Powell’s WWE Smackdown Hit List: Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura angle, Miz TV with New Day, Billie Kay vs. Lana, Naomi vs. Sonya Deville in MITB qualifiers

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

Dot Net Members are listening to my audio reviews of Raw and Smackdown, and John Moore’s audio review of WWE 205 Live. Join us on the ad-free version of our website and mobile website and enjoy over a decade of audio content via PWMembership.net.

WWE Smackdown Live Hits

Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy: Bryan’s promo drew me into the match. It wasn’t as memorable or strong as last week’s promo, but vowing to force Hardy to tap out left me anxious to see if he would make good on the threat. Unfortunately, there was no follow up to this when Hardy was interviewed later in the show. The actual match was entertaining and both guys worked hard before Hardy tapped just as Bryan said he would. The post match scene with Samoa Joe confronting Bryan set the stage for next week’s main event, which is a hot match that will be especially fun for longtime ROH fans.

Andrade Almas squash match: One of the best enhancement matches in recent memory. Almas shined with his spinning back elbow, the double knees in the corner, and his usual hammerlock DDT finisher. The crowd reacted to all three moves with gasps. Almas and Zelina Vega are tremendous additions to the Smackdown roster. I felt bad for the independent wrestler who did a good job and was never even mentioned by name.

AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura angle: Wait, it’s not a pillow fight? Is it too late to move this to the Miss section? Seriously, though, this was a good angle to set the stage for the Last Man Standing match. While I got a kick out of Nakamura’s pillow fight tease and his recent “no speak English” lines, I can’t help but wonder if he would be more effective if he eliminated the comedy and played a darker heel character.

Miz TV with New Day: The usual bit with Miz attempting to create issues between multiple babyfaces. We’ve seen it before, we’ll see it again, and it continues to work because he’s such a good talker. These segments typically result in the babyfaces seeing through Miz’s antics and somehow still ending up at odds. That didn’t happen with New Day at least on this night, but it will be interesting to see if the Money in the Bank decision ultimately tears them apart. The Game of Thrones “shame” bit wasn’t exactly timely and yet it was still fun. The opening match that followed was entertaining and the finish gave Miz a cheap win that protected Big E while also setting up next week’s six-man tag match.

Lana vs. Billie Kay in an MITB qualifier: A Hit for simply keeping it brief. This could have been a disaster if they were given too much time. Instead, it was wisely scripted to be kept short and sweet. The end result is Lana will be in Money in the Bank match. What could possibly go wrong?!?

WWE Smackdown Live Misses

The Usos vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: The Usos were damaged in their lopsided feud with the Bludgeon Brothers and the loss here certainly didn’t help matters. At least Naomi didn’t run out to save them this time. Gallows and Anderson have been beaten down by the booking to the point that they only come off well when they team with AJ Styles. The ongoing “Revenge of the Nerds” tribute line isn’t helping their cause. Will Sanity ever show up?

Naomi vs. Sonya Deville in an MITB qualifier: A minor Miss for a match that had some fun moments and yet never really found its groove.

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