Welcome to The Smackdown Shakedown, Squaring The Circle Wrestling’s weekly recap and review of Smackdown Live. We’ve got a packed show to go through, so let’s get down to business!
Shocking Debuts… sort of!
Just as we had The Revival debut on Monday Night Raw, Smackdown Live saw Curt Hawkins issue an open challenge, which was answered by longtime fan favourite Tye Dillinger. To say that Tye’s call-up is well deserved is an understatement. From being superkicked by Shawn Michaels as “Stan” way back in 2006, to years spent in NXT and the seemingly unending losing streak he’d been on lately, it was more than time for the Perfect 10 to get the chance to shine on the main stage. It seems like his appearance in this year’s Royal Rumble was a way to test the waters, to see how the crowd responded. And, unsurprisingly, he got a great reaction then, and an even better one tonight.
But we weren’t done with debuts, not in the least.
In what was, to be honest, a fairly awkward transition from The Miz & Maryse’s segment, we saw the debut of the King of Strong Style, Shinsuke Nakamura. He, along with violinist Lee England Jr announced their presence, and, same as Tye Dillinger, the Smackdown Live crowd gave Nakamura a rousing reception. This was definitely the bigger moment, but the less shocking debut. After the events of Takeover this past weekend it felt inevitable that Shinsuke was main roster-bound.
And that was really all that happened. Shinsuke got into the ring, did his thing, and then left the ring. Miz just kind of disappeared.
Speaking of, let’s talk about The Miz.
John Miz-na? Miz Cena? Marybella? Mikki?
Why, oh why, did Miz and Maryse lose at Wrestlemania? Just picture that exact segment that happened on Smackdown, but try to imagine it with the results going the other way at Mania. Miz would have bragging rights would come to the ring all cocky. And have so much more steam behind him.
Instead, he and Maryse lost. After Cena said he would run through him easily. And now their appearance in their Cena and Bella gear felt lame.
Don’t get me wrong, they both absolutely killed it. Miz’s impression of John Cena is amazing, right down to the way he stands and walks. But, without that victory to bolster his convictions, it feels like a weak attempt to scrape back some of the momentum the loss took away.
Regardless, well done to Miz and Maryse. Still, maybe a match against Shinsuke wouldn’t have been the worst idea.
(Not) Feeling The Glow
I’m sorry. I don’t understand the hype. I don’t. I wish I did.
I get the hometown love. I get that Naomi has a great entrance, and flashy moves. But to me, and maybe I’m nitpicking, but she has logic breaks, and botches more than the other women on Smackdown, and I don’t understand what WWE see in her to make her the champion.
Also I need to mention David Otunga. He buried Alexa tonight. I hate using that word, but he did. He called her a placeholder. He called the woman who is the first 2-time champion, a placeholder. He’s usually terrible, but this was over the line. JBL hammered him for a few minutes on commentary but I hope something was said backstage.
But, back to Naomi, I hope she can improve the things that I keep getting frustrated by, because she could be great. I just don’t see it.
Clearly the low point of Wrestlemania was Randy Orton’s victory. Bray Wyatt’s first title run was reduced to a little over one month, and no successful title defences. We barely saw him in the ring, and his family grows and shrinks so often it’s hard to keep up. It’s safe to say his booking hasn’t been wonderful. Bray himself, with those promos, his presence and his unique style in the ring, has been destroying it. Unfortunately, and it seems to be a common theme on Smackdown this week, the way WWE wants to tell this story is putting all the focus on Orton, who, let’s face it, doesn’t seem all that enthused to be there most of the time. And then Luke Harper is suddenly ok with teaming with him as well, because… now he’s a good guy I guess? It’s all very strange.
It was great to see Erick Rowan make his return tonight though. I love the new mask. Unfortunately his night ended by eating a superkick into an RKO while Bray Wyatt sat and watched. This man was the WWE champion 48 hours ago and now he’s literally running away from a fight?
I’ll admit, I’m a little intrigued about the “House of Horrors” match. If WWE’s track record is anything to go by though, it’ll probably be a cage or a cell with a bunch of weapons in it. Hopefully not though. Just, give Bray something more positive. We want him to be better.
- Why was there a rematch between Ambrose and Corbin when Corbin lost? And why was it a street fight? and why wasn’t that street fight the match at Wrestlemania? (Maybe it was and then when the match got bumped to the pre-show they changed things?)
- AJ and Shane’s moment in the ring. That was awesome. I loved the little fakeout punch thing. AJ needs to stay on Smackdown and be their top Babyface. Also AJ/Nakamura is one step closer.
- Talking smack was again great. Go and check it out if you haven’t already. Especially if you were wondering “Hey where are the Smackdown Tag Team Champions?”
This week’s Smackdown was good, but not great. The debuts were wonderful, if a little expected, and the in-ring action was fairly good. Unfortunately it couldn’t really compete with Raw this week. There was just a little too much going on, with Roman, Kurt Angle, and Balor just to name a few things. Strange booking coming out of Wrestlemania didn’t help either.
Next week’s Superstar shakeup should hopefully bring fresh energy to both shows, and help keep things interesting heading into the usual post-wrestlemania slump.
I thought about making this an entire post in of itself, but after 5 days of writing about wrestling I’m having a couple of days break from it. So, I wanted to talk a little about the Superstar Shakeup. Or … DRAFT. So here’s a quick list of the top 5 superstars or tag teams that could be switching brands next week (tag teams count as one pick of course)
- Enzo & Cass
I think it’s time. They seem to be floundering a little on Raw, and the Smackdown tag division needs another team that could be a legit contender for the titles.
- Becky Lynch
I would love to see all four Horsewomen on one show. You know they could all have great matches, and Becky seems to not be the focus of anything on Smackdown right now. Raw also needs some fresh blood in the Women’s ranks.
- Bo Dallas
Ok maybe this is wishful thinking, but Bo has a beard now, and he’s related to Wyatt…. please?
- Sami Zayn
Sami is always going to be seen as the guy who the next “guy” beats if he stays on Raw. Move him to Smackdown, actually go through with finishing the rivalry with KO, and give him the chance to be so much more in the land of opportunity
Kalisto should move to Raw for the simple reason that he could be a great part of the cruiserweight division. He’s a known name that would add a bit of star power that the casual WWE audience would recognise.So there you have it, the first Smackdown Shakedown, and a list of predictions for next week’s DRAFT. It’s a draft. It just is.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or on twitter @_stcwrestling_ or facebook https://www.facebook.com/SquaringTheCircleWrestling/