By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
The Miz vs. Cesaro for the Intercontinental Title: A good match with Cesaro pushing the heel champion to the limit only to run his bad shoulder into the exposed turnbuckle before being pinned. The live crowd really bought in to near falls, particularly when Cesaro put Miz in the Sharpshooter. Miz continues to perform well in his role as the vulnerable champion, and it was nice to see a finish that was positioned as heel strategy rather than being a complete fluke.
MITB opening segment: A good segment that established the usual friction that countless WWE wrestlers (and even most broadcast team members) has with Kevin Owens. More importantly, it established the every man for himself vibe. I like the way Sami Zayn stopped short of blasting Dean Ambrose with a Helluva Kick only to have Ambrose go for his finisher on Zayn. It was true to both characters and creates friction between them. I was worried the build to this match might feel a little too similar to the build we just had to the four-way match at Extreme Rules, but the initial segment involving MITB match qualifiers was well done.
Rusev vs. Kalisto for the U.S. Title: The canned heat for Rusev during the ring entrances was downright embarrassing. They clearly piped in the boos while simultaneously showing a camera angle that showed rows of fans just sitting on their hands. That said, it was good to see Rusev get a clean win in his first U.S. Title defense. Kalisto did a nice job as the undersized underdog and his big bodyslam spot and his usual flashy offense had the crowd behind him. I just continue to hope that Rusev isn’t a transitional champion who will drop the title quickly to the returning John Cena. WWE needs strong heels more than Cena needs another U.S. Title reign. The appearance of Titus O’Neil after the match gave me hope that Rusev will be more than just Cena fodder.
Charlotte and Ric Flair video package: I watched the show on delay and nearly fast forwarded through what initially appeared to be just another recap video. Instead, it turned out to be a good feature that included comments from other WWE performers, which made Charlotte’s actions feel bigger in the sense that other wrestlers were buzzing about it.
Enzo and Big Cass vs. The Dudley Boyz hype: It’s always nice to see an angle on one of WWE’s main shows that sets up a match on the other. It was simple and effective, and Enzo always brings high energy.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder: The match was fine. The Miss aspect is the way Ryder is presented. It’s hard to buy into a wide-eyed 31 year-old underdog who has been with the company for over a decade. At some point, shouldn’t this guy gain a little confidence and be positioned like he belongs?
Seth Rollins: A minor Miss for the condensed version of his Raw promo. This was probably fun for those who didn’t see Raw, but it was a repeat for those of us who did.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Jake Barnett co-hosting the Boom and Dot Net Weekly combo show. Jason and Jake discuss Becky Lynch announcing her pregnancy, Alberto Del Rio being accused of sexual assault, WWE's IC Title tournament, Mike Tyson appearing at AEW Double Or Nothing, Undertaker's Last Ride documentary, AEW Dynamite and NXT TV thoughts, and more...