By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Hits
Daniel Bryan vs. Buddy Murphy: Easily the best thing on the show, and the biggest win of Murphy’s career in WWE. Kudos to Bryan for continuing his one man star making mission in 2019, and it’s one he doesn’t get enough credit for. It’s nice to see Murphy get in the ring with talents such as Bryan and Roman Reigns, and hopefully they are able to execute on the back end by keeping Murphy involved in feuds and building him a character. Everybody knew he was top flight talent in the ring, but there’s still questions to be answered as to whether he can develop a bond with the audience as a character.
Andrade vs. Apollo Crews in a King of the Ring tournament match: Andrade continues to show himself to be one of the most competent heels in the company with another quality match performance. His facial expressions, mannerisms, and viciousness in the ring were all on point. Apollo was also able to show off some athleticism in defeat. WWE seems to understand what they have on their hands with Andrade, but Apollo seems to be in a similar position as guys like Cesaro, Cedric Alexander, and Robert Roode. They are competent and very reliable in the ring, but there is just something missing on the character front to keep them from the next level.
MizTV with Sami Zayn: This edition of MizTV saw the pairing of Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura come together. I like it because it’s readily apparent why both men would immediately benefit from the scenario. Shinsuke doesn’t have to struggle through broken English in promos, and Sami gets a bit of muscle to help him back up the insults he readily churns out. Hopefully this means we get to see both men rack up some wins as time goes on.
Opening Segment with Randy Orton and Kofi Kingston: Kofi and Orton continue to deliver solid in-ring segments and promos. This one was a minor Hit for Kofi showing good fire for his revenge beat down, and Orton managed to make his one man promo segment interesting by speeding up his delivery to match normal human conversation.
WWE Smackdown Misses
Roman Reigns Attacker Revealed: The only thing this segment was missing was the Scooby Gang and Yakety Sax playing in the background. WWE made us wait an entire week until the end of this episode of Smackdown to see the winner of their locally cast Erick Rowan lookalike contest. Roman’s WTF look of confusion represented the entire audience.
Kevin Owens: They’re losing the plot a bit on Owens. He was on his way to becoming WWE’s resident blue collar hero, and now he feels like he’s groveling to Shane McMahon to keep his job and salary, and unwilling to push back against the boss. It seems like they tried to commit as hard as they could to Owens selling the impact of a $100k fine, but the audience didn’t care initially, and thus the follow-up fell a bit flat. If they want to salvage this story, Owens has to convince or coerce Shane to go away as the stipulation of their next match.
A Moment of Bliss with Charlotte Flair: The focus of this segment was on Charlotte and Bayley, and it just didn’t click. Bayley struggles with deadpan facial expressions and is often monotone in her promo delivery, and Charlotte unfortunately shares many of the same issues. I was hoping Alexa would bail them out here and stir the pot successfully, but once the confrontation started, it was like watching an argument between two wooden dolls.