Well another Smackdown behind us, and I must say overall this week was a much better show than Raw last night, even with the limitations put upon the show by the big 10 man main event. As always it’s left us with a few things to talk about tonight as we inch closer to Wrestlemania. So let’s get right into it, shall we?
4. Naomi/Women’s Title Scene
Last week I was so proud to see Naomi finally reach the top of the mountain in the Smackdown women’s division. It’s been a long time coming, as she had proven time and again to be one of the best, most athletic divas on the roster. But when Daniel Bryan came out tonight first, and had talk of changes that change the road to Wrestlemania in an instant, and called out Naomi, I knew that she would be forced to give up her title already.
This was really sad to see, especially as Wrestlemania this year is in Naomi’s hometown of Orlando, and that would have made for a great story leading up to a great match. But instead we had to say goodbye to Naomi for now, and they pretty much handed the belt back to Alexa Bliss after a stretched out for time because we don’t have a lot of people to play with tonight kind of match against Becky Lynch.
I have a longtime friend of mine that called racism at this point, but it’s a legitimate injury for Naomi, and every other woman on the roster is either busy with a feud, or will be soon enough by tonight’s show leading up to Wrestlemania, so really, Alexa was the best option for the time, meaning tonight. I would have held off, done a tournament next week with everyone else freed up from their storyline and given Natalya a chance at a Wrestlemania moment. But, what do I know, I’m just a fan/writer, not a WWE writer.
3. The Usos
I’ve already established last week how lacking in depth Smackdown has for a tag team scene right now, and this American Alpha squash match against Breezango tonight enforced that. But one bright spot in this dreck is The Usos, who have been reinvigorated after turning heel last year, they were on a hot roll for a minute, but then everyone forgot about Us’ it seems, til last week, when we’re lighting the fire on that The Usos and American Alpha feud that never really had a proper payoff before, so that can lead to a great match in 40 days at Mania. The rest of the division needs to step their game up, seriously. That or bring in some new teams to the division *cough* The Revival *cough* But something has to change soon, and in the meantime, at least The Usos are really shining right now as heels.
2. Natlya Vs. Nikki- Falls Count Anywhere. Wow guys, this match…I wasn’t expecting much from this match at first, as the build to these matches, and most of the matches themselves started out strong but were lacking by the end. Not so the case with this match here tonight. Both women really impressed me, and it really felt like an old school Falls Count Anywhere match, where they fought all across the arena and back.
The inclusion of Maryse into the match, getting knocked down on accident by Nikki while they were fighting in the back to the end, which was Maryse, with the lead pipe, in the entranceway. (WWE Clue) Securing Natalya’s victory and setting up the Maryse/Miz vs Nikki/John Cena match the internet has known about for weeks now. That bit felt a little weak and shoehorned in, but it was needed to get these women to where they need to be next, however bad this storyline will likely be.
- #1 Contender’s Battle Royal
Our main event tonight had Dean Ambrose, The Miz, John Cena, AJ Styles, Luke Harper, Apollo Crews, Dolph Ziggler, Kallisto, Baron Corbin, and Mojo Rawley all fighting in an over the top battle royal match to determine the new #1 contender for the WWE Championship after Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton declared he wouldn’t fight his friend/master Bray Wyatt at the Show of Shows.
Great buildup to the match tonight, with the backstage promos with all 10 guys, reminded me of an old Royal Rumble setup, minus them standing on a greenscreen with their logo in back of them, except for Ziggler did that for a bit.
The match itself…well it was a battle royal match, and outside of a Royal Rumble setting, they aren’t really the best match on the card ever. It was better than what they had on Raw last night, so that was a plus. There were some nonsensical parts in there, such as The Miz coming back post elimination to eliminate John Cena, just because they needed to get that feud going on the guys end too, and the lack of an instant replay after the end of the match saw both Luke Harper and AJ Styles hit the floor at the same time. There’s past protocol on this type of thing from at least two or three Royal Rumbles that had an instant replay be called into question, to determine the real winner.
Instead of that though, we get a match next week I’m guessing with AJ Styles vs Luke Harper to determine the actual winner. Seems to me more like they’re just dragging their heels with this one, not wanting to commit to a storyline for Mania yet, whether it be Luke Harper vs Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt or if it’s just Wyatt and Styles. Or this could all just be setup for that AJ Styles vs Shane McMahon match I’ve read about. I’d rather see Styles vs Nakamura myself and keep the Wyatt Family triple threat match in the main event, but again, I’m just a fan, what do I know?
All in all though, still this was the better show tonight of the week in WWE, final grade on this one, a C.