SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment: The show got off to a good start by having the winner of the Royal Rumble, Shinsuke Nakamura, open the show. It was fresh, and put the rightful spotlight on the new number one contender. This was one of the better promos from Nakamura, and he appeared to be focused. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn interrupting was expected, as they had a legitimate gripe for their loss on Sunday. I liked how it reminded fans that we still have two months until WrestleMania, so the WWE Championship could change hands, even though it hopefully won’t. A.J. Styles entering the segment was also well done as a way to start the storyline between him and Shinsuke. A good story can be played out over several months, so I hope that this pending feud is slowly told, and does not become too repetitive.
Rusev Wins: I was very pleased with the decision to have Rusev become number one contender for the United States Championship. He has become very popular with the crowd, and it presents an opportunity to strike while the iron is hot for his character. With that being said, I hope that this is not a temporary feud, due to the decision to have the match next week.
Carmella Almost Cashes In: After another dreadful Riott Squad promo (more below), things picked up when Carmella made her presence known. It was nice to see her tease in a possible cash-in, since it has been a while, and it serves as a reminder to the fans that these types of circumstances can happen at any time. I also liked the circumstances that prevented her from successfully facing Charlotte. Usually, a failed cash-in is the result of the champion knocking out the challenger or time taking too long before the bell sounds. Carmella accidentally knocking the referee out was original, amusing, and fit the story.
Main Event: This match told a nice story in setting up the conflict between Owens and Zayn, while also showcasing how Styles and Nakamura would work together. I liked the teasing of tension between Kevin & Sami, and how it ultimately led to their defeat. I’m hopeful that this is just misdirection from the two, and that it will not lead to a premature breakup.
The Usos: For a team that has been featured in previous hits, this was just bad. I found myself cringing at the graphics of the jail cell slamming shut every time that they shouted “Lockdown.” It was completely unnecessary, and the repetitiveness got old really fast. And speaking of graphics…
Selfies with Text Promos: I cannot even explain how poor I found these selfie videos that would display quotes of what the wrestlers were saying during their promos. It was extremely cheesy, and didn’t do anything to further the point of what someone was trying to make. The worst one of all was the Daniel Bryan announcement of the Smackdown Top Ten, which came across childish and unintentionally comical. I hope that the WWE realizes how poor these are and refrains from using them going forward.
Charlotte/Riott Squad: I’ve described in the past how poor I believe Ruby Riott’s promo skills are. To me, it comes across as if she is trying a little too hard, and it did not change this week. The references to Charlotte’s Father, Ric Flair, are outdated and have been used one too many times. In addition, I also am not the biggest fan of Charlotte acting like Ric. She is successful enough on her own, so she doesn’t need to use the mannerisms that made him famous.
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 email@example.com.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 1/23: Gable vs. Jey Uso, Owens vs. Styles and Sami vs. Styles, New Day, Naomi vs. Liv