SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Styles’s Promo: I’m giving this a minor Hit for the fact that A.J. Styles performed very well here. But, a lot of what he said rang true. He does seem to have a legit gripe which would make him the babyface. But, he is clearly the heel in this situation. This is once again a case where WWE has trouble scripting its babyfaces and heels. Styles’s promo did set up anticipation for what would happen once Shane McMahon arrived in the building so that at least should have made fans stick around for the rest of the show.
Natalya vs. Lynch: This was a pretty good match that went over 8 minutes. It was nice to see Becky Lynch get the win here over Natalya as it seems like she loses most of her matches these days. I don’t really care about Carmella at all so it didn’t do anything for me when she came in afterwards and attacked both Natalya and Lynch.
Styles Beats Up Shane: I don’t want to watch Styles vs. Shane, but the beating that Styles gave Shane when he finally arrived at Smackdown was very good. I don’t know why the General Manager (or is he Commissioner?) would show up late to the show, but maybe he got stuck in bad weather? I don’t know why the Commissioner Daniel Bryan (or his he General Manager?) would send Renee Young to interview Styles while he was clearly waiting to ambush Shane instead of, say, sending some security guards. If I’m Shane, once I see what happened before I arrived, I’d be firing Bryan for that. So I did have some issues with it, but it was still well done. It was violent. It led to Shane bleeding from the forehead. It left him loopy and seemingly concussed. And it will be remembered for a long time. The reaction from the announcers, the Usos, and Bryan, plus Styles himself afterwards worked to hammer home the seriousness of the attack. Unfortunately, WWE killed that with the camera angle inside the car later on (more later).
Women’s Title Picture: The Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania is not something I’m looking forward to. It is the very definition of the participation trophy. At least Raw has so far limited their Title match to three women. On Smackdown, it is going to be at least 5 and probably more. John Bradshaw Layfield was right that it isn’t fair to the heel Champion Alexa Bliss. They haven’t said what type of match it will be. Will it be everyone in the ring at the same time with a single fall? Will it be elimination? Will it be a gauntlet match? What’s the deal? They seem to be trying to create a mystery of who unexpected might show up like Naomi coming back early from her injury or Asuka debuting from NXT. But, I strongly disagree with the approach that everyone on the roster gets to be on WM. WM should be for the best. What has Carmella done to deserve any Title shot, let along a title shot at WM? Same for someone like Eva Marie if she shows up. She is on Smackdown’s roster.
Miz TV: I almost always watch WWE on DVR or on demand on the Network. I’m seldom watching live other than PPVs. So, I don’t tweet much while watching just because it isn’t live. But late Tuesday night while I was starting to watch Smackdown, I had to tweet about how boring MizTV was. The tweet came as Maryse was droning on and on about her contract situation and how Nikki Bella stabbed her in the back when she and her sister returned to WWE for “Total Divas” four years ago. I wasn’t interested in this when they talked about it on “Total Divas” last season, let alone on Smackdown heading into WM. This was so boring until John Cena and Nikki came out. Even then it was more of Nikki talking about something from four years ago that I don’t care about. I don’t want to see Maryse in the ring at all. I don’t want to see Nikki that much either. This is a huge disappointment for Cena. When Bryan comes out to talk about how much he wants to punch Miz in the face, all it leaves me with is disappointment because I know he won’t. They are teasing us with a match that I’d much rather see which I can’t see and expecting us to get excited about this other match instead. It might be working for some fans, but it isn’t working for me.
James vs. Bliss: WWE did a poor job of making the fans care about Mickie James after what happened between her and Alexa Bliss last week. The fans were understandably quiet during this match. The match itself wasn’t very good. There were some sloppy spots and some awkward moments. They didn’t seem to gel together in the ring. Bliss is so small that she should not be doing certain power moves. I don’t believe it when she hits James with one strong punch and it seems to knock James out. I don’t believe it when she grabs a charging James by the throat and holds her there in a death grip (despite the fact that James had been dominating the match) like she’s Undertaker or Kane about to do a chokeslam. She is good in the ring, but needs to continue to improve and this is one area where she can by just coming with a different approach and slightly different style to be more believable given her size. And as I have said many times before, WWE should do a much better job of protecting their Champions than having them lose so often in non-title matches.
Car Camera: Why was there a camera inside the car? And why was it rolling right when Styles happened to be beating up Shane and shoving his head through the car window? What did that add to the angle? How was it so important to the angle that it justified killing the realism of the moment? It was a terrible mistake. It made no sense. It was a credibility killer that added nothing in any way as to justify the stupidity of it.
Orton – Wyatt: This was another long boring segment. I am not buying whatever WWE is selling when it comes to what they are calling the Main Event of WrestleMania. Randy Orton was boring in his long drawn out explanation of what he had done to Bray Wyatt. He acted like he needed to screw Wyatt by burning down the shed in order to get a WWE Title match against him, but he had it anyway. I don’t understand his plan and why he needed to give up his Title shot to begin with. And in the end, we get this sort of but not really spooky bit with Wyatt himself talking about how now he has even more power than before. So, I guess that backfired for Orton? But, he has no powers. A lot of fans have been wanting Wyatt for a few years now to take over for Undertaker as the supernatural Superstar. But, I don’t want to see anything supernatural in WWE. I don’t need the hocus pocus. Plus, Wyatt vs. Orton promises to be a slow and methodical match with some possible run ins from other current or former Wyatt Family members and possibly some hocus pocus. So yeah, I am not looking forward to that match at all.
Usos vs. American Alpha: I honestly don’t recall much about this match. I am not faulting The Usos or American Alpha. This Miss isn’t for anything specific that they did in this match. In terms of execution, it may deserve a Hit. But, the presentation was very poor. They barely mentioned it ahead of time. It was the main event of the show and I think it had one graphic showing that it was coming up next without any talk from either team. There was no reason for the fans to look forward to it or to connect with or against either team. And the match itself was clearly an afterthought to what was happening with Shane. They kept cutting to a split screen where we weren’t paying attention to the match, but to Shane stumbling around in the back. The message was quite clear that the Tag Team Championship is totally meaningless. I guess it is nice that we’ll see them face again, probably on the WM pre-show. But, we just saw them wrestle in the context of a meaningless match. And the Champions are weak as they lost. My DVR cut off so I didn’t actually see what Shane said, so I had to read about it. Of course, it was predictable and I didn’t really need to see it.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S RELATED ARTICLE: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 3/13: Heyman & Lesnar, Reigns and HBK, Dana’s turn, New Day, Enzo & Cass
OR CHECK OUT JASON POWELL’S HITLIST ARTICLES 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 email@example.com. Act now and become my 68th Twitter follower@JonMezzera (pretty clever handle right?). Just be aware that I don’t live tweet Raw, I don’t tweet much about wrestling, and I don’t tweet much at all.