Welcome to the WWE Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
We kick things this week with a recap of the six-man tag match from WrestleMania Backlash, which saw The Bloodline come out on top. I thought the match was pretty good but the wrong team won. It was a meaningless tag match with nothing on the line, so it would not have hurt The Bloodline to have an Uso lose.
Live in the arena, it’s Promo Time with RK-Bro. Orton talks about the loss and how Roman always has to clean up after the Usos. So, they (RK-Bro) want to challenge The Usos to unify the tag team titles. Orton wanted Roman to come out but got Sami Zayn instead. Zayn tries to stand up for The Bloodline to RK-Bro. Orton goads Zayn into a match with Riddle, where if Riddle wins, they get their tag team title unification match. Zayn said he’ll take it up with The Bloodline. As Zayn leaves, don’t call me WWE Commissioner Adam Pearce showed up to make the Zayn/Riddle match official, without the stipulation.
The match between Riddle and Zayn was really good. The crowd was super hot throughout the match. RK-Bro has to be the hottest act in WWE right now. Zayn tried to do the count out spot like last week, but Riddle beat the count and dropped Zayn with the Bro Derek to pick up the win. I could not remember when the last time we had a fully engaged crowd for a TV match. It had to of been 2018 or 2019 the last time that happened. Great job by both men.
Promo Time with the new Smackdown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey is up next. A video package recapped the Smackdown Women’s Championship match between Rousey and Charlotte Flair. The match was better than their WrestleMania effort but it went a little too long for my liking. Flair said I Quit after Rousey “broke” her arm with a chair assisted armbar. I don’t think Charlotte will be missed. Anyway, back in the ring, Rousey issues an open challenge for her title tonight. It was accepted by Raquel Rodriguez. That was a little surprising.
We get treated to another really good match here. Rodriguez looked dominate throughout most of the match. I think that was a rather good idea. Rodriguez has a bright future on Smackdown and is a worthy challenger to Rousey’s title. Rousey managed to counter Rodriguez’s powerbomb attempt and hooked up to pick up the win. This was a great finish because it made Rodriguez look strong even in defeat. Rousey still managed to put Rodriguez over while picking up the win. It’s nice to have a champion do that. That’s how you build up credible challengers. You just don’t wreck everybody until there’s nobody left.
After the match, Shotzi and Aliyah were arguing backstage with Adam Pearce about who cost who the chance to face Rousey tonight. I smell a match for next week.
Promo Time yet again this time with Madcap Moss. A video package recapped the snoozefest between him and Happy Corbin at WrestleMania Backlash picking up the “biggest win of his career” because winning the 24/7 title is nothing prestigious. Moss ran down Corbin some more before Corbin attacked Moss, beating him down with a chair. Corbin did the throat chair spot using the Andre the Giant Battle Royal trophy to smash the chair. Corbin tosses the trophy aside like a child’s toy as Cole exclaims that the trophy weighs over 100 pounds. Yeah sure, Cole. John Cena regularly AA’d Big Show so we really aren’t expecting a whole lot of realism here. Moss gets stretchered out as Corbin laughs. I guess that means we have to have one more match. Why? Who knows?
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the line next with Sasha Banks and Naomi defending them against Natalya and Shayna Baszler. Is it too soon for the #freeshayna to return? Anyway, this was another solid match. It was very competitive and both teams had several nearfalls. They work well together. In the end, Naomi countered Natalya’s sharpshooter into a small package to retain the tag titles. It was a pretty good match, but I liked Natalya’s NXT match with Cora Jade more.
We have a Ricochet sighting this week, as he is backstage with Drew Gulak talking about Gunther’s domination last week. Ricochet hypes up Gulak to confront Gunther. Gulak does and Gunther chop. Can we please get Ricochet something to do?
Kofi Kingston takes on Butch next. The match was pretty good, keeping the streak alive. Butch got to show off his skills and picked up a much-needed win. It makes sense to have Butch go over, given Kingston is a former WWE Champion and has better accolades than Xavier Woods. Speaking of, why did the King Woods gimmick go away?
Main event time is Promo Time with The Bloodline. Reigns said that he has no challengers left. Well, that’s what poor booking does. The Usos, on the other hand, have RK-Bro wanting them. Cue up RK-Bro. We are short on time so Orton issues the challenge again and The Usos accepted for next week in Grand Rapids, MI. Riddle blasted Reigns with a knee from outta nowhere that Reigns could have sold better to close out the show.
Let’s take a look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The in-ring product presentation was terrific this week. All the matches were solid and had a nice story to them. Seeing the crowd so engaged during the Riddle/Zayn match was a pretty great sight.
Would it have hurt Roman to fall down after Riddle’s knee instead of staggering back halfway across the ring to the ropes? I noticed the weak sell job on the Claymore for a couple of weeks ago too. That’ll be the reason why we have the DQ ending to next week’s tag team title unification match.
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That’s all I’ve got, until next time.