By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Team Hell No opening promo: A fun opening verbal exchange. It was nice to see that creative didn’t just pretend like their feud never happened. Daniel Bryan and Kane covered it nicely with Kane comically glossing over Bryan’s attempted kidnapping of Brie Bella. The Usos coming out was an unexpected twist that set up a surprise main event.
Team Hell No vs. The Usos: A loaded main event with the added stipulation that the Usos would be added to the tag title match at Extreme Rules with a win. I enjoyed that the Usos addressed the issue of Team Hell No being handed a title shot despite not teaming together for five years, as it’s always nice when creative pays attention to the small details. The actual match was entertaining and the post match with Bludgeon Brothers walking onto the stage was simple and effective.
Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz for the U.S. Championship: It was odd to see them go with this match as an open challenge when it may have drawn more viewers had they simply advertised Hardy vs. Miz. The benefit of taking the open challenge route is that it helps raise the prestige of those matches going forward. In other words, we’ve seen some underwhelming open match challengers, so the occasional use of a quality challenger in this role keeps viewers engaged in the format. The match itself was strong and it was satisfying to see a clean finish.
Asuka vs. James Ellsworth: A minor Hit for the one-sided match that surprisingly resulted in a double count-out. I initially liked the finish in that it gave Ellsworth room to gloat that Asuka couldn’t beat him. Instead, they set up a lumberjack rematch, which should be fun. The negative was that the post match attack made Asuka look like a dope with Carmella once again getting the better of her.
Sanity attacks New Day: The WWE tribute to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest was just like the real thing in that it was missing the great Takeru Kobayashi. Anyway, the Hit comes into play for the strong Sanity beatdown. The trio lost last week after a forgettable debut attack, so this was a nice bounce back segment.
Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce: A minor Hit for another win for Lynch, who finally seems to be doing more than just trading pointless wins and losses. Here’s hoping this is leading to good things for the underutilized Lynch.
WWE Smackdown Misses
AJ Styles vs. Aiden English: A simple submission win for Styles followed by a fairly formulaic attack by Rusev afterward. I was hoping for a strong build for Rusev heading into his title match. Instead, it took him nearly nine minutes to beat Xavier Woods last week and that was followed by Rusev roughing up Styles in forgettable fashion this week.