By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Naomi vs. Tamina in a No. 1 contenders match: An entertaining four-way match closed out a poor show on a positive note. The rapid fire spots had the fans popping big down the stretch. It was nice to see Charlotte get the win given that she’s been out of the title picture for some time.
Shane McMahon promo: A minor Hit for a decent follow up to last week’s Kevin Owens and Vince McMahon angle. Shane doesn’t have much range in his promos, but he did a nice job of establishing that he cares about his father despite their differences. His vow to “condemn” Owens felt too wordy and scripted.
Kevin Owens promo: The better of the two follow up promos. It was a bit concerning when Owens apologized to start, but he quickly blamed Shane McMahon for making him want to destroy his father. This wasn’t the mega Hit follow up promo that I was hoping for, but it furthered the story nicely.
Randy Orton vs. Aiden English/Rusev: A minor Hit for the spotlight win for Orton over the dependable English even if the match did drag a bit. This is one time when I could have done without the picture in picture commercial break. The post match angle with Rusev getting a distraction win over Orton was fine for what it was, but hopefully they have something big in mind because it’s going to take something special to heat up this program.
New Day vs. The Hype Bros: It was odd that Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable beat The Hype Bros last week only for the Hype Bros to get the non-title match with New Day this week. Anyway, New Day woke up a flat crowd (and who could blame them?) with their high energy win.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Jinder Mahal: Another terrible promo with WWE doubling down on Jinder’s horrible stand up comedy act. It appears they are trying to make Mahal out to be a hypocrite by having him use stereotypes while discussing Shinsuke Nakamura. The crowd chanting “that’s too far” really said it all. Dot Net staffer John Moore attended Smackdown in person and noted that the venue was only 30 to 40 percent full and yet Vince McMahon apparently thinks the Mahal experiment is working. At what point does the champion take some of the blame?
Charlotte and Natalya segment: It was nice to see Charlotte again for the first time since her father’s medical scare. The praise ends there, as the rest of the segment was just the latest in WWE’s formulaic set ups to yet another multi-woman match. The one positive in all of this is that the four-way was to determine an actual No. 1 contender, meaning we get a singles match for the title at Hell in a Cell.
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin for the U.S. Championship: This was the only advertised segment that I was truly looking forward to. It turned out to be an angle involving Tye Dillinger rather than an actual match. Are they setting up a Triple Threat for the pay-per-view with the plan of having Styles drop the title without actually being pinned? If so, getting him away from the U.S. Championship and into the WWE Championship mix works for me.
Dolph Ziggler: The entrance impersonation gimmick is so awful that contrarians are now claiming they understand it on a deeper level than the rest of the world.