By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Women’s Money in the Bank: WWE created controversy on Sunday and paid it off in a big way on Tuesday. The finish of the women’s MITB match was frustrating by design. Fans were supposed to be outraged by James Ellsworth stealing the win for Carmella, and even more so when the duo opened the show by bragging about the briefcase heist. You were supposed to feel pity when Becky Lynch cut her spectacular promo about trying to do the right thing yet constantly being undermined by those taking shortcuts. The MITB controversy put the women front and center. They built this show around Daniel Bryan’s ruling on the matter, and gave themselves a chance to pop a rating with the rematch next week. Yes, I’m giving creative the benefit of the doubt and assuming this was all done by design. Even if that’s not the case, they did a hell of a job of rectifying the situation on Smackdown.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler: A very good match and the broadcast team did a terrific job of putting over Nakamura’s striking. WWE needed to showcase Nakamura in a television match that shows how good his matches can be. We didn’t get that in the Nakamura match, but we did get it in the rematch with Ziggler.
Kevin Owens vs. Chad Gable for the U.S. Championship: The setup with Owens issuing an open challenge only for Dayton, Ohio residents led to a fun exchange with him, A.J. Styles, and eventually Gable. This wasn’t the hot return for American Alpha that I was hoping for, but it was still a quality segment with Owens defeating a tag wrestler.
Big E vs. Jimmy Uso: The momentum of New Day continues with one member of the team defeating one half of the tag team champions. It did seem odd that Daniel Bryan didn’t set up a rematch and in fact gave the Hype Bros a chance to become No. 1 contenders next week. Even so, New Day feels much fresher in small doses on Smackdown than they did on Raw.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Jinder Mahal: The main event with Mahal vs. Luke Harper and the post match attack by Randy Orton were both Hits. The Miss goes to the continued lack of creativity we are seeing with Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers. It’s bad enough we we’re only a month into Jinder’s title reign and yet people are already aware of the term Jinder finish due to the repetitive Singh Brother interference into the Cravate sequence. The real problem is that Mahal remains a one dimensional character and the Singh Brothers are lackeys with no backstory. The WWE Champion should be at the center of the show. Instead, it continues to feel like he and Orton are on an island that only Baron Corbin has access to due to his MITB win. By the way, how could we not hear from the MITB winner?
Mike & Maria Kanellis: It was odd that the newest Smackdown act debuted at the pay-per-view, yet didn’t appear on television last night. Hey, maybe Mike can show up next week and pull down the MITB briefc… okay, never mind.