Opening Segment: Smackdown got off to a good start this week with Renee Young interviewing Daniel Bryan. It was a good way to follow up last week’s loss, and get Bryan’s perspective on what lies ahead. I appreciated him emphasizing his goal to eventually become WWE Champion again. His attack on Big Cass was a nice touch as well, as it made him look tough, no matter the size difference.
New Day vs. The Bar: I really enjoyed this match, and felt that with the Money in the Bank qualifier, both teams were motivated more than usual to win. It places importance on how valuable the briefcase is, and how every member of the roster wants a chance to be involved in the match. I also like how the company is “freshening” the Money in the Bank match so to speak by having different participants and including tag team wrestlers.
Royal Mellabration: This gets a minor hit for the participants involved, and the execution of the story; however, considering that we just had a Mellabration a few weeks back, it was close to being repetitive. Carmella is continuing to embrace her role as an annoying heel, and is doing a wonderful job. Paige’s interruption was a smart choice, as it not only gave her the opportunity to be in front of the crowd, but led to the announcement of Asuka as the next challenger. I’m curious to see which way the WWE goes with Carmella, and if she’s going to be the type of champion who barely wins matches, or if this will be the end of the road for her reign.
Cien Almas Debut: This was the proper way to debut the former NXT Champion for a few reasons. Firstly, it gets him out in front of a passionate fanbase that has been known to follow NXT. Secondly, it was against a local talent, which gives him an easy win and an opportunity to show off his move set. The post-match promo was also well done, and I’m looking forward to how Almas progresses.
Main Event (The Good): While some of their prior matches haven’t always met fans expectations, I felt that both A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura had a great match. In fact, this could have been their best to date. Both were given a substantial amount of television time to tell a good story, and I was intrigued with the pending stipulation factor. The right person won the match, and I liked the psychology displayed by Nakamura. Him pretending to be hurt only to manipulate Styles and the referee was well done.
Absolution Break Up?: Understanding that Paige has moved onto another role, I am not entirely on board with a possible breakup between Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose. This was of course teased during the triple threat match between the two of them against Becky Lynch. Both wrestlers are still too new on the roster to go their separate ways, and I feel that if they do split, it could hurt one (or both) more than it could help.
Main Event (The Bad): While Styles and Nakamura had a great match, the decision to have them wrestle against each other on television for the fourth time in less than two months was poor. It loses its shine after having the same match consistently, and Smackdown has been known for its repetitiveness in the past. There are many ways that the WWE could have gone to get the same “pick a stipulation” goal, including a beat the clock challenge. Hopefully, their match at Money in the Bank will give them an opportunity to successfully end this feud and move on to other things.
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.
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