After what was possibly the strongest episode of the audience-less era last week, this week, SmackDown came back down to Earth a bit. It started out extremely promising, stayed steady through the heart of the show, but then fell pretty flat at the end. It was not a horrible episode by any means, but it was certainly a step down from last week. We didn’t get DX. There was no cameos by Hall Of Famers. Vince McMahon didn’t make a surprise appearance, or cut a promo to close the show, but there was still a lot of positives that came out of this week’s show. Here’s some of the things I liked, and didn’t like from this week’s SmackDown.
WWE SmackDown Likes
1. Daniel Bryan and King Corbin Open Show: During the entire time I’ve been writing this article, I’ve been a mark for Daniel Bryan, and haven’t uttered one bad word about him. That won’t change today. Bryan kicked off the show this week by getting over the fact that we’re on the verge of the most unique Money In The Bank Ladder Match ever, and reminding us that he’s a former “Mr. Money In The Bank.” Bryan would go on to call out King Corbin for his attack on Bryan’s coach, and friend, Drew Gulak. When Corbin came out, Bryan reminded us that Corbin is 1 of only 4 competitors to unsuccessfully cash in Money In The Bank. An infuriated Corbin would claim that he’s “Stronger and Smarter” now, and that Bryan’s attempts to regain his former glory are “Tired and Desperate.” It was an awesome way to kick off the show, and get everyone revved up for Money In The Bank.
2. Daniel Bryan vs. King Corbin: As if the opening segment wasn’t awesome enough, Bryan and Corbin clashed in the night’s opening bout too. The match was impressive on both ends. Bryan has been on top of his game lately resembling his old “American Dragon” persona inside the ring. Bryan stretched Corbin like a rubber band, focusing mainly on the big man’s left leg throughout the match. Not to be outdone, when Corbin took control of the match, he showed off his size and power. Corbin has been developing a nice mean streak as of late, and was not shy about targeting Bryan’s left arm. The match was extremely fun to watch, and I even enjoyed the DQ finish when Corbin hurled a ladder at Bryan outside the ring. Both men looked incredible in this match, and having Corbin get disqualified just adds more heat to his heel character. Post match, we saw Bryan apply the Yes Lock on Corbin, only for Cesaro and Nakamura to make the save. King Corbin, Cesaro, and Nakamura got the last laugh this week, but I think the question on everyone’s mind is, “where the hell is Sami Zayn?”
3. Braun Strowman/Bray Wyatt Segment: After last weeks underwhelming history lesson, Strowman and Wyatt were back to try and get some positive momentum heading into Money In The Bank. Strowman got to the ring, and barley got to speak before we were suddenly welcomed into the Firefly Fun House. Wyatt would declare it “story time,” an began reading form a book simply titled “The Black Sheep.” Wyatt was at his best during this promo. He painted a picture in which he was abandoned by the ungrateful Black Sheep without as much as a “thank you” or “goodbye.” This feud was starting to fade a bit to me, but Wyatt just threw some gas on the fire. The top spot has proven to be too much for Braun to handle at the moment, and it’s time Wyatt reclaims his place atop SmackDown.
4. New Day vs. The Forgotten Sons: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how The Forgotten Son’s have been presented on the main roster. If I was a betting man, I would’ve put money on them getting The Ascension treatment, and being nothing more than tag team jobbers. The complete opposite is currently happening, and I’m loving it. After clearing the ring of 3 established tag teams last week, this week, The Forgotten Sons picked up a relatively clean victory over the reigning SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The New Day. It looks like WWE is actually trying to get The Forgotten Sons over, and their tag team division will be better off in the long run for it. I can’t forget about the real Montel Vontavious Porters (MVPs) of this match, Miz and Morrison on commentary. They already had me at the Tiger King references, but as a new dad, I popped when The Miz brought T.O.T.S. into the conversation. “The Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century” were a cherry on top of what was a great match.
WWE SmackDown Dislikes
1. Another Sheamus Squash: This is the part of the article I hate. The part where I have to dump all over poor Sheamus. It’s crazy to remember exactly how over Sheamus used to be. At one point, he was a top 3 babyface in the entire promotion. Now look at him. He’s still in phenomenal shape, and he’s looked pretty impressive during his squash matches. The problem is we all remember the last 4 years. We all remember how horribly booked he’s been, and it’s taken all the shine off of him. As impressive as he’s looked over the last few weeks, most of us can see exactly what WWE is doing. His “dominance” has been the equivalent of popping a burrito in the microwave and heating it up. I think the timer is going to go off next week, and Jeff Hardy looks hungry. If WWE had any guts they’d swerve us and have Sheamus destroy Hardy next week.
2. Ottis vs. Dolph Ziggler Main Event: I’ve stated before that I’ve been hot and cold on this entire storyline. Right now, I’m freezing. We’re going into our 5th month of this now, and to be completely honest, it’s gone at least 1 month too long. WrestleMania seemed like such a natural place to end this, but instead, WWE has decided to continue to drag it out. And for what? With all due respect to everyone involved, it hasn’t elevated anyone’s star power. Ottis was never going to be a top of the card guy, and still isn’t. Mandy Rose has cooled down significantly since the start of the angle. Dolph Ziggler is a stud, but this is one too many love triangle storylines for him. Need I remind everyone of the Rusev, Lana, Ziggler fiasco of 2015? Sonya Deville cut a great promo on Mandy Rose, but let’s check back in a few months to see if anything really comes from it, or if she’s back on jobber duty. And last but not least, has anyone seen Tucker? I’m over this whole angle, and I certainly don’t want to see it close any shows. We went from last week’s awesome closing segment with Triple H, to Ottis earning a spot in the men’s Money In The Bank Ladder match. That’s a far drop in my opinion.
Despite the weak finish, this week’s SmackDown was solid, and we’ve already got some good matches announced for next week. Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak, and most likely Elias, taking on King Corbin, and his court (Cesaro and Nakamura), and Lacey Evans and Tamina vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks. As long as we don’t have Ottis closing the show again, next week’s episode should be another strong outing on the way to the Money In The Bank pay-per-view.
I’m Wesly Avendano. Life long wrestling fan from a small town in Southern California. Writing and wrestling are two of my passions so why not combine them and see what happens. I’m currently the host of Flashback Wrestling Podcast. Favorite all time wrestler is a tie Bret Hart. Favorite current wrestler is AJ Styles. Don’t forget to follow me, and the Flashback Wrestling Podcast on Twitter @fbwpodcast and Instagram @flashbackwrestling.