Grappler’s Choice #8: WWE Smackdown – 14.04.16





Ok so straight away, although I’ve said it before (this is the final time I’m going to say this I promise!) Smackdown is completely lacking in regards to its storylines and general format. The only thing I can really praise is its short running time (I’m sorry but three hours is simply too long for a weekly show, it’s completely understandable for a PPV, but otherwise I think it drags things out too much.)

I’ve literally just started watching the opening announcements for matches on the card and it just doesn’t inspire me. The competitors are great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s like everything that happened on Raw has been forgotten, as though Smackdown is a sort of warm up show for Raw.

I realise what i’m saying isn’t exactly news to anyone reading, but it’s my opinion and I can’t lie about how I feel about something. I can’t help but compare with the Attitude/Ruthless Aggression eras. Back then we had continuity in terms of storylines on each show. Smackdown would be a continuation of the events that had preceded it on RAW. Of course when the brand split occurred in 2002 this changed, however we saw great competition between both shows, competing intensely for viewership each week.

This is arguably one of the reasons why the brand split was scrapped eventually. I have mixed feelings on the issue of the brand split. In the media there have been rumours that it might occur again in the future (owing to Shane O Mac’s recent storyline) but I highly doubt that. Fundamentally, it is impossible to please every wrestling fan and that’s completely fine, although it would be worth listening to fans now and again on certain things.

Smackdown needs to change, it’s become stale. This is ridiculous considering the ratings it used to achieve. The talent is there, the roster is absolutely incredible right now, especially with this recent influx of NXT superstars!

I just sincerely hope we see a change in Smackdown. I can’t understand why Smackdown should be a counterpart show or a secondary show to Monday Night Raw.

  • Maryse & The Miz (Miz TV) Segment

The perfect heel. The sarcastic, ignorant and arrogant nature of this character really makes you want to detest him. Even his mannerisms and outlandish clothing are egotistical. It’s good to see Maryse out here supporting The Miz. Somehow, and it’s probably most likely because he’s intercontinental champion now, The Miz looks stronger and more determined. Could this be the beginning of a big push for The Miz?, potentially, he has the skills in terms of generating a lot of heat from the fans, his in-ring ability is looking very good and all round he’s looking pretty strong.

I’m still quite annoyed Zack Ryder seems to have disappeared from the title picture, that seemed to be a spectacular waste of an opportunity. It seems incredibly harsh that it had to be the day after Wrestlemania. Couldn’t he have at least held it until WWE Payback?

Well, it doesn’t matter now. I’m just hoping Ryder might interfere with the title match at Payback and cost The Miz his championship to Cesaro. It would make for a great rivalry! It goes without saying that Cesaro deserves a push, and winning the Intercontinental Championship would create a fantastic opportunity to do that.

The segment plays out as you would expect at first, with The Miz saying everything possible to boost his ego and Maryse simply agreeing with him and adding to it.

I was quite surprised to see Zack Ryder coming out to confront them, although it’s fantastic as it means WWE might actually be giving Ryder a chance here, rather than just sending him back to NXT.

Zack Ryder gets his second opportunity to win back the title and become a two-time intercontinental champion. I was sincerely surprised by this, I thought The Miz might say something like ”you had your chance…you’re not in my league etc”. But there you go!

Then we see everything take a swift turn, with The Miz announcing that Ryder already has a match scheduled for the night with none other than…..Baron Corbin!!

6/10 for this segment, it’s really unclear whether Ryder is going to get a proper push or just get buried. I sincerely hope it isn’t the latter.

  • Zack Ryder vs Baron Corbin

Corbin looks fearsome, a real force to be reckoned with! His physical style is all out brawling with a few athletic moves added into the mix. The Lone Wolf looks strong throughout, although Ryder puts up a fight – this isn’t a squash match!

As some might expect, Corbin picks up the win, proceeding to beatdown Zack Ryder. Dolph Ziggler runs out to protect Ryder and get some revenge for last week. Corbin manages to escape the ring and walk out standing tall, remaining undefeated on the main show.

6/10 for this. The match was nothing particularly special, but Corbin is an exciting prospect and this match only adds to his impressiveness at this stage.

  • Paige vs Emma

Well at least we have some women’s matches on Smackdown! These two are particularly impressive, I remember them standing out at Wrestlemania in the 10 women tag team match. Emma’s theme tune is really catchy aha!

I have to say sometimes the women sell better than the men. The rivalry between these two doesn’t just seem to be kayfabe (i’m sure it is, but it looks impressively genuine).

Quite a quick match but we see more of a contest compared with the previous match. Emma’s style is very brutal and Paige looks legitimately injured after having her head smacked off the top turnbuckle.

7/10 for this one, though I would have liked to have seen a slightly longer match.

This week sees the continuation of last week’s tag team tournament for the number one contendership announced by Shane McMahon.

  • Enzo & Cass vs The Ascension (Tag Team Tournament Match)

And for the third week in a row these guys get a huge pop from the crowd. What a great idea pushing these guys to the main roster!, every time they come out the crowd chants (How You Doin!) and repeats nearly everything these guys say. That’s how you know a team is over with the fans!

Enzo & Cass announce that they are gonna become Tag team champions, and I have to say, they really do look and sound like champions!

A solid victory from Enzo & Cass here, an incredible move off the top rope by Enzo Amore to close the match. We finally get our first full length match of the night.

7/10 for this match. Looking forward to seeing Enzo & Cass in their next match.

  • AJ Styles vs Alberto Del Rio

For me, watching AJ Styles perform is like always watching a main event, It’s confusing that this isn’t the main event of the evening considering the caliber of these two competitors.

It’s also great to hear Alberto Del Rio’s entrance music and not that awful League Of Nations theme (I’ve heard that WWE might be breaking up this stable soon, I can’t say I’ll be sad to see the back of them, they really didn’t offer much, but as singles competitors they definitely do!). Does anyone like that theme?

Alberto shows us impressive moves such as an incredible wrecking ball dropkick through the ropes. It’s great to see more of the usual style we expect to see from the man, his moves have been somewhat restricted whilst working with the League Of Nations.

We see a particularly painful looking backstabber at one point from Alberto Del Rio, almost destroying Styles’ spine. Soon after we see a vicious inverted superplex off the top rope that looks like it might take out Styles, yet he seems to have an incredible amount of resiliency!

Styles wins with a brilliant roll up pin, reversing Alberto Del Rio’s move and subsequently proving that he is ready for his match with Roman Reigns. He’s beaten two multiple time wwe champions in Chris Jericho & Alberto Del Rio. Will Styles become the face of the company? We shall see at WWE Payback!

8/10 for this match.

  • The Vaudevillians vs Goldust & Fandango (Tag Team Tournament Match)

Who doesn’t like Fandango’s theme music! He delivered a master display of athletic moves such the enziguri, but alas it was not enough!

The Golden Truth might have been a better choice for this match, oh dear Goldust! There wasn’t much else to comment on in this match, it was fairly quick and The Vaudevillians looked to be the winners throughout. It would be incredible to see them face off against Enzo & Cass, that make for a fantastic match up!

6/10 for this match.

  • Chris Jericho vs Sami Zayn

My first thoughts going into this match were ”I hope Dean Ambrose interrupts and kicks Jericho’s ass!” His heel turn is really working and has created a lot of heat among the fans. He doesn’t seem to be deterred by factors such as AJ Styles fighting Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Jericho has always played a great heel and this time is no exception!

My wish comes true as Ambrose interrupts the match ,together with, Kevin Owens’ interruption. It’s hilarious as he gives out little posters of his new show ”Ambrose Asylum”. It’s fantastic when he tried to give one to Jericho whilst he is down on the floor outside, much to the disgust of Jericho.

Throughout the match we have Owens & Ambrose on commentary, communicating with eachother directly as well as our usual commentary team. It’s very strange as our attention is barely on the match at hand, and instead focused on when will we see some sort of interruption from either Owens or Ambrose.

Jericho returns to his heel run from the mid noughties, complete with disrespectful slaps to Zayn, as well as, ”that pin” if you can remember.

The match itself is pretty equal in terms of ability, although Jericho looks particularly strong throughout. Some fantastic reversals by Zayn, sending Jericho flying off his feet.

In a surprise turn of events we see Jericho randomly attack Ambrose, sending him flying out of his commentary chair. We also see Zayn throw Jericho at Kevin Owens. The match ends by disqualification, with Owens attacking Zayn. Zayn & Ambrose seem to inadvertently form an alliance against Jericho & Owens.

It’s a great end to the match as it leaves us in suspense in terms of how these rivalries will develop. Right now the biggest question is: will we see seperate matches between these four superstars at WWE Payback?, or have we just witnessed the beginning of two alliances that might culminate in a tag team match up at Payback?. Whatever the case may be, this certainly does make things a lot more interesting. Our ending to Smackdown this week gives us a more classic WWE vibe.

For the match & the subsequent outcome (i.e. leaving us with some suspense for once) I’ll give this part of the show 8/10.

Entertainment Score:  7/10 – I had to change my opinion upon seeing the climax to our main event this week. Whilst the show needs a lot of development in various areas, our main event provides us with real exciting implications for next week, together with, our upcoming PPV: WWE Payback. Good stuff WWE!



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