Shore's WWE Smackdown Hit List: Two bright spots in Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro and Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio, but Smackdown misses on the whole
By Chris Shore
WWE Smackdown Hits
Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro: A big Hit and arguably the only redeeming thing about the show. Both men worked hard and they used the no DQ stipulation well without overusing it. My only quibble with the match was Seth Rollins running in, and even that is more personal preference than something to really criticize. You wait till after the match to have Rollins run in and you protect Cesaro in his loss just a little bit more, but again, no harm here. Cesaro putting the boots to Ambrose protected him enough, and the continued use of the curb stomp as Rollins gets over on Ambrose just adds more gas to an already red-hot feud.
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio: A Hit for match quality here. The ending of this match was never really in doubt, so it was hard to buy into any Reigns near falls. But both guys worked hard and put on a good match that overcame that handicap. I also finally figured out what it is about Reigns in ring that leaves me unconvinced about him. Reigns is better in the ring when he's working from behind. His offense is more about his explosiveness than his raw strength, so it's better to watch him comeback than it is to watch him dominate a match. He'll need to fix that if he wants to be successful at the top of the card. A guy that size can't sell the majority of every match he is in without losing credibility.
WWE Smackdown Misses
MizTV: This was just plain bad. OK, Miz's parents got a laugh out of me because she plays it so straight and Miz's dad is…well, Miz's dad. But other than that, the segment was a big miss. Miz's promo wasn't all that effective. Bo Dallas was good here, but wasted--at least I hope he doesn't get attached to this feud; he needs his own. Dolph Ziggler's promo just didn't ring true. His babyface promos always sound like pandering to me. The nail in the coffin was the abrupt end to MizTV to hype some other stuff and then go to commercial, only to come back and find a match between Dallas and Ziggler. Yes, the match flows logically from the segment, but the odd cut-away before the commercial break told viewers to move on, so the two things still felt disjointed.
Usos vs. Rybaxel: This was a good match, but I have to give it a miss for the twin magic finish. If the Usos want to steal* moves from Jeff Hardy because they can physically do them, great. If they want to steal the overplayed Bella finish simply because they can, I'll pass, thank you.
Overall show: Smackdown felt like a glorified house show. There was very little forward momentum on storylines. Ambrose and Rollins had a brawl. Miz and Ziggler had a thing. And the Divas crammed in a couple of story beats in two minutes. Outside of that, it was basically here's Bray Wyatt. Here's Roman Reigns. Here are the Usos. Et cetera. Some more cohesiveness in storytelling from Monday to Friday would be nice. The in-ring product is often heavier on Friday, and I appreciate that, but that doesn't mean they have to totally forsake storytelling.
*I use the word "steal" with no negative connotations. There is a quote, attributed to Pablo Picasso, "Good artists borrow. Great artists steal." I wholeheartedly agree.
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