SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Too Much of a Great Thing
Talk about ruining a WrestleMania main event by over performing. Daniel Bryan shined brighter tonight as a babyface in the opening segment and main event than anyone else has in WWE this entire WrestleMania season. His reminder that he has wrestled more in three weeks than Roman Reigns and Edge have in the past three months combined might have been a fatal blow to the scheduled Universal Championship match for a live crowd. Pair that with a high quality cage match with Jey Uso which was capped with the strongest Lebell Lock in recent memory and it all seems impossible to think of Edge as a better challenger for Reigns than Bryan. It is vital that Bryan be given a meaningful WrestleMania match for both his and the fans’ sakes. Not helping the situation is that Bryan and Reigns have tangible chemistry – far greater than anything we’ve seen out of Edge since his return.
Best of Big E
That highlight videos of Big E promoting his return was the best use of the Intercontinental Champion since Christmas night. That simultaneously says as much about the great WWE production team as it does the terrible booking of a would-be top player in Big E that his very best moment is when its not a live performance.
This was an even better week for Apollo Crews with a further development of his motivation with a better overall promo compared to last week. This was a great advancement of what has already been an upward trajectory for him. Sure, this might’ve delved too much into the “character,” but it has been so long since anyone in the mid-card seemed to have such definition and depth to their history noted on television. It seems as if the movement for Crews is in an upward direction. That could come in the form of an Intercontinental Championship win or perhaps even beyond if that feels too small for where they want to go with him.
Making of Mysterio
Call me a Dominik Mysterio fan. The good news is that the worry of a catastrophe when watching Dominik wrestle is officially gone and the good news is that he’s actually quite good. Dominik’s height works well to differentiate him from his father and his match with the ever incredible Chad Gable was enjoyable in that it was without all of the baggage of bad storytelling often associated with these acts. I’m more excited for Dominik’s future than I was a couple of weeks ago. I’m even more excited for Chad Gable’s presence. In making Mysterio, he is making himself.
More of the Mediocre
Despite a significant amount of combined talent, all of the interactions between Sami Zayn, King Corbin, and the Street Profits are so meaningless that it seems absurd to even care. The shame of it all is seeing basic principles of wrestling (i.e. the rules of setting up a match) just thrown the window to get us to the next segment. Yet, no one seems to grow or benefit at all from this mediocre mid-card action. Zayn remains a high point of WWE TV, but even he can’t carry two throwaway segments with a much staler cast of characters surrounding him. His ability to not suffer from losses is a testament to his performance, but Zayn deserves much better and it shows.
Circling the Drain
The women’s division segment was nothing short of a tragedy. Seeing Shayna Baszler suffer another underdeveloped loss was brutal. Pair that with the clumsy, slapstick silliness with Reginald, and you have a sure fire exciting WrestleMania match starting to circle the drain. It would all be funny if it wasn’t so sad watching four talented women of underrepresented communities being completely undermined by a man – and not one of any significant stature. Surely there was someone else that could’ve absorbed the loss here other than Baszler. Jax would’ve been better and it all just shows that the carelessness of the women’s writing on Raw is in real close proximity to encroaching on the Smackdown team.
Takes Three to Tango…Badly
So the mysterious case of the vanishing Murphy has (sort of) been solved, but are we supposed to just forget about Aalyah Mysterio? Is she still in whatever vortex Murphy has pulled himself out of? The pairing of this confusion with a barely-there advancement of the Cesaro/Seth Rollins program made for a night that will disappear from your memory quicker than a mint in your mouth.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES: WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 2/26: Evergreen Daniel Bryan, Cesaro’s star shines, and a familiar formula for Reigns