By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
AJ Styles, John Cena, Dean Ambrose segment: Strong final hype for the Triple Threat pay-per-view main event. Ambrose’s response to Cena’s comments about him on Talking Smack were delivered with great fire and passion. The intensity between Ambrose and Cena has been great, and both men have established issues with Styles. As much as it feels like pay-per-view overkill to have yet another show on Sunday, this main event makes it all feel worthwhile.
The Miz and Dolph Ziggler: A good segment. The Dolphumentary was comical. And how could you not enjoy the return of two Spirit Squad members? Zigger is doing a good job of making it seem like this could be the end of the road, and Miz is terrific as the antagonist. It continues to amaze me that they find new ways to make me care about this never ending feud.
Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger: The finish was a creative way to extend the feud. It was obvious to everyone other than the referee that Corbin was reaching for the ropes and not tapping out, so he loses nothing by dropping this match to Swagger. By the way, I keep waiting for Swagger to step up and show something. He’s fine in the ring, yet capable of more. The real issue is that he’s so bland outside the ring and just doesn’t look like a guy who is working hard to improve his mic skills.
Jason Jordan vs. Jey Uso: Another week of an Uso losing, yet also showing a ruthless side by taking out the knee of an opponent. The Usos are great and I’m looking forward to their eventual tag title reign.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt: I have no doubt that the cat and mouse games between Orton and Wyatt keeps viewers watching just to see where it goes. The problem this time around is where it went. First off, it looked like Orton entered the human trafficking market when he locked Wyatt inside a shipping container. Even if you can get past the question of what Orton actually had in mind for Wyatt, the idea of Wyatt disappearing was ridiculous. Fans went along with Undertaker and Kane hocus pocus over the years, but I just don’t believe that’s what they want from Wyatt. Furthermore, there was a camera in the container. You can say that Orton put the camera there and you can even praise him for being frugal since we got the grainy security camera footage, but then shouldn’t we actually be able to see what happened to Wyatt? As eye rolling as this was, at least it gave us a break from the repetitive Wyatt promo.
Bray Wyatt and Kane: A weak count-out win for the bloody mouthed Kane. I get it. They want to protect both men. I’m not sure what they are protecting Kane for at this point, but it is what it is. I had to laugh at the idea of Randy Orton playing mind games with Bray Wyatt by having his head upside down to start his promo. This production trick would be really scary if Wyatt was an easily frightened four year-old (pretty sure most four year-olds would just laugh).
Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella: WWE is making it tough to be excited about Bliss challenging for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. They just can’t stop pointing out how small she is. It started at the draft when Renee Young called her a little nugget, Mauro Ranallo kept it going by referring to her diminutive stature and calling her a spitfire. Is she small? Sure. Is she so small that they need to constantly make reference to it? No. As if that’s not enough, watching Nikki use her as a battering ram and then be on the verge of beating her before Carmella interfered took away all of my enthusiasm for Sunday’s match. They tried to make up for it in the tag match that followed by having Bliss win only after Becky Lynch kicked her ass. Oh, and Bliss was only able to hit her finisher because Carmella caught Lynch with a kick to the head.
The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains: What could make this match even less appealing? Having The Ascension walk out and watch it from the stage.