Hey, Blue Team!
Pretty good Smackdown Live this week. Even though it lacked in originality, I really enjoyed it. There’s only three minutes of this show that we haven’t seen before. The majority of it are rematches and redos of a lot of stuff we’ve seen recently. Most of them as recent as last week. Three of this week’s matches were rematches from last week.
The other segments, we’ve already seen versions of since the Shake-up. But almost all of them managed to improve on their predecessors, making it an enjoyable show even when it felt a bit stagnant. That is, except for the opening segment. Oh boy. That opening segment.
We’re getting into that time of year where WWE is really fun and interesting for a while, so why not take a moment to give The Best and Worst of Smackdown Live a share on your favorite social media platform. While you’re at it, follow With Spandex on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
And now without further ado, here is The Best and Worst of Smackdown Live for April 25th, 2017.
I don’t know what this was. This week’s Smackdown Live opened up with Renee Young in the ring introducing the artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura. She is about to interview Nakamura when Dolph Ziggler’s music hits. Ziggler takes the mic from Renee and from that point forward, nothing makes sense anymore.
Ziggler launches into a promo mocking Shinsuke that turns into a story about Nakamura actually being Michael Jackson and because he’s Michael Jackson he’s a freak. It’s a long way to go for an insult that doesn’t make much sense.
Nakamura has been compared to Michael Jackson a lot in the past, but never in a negative way. I guess you can turn anything into an insult, but here Ziggler makes Nakamura secretly being Michael Jackson sound pretty awesome. He talks about Jackson being on the Simpsons and having a pet monkey, like those are insults. Who doesn’t want to have a pet monkey? That sounds pretty awesome to me.
By the time Ziggler was finished retelling the Jackson Family episode of Behind the Music, there was no saving this segment. Nakamura gets the mic back to respond but by then some people in the Des Moines, Iowa crowd are yelling “What” and all hope is lost. They wrap it up with some physicality followed by Ziggler cowardly backing up the ramp with Nakamura standing tall in the ring.
This was bad. I can’t for the life of me think of a purpose for anything Ziggler said. It makes him look like an idiot and doesn’t do Nakamura any favors. They would have been better off having Renee do the interview with Nakamura that they teased or just have Ziggler jump him instead of doing that ridiculous promo. Literally anything would have been better.
What’s extra frustrating to me about this is they have already established a pretty good storyline for why Ziggler feels the way he does about Nakamura. It’s been established that Ziggler is a WWE guy. He only watches and cares about WWE so until Nakamura does something impressive on the main roster, Ziggler is not going to buy into the hype. That’s a solid idea that’s grounded in reality. The type of idea you could totally get a bunch of good promos out of. So why is Ziggler out there talking about Michael Jackson putting a ferris wheel in his backyard?
Best: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
Last weeks main event becomes this week’s opening contest as we once again watch AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin, and Kevin Owens returns on commentary again as well. It’s another good match between these two but it never manages to reach the heights of their match last week or their triple threat with Sami the week before that. We get a couple of new things in the ring from them but it’s pretty much more of the same. I could say pretty much the same thing about Kevin Owens’ commentary too.
The big difference in this week’s match is AJ pinning Baron in the end. That made having this match take place again this week seem a little more justified. After the match Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin beat down AJ until out comes Sami Zayn to make the save. I’m sure we will see a tag match pitting Zayn and Styles vs. Owens and Corbin before Backlash and a fatal four-way between all four of these guys after it, but for now it looks like Baron and Sami are going to be spending some quality time feuding one-on-one with each other and I don’t mind that one bit.
They aired a video Rusev recorded on his cellphone talking about how he will only come to Smackdown Live if he gets a match for the WWE World Championship at Money in the Bank. You read that right. Money in the Bank. That’s like five pay-per-views away. Why are they starting this now? There is no need for that. People are already saying Jinder Mahal will be a one and done main eventer. They aren’t helping the perception of Mihal by already setting up who Orton is going to feud with next.
Best: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin
By this time next Tuesday it will all be over. A thing of the past. A memory I can block out. I’ll never have to think about it, write about it, or watch it again. If people ask me I’ll say I’d rather not talk about it. Next Tuesday is a new beginning. A fresh start. A world, at times, I worried I would never see again. Next Tuesday we will be living in a world where Randy Orton is no longer feuding with Bray
Impossible you say, oh but it’s true. This Sunday at Payback they are blowing this thing off with some kind of haunted hootananny.
Their feud has been the worst thing on Smackdown Live since Smackdown went live. I’m so happy that it’s wrapping up that I welcomed this week’s Randy Orton/Erick Rowan rematch with open arms. Yet another in the long line of pretty good matches on this week’s show. It’s No Disqualification stipulation helped it out. Not only did it give these two more to work with than in their past matches, but it also helped make it feel different from the other pretty good matches that happened before and after it.
The match could have gone from pretty good to great if it had only been half as long. There was a fun spot right before the mid-match commercial break involving a kendo stick and Rowan going through a table that felt like the end of the match. Especially because once they came back from commercial there wasn’t much left for Rowan and Orton to do. If they had ended the match before the commercial I would have liked it even better than I did.
After the match, Orton got on the mic to remind us once again that he doesn’t know what a House of Horrors match is. That leads to an appearance by the number one contender Jinder Mahal, who does another good job this week in his sudden new role. Mahal cuts a promo on Orton that had a lot of the same things in it as the one he cut last week. He then addresses his people in his language until Orton attacks him. This brings the Bollywood Boys out from their new home under the ring (they’re renting out Hornswoggles’ old apartment).
Mahal and the Boys beat down Randy Orton and then steal the WWE championship, just like they are doing with our American jobs. You Mahal haters have to admit, he looks pretty good with that belt. If you hadn’t watched wrestling in ten years and just out of curiosity flipped it on tonight right as Mahal was coming to the ring, you wouldn’t second guess this guy as a title contender. I love the Singh brothers with him too and hope they end up being everything I wanted The Ascension to be for Stardust. I think WWE is really onto something here.
Worst: Beat It
The Smackdown tag team division sticks around for another week in the form of a two-match Beat The Clock Challenge to determine a new number one contender for the tag titles. The first match up is another one between America Alpha and the Colons. It’s another strong match from these two teams who continue to work well together.
Breezango Vs. The Ascension was a good match too in its own way.The Ascension looked better than they have in a long time and of course I’m thrilled to see Breezango win. They will go one to face the Usos at Backlash in what is fast becoming one of the oddest pay per views of the year.
I don’t have a deep-seated hatred for the Beat The Clock Challenge like a lot of people do. I actually think it could be a valuable booking tool if it was used right but unfortunately it almost never is. They had the perfect opportunity to use it well on Smackdown this week if they had just flipped the order of these two matches.
If Breezango and The Ascension had gone first you could have had them set the time. With American Alpha and the Colons going second, they could have wrestled to a draw, unable to beat the clock. That way you could have kept the Alpha/Colons feud from immediately going to fifty-fifty booking and continue to build the storyline of whether or not American Alpha can beat them. Now there is no storyline for Alpha and the Colons at all, and does Breezango look any better because they beat The Ascension in under five minutes? Any two people on the WWE payroll should be able to beat The Ascension in under five minutes. Why use the Beat The Clock Challenge if you’re not going to take advantage of it.
Best: Another Part Of Me
This week’s Charlotte/Naomi match was a step up from last week’s, and may have even been the best of this week’s pretty good matches. It definitely earned the title of Most Improved. It kept a good pace and the two of them felt more in tune with each other. I think the fact that it was kept short helped it too; they both looked good.
As the match was climaxing, the new group of Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina interfered (with James Ellsworth cheering them on), causing the match to end in a no contest. Now, that was the ending I called a week ago but it didn’t play out exactly how I thought it would.
It seems like this is the beginning of a Charlotte face turn that for some reason I didn’t see coming. I assumed Charlotte came to the blue brand to replace Alexa Bliss as the top heel but it looks like she is here to replace Nikki Bella instead. I think this makes complete sense. Charlotte is a lot of fun to watch in the ring; she’s someone you want to cheer for. She already gets a good pop when she comes out for her matches because people know they’re about to see a good match so yeah, why not turn her.
She’s not a good actress. Maybe being a face will come more naturally for her. I’m intrigued by this new faction too. It’s an interesting group, but I feel like they’re going to need to eventually add a fourth female member if they want to keep things interesting in the ring with Charlotte.
I’m sure they’re going to have some fun backstage segments, but I can’t say I’m excited to see Charlotte have matches with any of the three of them. I’m completely burnt out on Nattie and Charlotte. How many times have we seen that? I’m sure Charlotte vs. Carmella or Tamina will be good for a couple of Smackdown matches, but I don’t think either will have legs. Eventually you want to get Charlotte and Becky back in the ring together, so do you turn Becky too?
Like a lot of Smackdown right now, the Women’s Division has so much potential depending on how they handle it from here. They have my attention, and that’s a good first step.
Until next time, I’m Justin Donaldson, and ugh, why would they put JBL on Talking Smack? It seems crazy to add him to a show at this point. Did Renee not want to sit that close to Tom Phillips?