By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade in a best of three falls match: Another top notch match from Mysterio and the former Mr. Almas. I often get annoyed at rapid fire and especially early pins in a best of three falls match. In this case, the first two falls came off of huge moves and the match was given enough time that it didn’t feel like they were cramming three falls into a normal length match. While it was disappointing in the moment that we didn’t get a clean finish, Corey Graves explained it well by saying Samoa Joe was going after two Royal Rumble match opponents. Of course, this also gave creative an out in terms of delivering a finish. In other words, they kept this strong program going and I don’t think anyone will complain about that.
Vince McMahon moderates the Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles verbal exchange: Another compelling performance by Bryan. It’s crazy to think of how over Bryan was with the masses and how quickly he’s turned the casual fans against him. In what was a smart and common theme throughout the show, this segment successfully put heat on the heel heading into the Royal Rumble event.
Becky Lynch, Asuka, and Charlotte Flair opening segment: Good promos from Lynch and Flair followed by a really good pull apart brawl between Lynch and Asuka that even continued backstage coming out of the commercial break. They did a good job of adding intensity to the Smackdown Women’s Championship match while also selling Flair’s assumed high profile role in the Rumble match.
Sheamus and Cesaro destroy The Miz and Shane McMahon: A good heat generating segment for the heels heading into the tag title match. The build to Miz and Shane teaming has been awkward at times, but their alliance and their feud with The Bar has come together nicely just in time for the pay-per-view.
Mustafa Ali vs. Samoa Joe: First off, the Ali video was a really good piece of production work. Ali delivered a quality promo in a unique setting. There was a gritty feel to the video which, along with Ali’s words and delivery, toughened him up and made him feel like more than a “just happy to be here” new guy. The actual match was entertaining and hopefully this feud is just getting started.
New Day promo: A nice way to remind viewers of Kofi Kingston’s annual Rumble spot. For that matter, the trio making it seem like they are all on the same page going into the Rumble match will actually make a lot of fans wonder if this is the year they end up melting down.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Mandy Rose vs. Naomi: A minor Miss. It wasn’t pretty at times. The clothesline that Naomi threw was downright awful and I have no idea what the follow-up move was supposed to be. On the plus side, I liked that both women worked with the level of intensity that the situation called for given Rose’s home wrecker antics. Unfortunately, last week’s angle was so hokey that the feud feels wonky rather than heated and realistic.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and WOW head writer and lead voice Stephen Dickey discussing his career and the launch of the weekly WOW television series that airs Fridays at 8CT/9ET on AXS TV.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...