By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Title: The usual good match to close the feud (at least for now). Jericho wrapped up his latest run in style. It’s a run he can be incredibly proud of, as he once again found a way to reinvent himself and had some terrific matches along the way. The big beatdown afterward provides the storyline reason for Jericho’s departure as he heads out for the Fozzy tour that begins on Friday night.
Chris Jericho, AJ Styles, and Kevin Owens opening: The Shane McMahon introduction of Jericho as the newest addition to Smackdown and new U.S. Champion gave it a sense of importance. The viewers knew he was scheduled to face Owens, so it was a cool touch to have Styles came out to hype his potential Backlash match with Jericho. The eventual appearance of Owens left me wondering if they were going to go with another swerve by adding Styles to the match, but the brief brawl between Owens and Styles was a good way to write Styles out while also setting the stage for the match that will actually take place at Backlash.
Naomi and Charlotte vs. Natalya and Carmella: Everything about the Charlotte babyface run feels premature and I hope it’s a swerve that plays out Backlash. I’m sure the fans will get behind her and she will continue to be successful, but is babyface Charlotte facing Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina as good as heel Charlotte facing Naomi and Becky Lynch? The actual match was solid and made Naomi look strong, though perhaps too strong in that they gave her a visual pinfall over heel characters who need need a big credibility boost if they are going to turn Charlotte. The post match angle with Lynch was nicely done as it seemed like the crowd believed she was turning heel.
Jinder Mahal vs. Sami Zayn: The push of Jinder intrigues me. Sure, there was a botched tornado DDT spot and he not delivered a notable promo or had a memorable in-ring performance, yet I strangely find myself looking forward to seeing if he can take advantage of this opportunity. Granted, it’s curiosity appeal and I’m still not sold on Jinder as a long term player, but I still find myself enjoying the unique build to Backlash.
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English: A minor Hit. The “10” fans focus on Dillinger getting an easy win, but the story was English and his crybaby gimmick. It’s cartoonish and silly, but it’s a fun undercard gimmick that gives the guy an identity away from the Vaudevillains act. Meanwhile, is there anything more to Dillinger’s character than fans chanting “10” at him?
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sin Cara: It was good to see Ziggler get an actual win, but the majority of the match felt like a showcase match for Sin Cara. It would be nice to see Ziggler look dominant in this type of match rather than selling for most of the match and then pulling out a win in the end.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
The Fashion Files: A minor Miss. The items on the wall in the background were funnier than anything Tyler Breeze and Fandango said. None of this made me view them as legit contenders to the tag titles, but there is a portion of the audience that seems to enjoy the quirky comedy of Fandango’s Chazz Michael Michaels’ voice and Breeze’s tribute to Zoolander.