WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 4/16: Cesaro delivers in the main event picture, shallow star power for post-WrestleMania, McAfee on commentary, more

BY NICK BARBATI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Cesaro (art credit Grant Gould © PWTorch)

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

Hits

Swing for the Stars

It was indeed satisfying to see Cesaro get his first real taste of main event action last night throughout the show. From the opening segment shutdown by Roman Reigns and continuing through the main event, it was made clear that Cesaro is the next stop in Roman’s reign. The only moment where that seemed in question was the last minute addition of Seth Rollins, which seemed like an unnecessary safety option in case Cesaro under delivers. The good news, though, is that Cesaro did not under deliver and he hit every note he needed to through the night. There was a near fatal flaw to his booking (more on that in a bit), but for his part, Cesaro looked like a star.

Resuscitating Rey

It was a necessary win for Rey Mysterio over Otis to keep any level of importance on the former world champion. At this point, it’s clear that wins and losses don’t seem to matter to the Smackdown tag division since they are traded like baseball cards in the 80’s. Rey, though, is bigger than that and this win was a reinforcement that he is still someone that will maintain a level of protection. The best part of it all? No fur on his mask!

Bayley & Belair’s WrestleMania Backlash

Bayley is the perfect first opponent for a newly anointed Bianca Belair and I think Bayley’s uncompromising heel work will go a long way in protecting the sometimes overly-cocky Belair from herself. I didn’t love Belair’s first post-WrestleMania promo but she managed to pull it back together by the end to keep her root-ability in check. With that said, there will be continued good will from the WrestleMania match for Belair to carry with her for a while. Even in her worst moments, her rising star is impossible to ignore.

Misses

Shallow Star Power

Where exactly were Edge and Daniel Bryan? And Shinsuke Nakamura? Why was Sasha given so little time? This did not feel like the Smackdown after WrestleMania in any way. It more closely resembled a Smackdown pre-Fox, which is not exactly the best compliment one can give. I’m glad that this opened the door for Cesaro to get some shine, but if he is given prominence on shows that feature so few stars, is that really prominence at all?

UFO Sightings and Sightings and Sightings……and Sightings

In perhaps the oddest production choice of 2021, we repeatedly got to witness the UFO spot from Cesaro on Rollins with growing hyperbole for no known reason. The weirdest part? It wasn’t event the most impressive moment of the match. The annoying, shoved-down-your-throat factor is not a good approach to keep fans rooting for Cesaro if the support is going to be so heavy handed.

The Shame of Shayna

Another week, another roll up pin on Shayna Baszler. It is just unbelievable how little protection Shayna is given anymore and the absurdity of it all almost takes away the sting of the loss because it is so ridiculous. What a waste of what should be a slam-dunk main event talent being saved for a future with Belair. At this point, her future only points towards Tamina and that is a direction that is decidedly down.

McAfee

I don’t know much about Pat McAfee, but he has a rude awakening in the form of Vince’s production waiting for him. McAfee certainly improved as the night went on, but tended to veer too much into mumbling and speed talking at times. He paired that with overstating moments (most notably the tag match) and not knowing moves that everyone knows. It’s all so odd to see how green the new announcers being brought to TV are and it’s hard to see any of this sticking for long.

Tag Team Turmoil

Another week, another very good tag title match. The bad news? Once again, none of it seemed to matter. That’s not because a title switch didn’t happen. It’s because we continue to see variations of the same dynamic week-in, week-out and will continue to do so until a roster shake up brings new acts in to do the same exact thing.


CATCH-UP: AEW DYNAMITE HITS & MISSES 4/14: Young Bucks click as heels, Ogogo’s effective debut, Mike Tyson helps Jericho match, more

2 Comments on WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 4/16: Cesaro delivers in the main event picture, shallow star power for post-WrestleMania, McAfee on commentary, more

  1. “I don’t know much about McAfee”….I just can’t. Maybe if he only had or didn’t have tassles. The downward spiral of the Torch continues. Sigh.

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