By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship: A very good main event that had the live crowd popping for near falls even before the last commercial break. The match and the near fall only got better as the match went on, and it was one of the better television matches in recent memory. Wyatt getting the clean pin over Cena was surprising. Cena has lost a lot of matches lately and I must confess that I assumed AJ was added in part so that he could take the loss. This was definitely a credibility building win for the new champion. The post match angle with Randy Orton was suspenseful, and the closing line with Orton teasing that he wouldn’t challenge Wyatt at WrestleMania was an interesting tease. It was announced on Talking Smack that a battle royal will determine the new No. 1 contender. This leads me to believe we’ll be seeing Wyatt vs. Orton vs. Luke Harper in a Triple Threat.
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James: That’s more like it. Their pay-per-view opening match was just sort of there, whereas this match had the intensity that the lacked. The finish was disappointing in that it feels like we’ve seen Lynch fall for similar tactics in the past. Still, the body of the match was entertaining and James got the needed win.
Opening segment with Bray Wyatt, John Cena, and AJ Styles: A minor Hit for getting AJ Styles into the match by paying off his request for a singles match for his championship rematch. Okay, so technically it wasn’t a singles match, which Styles pointed out on Talking Smack, but it was a creative way of adding him tot he main event. The negative is that I have no idea what they wanted us to think about Wyatt. He cuts promos about what Sister Abigail told him, but he never goes after the crowd. If he’s a heel, then I’d love to hear him heel on the fans and actually go for heat.
Alexa Bliss and Naomi: Alexa’s mic work made the segment. Her accusation that Naomi faked the injury was nicely done and creates some intrigue heading into their rematch. Will Pruett was right. As much as it pains me to write those words, he was spot on when he stated on Prowrestling.net Live on Monday that the hook of whether Naomi can keep the championship heading into WrestleMania hometown is a very good one.
American Alpha vs. The Ascension in a non-title match: A minor HIt. It was hard to see the Ascension as threats to Alpha just two nights after they failed to defeat them moments after they were beaten down by the Usos. However, the match turned out to be solid and the non-title distinction actually helped, as it was easier to buy into the possibility of the Ascension winning when the belts were not on the line. Perhaps the best part of the segment was the post match promo from the Usos. The promo wasn’t particularly memorable, but the mere idea of creative finally getting to Alpha vs. The Usos in a real program is exciting.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose: A fine angle until someone jumped the gun on the pyro that was supposed to go off when Ambrose was put through the table, not before he went through the table. I’m not even sure what they felt they needed the production enhancement when Corbin’s attack and slam through the table would have been more than enough. I’m still surprised they replayed the angle because it looked so silly. Meanwhile, we also had Tom Phillips look into the camera and tell viewers that they hope to have a medical update on Ambrose after 205 Live. Shouldn’t they hope to have a medical update as soon as possible? And as good as Corbin is when he speaks calmly on Talking Smack, his worked up promos are still a work in progress. Am I the only person wondering what happened to those cookies that were on the table next to the one Ambrose went through?
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net's Will Pruett discussing AEW Full Gear including the polarizing Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega match, what's drawing Will to AEW Dynamite over NXT TV, the appeal of NWA Powerrr, and much more...