SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
King Corbin – MISS: A snooze of a Smackdown got off to a snooze of a start with this overly long promo from King Corbin about his main event match against Roman Reigns. Man, was this boring! I know a lot of people think Corbin has turned into a great heel, but I still don’t see it. For me at least, he still has go away heat. The whole whimpering dog thing was stupid. It wouldn’t end. And it didn’t make me look forward to Reigns getting revenge in the main event.
Revival vs. New Day – HIT: I would like to see The Revival have a long run as the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, so I was disappointed to see them lose the Title here to The New Day. Having New Day become the Champions once again has a major been there, done that feel it it. But, it was a good Title match. These are two talented teams, and while I would have liked to see them given longer than 9 minutes for their match, it was enjoyable to watch while it lasted. I will call it a marginal Hit based on a short time and the outcome. On a bit of an aside, having two heel teams like Revival and Undisputed Era taking on The Viking Raiders has more appeal to me than the dynamic that was created with New Day now in that match.
Imperium – MISS: I understand the desire to use Imperium on this show considering they were in England and had easy access to them (although I don’t follow NXT UK, so after their appearance on the first few USA episodes of NXST, I’m assuming that Imperium has been back in NXT UK). I know that Tommaso Ciampa called NXT the main roster, but lets be real in that Raw and Smackdown are still the main rosters. They wrestle in front of larger audiences in the arenas and on tv. At some point, Walter might become a Raw or Smackdown wrestler, but this will go down in history as his “main roster” debut. And it was totally forgettable. They were used as part of the NXT Invasion angle attacking Heavy Machinery, but they got easily chased away by the Smackdown roster. There was zero impact to their presence on the show, unlike when they appeared on that first USA NXT.
Nakamura & Cesaro vs. Ali & G – MISS: This Miss is for the fact that a match with Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, Ali, and Chad Gable was given only 4 minutes. Corbin went on and on in the opening segment. At least 2 minutes could have been cut to give to this match. The Imperium attack on Heavy Machinery accomplished nothing. That was a lot of time that could have been given to this match (or the Tag Title match for that matter). As it was, it felt like a waste of a lot of talent.
Banks vs. Cross – HIT: This was a good enough match to get a Hit, but it wasn’t great. Nikki Cross seems to be taking her name too literally as it seemed like she hit about a dozen cross bodies during the match. That got a bit much, but it was still good. The match had good wrestling action and went a good length without overstaying its welcome. Bayley shined on guest commentary. This was the best she’s performed since she turned heel. She helped elevate this match to a Hit. But, Cross’ attack of her seemed unjustified to me. Also, I’m not sure why it had never struck me before, but Cross’ ring entrance is far too choreographed. Every wrestler in WWE has a choreographed entrance where they do the same exact thing when they are on the stage, while walking to the ring, while getting in the ring, and while standing in the ring before the match starts. That’s ok. But, Cross’ character is based on her being a loose cannon. She’s presented as being unpredictable. She is unhinged. She acts crazy during her ring entrance, but in the same exact way every time. The typical choreographed ring entrance doesn’t work for her.
The Fiend Attacks Bryan – Miss: We still don’t know what Daniel Bryan’s big life changing announcement was going to be a few months ago. Now he is involved in another angle where we might never get an answer. Will Bryan bring back the Yes Movement, or join with Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura? WWE partially built Smackdown around this lingering question from the week before with a backstage segment earlier in the show and then Bryan watching the Nakamura tag match. Here, we got another interaction between Bryan and Zayn, but instead of getting an answer, Bryan got attacked by the Fiend. This sets up Bryan as Fiend’s first opponent for the WWE Title, but it paints the babyface challenger as coming from a point of weakness instead of strength. I’m also not interested in seeing magic in pro wrestling. The idea that Bray Wyatt puts on a mask and gets magical powers is stupid. I’m not a fan of him being able to appear and make lights go on and off. Does he have an assistant following him around with a red light? That stuff takes me out of the moment and as I’ve written about multiple times, I know I am in a minority, but I hate The Fiend and everything about it.
Fury – Strowman – MISS: I didn’t care about Tyson Fury before Blood Money. I don’t care about him now. I understand wanting to capitalize on him being in his home country and get him on the show again, but this wasn’t good. We were sent the message that we shouldn’t have invested in his match against Braun Strowman since they are now buddies. They no sold the entire history. Strowman going along with it didn’t make me want to get behind his character. The B-Team did get some genuine laughs and the physicality at the end was fine. We’ll see if this actually leads to a tag match down the line, but I still won’t care about Fury when we get there.
Carmella & Brooke vs. Fire & Desire – MISS: Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose have much more talent than Carmella and Dana Brooke. Deville is by far the best of the four in the ring, and Rose is better overall than the babyface duo too. Fire & Desire could be something special if WWE got behind them in a bigger way. Having them lose here to a team that has never actually been a team before defines them down. Anyone losing to Brooke who is one of the biggest losers in WWE is immediately defined down as a loser. This is a case where I am just scratching my head at the decision makers who thought this was the way to go.
Corbin vs. Reigns – MISS: When it became clear a few weeks ago that WWE was going to go with a feud between Reigns and Corbin, I was worried that this is the match we were going to see. These two don’t have good chemistry in the ring together. Reigns can have great matches, but he isn’t going to have one with Corbin. Corbin has been elevated to good matches with smaller, faster opponents like Gable, but that isn’t Reigns. This was slow and boring. The interference from Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode felt totally random to me. Am I forgetting something? Why were they involved? They didn’t add to the match. And of course, Reigns overcomes what turned into a 3-on-1 situation to win.
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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