WWE SMACKDOWN HITS & MISSES (4/12): Cody comments on his contenders, Bloodline shake-up, Bayley’s promo, Logan Paul, Triple Threat matches

By Charlie Cate, PWTorch contributor

A.J. Styles talks new world championship
A.J. Styles (art credit Joel Teach © PWTorch)


Hit : WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Cody Rhodes promo

A to-the-point promo from Cody Rhodes to open Smackdown. I liked his brief comments about the six contenders vying for the first shot at his championship. The fans are with Cody. It remains surreal WWE stuck the landing in their mission to find a star worthy of unseating Roman Reigns as the promotion’s top champion.

Speaking of which, can we get some clarity on what we’re calling that title now? There’s been too much variation recently from wrestlers, commentary, and ring announcers when announcing the title. My opinion – it took long enough for fans to get adjusted to the loaded name of “WWE Undisputed Universal Championship” so let’s just keep it that way.

Thumb in the Middle: Number One Contender’s Triple Threat Match – Santos Escobar vs. Bobby Lashley vs. L.A. Knight

Triple threat matches for title shots always feel a little silly given that one or two of the contenders feel unworthy of the spot. L.A. Knight has the most momentum of anyone in this match and it made sense for him to win. Escobar has time to grow and rise up, but WWE needs to be careful on where they slot Bobby Lashley. He hasn’t lost all of the momentum gained from his main event runs as a top champion years ago, but it won’t last forever if he’s losing matches like this and rubbing against struggling new groups like The Final Testament.

Hit: The Bloodline promo – Paul Heyman, Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso, and the introduction of Tama Tonga

Solo’s entrance feels big time. I’m a fan of the lighting choices as he appears on the entrance stage.

Heyman’s comments on behalf of Roman Reigns were intriguing. Roman’s stance of not making excuses and being accepting of his defeat at WrestleMania to Cody upholds his confidence and intelligence. A win over The Tribal Chief is an accomplishment, but it’s going to take a larger body of work for anyone to compete with Roman’s track record on the WWE stage.

Solo’s hostile takeover of The Bloodline breathes new life into the family’s saga. We’re finally going to see some range from the former enforcer as he moves into the leadership role for the group while The Rock and Roman are away. The bar is high for new Bloodline members to make the same impact as their predecessors, and I’m hoping Tama Tonga has something unique to offer over time.

Hit – Promo: WWE Women’s Champion Bayley

The fans are behind Bayley as champion. For the sake of her status as a top star and the championship itself, I hope she builds a resume of strong title defenses this year.

Hit – Promo: WWE United States Champion Logan Paul

“The Logan Paul Leveque Era.” Brilliant. Logan continues to entertain outside of the ring and deliver when the bell rings. Hot take – Logan Paul joins Gunther as worthy options to eventually unseat Cody as the next WWE Undisputed Universal Champion.

Hit – Number One Contender’s Triple Threat Match – A.J. Styles vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kevin Owens

Good match. I anticipate A.J. moving past Knight to be Cody’s first challenger. Their match should be great in a PLE setting. Styles was also Roman’s first challenger after he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 32.

OVERALL: A great episode of Smackdown to cap off a very long week in WWE and pro wrestling in general. The latest twist in The Bloodline storyline made the episode a must-see, aided by the appearance of the show’s top champions Cody Rhodes and Bayley. Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend wrestling fans!

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