By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net Members are listening to my weekly audio review of WWE Smackdown and my Q&A audio show from Monday that includes my thoughts on the National Wrestling Hall of Fame weekend in Waterloo, Iowa. For membership information, visit PWMembership.net.
WWE Smackdown Live Hits
Becky Lynch and Carmella: Lynch delivered another great babyface promo. She’s awesome when she’s given a storyline she can sink her teeth into. It’s still bizarre to me that she was treated like a good hand rather than a star attraction for so long. Meanwhile, Carmella did a very good job with her latest insincere promo. It’s not her fault that this swerve has been overdone and the fans no longer buy it. The important thing is that Lynch’s character didn’t buy it either. Rather, it was the tease of James Ellsworth coming out that opened the door for Carmella to blindside her.
Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Usos: A strong tag team match. The finish was really good with Cesaro rushing back to hit an Uso with the big uppercut as he leapt off the top while Sheamus put his knees up when the other Uso splashed him. The Usos are one of those teams that seem to maintain their popularity even when they go through stretches without getting many wins. The only thing wrong with the match was the call to make this the night that New Day debuted their broadcast table. I get a kick out of a lot of New Day comedy, but in this case they were just distracting from an entertaining match on a show that was light on in-ring action.
Samoa Joe promo: A hard hitting promo with Joe going after Styles for not being home enough for his wife and children. It was good to have Byron Saxton defend Styles as a family man on commentary, but I love the way Joe made the feud personal by attacking Styles in this manner.
Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, and Shinsuke Nakamura: The unique charisma of Hardy was on display during his promo. He’s never been the best talker, but he has coolness and a connection with the fans that more than makes up for it. Nakamura attacking Hardy from behind before Hardy could get his hands on Orton was well done. Orton backing Nakamura into a corner only to allow him to perform his finisher on Hardy was even better. I loved that Orton teased the crowd with an RKO only to not deliver. Orton is off to a phenomenal start as a violent and sadistic heel.
The Miz and Daniel Bryan: A strong verbal exchange. It started awkwardly with Bryan’s oddball strategy of essentially telling Miz to come to the ring so he could punch him in the face. Shockingly, Miz didn’t take him up on the offer. That aside, Bryan did a nice job of discussing their history and last week’s baby angle. Miz fired back on the big screen in a cowardly manner while accusing Bryan of being a crybaby. It was very interesting that Miz included the line: “Just let your contract expire and go entertain dozens of people in high school gyms.” In other words, they are starting to incorporate the fan questions regarding Bryan’s contract status into the storyline.
Charlotte vs. Carmella: I could give this a Miss for the outcome on a personal level in that I was looking forward to seeing Lynch get a high profile singles title match. But they are telling an interesting story with Charlotte and Lynch. I’d love to see Charlotte go back to her natural heel role. My fear is that they take the opposite approach with Lynch turning on Charlotte while blaming her for stealing her spotlight. The look of frustration on Lynch’s face after Charlotte beat Carmella seemed to tease that they are headed in that direction. Here’s hoping it was a swerve. The actual match was had some suspenseful moments and while the wrestlers seemed off at times it was actually better than their previous outings.
WWE Smackdown Live Misses
Lana vs. Zelina Vega: A minor Miss, but not for the usual Lana match quality issues that are just expected at this point. This played out in such a predictable manner with Aiden English accidentally costing Lana the match. Predictability isn’t always a bad thing, but this oddball split with Rusev, Lana, and English isn’t holding my interest, in part because none of them are coming off as intelligent or likable.