By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Triple H opening: A fun condescending promo from Flair to start and a cool walk through the crowd appearance by the suspended Lynch. Triple H played a good target for Lynch’s anti authority jabs. His rebuttal promo was strong, though it felt like he could have made the same point in about half the time. Lynch fired back with a slap and a smirk, but I could have done without her responding to his claim that she’s afraid to face Ronda Rousey. Despite my critiques, the segment made for good television. By the way, is there some unwritten law that Lynch can only appear in the opening segment before she disappears for the remainder of the show?
Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy in a non-title match: A quality match with only negative being that WWE ended Raw and Smackdown with cheap finishes in their main events. This one made more sense than the Raw finish, as it established Erick Rowan as a threat and protected Hardy going into the Elimination Chamber match, but it’s still a groaner to have both of WWE’s weekly shows conclude with DQ finishes.
Randy Orton vs. Mustafa Ali: A good first-time matchup. They created some drama by making Ali look competitive before Orton put him away with a creative RKO. Ali is positioned as an underdog with heart, so he can absorb the loss. This match combined with Samoa Joe’s post match attack on Orton, and Joe’s moment with Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan, all made for good hype for the Elimination Chamber.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson: A minor Hit for a solid match to establish the new Nakamura and Rusev team. It should mean something to beat Gallows and Anderson, but they’ve been so misused in WWE that the outcome was never in question.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Daniel Bryan promo: A minor Miss. I was hoping that Bryan would be up for the challenge of turning his home state fans against him. Instead, he played to those fans and the segment left something to be desired.
AJ Styles and Jeff Hardy segment: Styles interrupting Hardy’s promo to question whether he really thinks he’s the man who can beat Daniel Bryan felt like creative was forcing an issue between the two heading into the Chamber match.
Naomi and Carmella vs. Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay: A minor Miss for some sloppy moments. On the bright side, they kept the Rose and Naomi feud alive. The feud started campy, but the further we get away from the hotel angle the more people will forget about that train wreck and enjoy the rivalry.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom with Jason Powell and his guest Rich Bocchini (f/k/a Rich Brennan) discussing his work with Tony Schiavone in MLW, working for Michael Cole in WWE, his trial by fire in NXT, being produced by Vince McMahon, and much more.