WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 4/2: Edge finds his voice, Belair ready for WrestleMania, more

BY NICK BARBATI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE and Complex Sports

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Hits

The Homestretch

A thrilling final segment of Smackdown has us heading into WrestleMania at just the right time with all of the pieces coming together at the perfect moment. Daniel Bryan is the backbone of making it all work and the finale on the stage with Roman Reigns locked in the Yes Lock was the moment of hope that inspires energy that is worthy of the match’s placement. Jey Uso remains an unsung hero of Smackdown and while it’s a shame that he won’t be able to have a significant WrestleMania match, he is just as vital a contributor as anyone else to create the quality that we see weekly.

Edge on the Edge

Edge is finally a hit. Finding a voice that fits took a long time, but now that Edge has smoothed out his motivations and character, he is fully resonating. It definitely stands out that his overall look has greatly evolved from Royal Rumble to now, with the latest addition being his beard dye-job, but overall he looks stronger and like a credible threat for the championship. On the mic, he was infinitely more impactful this week and no longer seems like an unwelcome, ill-fitting addition to the Smackdown universe.

Greatness of Bianca

Bianca Belair continues to outperform all of her peers and the writing she has been paired with by leaps and bounds. It was a good move to position her against Carmella, one of the few female Smackdown wrestlers that has not been defined down as an ordinary, even-Steven cast member. Belair has consistently gotten better and better in her promos and now stands rightfully as the best female performer in all of WWE heading into her rightful place to be crowned champion at WrestleMania. Sasha Banks, looking like the biggest star on the entire roster, improved this week even if there is still a tinge of awkwardness to her.

Red Carpet, Gold Star

A well played segment between Sami Zayn and Logan Paul – whomever he is – that no doubt would’ve been destroyed in front of a live crowd. Paul didn’t seem to let his ego or being cool destroy the segment and Zayn is on fire right now. Owens is always excellent for the most part and the fact that he hasn’t been over exposed is important. The WrestleMania crowd reaction to all of this will be something to look out for, but more than anything, I’m hoping for a quality match with quality time between Zayn and Owens. Having Paul there does nothing else than at least guarantee that it will get extra attention.

Misses

Laying a Bedazzled Easter Egg

Here’s the real deal on Seth Rollins – he came out looking like a bedazzled Easter egg in the ring for a showdown with Cesaro who seemed to miss all of the marks of passion that are necessary to be taken to the next level. This all seems so beneath Rollins and the clownish attire is doing nothing good for him. It is also damaging to remind viewers that he is engaged to Becky Lynch. Barring a Kim Kardashian/Kanye West style storyline with her sticking with him through some mental breakdown, this is not a good starting point for her eventual return. As for the WrestleMania match, Cesaro will swing himself 37 times back down the card.

Parade of Losers

The women’s division is a hot mess and Shayna Baszler’s continued, ridiculous losses are perhaps the most damning evidence. That we have all gotten used to Baszler losing and it not even damaging her is downright scary. The parade of makeshift tag teams was laughable in terms of quality and more of a parade of known losers than anything else. That all falls fully on the bookers for the talent to be so consistently and predictably abused.

More of the Mediocre

How disappointing to see the tag teams of Smackdown are heading into next week without a WrestleMania match and just being thrown together in a four-way match that will be more of the meaningless. The talent is phenomenal and being wasted weekly by not having any character development. Alpha Academy in particular is shining, but only as much as they can.


NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES: WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 3/26: Bryan takes his proper place in the WrestleMania main event, Belair brings it on the microphone, more

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