WWE really seem to be putting in a little more effort for Smackdown these days. We had Brock Lesnar on the show last week and storyline advancement for Jericho and AJ Styles for the majority of their feud are the two most recent examples. This week Triple H makes a rare appearance on Thursday nights. That doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses all of a sudden, most of the matches for example are extremely missable and often repeats or variations of commonly seen bouts. Raw has the same problem too though, it has to be said.
The trick to making Smackdown more important however is for them not just to repeat the same promo or the same matches on the next Raw. I’m specifically talking about The Dudley Boys recent heel turn promo which they repeated almost word for word a week later. For Smackdown to truly be its own show, it has to be unmissable. Simple as that.
After an awfully bland and downright boring Fastlane PPV, Raw was actually pretty good this week. Brock Lesnar verses Dean Ambrose was set up for Wrestlemania, the return of Shane O’Mac and a brutal beat down from Triple H on Roman Reigns to close the show. If you want to read more of my thoughts from Raw, CLICK HERE. For now however, let’s focus on the main talking points from this weeks Smackdown!
Roman Reigns wasn’t on Smackdown this week, he’s recovering from his injuries. Which means we actually get a decent promo from Triple H that isn’t interrupted by his awful smugness.
Smackdown still suffers from sound editing or at least heavy suspicion of edits. So you can never feel like the reaction you’re hearing from the crowd is entirely genuine. As a result Triple H goes from huge fan favourite, to mild bad guy? Of course Triple H could have just worked wonders with the crowd.
I don’t think anyone can deny that Triple H was the fan favourite during his fight with Roman Reigns on Raw this past week. Now I’m no fan of Roman Reigns, I’ll admit that. He’s been booked horribly since the break up of The Shield. Yet as much as I enjoyed watching him get his ass kicked, it was still weird to be cheering for the biggest heel in the company in doing so!
The crowd in Detroit for Raw made it clear to me that it’s only going to get worse for Reigns the closer we get to Wrestlemania as well. It will take a miracle in booking to have the audience swing and support Reigns. You’ve gotta believe that the ‘Mania crowd won’t support Reigns after all, they didn’t last year and none of his problems have been addressed!
If you’ve read anything on this website before you’ll know I’m a big fan of Kevin Owens. He’s one of the best things going in WWE right now, constantly entertaining and a really talented wrestler to boot.
This week he offered Dean Ambrose his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. Knowing Dean isn’t there however, after the attack from Brock Lesnar, Kevin gives himself the night off. Saying that Ambrose is the only one who deserves a shot and he’s beaten everybody else. The Big Show interrupts saying he hasn’t beaten him yet and they actually have a match tonight.
It’s another good promo from Kevin Owens and Big Show does well too. I give Big Show a lot of criticism, but every so often he pulls something out of the bag and surprises me. I’m not saying this was amazing, I just know there’s something better in Big Show waiting to come out when he has a chance.
The match puts over Owens rather well, both in his overall toughness and intelligence. He cuts the big man down to size a few times and eventually catches him on the top rope resulting in a count out victory. Smart booking for everyone involved.
Y2AJ & Mark Henry Vs The New Day
Fresh from the revelation that The New Day take baths together, we have Jericho, Styles and Mark Henry take on The New Day. I seriously love the New Day and their promos but I’ll admit that I wasn’t a fan of the Cutting Edge Peep Show from Fastlane at all! What a waste of time that turned out to be.
The New Day are just floating around right now waiting for a new feud or more realistically a multi-team tag team match on the pre show of Wrestlemania. For a team who have been one of the most consistently entertaining parts of WWE for the last year, I’d have hoped WWE could have given them something more to work with for Wrestlemania season. Shame!
It’s a decent match, as you’d expect to be honest. Towards to the end we have a really cool tag team building moment betwen Styles and Jericho. Jericho saves Styles from Kofi Kingston’s Trouble In Paradise and gets hit with it instead. Little moments like that really work and it leads me to thinking that maybe WWE are taking this tag team slightly more seriously than I first thought!
The League of Nations took on Dolph Ziggler, Neville and the Lucha Dragons in another 6/8 man tag team match filled with random faces who are lost in the shuffle right now. WWE loves this matches at the moment, personally I do not and they’d not be something I’d get excited about.
This particular match however saw the in ring return of Wade Barrett and it really should have been a bigger deal. Now Barrett ‘offically’ has never been out of action, he’s constantly been on television but he’s always been the fourth man. Just standing around and not getting involved in any of the actual action. The biggest involvement he had for months was back on Smackdown on the 14th January, when he pushed Alberto Del Rio out of the way of a Kalisto suicide dive leading to Del Rio regaining the Us Championship.
It’s been weird to watch, now he’s ‘back’ I just feel like it should have meant something more. He didn’t even get the pinfall for the victory for Gods sake!
With the rumours of him leaving soon flying around I can see why they wouldnt give him a massive push right now, but he’s too good just to be wasted in the background. I dont know when his contract runs out, but personally after Wrestlemania I would give him back his ‘Bad News’ gimmick and let him run with that until he leaves. At least he was over with the fans then! Which is more than can be said about the League of Nations.
If you’re interested in reading more of my WWE reviews you can find my WWE Fastlane Review HERE. Also, if you want to listen to out podcast dubbed ‘Thoughts On Wrestling’, it’s just below.
Thoughts On Wrestling Podcast #2