Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live Hit List: Ric Flair returns to WWE television, Raw invades Smackdown, Natalya vs. Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Championship, Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara for the U.S. Title, final Survivor Series hype


Check out my free audio review of WWE Smackdown from last night, and join us for Prowrestling.net Live with Will Pruett and I hosting on Monday at 3CT/4ET at PWAudio.net.

By Jason Powell

WWE Smackdown Live Hits

Natalya vs. Charlotte for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: This is the type of match we’ve been waiting for from Natalya and Charlotte since they tore the stole the show at an NXT Takeover event back in the day. The match was strong and the emotional post match promo from Charlotte was top notch. Of course, it was all topped off by the return of Ric Flair to WWE television for the first time since his life threatening medical situation. This was perfect.

Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles: Bryan delivered a hell of a promo on Brock Lesnar. It’s a shame he didn’t cut that promo for his own match with Lesnar, but maybe someday. Either way, this was the best promo we’ve heard from Bryan in a long time and the hardest that anyone has gone after Lesnar on WWE television. Bryan and Styles were both convincing. And, hey, if this whole GM thing doesn’t work out, Bryan has a promising career as an advocate ahead of him. I actually enjoyed Bryan’s promo more than the one that Paul Heyman delivered on Monday’s Raw. And bonus points to the Smackdown crowd for not interrupting it with a wedding proposal.

Raw invades Smackdown: The UK tour scheduling forced WWE to wait to have the Raw crew give the Smackdown wrestlers an receipt for the under siege angle. It played out nicely with the live crowd popping big for the various appearances even though it did seem odd that the Smackdown wrestlers were caught completely off guard. I’m still not a fan of the annual Raw vs. Smackdown theme and the way the rivalry only really exists in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series, but there’s no denying that it’s generated a lot of buzz and some quality television ratings this year.

Baron Corbin vs. Sin Cara for the U.S. Title: A nice match. Creative did a nice job of making this feud feel meaningful over the last few weeks. It didn’t hurt that fans were more open to the possibility of a title change with the logic being that WWE would avoid having a heel vs. heel match between Corbin and Miz at Survivor Series. It’s cool that they stuck with that match in that it’s unique and I’m curious to see how it plays out. It will be interesting to see how Sin Cara does going forward. This feud seemed to grow on fans a bit, yet it doesn’t seem like he’s really connected as a character yet.

New Day vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: Owens and Zayn went from being sent home from the UK tour to headlining the next episode of Smackdown. It was a good match. The sequence with Owens destroying Xavier Woods heading into a commercial break was strong. There was no need for a finish to the match and I loved the way Owens and Zayn bailed on New Day instead of standing up for the brand.

WWE Smackdown Live Misses

Jimmy Uso vs. Chad Gable: A minor Miss. I still feel like I missed a week of television that featured the Usos turning babyface while Gable and Shelton Benjamin turned heel. I’m fine with the shift as the Usos’ heel promos were actually the best babyface promos of their careers and they are a popular duo. It just would have been nice to have seen better storytelling. Another reason for the minor Miss is that the match felt fairly random for the Survivor Series go-home show.

Make Prowrestling.net your home for live coverage of NXT Takeover: WarGames on Saturday and WWE Survivor Series on Sunday.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. “I’m still not a fan of the annual Raw vs. Smackdown theme and the way the rivalry only really exists in the weeks leading up to Survivor Series, but there’s no denying that it’s generated a lot of buzz and some quality television ratings this year.”

    Totally agree with this. It is still a lazy concept and makes zero sense also because, as many have pointed out, fans do not root for one brand or the other. However, they have wrung more out of this concept this year than any other year, so kudos to them for that.

    • I’ll agree as well. I have no idea how they did it, though it definitely wasn’t the brands invading each other because that was still stupid, but they got my interest in SS for the first time in a long time.

  2. Also, a question for you Jason: the protracted beatdown of Shane McMahon at the end of the show screamed ‘last-minute replacement’ to me, but nobody else seems to be talking about it. Are WWE going to insert a spectacular substitute into the Smackdown team on Sunday?

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