By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre: A pay-per-view quality match to open the show complete with big moves and believable near falls for both men. While I applaud the clean finish given that Owens has the big SummerSlam match while McIntyre isn’t even advertised, it is getting increasingly ridiculous to see the way McIntyre is wasted. The company has a real shortage of high level heels and it isn’t because they don’t have the right wrestlers, it’s because they squander the wrestlers who should be in those positions.
Bayley and Ember Moon vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross: A Hit for a well worked match with good performances from all four women. Still, it left me with mixed feelings. Moon taking the loss made her look weak heading into her title match at SummerSlam. Are they adding Alexa Bliss to the SummerSlam match? Bayley continued to come off as overly confident and full of herself, which is fine if she’s turning heel, but I don’t know if that’s the the plan. Two matches into the show and the wrestlers had done a terrific job in the ring, but the booking left a lot to be desired.
Kofi Kingston vs. AJ Styles in a non-title match: A Hit for match quality, but I question the idea of why this match was booked. Sure, it made for a good television main event, but was it really worth having new U.S. Champion Styles take a loss at a time when they are trying to get The OC faction over?
Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair set up on the King’s Court: Trish was never an electrifying promo during her prime, and she has come across as being out of practice on the mic when she’s made special appearances since then. Charlotte’s mic work often feels forced. Ultimately, though, this is getting a Hit because the Trish vs. Charlotte sells itself if you’re a longtime fan.
Randy Orton video package: A well produced video with Orton putting his spin on his 2009 drama with Kingston and setting the stage for their title match at SummerSlam.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Roman Reigns mystery angle: The basic idea of a “whodunnit” is always intriguing. But the production of this segment was so ridiculous that it took this viewer completely out of the moment. Even if you can get past the fact that this was conveniently the first time in WWE television history that we saw a wrestler approach the interview set the way Reigns did, there’s just no getting past the absurdity of having cameras set up around and even behind the scaffolding that fell on him. So who is the guilty party in the storyline? Dot Net staffer Jake Barnett’s prediction on Wade Keller’s Pro Wrestling Post Show made sense when he named Daniel Bryan as the lead suspect.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Ali in a non-title match: The tired formula of heel secondary champions losing televised non-title matches continues. This would have been a cool moment for Ali if we hadn’t seen this same scenario so many times before. At this point, I just assume that the secondary champion will lose if he’s booked against a solid opponent in a televised non-title match. It shouldn’t be that way.
Shane McMahon and Kevin Owens opening: Shane spoke in a video message about not being at Smackdown, then Owens spoke in the ring about Shane not being at Smackdown. WWE wouldn’t have spent so much time talking about Steve Austin missing a show during his peak years.
Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler: A minor Miss. Ziggler is talented in the ring and yet I just don’t care about his matches. So much damage has been done and not enough about his act has changed over the years. That said, The Fiend tease distraction was a logical way to give Ziggler a win without harming Balor.