Shelton Benjamin vs. Jeff Hardy: Prior to the match, Shelton gave a decent promo that established his new heel singles run. The decision to move Hardy to Smackdown was a smart one, and I think he will do well on this show, just as he did during his 2008-2009 run. I liked him interrupting Randy Orton, as it could play into the continued disrespect that the Viper has received from his fellow wrestlers (using the Top Ten story as an example). Jeff and Shelton had a good, athletic match, and I wouldn’t mind see them face off again in the future.
The Miz: As announced on Raw, The Miz was traded to Smackdown, and I thought it was a great decision to not have him appear live. With this already being a stacked episode, there was no need to add Miz, as they can use an extra week to build up the impending confrontation between himself and Daniel Bryan. His promo was solid as usual, and I look forward to his return next week.
New Superstars: I was very impressed with the trades from Raw, and didn’t think there was one bad move in the bunch. All wrestlers that were moved, or called up, make sense from either a storyline standpoint, or will just be the better environment for the time being. Looking forward to seeing how much of an effect this will have on Smackdown this year as opposed to last, which I’m already considering an improvement from the 2017 shakeup.
Mellabration: Since her heel turn, I believe that Carmella has steadily improved, and became a dependable character for the brand. I was very pleased when she took the opportunity to call out the crowd not once, but twice, when they wanted to cheer for her. This led to a solid match between Charlotte Flair and Peyton Royce, followed by Asuka’s entrance. All in all, this looks like a fresh women’s division, and I’m looking forward to what’s next.
Main Event: This was a fun tag match with A.J. Styles & Daniel Bryan against Rusev & Aiden English. Both teams worked well together, and put forth an exciting match. The interference from Shinsuke Nakamura was a nice addition, and it saved both teams from taking a pinfall loss, so it keeps both sides strong. I am loving Shinsuke’s new attitude, and look forward to the follow up.
Luke Harper vs. Jey Uso: This match gets a miss for two reasons, the length and the follow-up. While it was a distraction that led to the quick loss, I felt the decision to lose so quickly was misguided, as it was merely a setup for what followed afterwards. Therefore, a pre-match attack would have been enough. As I have noted in the past, the Bludgeon Brothers are dangerously close to cheesy territory with those mallets, and it doesn’t make them appear tough or scary. I appreciate the effort in tying Naomi in to make it more personal, but the acting didn’t do anything for me, and was a little too over the top.
Big Cass: While I have no issue with Big Cass coming to Smackdown; the miss is more of a personal disappointment in how he handled his return. For instance, without Enzo, Cass had come across somewhat bland as a solo star. When he got injured, I was hopeful that he would use that time to freshen up his character and look. Therefore, when he returned, it was the same ol’ Cass that we last saw. Even when he attacked Daniel Bryan, he just stood there with his arm raised for what seemed like forever. I do believe that Cass can become a big player, and obviously this was his first night back, but I’d like to see more from him in the future.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 4/10: Carmella Cashes In, Nakamura’s heel promo, Orton-Roode-Rusev, Usos-New Day, Shane introduces Paige