By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Andrade Almas vs. Rey Mysterio: A terrific match. WWE finally unleashed these two and they delivered in a big way. Mysterio is a modern marvel simply because he’s working at such a high level at his age and despite all of the knee injuries he’s endured over the years. This was terrific and even something of a surprise in that while we knew these two worked well together, there was no reason to think that they would be given so much television time. I loved that they doubled down on Almas beating Mysterio, as it was cause for even more hope that creative is getting behind Almas. Or should I say Andrade? Is WWE really getting rid of his last name? Ugh.
Becky Lynch and Asuka: My favorite part of the Lynch promo was when she spoke about Asuka losing at WrestleMania and falling off the map. Obviously, Asuka fell off the map because she was booked horribly, but this provided good storyline logic for Asuka’s struggles. Lynch’s match with Peyton Royce felt longer than it needed to be on its own, and even more so once Asuka plowed through Billie Kay in seconds to show her up. Even so, this was solid hype for their match at the Royal Rumble.
Samoa Joe attacks Mustafa Ali: Nobody delivers a better violent beatdown than Joe. I like the idea of the badass Joe vs. the feel good newcomer feud that is sure to follow.
The Miz hosts Shane McMahon’s birthday party: A minor Hit for the absurdity that is Miz’s over the top fondness for Shane. Cesaro appeared to land hard on his shoulder when he took the bump through the table, and Shane was clearly limping after performing the Coast 2 Coast. Hopefully both men are okay.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Jimmy Uso visits Temptation Island: The Usos seemed to be the only people in the world who didn’t immediately realize that Mandy Rose was gifting Jimmy the rose and hotel key. Worse yet, Jimmy’s response of “I don’t know” when his brother asked him what he was going to do was absurd. The person who scripted that line must be single. This would never be an acceptable answer in the mind of Uso’s wife regardless of how he ended up handling the situation. He basically implied that he was thinking about it, which would surely land him in the doghouse if not divorce court. Half kidding aside, WWE has taken a turn for the trashy. The same company that is preaching women’s empowerment gave us Mandy in a towel last week, a needless shot of Alexa Bliss covering her breasts on Raw, and now this angle on Smackdown.
Use of the NXT call-ups: The story is that the NXT call-ups are floating between the brands temporarily so that fans can get to know them (isn’t that part of the purpose that NXT serves?). Aside from Nikki Cross wrestling on Raw, the company’s idea of letting the fans get to know the talent seems to be showing them hanging around backstage for a few seconds. And we all know how much Vince McMahon hates to admit failure (see the XFL revival), but please tell me EC3 checking himself out in a backstage mirror won’t lead to him becoming a modern day version of Lex Luger’s “The Narcissist” character.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Brian Fritz discussing the formation of All Elite Wrestling and their launch rally.