By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose: A strong match with a surprising clean finish. Shouldn’t Ambrose be given an armband of his own? Anyway, it seems like they are telling a story with Cena’s recent losses. I’m not sure if it’s simply to set up a departure to film the reality show or being done for other reasons, but I am enjoying beatable Cena more than Super Cena. Bonus points for the announcement of next week’s AJ Styles vs. Ambrose title match. You can question the idea of giving that match away on television, but it was a pleasant surprise when they advertised two matches on Raw for this week’s show, and it’s even more encouraging to know that they are booking ahead to the point that they at least know next week’s main event. By the way, Ambrose slapping hands with fans after the match clears up any confusion over what some viewers saw as a heel turn last week.
The Usos vs. American Alpha: This is the type of match that fans were waiting for from these teams. The right team went over at this early point in the feud, and they did a great job of establishing the vicious side of the newly turned heel Usos. The backstage exchange with the Usos and the tag champs was also well done. I like that they were able to go from the oddball comedy of Heath Slater and Rhyno right into a serious exchange with the Usos. If New Day get BootyOs, then Slater and Rhyno need their own brand of cheese whiz and crackers.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler: We’ve seen it all from these two in their seemingly endless series of matches, yet they had the live crowd with them and buying into the near falls. Maryse sprayed Ziggler in the eyes at Backlash, and Miz sprayed Ziggler this week. Here’s hoping they actually have Ziggler sell it this time rather than simply moving on with the program as if nothing happened. The worst thing about the finish is that it means this feud still isn’t over.
Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss contract signing: Bliss delivered her first good promo on the main roster. Lynch was even better in her rebuttal and did a good job of coming off as the common girl who made good and now desperately wants to keep her championship. The physicality afterward was brief and effective with Bliss taking the cheap shots and Lynch eventually running her off. I actually would have ended the segment with Bliss getting the upper hand rather than fleeing. Still, the contract signing was effective in building up their women’s title match for No Mercy.
Randy Orton vs. Erick Rowan: A good showcase win for Orton. The simple formula was simple and effective in terms of setting up an issue between Orton and Rowan last week and then paying it off this week.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews: We get it, Corbin is better than Crews. Corbin certainly has upside as a heel. I just don’t understand why he can’t he beat someone else in throwaway television matches. Crews seemed like a guy who was going to be spotlighted on the first Smackdown coming out of the draft, but he’s quickly faded into the undercard.