Smackdown Thoughts- Night 2 Of The Shakeup
WWE is half shook up. Raw pillaged Smackdown on the Monday night show just gone, (go to the home page to read my thoughts on Raw) and it's time for the tenants of Tuesday's show to do the same! In past years during the draft, Raw has put the blue brand over its knee and well and truly laid the Smackdown, with the only fair trade really being the inaugural one in 2002. Let's see if this show restores balance the way it was 15 years ago.
-Opening segment, a good start. The arrival of Kevin Owens, the US Champion! Now, they're not announcing specifically who was traded for who, but you would have to think this is a pretty clear swap for IC Champ Dean Ambrose. Anyway, Owens comes out with a closer shave and a suit, and here I am thinking the Prize Fighter has gone corporate, but it seemed like KO just wanted to look classy on his first night on the job. He is interrupted by AJ Styles (praise the wrestling gods, the Phenomenal One stayed on Smackdown!), and soon after, the next new acquisition, Sami Zayn (given the events of Raw, potentially swapped for Miz). Baron Corbin comes out to talk about taking Owens' US title, and GM Daniel Bryan appears to make the night's main event- Corbin vs. Zayn vs. Styles for the no. 1 contendership for the US title!
-Gee, lucky all those guys decided to go out there and talk about issues surrounding Owens and his US title, what would the main event be otherwise? But seriously, this sounds like an excellent match, and my mouth is near watering at the prospect of AJ Styles and Sami Zayn facing each other.
-Why is Erick Rowan still a thing? He can't do much of anything when wrestling outside of a decent spin kick. He's facing Randy Orton. You know, the WWE Champion? Yeah, that guy. Rowan smashes Orton in the head with the stairs about 5 minutes in after Bray Wyatt appears on the Tron for the distraction. So, Rowan is still Bray's bitch even though they're on separate shows now.
-No explanation as to why Randy Orton, Smackdown's top champion, has to go to Raw to defend his title at one of their PPVs, Payback. Hopefully, Raw has to do something for SD in exchange- like when WWE sent Christian to TNA and he looked like he had a gun to his head- but I'm not holding my breath.
-American Alpha vs. The Usos! Amazing match for 10 minutes of Smackdown TV. I feel really bad for these teams. Great chemistry but they're not being given a chance to shine. No one outside the most hardcore fans is going to remember these TV bouts, they need a big PPV stage. Usos win fairly cleanly after some frenetic action though, so I hope this isn't the end of American Alpha. They proved themselves to be so great in NXT, did nothing for months on Smackdown, then won and lost the titles as an afterthought. Sad.
-Shining Stars attack AA... yeah, not even a fair trade for Slater and Rhyno, and Mojo Rawley faces the newly-signed Jinder Mahal (for Curt Hawkins?) next. Ugh. I can kind of justify the moves from how I view them as talent (for example, I view Jinder and Hawkins at the same level), but Jinder will receive something of a push while Hawkins will just get KOed by Big Show every few weeks.
-Mojo levels Jinder with a running punch for the win, before leaping into the crowd to celebrate with Gronk, who threw his beer in Jinder's face as a Wrestlemania receipt. Punishment for giving Balor a concussion on Raw? I can only hope. Reckless fuck. Seriously, go watch that match on Youtube, it was brutal. Unfortunately, I feel like this is just the beginning of a feud with thew Andre Battle Royal winner, which Jinder does not deserve, even though I'm not that high on Mojo either.
-Shane O Mac comes out for a "State of the Women's Division" address. All the current SD women are summoned- wow, the field looks way less sexy with Alexa Bliss gone. Shane then gives the big build up for a tremendous athlete and daughter of a Hall of Famer- whoops, bait and switch, Shane was talking about Tamina Snuka. Legitimately forgot she was still employed. Smackdown really got shafted in this deal. Wait, now here comes Charlotte like most of us expected. Charlotte and Tamina does not equal Alexa and Mickie though, not even close. Some peeps in the crowd were chanting "we want Asuka". Really? Are you not paying attention to this show? Last time I saw a televised fucking that was this graphic, QLD destroyed NSW in the State of Origin.
-Sin Cara and Rusev are coming to SD. Boo to the former, yay to the latter. Where's Lana though?
-As if we haven't made it clear that the new SD is full of jobbers, the newly solo Aiden English (Gotch asked for hisr release last week) revives his singing gimmick, only to be interrupted by the Perfect 10, Tye Dillinger. Dillinger wins in short order with the Tyebreaker, and what I've learnt in the past couple of weeks is that the competition on Smackdown is way easier than NXT. Tye goes from a big losing streak down there to running through people up here.
-Ooh, Lana gets her own separate video package! Looks like she's going to SD to be part of the women's division. Her new character seems to be a dancer- so think Summer Rae when she was with Fandango, except, y'know, hot. Okay, Lana fills the sex appeal void that Alexa left.
-Ziggler's angry heel promo 101 is interrupted by Shinsuke Nakamura! Ziggler just isn't convincing in this "bitter veteran" role, but he can still work and bump like a motherfucker. Perfect first opponent for Shinsuke on Smackdown.
-Via video package, we find out that the New Day is headed to Smackdown. Byron Saxton (who is also new to SD) is beside himself with excitement. A little surprised by that move, I thought the Club would be moving over. One of the better moves though- adds a lot of star power and personality.
-Main event time, Styles vs. Zayn vs. Corbin. I love it when they put Baron in these triple threat situations- he gets time to shine with big spots but he doesn't get exposed the way he might in a singles contest. Styles and Zayn have an excellent finishing sequence ending with the Phenomenal Forearm for the AJ victory. Damn, I really hope we get AJ vs. Sami one-on-one soon.
Overall, I think Raw definitely got the better end of the trades. Raw got 3 former WWE champions, SD got none (we got a Universal Champion in Owens, but it's not the same yet). Shining Stars and Tamina are people I'd future endeavour, not give a new start to. Curious to see Lana solo, Rusev get a better spotlight, and of course Sami Zayn get a shot as one of the top guys. Also wondering if New Day can freshen up their act, they were getting very stale, I feel. I'll try and give everything a chance before I condemn it totally though.
I won't be writing NXT or 205 Live blogs this week. Over the next couple of days, I'll be putting together a special post looking back on the career of the Undertaker, so that'll be a good one.
Until next time, take care,