By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, and AJ Styles opening: Owens moving to Smackdown coincided with a new look. Fortunately, we got the same heat seeking Owens that we’ve been getting ever since his comedic run with Chris Jericho concluded. Baron Corbin stating his case for getting a title shot was an interesting surprise. Sami Zayn coming out was cool and there were no signs of him being neurotic, so I’m guessing that was some douchey sendoff courtesy of someone on the Raw creative team. The appearance of AJ Styles signified that he was staying on Smackdown after all. However, the Styles appearance was not without a heart stopping moment for fans who want to see him stay put, as Daniel Bryan’s music playing certainly had me speculating that he was about to inform Styles that he was Raw bound after all. By the way, I like the idea of announcing that the winner of Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho will be Smackdown bound with the U.S. Championship. Does that mean Owens will appear on both shows until then?
The Usos vs. American Alpha for the Smackdown Tag Titles: The usual quality match between these teams with the fans buying into Alpha’s near falls down the stretch. I was surprised to see the Usos go over clean. In fact, I was waiting for Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to show up and attack both teams. Instead, we got the Shining Stars. Here’s hoping WWE abandons the timeshare salesmen gimmick and simply positions Primo and Epico as a quality team for once.
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn: The match determined the No. 1 contender for the U.S. Title, so it was nice to see a television main event that felt at least somewhat meaningful compared to the champion vs. champion match from Raw and last week’s tag team main events. Still, it was odd to see Styles competing for a shot at the U.S. Championship. The match was entertaining with good drama late. Zayn losing the match didn’t get him off to a fast start on Smackdown, but it beats rushing him into another match with Owens.
Charlotte to Smackdown: Yes, the Boston crowd wanted to see Sasha Banks. Honestly, I’m happy they didn’t get her. As good as her matches with Charlotte have been, they need time away from one another to make their future matches feel special again (yes, the same could be said for Zayn and Owens). Charlotte moving to Smackdown was expected and it gives her a fresh run of opponents. Obviously, the big program will eventually be Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch, which should be special.
Mojo Rawley vs. Jinder Mahal: I’m an NFL junkie and even I am completely over Gronk showing up for Mojo’s matches. That said, it’s still a coup as far as mainstream media attention goes. Coming out of WrestleMania, I can’t even tell you how many non- or casual fan friends and family members asked me about Gronk and/or the engagement of John Cena and Nikki Bella.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English: Nothing wrong with the match, but I hope they take the time to establish who Dillinger is. All of the focus is on the 10 gimmick. Why not dedicate some time to his long road (back) to WWE and attempt to make him a feel good story rather than just a number gimmick?