By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Randy Orton promo: Sometimes simplicity is the best approach. There was nothing special about what Orton said and he didn’t even burn down a shed in the woods. He simply blamed the fans’ lack of respect for his attack on Jeff Hardy. Big Show and Kane are probably the only wrestlers who have turned more frequently than Orton, but his latest heel run got off to a good start last week and this promo was well delivered. Orton is a natural heel. Do they have a plan to keep the fans turned against him despite the popularity of the RKO or are they going to take the approach that any reaction is a good reaction?
Samoa Joe to challenge AJ Styles: They spent more time having Styles put over the Evolution pay-per-view than his title defense at SummerSlam, but Styles vs. Joe is a match that basically sells itself. Joe’s win over R-Truth didn’t mean much, but it’s nice to see him getting the dominant wins heading into his title match that Rusev didn’t get before Extreme Rules.
The Miz, Maryse, and Daniel Bryan: The premiere party served its purpose of delivering final hype for the Miz & Mrs. reality show that followed Smackdown on USA Network. Miz’s baby swerve on Bryan was comical and he did a good job of making it seem like he was holding a real baby by simply bouncing a bit as if he was trying to pacify a child as he delivered his promo. By the way, the Miz & Mrs. show was a fun 30 minutes. I was disappointed that we didn’t get Miz’s Dad, but Maryse’s Mom more than made up for it.
Carmella vs. Becky Lynch: An entertaining match with Lynch getting another momentum building win to earn the title shot at SummerSlam. This was one of Carmella’s better in-ring outings and it’s not a coincidence that it occurred while she was working with the talented Lynch.
Andrade Almas vs. Rusev: This looked troubling going in if only because both wrestlers need wins, but the finish gave Almas the win without damaging Rusev. Furthermore, it shifted the focus to Rusev’s issues with Aiden English.
Asuka vs. Billie Kay: A needed dominant win for Asuka, who lost her mystique after her streak ending loss to Charlotte at WrestleMania was followed by a lousy feud that saw her outsmarted by Carmella and James Ellsworth on a weekly basis. The Iiconics are fun, but they can absorb singles match losses until WWE gets around to introducing women’s tag titles.
WWE Smackdown Misses
New Day vs. Sanity: A minor Miss. A fine match, but we’re back to parity booking with these teams trading wins and losses.
James Ellsworth fired: Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!