By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens: I’m sure the match was disappointing for viewers who were hoping to see a long and competitive match given the wrestlers involved, but this is the dominant win that Nakamura should have had at Backlash and in his first television matches. It would have been nice to see the show go off the air with Nakamura having a sense of momentum, but at the same time they gave him an issue with Baron Corbin, who continues to strike me as a legit possibility to end up with the Money in the Bank contract.
Women’s Money in the Bank hype: The Shane McMahon hosted segment to start the show made the women’s MITB feel important. The unveiling of the briefcase was a nice touch even though it was just another MITB briefcase. WWE is doing a better job of making the women’s MITB feel more important than the men’s version of the match. The segment quality dipped once Lana came out and the bad acting started from her and Naomi, but the live crowd didn’t seem to mind and I’m genuinely curious to see how Lana performs as a wrestler.
Naomi, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina: A minor Hit for the latest version of this match. They’ve been able to get more out of the heel trio than I expected. Lana’s interference at the end of the match was a logical followup to the opening segment. The announcement of Lana getting the title shot per the request of Naomi sets up a highly intriguing debut match. Sure, it’s odd that Lana is getting a title shot in her first match, but they covered it by having Naomi make that request to Shane.
AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler: And all is right in the Smackdown world again for fans who were upset by Styles losing last week. Styles scored a clean and decisive win to avenge the loss. This made for good television, but it made last week’s Ziggler upset feel rather pointless. Are they setting up a rubber match for next week?
Jinder Mahal vs. Mojo Rawley: A minor Hit. Jinder’s entrance was great. The match wasn’t pretty. At the same time, it served some purpose in terms of giving Mahal a clean win and allowing him to avenge his losses to Mojo. By the way, Mellow Mojo is so much better than Meth Mojo. Rawley spoke calmly backstage while stating his case to Shane, who responded in a fair and logical manner. Shane was all over the early part of the show, but I rarely come away feeling like he overstays his welcome as I typically do when his family members play overbearing heel characters.
New Day vs. The Colons: Remember that week after the shakeup when it looked like everything was coming up Milhouse for the Colons? Anyway, a solid return win for New Day. The Usos also managed to get some heat in their promo, which was a bit risky considering that they were making light of the babyface trio.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
None: The Fashion Files segments still don’t do much for me, but the latest edition was good for a chuckle or two. The lopsided Hit count doesn’t mean Smackdown was an exceptional show, but I like every segment serves a purpose and they are building well to the MITB event. It’s hard to find much wrong with the layout of the Tuesday night show most weeks.