By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: I continue to wonder how hot this program would be if a babyface Lynch were chasing a heel Charlotte. Yes, it was another live crowd cheered Lynch and booed Charlotte. Anyway, the wrestlers continue to deliver even if the creative forces let them down with their usual “we know better than the fans” approach. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a count-out of some type was coming when the company announced that Lynch could lose her title if she was disqualified yet there was no mention of a count-out. Still, very good work by the women and it was cool to see them get the first 30 minutes of the show.
Miz TV with AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan: A good mix of quality mic work from Bryan and Miz and some good taunting comedy at Miz’s expense. Styles wasn’t asked to deliver the big promo here, but I laughed out loud when he boasted about knocking a tooth out of Miz’s mouth. Perhaps the most interesting part about the promo is that Miz didn’t even stir the pot by bringing up Brie Bella’s actions on Raw. I thought they might use that to plant the seed in AJ’s mind that perhaps Bryan can’t be trusted. Instead, it appears they are taking a “what happens on Raw stays on Raw” approach.
Jeff Hardy vs. Samoa Joe in a World Cup Qualifier: I liked the brief video packages on the wrestlers competing in the qualifiers. Yes, the ref stoppage finisher was disappointing, but it was also consistent with the injury Joe sold at the pay-per-view. Will it magically heal in a week or will it be an ongoing issue for Joe’s character?
AJ Styles vs. Shelton Benjamin in a non-title match: A well worked match, but why did Benjamin beat Daniel Bryan only to turn around and lose to Styles this week?
Randy Orton vs. Big Show in a World Cup Qualifier: A minor Hit for a solid veteran match with a finish that plays into Orton’s heelish ways and protected Show to a point. That said, I’m already tired of hearing WWE promote the tournament as determining who is the best in the world. It’s shaping up to be a big tournament and all, but the title belts are representative of who is best in the world of WWE.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Rusev, Lana, and Aiden English tape drama: One Night in Milwaukee was fun until last week when they had to play the video. The followup this week wasn’t any better. The best thing I can say about this storyline is that it’s over.
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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...