Last night was the first Smackdown of 2016 and the premiere on the USA Network. There has been a lot of talk recently about WWE’s intentions to bring Smackdown up in importance. On level pegging with Raw once more, how it use to be all those years ago. Whether that’s true or not one thing is for certain. Smackdown needs a shot in the arm after years of so blatantly being the B show, a show in which so little happens, that I no longer regularly watch it. Which is a real shame as it was once my favourite show, back in the days of the brand split. How did the debut episode on USA go then? Let’s look at The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from Thursday night Smackdown!

The Good

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’ve missed John Cena. Can’t believe I actually wrote those words. There something oddly satisfying about he’s awkward cheesey promo to open Smackdown. I can’t really etll you why I feel like this, maybe it’s because Cena is currently in the midcard rather than strangling the top of the card like he has for the last decade? Maybe it’s because last year he was putting on the best matches on Raw each and every week with his US open challenge?

By now we’ve all heard that John Cena is injured for 6-9 months. He’s going to miss Wrestlemania that’s for certain. so if absence makes the heart grow fonder, imagine how people will react when he returns at the end of the year!

015_sd_01052016ej_0364-3072011264Kalisto continues his push. Backed by John Cena, Kalisto gets a none title one on one match with Alberto Del Rio, who earlier had refused to defend his title or even have a match with Cena.

Well he only went and won didn’t he?! Top lad. If WWE do this right there will be money to be made with Kalisto in the near future. What we don’t want to see happening is the classic stop/start push that has affected so many superstars over the last few yeas.

At this point I’m starting to get a bit worried about myself. I’m actually enjoying this show, despite it’s paint by numbers booking. Things that would normally frustrate the hell out of me.

Another example of this is Miz TV. It’s the classic segment in which everyone interrupts everyone before they can even finish a sentence before a fight breaks out. It’s actually pretty entertaining, in a can’t look away car crash kind of way. I’ve said it before, Miz is a solid mid card character who gets far too much hate. That said, I guarantee if I saw this ridiculous display on Raw I’d be fuming, but for some reason if works for me today? Who knows.

T099_sd_01052016sb_1384-2411559407he Intercontinental Championship match ends in a double count out and a brawl around the arena. On the one side this result once again proves the point that nothing of storyline importance ever happens on Smackdown.

However, what it does is keep momentum moving between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens which is fine. I’m sure at some point another title match will be scheduled for the Royal Rumble. That will be the match when they’ll really put on a show.

Mauro Ranallo has a solid debut as Smackdown’s lead commentator. He called moves well and seemed to know what was going on and who everyone was. He’s certainly no Mike Adamle already! I just liked his voice though, he’s got that old Jim Ross gruffness to it which just has a way of making even the little things that much more powerful. It just adds a little bit of legitimacy to the events we’re witnessing.

Hopefully we’ll get to see him call some awesome spots and he can shout soomething along the lines of “Good God Almighty! He’s broken in half”. Instead of the rather mundane “Oh my…” of Michael Cole.

The Bad

That Smackdown crowd. Good lord, you look so bored. You sound so disinterested. What’s up guys? You can tell me. Is it because you think nothing matters on this show, so its hard to get fully into anything? Yeah, I understand that.

Meaningless impromptu 8-Man tags. We too many of these each week on both Raw and Smackdown. I understand that it’s a way to keep popular wrestlers active and on some occasions keep feuds moving forward without a direct clash between those involved. It’s an over used trope too often seen on WWE TV. Save it for the house shows WWE and think of a new way to keep everyone involved.


The Ugly

032_sd_01052016ej_0475-3653803196Doplh Zigglers straightened hair. Ziggler has changed his look a lot in the last 12 months and I can’t say I’m a big fan of it. He’s developed into a 80’s rocker gimmick, but in clothing only? Odd. Am I the only one who misses his crazy frizzy hair that developed during the course of a match?

You’d think for a wrestler with as much talent as Charlotte Flair that I wouldn’t have any complaints about her style. Well, you’re wrong. Charlotte’s spear has just got to go. It’s one of the worst performed moves, by any wrestler on the roster. Instead of hitting her opponent with any impact, she just flops around them, lands on her knees and does a little pose. It looks horrible.