By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Dolph Ziggler vs. Xavier Woods: A good match to open the show, but they still haven’t convinced me that Ziggler is a threat to win the WWE Championship. Of course, this is pro wrestling and he’s just a Vince McMahon whim away from winning the belt (see Jinder Mahal), but Ziggler’s many losses are still too fresh in my mind to think of him as a potential world champion. For that matter, having a competitive match with Kofi Kingston’s fall guy didn’t help Dolph’s cause even though the actual match was entertaining.
Alexa Bliss, Bayley, and Nikki Cross: Bliss manipulating Cross into helping her during her feud with Bayley is the best storyline in WWE these days. It’s been well written and logical thus far with the naive Cross falling for Bliss’s antics.
Heavy Machinery vs. The B-Team: A simple showcase win for Otis and Tucker heading into their title match with Daniel Bryan and Rowan at Stomping Grounds. WWE creative has done a nice job with a slow build up (by today’s WWE standards) to the first title match between the two teams.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Kofi Kingston and Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: Remember how over KO was when he was called up to the main roster? Or how popular Zayn was in NXT? At a different time in their careers, this could have felt like a dream match. Instead, they have become the Washington Generals of WWE. And, sure, they are good enough to maintain their heat when they go from town to town, but all this losing has cooled them off considerably as television acts. In the past, I’ve been happy to see Owens and Zayn in television main events, whereas these days I groan because the end result is so predictable.
Wild Card Rule: There is no actual rule. The wrestlers are booked to cross brands with no regard to the actual rule that only four wrestlers could cross brands per show. It’s probably nice for the live crowd to see unadvertised stars. Beyond that, it’s just an excuse for Vince McMahon to focus on the top stars while continuing to ignore the bulk of the mid-card talent.
WWE 24/7 Title: So not only do the wrestlers who chase R-Truth each week look stupid, now they are being booked to actually be stupid for not knowing they have to pin him in order to win the championship.
The Miz and R-Truth vs. Drew McIntyre and Elias: The reunion of Awesome Truth sounded fun for a minute, but this was a flat elimination tag match. And while it was nice to see McIntyre booked strongly, beating up Miz in a glorified handicap match doesn’t make him seem like the threat to Roman Reigns that he should be.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Pat McNeill of the Wayback Playback podcast, who discusses how the more things change the more they stay the same with the return of the XFL and AEW coming to TNT, plus thoughts on WWE’s struggles, how wrestling from 20 years ago holds up through today’s eyes, and more.