WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 5/14: Jimmy Uso adds to the Reigns act, Belair misses on the microphone, authenticity wins with Nattie & Tamina, more

BY NICK BARBATI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


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

Hits

Best Ensemble Cast

The addition of Jimmy Uso to the main event storyline of Smackdown is another, long-awaited boost to the best cast of top tier performers in all of WWE and perhaps wrestling as a whole. Since this past August, Smackdown has become known for the outstanding chemistry of all involved in the Roman Reigns world and Jimmy brings with him history that furthers that depth. The show closing moments highlighted the best of all involved including finally giving Cesaro a true moment to shine without having him feel too protected away from the mic. I don’t believe that coming out of WrestleMania Backlash we will see any major shake ups in the Universal Championship storyline and that patience shown by WWE continues to be the brightest spot of all its programming.

A Moment of Release

Tamina and Natalya’s Women’s Tag Championship win felt special due in lone part to the reaction of the new champions. It was a true moment of release, most especially for Tamina, who has carried with her the ire of so many outspoken fans and also the weight of drama that circulated around her father before his death. Barring some major shift, Tamina is not ever going to be someone that fans will rally around in a monumental way, but this was a reminder that all of these wrestlers were once kids with dreams. True emotion carries a lot, and in this case turned what could’ve been an ordinary, unspectacular win into something memorable.

Looking Forward

I’m very much looking forward to the four-way for the Intercontinental Championship next week, and it feels good to actually have something to look forward to in advance for next week’s Smackdown. This pairing off of Apollo Crews, Big E, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens feels like a final chapter before a shake up in that portion of the card, and while they have all been solid in their roles, it is a change that is needed. While it is difficult to see any of them moving up the card to the main event scene, a mix up to their brands and feuds with the title perhaps revolving around Crews vs. Owens would be a good thing for all involved.

Sonya-Rita

Sonya Deville adds a certain spice to the WWE right now that complements Adam Pearce very well. I’d prefer if she was more fully aligned with just Smackdown, but regardless, she is doing tremendous work in her role. It will mean something when she eventually gets in the ring, and that is more than you can say for about 75% of the women’s roster.

Misses

Now, I Don’t Care

For so long it was clear that no one in the back cares of about the tag team division, and their lack of effort along the way has paid off. Now, I just don’t care. The sad part? This is the exact moment that WWE wants you to care with the potential history-making championship win this weekend of Rey and Dominick as the first ever father-son championship combo. Perhaps it is good news that there won’t be a crowd on hand at WrestleMania Backlash, as I can clearly imagine an unflattering reaction to the Mysterio team. I also just still hate the name Dirty Dogs. It’s just so damn corny.

Bel-fail

This was not Bianca Belair’s best night on the mic. In fact, it actually might have been her worst. There are choices that she makes as a performer that feel like they are losing sight of the woman that the fans most root for and in her case, it requires a balancing act when it comes to confidence and cockiness. Cockiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing but there is a root-ability factor that comes into play if it goes to0 far. Bayley remains tremendous and is not the right person to unseat Belair (that shouldn’t come until months away). Sunday will likely reveal how much longer this feud will go, but there is still seemingly a lot that Belair can learn from the best woman interview on the roster.

Broken Crown

There is nothing positive that I can say about what happened to Shinsuke Nakamura. As a viewer it was never clear if Nakamura was being left off the show or being protected for a bigger day in the future. This week losing within minutes to Corbin and then starting a tug-of-war over a crown made that answer very clear. Chalk this up alongside the stripping away of all mystique around Shayna Baszler as the high crimes of 2021.


CATCH-UP: 5/14 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: Keller’s report on final Backlash hype, Cesaro vs. Jimmy Uso, Jax & Baszler vs. Tamina & Natalya for Smackdown Tag Titles

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