By Jason Powell
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: Angry Kevin Owens is the best Kevin Owens. The New Face of America gimmick was fun, but the Owens we’re getting during the Shane McMahon feud is fantastic. He finally has a great storyline to sink his teeth into and he’s been downright brilliant thus far. Sami Zayn coming out with the hope of talking some sense into his character’s one-time friend was a nice touch, and the verbal exchange between the two was strong. Zayn’s comments about doing things the right way and being able to look at himself in the mirror was strong and effective babyface mic work. The actual match between them was fun while it lasted and further established Owens as being ruthless and out of control.
Baron Corbin vs. Tye Dillinger: A quality television match even though most of it aired on split screen and the match ended in a count-out. It’s been nice to see Dillinger more involved and he’s always good in the ring, but at some point he needs to connect with the crowd on the mic and become more than the “ten” guy. Bashing Corbin is en vogue these days, but he’s a quality heel and I’m looking forward to seeing what type of match he and AJ Styles can produce at Hell in a Cell. Is there a storyline reason that Dillinger has been in this mix that will play out later?
The Usos vs. The Hype Bros: A dominant win for the challengers heading into the Hell in a Cell show. And while this was mostly about showcasing the Hell in a Cell match announcement, I assume the loss also serves the purpose of working toward the Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley split.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Jinder Mahal: A minor Hit for Nakamura finally interrupting another awful Mahal standup comedy segment. The crowd reaction was telling. They went from near silence during Jinder’s promo, then chanted Nakamura loudly when he appeared on the big screen.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
ZigglerTaker: Did anyone over the age of nine think this was a surprise appearance by Undertaker? And the payoff to Dolph’s impersonation game is the expected feud with Bobby Roode. I’m curious to see how they work together, but is this really a feud about ring entrances? If so, it’s actually a slight upgrade over the Emma and Mickie James feuds over hashtags.
Rusev’s Bulgarian Celebration: Bore the crowd to tears and then have Randy Orton hit the RKO out of nowhere. This approach is fine as long as the viewers at home didn’t turn the channel before Orton showed up. Jinder has hosted multiple Indian themed celebrations, Natalya hosted a women’s celebration last week, and Rusev had his Bulgarian celebration this week. I vote for a Wasteland celebration for The Ascension for next week if they want to continue this lousy trend.
Charlotte vs. Carmella: A flat match with no build or mic time. Natalya’s post match speech was poorly delivered and it felt like the creative team was going through the motions by having her come out to drop a forgettable plug for the women’s title match at HIAC.