By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits:
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella: A good Triple Threat match. I went in thinking it was possible they would give the nod to Carmella and simply feed her to Asuka at the Rumble while limiting Lynch and Charlotte to the actual Royal Rumble match. But as the match played out, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Lynch needed to win in order to maintain her momentum, and thus it felt like they made the right call. Plus, we will get what should be a hell of a match between Asuka and Lynch at the Rumble. I loved the scowl on Flair’s face following the match and I really hope she ends up being cemented as a definitive heel soon. Finally, Carmella did a nice job and it’s good to see her in-ring improvement continue.
Samoa Joe and Andrade Almas vs. Rey Mysterio and Mustafa Ali: A really fun, fast paced match with some good spots, including Joe’s violent fallaway slam of Ali onto the broadcast table. Almas scoring his first meaningful win on the main roster gives cause for optimism that the creative forces are finally going to get behind him. Meanwhile, Ali continues to be a really nice addition to the Smackdown roster.
Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth in a non-title match: Bryan’s pre-match rant on fans consuming the food at the concessions stands was good, preachy fun. It was nice to hear Byron Saxton state on commentary that Bryan is eco friendly yet going about delivering his message the wrong way. It was also good to see Truth in a more serious match for a change. His comedy antics continue to get strong reactions, but it’s fun to see him shake things up from time to time.
WWE Smackdown Misses:
Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Usos in a non-title match: This was a Hit in terms of match quality, but they just haven’t been able to breathe new life into the story of the Usos chasing The Bar for the tag titles again. I thought perhaps the Usos getting a non-title win might push things in the right direction, but the Mandy Rose distraction finish placed more emphasis on her feud with Naomi than the tag title feud. And I have no idea what to make of the Shane McMahon and Miz pairing, but it better involve Shane wearing Miz-like gear.
Rusev promo: I get a kick out Rusev’s comedy. And his line about having the body of a thousand Hemsworths was funny. But do we really need jokes during a promo when he’s trying to convey outrage over his wife being injured? That single joke set the wrong tone for the promo.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Will Pruett reviewing the NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13 event.