SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
None: I was bored with Smackdown this week. It was a bad show. Nothing was good enough to get a Hit. There were some decent parts to it, like The Usos’ match against Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger and the attack afterwards by The New Day. Fashion Peaks was also ok with the Arn Anderson cameo, but they have done better ones (they’ve done worse ones too). The Renee Young sit down interview of Shinsuke Nakamura was fine. It wasn’t a great way to follow up on his win over John Cena to become the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship, but it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t good. So, the best parts of the show were still not Hits.
Opening Segment: This is a minor Miss. It wasn’t a terrible start to the show, but it wasn’t a good one either. It was a bit boring. It wasn’t a great way to follow up on Shinsuke Nakamura’s big win over John Cena last week. I don’t like starting the next show with the loser of that #1 contender match. Cena was ok. Baron Corbin was ok. But, neither was good. It wasn’t around building up to something for Smackdown, so it didn’t get me excited for the rest of the show. It was just sort of there to get to the Cena vs. Corbin match at SummerSlam which is based on something that happened off air last week.
Lana: Lana was good as Rusev’s manager. They had a good act together. She is a terrible wrestler and she doesn’t work well on her own in acting. Her two scenes with Tamina were not good. Her acting was poor. The writing was poor. I don’t understand Tamina’s motivations for wanting to work with Lana. Lana vs. Charlotte was bad. Thankfully it was kept short, but when your gimmick is that you suck, because you do, then maybe a different job would be better for you. And you had one that you should have stuck with in the first place.
Shane / Owens / Styles: Kevin Owens was really good in this segment, but otherwise it was a bad segment. Even though he was good, I started to check out of the segment as soon as he starting talking about the Montreal Screw Job. It was 20 years ago. I am not looking forward to November. Get over it. Yes, his line at the end about Bret Hart deserving to get screwed got some heat on him, but there were other ways to do it without bringing up ancient history. And then he visited the history of Shane McMahon as a crooked referee which went back 19 years. Ugh. None of that worked for me. His performance was great, but his scripting wasn’t. Neither Shane nor AJ Styles were good either. The whole point of the segment was to make it seem like neither Owens nor Styles were happy about Shane being the guest referee for their United States Title match at SummerSlam. But, who cares about a referee? A referee shouldn’t be this much of a focus in the build to the match, or the match itself. And all signs right now point to Shane being the deciding factor in that match.
Naomi vs. Carmella: This was a bad match. Naomi can be good, but she isn’t good enough to carry a green wrestler like Carmella to a good match. I wasn’t missing James Ellsworth, so I wasn’t happy to see him back. Then, after he cheated to help Carmella win, Naomi was down. She was super vulnerable. There was already a referee in the ring. She had the briefcase in her hands. Why not beat Naomi with it several times after the match and then cash in and become the Women’s Champion?
Orton vs. Mahal: Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton aren’t going to have good matches against each other. This one was better just because it didn’t involve the Singh Brothers cheating to help Mahal win. But, this sent the clear signal that Mahal is a terrible WWE Champion. Now, that is true. But, I don’t understand ever having any WWE Champion losing clean like this so close to a major PPV like SummerSlam. If they are trying to send the signal that Nakamura has a great chance to beat Mahal and they don’t deliver, then the fans are going to be very upset because it will make Nakamura look bad for not being able to win when Orton won pretty easily. They had an out with Rusev, but they saved him to attack Orton until after the match. That doesn’t put as much heat on Rusev as it would have if he had cost Orton the match.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 8/1: Nakamura vs. Cena, Owens vs. Styles, Rusev vs. Gable, Sami vs. English
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. 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.