WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 7/16: New era kicks off with SNME feel, finally Finn’s time, guest commentary woes, more

BY NICK BARBATI, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Finn Balor - July 30, 2016 - NXT: Houston (c) PWTorch.com

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Hits

Saturday Night’s Main Event…on Friday

The formatting of the show gave me flashbacks to the old Saturday Night’s Main Events with the main event match taking place in the first segment. It was absolutely the right move to start off with the six man tag to have Edge, Roman Reigns, and company benefit the most from the electric crowd. This felt like the ushering in of a new era in WWE even if it featured the familiar faces of decades worth of shows. The match itself was fun and did more for anyone wanting to see Edge vs. Roman Reigns than anything else since Edge’s first return.

Finally Finn’s Time

Finn Balor is a total star. His time away in NXT was a great break for him from the main roster to rewrite the narrative of his career trajectory. Balor was presented as a big deal here opposite the always wonderful Sami Zayn. Here’s hoping this is the start of a spectacular second act.

A Little Vince Goes a Long Way

Six words from Vince is still more important than any twenty minute promo in the WWE. Vince’s appearance was special for the live crowd and even for the fans at home as it makes a show feel more important than the typical.

People’s Champion

I don’t think anyone thought Carmella had a shot at walking away as Women’s Champion, but her match with Bianca Belair was certainly a ‘moment’. The crowd heat especially added to this match, and it felt like a main event for any arena regardless of gender. Belair appears to have fully won over the live crowd during her time as champion in the Thunderdome.

Finale Four Way

It may have been the last match, but it wasn’t the main event. With that said, after a barrage of commercial breaks, the four way did a good job of closing the show with a big ladder spot from Kevin Owens. I would say it is now unlikelier than ever that Seth Rollins will not be winning Money in the Bank due to his big win tonight….or maybe his hideous suit from earlier in the show.

Misses

New Set, Old Look

The new set is big, that much is fore sure. I actually would’ve preferred a much smaller set and a re-emphasis on the audience as a near 360 focal point of the arena. None of these updated sets seem all that much different than the ones before them and this could’ve been an opportunity to really reign that in.

Guest Commentary Woes

No amount of fan presence could drown out the awfulness of Zelina and Liv on commentary during the women’s tag match. It was one of the most annoying moments of nearly any WWE show I’ve ever seen. Pair that with a simply serviceable match in the ring, and this was one of the weaker elements of the entire show.

Sad Tale of Cesaro

No matter how much the Alpha Academy act is being pushed, the idea that Cesaro could not get a win over Otis shows just how far he has fallen. You could almost feel Cesaro’s deflation from the moment of his entrance and the rest of the segment just felt sad from that point on.


CATCH-UP: 7/9 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: Keller’s report on first post-Thunderdome show in Houston with Reigns & Usos vs. Edge & Rey & Dominik, Belair vs. Carmella for Women’s Title

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