By John Moore
I did not see WWE Smackdown live, but these are my real-time thoughts as I watched the January 21 edition.
– Ah, what a good commentary team does to this viewer. Mauro Ranallo is amazing, Byron Saxton is awesome, and a return to heel Jerry Lawler is astounding. If only this team can call PPVs. Oh Gawd! Miz TV, it reminds me of when Smackdowns were missable, which was around three weeks ago.
-We’re getting a strangely large amount of Chris Jericho in the past few WWE shows, it really has me wondering if Jericho is planning to insert himself into the main event picture with the handful of injuries on the WWE Roster.
-“The Royal Rumble is Mine!!!” is much better than “Anyone but you Roman.” Bray Wyatt is still the guy who mostly gets booked in even steven feuds and even loses a few of his many never-ending feuds. Hell, did the Wyatts have to lose to the Dudley Boyz last week? WWE has the pieces on the table with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan but they just serve as Wyatt’s glorified cannon fodder. I always hope that WWE will finally get this right, but hope may be lost, look at poor ol’ Wyatt brother Bo.
– It’s honestly baffling now, I’m really not sure if Jericho is hamming it up on purpose or really thinking that he’s funny with his rooty tooty booty thingy? Oh Look! the Usos and they aren’t trying to summon the spirits of the Slammy Awards with their tribal dance. And there’s Dolph too…
-You know it’s the MacMillitant! Comin’ to get it ooooonnnn. These pointless six man tag team filler matches are really missing the director of Thuggin’ & Buggin’ Enterprises setting them up. More props to either Saxton or whoever fed him the line that getting a higher number equals a better chance to win the Rumble as opposed to usual WWE statistics of dividing one by the number of wrestlers. Saxton also had a nice comeback to Lawler’s small flub on commentary. Why has Byron Saxton (Smackdown version) become one of my favorite pro wrestling commentators? I did want to see him and Wade Barrett be a big league tag team back in FCW so maybe that’s why, and he’s showing why he was a solid Play by play…
-Good commentary or not, this match and the presence of Dolph Ziggler screams filler match and I’m just waiting for it end. It’s a shame that WWE aren’t telling stories around the talented New Day champions. The fact that Dolph is in this match is testament as to how they refuse to even bother trying to book the tag division at the moment. It also has me sad that they aborted his feud with Tyler Breeze, with Breeze being demoted to jobbing on Main Event.
-Speaking of Dolph Ziggler. Ric Flair seems motivated as a manager and it might be nice to see him take on Dolph as a protégé. As for the woman in the ring. Becky Lynch continues to gain momentum with her in ring work and passionate promos. With the amount of fire she shows in her promos, she reminds me of a female version of Drew Galloway. They even use the same words just with Becky not being allowed to use the words “Pro Wrestling”. One more thing I would like to know, where does Becky’s steampunk inspiration root from.
-Miz TV can be hit or miss, so I hope that this one serves as a hit for the Last Man Standing competitors. What’s also cool about Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens being featured in this spot is that it positions them in a main event position. Baby steps, but it looks like there is some effort to make the IC Championship a (mostly) Smackdown exclusive title. It helps that Ambrose is Raw’s wildcard main event talent. This can be good for WWE if they are consistent; but when will be the perfect time to go full bore with a format reboot to the blue brand?
-Hmmmm… Dean is still a bit zany with a cheesy joke here and there, but there is a bit of that Jon Moxley sadistic resolve integrated in with is always welcome and what helped bring him to the dance. On the Owens side. The guy is allowed to talk! He’s a mute on Raw which is a shame because the guy is golden on the microphone. He doesn’t overdo it on the mic either, he essentially tells his opponents that they suck in as many ways that he can say it. He is the king of disrespect and WWE should trust this guy to carry on feuds on the mic in addition to the ring.
– Oh! Here’s come cool fantasy booking for the Intercontinental Title. Ambrose retains the title, moves on, and loses the title to a debuting Samoa Joe on the main roster. One can dream again right?
– No Goku instant transmission from the Wyatt’s this week? Ah… It’s Ryback, the poor guy has no chance. Is that black sheep mask there to hide Braun Strowman’s random smiles? He was overdoing it so much last week that I thought he was trying to go back to being a Rosebud.
– Ryback has said that he’s been trying to add more agile moves into his arsenal and it shows in the ring. He’s doing frog splashes, superkicks, running splashes, and other moves that we usually wouldn’t expect from such a muscular guy. It’s also unnatural, but you gotta respect the effort that he’s putting in to improve.
– Eh…. Stardust and Titus O’Neil. This show always needs that feud that never ends match.
– The Sin Cara injury has become a blessing in disguise for Kalisto, he’s really endearing himself in these simple yet effective promos. That was also a pretty simple and effective beatdown that put some heat on the League of Nations. Too bad the League of Nations are still barely at around the same level as the Wyatt Family.
– Oh oh! Roman is doing that weird face that he tends to do in his promos. At least he isn’t talking about his magic beans anymore. Believe that!
– League of Nations still reminds me of League of Legends, except in the League of Nations, only one man is a “Champion” as opposed to the “Legends” all being called champions. Also, it’s strange watching Wade Barrett put the extra effort in to try to avoid physical contact in these matches.
– Oh! Barrett has upgraded to being allowed to grab feet. The Uso Bros seem like the strangest babyface run-in team. At least they are the only babyfaces that consistently come out to even the odds for people like Reigns or Cena.
– While the ending is looking solid, I can’t help but think that this is a repeat of what happened at the end of Raw, just extracting Brock Lesnar from the picture.