SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ziggler vs. Nakamura: I think I am starting to accept the fact that Shinsuke Nakamura is not going to be special in WWE. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be treated as a top star. He is being treated as a top star. He just isn’t being treated as being special. He is a top Smackdown star, the same way that AJ Styles or Kevin Owens is. I enjoyed this match better than their first match on PPV last month. Nakamura looked stronger here against Dolph Ziggler than he did before. Sure, Ziggler got in plenty of his own offense, but it felt to me like Nakamura was more dominant. This was a better showcase of Nakamura’s style in the ring than we’ve seen before.
Women’s Money in the Bank: Okay, so this Miss is sort of retro to the Money in the Bank PPV. That was a total crap ending to what was supposed to be a historic match. I don’t want to spend too much time about how lame that was, but it was terrible. In the end, what we will get is a rematch on next week’s Smackdown. So instead of getting a satisfying ending to that match at the PPV, we will presumably get the satisfying ending on a regular episode of Smackdown. So, why subscribe to the Network? WWE does too many of these situations where we get a better version of a match on Raw or Smackdown than what we just saw at a PPV. There were some good performances during this long saga on Smackdown leading to Daniel Bryan’s decision to strip Carmella of the MITB briefcase and announce the rematch. Carmella’s show opening promo was strong. Becky Lynch’s earnest plea to Bryan to maker her understand why she should keep doing the right thing under these circumstances was very good. It is no surprise to me that she continues to get the best babyface reaction of any woman on the roster on either show (at least that’s how it comes across to me). But, there were some bad performances too. All the women but Becky were super annoying in the final segment. Charlotte and Tamina both made the same exact threat to each other to make each other look like James Ellsworth. That was odd. Bryan said that he was told he had to follow all the WWE rules, but he didn’t in the end. I wish we hadn’t been in this position in the first place if they had done what they should have done and had a satisfying ending (which could have been Carmella winning) on Sunday.
Another Lana Title Match: Naomi is stupid. Title matches should be earned. Lana did not earn her first Women’s Title match. She did not win that match. She may have surprised Naomi with a strong (kayfabe) performance. She may not have lost in 2 minutes like JBL predicted, but she still lost. She does not deserve a rematch. But, Naomi is stupid and gave her another Title match next week. I had a bad feeling that Lana would win at MITB, and I have the same feeling here.
Face of America Open Challenge: I had mixed feelings about this. I like the idea of Kevin Owens bringing back the U.S. Open Challenge of John Cena from a few years ago. The twist that it has to be a challenger from the city that they are in is amusing. But, this was awkward with Styles coming out to accept the challenge and then suddenly having the power to make the match with Chad Gable ultimately taking on Owens for the US Championship. Gable got a chance to show off his personality in his brief mic work before hand talking about just moving to that city which was more than he’s gotten to show in his entire Smackdown run. American Alpha has been totally misused. They haven’t been on Smackdown in a long time. This wasn’t a great return. Gable vs. Owens was solid. A loss in a gritty, hard fought, long match can put over a wrestler as much as a win can. That was not this match. It wasn’t long enough and Gable didn’t get in nearly enough offense for him to stand out as a tough challenger. The match was fine, but the introduction was odd, and it didn’t do anything in the end for Gable.
Baron Corbin: I would have liked to have heard from Mr. MITB. His walk around the ring teasing a cash in during the main event of Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper wasn’t strong. It was too similar to what Carmella did during Naomi vs. Lana at the PPV. It didn’t work for me. It wasn’t a strong start to his run carrying the MITB briefcase.
On an aside, the main event was solid, but not Hit-worthy. It certainly wasn’t a Miss, either. But it has gotten to the point where every one of Jinder Mahal’s matches ends with distraction from the Singh Brothers. It is annoying. Mahal can work a decent to good match, but his character is poorly written and his character and mic work are also poorly executed. He continues to just make his resting roid rage face at all times. And to get more of Randy Orton vs. Mahal is not something I’m looking forward to.
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.
Follow me on Twitter @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.
For another view from the original Hitlist author, compare Jason Powell’s views to mine by visiting prowrestling.NET’s “Hitlist” section here.