SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
The New Day vs. The Usos for the undisputed tag team championship – MISS
For me, this match was never in doubt not the fault of the workers; it was more the booking and build of this match. WWE put this match together on two weeks’ notice when you could have built this match for a month plus. The work was solid to good; nothing about the match blew me away.
The Usos going over was the right call, and hopefully, the plans are for Sami and K.O to dethrone the Usos sometime in 2023.
Smackdown world cup – HIT
Tournaments are always a fun and simple way to build feuds.
The tournament is an excellent way to have synergy to promote the World Cup broadcasting on FOX.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Santos Escobar – HIT
Classic numbers game advantage was the story of the match. The action was okay overall. I would have liked to see a lot more from Santos, but you could tell WWE has made it clear to Santos to slow down his pace. This is unfortunate because Santos had good to great matches in NXT.
I enjoyed the finish to the match, with Santos delivering an Avalanche Phantom Driver for the win.
L.A Knight Bray Wyatt backstage promo – MISS
All these weeks of building only for Bray Wyatt to interact with L.A Knight, (yeah), of all people. On the surface, if Bray were to pin L. A Knight it would be harmless. However, Bray came off as more as the heel in this situation than a top baby face.
Six pack challenge number one contender’s match – MISS
Generally, multi-person matches are a home run for WWE but not in this case. Besides Xia Li looking good in moments, this match was unforgettable until the botch. Man, not sure what the idea was with that spot with Liv Morgan, but the moment felt like it lasted ages. I hope all three ladies are okay in the aftermath. The prospect of Shotzi Blackheart vs. Ronda Rousey intrigues and terrifies me simultaneously. The unique offense Shotzi provides could add some needed spice to match against Rhonda at Survivor Series.
Braun Strowman vs. Jinder Mahal – HIT
The match was quick. Braun got his big guy spots in and power-bombed Jinder for the win. Looking at the bracket, this seems like WWE is building up Braun to win the Smackdown World Cup. We will have to see if Braun’s recent heat backstage will cause any changes to this potential plan.
Viking Raiders return – HIT
The dark spooky Viking gimmick stinks; however, the Viking Raider’s offense does not. Their work looks and sounds nasty, which fits their style completely. I’ve mentioned this in previous reviews, but I’ve worried about Hit Row and their overall direction moving forward.
Bloodline closing segment – MISS
This closing segment was not very Ucey. The promo was short and without any substance. The potential men’s Wargames pairing is the Bloodline vs. Brawling Brutes with Drew McIntyre, and one more person feels rushed. Wargames should be the blow-off for a big feud, but it’s more about getting the matches just for the stipulation at the PLV.
Final Thoughts: One guy shouldn’t make or break a show, but the presence of Sami Zayn was missed on this episode of Smackdown.