(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

And here we are, the last main roster bit of programming before WrestleMania 33. We’ve got a few feuds that need some last minute fleshing out, and at least one to actually even begin. Would any of that happen? Well, read on to find out.

Opening Segment

General Manager Daniel Bryan‘s music was just hitting the speakers right as the show began. He made his way to the ring, in which a table and two chairs were set up in advance. He welcomed Commissioner Shane McMahon. AJ Styles followed shortly behind. The two opponents took their respective seats at the table. Shane began by talking about his original vision for SDL, A land of opportunity. Shane put AJ over big time as one of the greatest talents to ever set foot in the WWE. AJ agreed with Shane’s analysis. Shane ran through a bunch of AJ’s accomplishments during his first year in the company. Shane began to wrap up by stating that as great as AJ was, his ego was costing him. Shane warned AJ to bring his A Game to WrestleMania. AJ wondered about Shane’s lack of experience in traditional matches, which is a fair point. AJ ran through some of Shane’s high profile opponents over the years, reasoning that none of them stacked up to AJ. Tensions rose, and Bryan suggested a handshake instead of an impromptu fight. Shane offered, but AJ refused, leaving the ring.

This was good. Both guys had really good promos that put the other guy over, but also got their own characters across. The more I’ve thought about this, the more I’m ok with it. I think it’ll turn out good enough. AJ pulls really incredible matches out of pretty much everybody he works with, and Shane is (mostly) in the same habit.

Becky Lynch vs Carmella

Both Mickie James and Alexa Bliss sat in for commentary for this match. Carmella was reluctant to engage in the match early on, repeatedly going to the ropes, preventing any grappling from taking place. Finally, she blindsided Becky and took the advantage. Becky fired back with an enzugiri. The guest commentators got on each other’s nerves and started brawling. It moved into the ring, and the whole thin ended in DQ shortly thereafter.

Result: I think Carmella got hit first, so I guess she wins by DQ?

Becky Lynch and Mickie James vs Carmella and Alexa Bliss

The tag match was made during the break after the DQ. The faces managed to beat both heels for a time at the beginning. Carmella eventually fought back and landed some offense against James, and Bliss continued the beatdown. James was repeatedly unable to make it to Lynch. Bliss knocked down James and the match was interrupted by Natalya, who I guess was sad about being forgotten for this match. She joined the commentary desk, as Bliss continued to lay the smack down on James. James finally hit a neckbreaker that gave her the necessary space to get to Lynch, who lit Carmella up with suplexes and kicks. Natalya got bored at the desk and ran to the ring. Becky beat her back, got tripped by Ellsworth, and rolled up by Carmella. All five battled for a moment, until they were interrupted by the returning Naomi, who cleared house. She grabbed a mic and confirmed that she was back and healthy, and would be joining the women’s championship match at Mania.

Result: Carmella and Alexa Bliss win by pinfall

This was probably the most effective segment from all the participants so far this month, and it was just ok. I’m actually relatively excited for the match, but with the sheer number of participants here, none of the competitors are standing out in the lead-up, let alone all getting a moment to accomplish much.

Miz TV

The Miz, along with his wife, brought to us the conclusion of their mock reality TV show that started last week. This week included Miz acting as both Cena and Daniel Bryan. After it aired, Cena and Bella entered to provide a counter-argument to the points Miz and Maryse had raised. Cena admitted that he did have some house rules, and that no, Cena and Bella aren’t married. Cena did, however, take issue with Miz’s claim that Cena wasn’t legitimate in his passion for the WWE. He said that Maryse didn’t have much of a purpose in the WWE. He then called Miz’s reproductive abilities into question, which was an odd moment. Cena dared Miz to take a shot. The heels considered, but backed off and left the ring non-violently, then returned, then left again.

I think the reality TV stuff would probably be funnier for me if I watched any of the reality shows, but alas, I don’t. I really liked Cena’s promo, though, and I think the match on sunday will probably be… pretty good?

10 Man Tag

Jason Jordan started things against Dolph Ziggler. The two mat wresters quickly took things to that realm, and Jordan got the best of things. They traded dropkicks before Jordan tagged in Chad Gable, who continued dominating Ziggler. In tagged Heath Slater, who tagged in Rhyno, who laid waste to Ziggler. After a commercial break, Gable was in trouble at the hands of The Usos. In came Fandango, who hit some good offense against the former Olympian. Gable was repeatedly unable to make the tag. Mojo Rawley received the hot tag, hitting a stinger splash onto Tyler Breeze. All ten brawled, tossing each other over the top rope. With everybody else taken out, Rawley smashed Breeze in the face and pinned him. Apparently, all of these guys will be in the AtGMBR on Sunday, which means that the SDL tag titles won’t be on the line at Mania, which is a shame.

Result: Team Face wins by pinfall

There wasn’t much going on here, despite (or perhaps due to) the large field of competitors. I like the group of competitors for the Battle Royal, and it’s obviously a good way to get a bunch of people on the show who otherwise wouldn’t, which is always nice. But, you know what’s funny? Ziggler is positioned worse now than he was before he turned heel, which is so confusing to me. How have they screwed him up so bad? We all thought the heel turn was exactly what he needed, and it started strong, but he’s floundered even harder ever since.

Bray Wyatt vs Luke Harper

Luke Harper sporting some new ring attire, which looks awesome. They began by throwing hands and feet right away. Harper hit a dropkick that sent Wyatt to the outside, where he hit a running chop and threw Wyatt into the timekeeper’s area. Back inside the ring, Wyatt missed on at attempt an uranage, and instead ran into a sidewalk slam. He recovered quickly and splashed onto Harper with a senton, earning The Eater of Worlds a two count. Harper tried to hit Sister Abigail, which Wyatt avoided by rolling to the outside. Harper settled for two consecutive suicide dives. A springboard senton and a big boot followed, all of which combined to earn Harper a two count. Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, but instead ate a superkick. Harper nailed Bray with the Discus Clothesline, but Bray grabbed the ropes to stay in the match. Wyatt got up, and launched himself right into a Sister Abigail for the win. After the match, the titan-tron was invaded by Randy Orton, who was stood in Wyatt’s burnt former house. Orton taunted his opponent, driving a crucifix into the grave of Bray’s sister.

Result: Bray Wyatt wins by pinfall

A really good match between two great, underrated workers in Harper and Wyatt. People forget that Bray’s ring work is nearly as good as his mic work. Anyhow, I really liked the hard-hitting brawl they shared in their first ever match opposite one another. I don’t know if I loved the scene with Randy, though. Last week, Bray claimed he was more powerful or something now that Abigail was no more, but we never really got to see that. I guess the idea here was that Randy took away Bray’s new alleged powers… or something? I dunno, it wasn’t very clear.

 

And that was SmackDown. Everything on this episode got sufficient time to breathe, which I have to heartily condone. The flip side to that is that there was no further build-up to the IC championship match, which probably needed it. Some stuff did happen on Talking Smack later in the night, though, so I guess that’s sorta consolation. Ultimately, if there were more shows like this that traded a smaller number of longer segments rather than a high number of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bits, I’d be ok with that. I think this was probably the strongest SmackDown of WrestleMania season, if I’m being perfectly honest. But what did you think, reader? Let me know in the comments below, or come tell me on twitter @Ejdupras_VVV if you want to chat in person. Subscribe to the site if you’d like to get notified of all our daily articles, including this series. I’ll be dropping a list article in the coming days about things I’m hoping to see at WrestleMania, so make sure to either subscribe or follow me on twitter to ensure you don’t miss that. If all else goes according to plan, I’ll catch you all again the night after The Showcase of the Immortals!

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