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WWE Smackdown Live Thoughts On The Jericho/Styles Classic & More! by Brandon Lasher

I didn’t know honking your horn to the tune of “New Day Rocks” was a thing. Thank you Portland WWE fans.

I have attended 14 WWE events now. When you have paid to see five Smackdowns at this point you are likely a sucker for all things WWE. I might complain, but I am sure I will remain a hardcore fan.

I had good seats this time. We were three rows to the right of the announcers. Look for the guy in the really bright Oregon football jersey and you will see me. A WWE show is nearly three hours so I was overacting a bit to the Chris Jericho-AJ Styles main event. It was some of my finest on-screen acting.

As I have said in previous live event articles, the fans around you are certainly part of your overall experience. I had two little kids screaming their lungs out during the Ryder-Slater match and watched them never make noise again. Young fans always wear out too early. In true Oregon fashion, we had a guy in front of me wearing a lot of 4:20 items. He also seemed to know everyone in the area. Weed is legal in Oregon, so the dealer is a popular guy in our state. The crowd was a little sparse in places, but was loud throughout the night.

The biggest complaint I have is with the WWE marketing. They had shows in Germany on Wednesday night and as such were missing many major talents like Reigns, Ambrose, New Day and Kevin Owens. I don’t really have a problem with that but they also, even on the day of the show, promoted them as attending the Portland show to sell tickets. It is the sort of shady nature that upsets me and the WWE does it a lot.

Time to share some of my thoughts about the three-hour show. I am going to stick to discussing the little things you get only by going to the show itself. What is a televised show like without most of its stars? Pretty good it turns out.

 

Did you know Main Event was still a thing?

It sure is hard to see “Main Event” these days. The lovely third-tier show is only seen in the United States on Hulu Plus. I used to watch it because I still like the fact it actually gives lower card wrestlers some time to actually work a real match. The fans in Portland were respectful of the rarely used talent.

Our first group was The Social Outcasts. I think the group is going to work really well as a comedic heel group. I really enjoyed the group celebrating every time Heath got off a good move. Overplaying your success is the perfect heel tactic and got them over with the Portland crowd. The great thing about this Main Event was we had a lengthy match between Heath Slater and Zack Ryder. The crowd was into it and shockingly Heath won a match clean. What is this world coming to?

Next was Natalya versus Alicia Fox. I am glad to see the support for Natalya from the Portland crowd and wish it could translate to success on the main shows. They had a good match for the time given.

The main event of this show was Fandango & Damien Sandow against Mark Henry & Darren Young. It was a random combination of people. Is there seriously anyone that Mark Henry hasn’t tagged with at this point? Damien Sandow was still one of the most over people on the entire roster. Seriously why is he getting wasted on Main Event?

It was an interesting show that provided the chance for little used superstars to get great support from the Oregon fans. Keep supporting the lower tier shows, as it is a good time for lower card superstars to shine.

 

Dark Matches are Important For the Future of the WWE

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One of my favorite things of any live event is the “dark matches”. The WWE does a good job making these segments to build for the future. This show was no exception. The first people we saw on the entire show was Enzo Amore, Big Cass and Carmella. We were a little surprised and excited. If you ever wonder about the reach of NXT you should have little worries. Most of the crowd was doing Enzo’s promo with him. Sure there is little surprise where they beat two unnamed talents but I love the fact the WWE gets newer talents in front of a bigger crowd. I look forward to see these two on the main roster in the future.

 

It is the AJ Styles and Chris Jericho Show!

Smackdown was an interesting show. To have so many of the main roster missing lead to lots of time for two people, AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. If you told me that these two would dominant about half of the time on a major show I would be shocked and happy. I think I might enjoy limited roster shows, as it requires longer matches. We had only four matches at Smackdown, but all were given a fair amount of time.

The show started with Chris Jericho who has a great opening to see live. Jericho sucked up to the Portland crowd. He brought up his excellent match with Shawn Michaels at No Mercy 2008 in the same arena. I was at the show in person and he isn’t lying. If people are worried about AJ Styles, don’t be. He was easily one of the most popular wrestlers at the show.

It was weird to see the Social Outcasts again, but it did lead to a fun tag match where AJ and Jericho got to showcase their impressive skills and try to one up each other. People around me seemed to forget just how good Jericho was and were surprised by him throughout the night.

The Dudley promo was well received by our crowd. The crowd didn’t really seem to care that much at first, but once Bubba insulted Daniel Bryan we quickly turned. He really is a gifted heel on the mic. The crowd was really mad once the Dudleys took the table and left. It was an extremely well done segment in front of the live crowd.

I love that Sasha Banks and Naomi got a lot of time in their match. Naomi doesn’t really get much credit for her wrestling, but she did well. Sasha got a lot of chants and support from Portland as well. My favorite part is when Becky was thrown into wall and scared the security near me. You must always be paying attention to the show people!

What is one of the best reasons to attend a WWE show? You get to see the Wyatt Family’s entrance live. Television doesn’t really do justice to what it is like to have all those lights from people’s cellphones. It creates a beautiful visual. Is it just me or do all Wyatt Family promos sound the same after a while?

After a quick six-man tag with the Lucha Dragons/Neville versus Stardust and The Ascension, it was time for the main event.

It was the amazing main event between AJ Styles and Chris Jericho. It is always a long night at a Smackdown taping, but the crowd was really hot for the match. It is proof that a great match can get over with really any crowd. It isn’t like the predominately young Portland crowd has seen much of AJ Styles at this point in his WWE career, but we quickly got dueling chants for both superstars. The “This is Awesome” chant started before the match even began. Once Jericho and Styles got to the submission finisher part of the match the crowd was at its loudest. I knew these two could put on an excellent match and I felt lucky to witness it live. The crowd gave them a well-deserved applause afterwards.

After the taping ended, the Wyatt Family came down to attack the competitors in the Main Event. Only for a live crowd/non-television audience could the Lucha Dragons/Neville successfully defeat the Wyatts. But who cares, I got a chance to high five and have a fifteen second conversation with Kalisto. It was awesome!

Conclusion:

It certainly is interesting to see a show that was lacking in most of its major stars. I know a lot of fans were dressed to see Reigns, Ambrose, Owens and New Day and it is disappointing to not see them live. I believe if you are going to be missing a lot of major stars, you better deliver on the match quality. That certainly occurred on Tuesday night.

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Feel free to contact me at lasher@pacificu.edu. Additionally, I have my Twitter account @WWEBNRL as well. I would love to hear your thoughts about attending a live WWE event. Is going to a live Smackdown worth it when you have an AJ Styles main event?

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