After starting the year in a middling fashion, putting on a very average show which is not what needed, Smackdown had the chance to rebound with a solid effort. Royal Rumble being in two weeks time means that the blue brand should start moving its wheel of storylines forward. Will WWE do that or will my curse continues??
Let’s get to business…
After (practically) turning heel last week, it was interesting to see how Miz will react to his actions seven days ago. The commentary, indeed, put over his change of attitude and doubled down on Bray Wyatt’s effect on him. His guest on the night was John Morrison, which would have been awesome if he didn’t appear last week. John Morrison came out happy and smiling, being all buddy buddy with his former tag team partner. After a bit of banter with Miz (including a great jibe at Roman Reigns), he turned his attention to the fans accusing them of turning their backs on his friend and partner.
New Day interrupted the scene and came out to cut a promo on the two guys in the ring, with Kofi stating that Miz has changed and they are rightful to think that “he sucks”. That’s it: we have Kofi vs Miz II set up through a labouring segment, where the performers could have done a lot better to sell both the importance of John Morrison’s return and the change in Miz’s attitude.
Kofi Kingston vs The Miz
This match was far better than last week’s effort, with both Morrison and BIG E flanking Cole and Graves on the commentary table (Big E mimicking Michael Cole was amazing!). Following the commercial break, both seconds went ringside. The action was better, with Miz’s mental state not allowing him to fully control the match.
Kofi Kingston dominated the match for its majority, with Miz getting some offence in between. The king on soft style tried to work Kofi’s knee, in order to set up the figure four. However, Kofi’s resilience allowed him to get to the ropes. In the melee, John Morrison took out Big E with a splendid rolling cannonball, while Miz scored the victory with a skull-crushing finale. This was 50/50 booking at its most classic, but looking at the bigger picture, we are certainly getting a Morrison/Miz vs New Day programme at Royal Rumble which is great.
Firefly Fun House
Bray Wyatt is back and was in great form in this short segment. He played off his past with Daniel Bryan and their match at Royal Rumble 2014, which was after Bryan turned on him. This was short and sweet and hit the right notes without forcing itself too much.
The next step now is in Daniel Bryan’s reaction to that, as the Royal Rumble creeps closer. Hopefully, this can lead to a great match at the January extravaganza.
Backstage: Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose getting ready for their match.
Elias sings a song about the Royal Rumble.
Backstage: Mandy Rose makes up for Otis and gifts him a cake. this is going somewhere.
Alexa Bliss vs Mandy Rose
This came out of nowhere. It seems that Alexa is still mad about her eyelashes being ripped a couple of weeks ago. The goddess started this match hot, putting Mandy under pressure. Sonya Deville tried to interfere but got caught. The commentators kept hyping up phrases like “building momentum” and “jogging for a position” in the division which is not cool.
Midway through, Heavy Machinery came out allowing Mandy Rose to roll up Alexa Bliss for the win. Well, that was weird but enjoyable to a degree. Hopefully, we will get a decent romance storyline from that.
Lacey Evans vs Sasha Banks
Once more, we have to live through Lacey Evans’ babyface character. This match was billed as the culmination for her feud with Sasha Banks, which was about insulting Lacey’s daughter and bullying her. It turns out Sasha Banks is not there, and Bayley appeared to explain it. Lacey cut a promo firing the crowd and challenged her to a match for her title.
Lacey went backstage looking for Bayley and found her to have a brawl backstage. This was weird and good at once because extending the feud is fine but the dynamic is weird. The crowd were chanting “USA”, which is amazingly weird considering that Bayley is from San Jose, California which is … Well in the USA.
A video package recapping Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt’s story.
Backstage: Daniel Bryan is being interviewed by Kayla Braxton, got interrupted with a Firefly fun house segment.
Braun Strowman vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Braun Strowman entered the match running, showing off his power game. The Monster among men took a lot of offence as Sami Zayn was helping Nakamura to avoid getting attacked by Strowman, while Cesaro posted him allowing Nakamura to take over.
Post-commercial, the IC champion was in control and delivering good offensive manoeuvres. However, Strowman’s strength was too much and he eventually got back into the match. As Nakamura was looking for the Kinshasa knee strike, Sami Zayn tried the distraction while Cesaro got a steel chair. Shinsuke Nakamura went to hit Strowman with the title, he got powerslammed for the win. Certainly, we are getting the same match for the title in two weeks time.
Sheamus cuts a promo about CHAD GABLE.
Backstage: Daniel Bryan finds a gift from Bray Wyatt; a beaten Rambly the Rabbit.
Roman Reigns promo time: The Big dog came out basically to recap his awful feud with Corbin. His major selling point is that he got back up in the form of the Usos. They come out in support too. King Corbin interrupts, sets up a match at the Royal Rumble with Reigns
The Usos vs Dolph Ziggler/Baron Corbin
This match needed to be fast-paced considering that there were only 10 minutes left on the show. Corbin and Ziggler took over before action spills on the outside and Roman Reigns spearing Corbin for a DQ loss to the Usos. Post-match, Roman Reigns went to continue their attack but Robert Roode returned to equalise the situation.
In a nutshell, this was disappointing at the very best, the ending doesn’t really work. If a DQ is to happen, why don’t you have Roode as its cause?.
Again, a disappointing ending to Smackdown where the focus is once more on this absorbing vortex of a feud. Elsewhere, the only thing that was really moving is Morrison/Miz vs New Day story as well as Mandy/Otis romance angle.
Final rating: 6/10
After all, this is only one man’s opinion. Reach out to me on twitter @austin316tn or tell me in the comments below. Till next week!