Moon-Walking, Trash-Talking, Briefcase-Cashing
AND NEWWWWWWWW!!! Carmella is our new champion! After all these weeks seemingly failing so hard, The Princess of Staten Island had finally succeeded in cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase on a downed Charlotte Flair. Even though Flair was ganged up on by the debuting Billie Kay and Peyton Royce (billed as The Iconics now), Carmella’s title win pretty much eclipsed the duo’s first appearance on the blue show. Here is to hoping their journey on Smackdown Live will not be as thorny as the stem of a rose.
Do WWE decision-makers even have ears? The support for Rusev is at its highest since the start of the RUSEV DAYYYY gimmick, yet no one would listen and have Rusev lose in the #1 Contender Match for the United States Championship? Even worse, they let Randy Orton win, leading to potentially another Orton – Mahal snorefest at Backlash. Seriously, the writers should have something good in store for The Bulgarian Brute in the near future. Letting his popularity dwindle again would be no one but the play-callers’ fault.
We would not mind seeing a Bulgarian fight a (kayfabe) Indian for the United States championship.
Dream Match Disrupted
AJ Styles was a smart choice of opponents for Daniel Bryan. Styles, like Owens and Zayn, is a veteran in the game, so he knows how to work safe to ease The American Dragon back into the squared circle. Quite frankly, as far as his two recent matches had gone, we did not think Daniel needed to be reintroduced to a wrestling ring. Especially tonight, he did not seem to have lost a step, going toe-to-toe, hold-for-hold with The Phenomenal One. And just like the tag team affair, Styles had put up a better match than the one on Sunday, even though the one that went down tonight had no winner due to an interfering Shinsuke Nakamura.
Speaking of Shinsuke Nakamura: this was the most charismatic we have seen of Nakamura since joining the main roster. His facial expression, his moves, his jerk-style humor when he said “No speak Engrish” to Renee Young in an interview half-way through the show, and especially his 2 low blows for AJ Styles had really helped build Shinsuke towards being a top heel on Smackdown Live. The Nakamura – Styles feud might still be going on for now, but once he is done with The Phenomenal One, The Rockstar will have a host of babyface opponents (Orton, Roode, Rusev, and maybe another guy or two from RAW in place of Owens and Zayn) that will keep him busy until WrestleMania 35.
Even though there were not as many pop-inducing moments as RAW, Smackdown Live was still a very enjoyable show. The blue show sure had its fair share of surprises (Paige as new General Manager, the debut of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, and Carmella’s successful cash-in), but we felt there were more emphasis on storyline. The in-ring quality was also another highlight, as Naomi vs Natalya was solid, and the other two matches (The Usos vs The New Day and AJ Styles vs Daniel Bryan) were utterly wonderful. In short, Smackdown Live was a great way to send off WrestleMania weekend.