Wow, guys, what an ending to Smackdown. I did not see any of that coming, and I don’t think some of the WWE writing staff did until maybe a few hours ago as it seemed tonight how the show went down, but let’s get into it. It’s two hours of tv, but only a few things worth really talking about as always. Let’s get into it.
3. Miz TV
It’s been said that The Miz is one of the people who’s most benefited from the brand split, and I’m inclined to agree, he was, for a while, just another guy, as he alluded to in his promo tonight, but since that Talking Smack segment with Bryan, his own pipe bomb of sorts, he’s been on a roll, giving some of the best promos and matches of his career, putting him back where he belongs. Of course, this is right now, all a set up for the mixed tag match with him and his wife Maryse taking on John Cena and Nikki Bella.
And, for a set up for a match that I’m not too invested in, it’s a pretty great setup. John Cena is starting to run himself stale as of late, with just instantly dismissing anyone and everyone’s critiques of him as just talk, though he did bring up a good point in that all The Miz was talking about was basically the same critiques that AJ Styles had been talking about, that Kevin Owens was talking about in their feud, how he holds people back, etc. It’s getting a bit stale, they need to try something new, by all accounts, but it was some great promo work from both The Miz and John Cena tonight. It wasn’t until Nikki had to come down and get the last word in that it fell apart in my book. You had these great promos, and then Nikki comes out like “We’re gonna kick your ass.” Just kind of took the air out of a pretty decent opening sequence. I wasn’t terribly excited for this match before, and now my interest is slightly piqued, but we’ll see how the rest of the buildup goes.
2. Luke Harper vs. AJ Styles
This is the match that I thought would have been the main event tonight, but it seems some changes were made as the show went on. I love that Harper is getting some mic time now, and even had a funny bit with thanking Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon at the start of the show. The match itself was pretty, well, phenomenal. Back and forth like crazy, Harper hitting the Suicide Dive on Styles. Styles picked up the first victory but Harper had his foot on the ropes, calling Shane to come out and restart the match, and then not too long after gets accidentally superkicked by Harper knocking him out cold, and then next thing you know, Styles hits Harper with a Phenomenal Forearm in the middle of the ring and picks up the victory.
I was stunned by this, I’m a huge AJ Styles fan, I’m writing this wearing one of his P1 shirts right now, but I really wanted to see a Harper vs Bray vs Randy triple threat match at Mania, that would have been super compelling tv, and a Wrestlemania worthy main event. But instead it’s going to be AJ Styles in that spot, or so it seems from right now, the conclusion of tonight’s show may have changed things overall, we’ll see if we’re still going to get that Styles vs Shane match that we heard rumors about.
1. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton
So, the show is almost over, all the matches for the night are done, and Bray Wyatt comes out to cut a promo on AJ Styles, he talks about Randy being in the place where he comes from, where Beelzebub makes his home, and then we cut to Randy, and he’s in the Wyatt cabin, Sister Abigail’s rocking chair rocking back and forth. There’s something definitely off about Randy tonight, and soon we find out what that is, as he reveals his plans that he was never truly a member of the Wyatt family, but that now he was given the keys to the kingdom, and was just biding his time, until he became the master, merely waiting for the right time to strike, which is now!
I marked out at this, but at the same time, my logical brain is telling me that this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and feels like a last minute change of show, which it probably was, along with the Styles victory tonight. Randy says that he is coming for Bray’s title, at Wrestlemania! Smackdown goes off the air with Randy setting the Wyatt cabin ablaze, doing his victory pose, a silhouette against the bright blazing cabin, and Bray Wyatt in mental anguish, feeling his powers diminishing as the cabin, and the spirit of Sister Abigail, goes up in flames.
Like I said, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this show tonight, and the obvious changes that occurred. On the one hand, I want to have faith that the writers know what they’re doing, and that there’s plenty more twists and turns to this story before we get to Wrestlemania, but on the other hand, I’m reminded of when Zack Ryder won the IC title at last year’s event, and lost it the next night to The Miz. At the time I was giving the company the benefit of the doubt, thinking, ok, this is part of the storyline, he’ll get it back at the next ppv…and that never…happened. Maybe there’s more twists and turns to go, or maybe Bray Wyatt will be the face now in this feud, and things will happen to keep Styles out of the main event, just a one on one encounter, the Student now becoming The Master story would be great. But I guess like George Michael once said, you’ve gotta have faith. Oh, you gotta have faith. It’s Wrestlemania season, I just hope they don’t drop the ball on this one.
Show Grade- C
A couple of great segments, some filler on the rest. Still, a better show overall than Raw last night.