By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
Roman Reigns vs. Luke Gallows: An entertaining big man match. It was nice to see Reigns sell something for Gallows for a change after watching him manhandle Gallows and Karl Anderson simultaneously. The post match brawl did a nice job of delivering good final hype for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match as well as the tornado tag match at Extreme Rules. The end of the show with Reigns and Styles tumbling over the broadcast table before the fade to black was decent. They could have used another minute to really make it feel like a chaotic ending to the show, but I like that they didn’t feel the need to have the babyfaces standing tall the end of the brawl.
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro: I was worried that the match would be more about the commentary early and that it would be more of an angle than an actual match. Instead, we got some really good wrestling with some fun Miz commentary on top of it. I loved the finish. I didn’t expect a clean finish, so the idea of Cesaro punching Sami Zayn to stop him from costing him the match was great. The build for the four-way at Extreme Rules has been excellent. It’s not just babyfaces who have issues with the heels. Rather, creative did a wonderful job of establishing issues between Miz and Owens, and even between Cesaro and Zayn. I’m looking forward to the four-way more than any Extreme Rules match.
Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose: The heel rantings of Jericho continue to be highly amusing. Sure, time stood still as Jericho continued his “drink it in, man” pose while Ambrose snuck up behind him, but this was a decent teaser for the Asylum match. My only complaint is that I wish the tone were a bit more serious heading into a cage match.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus: A good match from two guys who work well together. It’s sad to see Sheamus doing a random job to Ziggler. His star has fallen so much that it’s hard to believe he was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion just five months ago. If this were the territory days, Sheamus and Ziggler would have moved on long ago and would be doing well elsewhere. Perhaps Sheamus will end up following the lead of his buddy Drew Galloway, who has thrived since being released by WWE. I don’t want to overreact to one loss, but it just doesn’t seem like WWE has anything planned for Sheamus coming out of the lousy League of Nations run.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Dana Brooke vs. Paige: A minor Miss. It was a nice showcase win for Brooke, but it could have been positioned so much better. Paige is a former women’s champion so it should feel like a big deal that a main roster newcomer beat her. Brooke’s biggest strength is her mouth and it was disappointing that we didn’t hear from her or Paige going into this match. Paige is sadly lost in the shuffle these days. I actually think she needed a break from the spotlight given how poorly her character was booked with flippant turns and storylines that were just left hanging. I feel like we’ve reached a point where the bad taste left by poor creative has been washed away and they need to get her back in a meaningful role. By the way, there’s a lot of speculation that WWE trademarking “lady balls” could be for Stephanie McMahon’s book. It sounds a bit much for corporate Stephanie’s public image, but it could be a good fit for the obnoxious Brooke character.
New Day and Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains and The Dudley Boyz: A minor miss for the time killing match. I got a kick out of the Dudleys and Vaudevillains bickering with one another. The big negative of the match is that I have no idea how Big Cass pinning Bubba Ray is supposed to leave me feeling more excited about the New Day vs. Vaudevillains tag title match at Extreme Rules. It doesn’t help when the Vaudevillains left New Day lying on Raw, yet New Day was their same old happy selves on Smackdown. It was a rough night for Cass, whose boot to the head of D-Von was a bit awkward, and then the execution of the East River Crossing on Bubba was just plain botched. Cass’s finisher is a running elbow drop? I know the elbow drop worked out pretty well for that Dwayne Johnson guy, but it seems a little, well, sawft for Cass.
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The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...