Side-note: Hot damn, Rusev has his own microphone sleeve now, and it actually looks good. We would buy it if any of us ever bought a microphone.
What a good match this opening contest was. Even though Nakamura winning was not surprising, there were times Rusev looked like he might actually win. Nakamura was still vicious with his kicks, but so was The Bulgarian Brute, connecting with two MASSIVE KICKS, both instances seeming to have secured him a victory. Also, the finish was really neat – Nakamura crawled out of the impending Accolade, and blew a nasty Kinshasa into the back of Rusev’s head before finishing him off with another. We liked that finish, since it did not hurt Rusev’ legitimacy too much, yet still put over Nakamura as a wrestler with a dangerous finisher that he could pull off very fast. It was worth noting that the crowd was really hot throughout the showdown, with the “NAKAMURA/RUSEV DAY” dueling chants being audible in a large proportion of the match.
Fastlane was off to an auspicious start.
Another side-note: Awww Bobby and Randy have complementary red trunks. How cute. It actually was a nice touch, and if that was intentional, then kudos to the guys.
Now to the actual match. This match (and what followed) was really, really satisfactory. From bell to bell, it did not feel like either man was phoning it in. Even though the match certainly was not the most exciting tonight, but it was definitely enjoyable. The finish was really unexpected, too. Well, not because of the #RKOOuttaNowhere itself, but rather because of the outcome. We never thought Randy would have come out victorious, but there you have it – The Viper will walk into WrestleMania 34 as United States Champion.
Congratulations on him achieving the Grand Slam, too. At long last.
Better Than Non-descript
So Natalya did not play with cats at all. Sad. But at least she put in a good effort. And so were the other three women in the match. In-ring-wise, we had to give it to Carmella – the affair we saw tonight was one of her best performances on the main roster so far. The finish was quite creative as well – it made the match better than the non-descript affairs we see so often on Smackdown Live. Anyways, on this occasion, we feel the right team won. Carmella really needed that victory to boost her profile so that when she finally decided to use the Money in the Bank briefcase for something other than hitting other wrestlers, she will have already been well-positioned.
Update: Graphics guy was still high at work.
Lay Down the Hammers
The Usos vs The New Day match (kind of) had an interesting narrative to it – the teams knew each other so well that they could execute each other’s personal AND tandem moves flawlessly. Until before The Bludgeon Brothers interfered, we felt that the match could really become a classic with the appropriate finish. But read that sentence again, slowly. Correct: The Bludgeon Brothers are now officially in the fold for the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship. Rowan and Harper were booked like absolute monsters tonight, almost reaching Strowman-level even. Finally, FINALLY, the long-overlooked big guys have been given a decent push. And with Erick and Luke’s impressive wrestling abilities, we should be in for a tag team treat at WrestleMania.