SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Opening Segment – HIT: Smackdown got off to a good start with more build towards Kofi Kingston defending the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Orton started things off well with a strong promo talking about how stupid Kingston is. Kingston got to outsmart Orton in response by distracting him with his music only to attack him from behind. Kingston showed good fire in beating on Orton and setting him up to injure his leg the same way The Revival had injured Xavier Woods the night before on Raw. The problem is that when The Revival started coming to the ring, Kingston clearly had plenty of time to leap off onto Orton’s leg and still go and attack them. He really did look stupid for not doing that. It was ridiculous. It was a bad ending to an otherwise good segment.
Andrade vs. Crews – HIT: This was a good first round match in the King of the Ring Tournament. Apollo Crews has talent in the ring, but hasn’t connected well with the audience. In this match, he did a few hand gestures to signal his moves. He raised the roof to signal a gorilla press and then he made an NBA traveling sign to signal his standing shooting star press. That’s fine to do, but you have to already have strongly connected with the fans and built anticipation for those moves before doing those types of hand gestures to signal them. Otherwise, the fans are not going to care which was the case here. Crews also hasn’t been built up to the point where he needs to be protected. This is a case where Andrade getting a clean win would have been better. It was still a good match with the right wrestler winning, so it is a Hit, but a marginal one.
Moment of Bliss – MISS: This was boring. Like on Raw, it seemed like Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross were playing heels here, so I think they are heels, but I’m not sure. Either way, Bliss and Cross have more personality and come across as much more interesting to me than either Charlotte Flair or Bayley. But, after the beginning of the segment, they were silent. We got to hear Charlotte’s monotone mic work talking about wanting to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship to bring it to new heights. I hate that. She should want to win to show that she is the best woman wrestler. Why should she care about the rest of the division? I did appreciate that Bayley said that being the Champion means she’s better than Charlotte, but her mic work was far from inspired. It was dull. It didn’t make me care about a match between the two. The shove at the end was supposed to give Bayley some edge, but it mostly made her look like a jerk.
Murphy vs. Bryan – HIT: This is the second week in a row where Buddy Murphy was in the best match, not just on Smackdown, but all of WWE tv. He had a very good match against Daniel Bryan that went 12 minutes. I would have loved to see more of it as I was enjoying every minute of it. Murphy getting the win was a nice surprise. He needed a win as he can’t just be a guy who looks good despite taking a loss each week, especially when he doesn’t look good in his backstage segments. He was positioned here as a babyface and got a strong reaction as the match proceeded. It will be interesting to see where WWE goes from here with him.
Zayn and Nakamura – HIT: I am intrigued by Sami Zayn becoming the mouthpiece for Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura does speak English, but with a heavy accent which can be hard to understand some times. He has been showing more intensity in the ring since becoming Intercontinental Champion. Zayn is very entertaining on the mic and can help bring another aspect to Nakamura’s act. Their beatdown of The Miz worked well. I want to see more of this duo going forward.
Elias vs. Owens – MISS: The wrestling action in this KOTR opening round match was fine. But, Shane McMahon being at ringside hung over the match as you knew it couldn’t end until he got involved. I’m sick and tired of this storyline. I don’t tune into pro wrestling to see crooked referees, or evil authority figures doing quick counts to screw babyface wrestlers. I get that we are supposed to want to see Kevin Owens getting revenge on Shane down the line. But, he already got revenge on him in a victory at SummerSlam which didn’t settle anything. Why should I believe their next match will be any different? Also, Owens looked meek throughout the show for begging Shane to take away his $100,000 fine and apologizing for putting his hands on Elias. By losing in the main event, it underscored how emasculated he has been the last two weeks. Owens moving forward in the tournament would be more interesting than Elias. Elias vs. either Murphy or Ali doesn’t interest me at all. Also, David Otunga’s forced heel commentary filling in for Corey Graves wasn’t good. It was bad throughout the night, but reached a crescendo in this match, especially when he asked how Owens got screwed at the end. Vic Joseph filling in on Raw was way better since we didn’t have to deal with the stupid forced heel commentary and the stupid forced contentious banter between the announcers.
Reigns Mystery – MISS: It is crazy that WWE officials aren’t actually trying to figure out who is trying to murder Roman Reigns. It is crazy that WWE officials would be ok with Bryan and Rowan having a man with a hood on being held captive in the locker room. The scene in the back with Reigns talking to Murphy wasn’t good. “I think it was Rowan.” “Are you sure?” “Pretty sure.” “Pretty sure isn’t good enough.” Zzzzzzzzz….. Sorry, I fell asleep thinking about it. Then of course, we got the final reveal of who is under the hood, the identity of the man who according to Bryan and Rowan is the one who is trying to murder Reigns, and it turns out to be a Rowan look alike. What was that crap? I suspect a lot of fans are enjoying the mystery more than I am, but I can’t imagine too many were happy with that reveal after waiting a week to find out what Bryan said he uncovered last week.
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.
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