Welcome to the Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show in Los Angeles.
As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
We start off with an In Memory Of graphic for Jack Lanza who passed away earlier this week.
We go live into the Staples Center for promo time with Sami Zayn. Zayn comes out in a wheelchair wearing a neck brace and walking boot. Zayn also has two local wrestlers playing attendants to help him into the ring. Hopefully, they know how to bump. Zayn complains about what happened last night and said he was going to sue everybody. Paul Heyman comes out and cuts the usual Roman Reigns promo since Reigns is not there tonight. Zayn gets out of his wheelchair to yell at Heyman when Brock Lesnar comes out. Lesnar wants to talk to Zayn one Canadian to another. We start running long so Lesnar demolishes Zayn and his attendants to finally bring this to a close. It looks like there’s some sort of payoff for Zayn coming, but I don’t know what yet.
Our opening contest is a rushed tag match between Los Lotharios and the team of Rick Boogs and Shinsuke Nakamura. Promo Time ate into this match so Nakamura picked up the win for his team in a Two Minute Smackdown. Two things. First, why is Nakamura in the tag division since he hasn’t defended the Intercontinental Title in forever? And, why are Los Lotharios taking a clean loss in this throwaway match?
Backstage, we see King Woods get a new crown presented to him by Sir Kofi. Yay?
Also, Drew McIntyre drops by Adam Pearce’s office to ask about the battle royal snub. Pearce said McIntyre couldn’t take his sword to the by the higher power, so McIntyre jammed it into Pearce’s desk before leaving. Do we really need to revisit the whole Vince McMahon is the higher power again? At least with Austin Theory as his lackey, the line “It’s me, Austin, it was me all along” would still fit.
Drew McIntyre takes on Sheamus next. The match was good for the time given to them. They had another good showing as you would expect, but the limited time prevented them from going into that next gear. As usual, McIntyre picked up the win with a Claymore Kick.
A nice tribute video package was shown to honor Jack Lanza. Well done as always.
Naomi enters the ring for her (hopefully feud ending) match with Sonya Deville. Deville introduces Natalya and Shayna Baszler as ringside guests. Naomi wipes both of them out before facing off with Deville. Deville bailed and regrouped with her minions at ringside. The three of them surround the ring and here comes Xia Li to make her debut by wiping out the heels to send them running. Not only does that mean this dead-end feud must continue, but now Li has been sucked into it. I wonder if Baszler wishes she was still tagging with Nia Jax?
Charlotte Flair comes out for her championship contenders match with Toni Storm. Flair seemed a little sloppy totally whiffing on the double moonsault spot and fell backwards too soon on a kick. Since Storm is not a member of the Four Horsewomen we don’t get a clean finish. Flair gets herself intentionally DQ’d to end this terrible and short match. Worse yet, Super Charlotte mode had been engaged and Storm did not come out looking any better as a championship contender. I thought Sasha Banks was going to be Charlotte’s next challenger, given what happened at the awful Title Swap segment. I guess (Un)Creative forgot about that.
It’s time to kill lots of time before starting the main event tonight. We are treated to a triple threat tag team match between The New Day, Smackdown Tag Champs The Usos, and Raw Tag Champs RK-Bro to determine who is the best team in WWE. This was the best match of the night. They were given sufficient time to get in their spots. There was quite a bit of good action throughout the match. The New Day would eventually pick up the win by pinning one of the Usos. At least RK-Bro looked good and weren’t brought over to take the fall. The ending made sense to drive The Usos and New Day towards a tag title match at Day 1. As The New Day celebrated, it was announced that Roman Reigns would return to Smackdown next week in Chicago to close out the show.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The triple threat tag match was the match of the night. It was the only thing that was given sufficient time to tell a good story in the ring. All three teams had their spots when they could have won it.
Even though it ran a bit long, the opening segment with Sami Zayn, Paul Heyman, and Brock Lesnar was pretty good. The Zayn/Heyman promo battle was really good and Lesnar was in overalls. How is that not great? Lesnar trying to bond with Zayn over hunting and later with Adam Pearce was a really unique idea.
Special shoutout to Michael Cole trying to make a funny with the Brocky and Bullwinkle joke after the Lesnar/Pearce hunting story.
Outside the opening segment and triple threat tag team main event, the rest of the show was hampered with terrible booking and poor time management. The Los Lotharios tag match was a throwaway match, McIntyre/Sheamus could have used more time, Flair/Storm was terrible and short, and we still have no idea why the Naomi/Deville pointless feud has to continue. The show was mostly skippable this week.
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That’s all I’ve got, until next time.