Moore’s Blog: “Real-Time” WWE Smackdown thoughts on the AJ Styles debut, Titus O’ Neil, and Kalisto’s lack of a U.S. Open Challenge


By John Moore

I don’t watch the show live as it airs due to work commitments, but I do catch it later and these are my active thoughts written as I watch the show.

– It’s funny how in the intro video they play the heroic music for Roman Reigns walking to the back for his coffee break and for his “heroic” return once he was done with his break. You’d think they edit the part where he walked to the back on his on volition out. Seriously, the guy walked to the back by himself rather than man the hell up and fight like the hero that they want him. Roman Reigns essentially did a smarter version of Miz’s plan.

– This opening theme to Smackdown really gives me vibes of the episodes of Main Event that I reviewed in the sense that this era of Smackdown is starting to accumulate that C-Show stank. Hopefully they hit the reset button post Mania. Maybe even bring the giant Smackdown fist out of retirement?

– What is the highlight reel these days? is it just a babyface MizTV? Also, not sure why they don’t just bill Kalisto vs. Neville as a Kalisto US Title Challenge. It’ll fit in with all those promos of Kalisto calling Cena his idol. Also, what did Neville do to earn a US Title shot?

– While the hero of Video Game “Let’s Plays” Xavier Woods is the standout of New Day, Kofi and Big E have really come into their own on the mic. Kofi even got a chance to hang in there with Rock on Monday.

– The New Day get more time to build themselves, which is great, but they are just like Gail Kim from TNA, they are the best in the division, but there is no one else in the division given time to build themselves up because it’s at the expense of building New Day further. Oh! Miz is coming out. Since he’s a +1 on the heel side… Oh… and the Usos +2 on the babyface side. Add two more babyfaces and we’ll need Teddy Long to come out there to make an eight man, TAG TEAM MATCH.

– You know it’s the MacMillitant… Ready to get it oooonnnn… Smackdown really needs to just play that music and have Teddy run out there to announce these pointless time filler matches. Maybe even have David Otunga or someone not doing anything do it. Or check this! Have Alex Riley come out to be the Tag Team Match announcer so we don’t have to see him in the ring or hear him on commentary!

– I heard several casual podcasts and people refer to Titus O’ Neil as “the WWE Charity Guy”. This guy is the real deal, Titus O’Neil, and he’s the real deal at doing this charity thing since in his public interviews, he seems genuinely hyped to do these things for the community. Why is Stephanie McMahon still the face of WWE Charity?

– Something about that dropkick Ziggler went for made it look like he missed by a mile. Thank God for the power of WWE post production on Smackdown. Sadly, Sin Cara 1.0 couldn’t be saved by this luxury.

– I get tired with the Trombone act sometimes, but the wave that included the Miz cracked me up a bit.

– Titus O’ Neil really has something! I know he’s an older dude, but there’s something there! People like his hot tag power moves, he’s a legit nice guy, and the guy can talk! Oh hell! More Titus charity work! I’m a sucker for legit charity work! Give the guy something since he’s giving so much back to the community. Maybe give him that spot that Stephanie McMahon has as the face of WWE Community Service?

– Wait? The US Title match already? There was no effort put into promoting the US Title on the show. It’s so easy WWE, why not put at least a little effort rather than throwing the match out there.

– LOL… They are still announcing Neville and Kalisto as “Slammy Award Winning”! How long will this stick. I didn’t pay attention, are the Usos still “Slammy Award Winning”? Ugh… And Mauro is in on the “Slammy Award Winning” party!

– That was a solid match. That may have been a botch at the end, but I’ll take Mauro’s wording of “modified”. That ending also would have fit more if this were a US Challenge, and Kalisto would have got a clutch victory. This match seemed to get as much attention to it from creative, as TNA does with their pointless weekly X Division Title matches. At least this match had a “Big Match” announce team calling it.

– Does Jericho often use hyperbole? I usually associate hyperbole with Kurt Angle, like when he said teaming with Drew Galloway, Eli Drake, and Lashley was one of his best tag teams of all time. Oh look! Ambrose has a prop, we might be getting the Zany ketchup guy Ambrose.

– I really have to question, and I’ll ultimately try to believe that Roman got a favorable reaction here. But with the fact that this show is post-produced, the fact that they’ve tried to minimize the boos in the Rumble footage, and how those cheers reeked of sound mixing; I still have my doubts.

– There’s a bit of charm behind “Dean’s little buddy” Roman. He’s seems more comfortable in his skin when he’s with Dean and his speeches come off as more genuine. Even when things got heated between the two, you can tell that these guys have each other’s back and aren’t here to sabotage anyone. Maybe the ultimate answer is to turn Roman and have him betray Dean, so that Dean can be the first person to carry him to start off what could be a legendary heel run.

– Oh… The Wyatts being involved here is probably one of those obvious foreshadowing moments that it’s their job at Fastlane to withdraw Lesnar from the title picture and into a program with them. Can we get an “anyone but Braun” moment at least even though facing any Wyatt would be a disappointment.

– When AJ was first theorized to be coming to WWE, one of the first thoughts I had in my head was “I hope they give him a hip hop entrance theme similar to Billy Kidman’s WWE Theme”. Seriously, I’m not sure why that popped up in my head, but I’m glad he got an awesome hip hop entrance theme! And he got Pyro! That already equals upper mid card at least right?

– It’s still surreal seeing AJ in WWE. I was happy to see him freed from TNA, succeed as a top star of New Japan, and now here where he treated like a big deal. I’ll miss the smart and hard-hitting matches he was having with the NJPW roster, but now he has a plethora of new and dream matchups that he can have in the WWE. The one thing you can trust with AJ is that he’s one of those guys that can actually have a strong match with a broomstick (Prince Puma is probably another that comes to mind).

– Word of advice to the WWE Merchandising department, they’d better get to selling AJ Styles replica gloves because I can almost assume that they’d be selling hot. Probably as hot as Cena wristbands and Jeff Hardy arm sleeves do.

– While some may not like Lawler’s big league talk, I’m really liking it myself since he’s showing why he’s one of the best pro wrestlers of all time character-wise. It was nice for him to say that he doesn’t gloat about winning more championships than “anyone in the history of this industry” when in fact he was gloating himself. Classic heel work. He also allows Saxton and Mauro go overcome him while also drawing attention to the in-ring action.

– Giving the Styles Clash away in an enhancement match? Yup, this show has no effort writing-wise given to it. I was hoping they’d do the same thing that Kenta is doing in NXT. This would have been a good moment to have Hennig reverse AJ and AJ lock in the Calf Killer. The only person who’s on point creatively on this show is whoever is producing (or not producing) the announce team (for some reason I sense that Lawler is running the show there and doing a damn good job).

– It’s sad that when I see Natalya come out, I remember how they had her spoil Charlotte’s debut on the Main Roster. But after that I remember Charlotte’s come-to-the-dance party when they had a nice matchup on NXT. There’s a thought, where are those NXT innovations that Mauro was told were happening?

– I’d be okay if they use “Sports Entertainment” and “pro wrestling” interchangeably, but it is freakin’ hilarious that all instances of “Pro wrestling” are replaced with SE. It makes me think that the WWE Locker Room is like the Metal Gear Solid universe, and all the workers are given nanomachines that censor their speech unknowingly. Like when the word “patriot” was replaced with la-le-lu-le-lo in MGS. Can I call Sports Entertainment la-le-lu-le-lo?

– This was a decent match, especially with Natalya being such a good wrestler. Natalya returned just only a while ago so the crowd didn’t really have a chance to know anything about her yet in this new women’s landscape in WWE. Ric is doing a solid job as an old-school manager. And I’m somewhat happy that Becky isn’t being tossed aside fully just yet. I hope what happens on Smackdown doesn’t only happen on Smackdown.

– This Goldust/R-Truth thing is either going to be really really good, or more likely really really bad. The homophobic jokes don’t endear them though, even though that’s a huge part of Dustin’s character history. It also has me wondering why WWE won’t concede to Dustin’s plan of having him feud with Cody.

– Jericho, Roman, and Ambrose. While I’m hoping that WWE has some reference to that story they were telling the last time they teamed out, but I don’t have confidence in WWE given that smackdown doesn’t receive the creative attention it should. The pieces were there tonight to tell good stories, but every match on this show felt like there was just that little bit of attention missing.

– Seeing Luke Harper continue to put in work just saddens me. What did he do to someone backstage to cause the writing team not to see this guy as an asset? In another allusion to a pointless Main Event classic matchup, I’d point you to the last Cesaro vs. Luke Harper match where they had an extended match and you had Cesaro and Harper doing a plethora of Lucha Libre moves with topes, huracanranas, planchas, and Tope Con Hilo’s a plenty.

– Even on most dull nights of Smackdown, Dean Ambrose comes off as a real main eventer on the show. It’s him, New Day, and Kevin Owens that come off regularly as people who matter. That can be a good base of top stars when they finally pull the trigger on rebooting this show. Maybe they listen to people like Reigns and Ryback, and do the brand split with a split in the creative teams as well.

– Eh… I’m encouraged that there is some effort to protect the Wyatt Family. I’m discourage that Braun Strowman is still given the spotlight. He’s impressive in his size, but he still seems like a deer in the headlights.

– Oh what the hell? It’s WWE’s Abyss, the Big Show!

– Hmmmmm. Wait a sec? This is still going to suck at WrestleMania if they do this, but I’m actually hoping that we somehow get to Braun Strowman vs. Big Show only to keep him away from Brock Lesnar who deserves to be utilized better.

– Ugh… Dean’s team stands tall. Oh no! They aren’t using Big Show as a stepping stone for Braun to face Undertaker are they? (just like Lesnar vs. Show a few years ago) Ewwwww… no! I don’t want to fathom the thought. Another disappointment coming out of this match, was the issues between Jericho and Dean were brushed aside unless I missed something. Another example of zero creative effort.

– Smackdown was average, it wasn’t terrible despite my nitpicking. It’s just kinda there and if it didn’t have such a great announce team, it’d just be a glorified version of WWE Superstars/Main Event. I wonder if USA Network has someone who likes wrestling watch this show, and have them force WWE to make it fun and different. Maybe try out some of those NXT influences. Dare I say it. someone from the creative team should secretly hire Paul Heyman as a “creative consultant” to bring back what made Paul Heyman’s Smackdown much better than this neglected piece of a show.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. *complained

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