(Almost) Live Reactions to WWE SmackDown Live

We’re only 19 days from WrestleMania. No bad promos this time, let’s just get straight into things. How was this week? What cool things happened? Read on to find out.

Opening Segment

The best and worst members of the commentary team were off tonight for whatever reason, leaving us with JBL and Phillips all night. Apparently Ranallo was stuck in a snow storm and Otunga was off filming a movie.

AJ Styles was the first man out tonight. He walked to the ring to let us all know how he felt about missing out on his chance to headline WrestleMania. He was not happy with his situation. He complained about how many hoops he had to jump through to earn the number one contendership, only to be tossed aside. He talked up his star power in the company, claiming to deserve a marquee match at WrestleMania. He ended with throwing barbs at Shane McMahon.

AJ really has developed into a great talker. This wasn’t exactly a thrilling way to start the show, but it was fine. AJ made some pretty good points, as he typically does, even when working heel. Not much else to say, really.

Becky Lynch vs Natalya

We came back from a commercial break that began before the match started to find the match in progress. Natalya hit a big scoop slam on the outside. Back inside, Natalya landed a dropkick to Becky’s back. Natalya continued to grind down her opponent with strikes. Becky fired back with a bexploder. Natalya set Becky on the top rope, and Becky countered into a Dis-Arm-Her.

Result: Becky Lynch wins by submission

After the match, Carmella appeared and beat down both spent competitors.

I think this was mostly just a somewhat less effective version of what happened last week. I think I’d care more about the upcoming match if you built up the competitors instead of jobbing them all out against each other.

Miz TV

Miz, with his wife Maryse, welcomed his guests tonight: Himself and his wife. He ran through his various encounters with John Cena over the last few weeks. Miz accused Cena of being selfish, and Maryse accused Nikki Bella of being even worse. Maryse recounted a tale of Bella cheating Maryse out of a lucrative contract. The accused party entered, looking somewhat less than pleased. They ran to the ring, fire in their eyes. The Miz and Maryse exited the ring. Bella got on the mic and claimed that Maryse was lying about key details in her story. Bella dared Maryse to come to the ring, and Cena helpfully moved the chairs out of the way. The Miz declined on behalf of his wife and went to leave, but out came Daniel Bryan. He cut a fiery promo about how angry The Miz made him. However, since he can’t get physical himself, he made the match between the two couples for WrestleMania.

I think this storyline has been run down a few times lately. AJ, in his feud with Cena, was hitting on many of the same points as The Miz now is. Natalya was hitting many of the same points about Nikki Bella during their feud as Maryse now is. So, this all feels just a bit samey to things we’ve seen really recently. For that reason, I don’t think I’m crazy about this storyline. However, I think the match will probably be decent, so let’s wait and see how it goes, yeah?

Alexa Bliss vs Mickie James

Bliss began the match with a shove, then locked up, both grabbing a handful of hair. They traded strikes in the corner, neither able to gain a sustained advantage. Bliss eventually locking in a cravate submission. James reversed into a single leg Boston crab, and nailed a Perfect Plex for a two count. Bliss had James hurt with an STO, and tossed her about the ring by the hair. James was able to recover quick, but her comeback was cut off quickly. Bliss set up for a DDT, but James escaped. They traded roll-ups, and Bliss missed on the insult to injury. James won with the Mick Kick.

Result: Mickie James win by pinfall

This was a much better match than the previous one, and did a much better job getting me into the idea of a big, five person match at Mania.

Shane And AJ Get Set To Have A Match

Backstage, AJ waited around for Shane to arrive, who was late tonight. When he finally arrived, AJ beat the piss out him, and capped it off by tossing Shane’s head into a car’s window, which had Shane pouring that red liquid out of the top of his head. Shane eventually got some medical attention. Shane refused to be taken to the emergency room. AJ gathered his things and attempted to leave, but ran into Bryan. AJ egged Bryan on, and Bryan fired him. Later in the night, a glassy-eyed Shane made his way to the ring to announce himself as AJ’s WrestleMania opponent.

I think… I think I don’t like this. I’m a fan of Shane, and obviously I love AJ, but AJ should be fighting Shinsuke Nakamura or Sami Zayn or in a title match at WrestleMania, not battling the on-screen authority figure who is 47 years old and has little formal training.

Mojo Rawley vs Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler was quickly overpowered by the larger Rawley, who threw him out of the ring twice. Dolph managed to hit a dropkick, and drew the ire of Rawley with slaps and strikes to Mojo’s face, who again tossed him over the top rope to the floor. Ziggler got tired of things and got himself counted out.

Result: Mojo Rawley sins by countout

The commentators saved this for me. They put over the fact that Mojo was warming up for the Battle Royal he’ll be a part of at Mania. And Ziggler walking off gets him good heel heat, I guess.

Randy Orton Addresses Bray Wyatt

Randy made his way to the ring to a face pop. He bragged about how patient he was in waiting for his moment to strike at Wyatt, wanting to hit Wyatt where it really hurt. Randy claimed there was only one blow left to inflict on Wyatt, and the job would be done at Mania. Bray interrupted by way of the titan-tron. He showed up in the remains of his compound, and he claimed that he was stronger, not weaker, than ever. Bray spread his dead sister’s charred ashes over himself, and that is not a sentence I ever thought I’d type.

Yeah, good. I really hope that WWE is keen to the fact that we all want to root for Bray Wyatt in this match. I count myself an Orton fan, and even so, I’m the first to admit that I want to see him work heel. Meanwhile, we’ve all been watching Wyatt, frustrated that the guys in charge couldn’t see what we all did, and now he’s finally on top. And it’s really hard for me to want to root for Randy, who is playing the role of arsonist and backstabber in this story. However, Orton was working the crowd and hyping them up as he came out tonight, so I hope they’re not going to get this one wrong. Fingers crossed.

American Alpha vs The Usos

That’s right! SmackDown does still have a tag division. I’d nearly forgotten. Finally we’re getting some payoff from that crazy promo the Usos cut weeks and weeks ago. Chad Gable and Jey Uso started things, but both tagged out quickly. Jason Jordan had Jimmy Uso reeling. Working together, AA hit tandem dropkicks that sent both Usos crashing to the outside. However, the Usos managed to regain control. Jimmy scored a two count on Jordan before tagging in Jey, who tagged in Jimmy again. Jordan was unable to escape a chinlock for a good long while. Jordan finally sent Jimmy into the ring post for the opportunity to make the tag. Gable exploded into the match with a slew of suplexes that had both Uso brothers hurting. Jordan tagged back in and got a Superkick for his troubles, and The Usos picked up the win.

Result: The Usos win by pinfall

It wasn’t until right towards the end that this really picked up for me. I think these two teams can (and will) put on a heck of a match, but this wasn’t anything to write home about. For being the main event tonight, this was a wee bit underwhelming.

And that was SmackDown. A solid, though not outstanding, edition of the show. I think RAW really knocked it out of the park yesterday night, and SmackDown was just kinda SmackDown this week. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but I definitely feel RAW was the more interesting show this time around, were I in the business of picking a week-to-week winner. But, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear. Subscribe to the website if you’d like to be notified about all my new articles, or come follow me on twitter @Ejdupras_VVV, and I’ll catch you all when we do this again next week.

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