By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown Hits
Closing angle with Roman Reigns and King Corbin: Reigns getting a touch of revenge on Corbin going into the pay-per-view was effective. He showed good fire and WWE finally found foils that the fans won’t cheer at the expense of Vince McMahon’s chosen one. The same angle also gave some attention to the Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. The Revival tag title match that has been turned into a ladder match at TLC. None of this was enough to make TLC feel like something more than a phoned in creative effort, but it closed the show on a high note while showcasing a couple of pay-per-view feuds.
The Revival vs. Shorty G and Mustafa Ali: The outcome of the match was never in question given that The Revival are challenging for the tag titles on Sunday. Despite that working against them, the wrestlers produced an entertaining match that held my interest from bell to bell. But make no mistake about it, Shorty G is still a terrible name and gimmick.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro vs. Heavy Machinery: A well received match as the live crowds continue to enjoy the Otis and Tucker act. I’m not really sure why WWE is booking their Intercontinental Champion in a tag team rather than developing title feuds. Then again, I’m still not sure why Sami Zayn is cast as a manager when he has so much to offer as a wrestler.
WWE Friday Night Smackdown Misses
Bray Wyatt and The Miz: I have mixed feelings on this segment because it was the most interesting angle on the show, but you had to turn your brain off to accept that Wyatt is allowed to break into Miz and Maryse’s home and torment their children. Forget the police, Grandma Marjo would kick Wyatt’s sweater wearing ass. And even if you can get past that, Miz and Maryse won’t be receiving any nominations for their acting performances during the upcoming award season. The unintentional highlight of the entire segment was tough guy wrestler Miz stopping and sending his wife into the room ahead of him without knowing what was waiting behind the bedroom door. The Firefly Funhouse portion was better and Wyatt seemed to indicate that he rather than his Fiend persona will be facing Miz on Sunday. Even so, it still feels like something the broadcast team should be emphasizing so that there’s not backlash from anyone in the live crowd who isn’t paying close attention and still expect to see The Fiend. There’s a way to frame the kid show host Wyatt persona’s in-ring debut as something compelling, but WWE seems to be dancing around it as much as possible, which is the approach that is the most likely to blow up in their faces.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville: I like the way this started with the heels sneak attacking Bliss and Cross on the Gorilla Position interview set. I wasn’t a fan of the way it ended with the heels losing in clean and decisive fashion. Rose and Deville never seem to get more than a week’s worth of heat before the babyfaces put them in their place. Meanwhile, the Bliss and Cross tag team hasn’t been fun since Bliss stopped manipulating Cross and started being her actual friend.
Elias, Bayley, and Dana Brooke: Elias called Bayley sweetheart, then sang a song about turning down a three-way and Bayley’s hair making her look like a dude. Is Elias the WWE version of Impact’s Johnny Swinger? Bayley fired back by labeling Brooke a groupie, which is exactly what she’s come off like the last few weeks.