WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 7/2: Shelton Benjamin, Ali video, Samoa Joe-Kofi Kingston segment, The KO Show with Shane & Drew, Bryan vs. Big E, Heavy Machinery

By Jon Mezzera, PWTorch Specialist

Shelton Benjamin (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)


KO Show – MISS: I had mixed feelings about this opening segment. I wanted to see a babyface Kevin Owens after he returned from injury earlier this year. While we got it for a brief period, we didn’t see much of it until he turned heel on The New Day. This felt like WWE going towards another babyface run. He walked out on Sami Zayn last week, but there was absolutely no follow up on that this week. I did love how he acted like a babyface here in his interviewing Shane McMahon and then even more so in the way that he responded to Dolph Ziggler. That was great stuff. But as I said in my Hits & Misses for Raw, the Best in the World bit has played itself out and I don’t care about him and Drew McIntyre talking about Undertaker and Roman Reigns. Plus, Ziggler hasn’t been lighting the world on fire since he returned. So, much of this left me cold. I wasn’t excited about the main event match that Shane made, nor the prospect of having a team added to the Smackdown Tag Team Title match at Extreme Rules to make it a triple threat.

Bryan vs. Big E – HIT: This was a nice match between Daniel Bryan and Big E. It underscored the importance of Rowan to Bryan as he cheated to help Bryan get the win. It was nice to see Bryan get the win, even with cheating, since so often the champions lose their non-title matches, so this went against that trend.

Moment of Bliss – HIT: I enjoyed the Moment of Bliss with Nikki Cross guest hosting and interviewing Bayley. This continued the nice storyline they’ve been telling with these two and Alexa Bliss. Bayley was good in her accusations against Bliss and in pointing out that Cross is the one deserving of a Title match instead of Bliss. Cross was good in defending her friend while being the naive friend who is being taken advantage of.

Bayley vs. Cross – MISS: While I liked the interview segment, I didn’t like the match. Or more specifically, I didn’t like that the match happened. The whole story has been that Cross deserves a Title match against Bayley instead of Bliss. Here, she got a match, albeit a non-Title match, against Bayley, but she lost. You had to keep Bayley strong, but Cross needed the win too. So now you’ve taken away the theme of the angle. How can you keep saying that Cross deserves the Title match instead of Bliss when she just lost to the Champion?

Ali Video – HIT: That is the type of video that I wanted to see from Mustafa Ali as opposed to the one from last week. This got back to his original 205 Live character in a way where he wants to show that he can be the WWE Champion despite his name, how he looks, or where he comes from. He spoke right to the fans. He made a mission statement which includes becoming the WWE Champion which should be everyone’s goal. It is just that his purpose for that goal is different from everyone else.

Kingston – Joe – HIT: This was a good verbal confrontation between Samoa Joe and Kofi Kingston. Having Joe start the segment off by warning Kayla Braxton to get out of the ring was a good way to show that this was a serious situation. Both Joe and Kingston gave good performances on the mic here. It was well scripted and well acted. I was intrigued by the offer that Joe made to Kofi to shake his hand. Joe’s promise to not attack anyone close to Kofi if he shook his hand was interesting. Kofi’s reaction to that with the middle finger instead followed by the Trouble In Paradise worked well. Joe has shown he can get the better of Kofi, both in attacks from behind and in a match, so Kofi getting the better of Joe in this case was a good way to go.

Heavy Machinery Interview – MISS: Heavy Machinery were all over the place in their interview about facing Ziggler & Owens for a chance to be added to the Tag Team Title match at the PPV. They are fun to watch in the ring and can be good outside of the ring. But, here they were very annoying. It was almost like they were trying to come up with a new catch phrase, or remember their catch phrase, but they couldn’t so they just said things like we’re going to take care of business, or we’re coming, and none of it was compelling.

Andrade vs. Crews – HIT: This was a pretty good match with a decent backstory. WWE has had some interaction between Andrade and Apollo Crews over the past few weeks to lead up to this match. It wasn’t anything special or super memorable, but it gave a mid-card match a story so that it didn’t feel like two random wrestlers thrown into a meaningless match. They performed well. Zelina Vega is so important to Andrade’s act, that it was good to see her get involved. But, we already saw a similar finish in Big E vs. Bryan, so this felt redundant. Andrade getting the win was the way to go, so hopefully this will be the start of a push for him.

No IC Title Follow Up – MISS: Where was Finn Balor and Shinsuka Nakamura this week? Their program for the Intercontinental Championship barely started last week with a non-verbal challenge from Nakamura. We needed to get something more from them this week. Nakamura should have had a squash match. Balor should have commented on Nakamura’s challenge. Last week wasn’t much of a start, but it had promise. This week, there was no development at all and that wasn’t a smart move.

Aleister Black – HIT: This was a nice follow up to Aleister Black’s vignette last week when someone finally knocked on his door. We found out that nobody was actually there, so someone is trying to play mind (or “spirit”) games with him, which he loves. The tease that we would find out with Black who was picking that fight at Extreme Rules worked well.

Shelton Benjamin – MISS: What was that all about? Even if there is some good reason why WWE had this weird bit with Benjamin looking around at a fly or something and then oddly smiling when asked about who will win the WWE Title match at the PPV, why was he asked in the first place? They could have had a series of these videos with Smackdown wrestlers giving their opinions in a straight up manner, leading to this weird one from Benjamin. Instead, we got this totally out of any context. Why was someone interviewing Benjamin in the first place?

Ziggler & Owens vs. Heavy Machinery – MISS: The first part of this match was totally overshadowed by the guest commentary from New Day and Daniel Bryan which led to their brawl. New Day looked more like the heels here in attacking Bryan & Rowan, and looked like they got what they deserved when they got beat up by the Tag Champs. So, why did the match have to be restarted at that point? If they didn’t want any wrestling on the commercial break, they could have just had confusion and what not with the referees trying to get control of the situation, without the cheesy official bell ringing to restart the match. That focuses on this new policy in a way that wasn’t needed. It wasn’t as bad as if this match had been randomly 2 out of 3 falls, but it wasn’t good. The wrestling itself was ok, but nothing particularly special. The babyface team only won because the heels had a miscommunication. The stunner from Owens to Ziggler at the end was ok, but he didn’t really come across like a babyface like he did in the opening segment, so it is hard to put my finger on where WWE is going with him.

Follow me on Twitter @JonMezzera (pretty clever handle right?). Just be aware that I don’t live tweet Raw, I don’t tweet much about wrestling, and I don’t tweet much at all.

For another viewpoint, check out Jason Powell’s original “Hitlist” column on ProWrestling.net covering this episode 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 jmezz_torch@yahoo.com.

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