SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Karrion Kross car crash – MISS
A WWE Raw segment from 2000 to open Smackdown. When Karrion Kross is in a car wreck not sure if it’s a baby face move by Drew to jump Karrion when he’s seeking medical attention. What’s worse is Drew shouted to Karrion with similar verbiage Karrion has used since this feud started. I assume this program carries over to Crown Jewel in another stipulation match.
Backstage Bloodline segment – HIT
I can not say enough good things about Sami Zayn when he’s involved in these segments. Whether backstage or in-ring, Sami hits a home run each time.
Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn – HIT
The action in the match itself was okay; nothing to write home about. However, the finish of the match was excellent. Typical roll-up finishes are lame, but when it’s Sami Zayn, the finish is ideally within his character and the story WWE is doing between Jey and Sami.
Braun Strowman squash match – MISS
I’m a fan of squash matches for someone returning or a new debut, but Braun has been wrestling the likes of Chad Gable Otis for a while now, and quite frankly, those matches were better than this one. It’s been known for a few weeks that Omos and Braun was a program WWE was building. So it makes sense from a spectacle standpoint at Crown Jewel, but I am skeptical that the match on the night gets a rating higher than three stars.
LA Knight vs. Mansoor – MISS
The placement of the debut match was good in theory, but then L. A Knight cuts a heel promo while he won the match as a baby face. L. A Knight is an acceptable act to keep in mid-card, but I’m not sure I want him holding a mid-card title anytime soon.
Damage CTRL vs. Roxanne, Shotzi and Raquel Rodriguez – HIT
Roxanne is far and away one of the best workers WWE has on their women’s roster and should be called up ASAP. From a quality standpoint, Roxanne had one of the better individual performances on television in ages. But unfortunately, there’s a bigger problem on the backend of this match. An age-old WWE trope Roxanne a new star, debuts, and you pin her in her debut match. You only get one debut on the main roster Triple H should handle those moments with care.
Hit Row vs. Legado Del Fantasma – MISS
Good grief, where to begin with this one? This debut match went two minutes and was highly disappointing. An open goal to easily tease this match out for a few weeks, but nope the match was given to us cold as hell with zero build. The work for only two minutes was sloppy, and I sometimes thought I was watching a match laid out for the performance center. Legado Del Fantasma won, which is fine, but Hit Row has only been on Smackdown for two months, and the group seems like an afterthought already. I don’t have much faith in Triple H committing to Legado Del Fantasma long-term.
Rey Mysterio vs. Solo Sikoa vs. Sheamus vs. Ricochet – HIT
I’m amazed at how Rey Mysterio, at his age, can still look so electric in the ring. The baseball slides Rey does defy logic. Also, there was a nice callback from Lucha Underground between Rey and Ricochet toward the end of the match, and it looked fantastic. Promising developments within the match with Solo and Sheamus. It’s best to pair the Brawling Brutes with someone new at this point, and a Solo and Sheamus match down the road should be good.
Bray Wyatt promo – MISS
My primary problem with this promo was Bray, as the character can’t show his actual emotions and then have his new fiend character speak to him directly. Some people might have more leeway or let this play out a while longer, but I can tell this act is not for me.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Aside from new debuts and developments, Bray Wyatt will continue to be the primary focal point on Smackdown that isn’t the Bloodline.