By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net Members are listening to my extended thoughts on this show in last night’s WWE Smackdown, Monday’s Raw audio review, Sunday’s WWE Fastlane audio review, and the the Ring of Honor 16th Anniversary pay-per-view audio review. Join us on the ad-free version of the website and mobile website and hear all of our audio content by visiting PWMembership.net.
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn attack Shane McMahon: An interesting angle in that Owens and Zayn badmouthed one another in separate promos and then came together to beat up Shane at the end of the show. Are they reunited due to their hatred of Shane? Will they remain at odds to set up a Triple Threat? Or will WWE add someone on Shane’s side to make the WrestleMania match a tag team match? It’s hard to imagine that they can make sense of the Shane and Daniel Bryan bickering at this point, but the angle at the end of the show came off well and left me looking forward to seeing where they go from here.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura: The build to their WrestleMania match feels unique. There’s respect between the two characters and yet the tension is building as they move closer to their showdown match. The Smackdown opening match between Styles and Rusev was a logical followup given that Nakamura defeated Rusev at the pay-per-view. One can only hope that Rusev having competitive matches with both men means the company intends to do more with him post WrestleMania.
Bludgeon Brothers vs. Big E and Jimmy Uso: It’s been refreshing to see Big E flip the proverbial switch into serious mode over the last two weeks. It wasn’t more than a few weeks ago when I wrote that I wanted to see a more serious side of the New Day act and it’s good to see that creative is on the same page. The match was short, sweet, and exactly what it needed to be with the makeshift babyface duo getting in some offense, but the monster heel duo looking dominant in the end. I can’t help but look back and think it’s a shame that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan were not positioned this strong when they were members of the Wyatt Family.
Charlotte and Asuka: Charlotte carried the verbal segment and effectively set the stage for a showdown match. It’s cool that both women are portrayed as wanting the match due to their desire to prove they are best in the business. It’s a simple storyline and yet it works well. Why did Randy Orton’s music play while the women were still standing in the ring? Odd.
Naomi vs. Carmella: They had to have set some sort of record for most hair flying around in a singles match. Anyway, it was hard to feel any sense of excitement about the match on paper simply because both women have poorly showcased lately, but this turned out to be a good effort with some key moments that drew reactions from the attentive live crowd.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal, and Bobby Roode: A minor Miss that mostly pertains to the one dimensional Roode character. There’s nothing to it other than that he likes to say the word glorious. It was a one dimensional act in NXT and they’ve literally done nothing to add to it since he arrived on the main roster unless you actually count Charlotte acting smitten with him. Meanwhile, the best part of the Mahal vs. Roode match was the RKO that Orton hit on Mahal afterward. On the bright side, it’s nice to see that both secondary championships will be defended at WrestleMania once they make this apparent Triple Threat for the U.S. Title official.
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