The Not-So-Rookie's Guide to Smackdown Vol. 7 – No Need for Tag Matches!
It is inevitable that things change, sometimes changes are great things, but that's not true for all of them. That brings us to why I am here today. As you can see, this week I am reviewing Smackdown in lieu of my typical NXT review. This makes me wonder if this is going to be one of those positive moves, or if moving from NXT to Smackdown is going to end up feeling more like a punishment than a promotion. On to the review at hand, Smackdown is in Green Bay tonight, and this is the final stop for Summerslam, and we can only hope that things are actually a little more exciting this week.
Match 1 – WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback vs. The Big Show
I am always surprised when we open a main roster show with a match and not twenty minutes of a random superstar rambling on about whoever they're involved with at the time. It's even more impressive that this isn't how they chose to open the final show before Summer Slam. This opening match makes sense, as these two are facing each other in a triple threat with Miz on Sunday.
I wasn't expecting much from this bout, and it certainly delivered. The best thing about this match was how short it was. Watching these two lumbering around the ring and just slamming into each other did not leave me entertained. The match ended after Ryback put Big Show, and himself, through the barricade into the time keeper's area. The initial impact even knocked out the camera feed for a few seconds. After this, the two simply laid there as the ref counted to ten and ended the match in a double count out. This isn't the type of match I would have expected leading into a feud match that was put off by a month. No real taunting was done on either side, and the fact that there was no appearance by The Miz made things feel that much worse. It's clear that this was feud was thrown together at the last minute in order to give Ryback something to do for Summer Slam, and it was painful to see.
Result – No contest via double count out
Match 2 – Los Matadores & El Torito vs. The New Day
Anytime a match is billed as a 6-being tag team match, you know you're either in for something magical or terrible. Los Matadores, and specifically El Torito, are a bit of an oddity in modern WWE. Being luchadores, they are still heavily kayfabe, unlike a majority of the WWE roster, and Torito isn't even referred to as a human. The team really feels like a throwback to the days before the “Reality Era”, and I would love to see a shift back toward this style over the current product, which has the wrestlers more out in the open than they have ever been in the past.
Anyway, back on topic, this match truly showed just why Los Matadores have been a fixture in the tag team division as long as they have. The two gave a great performance, and I would say even outshone The New Day. Of the three though, I would say that Torito stood out more than either Diego or Fernando. The little guy was able to show up all three members of the New Day and really stand out in the match. Ultimately, Torito ended up taking a running splash from Big E, which left him unable to stop Xavier Woods from taging in and getting the win for his team.
This was a surprisingly entertaining match that was a lot better than I had anticipated. This match made my wonder why Los Matadores have been left to linger at the bottom of the card, but ultimately its because of their current gimmick. Let's face it, no matter how entertaining the team is, there is no way that WWE is going to let two bull fighters and their little “bull” run around with their tag team titles.
Result – The New Day wins via pinfall as Xavier Woods pins El Torito
Match 3 – Bo Dallas vs. Neville
I had high hopes for this match. These two had some fantastic matches in NXT toward the end of Bo Dallas' run at the NXT Arena. Of course this is modern WWE, and Bo Dallas isn't over, so instead of a fantastic match between two skilled competitors, we get a squash match. The match only lasted a few minutes and, of course, ended with a Red Arrow.
After the match, we see “The Prince of Dark Matter” Stardust, alongside “The Cosmic King” Barrett. The two taunt Neville and tell him that his team will be losing this Sunday. Honestly, this promo was the best part of the entire segment. These two could have done so much more than what we were given, and its insulting to think of what could have been after seeing what we ended up with.
Result – Neville via pinfall with a Red Arrow
Match 4 – Brie Bella vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch
The Women's Revolution continues as we have Team Bella making their way to the ring. After a bit of Nikki stroking her own ego, out comes Team B.A.D. to ruin their day. We see that Nikki was beaten by Sasha Banks on Raw earlier this week, which should make her the #1 contender, and Nikki called it a fluke victory. They're finally interrupted by Becky Lynch and Charlotte, who have changed their team's name for the third time. The newly named Team P.C.B. makes their way to the ring, and the match can finally get underway.
The match blows up out of the gate, but it ends up falling flat about halfway through. I mean no offense to anyone, but Brie really held this match back. Much like I had said above, we have seen some real knock down and drag out fights between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks in NXT, but here we add in Brie Bella and it causes everything to fall apart. In the end, Brie ends up with the win, which Team Bella rubs in the other women's faces. This match just didn't work, and like Sasha Banks said in her promo, it's because Brie has simply been riding her husband's coattails. Nikki may have come a long way in the last few months, but the same can't be said of her sister.
Result – Brie Bella via pinall
Main Event – Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, and Dean Ambrose vs. Shaemus, Kevin Owens, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt
We've finally come to our main event, and its the WWE standard for a go home SmackDown. Lets take a bunch of babyfaces from the upcoming pay-per-view and a bunch of heels, and put them against each other in a huge tag match. The problem with this is that sometimes the pairings just don't make sense, for example, I don't think that the Wyatts really play well with others, so why are they okay with teaming with Shaemus, who also doesn't play well with others, and Kevin Owens. In fact, the pairing of Owens and Shaemus is even more concerning, since the last time these two teamed, Shaemus walked out on Kevin Owens. The whole thing is just another sign of WWE and their revisionist history.
The match was actually quite good. It had lots of ups and downs, and each of the wrestlers were able to get in some good spots. Of course the babyfaces ended up with the win, which isn't too much of a surprise when you look at who was on that team. This was easily the match of the night, and I was glad that I watched it, though it didn't really feel like a main event. It felt like a match that should have taken place during the middle of the show, but that's the fate of any match on SmackDown.
Result – Dean Ambrose via pinfall with Dirty Deeds
It becomes more obvious every week that WWE just doesn't care about SmackDown. The card is often weighed down by boring and predictable matches and there is little, if any, story progression. While this may be WWE simply waiting until SmackDown is moved to USA next year to really give it a shot in the arm, that isn't going to help the show right now. With WWE's recent television ratings trending downward, I feel that they need to focus on improving the product if they ever hope to get out of this slump. SmackDown may be the B show, but that's no reason to just go through the motions with it. WWE needs to decide if it is worth continuing on with SmackDown, or if it's time to reduce their on-air presence in the interest of focusing on rebuilding their brand.
Rating: 1 “B” Show out of 5