KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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Apparently, I made a New Year’s Resolution to get back to doing Smackdown Hits & Misses, with the move in January from Syfy to USA. And I did it once in January and haven’t done it since. Now that the brand split is going well and the show really does have a distinct roster and, with it going live on Tuesday, I feel like it should be covered. Also, it is easier for me to do so with it on earlier in the week. So, hopefully this is the start of me covering it on a regular basis.
Women’s Division: This is a minor Hit for WWE building up two women’s matches for the PPV on Sunday. They are doing a solid job of making Alexa Bliss a legit contender for Becky Lynch’s Women’s Championship. But, they are actually doing a better job with the feud between Nikki Bella and Carmella. Carmella is making a pretty good heel at this point. After so many years where the Divas were nothing on Raw or Smackdown, it is good to see them actually have two feuds going on Smackdown along with the work that is being done on Raw. I think WWE needs to have some women jobbers to help build up new stars like Bliss so that Lynch can be protected from taking non-Title losses like this.
Miz TV: I had mixed feelings about this segment, but I’ve had mixed feelings about the entire feud between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. On the whole, I liked this enough to give it a Hit. Miz and Ziggler were both good in their roles. The video to humiliate Ziggler was a nice trip down memory lane. I don’t see a lot of value in bringing up former characters that Nick Nemeth played as it shows that he is just playing a character now with Ziggler. The cameo by two of the former Spirit Squad members Mikey and Kenny was fun. The physicality at the end worked well. I just hope at some point at the PPV, Ziggler can bring it up and say that there is a reason why he alone of the 5 members of Spirit Squad has remained in WWE.
Styles, Ambrose, Cena: This was a good ending to Smackdown for the final hype for the main event triple threat match for the WWE World Championship at No Mercy. It was clever how AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose both interrupted John Cena and wouldn’t allow him to talk. In fact, they sort of put their words into his mouth. They both were good here. They may be transitioning Ambrose into a heel role to feud with Cena after the PPV which would probably be a good idea. That leaves Styles without a strong challenger for the Title, although I guess Randy Orton assuming he beats Bray Wyatt at the PPV. Anyway, this segment had good mic work and a strong ending where Cena basically decided that if they wouldn’t allow him to speak, he would let his actions speak instead when he attacked them both.
Wyatt vs. Kane: Whenever Kane comes out at this point, I groan. I see zero value in him as a character right now. I don’t even remember the last time he’s been on and he certainly hasn’t been utilized much since the brand split. Here, he gets a count out win against Bray Wyatt who is in the middle of a long feud with Randy Orton. Sure, it was because Wyatt chose to leave, but still. Plus, this was the start of Smackdown and did nothing to get me excited for the rest of the show.
Orton – Wyatt: I am bored and at times just confused by this feud. Watching Orton last week (I think it was last week) going around the building looking for Wyatt and having weird special effects didn’t make me want to see them face at No Mercy. In fact, it made me want to change the channel. Now we get Wyatt trying to find Orton only to have Orton lock him in a closet. Again, I was bored. I don’t want to see the spooky powers where somehow Wyatt can magically escape from a locked room. I mean there was a camera on him the whole time, why wasn’t it recording when he escaped?
Swagger vs. Corbin: The match between Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin was ok. And I understand not wanting to have a totally clean ending in this match where you are still building up Corbin and want to make Swagger feel like a big deal after switching from Raw to Smackdown a few weeks ago. But, this Miss is for the end of the match and the terrible reaction of the babyface announcer David Otunga. I give WWE credit for trying something new to get out of this match with Corbin desperately reaching for the bottom rope to get out of the Patriot Lock, only to have the referee think he was tapping out. However, while it might have sounded good on paper, it didn’t work. I’m not blaming Corbin as I think he did the best he could executing the spot, but the spot didn’t work. It didn’t look enough like he was tapping out. He was clearly reaching for the rope as JBL said and he’s the heel. He shouldn’t be right in these situations. So the referee looked incompetent for making the call and Otunga looked stupid for saying that he was obviously tapping out. And Mauro Ranallo didn’t look much better either.
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For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell’s views to mine by visiting ProWrestling.net’s “Hitlist” section here.
Jon Mezzera is PWTorch.com’s WWE Hits & Misses Specialist, providing his point of view for Raw and Smackdown each week. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.