cannot wait for Edge vs. Rollins. Who do you think will come out on Top?
Personally, I'm a little worried about Balor. The last time he was on the main roster, he was very suppressed. While on Nxt, he was revived as a world champion and a big deal. I'm gonna choose to be optimistic he returned against Sami. He looked great, and Sami and Balor could have a great feud. Do you think Balor's return is a good thing, or should he have stayed in NXT?
Only in Vince's company would a desperate man who is down on his luck literally begging for money to feed his daughter and keep his house be a villain. That being said, I don't hate it. I'm still enjoying Corbin's spiral, and I'm interested to see what his character grows into. How do you guys feel about the Corbin Storyline?
Liv Morgan is on Fire right now. She is rising in WWE, finally living up to her potential, and is probably the favorite to win MITB. I loved her commentary. It reminded me of Liv during the UP UP DOWN DOWN Pokemon Tournament. Liv has a very entertaining personality, and she is getting to show that off, and she is looking dominant. Liv took out Tamina Natalya and Zelina and stood tall. Are you guys living for Liv right now?
Rob’s What mattered
1. Where the hell have you been?
Nothing can matter more to me than the return of live crowds on WWE shows. In six simple words, Vince McMahon opened the show and summed it up in a way that only he can. I laughed out loud when he walked back, realizing that was all he had to say. I got emotional when I saw the live crowd react to Roman Reigns and give an ovation to Edge, who has only competed once with a live crowd since returning from a decade absence. Hopefully, if we got anything positive from the past year, it’s perspective to not take for granted what every live wrestling show is. Even if we get three shows per week, a live wrestling performance is special, and the ability for a crowd to be there is every bit a part of it as anything else.
2. Finn Balor returns
Finn Balor got the elusive Bobby Lashley pop, a sort of shocked silence, and delayed cheer when the crowd can’t really believe the wrestler is returning. I thought Balor’s run in NXT was excellent and would lead to a longer stay there, but the blue brand is so good at booking, I trust Balor in their hands. He returned to target Sami Zayn, which could be an amazing feud for two guys who have the potential to main event even when they are stuck in the mid-card shuffle.
3. Roman Reigns and The Usos vs. Edge and the Mysterios
This was the perfect first match back for a live crowd, giving credit to six guys who have had significant periods of carrying SmackDown during the COVID era. You could tell the performers were almost nervous to be back in front of a crowd, but that definitely added to the energy of the match. With Roman Reigns and the Usos winning, it made you wonder if they will copy results on Sunday. Reigns retaining and the Usos winning the tag titles would make a lot of sense if you ask me.
4. Bianca Belair vs. Carmella
This was another great segment to give recognition to Bianca Belair as champion. Her big moment to win the title was with a crowd, but this was a moment to show her defending as champion, and she brought it in this match, knowing she wasn’t on the card Sunday. Carmella has been a great versatile star for SmackDown. She has the validity to challenge for the title at any minute and can plug into any feud and make it entertaining. Even with multiple wins already, she should be a threat to win Money in the Bank Sunday. My only complaint with this match is I feel it should have been the main event as a major title defense.
5. Baron Corbin
I am loving his character work as a guy down on his luck. Baron Corbin desperately needed a new character after years as King. He was threatening to become a babyface because it was so hard to see him lose in every situation. This week, Corbin perfectly executed being a jerk despite everything, insulting the hometown and starting an over-the-top GoFundMe for 100k. That has to be a Vince McMahon special, as only the boss would think to make charitable crowdfunding a heel gimmick.
6. Men’s Money in the Bank
Kevin Owens knows how to deliver a crazy spot and promote a match. His elbow drop off a ladder through the table set the building on fire. It also set up a Seth Rollins win, which is a good hint that Rollins could be a factor in the match this year. His backstage promo with Edge already set up a good story if it does come true. The only downside is that Big E and King Nakamura feel like non-factors in the Money in the Bank, but this match did get me excited for the match on Sunday.
Rob’s What didn’t matter
1. Women’s Tag Team results
I am glad WWE called up Shotzi and Nox, seeing the need for more tag teams in the Women’s division. I’m happy for both of the performers, who are excellent wrestlers and great personalities for the roster. I hate that WWE continued their trend of knocking NXT stars down to one name. These women were already established for their ring names, and I think the first and last names sound better because it makes the performers actual people and not sound like circus attractions. I like seeing the performers get a push, but I feel like they shouldn’t be pushed directly to the championship scene. Having watched NXT too, most fans know that they are not an established team, so this is actually one of the first times they have tagged. That falls into WWE’s worse booking trope: as soon as a team because champions, they lose to the challengers to build credibility when in fact it builds no one. Could you imagine if Roman Reigns lost all of his non-title matches? He would be a way worse champion. That’s how I feel about Natalya and Tamina’s booking right now. No disrespect to Shotzi and Nox, but they should be dominating them because they are champions and an established team. Then, it would mean way more when someone eventually beats them for the titles.
Reverse Hipster's What Didn't Matter
The Smackdown Tag Divison
I think having a straight-up rematch between the Champs and the NXT call-ups was lazy. The fans didn't seem to care about Blackheart and Knox, and the writers didn't seem to care about Natalya and Tamina. The Champs lost again, and the fact that it was a distraction doesn't matter cause they already lost clean. We could have scrapped this and had Natalya and Tamina actually earn their spots instead of being announced for the match on Twitter like afterthoughts. WWE is devaluing the tag belts, and they need to course-correct quickly.
2. Cessro vs. Otis
This was an intriguing match-up, but it was also inconvenient. Cesaro is still being kept strong, which is good because it means WWE hasn't given up on him. Otis is a monster heel on the rise. So WWE didn't want to have either of them lose, which is understandable. However, because they did an immediate DQ, this just ended up being a waste of time. Who do you all think should win between these two?
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