SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Styles vs. Mahal: I would be ok with Jindar Mahal getting a WWE Title shot if he had been given 2-3 months of a build in order to establish himself as a potential WWE Champion. Give him a series of wins over that time. Give him time to establish a character, preferably one that is based on being rich and entitled and not on being an evil foreigner. Give him time to establish his team with the former Bollywood Boys. He isn’t good on the mic, but maybe after 2-3 months with more experience he would get better. He is solid in the ring. He held up his end of the bargain here while clearly being carried to a strong match by AJ Styles. This was a good match. It played into his strategy and his ability with help to potentially win at Backlash. I don’t want to see him win against Randy Orton. His initial push was stupid. He was not at all (from a character stand point) deserving of being in the #1 contender match in the first place. I fear that WWE will give him the win over Orton which is a mistake. He isn’t ready on the mic (the mic work at the start of the show was poor and brought the opening segment down so it wasn’t a Hit) or in the ring.
Contract Signing: The three babyface women in the six women tag match at Backlash got in some good mic work during their contract signing. It was all well done. The idea that Charlotte Flair said at the end of her remarks towards the Welcoming Committee that after the match she was coming for Naomi’s Women’s Championship makes sense. It fit in well with her character. I’m not sold on going babyface with Charlotte. She can be a good face, but is such a great heel. The physicality tease at the end which turned into a match worked fine too.
None: The fact that there was nothing so bad on Smackdown that stood out as a Miss doesn’t mean that this was a great show. This was mostly a blah show. There were only two Hits. Everything else fell in the middle.
The opening segment started well with Kevin Owens stealing the Highlight Reel, but A.J. Styles was only decent and Jindar Mahal wasn’t good so the segment was just okay. The Fashion Files was ok. I really enjoyed the first one two weeks ago and would have given it a Hit. Last week’s was terrible and would have been a Miss. This week’s was better than last week’s, but not as good as the first.
There were a few good, but short bits in the back like Orton calling Mahal an ass and Baron Corbin jumping Sami Zayn, but they don’t quite warrant Hits. Breezango vs. The Colons was too short to amount to much. The Usos’ post-match promo was interesting. The Usos have something good on the horizon with this new form of promo they are doing, but they aren’t there yet. I am intrigued and I want to see them keep doing them and developing that style of promo and they will become Hits, but again they aren’t there yet. Also, it looks like one Uso has been eating the other Uso’s dinner.
Naomi vs. Carmella was fine, but not good enough to get a Hit. Orton vs. Corbin was also fine, but not good enough to get a Hit. That was the theme for most of this show. It was fine, but not good.
And on the go home show before a PPV where WWE is struggling to make a case for fans wanting to see two single brand PPVs a month, they needed a much stronger show in this case.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S COLUMN: WWE RAW HITS & MISSES 5/15: Reigns’s heel promo, Fox beats Banks, Booker’s commentary, Amborse-Miz, Alexa Bliss, Reigns vs. Balor,