By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
Dean Ambrose, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, and Alberto Del Rio: It seemed odd that WWE spent so much time establishing issues between the various teammates in an attempt to send the message that it will be every man for himself during the MITB match, only to have the heels and babyface teams work well together for a good portion of this match. Fortunately, they reestablished those issues late in the match including Owens superkicking both of his teammates before being pinned by Ambrose. Yes, Owens taking the pin did leave me feeling like he may win on Sunday. It’s between him and Ambrose as far as I’m concerned.
AJ Styles vs. Xavier Woods: It was fun to see WWE go outside the box with an unexpected match and a good one at that. Styles gave Woods plenty of offense before going over strong and clean in the end. His post match promo was brief and effective, and he came off very well heading into his match against John Cena at Money in the Bank.
The Highlight Reel: Jericho’s claim that his new carpet cost $20,000 and was made out of one hundred percent Serengeti yak hair was a riot, and Dean Ambrose coming out with a cup of coffee led to some fun comedy. I liked that they got down to business with Jericho taking a serious turn as he spoke about the thumbtacks he had to pluck from his body after facing Ambrose. This led to the rest of the MITB participants coming out one by one, and Ambrose eventually pouring his coffee onto a horrified Jericho’s new rug. Perhaps the tone could have been more serious since this was the last verbal segment involving the MITB participants, but the light comedy clicked with me.
Kofi Kingston vs. Big Cass vs. Aiden English vs. Luke Gallows: A nice tag title match showcase in the form of a four-way singles match. In fact, they could have filled a little more television time by having the wrestlers who didn’t work this match have another four-way match later in the show. The match entertained me, yet I’m not sure what purpose the finish served by having Kingston go over. It seemed like they could have told a better story by having someone beat Kingston to make New Day look vulnerable heading into Sunday.
Rusev and Titus O’Neil: Rusev looked dominant as he destroyed Kalisto and Sin Cara (though I still hate his new version of the Camel Clutch), and then Titus showed good fire when he made the save and ran off Rusev. I can’t say the feud does anything for me, but this was a nice final push for the match.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Baron Corbin vs. Zack Ryder: Dolph Ziggler sat in on commentary and was good about putting over the ability of Corbin while stressing that he doesn’t like the way he goes about his business. Unfortunately, the feud has been flat for week and I think everyone is ready for it to end.
Charlotte vs. Natalya: A non-title match with a bunch of interference that was designed to set up the tag match on Sunday rather than anything involving the women’s championship. It’s a shame that the division feels so directionless and that it’s all about Charlotte and her feud of the month. Does there need to be a Give Other Women A Chance hashtag campaign?