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8/23 WWE Smackdown Instant Reaction – Three-Pack Edition
In the spirit of PWTorch contributor Ben Tucker’s “Instant Reaction” series, we present a three-pack of takeaways from Tuesday’s Smackdown from PWTorch staff, contributors, and correspondents.
Greg Parks, PWTorch Smackdown columnist
(1) Women and tag teams get their titles: When it was announced that the secondary titles would not float from show to show, the question became, would more titles be added to make up the difference? We got the official confirmation tonight, with both tag team and women’s titles set to be awarded at Backlash. The tag teams are involved in a tournament, while the women will compete in a six-pack challenge on that show. Early contenders for the championships would seem to be American Alpha and Nikki Bella, though the women feel like more of a toss-up.
(2) A.J. Styles is next up for Dean Ambrose: This pairing made the most sense, especially with Styles going over John Cena at Summerslam. Even had that not happened, Styles still would’ve been the right choice to oppose Ambrose at the next big show. Styles was all over Smackdown and is really in-tune with his heel character at this point. After a disappointing Summerslam match with Dolph Ziggler, it’ll be interesting to see what Styles gets out of Ambrose at Backlash.
(3) What’s next for Dolph Ziggler?: All throughout the feud with Ambrose, Ziggler was told he wasn’t good enough to be champion. Then, he went out and proved that on Sunday. Ziggler brooded a bit on this show and was taunted by Styles. At least Ziggler fought back. He went 20 minutes in the main event with Styles trying to earn a spot in the Backlash title match. And once again, he fell short. I liked that they didn’t give him promo time tonight, just letting his actions do the talking. But where does he go from here?
Mike McMahon, PWTorch Impact reporter
(1) Sorry, Dolph, but it was fun. Well, it was good while it lasted, Dolph. There doesn’t seem to be many places for Dolph Ziggler to go now that he lost to A.J. Styles in the main event and is out of the match at Backlash… unless WWE finds a way to get Ziggler back in that main event. Styles kicked the ropes into Ziggler’s leg before the Styles Clash – and Otunga seemed to make a point of asking the other announcers if they saw that – but that’s hardly a reason to overturn a match result. Just looking at the Smackdown roster, there isn’t much for Ziggler. Alberto Del Rio is suspended, Baron Corbin has been done before, and Bray Wyatt is headed off with Randy Orton. Putting Ziggler in a feud with Miz, which has also been done before, would absolutely be viewed as a demotion. There just isn’t another top guy on the Smackdown roster for him to feud with if he’s out of the title picture.
(2) Please tell me I didn’t just see that. For the love of all that is holy in this world, please WWE, do not promote a Shane McMahon vs. Brock Lesnar match. That is one of my biggest fears in wrestling right now. I almost choked when I saw Lesnar give Shane an F5 at Summerslam and here tonight, there was another tease of a Shane-Lesnar match during Shane’s backstage segment. It’s pretty clear that WWE is trying to re-brand Lesnar as a monster again. That’s fine – in fact, it’s necessary – but Lesnar vs. Shane is not a match anyone wants to see. In fact, it shouldn’t even be a match. There should be nothing competitive about it. Brock Lesnar, if he were in a one-on-one situation with Shane McMahon, should criminally assault him. That’s not hyperbole either. It would result in an actual crime if Lesnar and Shane ever actually fought. If one of WWE’s top stars gets nearly killed by Lesnar, the 46-year-old non-wrestler should be peeing himself when faced with the prospect of confronting Lesnar, not walking around like a man’s man ready for a fight.
(3) Who cares about the colors? I might be in the minority, but I don’t mind the new WWE belts. The Universal Title being red makes sense if it’s a Raw title, and the debuts of the Smackdown Tag Titles and the Smackdown Women’s Title I liked as well, especially with the blue elements. There are far more important things to complain about than the color of belts.
Chris Wooten, PWTorch reader
(1) Something To Fight For. Smackdown Live opened this week by unveiling new championships for both the tag team and women’s divisions. After seeing the new red Universal & Women’s Championships for Raw, and now the new blue Tag Team & Women’s Championships for Smackdown, it appears that WWE is going with branding colors for all of the titles. The new belt colors are a little off-putting at first, coming across like more of a toy than a respectable championship. However, the notion of having a “Universal Champion” didn’t sound like a good idea at first, but like anything else, it just takes some getting used to. Now at least the tag teams and women can have some goals, instead of being placed in meaningless matches.
(2) Stories That Make Sense. Before the new titles were unveiled, we saw a backstage segment with A.J. Styles gloating a little too much to a very agitated Dolph Ziggler about Summerslam. Ziggler proceeded to attack A.J. backstage and then again on the entrance ramp which led to a pull-apart with the tag teams outside of the ring. One thing noticeable here is the style of storytelling. The backstage segment began a simple story, which bled out to the ring, led to a high-energy open, and gave some heat to the match between the two later on in the show. Instead of a cold match, they built on the emotion of this past Sunday. Glaring plot holes have been an issue on WWE TV as of late, and it’s good to see some care taken with the writing of the show.
(3) The Viper Meets the Buzzards. After the brutal ending of Summerslam’s main event, I think most were not expecting to see Randy Orton again for some time. To my surprise, he showed up to Smackdown Live just two days after his bloody bout with Brock Lesnar. He commented on Lesnar briefly before he was interrupted by Bray Wyatt, teasing a feud between the two. Due to the nature of the loss by Orton at Summerslam, he could definitely use a big win. It’s just unfortunate that it looks to be against Bray Wyatt, who could use a big win himself. It does make for a marquee match at Backlash, but the circumstances and timing of this feud certainly do not benefit a struggling Bray Wyatt.