By Jason Powell
Check out free audio review of WWE Smackdown at PWAudio.net.
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Vince McMahon and Kevin Owens: The 72 year-old owner of WWE took a headbutt that drew blood, a superkick, and a top rope splash from Owens. Yep, he’s still crazy. This was a great heat segment for Owens. I wasn’t a fan of him acting somewhat remorseful afterwards, but it’s nothing he can’t erase with next week’s follow up promo. This was a hot ending to a big segment and a great setup for his Hell in a Cell match with Shane McMahon.
Kevin Owens promo: Owens was terrific in the opening segment. I don’t have high hopes for Dolph Ziggler’s impersonation gimmick, but his Shane McMahon tease was a nice swerve. If nothing else, at least his new gimmick means we don’t have to hear his awful entrance music (aside from that damn Cricket commercial). It’s still odd to see Daniel Bryan happily carrying out the marching orders of Vince McMahon given his character’s history with the McMahon family.
The Usos vs. New Day in a Sin City Street Fight for the Smackdown Tag Titles: A really good hardcore brawl with weapons galore and hard work from all four men. These teams have killed it on pay-per-view, but their television matches have been forgettable until now. Excellent work. My fear was that they were overexposing this feud by having yet another television match between these teams, but how could you not want to see another match between them after seeing this one? I’m not a fan of yet another title change between these teams, but the overall match was nonstop action.
AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger for the U.S. Championship: Thank goodness for the split screen commercials, as it seemed like the bulk of the match played out during the break. I had a hard time getting excited about the match given that Styles just pinned Dillinger in less than two minutes two weeks ago, but the work of the wrestlers drew me in. The near fall off the Tye Breaker finisher was a thing of beauty. It was nice that Baron Corbin’s interference didn’t lead to the finish, but I did like his post match attack on both men given that he’s next in line for a title shot.
Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin vs. The Hype Bros: Another showcase win for the new tag team.
Natalya vs. Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: A minor Hit. It was a bit of a comedown match if only because they had the tough assignment of following the tag title match.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Jinder Mahal promo: Jinder’s tiresome formula promo would have been an upgrade over his bad stand up comedy routine regarding the Shinsuke Nakamura photos. Awful.
Dolph Ziggler promo: Dolph continues to mock fans for enjoying ring entrances while also saying he’s the best in-ring performer in WWE. The last part misses the mark because viewers have seen his character lose so frequently. I realize he’s trying to go insider with it, but it just doesn’t click.