Hey guys, so I’m continuing up from last night’s review with a review of Smackdown LIVE. It’s something new I wanted to do to give a little more diversity to the articles, so if you guys could let me know in the comments what you think about it, it’s very much appreciated. For those who missed my RAW review, I’m ranking each segment and matches. “Best” means it was something I liked. “Worst” was something I hated and “Worst/Best” is something I liked but disliked at the same time. With that said, here we go!
Worst: John Cena Doesn’t Want a Handout, but Wants a Handout
So let me get this straight. John Cena’s been going on and on about how he doesn’t want to be spoon-fed any opportunity. Yet that’s exactly what he’s doing in the middle of the ring. He’s using his free agency status as leverage and the fact that his name is John Cena to get a chance to compete for a title has no business being anywhere near. He lost the Royal Rumble. He lost the Elimination Chamber. He’s gone for months on end. He hasn’t been on Smackdown LIVE in months. Yet he comes waltzing into the middle of the ring to claim that he’s not here for any given opportunities, yet that’s exactly what he gets.
It’s announced that he will get a match against WWE Champion AJ Styles, and if he should win, he’s in the Fastlane main event and it becomes a six-pack. Cena just completely neutralized everything he said about himself last night. He’s John Cena. All he has do is literally say his name is John Cena like he did in his opening promo tonight, say he wants something, and the authority figures will get it. Meanwhile, a guy who’s been selling merchandise like hotcakes and getting over with the crowd in Rusev apparently doesn’t deserve an opportunity in the land of opportunity. Styles/Cena is always a treat, so no problem there, but this whole storyline with Cena is a direct contradiction.
Best: Kevin Owens On Commentary Never Fails
Listening to Kevin Owens on commentary is such a refreshing sound and Daniel Bryan agrees with us. What makes KO special on commentary is that he’s believable. Kevin Owens is a character, but you’d also be convinced that this is who he actually he is if you were new to wrestling. He combines storytelling with a certain dash of realism, but not to the point where he exposes the product so to speak. He just has a proper balance, he’s himself and it works. I’m sure we all know Byron Saxton is the whipping boy of choice when it comes to commentator insults, and he is a pretty easy target because of his dry sense of humor, vague character and lack of charisma, but that’s where a special talker like Kevin Owens is able to make something out of nothing. Good on him.
Worst: Are We Really Still Doing This?
Has the Shane McMahon/Daniel Bryan backstage argument got so out of hand we have to cut away from a match to put the focus on them bickering about literally nothing? TWICE? Shane apparently now has an issue with KO making fun of Byron Saxton and he hadn’t even interfered in the match yet. Honestly, I’m not sure who this benefits or what the end game is here. Unless this results in Daniel Bryan returning for a match, and there’s no indication to suggest that’s the case, this is all just more authority controversy banter between two people who won’t be competing in the ring every week. I just fail to see what the point of all of this is week after week. Do they literally just stay in the same backstage spot every week to find something else to argue about? Shane vs. Daniel Bryan isn’t happening at WrestleMania. Seeing as how that’s the only match that would make any logical sense out of all of this, why waste time, DURING A MATCH, to concentrate on what they have to argue about? Ridiculous.
Best/Worst: Stereotypical Multi-Man Madness
So, the Baron Corbin/Sami match was about every Smackdown match you have probably ever seen this year. Not bad enough to be considered grotesque, but not good enough where you’d want to see it in its entirety again. It was about basic as it can get, and that’s the permeating issue that the Smackdown LIVE brand has faced for the majority of the year. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. We are just in the middle here. Of course, we also got the predictable multi-man madness where some guy interferes in somebody else’s business and that costs some guy a match. I think if we were to do without all the multi-man tropes WWE likes to do every time, the quality of the shows would be much better. However, the match did progress the story a little, I guess. Silver linings.
Worst: “IT NEVER ENDS WITH THIS GUY”
Truer words have never been spoken, Sami. Remind me again why Shane is a good guy?
Best/Worst: More of The Same
Just like the match that proceeded it, we also have WWE’s continuation of the six-person feud between The Riott Squad and the trio of Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Naomi. Personally, all I remember is The Riott Squad attacking the 3 and now they all hate each other. I really have no idea why they are feuding and that is a bad sign. The only reason why I gave this a worst is because I don’t remember hating watching it. That’s probably due to the fact that the repetitive nature of all of these feuds has made me immune to having any strong feelings towards the lack of variety. We all knew that Ruby was winning this match. Riott is scheduled to face Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, and just as predictable as Ruby beating Naomi tonight was, Ruby losing to Charlotte at Fastlane will probably be even more predictable. I’m sorry, but we need to shake things up. Get Carmella in there and tease some cash-ins or something. My eye bags have doubled in size waiting for WWE to switch things up with the women of Smackdown.
Worst: The Fashion Failure
Remember when The Fashion Files and they were, like, extremely over, and they got a Smackdown Tag Team Title match against The Usos? Remember when they nearly became champions? Pepperidge Farm remembers for sure. It feels like so long ago where we were lauding WWE for properly making the most out of the tag teams of Smackdown and giving it more diversity. Now, we have taken a few steps back and reverted to most of them being absolute jokes. The Fashion Files segment was inoffensive humor, but The New Day got involved with pancakes and stuff, instead of being more concerned about beating the tag team that won their feud over the belts last year. Hell, the Fashion Files have been reduced to WWE.com, and NO ONE goes to WWE.com for important WWE stuff.
Best: Just Like Old Times
There was even more repetitiveness with The New Day and The Usos, but the difference is these two teams have developed a chemistry with them in which everything they say feels fresh. What I especially love is that while they are still the same teams fighting over the same titles, they have different motivations which brings a fresh energy to the feud. Last year, it was about dominance over the SD Tag Titles. This year, it’s about who gets to go to WrestleMania as Smackdown Tag Team Titles. The Usos said it best. They know how to evolve, adapt and get with the times. The Usos came out and talked about getting overlooked and proving that they were here to stay, but most importantly, that he belonged.