By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz in a Money in the Bank qualifier: Another strong outing for Miz and a nice bounce back match for Hardy following a forgettable Backlash match with Randy Orton and a clunker with Jinder Mahal at the Greatest Royal Rumble. It’s been great to see Miz go from being a pest heel who only won if he cheated to developing in-ring credibility with the fans in that he’s been booked in a way that they believe he can hang with top babyfaces.
Charlotte vs. Peyton Royce in a Money in the Bank qualifier: There were some clunky moments such as Banks putting her knees up and Charlotte coming nowhere close to them when she performed a moonsault, as well as the spear that followed a short time later. Even so, there was far more to like about the match including some good dramatic near falls for Royce.
Carmella promo: A good gloating heel victory promo and an announcement of her “Mellabration” for next week. All of the Mella talk is super annoying, which is perfect for here as a pest heel.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev in a Money in the Bank qualifier: A shocking upset in my book. I’m all for WWE doing more with Rusev, but did it really need to come at the expense of Bryan? Fans should still be in the honeymoon phase of Bryan’s return and he feels shockingly flat. They have had him miss multiple appearances due to scripted injuries. They booked him in a cold match against Big Cass. And now he lost to Rusev while the broadcast team played up that the recent attacks were just too much for him to handle. Fans want to see Bryan the fighter, not a guy who apparently needs to be encased in bubblewrap. I really hope his dejected look after the match means there’s a good storyline reason for this outcome. Bryan’s return is the feel good story of 2018 and yet somehow WWE has managed to cool him off considerably.
Paige opening: It seemed like Raw quickly moved on from the lousy Backlash event. They didn’t air a bunch of still shots or have the broadcast team gush over the event even though there’s plenty of time to fill before the next pay-per-view. As such, it was surprising that poor Paige had to go out there and risk her credibility with fans by acting like Backlash was a great show. The half-assed reaction from the fans when she boasted about the show spoke volumes. It also came off poorly when she mentioned the double ball shot finish between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. She didn’t seem like an authority figure who wasn’t pleased by the outcome and she offered no solutions before she simply said we’d hear from both men.
Xavier Woods vs. Cesaro: A minor Miss. The New Day act still feels tired to me as a weekly viewer, but there’s no denying that this live crowd was hot for the trio. Hell, they even chanted for pancakes. The actual match was well worked. Perhaps my issue is that tag team wrestlers working singles matches feels like an overused time filler crutch. Am I the only one who wishes The Bar would have flipped to the babyface side and been positioned as badasses for a showdown feud with Bludgeon Brothers?
Mandy Rose vs. Becky Lynch: A minor Miss for Lynch continuing to play the good hand role when she’s more than capable of being the top female babyface. The presentation of Rose with the entrance and Corey Graves gushing was fun. I just wish the company would do more with talented Lynch.
Hopefully by having Rusev beat the Featherweight who doesn’t groom it is an indicator of a good push for Rusev into the title picture. Featherweight can take on someone in a mask or something on the undercard.