By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Randy Orton for a WWE Championship match: A quality match with the type of intensity you hope for from a match with two wrestlers fighting for a title shot. Nakamura going over was the right call given that Orton had his run with Jinder Mahal already. This was a momentum building win for Nakamura and it ranks up there with his win over John Cena. The counter to the RKO with a knee in Orton’s back was great. Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy the way they put Mahal and the Singh Brothers in a luxury suite during key matches.
Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon: A strong verbal exchange with Owens hitting hard by questioning whether Shane has daddy issues and that’s why he jumps from high places. He went for the jugular by telling Shane that his entire family, including his wife and kids, would have been better off had he had not survived the recent helicopter accident. Owens had to hit hard to give Shane’s character a reason to finally snap and this was more than sufficient. The great thing about this feud continues to be that it’s provided Owens with a platform for his tremendous mic work. On the flip side, I could have done without the lengthy exchange that led to the uneventful announcement of Shane being indefinitely suspended.
Vince McMahon hype: Raw couldn’t be bothered to advertise anything for Monday’s Raw despite the fact that it airs against the annual Monday Night Football doubleheader. Meanwhile, Smackdown is advertising Vince McMahon confronting Kevin Owens, a tag title match, and a women’s title match for a random Tuesday night for a show that is being broadcast from Las Vegas. Good for the Tuesday night crew.
Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger: A quality television match on a show filled with some long verbal exchanges. On the flip side, Styles giving Dillinger a title shot just two weeks after beating him in less than two minutes was underwhelming. They could have a hell of a match if they get more time, but it’s hard to be excited about Dillinger’s chances given last week’s lopsided match.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Dolph Ziggler: If it’s broke, don’t fix it. That seems to be the motto that Ziggler lives by. His character continues to complain about not getting opportunities even though he’s had countless chances and keeps losing matches. And now he goes heel Damien Sandow on fans by impersonating the entrances of John Cena, Randy Savage, and Naomi. I don’t know where this is going, but he looked like the same guy making the same complaints that go nowhere. Ziggler is a talented in-ring performer, but the key to him getting over again is being scripted to win matches so that the fans have a reason to take him seriously again.
Natalya vs. Carmella: Which heel were fans supposed to cheer for? Natalya seemed to play the role of the more likable heel, but it’s odd given that she will be defending the championship against babyface Naomi next week. The meltdown with Carmella and James Ellsworth over the Money in the Bank contract was hokey and gave Natalya a flukey win that was more about the opponent and his sidekick than the champion. Carmella’s post match rant was just as mean spirited as the Owens promo. In fact, it occurred too close to Owens tearing into Shane. Even so, the backstage kiss and slap segment was unexpected fun.
Aiden English vs. Sami Zayn: I enjoy English as an undercard act. That said, whatever happened to all that talk of Zayn getting a big push after SummerSlam?