By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Lars Sullivan and The Hardys: We see beatdowns in pro wrestling all the time, but it’s rare that the victims sell the attacks for more than a week or two. In this case, Jeff has a legitimate injury and thus it was a really smart move to claim that the damage was caused by Sullivan’s attack. Sullivan is being booked well and playing the monster heel part extremely well.
Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens: Michael Cole laid it on a little thick when he interviewed Kingston at the top of the show, but it all worked out fine. This approach wouldn’t work for most wrestlers, but Kingston is unique in that he is the company’s feel good story. And while there will come a time when the sappiness will become a turnoff, we’re not there yet. Kevin Owens delivered a quality promo, but I’m surprised we haven’t heard him lash out at Kingston over being left off the WrestleMania card or just something to make it seem like his actions feel more personal.
Finn Balor and Ali vs. Randy Orton and Andrade: A minor Hit for the obligatory tag team match involving the Smackdown MITB ladder match participants. It is worth noting that Andrade moved to Raw and won his only match, then returned to Smackdown and has now lost two straight matches. Here’s hoping it’s one of those WWE booking patterns of making the eventual MITB winner to look weak heading into the event.
Becky Lynch vs. Bayley in a non-title match: A well worked match and it was nice to see it in full via the split-screen commercial break. It did seem a little strange to announce Bayley for the Money in the Bank ladder match only to have her lose this match a short time later.
Kairi Sane and Asuka squash match: A good showcase match. Unfortunately, I don’t think I understood more than a quarter of what the IIconcis said on commentary. I realize their goal is to be annoying (and they were highly successful), but I’d rather hear the Paige character speak about her new team and explain why she’s aligned with them.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Roman Reigns vs. The B-Team: Reigns is getting cheered more in front of the easier Tuesday night crowds that attend Smackdown. Unfortunately, he feels like less of a star on the secondary brand and working with The B-Team and even Elias feel like a step down despite the McMahon family involvement. Some of this won’t be a long term issue once Smackdown becomes the A-show once in October. Then again, with that change comes the move to Friday nights, which will probably lead to tougher crowds.
MITB Ladder Match introduction: And I thought the announcements on Raw were bad. There were no qualifying matches this year, which is baffling given that Raw struggles to fill three hours on a weekly basis. Alexa Bliss announced the Raw wrestlers without any explanation in terms of why the wrestlers were selected. On Smackdown, the broadcast team made the quick announcement for the men as their images simply appeared on the screen. The broadcast team did what they could, but the presentation of the ladder match entrants felt uninspired.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Dave Lagana discussing the NWA Crockett Cup pay-per-view, the NWA’s relationship with Ring of Honor, the future of the NWA, and more.