Becky Lynch Can’t Wait For Asuka
Lynch and Asuka is another feud that seems a bit phony because how out of the blue this feud started. Becky had been all about Charlotte and Rousey and Asuka coming up as a challenger and then actually winning the title was a surprise and a good one but it has left WWE with the very difficult task of building up a feud between the main women here.
When wrestlers are put in such a spot they invariably end up trying too hard and that was how this segment came across as. Lynch and Asuka were trying to overdo this and Asuka not being able to deliver a traditional promo didn’t help matters either.
We really wanted to get behind this feud but something just hasn’t clicked. We still maintain that taking the title off Lynch at the height of her popularity was not one of the best ideas and something magical happens at Royal Rumble so that both these women come across as a big deal rather than just two women making up the numbers. Charlotte’s involvement in this segment also didn’t help.
Naomi vs. Mandy Rose Gains Traction
This was one feud we did not expect to work but for whatever reason it is turning out to be quite interesting and that has probably to do with it actually feeling more real than most other storylines happening on the blue brand.
It also keeps Jimmy Uso off the tag team scene which is a weird thing to say but is actually a welcome change. The only blip in this storyline is that given that Mandy Rose does not have a male partner, Jimmy will be confined to playing a supporting role.
Naomi too has to dial it back just a touch but apart from that, this while not being the defining feud on SmackDown is one that can fill the time and allow the creative team to pace the show nicely.
Winner: Mandy Rose
Miz and Shane McMahon Go Through The Ringer
This might have been the best thing to happen in the tag division since a long time. Miz and Shane could actually be a great team and tonight they proved it. Obviously, being the face team, they got screwed in their match by Cesaro and Sheamus.
The post-match beat down was especially brutal and like we have been asking for years we ask again, what is Shane trying to prove? Is he still looking for validation from someone?
We sure do feel for his family but the fact that he and Miz were on their back probably means that they will be holding the titles on Sunday possibly setting up a feud with the returning Bludgeon Brothers.
The only sad part of all this is that Cesaro and Sheamus still come across as a joke. Thank you Braun Strowman for that one.
Bryan Really Sinks His Teeth Into His Heel Persona
Daniel Bryan turning heel was one of the most polarizing moments of last year and many were unsure how the universally loved and adored Daniel Bryan would be treated as a heel but it is a testament to the greatness of the man as he has actually gotten people to hate him with vengeance.
Tonight was another master class performance towards that front as we were treated to some fun moments by three of the best in the business right now.
Vince McMahon has still got it and Bryan just ranted today that would make any drunk proud. Bryan and AJ Styles were not expected to keep us interested this long but they have and that is why they will go down as two of the best wrestlers of all time.
This was a pretty good segment and can be used to show how promos should be delivered and matches should be built up. McMahon almost getting smashed by AJ Styles did have us flinching though. At least the elder McMahon has accepted the fact that he doesn’t need to endure any violence to have an impact.
Mustafa Ali Loses, Again!
Given how WWE has treated similar talent in the past, things do not bode well for Mustafa Ali. After having what was a dream debut, Ali has been losing on the trot now.
This week he lost to Samoa Joe who has been a sort of black hole for such talents in the past. Joe himself doesn’t benefit either as he is still on the fringes of that big title push we had expected years ago but never got.
The match was pretty decent though and these two know how to work their individual roles but we wish that there was a more positive long-term outcome from matches like this.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Rey Mysterio and Andrade Steal The Show. Again!
They have been the find of recent times. Rey Mysterio has already attained legend status but Andrade is proving why he was such a big deal on NXT despite being around some of the best performers.
The two out of three falls match was a perfect way to build up the Royal Rumble match and while we would have liked the interference from Samoa Joe and Randy Orton to have happened after the match had ended, it was still quite fun and once again kudos to WWE for not going with some quasi-rumble match.
This has us excited about the Royal Rumble match on Sunday and that means that the men involved here did a good job.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Overall Review: Just like RAW, WWE kept any stupid Battle Royals out of SmackDown Live. This was a much better way to build up the Royal Rumble match, at least the men’s edition.
We are a bit worried about the women’s side of things as apart from Charlotte Flair, no one else seems to be a big enough deal and the women’s title isn’t as hot as it needed to be given Becky Lynch’s recent form.
The tag division is on the mend and a few surprises could be in store stretching beyond the actual Rumble matches.
While this might not have been the best build-up to a PPV, it was pretty decent and one of the better editions of SmackDown Live of late.
Match of the Night: Andrade vs. Mysterio
Overall Rating: 3.7/5