Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Reverse Hipster What Mattered
5. Toni Storm
Toni's debut didn't come with a lot of fanfare. However, she was able to win her match against Zelina Vega, so she is off to a better start than the NXT champion on Raw. Toni will be a slow build, but that's ok because she has top star potential. The main roster needs to get to know her better.
4. The Intercontinental Title Picture
The Ic picture looks to be revitalized. The former number one contender Cesaro and King Nakamura and The former Tag team champions the Dirty Dawgs and the MITB winner Big E; All seem to be gunning for Apollo. I like this list of guys because, as I demonstrated, they all have significant acclaim; They just aren't champions. Also, they are all excellent wrestlers. I think this would make an incredible six-pack challenge for Summerslam.
3. Baron Corbin
Corbin is having himself a comically lousy day. He lost his car had to take the bus. Corbin came to work looking a mess. Kevin Owen's felt so bad for him he gave him twenty bucks. And then and then Shotzi hit him in the balls with her cannon, and Dolph stole his twenty dollars. I couldn't help it I laughed out loud. I'm enjoying Corbin's character progression.
2. Roman vs. Finn Balor
Finn Balor defeated Sami Zayn. The match was decent, and fans loved it. They could have done more, but it's okay because Finn had bigger fish to fry, and he gained momentum. Earlier in the night, John Cena cut a fun promo on Roman and seemed to have the fans on his side. However, Roman cut one of his best promos thus far, comparing Cena's static gimmick to missionary every night.
Then he pulled a huge swerve and curbed Cena and instead accepted Finn Balor's challenge. This change is fantastic to me. It prioritizes the talent of today. It means Cena will get another challenger, or we get a longer build to Cena Reigns or maybe a triple threat. Either way, I'm excited about Roman vs. Balor, and I love this program so far.
1.Edge vs. Seth
Right now, Edge vs. Seth is the best thing on Smackdown. It is a dream match we have wanted for seven years. Not only that, but both guys are at the top of their game right now. Seth is a world title contender and the perfect cocky heel. I want to see him try to end Edge forever. Edge is finally clicking, and he is at his most dangerous since returning. I think their promo segment demonstrated this perfectly. Seth cut an excellent promo about how he would not hesitate to break Edges neck this time. Edge did a great job luring in Seth and then beating him up. This match has the potential to steal Summerslam. Despite Summerslam being stacked.
Rob's What Mattered
6. Toni Storm Debuts
Toni Storm’s debut almost felt like an afterthought in a jam-packed Raw on the road to Summerslam, but she delivered in her match with the underrated Zelina Vega. Storm’s new finisher looks unique and devastating. Word in the dirt sheets is that Vince McMahon is high on Storm, and this should be good news for everyone. The division needs new singles stars, and Storm is the total package for any type of fan. She has looks, in-ring skills, and respect for the wrestling business.
5. The Rolling Loud Venue
The venue for this Miami-based hip-hop festival was awesome, different, and hip. The crowd was huge with a sea of people, and the set-up allowed for unique entrances. The whole thing was reminiscent of some of WCW’s experiments with different venues, and I think WWE should do it more often.
4. Finn Balor vs. Sami Zayn
This wasn’t the best match these two could have, but it wasn’t supposed to be. It was awesome to see Finn Balor in the main roster ring again, and Sami Zayn sold his ass off to get Balor over again, leading to the challenge later in the night.
3. Edge and Seth Rollins
This feud is white-hot and ready to go for Summerslam. Edge has been consistently excellent in his return, particularly in his character, how he carries himself, and delivering promos. I think Seth Rollins had to rise to Edge’s level in this segment, and he succeeded in playing the over-the-top cackling heel while being believable. This is why veteran talents like Edge are so valuable to the WWE when used to build credibility in current stars. The only question now is how they can keep this feud hot until Summerslam.
2. Baron Corbin, Down On His Luck
The backstage segments from Baron Corbin have been some of the most entertaining parts of SmackDown the last few weeks. This week, I laughed out loud as they set up a hilarious backstage scene where Corbin was gifted money from Kevin Owens, hit by a projectile from Shotzi and Nox’s tank, and had his money stolen by Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. The part with Owens is interesting, implying that he might work to help Corbin despite their past difference. It could be an awesome clash of characters to see the good-natured Owens try to help the down on his luck but still heelish Corbin.
1. Roman Reigns/John Cena; Roman Reigns/Finn Balor
These segments proved that SmackDown is the A Show now. John Cena opened the night and doubled down on challenging Roman Reigns, including a funny interaction with Paul Heyman. Reigns closed the show, made digs at Cena as a nostalgia act, and rejected the challenge. I love that SmackDown makes us wait for these matches to come together. Of course, in kayfabe, Reigns shouldn’t accept Cena’s challenge blindly, either because he thinks Cena shouldn’t jump the line or he doesn’t think he can beat Cena. After that, Finn Balor entered and challenged Reigns, who accepted, and I loved the whole segment. SmackDown is the king of creative swerves and nuances in storylines (see: Reigns, Daniel Bryan, and Edge). This could be a chance to do something like that, or Balor could just be a stop on the road to an inevitable Reigns/Cena main event at Summerslam. Either way, I’m into it, and I’m along for the ride SmackDown creative will give me if I buy fully into their main event feuds.
Rob's What Didn't Matter
2. The Rolling Loud Crowd
The matches were great work from Angelo Dawkins, Chad Gable, Bianca Belair, and Carmella, but I can’t help but cringe whenever WWE goes to a non-wrestling audience. The venue was awesome, and the reception the stars got just didn’t match. I don’t think these are the types of matches I would have done if I were WWE to cater to a crowd that probably doesn’t care about their storylines or champions.
1. The Cluster That Ensued
Big E’s promo should have been the most emotional moment of the night, celebrating the triumph of his career with you deserve it chants. Instead, it was interrupted by a quarter of the roster, some who haven’t been booked in months and some who have unclear directions at the moment. The result was something that didn’t really help any of the superstars. I’m not sure if this was supposed to start a relevant feud for Big E or get a new opponent for Apollo Crews, but I don’t think it accomplished either.
Reverse Hipster What Didn't Matter
3. Dominik vs. Jimmy
I'm aware this could be a hot take, and other people may have liked this match more than I did. However, it just didn't need to happen, and it didn't change anything. On top of that, they did the same finish from their excellent Summerslam match. The match was decent, but it didn't add much to Smackdown.
2. Rolling Loud
Rolling Loud was a great opportunity, but WWE wasn't ready. They don't dedicate much marketing to this demographic and haven't gained much equity in that community. In addition to that, WWE gave them mediocre matches. Dawkins vs. Otis isn't terrible, but it's not a super exciting match for wrestling fans and especially non-wrestling fans. Bianca vs. Carmella is a straight-up rematch from last week. Why would anyone care about this match wrestling fan or not?
Both matches at Rolling Loud delivered in the ring, but the crowd could not have cared less. However, this isn't surprising because they aren't wrestling fans, and they weren't given any reason to care.WWE should have prioritized highflyers. You don't need to know anything about wrestling to appreciate high spots. They should have done the Mysterio's rematch against the Usos for the Tag Team Championship in a tables match. For the woman, a six-woman tag match with some high-impact spots would have done better. Hopefully, WWE does better with their next big opportunity.
Lack of Depth on the Smackdown Women's Roster
The Smackdown women's roster has talent, but it just needs more women. Bianca has now faced Carmella twice for her title two weeks in a row because what else is she going to do? The women's tag team champions are Barely ever on the show because the Smackdown tag division is almost nonexistent. Honestly, Shotzi and Teagan could lose every week and still be the number one contenders cause they are the only tag team on Smackdown. Zelina just came back two weeks ago, and she is already being used to put over newer stars and has yet to win a single match. The women need more tag teams. They need more women who can challenge for the title, but first, they need enough women to build contenders.