WWE’s Smackdown Live emanated from Jerry ‘The King Lawler’s hometown of Memphis this week. With few matches going on and lots of build, there was a worry that this weeks edition of Smackdown might drop the ball when it comes to quality. Luckily for us, the show was as entertaining as ever, and thanks to the return of Mickie James, is a hugely noteworthy show. Let’s dive in and find out what we thought of Smackdown Live this week.
Smackdown Live! Match Results
AJ Styles vs. The Miz (Ended in DQ)
Ambrose def. Orton
Alexa Bliss def. Becky Lynch (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
BOOM: Cena, Ambrose and Miz opening segment
What a hot opening segment. Shane’s announcement helps to shape Smackdown’s Royal Rumble picture slightly, giving its main event players direction as they’re heading through the upcoming PPV. AJ’s anger was understandable, and played up the sense of terror that the match should conjure up, given that Miz and Cena have the advantage here it made sense to paint this picture. The verbal sparring between AJ and Miz was top notch. Are there any other guys in WWE who’ve benefited more from the brand split?
BOOM: AJ Styles vs. Miz
A solid match that did all it needed too. Cena sat on commentary throughout and offered insight into proceedings, which gave the match more stakes. Ultimately it was thrown out on a DQ. They almost ruined it though by having Cena go over like an all mighty God against AJ and Miz at the end of the segment – something they really didn’t need to do. Overall though, well worth the time it was given.
BOOM: Nikki Bella Calls Out Nattie
Some aren’t enjoying this feud but I’ve found it increasingly interesting. The intensity of the pair is what sells the entire thing, and it’s nice to see Smackdown’s creative team letting the two have some more fun with the way they get angry at each other. Nattie’s assault on the merchandise stand was great, I can imagine her getting upset at her T-Shirt not being prominent. It kind of fell flat at the end though, as both women seemed to casually stand around and wait for the referees to yank them apart – but its forgivable given that the two are working at such an intense level. I do hope there is a blow-off to this feud that’s worth the time.
BOOM: Ambrose vs. Orton
The match itself wasn’t anything to shout home about, standard fare for Ambrose and Orton. I was expecting a bit more from the pair, but given the story hanging over Orton’s head right now, it makes sense that the Wyatt’s would play a big role in the outcome. The victory for Ambrose was a nice way of showing the continued animosity between Orton and Harper mind, who are openly hostile right now with each other. I approve of this as it’s nice to see that the animosity that existed the pair previously hasn’t evaporated entirely. Wyatt announced later in the evening that the pair would fight next week on Smackdown. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out, and if the two can beat their anger out of each other.
BUST: Kings Court with Ziggler
Painfully awkward. From King’s stilted performance n the mic to Ziggler threatening to kill King on international television, this really didn’t do much for me in any regards. Of course it wasn’t helped by JBL prat-falling as he ran from ringside to assist King. Terrible segment, can we just not skip this awkward King/Ziggler feud, please? It seems like they’re building to something that no one really wants to see, and invoking King’s four year old heart attack as a story device seems incredibly tacky. Smackdown’s better than this.
BOOM: Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch
I loved how downplayed this match was during the night. No awkward build, the pair were just given the main event segment and allowed to run with it. It’s not the best cage match you’ll ever see, but then again cage matches are rarely the best of pro–wrestling. As the match progressed, the intensity picked up and the crow was really into it by the end. The ending should have surprised nobody though. It played out well with Becky falling to Alexa and the surprising return of Mickie James. She’ll be a huge asset to the division on Smackdown Live – and adds more intrigue to a roster of very capable talent.
Again, Smackdown Live knocks it out the part with a show that felt more intense. Where Raw sags and struggles with filler, Smackdown is able to breeze through its content and build storylines that people want to see. The worst part of this show came from Ziggler and King, neither of whom seemed comfortable with the roles they were playing. I worry that Ziggler isn’t going to get the heel run he needs – and putting him in a feud against King is the last thing anyone really wants for him at this point.
Yet outside of this, there’s so much to enjoy from the show. The two women feuds are moving along nicely, while Miz’s transition into the WWE Championship title picture feels natural. Ambrose is stuck in a holding pattern until the elimination chamber match, but at the very least he’s doing things on TV and helped to push the Orton storyline further forward. It’s this kind of thing Raw doesn’t do well, making all of its parts logically connect.
Oh and the return of Mickie James was just awesome.
Great Smackdown Live.