By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe vs. Big Cass: I’m not a fan of the bait and switch. More on that later. Putting that aside and looking at the actual match, it was very entertaining. The clean finish with Bryan passing out to the Coquina Clutch was well done and makes the hold look even more dangerous. Is it because Joe will use the hold to capture the WWE Championship? After all, Joe is now a strong candidate to win the Money in the Bank match. Meanwhile, I assume we’re getting Bryan vs. Cass at MITB. I’m not the least bit disappointed that Bryan isn’t in the MITB match because there’s no need to rush to Bryan into the title picture. Bryan’s return was off to a rocky start when he was pinned by Rusev, but things have been looking up since then. His work is more intense and he got to deliver a mission statement that he wants to regain the WWE Championship, but it doesn’t need to happen overnight. This loss feels like a bump in the road rather than anything that hurts him long term.
New Day vs. The Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro: A good six-man tag match with a nice flurry of offense from Xavier Woods before Big E got the win for his team. My guess continues to be that Big E will represent New Day in the Money in the Bank match, but the mystery is a fun little hook.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger: A minor Hit for a simple showcase match for Nakamura heading into his latest title match. I’m anxious for WWE to ditch the 10 gimmick for Dillinger in favor of something that isn’t so one dimensional.
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose: A minor Hit. I assumed this would be a brief showcase win for Asuka. Instead, they gave Rose some offense and she showed some improvement in the process.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Opening with Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, and Big Cass: I’m happy that Big Cass isn’t actually injured, but I was hoping we’d be treated to the advertised Bryan vs. Joe match rather than the bait and switch with Cass being added to the main event. I assumed going into the show that Cass would interfere in the main event after a quality back and forth match, but adding him to the actual match was a letdown and got the show off to a bad start on a night when they were not opposed by major sports programming. This isn’t the type of move that puts heat on Cass in the eyes of most fans. Rather, it makes Cass a turnoff and puts heat on the company.
Naomi and Lana dance contest: I realize WWE brands itself as sports entertainment and I also know dancing is considered a sport, but what part of this was entertaining? Meanwhile, it’s a shame that WWE took the edge away from Usos by feeding them to the Bludgeon Brothers without seeming to have an actual rebound plan for the Usos.