By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
AJ Styles and Mustafa Ali vs. Daniel Bryan and Andrade Almas: A night after talking about change and not showing any real signs of it, Smackdown delivered a show that seemed to play to the more hardcore fan. Rusev was spotlighted, Sanity returned, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson finally received television time, and they delivered a main event filled with four great workers. Smackdown doesn’t really need an overhaul like Raw does, but I’m not complaining. The main event was given plenty of time and the wrestlers made good use of it. It’s great that Mustafa Ali is now a regular on the Smackdown roster, and it was especially cool to see him showcased by pinning Bryan. This obviously helped Ali, but it also sold the company’s message of change. The only negative is that he caught Bryan with his knees while performing his finisher and could be heard immediately apologizing.
Daniel Bryan and the fan sign: The best moment of the entire week of WWE television was Bryan stopping on his way to the ring to glare at a fan who held up a sign that read “Yes, this sign wasted paper”. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Asuka vs. Naomi for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: I think they had a good match? Their gear had so many colors that I became nauseous and had to lay down for a minute, but what I saw was entertaining and gave Asuka a nice television win. Meanwhile, the idea of including Vince McMahon in the segment with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair probably seemed like a good idea on paper, but it felt off that both women simply stood and listened to him and didn’t fire back. This ran counter to what we’ve come to expect from The Man, so hopefully that’s something that will be addressed going forward.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. The Usos: It was good to see Gallows and Anderson not only back on television for the first time since August but also featured in quality match. Gallows looks like he’s in the best shape of his life and hopefully the duo will be rewarded with an actual program. It was also nice to see Sanity get involved even if it meant a cheap finish to the match, as it looks like an effort is being made to put them in the tag team mix as well.
The Miz and Mandy Rose vs. Carmella and R-Truth: I haven’t been a fan of the Miz and Shane McMahon angle, but Miz asking Vince McMahon for his blessing to have Shane as a tag partner was comical.
Rusev: The Handsome Rusev schtick backstage and the comedic clips that Shinsuke Nakamura showed later in the show struck me as a good sign that WWE is finally going to make a go of showcasing the fun, quirky side of Rusev. Basically, they are letting him be himself and good things should come from that even though it feels a little awkward at first while he finds his groove.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy apology segment: A flat segment that didn’t really further the feud. Jeff said he saw through Joe just seconds after he said he expected an apology.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Konnan, who discusses his return to the ring for MLW and shares the crazy story of how he started in pro wrestling.