I thought I’d watch another episode of Smackdown this week. I’m eager for it to do well with this supposed USA Network reboot/renaissance. Will it actually come, I’ll only find out by tuning in more often and finding out. The main problem Smackdown has is that it’s pre-taped, meaning there are spoilers everywhere from Tuesday onwards. As a result, I know some of the results. Which isn’t ideal. I wish they would make it a second live show like Raw, but I don’t think they ever will.
Let’s look at the good and the bad of Smackdown taped in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The opening promo
The show opened strong by announcing three big matches. A rematch for the US Title between Alberto Del Rio and Kalisto, a tables match between The Wyatt’s and The Dudley Boys and a tag team main event between Neville and Dean Ambrose against Sheamus and Kevin Owens. I like this, it immediately gives you something to look forward to and to stick around for.
We then get a variation of the opening promos we normally on Raw. It starts with Renne Young waiting in the parking lot waiting to interview Dean Ambrose. He quickly arrives ina speeding car, which drives off just as quickly as it arrived. He tells Renee that his got a big announcement and that he’s heading to the ring. When he gets there he cuts a humorous promo, complete with drum rolls to build tension to challenge Kevin Owens to a street fight at the Royal Rumble. Which eventually breaks down into Sheamus interrupting, Kevin Owens interrupting and Neville making the save for Ambrose when they attack.
It’s very similar to what we would see weekly on Raw, but there’s enough switch ups to make it feel slightly different. From starting the show in the parking lot with Renee Young to the different superstars involved, it just feels fresher. I suppose most things would in comparison to the last five weeks of Roman Reigns/McMahon promos on Raw though. Another plus for this segment is that it’s shorter than anything we normally see on Monday nights.
I’m really liking Mauro Ranallo. I like his voice, I like his style and I like the presence he brings. He’s acting as if he belongs there, unlike Byron Saxton who seems terrified to talk on Raw. A huge plus is that he knows the moves and actually calls them, it’s almost as if the wrestling matters! It’s only he’s second show but he is already showing great potential. I just hope Vince McMahon stays out of his ear and let’s him do his job.
Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler is heel again! He slowly built into it during the first hour of the show. I imagine this will be something that will continue to develop over the next few weeks until he hits his final form. Immediately it’s an improvement though, even if we still get his awful jokes.
After months of doing literally nothing, we’ve now seen Damien Sandow two shows. First he was in the background on Raw and now he’s actually wrestled a match on Smackdown! The time of Sandow is now! He’s the 2016 Roayl Rumble winner for sure! Too much? Okay fine, but I’m happy to see him back. Now if only WWE could use his incredible talent!
Title changes on the B show?!
We actually saw a title change on Smackdown with Alberto Del Rio winning back the US Title that he lost on Raw. With this Kalisto’s world comes crashing down with this incredibly short reign. It’s a little bit of meaningless hot potato but I won’t complain as we haven’t seen this in a while. What you need to remember is that all the people who complain about this are the same ones who want the attitude era back. Well guess what? This happened all the time back then!
As usual Smackdown, this week coming from Lafayette, Louisiana, suffers from piped in crowd noises. Now granted the crowd were very quiet for any of the sections WWE allowed us to actually hear them, but that only made the suddenly huge crowd cheers and booing more noticeable. Editing the crowd seems like a quick and temporary fix to what is clearly a larger problem. Instead of faking reactions, why not work harder trying to get your superstars, matches and situations over with them?
Unfortunately the tables match between The Dudley Boy and The Wyatt Family didn’t hit the spot. I really like the idea of them doing something speical like this on Smackdown, but this attempt didn’t really work. All in all it was a rather weak and rushed affair. Even the ending was rather naff with Bubba Ray just pushing Luke Harper through a table. Although I will admit that the double chokeslam from the announce table through two tables was pretty cool. Can we move on from The Dudley’s Vs The Wyatt’s now? At this point the rivalry between the two teams has lasted for far too long and has produced more misses than hits in terms of matches.
Recaps after recaps after recaps after recaps…
We got a lot of recaps from Raw this week. With an entire segment on Roman Reigns’ promo with the McMahons and one vs all match highlights. There’s another Sting entering the Hall of Fame vignette and far too many highlights from social media from the previous week. Even during Becky Lynch’s interview with Renee Young is just an excuse to show several video clips from their developing feud. This is why Smackdown is seen as a ‘B’ it focuses far too much on what happened on Raw and what is going to happen next week.
Count outs and disqualifications
Another week another Dean Ambrose match that doesn’t end cleanly. After two double count outs in a row we now have a disqualification victory for Ambrose and Neville. Over use of the same story telling tropes much guys? Owens and Ambrose are clearly just filling time with this feud until they meet at the Royal Rumble in a street fight, but they’ve still got another episode of Raw and Smackdown to get through before then. What’s left for them to do?
Brie Bella must have the worst theme tune in the WWE right now. It’s just awful, it grates on your soul with its auto tuned, vomit inducing ‘music’. While I’m talking about the Bella Twins, can someone honestly tell me if they are face or heel? I have’t got a clue. At the moment it seems to depend on who they are facing, which is just terrible. Sloppy booking like this confuses fans, if they aren’t sure who to cheer for they probably won’t cheer and the last thing Smackdown needs is less crowd involvement.
Was Smackdown worth watching?
The big question is was Smackdown worth watching and unfortunately the answer is no, not really. With all of those Raw recaps and adverts I was bored for a lot of the show. The tables match was just another dud between The Dudley’s and The Wyatt’s, this feud has lasted for too long and has had more misses than hits.
I’m chalking the title change up as a positive as it’s rarely seen on Smackdown, however having known the result before hand ruined the surprise and shock value. The main event was okay, you can tell Dean and Kevin are just filling time until their match at the rumble now.
I’d recommend saving yourself sometime and watching it on Youtube if you haven#t already seen it. Smackdown still needs a lot of work but there were a few tip toes in the right direction. Commentary is the big plus for now, but they really need to find away to get the crowd excited again. Which granted can also be said for some Raw crowds.