SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Ludwig vs. Cody Rhodes – HIT
The match was solid—an excellent way to start Smackdown.
Cody gave Ludwig a ton during the match. It would never be a five-star classic more to provide Smackdown with a Cody Rhodes match on the road to WrestleMania. Cody and Heyman had a Great promo back and forth between each other set up Solo vs. Cody on Monday Night Raw.
Charlotte Flair promo – MISS
Woof, this wasn’t very good. So was Charlotte delivering a college thesis or a wrestling promo? This entire segment fell off the tracks once she acknowledged the (what) chants. Wrestling fans can suck sometimes, but you’ve already lost once you recognize their behavior. Having Flair and Ripley main event night one of WrestleMania is a colossal mistake, and the match will die on its ass on the night worse than this entire feud has.
l.A Knight vs. Rey Mysterio – MISS for the match, HIT for the post-match angle
The match was a fixture to set up for the post-match angle. I like L.A Knight as a character, but I don’t need to see him in the ring for 10 minutes. Dominik Mysterio caused the interference to lead to the L.A Knight roll pin could have been done in 5 minutes. I’ll throw my hands up. I have not liked this storyline, but I can’t deny the pop from the crowd after Rey finally hit Dom for talking to his mother crazy.
Natalya & Shotzi vs. Lacey Evans & Xia Li – MISS
The match was less than 4 minutes; how was it so bad?
You can have a good conversation on how Triple H has booked the women’s division as a whole, but when Lacey can’t even do a primary tag to Xia to leave the ring, what are we doing? This is live on your flagship station. I’m sorry if I sound like I’m going two-footed on Lacey here; Triple can’t continue to put wrestlers on TV who look like they’ve never taken a bump. Natalya & Shotzi won and are now added to the women’s WrestleMania showcase match.
Gunther vs. Butch – MISS
Some thought this would capture NXT lore vibes from these two wrestlers, but this match was too short of hitting its mark. The match was technically sound, but there was too much going on outside of the ring to enjoy this match.
K.O Show – MISS
I was not fond of this at all. The segment was too silly for its own good. This is the tone you set after winning the titles, not before. The Usos jumping Kevin and Sami looked justified to end the show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Cody, Kevin, and Sami, tied to the bloodline storylines, continue to carry Friday night Smackdown. I want more substance throughout the show to provide more variety throughout each episode.
CATCH-UP: VIDEO: PWTORCH FIRESIDE CHAT – WrestleMania 39 preview, predictions, more
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