By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
Sami Zayn and Cesaro vs. The Miz and Kevin Owens: At first glance, this was just another Smackdown tag main event involving four singles wrestlers. Of course, it was much more interesting because the four men will face off in the four-way for the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules. The match was effective in establishing more issues between the heels leading into the commercial break. Zayn did his usual nice job of selling coming out of the break, then Cesaro took the hot tag and had a crowd pleasing run of offense. The finish of the match was cool with Zayn catching Cesaro with an accidental Helluva Kick to give the two babyfaces and issue with one another going into the four-way. I’m curious to see if they do more with that on Raw or if it’s just forgotten.
Chris Jericho attacks Dean Ambrose: Jericho delivered a believable beatdown of Ambrose while playing tribute to Ozzy Osbourne with his pronunciation of the word crazy. I’m surprised that he and Ambrose were able to make it through the angle without cracking up. The Ambrose promo that preceded Jericho’s attack was well done, and I got a big kick out of Jericho telling the fans to drink up the gift that is him.
Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch: It’s a shame that Emma suffered a back injury after this match was taped. I was looking forward to seeing what she and Brooke would do on the main roster. Fortunately, Brooke is good enough to fly solo while Emma is out. She comes off as boisterous and self absorbed as the most obnoxious of the Housewives reality shows, which should make her a very good heel character if she’s positioned properly. Lynch losing the match was not damaging. She was the victim of the numbers game and clearly the plan was for her to get a tag partner. I’m not sure where it will go now that Emma is out, but Lynch is still likable and high energy enough to absorb the losses.
Aiden English vs. Kofi Kingston: English delivered a good promo complete with his usual singing. English and Kingston quickly made the live crowd take notice when English ran Kingston into the ring post. New Day’s popularity and Kingston’s flashy offense kept the fans engaged, and I liked the finish with English holding the ropes while pinning Kingston.
Charlotte and Ric Flair: An interesting promo with Charlotte looking completely uninspired by her father’s lines. She defended her father to start with by saying that what happened to him on Raw was a travesty. She looked intentionally dejected once Young asked if her loss to Natalya was a sign of things to come, but she also had to be nudged by her father when he wanted her to woooo. I’m not sure whether her character is selling a lack of confidence or if she’s upset with her father. Either way, I’m interested.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows vs. The Usos: A minor Hit. Let’s face it, these matches should feel so much bigger than they do. WWE has damaged to Anderson and Gallows by having them lose falls, matches, and be manhandled by Roman Reigns in a two-on-one situations. There was a comically bad spot with Gallows charging at an Uso, who ducked, only to have Gallows continue running toward the ropes on the other side of the ring where the same Uso followed and threw him over. I’m still not sure who was supposed to be hurt when one of the Usos leapt onto Gallows at ringside and they tumbled awkwardly to the mat. Still, a couple bad spots are not the major concern here. WWE has to do a better job with Anderson and Gallows or they will be just another WWE tag team in no time.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Rusev vs. Sin Cara: After losing to Sin Cara on Monday, Rusev needed Lana to pour water onto guest color commentator Kalisto in order to create the distraction that caused the tide to turn in this match. They make it so hard to care about the U.S. Title.
Goldust and Fandango vs. R-Truth and Tyler Breeze: Okay, the teams are finally slotted properly. I would be mildly enthusiastic if I thought they had any intention of doing something with Breeze and Fandango. This is all about Truth and Goldust, and I can’t believe how much television time they have wasted getting to this point.
Darren Young and Bob Backlund: The creative team seems to be having fun with these skits. I’m not sure I see how it carries over to the ring. For that matter, I don’t get the sense that anyone is even thinking beyond the skit stage. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong. I’m just not finding the humor in this and I don’t even get the Donald Trump inspired slogan/spoof.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...