On the back heels of a very successful Royal Rumble PPV, Smackdown put on a decent show albeit with a ridiculous stipulation in the main event. However, now we are on the voyage … to Saudi Arabia in a couple of weeks for another blood money show. That means that every WrestleMania program is going to be put on halt until the Saudi show is over then we are on the proper way to Mania. With that said, let’s hope at least they give us a modicum of interest in this “international PPV”, particularly with Goldberg making the return to WWE.
Let’s get to business …
The Dirt Sheet Return w/Miz and John Morrison
After a hype package for Goldberg’s return, Smackdown opened with the return of “The Dirt Sheet” with Miz and John Morrison who proceeded to show a mock trailer of a movie they made basically explaining Miz’s heel turn. This movie featured Lance Storm, John Laurinatis, Miz’s own dad and BRUCE LEE! … well, sort of. It was funny to be fair, but the important part was in the ring as the New Day interrupted the duo to cut their usual hilarious over the top promo. Then, the Usos came out to lay their claim for an opportunity. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode came out afterwards, providing enough distraction for Miz and Morrison to jump the New Day from behind. Weirdly, this sets up The Usos vs Roode & Ziggler next. Generally, this was a good segment, but clearly WWE didn’t put too much effort into it knowing that Goldberg’s return is the lynchpin of the show. Nonetheless, it was entertaining enough so it gets passing marks.
The Usos vs Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler
This match started with the heels taking over working Jey Uso and cutting the ring in half setting the tempo of the bout. Ziggler and Roode were exchanging turns in delivering cheap shots to Jey, successfully preventing the tag. Following a near fall from a Zigzag/spine buster combo, all hell broke loose. Not until a commercial though, as after the break Roode and Ziggler returned to working over Jey Uso. Finally, Jey starts to fight back, but Ziggler targets his knee and we are back to square one. Again, Jey fights back and gets to tag Jimmy who is just a one-man wrecking crew. Roode gets a close count from a power slam. Dolph Ziggler gets another close count from a Zigzag. Superkick party by Jimmy Uso, followed by a splash from Jey that Ziggler counters for a near fall. Double superkick on Roode, splash from Jimmy and the Usos are the winners.
This was an entertaining match from 4 talented wrestlers, though the heels portion probably dragged a bit, that’s just a nitpick on a very good match.
Another ad for Goldberg’s return.
Backstage: Alexa Bliss is with Nikki Cross and she is getting ready for her Fatal-4-way match for the #1 contender for the Smackdown Women’s championship.
King Corbin attacks a “producer” for playing his humiliating video.
Elias vs Cesaro
Before the match, Elias was preparing to sing for the San Jose faithful as he got interrupted by Cesaro and Sami Zayn. Sami is incredible in this role as this overhyping manager, proceeding to cut a scathing promo about the “robbery” that Shinsuke Nakamura was subject to last week. The commentators, or Michael Cole at least as Graves had technical issues, built this match as a culmination of a weeks-long rivalry. Kudos for Corey Graves for weaving his real microphone issues into kayfabe, while Cesaro was dominating Elias with Zayn being his amazing obnoxious self. Elias was trying to find openings only to be thwarted by Cesaro. Sami Zayn took a cheap shot on Elias earning him more heat from the crowd. The drifter eventually scored a comeback, racking up near falls in the process. This comeback didn’t last long as Cesaro once again took over with a barrage of uppercuts. Elias, in the end, found an opening in a very competitive match, hitting an elbow for the (expected) win. This was a very decent match though I feel bad for Cesaro losing once again, this is the norm now for him.
An ad for the XFL starting this Sunday. Hopefully, it has a better chance this time around unlike 2001.
King Corbin is out to the ring, cutting a promo on Roman Reigns. This feud apparently will continue. He is the 2020 version of “occupy RAW”, gets interrupted by Roman Reigns who beat him up. Please, WWE end this for the love of God!!. Roman Reigns accepts Corbin’s challenge to a match but inside a steel cage.
Goldberg’s return/satellite interview
First, this is a lame way to return for such a legend. However, marks for Goldberg getting straight to the point and challenging for the Universal championship at Saudi Arabia, which summoned Bray Wyatt and his firefly funhouse for a “Breaking News” segment in which he accepts. The bottom line is that Goldberg is not intimidated by the Fiend which might be a good story heading into this match. However, there is a couple of points that need to be explained: On one hand, this might be an exciting prospect for a showcase match at SuperShowDown. On the other, there was 100 better ways WWE could have built this angle rather than a satellite interview. Overall, this is really interesting to see how this match will be structured.
Backstage: Daniel Bryan is watching TV and Heath Slater comes to him, getting on his nerves basically and reminding him of how bad his experience with The Fiend was, which prompts Bryan to challenge him for a match.
Daniel Bryan vs Heath Slater
It seems that Daniel Bryan’s character could get another layer of grey as he contemplates about his experience with Bray Wyatt. Before the match, another recap of the strap match was shown. It could be an interesting inner conflict story for Bryan as he tries to convince himself that he is the same person, but his actions and instinctive demeanour contradict that belief. Daniel Bryan obviously was going to squash Slater, but the manner in which he did that was very interesting as Heath passed out instead of tapping after Daniel Bryan stomped on his head repeatedly. I always enjoyed D-Bry’s character work and this is another great piece of it.
IC Champion is in the house
A recap of Braun Strowman’s IC title win from last week. It is followed by Renee Young interviewing him in the ring. He is interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn cuts a promo again (give me more please). Braun Strowman accepts a rematch demand, but Sami postpones the rematch to Saudi Arabia perhaps. Meanwhile, a 3-on-1 ambush from Nakamura and The Revival (?!) but Strowman fights them off for a while before succumbing to a Kinshasa.
Otis prepares for his date
This is the most entertaining story on the whole show. Otis and Tucker make a training montage -Rocky-style- in order to get Otis for a dating shape, then proceeds to teach him the manners. This made me laugh from ear to ear and seriously can not wait for next week’s date. This is an amazing story.
- Sheamus squashes Apollo Crews. He beats up CHAD GABLE afterwards.
Carmella vs Alexa Bliss vs Naomi vs Dana Brooke
Certainly, Bayley needed a new challenger. However, how can anyone care about the contenders if 3/4 of them got jobbers entrances, including Alexa Bliss?. Right away, Dana Brooke goes for a cover on Naomi, as well as Alexa Bliss on Naomi. This match seems to be fast-paced and frenetic as Bayley was showing off her title. She got involved in the action too by attacking Naomi which may telegraph the winner. It kept increasing in pace as every woman has time to shine. The bout gets really entertaining as it keeps going frenetically. It’s near fall city as Brooke has a close count followed by another for Naomi. Alexa Bliss and Naomi have a mini one-on-one before Carmella and Dana Brooke return to the fold. After that, t is back to Bliss against Naomi as the “Goddess” hits twisted bliss but Naomi counters for a close count followed by a superkick from Carmella for the win only to be attacked straight away by the champion as Smackdown goes off the air.
This was a very enjoyable episode overall, with the in-ring action being very good for the most part, particularly, the Usos vs Roode/Ziggler and the main event. Otis is just a gem of entertainment, Daniel Bryan’s character gets more complicated. Though Goldberg’s return in itself is awesome, its execution left a lot to be desired in my opinion, but we’ll see where it goes from here.
Final rating: 8/10
This was only one man’s opinion, after all, you can reach out on twitter @austin316tn or tell me in the comments. Till next week!