By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. Championship: This was the type of match I was hoping they would have at Extreme Rules. Instead, we were treated to a nut shot finish and a quickie title change, while the real match was saved for television. The underwhelming Extreme Rules event really could have used a match like this one, though it’s understandable that the violent Randy Orton post match attack was saved for television when more people were able to see it. I just assumed that Orton was sending a message to Nakamura and setting up a Triple Threat when he stomped Hardy’s balls on Sunday. And while I don’t rule out a Triple Threat, Orton clearly has issues with Hardy. I have no idea whether Orton’s explanations for his actions will be worth the wait, but I’m definitely interested in hearing his explanation after that strong attack that left Hardy lying.
AJ Styles vs. Andrade Almas: A very good match with Almas gaining something in defeat. I must admit that this was a rare case where I was actually hoping for outside interference to prevent Almas from losing clean, but the broadcast team put over Almas in a big way afterward. I found it interesting that Almas didn’t simply sell the loss for a moment and roll to ringside like most wrestlers do. Rather, he stood up and glared at Styles before walking off with Zelina Vega. It felt premature to give Almas a television loss, though there’s no shame in losing to the WWE Champion in such a competitive match. Let’s see where this goes.
The Miz delivers a eulogy for Team Hell No: The usual excellent mic work from The Miz who worked in a plug for his reality show debuting next week and his MVP performance in the celebrity softball game before getting down to business. Daniel Bryan showed great intensity as he worked over Miz’s independent wrestler sidekicks. The only thing I would have changed is Bryan hitting Miz from behind. I’m surprised they didn’t opt to keep Bryan from getting his hands on Miz until SummerSlam.
Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose: A minor Hit for another television win for Lynch. The bigger story is Lynch is finally moving into title contention, meaning all of these mid-card wins she’s picked up lately are actually leading to something.
Samoa Joe vs. Tye Dillinger: A basic Joe match, which is good enough for me. He shut down Dillinger’s early offense and put him away quickly and decisively. I hope Joe is the person Paige will announce as the challenger to the WWE Championship at SummerSlam.
Kofi Kingston vs. Eric Young: The match dragged on longer than it needed to, but Kingston managed to get the crowd fired up late with some flashy offense, and Young’s wheelbarrow neckbreaker is a cool finisher. Congrats to Sanity for ending their streak of losing every other television match.
WWE Smackdown Misses
None: This was not an A+ show, but it was a strong edition with every segment feeling like it served a purpose. Well done.