WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 1/2: Gable & Benjamin vs. Usos, English vs. Xavier, Styles vs. Zayn, Women’s Segment, Shane-Bryan

By Jeff Indelicato, PWTorch Specialist

Chad Gable (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

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Opening Segment: While I could do without Shane or Bryan opening up the show every week, this still gets a hit with regards to how A.J. is now becoming involved. For far too long last year, the WWE Championship took a backseat to other storylines, so it is appropriate that the main storyline of Shane vs. Bryan is now slowly involving the WWE Champion in a logical way. I liked Styles subtle uneasiness, and looked forward to the main event.

Gable & Benjamin vs. The Usos: While there were some issues with this match, I still enjoyed it. The Usos continue to be a strong team, and it was good to see them eventually retain the championship. At the same end of the spectrum, Gable is continuing to prove his worth, and I’m expecting him to continue to step up in the future. One thing that was slightly annoying was the referee overturn at the end of the match. It seems that WWE switches back and forth on referee decisions based on the story, which can cause confusion and misunderstanding for the fans. We’ve heard in prior matches that the referee’s decision is final, so I would like to see them commit to one or the other going forward.

Aiden English vs. Xavier Woods: This was a relatively minor hit, but it still gets a notch in the plus column for a few reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed the pre-match promo with Rusev & Aiden, and having the Bulgarian Brute serenade his partner this time around was a nice bonus. Secondly, the wrestling was good, and it was nice to see Woods get a little spotlight on a singles match. While it would have been nice to see the match go a little longer, with Aiden getting the victory instead, I was still pleased, and look forward to the next round.

Main Event: This was a good match between A.J. Styles and Sami Zayn that had the added tension of everyone at ringside. Both Styles and Zayn are gifted wrestlers, and they put together a nice back and forth match. I also liked how, on a nice twist from last week, Bryan inadvertently cost Styles the match. With that said, I found myself scratching my head at Daniel’s decision for the handicap match at the Rumble, as it does not fit his character at all, but I’ll reserve judgment on that until next week.


Women’s Segment: Something just continues to be off with this division, as it just seems to be going through the motions with not many characters to care about. What definitely doesn’t help is the heel to face ratio, with seven heels to three faces. In addition, the Riott Squad’s post-match promos continue to be skippable. While it was nice to see Becky Lynch return, I couldn’t help but wonder how much more it would have meant to the segment if they had held off on Naomi’s return as well, and built to both of them confronting the squad. Hopefully after the Royal Rumble, this will turn around, and we can look forward to some hits coming from the Women soon.

About the Author

Jeff Indelicato has been a fan of professional wrestling since he was knee high to a grasshopper (little kid) after coming across the Wrestling Challenge episode after WrestleMania 7. He has not looked back. His passion has led him to winning wrestling trivia contests in his city, and even won him his Senior Talent Show by dancing to Shawn Michaels’ theme song. When not annoying others with wrestling talk, he loves spending time with his family and friends, and focuses on his other passion: movies. Follow him on Twitter @the_Indel or send him an email at indelpw@gmail.com.

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMNWWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 12/26: Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, Women’s Scripting, Gable & Benjamin vs. Rusev & English vs. New Day, U.S. Title Tournament

1 Comment on WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 1/2: Gable & Benjamin vs. Usos, English vs. Xavier, Styles vs. Zayn, Women’s Segment, Shane-Bryan

  1. I feel like they’ve miscast a lot of the women on the Smackdown roster as far as the face/heel thing goes. The way I see it the natural babyfaces are: Becky Lynch, Naomi, Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan. On the other side of the coin, the natural heels, to me, are: Charlotte, Carmella, Tamina and Lana. Natayla’s talented enough where she’s believable in any role, which is a tremendous credit to her. And they haven’t fleshed out Sarah Logan at all yet, which is a shame.

    I don’t want to get into too much fantasy booking, but if they fell along those lines that’d give them three dynamic babyfaces, in Becky, Ruby, and Naomi, to challenge Charlotte. Naomi and Liv also feel like they would make for a good pairing at times to possibly take on some heel tandems. For me it’s just one of those deals though where I feel like the writers have missed capturing some of these women’s personalities. Or maybe it’s just my perception?

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