Grappler’s Choice #2: WWE Smackdown – 24.03.16

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© WWE

Entertainment

Discussion:

We begin Smackdown with a promo from Charlotte discussing her triple threat match with Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch at Wrestlemania. Last week on Smackdown we saw them partner up to attack Charlotte and put her in her place. This apparently had no effect on Charlotte’s confidence.

  • Sasha Banks vs Charlotte

Sasha Banks displays some incredible flexibility and athleticism. This is my first time watching her perform in singles competition and it’s worth watching. Charlotte is somewhat of a powerhouse though, taking its toll on Sasha Banks who is more of a cruiserweight in terms of build. This match demonstrates how brutal the quality of wrestling is in the women’s division right now.

Becky Lynch interrupts the match at the end and demonstrates her power. I have to say, this is looking like an exciting match for Wrestlemania. Quite a short match, but it demonstrates what we have to look forward to on April 3rd.

I’ll give it a 6/10.

As soon as we hear ‘The New Day’ announce themselves the crowd reaction is a unanimous cheer – and as it should be!. Every time they come out it’s always a funny segment. This segment does seem to repeat what we’ve heard in the last two weeks of promos between the New Day and the League Of Nations. They are 100% confident on the mic though, I know I’ve said it before but it really does make you love a superstar/group of superstars more if they are confident on the mic.

  • Sheamus vs Kofi Kingston

It is a little hard to believe Sheamus used to be the world champion when a mid carder is running rings around him. Not to downplay Kofi Kingston’s abilities as a performer, but this is a little strange based on that aforementioned fact. Further into the match we see a dominating Sheamus, experiencing what we’re used to seeing from the Celtic Warrior. The League Of Nations seems to be all about power, whereas The New Day seems to be more technical, utilising more high risk manoeuvres. Kofi Kingston really impresses in this match. His high risk moves look so effortless and well rehearsed. One of the best moves sees him perform a  front flip over the top rope onto Sheamus.

We finally get a win from the League Of Nations here, by causing a distraction Sheamus gets a chance to nail Kofi with the Brogue Kick. This should have happened a lot earlier. Going into Wrestlemania they finally look strong.

I’ll give it a 7/10 (Kofi was awesome!)

  • The Usos vs The Ascension

The tag team division is probably the most exciting division at this point (though the women’s division is very close) and I would attribute this to the sheer variety of teams on offer in this roster at the moment. We have some veterans in the Dudley Boyz and new, exciting teams such as The Usos. The Usos take care of The Usos defeat Ascension very quickly in this match in what is essentially a squash match. They seem to be using the Dudley’s table gimmick since the Dudleys refuse to give the fans what they want.

I think they should make their match at Wrestlemania an elimination table match.

5/10 (poor match but very interesting implications for Wrestlemania).

Immediately afterward we see Bubba Ray Dudley talking trash, to which Roman Reigns promises to bring the fight to Bubba Ray in a match later on Smackdown. This could be the beginning of Roman the heel which would be a fantastic development for this character.

  • Dolph Ziggler & Sami Zayn vs The Miz & Kevin Owens

Very interesting set up since all these men will be competing against each other at Wrestlemania. Sami Zayn puts on a very athletic show with some brilliant takedowns and reversals. I really hope Dolph Ziggler gets a push as a main event player soon, for me he is deserving of this place, he’s been there before and he was very close to defeating Triple H recently. Perhaps this is the beginning of that road for him.

In this match we finally get to see a little bit of Zayn vs Owens which we’ve all been waiting for. To be honest, I would have personally been very happy with a match between these two at Wrestlemania, but a ladder match is much more exciting!

These superstars are some of the most exciting on the roster. They work well together, they sell well and they work very hard. This for me was classic WWE, like what you’d expect to see in the Attitude Era or the Ruthless Aggression era. Other superstars needs to study this match and take notes. This was full of high risk manoeuvres, well perfected moves, rehearsed footing and style, and just generally exciting momentum that isn’t forced. It just worked very well and it really sets up Wrestlemania in a memorable way.

I’ll give this match 8/10.

  • Roman Reigns vs Bubba Ray Dudley

It’s good to see Reigns in action before Wrestlemania, I was starting to wonder when it would happen. Bubba Ray is a strong willed, powerful opponent. This match becomes very disappointing, very quickly. Reigns is disqualified for ramming Bubba Ray’s head onto an announce table – exactly what he had done to Triple H the week prior. It’s really getting boring seeing the exact same things happen each week. I was really hoping we’d get to see a full match with Reigns, but yet again the fans are the last consideration. The match ends predictably within about 3 minutes and we barely get to see any wrestling. I understand that it presents a ”look at what’s to come” kind of segment, but it’s just a robbery really. I think many fans (especially the ones who had paid to come and watch Smackdown that night) would have loved to see Reigns in full action (me included!). Disappointing.

2/10 for this one.

  • Ryback vs Kalisto segment

This is a painful segment ”you’re not even old enough to ride an amusement park” – are we five years old or something?. We’ve done this ”big vs small” thing before and it’s becoming too tried and tested. WWE creative needs to give Ryback something more to work with, this is just awful to listen to and really doesn’t offer anything to the fans.

0/10 for this one. (Sorry, but it really didn’t do anything for me at all).

  • Tyler Breeze vs AJ Styles

Very happy with WWE using AJ Styles every week. It makes sense to use your new star as much as possible and the fans absolutely love him. AJ styles is very skilled performer, he seems to work well with everyone pitted against him. It was a very quick match but it demonstrates the point that AJ styles is ”phenomenal”.

I’ll give it 7/10.

  • Brock Lesnar segment

Love hearing Paul Heyman big up Brock Lesnar. A big, booming voice always enhances a superstar’s ego. Brock Lesnar doesn’t need it, but there’s something that’s just right about seeing Lesnar and Heyman together. I’ve always preferred Lesnar in-ring ability as opposed to  his mic skills; Heyman takes care of this perfectly.

Absolutely fantastic to see the Wyatt family come out and outnumber Lesnar. It’s weird seeing Lesnar as the victim, but very quickly he turns the situation around despite the attack, even taking care of Ambrose after a surprise attack with a kendo stick. I think the Wyatts should get more involved in this feud, maybe even interrupting their match at Wrestlemania.

8/10 for this segment, absolutely brilliant.

Entertainment Score: 7 /10

Professionalism

Discussion:

The scripting choice for the Ryback vs Kalisto segment was appalling. I think WWE creative can create something much better for the product.

The commentary is much better on Smackdown compared with Raw. Maybe it’s because they have a veteran in Jerry The King Lawler. I’ve always enjoyed his commentary, especially when he was with Jim Ross.

Professionalism Score: 7 /10

 

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