SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 4/29: Pearce uses logic, 50/50 booking in tag team division, Rousey and Flair Beat the Clock Challenge

By Tony Donofrio, PWTorch contributor

Ronda Rousey set for WWE Raw return
Ronda Rousey (art credit Joel Tesch © PWTorch)




Sami Zayn vs. Drew McIntyre: First things first, why was “escape the cage” an option to win this match? I believe that the rule is purely a WWE thing that goes back to the WWWF days of Bruno Sammartino where it was used to protect the champion from taking a legit loss (pinfall or submission). But, in this case, Adam Pearce should’ve made this a “traditional” cage match where escape was not an option to win especially since that’s all Zayn has done lately. That match itself was mainly everything I expected with Zayn being a bump machine but I still groaned every time Zayn went to escape for the cheap win. This was a nice bow to the end of this mini-feud even if I wasn’t happy with the idea that “escape the cage” was an option.

Ricochet vs. Shanky (Intercontinental Title): I’ll start with the positives. First, it’s nice to see Ricochet get some post-WrestleMania wins to help wash off the pre-WrestleMania stench that was his booking. Also, I’m not saying he was great, but Shanky seems to move a lot better and is more athletic than Omos is on Raw. A win over a giant for Ricochet is a step in the right direction if WWE decides to keep booking Ricochet strong post-Mania. I’m not sure how I feel about this bout being a stepping stone for a Shanky and Jinder Mahal feud but Ill reserve more judgement for that later. Mostly good stuff considering the players involved here implores me to give it a mild hit.

Raquel Rodriguez vs. Cat Cardoza: Basically a showcase/squash type match for Rodriguez. Ho-hum but needed to help build talent in front of a new audience so I had no problem with it.

Adam Pearce uses logic: It may seem small to some but Pearce sticking to his guns on keeping the Unified Tag Title Match in place was an applause for me. Why would Roman want this match?! He pushed for The Usos to go about unifying the tag titles. The decision to switch this to a six-man tag match negates that match or, at the very least, postpones it. Did Vince McMahon get cold feet about unifying the tag titles or is he just delaying this to help prolong the story? I’ll wait and see but I don’t understand Paul Heyman’s logic for pushing for this match considering it removes or delays The Bloodline’s opportunity to have “all the gold.” The silver lining out of this was Pearce not being made out to be a fool because I actually agreed with his decision over the “higher ups” that overruled him. I’ll give this a mild hit due to that fact even if I hate the booking logic (at least at this point) but am willing to see if it plays out into a longer story.

Xavier Woods vs. Ridge Holland: This match was well enough and Woods continues to get over his Back Woods finish effectively becoming the ROH version of Bryan Danielson that used a small package finish basically a full year (maybe more) at one point. Holland is still a bit green but he’ll only improve more as he continues to work with guys like Woods and Kofi Kingston.

Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus: 50/50 booking of these teams continues and I assume we’ll get some sort of conclusion to this story at Backlash. I can’t say anything bad about the match itself as both guys worked pretty hard and put on a solid WWE-style match. The punishment of New Day post-match though leads me to believe that they’ll also come out on top when this feud is all said and done. I’d prefer to see it go the other way as New Day is mostly teflon at this point and can absorb the losses but I suppose we’ll see what happens. The Butch saga also continues and is a an embarrassment to the former Pete Dunne.

Lacey Evans Chapter 4: This seemed to be the finale of the Lacey Evans story. I assume we’ll get her re-debut at Backlash or perhaps the Smackdown right before or after. WWE has done a fine job with these up close and personal segments and I’m excited to see what is in store for Evans coming out of this. I’d like to say that this can’t be botched but I’ve seen WWE botch things like this before. However, I’m still hopeful.


Happy Talk: I feel like I’m in a time loop. A month ago I was optimistic to see Madcap Moss split from Corbin. I knew we’d get a feud between the two but I also thought we’d see Moss shred the terrible gimmick. That hasn’t happened. Now I’m again hoping that once the feud ends we’ll get the same resolution with Moss going a different direction. Having said that, I lose more optimism weekly. I still am surprised that no one has pointed out that the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy seems to be the same trophy annually with an updated plate on the side with updated names (like the Stanley Cup). Corbin stole something that doesn’t “belong” to anyone technically, in my eyes. The brawl between Moss and Corbin was well enough but I can’t help but think that Triple H wouldn’t have been thrilled with Moss’ mishandling of the sledgehammer.

Contract signing w/ RK-Bro and The Usos: This was entertaining while it lasted but the trope kicked in when it turned into an all out brawl…before the contracts could be signed no less! Another trope also kicked in when Randy Orton & Riddle also stopped fighting to watch Roman Reigns’ long entrance. Distractions in WWE also seem to turn things for the worse and this was a prime example of this. Not every distraction should be a complete turning of the tables but that almost always is the case in WWE. I also was not a fan of how quickly McIntyre was able to discard The Usos so quickly on his way to the ring. All six wrestlers in this segment have built up some credibility and for Jimmy & Jey to be discarded so quickly had me shaking my head a bit. A mild miss if only because this was WWE trope heavy even if it was still mostly entertaining.

Shayna Baszler vs. Naomi: The match itself was pretty decent but why is Naomi going over here? Sure, Natalya & Naomi got some heat back after the match was over but I don’t see why Baszler couldn’t have been booked to win here. I’m curious to see how, presumably, Natalya and Sasha Banks will be booked next week before their title match (this is also me assuming that match is taking place). If we see Banks go over then maybe we’re getting another title change at Backlash.

Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi (Beat the Clock Challenge): Well, this doesn’t bode well for Shotzi. I though maybe she’d be given more post-Mania but being put in this sort of match doesn’t say much for what is planned for her. I also hate the idea that she ran to “buy herself some time.” Is she conceding defeat? Why not try to win the match? If she wins the match that actually makes her look better than “buying time.” I just hated the logic put into this match. Not a fan of this leg of the challenge.

Charlotte Flair vs. Aliyah (Beat the Clock Challenge): The first part of my statement about Shotzi also goes for Aliyah. Remember when she defeated Natalya in less than 4 seconds? Me either. At least Aliyah was attempting to compete but I suppose that makes sense as a gritty, underdog babyface. This went better as the second leg of the challenge but didn’t exactly get me excited more for their title match. I’m still not certain the idea of dragging Drew Gulak into this Smackdown Women’s Title situation. I suppose the “wait and see” technique will be best here as I’m now wondering if there’ll be a swerve due to Gulak at Backlash but this felt super flat as an end to the show.

Overall Show: More hits than misses this week but I feel like the weight on the misses definitely outweighs the hits. The Charlotte-Ronda stuff just seems to be dragging at this point. The weird addition of Gulak to it does nothing for me at this point. The idea that we aren’t getting a Unified Tag Title match that a lot of people seemed to be excited about for weeks now is very disappointing. Why was the Shinsuke Nakamura angle with Roman Reigns dropped and never brought up again? He was on Smackdown last week as a lumberjack so I assume he’s not injured. He seemed like the placeholder for Roman for this month and maybe even next if he was booked properly. I said it last week and I’ll say it again. There are a lot of WWE stadium shows later this Summer and Fall. I’m surprised they’re already moving into Roman and Drew feuding this soon. Maybe I’m wrong and there’s a grand plan but it feels a bit rushed. Next week is the go-home show and maybe they can make some of these matches feel more exciting going into Backlash then.

Tony Donofrio is a Contributor for You can contact Tony at and follow him on Twitter @TonyDonofrio.

1 Comment on SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES 4/29: Pearce uses logic, 50/50 booking in tag team division, Rousey and Flair Beat the Clock Challenge

  1. “believe that the rule is purely a WWE thing”. So you admit that you know NOTHING about wrestling. WWE aren’t the only ones that do that, and they weren’t even the first ones to do it. I guess you are proof that PWTorch doesn’t require it’s staff to actually know anything about wrestling.

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