By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Hits
John Cena, Nikki Bella, The Miz, Maryse: As great as last week’s Total Bellas spoof was, there was no guarantee that round two would live up to expectations. Miz and Maryse were more than up for the challenge. The introduction of their Daniel Bryan character was great, and the ongoing mocking of the odd home life that Cena and Nikki display on Total Bellas was perfect. Cena firing back while Nikki stood there smiling was comical in its own way. That said, Cena delivered one hell of a promo on Miz and Maryse. Regardless of the quality of the actual mixed tag match, the build to it was outstanding.
AJ Styles and Shane McMahon contract signing: A minor Hit. You don’t have to think this is the right match for AJ Styles to enjoy the final hype. That said, I can’t blame anyone who just can’t take Super Shane seriously. Shane telling Styles that he better bring his A game is laughable on one level, yet it’s also what Shane’s character should say. Shane showed confidence while also praising the ability of Styles. AJ showed supreme confidence and showed no respect to Shane, which is perfect for his cocky character.
WWE Smackdown Hits
Final hype for Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton: Wyatt vs. Luke Harper was a quality main event. However, the Orton video that closed the show looked like a greatest hits video until he used the symbol stick. And what in the world was that?!? How does the challenger for the WWE Championship not appear in person on the go-home show? Who does WWE think these campy videos appeal to?
No Dean Ambrose or Baron Corbin: WWE seemed to be filling time with the women’s segment, yet they never found time for Ambrose and Corbin to deliver final hype for the Intercontinental Title match? Perhaps there’s a logical reason, but it was disappointing nonetheless.
Women’s Segments: The interference finish to the singles match was fairly predictable. The tag match that followed was fine and filled some time. Still, none of this left me looking forward to the Smackdown Women’s Championship match on Sunday. The Smackdown women’s division is hard to follow. I don’t know what they want viewers to think of Mickie James or Natalya in terms of whether they are babyfaces or heels from one week to the next. I applauded Raw for dedicating the first 30 minutes of their go-home show to the women. Smackdown came back with nearly equal time, yet it resulted in a DQ finish, a James Ellsworth interference finish, and confusing characters. The return of Naomi at the end was a nice surprise, but it still wasn’t enough to save this mess.
American Alpha, Rhyno, Heath Slater, and Mojo Rawley vs. The Usos, Tyler Breeze, Fandango, and Dolph Ziggler: The match quality was good, but this became a Miss in my book the moment it became clear that the Usos and Alpha would not have a tag title match at WrestleMania. We’ve seen far more good than bad on Smackdown since the brand split, but it’s sad that they continue to drop the ball on those two talented teams.