Smackdown hosted the draft last week, and this week hosts it’s own talent exclusively for the first time. Tonight we see new faces, old faces and everything in-between. Will Smackdown be the better brand? Will Smackdown even survive as a brand? The fans judge for themselves for the first time tonight, and I judge here on We Write Wrestling. Let’s head to the arena.
The show kicks off with a very quick segment of Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon welcoming everyone to Smackdown, and showing a new intro video with a new theme for Smackdown. The wrestlers for Smackdown are surrounding the ring as the two continue their conversation. They mention that they will do brand exclusive PPVs and say that the first one is in September, called Backlash. Dean Ambrose gets introduced and they mentioned that he needs a opponent for Summerslam. They then put some matches together. There is a 6-man match later, with the winner facing Dean Ambrose at Summerslam. 5 names got announced, with the 6th name being the winner of a battle royal happening next.
This opening segment seemed to get very boring near the middle, but was something that I would take over a 20 minute Authority promo any day. There definitely could have been a better way to do the start of the show. But they did give off a good vibe that there is actual competition between Raw and Smackdown, with Daniel emphasizing that they will have a big title match on the PPV. The stage is very different to what RAW has been given, and the ropes are blue. Unlike Monday though, the commentary table is ringside.
Match 1: Battle Royal for spot in 6 man match
The battle royal commences after a commercial break. One small thing to point out, Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley have matching attire which means that they will most likely be a tag team on RAW. I think this is great because Ryder can be Mojo’s training wheels, and they could certainly be the Enzo & Cass of Smackdown. But back to the match at hand, we narrow the match down to Kalisto, Kane, Apollo Crews and Zack Ryder. Zack Ryder botched a good 3 times in this match, almost killing Kalisto, and failing a top rope jump. Luckily, he gets eliminated. The final two are Kane and Apollo. The match ends right after Ryder’s elimination after Kane gets sent out. This match, I was not a fan of. But with that being said, Apollo Crews was the top guy to win this match. Apollo Crews can easily have lots of great matches, and even though he will most likely not win the match later, boosting him up to that status is a good idea.
Before the commercial break, we get a vignette about Shelton Benjamin returning to Smackdown. Shelton Benjamin is a great name, and I haven’t heard much from him since he left WWE, but it will be interesting to see if he will still wrestle like a well oiled machine or if he will have ring rust. Either way, it’s a win to have him back.
Match 2: Becky Lynch vs Natalya
After the opening segment and match, it’s time to kick off the midcard with a Battleground rematch. Becky Lynch gets revenge after losing to Natalya this Sunday, just under a smaller spotlight.
I very much enjoyed this match. This match near the end had lots of ups and downs, and certainly didn’t overstay it’s welcome. The finishing moves in the match seemed a little sloppy, but still looked pretty good. After this, we got a segment where we saw the new names to the women’s division on Smackdown, as one wrestler interrupted another. Naomi, Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie all came out. I thought that this segment has been done a lot but does a good job at showcasing upcoming talent in a division. I personally hope that the Natalya and Becky rivalry gets scrapped because they have all of this new talent, and this rivalry is borderline dead. Since it was a clean win for Becky this week, I assume and hope that it ends here.
MizTV with The Miz
This week on MizTV, the EXCLUSIVE talk show for Smackdown, The Miz interviews no-one other than himself. This was very funny, but only went for a few minutes until it got interrupted by Randy Orton. Randy cuts a decent promo, but repeats a little of what he said on Sunday in an interview, but still got the job done. This conversation ended with The Miz saying he would face Randy tonight, ensuing the next match.
Match 3: Randy Orton vs The Miz
This match was very quick, with Randy Orton hitting 2 RKO’s in the match. There was a very awkward pause in the match after the first RKO, and that was the only bad part about the match. It was great to see his returning match on Smackdown, emphasizing that there is going to be unique events on Smackdown that you would miss if you just watched RAW.
Heath Slater Segment
After the commercial break we get Heath Slater running into the ring from the crowd to say that he needs to be signed by Smackdown, because he never got drafted. As he talks to Shane McMahon, out of nowhere Rhyno, yes Rhyno comes out and Gore’s Heath. JBL then announces that they have signed Rhyno to Smackdown. This segment seemed very interesting, but didn’t push further the Slater segment which is more interesting to me currently. If Slater continues this story, he should go to RAW next week and complain that he needs to be signed there, then leave the WWE (that is the rumoured story angle).
Match 4: #1 Contenders 6-Man Challenge: Bray Wyatt vs Apollo Crews vs Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler vs AJ Styles vs John Cena
It’s finally time for the main event, the match that was announced at the very start of the show. Most of the big names for Smackdown all packed into one match, it looks like it could be a stellar match. Now this match was great, and it certainly deserved to be the main event. But, the only bone I have to pick with the main event is who won. Dolph Ziggler got the win and will face Dean Ambrose at Summerslam? Out of all of the names that’s who we get? That is so terrible. Dolph has not proven anything in the past few months and there was more than enough names that would have gotten this match before him. Other than that, we had a great match with lots of crazy an synchronized spots.
This show was pretty good, it has less matches than what we saw before the brand split, which is good because Smackdown substituted that time with segments to have rivalries exclusively on the show. We saw a fresh show this week, and hopefully they can keep it fresh. Next week we see all of these rivalries continue, and hopefully in the right path.