By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Friday Night Smackdown Hits
The Usos vs. King Corbin and Dolph Ziggler: A decent match with a couple of spots that felt off. It’s hard to say whether it was ring rust for the Usos or if these teams just don’t have a ton of ring time together. The highlight was the post match angle with Robert Roode returning and the heels getting the better of the Usos and Roman Reigns. The Reigns vs. Corbin feud has exceeded its shelf life, but it made sense to put heat on the heels with a Reigns vs. Corbin match announced for the Rumble.
Daniel Bryan and Ramblin’ Rabbit: Bray Wyatt’s puppet telling Bryan that he knows the secret to beating The Fiend is ridiculous when you stop and think about it. But if you can get past the fact that we’re dealing with a puppet, it is actually an interesting storyline development. The followup with Bryan finding a gift box containing puppet with a piece of his head missing was solid. The Ramblin’ Rabbit puppet has been even tougher to kill than Sheev Palpatine, so perhaps we’ll still learn his secret.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Braun Strowman in a non-title match: I normally grumble about the secondary champions routinely losing non-title matches. I have a short memory, but it feels like it’s been a while (by WWE standards anyway) since they’ve taken this approach. The live crowd reacted favorably to the point that I wondered if some fans in the building thought they were seeing a title change.
Miz TV with John Morrison: A minor Hit for Morrison’s first dialogue since returning. Let’s face it, mic work has never been his strong suit, so it was surprising to see him follow up this segment by sitting in on commentary. I can’t be the only one who hoped that Morrison’s “turd cutters” lines would be left behind in Impact Wrestling.
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston: A decent match with Miz getting the win thanks in part to Kingston being distracted by what was happening at ringside. Miz is moving back into heel mode, and the return of Morrison means he’ll be doing so in a tag team. This is a good landing spot for Miz, as his babyface character stopped clicking a while back, and returning to a heel singles role would have felt repetitive.
WWE Friday Night Smackdown Misses
Elias: The live crowd enjoyed this segment more than I did. It was hard to take Elias seriously as he sang about winning the Royal Rumble and challenging Brock Lesnar.
Mandy Rose vs. Alexa Bliss: A soft Miss for the match existing only to continue the beauty and the beast story between Rose and Otis. I can’t say that I’m excited to see where this goes next, but I must confess to being mildly curious.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...