Welcome back to the show that no McMahon is currently fighting for control over. It’s pretty much the wild west on Thursday nights. It shocks me that matches can still happen without people of power discussing them on camera while the show is ongoing, but somehow they do. It’s probably witchcraft.
This isn’t a comprehensive review, just my thoughts on what I believe to be the 5 best moments from the show. Feel free to disagree, it’s a subjective artform or something…
5. Another Miz Opener
Two weeks ago, The Miz kicked off SmackDown with a MizTV segment that included AJ Styles. Last week, The Miz interrupted Roman Reign’s opening promo to tell him that Styles was aligned with Gallows & Anderson. This week, The Miz crashed Sami Zayn’s appearance on Chris Jericho’s Highlight Reel to tell him that Sami interfered with his business on Raw earlier this week. All three opening segments resulted in later matches on each show against Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn, respectively.
The Miz has been one of the consistent cornerstones of SmackDown over recent history and I for one am more than happy about it. He’s a fantastic heel that has no trouble getting the crowds not only want to boo him but to also cheer for whoever is opposite of him at the time. The Intercontinental Championship as well as his fawning wife are by his side, which are both fitting complements to the “A-Lister.” Plus, his in-ring competition has been pretty stellar. What wrestler wouldn’t want to be facing that caliber of talent week after week?
Please continue the heavy Miz presence on this show, WWE.
4. Make Darren Young Great Again
Again? Doesn’t that imply…never mind, I’m being a jerk.
Young is one of countless guys in the back that hardly ever gets valuable on-screen time, so if this goofy Donald Trump parody segment gets him an opportunity then fine by me. You never know, he might stumble into something that clicks.
What makes this segment one of the better moments of the night is the craziness of Bob Backlund. He’s bringing to the table some Trump-inspired catchphrases, something that Vince is probably literally rolling on the floor laughing over. He also used the phrase “Wrestling is life” with a ferocity that eliminated any doubt that this was not wasted television time.
Was this segment silly? Yes, absolutely. But to be fair, it wasn’t long at all and it gave a guy TV time that’s pretty starved of it alongside a legendary former WWE Champion. I can stand a minute or two here and there for some Bob Backlund delivery of humor that Vince thinks is comedic gold.
3. Rusev’s Forehead
In a match with Zack Ryder, Rusev took a routine hit against the corner post while on the outside. The match kept proceeding like normal because nothing seemed off about the move at first glance. It wasn’t until the two brought the action back into the ring that the damage to the cranium of The Bulgarian Brute became evident…
Well, that probably hurt. Rusev was able to continue on with the match with no ill effects from the head shot, although he did noticeably wipe the goose egg with his hand a few times to check to see if there was any blood.
Lana’s sure got herself a tough man. At least she can revel in the fact that the part of him that resides above the eyebrows is number 3 on this week’s list. Rusev defeated Ryder fairly easily only to be gotten the better of by the U.S. Champion Kalisto post-match.
2. Anderson Facewashes Roman
It started out as a standard two-on-two tag team match between The Usos and Anderson & Gallows but with both Roman Reigns and AJ Styles at ringside you knew that things were going to break down. That moment came when Karl Anderson stuck his boot out of the ring and gave the WWE World Heavyweight Champion a facewash. Roman ran into the ring to retaliate and soon afterward everyone was brawling. Refs spilled out from backstage to try to seperate the factions and after a few moments, order was restored.
The moment that Anderson attacked Reigns with his boot is the part that I specifically wanted to celebrate. The Good Brothers have had a few bland matches in their short time in WWE so far but this week has felt so much better for them. They were using chairs and tempting Styles to attack a helpless Roman on Raw and now they’re booting Roman’s schnoz when he’s caught off guard. They’re lawless. They’re cool.
A six-man tag match was then restarted and it was a very good match from then on – easily the best match of the night. Roman scored the winning pinfall for his team after spearing Anderson, the man who struck first against The Big Dog.
1. Big Cass Stands On His Own
With Enzo Amore temporarily out with injury, the personality powerhouse half of the Enzo & Big Cass act could’ve simply left an unfilled void. But just like on Raw, Colin Cassady was handed mic time all by his lonesome. As far as I can tell, he’s doing just fine on his own.
After The Vaudevillians defeated Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel of The Social Outcasts, the seven footer’s music hit. He came out and told them that they looked like they were Sherlock Holmes characters trying to solve the mystery of who Cass was going to beat up. The answer to that mystery was that both of them would be getting the whooping. He’s got a calm and confident delivery that I’m really buying into.
Before going into the ring and making good on the promise of his promo he delivered his usual “spell it out for you” schtick, something that he’s been saying differently since coming to the main roster. Maybe it’s been longer than that, but since leaving NXT I’ve noticed that Cass doesn’t scream out his usual lines anymore. He says them in more of a normal speaking voice now.
It’s a perfectly fine change, but it has felt a little less energetic as of late…until this episode of SmackDown. Colin is finally nailing how to say the words with intensity without simply screaming them. It’s a subtle thing that I’m probably making way too big of a deal out of, but I was happy to feel like I truly heard the emotion from him like the fire in NXT.
Colin Cassady’s promos are good. Of course I’ll be tickled to death when Enzo finally comes back on screen, but if there were any worries that Colin would flop without his Luke Skywalker Smack-talker of a tag partner, worry no more.
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