SmackDown Review, 6/5

Sorry this is later than usual, I had important sleep and baseball to attend to, so hopefully the Hulu version doesn’t leave out anything significant.

 

OPENING SEGMENT

Carmella had one of the best promos I can remember in a long time. It felt very Attitude Era-like in the style and presentation. Asuka should have started choking out Carmella immediately. I dig that Asuka is gonna take on Mandy Rose and Sonya DeVille. I can’t get over how tremendous Carmella is as a heel. She’s so over, she’s great as champion, and she has some of the best promos in the business.

Segment rating: Eight This Is Your Lifes

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HANDICAP MATCH: ASUKA VS. MANDY ROSE & SONYA DeVILLE

I love watching Asuka and Sonya go at it, they both have a stiff striking/submission style. I feel like they’re really beating the shit out of each other, it makes me want to see them in an MMA fight. Mandy has a different style but is no jobber in there. She wrestles a more traditional heel style with strikes and rest holds. Carmella continues to make an impact from ringside and on commentary. I’m pretty sure Mandy Rose elbowed Asuka in the vag when she broke up the pin attempt. The double kicks to the head sounded brutal. Anhone who reads this blog knows how I feel about keeping people on the outside during multi-person matches, but in this one, the best thing Mandy could do was get the hell out of the way and let Asuka and Sonya go at it. They were amazing and I really hope they feud down the line. Sonya’s spear looked like it crushed Asuka’s ribs. Nuance is important, and the one knock I have here is after the match, Carmella made sure Asuka watched her get in the ring and held up the title to her. Then Mandy attacked and Asuka countered, THEN Carmella hit Asuka with the title. Asuka was facing the crowd, why didn’t Carmella get in the other side of the ring and just hit Asuka with her back turned? Other than that, this was terrific.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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The New Day sucks and now they look like they each took a money shot.

 

KARL ANDERSON VS. LUKE HARPER

Harper slowly and methodically picks Anderson apart until Anderson sneaks in a roll-up for a surprise win. It makes sense, they want to put it in people’s minds that Gallows and Anderson can win at Money in the Bank, even though they probably won’t.

Match Rating: Five Gold Medals

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JIMMY USO & NAOMI VS. AIDEN ENGLISH & LANA

They keep saying Jimmy and Naomi are going to show who the true husband and wife duo are on SD, except that Lana is wrestling with Aiden, not Rusev, so, shut up because it makes no sense. Maybe they think Rusev is too over with Rusev Day to get heat in this match, but stop saying it’s a husband and wife match. I cringe whenever they sing the Lana song. I loved Aiden yelling “That’s the moneymaker, uce!” after getting hit in the throat. Naomi is a bad ass. I know she was only in the main event picture for a short time last year, but I hope people appreciate how incredible she is as a wrestler. In terms of in-ring ability she has to be among the top five female wrestlers in WWE history. Corey throws some shade at flat earthers, which I can’t believe is still a thing. Lana has really come into her own as a wrestler over the past few months, I wonder if she’ll actually get a singles career. It looks like it’s heading that way. I’ve glad this match is focusing on she and Naomi. They looked pretty good until a messy-looking sequence right before the hot tag. Naomi looked to miss a jawbreaker and turned instead turned it into a pin attempt, which it seemed was Lana’s botch, then Lana looked to not know where she was for a second as she looked over at Jimmy and back at Naomi, not knowing what to do. Nitpicking here but it’s stuff like that that can sometimes ruin the flow of a match and take the audience out of it by reminding them oh yeah, this is staged. Following some pretty cool aerial moves from Naomi, Jimmy gets the win with a boot to Aiden’s throat.

Match Rating: Six Gold Medals

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CONTRACT SIGNING: AJ STYLES & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA

Shinsuke is a great heel, and a great troller of pens. He is in AJ’s head, and just by suggesting pens are broken or out of ink, he gets AJ to flip out. The psychological warfare is excellent and good psychology seems to have been missing from major feuds for a long time. That’s why this is the best feud going right now. AJ smacks Shinsuke right across the nose before leaving with security. Shinsuke magically finds his own pen to sign the contract. This was absolute gold.

Segment Rating: Ten This Is Your Lifes

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BECKY LYNCH VS. CHARLOTTE FLAIR

I wonder how many pairs of goggles Becky has gone through in the past few years. I really enjoy when they have two face wrestlers who are friends go at each other because each seems extra motivated to win and have bragging rights, they really pull out all the stops to one-up each other. I thoroughly enjoyed each woman slowly putting down the other’s leg, as well as the mid-match tea time. After that fun the match really starts to pick up. Charlotte hits an awesome crucifix back breaker, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Like I said, friends pull out all the stops when they wrestle each other. Becky follows with a leg drop from the top rope. I can’t remember Charlotte ever actually hitting her moonsault. She always rotates all the way through and lands on her feet while still usually landing on her opponent’s knees. Becky reverses the Figure Eight into the Dis-Arm-Her and Charlotte taps. Becky helps her up and they hug after the match. Excellent. I wish they went 20 minutes longer. I’m almost certain they’ll get some one-on-one time in the ring at in the MITB match and will be throwing some haymakers. I’m looking forward to it.

Match Rating: Seven Gold Medals

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Samoa Joe still bores me. I wish he didn’t because he seems to have the potential to have much better matches than he does. More than that, I think it’s because he’s still trying to be the cool heel with his promos. That needs to stop.

Next week is a money in the bank summit (?) with Lana, Naomi, Becky, and Charlotte, moderated by Paige. That’ll be civil.

 

IN-RING SEGMENT: BIG CASS INTERVIEW

If I could add some depth to the Cass’ issues with Daniel Bryan, I would have some of Cass’ insecurities start to come out, and also reference Enzo. You don’t even have to say his name. Have Cass say something like “I’ve been playing second fiddle to little guys my entire career.” Just like Enzo outshined Cass in their tag team, Daniel Bryan outshines him on Smackdown. DB gets the cheers and the championship opportunities. What opportunities has Cass had? Bring out Cass’ jealousy instead of just making him someone who bullies smaller guys. Give us the underlying reason for why he does it, not just “I’m big and I can beat up little guys.” As I mentioned above with the Styles-Nakamura feud, psychology has been lacking overall, but it’s done wonders for that feud. Cass has such a problem with little guys, his past with Enzo would be a perfect thing to inject into just one of his promos, even if they bring these things out slowly. The more opportunities Daniel Bryan gets, the angrier and more frustrated Cass should get, and that jealously should seep out. Maybe that’s the plan. I hope it is, or something like it. This was a decent promo but not one of his best. A decent heel promo gets:

Promo Rating: Four Honkys

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I think Sin Cara is an excellent first feud for Cien, and Zelina makes it feel even more personal.

 

THE NEW DAY VS. MIZ, SAMOA JOE, & RUSEV

New Day feels stale anymore and therefore their matches really don’t have much meaning to me anymore. It feels like they’re forced into matches just for the sake of having them on TV. Tonight has some meaning, one of them will be in MITB and all of their opponents will be in the match, but still, I just don’t care. I am somewhat intrigued to learn which member will be in the MITB match. The matches are generally pretty good, but it takes away from it when I don’t care much about it and the storytelling or background isn’t good. I don’t feel like New Day has had a good feud since the Usos. I think Big E has the best potential as a singles star when the break-up inevitably happens (hopefully soon). I hope he’s the one in the MITB match, but I still think it’ll be Woods. This match took a while to feel like it got exciting, but for a solid minute or two at the end I was really digging it. Kofi and Big E were really flying. Rusev and Samoa Joe turn on Miz after he hits them with pancakes, and the New Day finishes him off with the Midnight Hour. For most of the match I wasn’t really interested but it had a good ending.

Match Rating: Four Gold Medals

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Overall Show Rating: Seven Gold Medals

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