By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: A match that should have taken place at WrestleMania so that Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch could have been the singles main event. Now that I have that out of my system, this was a very well worked match. The title change sets the stage for some interesting possibilities at WrestleMania. Will both titles be at stake? Will they merge the women’s championship and go with a single champion for the women’s division?
Big E and Xavier Woods run the gauntlet: The New Day duo worked well throughout the series of matches and managed to get the fans at ringside on their feet the deeper they went. The Usos coming out and forfeiting out of respect for New Day was a great touch. I had a hard time getting invested in the storyline, though, as it just seemed so unlikely to me that Kofi Kingston would finally get the WrestleMania title shot because his buddies won a match. And even after they won, I was waiting for Vince McMahon to point out that he said Kingston would go to WrestleMania, but he never said anything about him being in the WWE Championship.
The Miz and Shane McMahon: A minor Hit for a decent segment and the logical announcement of their WrestleMania match becoming a falls count anywhere match. Where will they brawl to so that Shane can leap from a tall structure? Anyway, Miz is holding up his end of things. Shane is a solid heel promo, but there’s still something missing in terms of why he opted to turn on Miz specifically.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Vince McMahon and New Day opening: The New Day portion of the opening segment was solid. It’s been refreshing to see them break out of the happy go lucky routine now that the storyline calls for it. Vince just isn’t the performer he once was.
Kurt Angle vs. AJ Styles: A disappointing finish to a brief match. I get the idea of not having Angle work a long match, but the match lasting less than three minutes was just plain unsatisfying. And this didn’t strike me as the type of interference that put any real heat on Randy Orton. Here’s hoping they make up for this by booking Angle vs. Orton for next week’s show.
Check below for the new Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Eric Bischoff discussing whether there are similarities in Vince McMahon’s WWE booking and Verne Gagne’s booking of the AWA during its dying days, a network shakeup that could potentially be an issue for All Elite Wrestling, Eric’s WrestleMania week show with Tony Schiavone in New York New York, and much more.