Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Hit List: A much improved edition of Smackdown offers far more hits than misses

Logo_SD_dn_600By Jake Barnett

WWE Smackdown Hits:

Opening Segment: Seth Rollins shined here with his unhinged ranting, and Ambrose and Zayn benefitted from being able to play off his work. Rollins and Ambrose won’t have the benefit of having Reigns around for the next month to build their match, so I’m guessing the feud will continue with this fairly straightforward heel and face dynamic going forward. Sami Zayn also got a nice shine from Rollins, who was forced to back off Zayn’s challenge to move the main event up to the beginning of the show. Overall, this a was a quality segment that benefited from having lots of star power and the writing attention that comes from including main event level talent.

Cesaro vs. Alberto Del Rio: This was a very enjoyable TV Match. Both Cesaro and Del Rio gave great efforts, and aside from one poorly judged dropkick spot, it was executed flawlessly. Both of these men are held back by the lack of character dynamism at this point, with neither guy really having a fire lit under their characters since returning to WWE. I hope they both benefit from the brand split, as they are both talented guys and have gotten a bit of a raw deal from a creative standpoint.

AJ Styles vs. Jimmy Uso: A minor hit for the match. Jimmy and AJ worked have , and I liked that The Club got slightly more clever about the way they interfered to cause a distraction for Jimmy. If nothing else, it a reason to be optimistic for the Club feuding with Cena, which has fallen into very predictable John Cena feud pattern.

The New Day feud with The Wyatt Family: Another minor hit, as this feud has started in a way that grabbed my interest. Xavier Woods appeared to be mesmerized by Bray on Raw, and that continued along with the rest of the squad looking creeped out by Bray’s comments. I’m looking forward to see if we see The New Day show us something different, or perhaps a little brainwashing? There are lots of interesting options between these two teams, especially with the draft in play.

Sami Zayn vs. Seth Rollins: This capped off what was overall a very good show in the ring. These two have instant chemistry that goes back a long way, and this match showed off a bit of that on the way to having a very entertaining main event. It was just good enough that it left you wanting to see more if they can work these two into a feud down the road. The post-match interlude with Rollins and Ambrose was expected and a bit predictable, but it didn’t harm anything or overstay it’s welcome from a time standpoint.

WWE Smackdown Misses:

The Women’s Segment: A minor miss, only because Becky Lynch seems to exist only to be made a fool of, and they haven’t done a very good job of explaining Sasha Banks yet. Where did she go? Why is she suddenly back? What is her story? Her ability to embarrass Dana Brooke and Charlotte in physical encounters would mean a lot more if we had more of a reason to invest in Sasha’s character.

The Uso’s Backstage with The Club: This was way too cornball for me, mostly coming from The Usos. I’ve made mention of the Usos lacking significant character advancement, and it really only sticks out when they are tasked with talking. They did a good job being background characters in The short term faction with Roman Reigns, but in this segment it felt like they were rolling with the Goof Troop.

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