By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe: A good segment that left me with mixed feelings. Joe shined in a major way during the verbal exchange by using a heel perspective to question the sincerity of Kingston’s babyface actions. I could have done without Kingston reminding everyone that his No. 1 contender just lost the U.S. Championship, but his comeback regarding Joe being jealous that he’ll never have a moment with his family like he had at WrestleMania was strong. I also liked the way that Kingston showed an edge by responding to Joe’s handshake request with a middle finger. But did we really need to see Joe laid out by a Trouble in Paradise kick? Creative did such a good job of making Joe feel like a threat by having him choke out Kingston on Raw, and it was hard to not to feel like some of the good was erased by having Joe laid out the very next night.
Update on Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley: They didn’t provide much in the way of new details on the storyline injuries, but the important thing is that they made it seem like a big deal by having the broadcast team address the situation at the top of the show.
Heavy Machinery vs. Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler: Are we getting babyface KO after all? Sure, it’s a little strange because we saw what in retrospect can be viewed as a tease for it (even though they were seriously moving in that direction) and he ended up turning on New Day, but I’m all for it and I have no doubt that he can explain it away. Heavy Machinery continues to be fun in small doses.
Andrade vs. Apollo Crews: An entertaining television match. Crews looked good in defeat, and the interference by Zelina Vega set up the finish and put heat on both heels.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big E: A decent television match. Bryan has taken a lot of losses lately so it was good to see him get a win. Big E didn’t lose anything because Bryan won thanks to Rowan’s interference.
Ember Moon vs. Mandy Rose: A nice match with a surprising outcome if only because I assumed they could have Sonya Deville interfere again as they continue the oddly long build to Moon teaming up with Carmella.
Improved implementation of Vince McMahon not wanting matches to air during commercial breaks: WWE wisely avoided televising some of the ring entrances so they could go right to the matches. They avoided the ridiculously quick best of three falls matches and only had the one restart in the main event. It’s easier to pull this off on Smackdown than Raw because they use split screen commercial breaks, but hopefully the improvement will continue. Better yet, hopefully Vince wakes up tomorrow and forgets this silly edict so we don’t have to assume that every television main event will have a clunky restart.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre: Is anyone in pro wrestling more overexposed than Shane at this point? Being aligned with Shane looked good for McIntyre on paper, but he hasn’t really benefitted unless you count losing another high profile match to Roman Reigns shortly after Shane beat him. Here’s hoping that Paul Heyman or Eric Bischoff or someone in the creative department recognizes what they have in McIntyre and pushes him to the moon once Shane is out of the picture.
Bayley vs. Nikki Cross in a non-title match: The match was well worked, but it’s a match that didn’t need to happen. The story has been that everyone feels that Cross deserved to wrestle the title match at Extreme Rules and instead won that title shot for Alexa Bliss. Bayley getting her win back over Cross was fine for Bayley, but it worked against the enjoyable story between Cross and Bliss.
Shelton Benjamin on the WWE Championship match: I have no idea where they are going with this, but it felt too convenient that Benjamin is the only person who was asked who he thought would win the match between Kofi Kingston and Samoa Joe. This could have been easily addressed if they simply had the broadcast team claim that Benjamin was one of many wrestlers who was asked for a production piece, but his reaction was so odd that they felt they needed to show it.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and Bruce Mitchell of PWTorch.com discussing WWE naming Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as executive directors of Raw and Smackdown, why Paul Levesque isn’t taking on a bigger role, AEW Fyter Fest, and much more.