SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Becky Lynch – Asuka – HIT: The interplay between Becky Lynch and Asuka took up several segments at the start of Smackdown and was Hit or Miss. It was good enough to be a marginal Hit. I liked how it started with Lynch showing up. I could have done without the silly bit with New Day and Heavy Machinery and the protein shake. Becky’s promo was great. She is carrying herself very well and truly understands her character as well if not better than anyone on the roster. Asuka needs to learn how to cut a promo. She can work around the language barrier better than she does. Her mannerisms are odd at times, particularly the random yell she let out at the end. The IIconics were ok in their interruption. I was worried we’d get a tag match at that point like how Ronda Rousey and Sasha Banks teamed up on Raw. So, I was happy with the strong statement that ended the opening segment when Becky challenged one of the IIconics to a match. The match that followed was good, but too long. Payton Royce hasn’t been strong enough lately for Becky to need 8 minutes to win. Then Asuka just pulled Billy Kaye into the ring to force her into a match. How did that qualify as an official match? Asuka got a much stronger win which was an interesting way to go to make the Champion look stronger than the challenger. But, given that Becky is more popular than Asuka (who is popular too), that might make sense.
Joe Destroys Ali – HIT: The attack from Samoa Joe on Mustafa Ali before their match could start was one of the highlights of this show. It was very well done. Joe should be kept strong and Ali should be protected in his early run on Smackdown. So, having Joe attack Ali from behind and destroy him before they could have a match made sense. Joe was great in his performance and Ali sold the beating very well. The second time when Joe threw Ali into the ring post was particularly memorable.
Mysterio vs. Andrade (not Cien Almas) – HIT: The attack by Joe on Ali was a highlight of the show. This match was THE highlight of the show. This was the best match of the year so far in WWE. This was a follow up to them facing in a tag team match last week and once again ended with Andrade getting the win over Rey Mysterio. The match went 18 minutes and had a great build from the slow feeling out process early on to the series of counters and near falls as the match reached a crescendo. It was exciting to watch. Salina Vega’s reactions at ringside were good as she showed frustration whenever Mysterio kicked out of a pin attempt. It will be interesting to see where WWE goes from here with these two.
Mandy, Jimmy, Naomi – MISS: This was a big Miss. This is one of those storylines where WWE expects us to turn our brains off. Jimmy Uso telling his brother that he didn’t know what he was going to do about Mandy Rose didn’t make much sense. Jimmy going into her hotel room acting conflicted didn’t make sense. He had a plan to set up Mandy to get attacked by Naomi. So why was he conflicted outside of her room where she couldn’t see him? Why did she have two cameras in the room with her if her plan was to make Uso look like he was cheating on Naomi with her? Did she not know that everyone would see her admit her plan? The whole thing was so stupid.
Shane McMahon’s Birthday – MISS: This was also so stupid. I continue to hate the storyline involving The Miz and Shane McMahon. The Bar are a good act and there are talented tag teams on Smackdown who haven’t gotten a push as The Bar is constantly working with The Usos and The New Day. So they finally decide to give another team a Title shot against The Bar, and it is Miz & Shane? The love fest isn’t good. It hurts Miz. The weird Air Jordan commercial in the middle was bad. And what would have happened if The Bar didn’t come out? What was Shane’s planned main event? He didn’t want to be there for this birthday celebration, but it was what he had planned to end Smackdown. That doesn’t make sense. And the match that it did set up wasn’t anything special. The bump that Cesaro took off the apron through the table looked dangerous and wasn’t needed for this angle. And then Shane looked like he broke his hip on the coast to coast leap. Maybe he should stop doing that.
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. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera.