Becky Lynch and Asuka Try To Build Up Some Animosity
Becky Lynch vs Peyton Royce and Asuka vs. Billie Kay: The women’s title picture on SmackDown Live has been hitting a stale run of late and Becky Lynch and Asuka tried their best to spice it up as well as they could. They didn’t completely succeed but this was better than nothing. Using the IIconics as a way to prove their point wasn’t really as impactful as WWE’s creative imagined it to be in their head.
Having said that, Becky Lynch is still hot and Asuka is slowly starting to get into her own as the champion. We just wish that WWE had given her a better backstory from which to launch her championship.
The IIconics can be pretty annoying and it was fun watching them getting their ass whooped by Lynch and Asuka. This wasn’t the best start to an episode of SmackDown but given the circumstances, this was the best that could be done and hopefully this leads to better things down the line.
Having AJ Styles come out at the end of the segment and walk straight into the crowd was a bit weird though.
Winners: Becky Lynch, Asuka
A Hodgepodge Of Interesting Backstage Segments
Normally backstage segments are interspersed between matches but WWE decided to give us a plethora of backstage segments all rolled up into one and we sort of enjoyed it. It started with a melee between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan in the concession stands which was fun.
This was followed by Mandy Rose pursuing Jimmy Uso by sending him a key to her room. Normally we would not be excited about such a storyline but this could actually be good. This could take the Usos away from a dead-end tag scene. It could also give Mandy Rose and Naomi the opportunity to get involved in something a bit more worthwhile albeit a bit silly.
A future program between Samoa Joe and EC3 was teased which could be interesting and finally Andrade had some choice words to say about Rey Mysterio which actually made their feud seem like more than something that was put together hastily. This run of backstage segments were actually quite fun.
Is Mustafa Ali a jobber now?
This was the biggest concern we had for Mustafa Ali when he was suddenly thrust into the main stage on SmackDown and our fears might have come true. Mustafa Ali was treated as a classic jobber with Samoa Joe not allowing him to even start the match.
We hope that this was a one off thing and an anomaly. We get that this was a way to build up Royal Rumble but it should not be at the cost of one of the most exciting talents of recent times.
More of the Mandy Rose drama followed and it seems like WWE is putting their weight behind this one. Whether this turns out to be a successful venture can only be answered by time but for now its fine.
Andrade and Rey Mysterio steal the show
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas: This can actually be the start of something. We were expecting some fast-paced action and typical Rey Mysterio prowess but it was like something clicked here. We just hope that WWE recognize the immense potential this match-up has.
These two men have more than a similar style in common. It is rare to see two wrestlers have this much chemistry right out of the gate. WWE also did right by them by giving them plenty of time to tell a coherent story.
Whether WWE will cash on this in the long run is anyone’s guess but not doing so would be downright stupid. It was filled with exceptional spots and reminded us why we fell in love with Rey Mysterio to begin with. To be able to steal the show after so many years is a testament to his longevity and uniquely entertaining style.
Andrade won in the end but both men come out as winners in our book. WWE should really take a good long look at this feud as it can be one of the most defining feuds of 2019.
Winner: Andrade Almas
The Jimmy, Mandy Rose and Naomi Angle Gets Really Heated Up
When was the last time WWE had three separate segments for the same feud on the same night that did not involve a title or a returning legend? Clearly someone powerful is backing this and we reiterate that this could be good though at this point of the night we did get a bit uneasy at WWE being a bit too enthusiastic with this angle.
They should give it time to naturally progress rather than trying to force it down our throats. It didn’t work with the Bellas or Jinder Mahal and it is not going to work here.
Also, Naomi isn’t the most skilled when it comes to exhibiting complex emotions and while it did not seem like a big deal earlier, here when all the focus was on her, she simply failed to evoke any sympathy.
Maybe this aspect could improve down the line but at this point of the night it came across as forced and phony. Mandy Rose is surprisingly the most convincing part of this whole enterprise and for her sake we hope that this works out.
Shane and Miz Finally Begin To Click
The Miz vs. Sheamus: We are always overjoyed when wrestlers like The Miz gets something to work and while his desperate attempts to get a tag team going with Shane McMahon hasn’t really set the stage on fire, slowly and steadily it has gained acceptance and tonight was a huge step forward in seeing them as legitimate forces in the tag division.
The entire farce of Shane winning the moniker of the best wrestler in the world can be put behind us and this can actually be a good thing for the otherwise floundering tag division which never really recover ever since the Bludgeon Brothers were forced to disband.
This team up finally brings that breath of fresh air and these two really have a great chemistry to actually go down in history as an era-defining tag team. This could also give both men the career defining run that has been missing from their otherwise impressive resumes so far.
We do have to spare a thought for the Bar though as they have become a joke ever since Strowman virtually beat them single-handedly for the tag titles less than a year ago.
Winner: The Miz
Overall Review: This wasn’t the best edition of SmackDown Live but it wasn’t the worst either. The Royal Rumble did not really get a build-up which has us concerned as we are just a week away and WWE is playing this a little too close for comfort.
However, a lot of nascent seeds were laid tonight that could mean big things in the long run provided WWE know how to exploit them. AJ Styles and Bryan still seem interesting while Becky Lynch and Asuka have started to gather steam.
Andrade and Mysterio gave a good account for their feud while The Miz and Shane McMahon took a huge step forward. There is also a glimmer of hope for the tag division which is huge. Overall, a rather satisfying episode of SmackDown Live.
Match of the night: Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio