WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 3/25: Reigns in Lesnar treading water, but effective and a step back for Rousey/Charlotte


Analysis of the WWE Raw hits and misses


WWE Smackdown Hits

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jimmy Uso: This match was well enough to kick off WWE Smackdown as both guys can go in the ring for sure. This would start the theme of the evening though with a lot of current champions losing. I didn’t mind this one as much though because Nakamura & Rick Boogs need some momentum going into WrestleMania next weekend. I don’t anticipate that The Usos will be losing at Mania so getting as much heat behind Boogs & Nakamura going in is probably the best idea.

Sasha Banks vs. Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega vs. Shayna Baszler: This was a mild hit as all four women worked really hard to put on a good match. With that said, the Women’s Tag Titles division is so cold that even a 7 star match in the Tokyo Dome wasn’t going to help jumpstart this division going into Mania. I’m assuming we’re going to get a title change at Mania and, if I were a betting man, I’m going with the dark horse team of Ripley & Liv Morgan. A week or two ago I’d have gone with Banks & Naomi but I just have a gut feeling that Morgan & Ripley are walking out with the titles. I do, however, have 7 days still to change my mind!

Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar segments: We are officially in “treading water” territory with these guys. Considering how many times we’ve seen these guys lock up in the past I don’t mind that. They’re also teasing one more confrontation this Monday on Raw and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got one final showing by both men next week on Smackdown also. Both guys are at the top of their game right now so I have no doubts that the match will be very good at Mania. They’ve kept most of the physicality between these two off of TV so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big blowout on WWE Smackdown or Raw next week.


Ridge Holland vs. Xavier Woods: Well, it was a match. That’s about all I can say for it. So, is this setting up New Day vs. Holland & Sheamus at Mania? Next week on Smackdown? Mania pre-show? Who knows!? I’m also pretty sure that the ring announcer Samantha Irvin goofed up and spoiled the surprise return of Xavier as well, but more on that later.

Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair promo segment: Welp, this took a step back this week. Granted, you can’t do a hot segment each week with attacks or it’ll feel repetitive. Having said that, and I never thought I’d say this, but Ronda Rousey has turned into a charismatic black hole. Her promos are lifeless. She also managed to NOT put over the idea that beating Charlotte would be a big deal by saying she’d be just another competitor she’s going to beat. I have little doubt that their match will be good at Mania but the build to it has been a rollercoaster with some peaks but some really low valleys as well.

Ricochet vs Angel/Ricochet vs Humberto: So, tonight WWE managed to beat its Intercontinental Champion twice in 10 minutes. If any forethought had been put into this, Los Letharios could have been put in matches leading up to this to make more sense instead of it happening right before Mania Weekend. If I’m looking for a silver lining (and trust me, I was looking for a bunch of them tonight), at least this sets up what should be a really fun triple threat match next Friday night on Smackdown for the IC Title.

Pat McAfee and Austin Theory: Another “treading water” segment. So why is Theory running to Mr. McMahon for cover here? Is Vince going to get involved still at the last minute? Tonight didn’t do much to push this story along. I feel like there’s still a layer of storytelling missing before next weekend. I was hoping to get it tonight but perhaps on Monday or next Friday. We still don’t really know why McAfee is having this match and why his opponent is Theory. I hoping we’ll get some sort of bombshell next week to add some heat to this match.

Smackdown production issues: Twice tonight it seemed like the ball was dropped with some things. Most probably didn’t catch it but, hey, that’s why I’m here. The first occurred when ring announcer Samantha Irvin, seemingly, ruined the surprise of Xavier Woods returning. Once he did, Kofi quickly announced that Xavier would be taking the match with Holland. Then, when we returned from break, it was a surprise to Michael Cole that Xavier was taking the match and not Kofi. Later in the evening, more confusion ensued when it was announced that Ricochet would be facing Angel in a “Championship Contenders Match.” However, as we went to break, the graphic said otherwise (Humberto instead of Angel). When we returned from break, it was actually Ricochet vs. Angel instead of Humberto. I’m only speculating here but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one of those afternoons where Vince McMahon tore up 3-4 versions of the script of the show tonight thus leading to these mistakes. It might not seem like much, but I expect a bit better from the biggest pro wrestling/sports entertainment (you take your pick) company in the world.

Overall show: This week’s WWE Smackdown was largely skippable. It was loaded with video packages and backstage interviews that did nothing or very little to progress any storylines. Most of what was done in front of the live crowd was also forgettable and didn’t move anything along with the exception of the IC Title storyline that has been thrown together at the last minute. Not every show needs to be newsworthy or game changing but considering this was the penultimate Smackdown before Mania, it would’ve been nice to see creative stagger some of the newsworthy things between shows to avoid tonight being so forgettable and disappointing. I fear that Smackdown next Friday will be much of the same since it’s literally the night before Day 1 of WrestleMania.

CATCH-UP: 3/25 WWE SMACKDOWN TV RESULTS: McDonald’s “alt perspective” report on Reigns-Lesnar build, Nakamura-Jimmy Uso, Banks-Baszler-Ripley-Vega Fatal Four Way

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