Well, here we are again for another review of what was a mediocre SmackDown Live Tuesday night. Somehow, I feel like I am writing the same as last week about WWE. There were a few solid moments with the return of the shenanigans of Team Hell No and the build to Extreme Rules with the announcement of the United States Title Match between champion Jeff Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura is still on the mend, mind you, as a dog bite continues to keep him out of action. WWE will need to figure out what to do with this confrontation as the lack of in-ring promotion has hurt what should have been a Match of the Year candidate.
I will give the company credit by giving fans a good match between Hardy and The Miz, which ended with Hardy going over, but I am still waiting for the “Wow!” moment where I am begging for more, hoping the Extreme Rules pay-per-view knocks me over with a Shawn Michaels superkick.
Realistically, other than the Seth Rollins-Dolph Ziggler Iron Man Match for the Intercontinental Title, I don’t see that happening. The SmackDown Live brand has the potential to captivate the fans, but making them believe this is the best the blue team has to offer is stretching it a bit.
Here are a few thoughts on SmackDown Live…
Team Hell No vs. The Usos
I get WWE wants to create as much drama as possible with the reunion of Kane and Daniel Bryan, but the idea of the Usos as opponents in the main event did nothing for me. The match went as expected, with the former four-time tag champs putting up a fight but Bryan and Kane securing the win.
The fade at the end of the show with The Bludgeon Brothers coming out from the back was predictable (as was much of the night). If WWE is serious about Bryan and Kane going over at the pay-per-view, then the “Go Home” show next week had better have a bit more drama. This really was ill-conceived on WWE’s part.
Jeff Hardy Retains
Hardy once again had a United States Title open challenge, which was answered by The Miz. It was the best match of the night, but it did not hold up as well as Rollins and Ziggler.
The chemistry between both wrestlers could develop over time, but because of the announcement of Nakamura’s title shot, The Miz misses out on an opportunity to claim another title on his resume. I suspect he will interfere win the tag match, costing Bryan and Kane the titles, forcing a match with his rival at SummerSlam.
If booked properly, this could have been a 20-minute dance. It wasn’t as strong as expected.
Asuka vs. James Ellsworth
This one had nothing on Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs. It was a sad state, with Carmella joining in the action when both wrestlers were counted out and ran around the building only to reach the ring area again.
I’m not sure why this is even a “thing” as it has made Carmella’s reign look silly and has pushed the Empress of Tomorrow into a state of disbelief. The Lumberjack Match scheduled for next week should be equally as bad.
This might be one of those matches where a food or bathroom break is acceptable.
Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce
Lynch is in that kind of purgatory wrestlers speak about, but never want to stand in. Since Charlotte Flair left to have surgery, the notion of Lynch in a meaningful feud has been tossed out the window.
Shame on WWE, as Lynch deserves better than she is receiving. How the company plans to book her after Extreme Rules will determine if she can pull herself out of the quicksand she is firmly stuck in.
A.J. Styles vs. Aiden English (with Rusev interfering)
Did someone say predictable? Hmm. Styles wins the match and Rusev beats up his opponent in the moments following. It’s actually a good thing because the Bulgarian Brute is so well liked amongst the WWE fan base.
Rusev has been doing more of his own promo work, which is good and allows us to see him as a heel. The “Rusev Day” shtick is solid and fans love it, but WWE needs to promote him more as the villain in this confrontation. Hopefully, he is more sinister next week before the pay-per-view event.