Grappler’s Choice #4: WWE Smackdown – 31.03.16

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© WWE

Entertainment

Discussion: Just like WWE Raw we begin Smackdown with a pop (in AJ Styles)!

Great to hear Jerry The King Lawler on commentary as well. I wish he would appear on Raw too.

The social outcasts begin our show in a bid to build hype for themselves for the upcoming Battle Royal at Wrestlemania. In fairness, this faction does create a strong heel presence, but I seriously don’t understand the appeal here. Especially considering the crowd response that other stables such as The New Day receive. I’ve discussed this before so I won’t repeat myself further.

  • AJ Styles vs Heath Slater

Some fantastic technical wrestling from Heath Slater in this match. Fast-paced action, with Slater looking comfortable and in control. He sells very well. AJ styles turns the match around swiftly, demonstrating his athleticism and just a few of the many moves he has in his arsenal. It’s exciting watching this guy. I cannot wait to see what he will come up with at Wrestlemania, i’m sure it will be……phenomenal!

I’ll give it a 6/10. Not an amazing match, but it was solid and both men performed at a high level.

This Smackdown served mainly as a preview for Wrestlemania, a recap show if you will. Byron Saxton & Renee Young came across very well here. Bryon in particular is becoming more and more likeable for me. Some people compare him with Michael Cole, but I think he’s developing his own style. He’s cheeky, sarcastic and likeable.

  • Jey Uso vs D-Von Dudley

Gotta love D-Von’s ‘StraightouttaDudleyville’ T-shirt, paying homage to the NWA album ‘StraighOuttaCompton’. I understand that Bubba Ray Dudley is a heel, but as I’ve mentioned before, his constant trash talking (continuously whilst spectating in this respect)  is getting increasingly annoying as the weeks go on. A little difficult therefore to follow this match at times.

A short match, a nice preview of what we will see in the upcoming match between the Usos & the Dudley Boyz at Wrestlemania. These teams are gonna work well together. Definitely a match to look out for.

5/10 for this match. I was hoping for a bit more and I’m sure the crowd were too. D-von & Jey were great to watch nonetheless.

  • Dean Ambrose vs Erick Rowan

A nice pop when Dean comes out. The crowds love him lately. I think his fearless, bad-ass attitude is reminiscent of steve austin, whilst his gimmick is very similar to Mick Foley’s ‘Cactus Jack’ character.

I love his gimmick too, he’s believable and isn’t forcing his character. I am slightly worried about his physique though. Considering the type of competitors he is competing with (Lesnar, Rowan etc), it might be worth bulking up slightly more in order to absorb more damage. In recent interviews he has implied that his training regime and a generally high pain threshold has allowed him to avoid injury, but I think this is definitely he should consider. WWE superstars seem to be dropping off like flies in terms of injuries, WWE cannot afford anymore injuries.

Fantastic comment from – Jerry The King Lawler: on Rowan’s face”Look at his face, he could make an onion cry”

This match demonstrates how much punishment this man (Ambrose) can take. The commentators get it spot on here, Ambrose has a strong resiliency, he’s a fighter, a brawler – the perfect opponent for Lesnar. This match was a good match, both men are great competitors and sell well. Lot’s of near falls in this match and it serves to show Ambrose is ready for his match at Mania. A great, hard fought win from Ambrose, with a fantastic pop from the crowd. I would absolutely love to see Ambrose pick up the win at Mania, but I honestly feel that Lesnar is unstoppable, Ambrose has his work cut out for him, he’s gonna have to pull out something pretty damn special to beat the beast.

I’ll give it 7/10. This was a good match, a strong way to end Smackdown.

This episode of Smackdown was disappointing as a whole though. I sincerely hope they revamp it after Wrestlemania.

 

Entertainment Score: 6 /10

Professionalism

Discussion:

I was disappointed with how this show was just used as a preview for Wrestlemania. Whilst it was nice hearing Byron & Renee discuss upcoming events, it became tedious viewing the endless promos for upcoming matches at Wrestlemania. Smackdown just doesn’t seem to have the impact that it used to. It seems to be used as a filler show, something to pass the time until the next RAW, or in this case – Wrestlemania. You’d think that the final show (excluding NXT takeover as its part of Wrestlemania weekend) would be more entertaining and leave us on some sort of a cliffhanger before Mania. Whilst the way that this was produced was professional, its inclusion in my opinion was not.

Professionalism Score: 7 /10

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