KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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Opening Segment – MISS: It is amazing to me how WWE can take criticism of a segment, like last week’s terrible opening segment with Baron Corbin making fun of Roman Reigns’s Big Dog nickname, and instead of fixing the problem, they double down on it with a dog mascot this week. I saw a lot of people praising Corbin for the work that he was doing in the King of the Ring tournament and shortly there after with the start of his reign as King. I didn’t agree. Sure, he has improved, but he still isn’t good enough to get the type of push he gets. He has been proving me right the last few weeks. This was boring and silly. Having Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode alongside him didn’t help. And did I mention how stupid the dog mascot was?
Ali & Gable vs. Roode & Ziggler – HIT: At least that bad opening segment led to a good opening tag match. It sounded like Mustafa Ali got his first name back which is great. I never dropped it in my coverage, so I am going to continue using Chad Gable hoping that he drops the idiotic Shorty G persona. Getting bak to the match, this was a fun 12 minute match. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ali and Gable form a tag team going forward. I feel they bring more interest to Team Smackdown for Survivor Series, so having them win make sense.
New Day vs. Revival – HIT: This was a pretty good Tag Team Championship rematch. It wasn’t as good as the match last week when The New Day won the Titles. But, it was still a good stretch of wrestling action before The Undisputed Era came in and ruined the ending. That is more of the battle for brand supremacy which I don’t care about. It is more of WWE not having an actual ending to a match, in this case a Title match which should mean more. The announcers should have been more upset about that aspect of it. So, I will call this a marginal Hit for good wrestling action despite some reservations about the ending.
Women’s Survivor Series Situation – MISS: Nikki Cross was trying to earn a spot on the Smackdown Women’s team for Survivor Series by beating Bayley. That was presented as being an important match for Cross’ career. But a few minutes into it, it was interrupted by an attack by Shayna Baszler. So that’s another match with an important (supposedly) stipulation ruined by an NXT run in. One of the major problems with the battle of brand supremacy is that it kills off storylines and feuds and damages wrestlers on the individual brands. Why would Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai, and Mia Yim coordinate an attack on Smackdown with Baszler when they are all feuding with her and her team on NXT leading to a War Games match the night before Survivor Series? Sasha Banks didn’t want Cross on her Survivor Series team which is why she had to beat Bayley in the first place, but she was happy to team with her on Smackdown? Like wth Walter last week, I would have saved Ripley’s first “main roster” appearance for something more important than this.
Bryan et al – MISS: I wasn’t a fan of anything that Daniel Bryan and those around him were involved in this week. The hocus-pocus stuff with Bray Wyatt turning the Universal Title belt blue was silly. I like a lot of what Sami Zayn does and was at least a little intrigued by his attempts to get Bryan to join with him and Shinsuke Nakamura. But this week, Bryan just matter of factly told Zayn that he wasn’t interested in joining them in a throw away back stage scene which focused more on shifting Zayn and Nakamura to a potential feud with Braun Strowman. That was totally anti-climactic. The closing segment had Bryan as The Miz’s guest on MizTV. Nobody came across as likable here. The Miz is a babyface. I think Bryan is a babyface. But of course, with their history they can’t get along. I appreciate that WWE is keeping that idea going. That is at least consistent that no matter what role face or heel Miz and Bryan are in at any given moment, they don’t like each other. But, they suffered here as they both felt more like heels than faces in their arguing. They continue to drag out the issue of whether or not Bryan will renew the Yes! Movement. Bryan is playing up that he is mentally unstable. Okay. Wyatt showed up to hint at the fact that he is going back to the storyline of Bryan joining and then quitting the Wyatt Family years ago. The yes-no bit with the puppets was terrible. The end also felt anti-climactic to get to The Fiend vs. Bryan for the Universal Title at the PPV.
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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 email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonMezzera