By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Vince McMahon, Elias, and Roman Reigns: It was clever to have Vince give the big buildup to Elias only to then have Reigns make his entrance and take out both men. There’s a chance it would have backfired if Vince had given that big introduction to Reigns, as it would have made Reigns look like he was getting special treatment from the boss. The Smackdown live crowds tend to be smaller in numbers and tamer than Raw crowds, so they may have an easier time getting Reigns cheered on Tuesdays until the show moves to Fridays in October.
Finn Balor vs. Ali: The addition of Balor to the Smackdown roster is a better late than never move. I touted the idea of a heel faction with Balor, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson. We can only wonder how different things would be for all three men right now had WWE taken that approach. The match between Balor and Ali was well worked and I’d like to see more from these two. Will Balor drop the Intercontinental Title on Sunday during the match he’s advertised for on The Shield special or will U.S. Champion Samoa Joe pop up on Monday’s Raw in one final Shakeup move? Either way, the uncertainty helps makes Balor’s match on Sunday feel more intriguing.
Kevin Owens Show with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods: If you thought for a second that Big O swiveling his hips was going to get a Miss then you were sadly mistaken. The match itself felt like time filler, but the live crowd enjoyed it. It will be interesting to see if Owens sticks with New Day for a bit or if they have additional guest members while Big E is sidelined. It will also be interesting to see how long the KO nice guy routine lasts.
Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella: A minor Hit for a solid match that gave Flair a win in her first televised match since WrestleMania. Flair is good enough to make her opponents look better than they are, but there’s no denying that Carmella has improved in the ring since her title reign.
WWE Smackdown Misses
The IIconics, Mandy Rose, and Sonya Deville vs. Bayley, Ember Moon, Asuka and Kairi Sane: A minor Miss for lumping the introductions of several Smackdown additions in one segment. None of the women stood out as special in this format aside from perhaps Sane, who scored the pin for her team. It is worth noting that the live crowd seemed excited by the idea of Moon facing Lynch, which may have led to some of the boos when Bayley was introduced. The Bayley character has been horribly botched on the main roster so hopefully they have a new twist in mind for her on Smackdown, and hopefully they recognize the need to do more with Moon.
Lars Sullivan’s Shakeup mess: Sullivan was named to the Raw roster on Monday and was even listed on the Raw side of WWE’s official Superstar Shakeup page at the time he was introduced as a Smackdown wrestler on Tuesday night. It was easier to follow the Shakeup on night two because it seemed like the broadcast team was at least told what was happening, but the Sullivan situation was another example of just how chaotic and nonsensical this year’s Shakeup was. By the way, is there a reason that Nikki Cross wasn’t assigned to a brand or did they just forget?
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Jake Barnett looking ahead to the WWE Superstar Shakeup, discussing AEW television, and more.