WWE SmackDown Live came waltzing back into our lives last night (Feb. 13) from the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California. You can find all the results at the live blog here.
Poor Decision Making
Man, it’s tough to wrap our heads around the blue brand decision making. I mean it’s downright baffling. Let’s take it from the top, shall we?
The match advertised for tonight was returning Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin with the winner getting added to the WWE title match at Fastlane.
First off, what the hell is up with Ziggler? This all reeks of “We don’t have a plan for this” regarding Dolph walking out back in December. He came back in the Rumble, was unceremoniously dumped from it, and then is back getting a title match with zero explanation from anyone.
At least with him, I can make up a story about him demanding a title opportunity as a condition to come back to SmackDown (though he should negotiate better than getting a qualifying match to be part of a fatal 4-way). It’s pretty much me filling in the gap myself, but at least I can. But Baron Corbin? The dude’s gimmick is losing when it counts. He’s done nothing to earn a top title match.
This match was set to open show, but Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens attacked both men trying to eliminate them from the Fastlane main event. This obviously upset Shane McMahon, who told Daniel Bryan that his boys cost two “worthy” competitors a shot. Worthy, Shane? You clearly don’t watch the product.
So he made two matches. Baron Corbin vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler where Corbin and Ziggler can earn their way into the title match at Fastlane if they win their bout. Why the commissioner of SmackDown didn’t make Owens and Zayn defend their opportunity in those matches given how much he hates them is beyond me.
The Lone Wolf actually defeated Kevin Owens, which is completely off brand for him. Then in the main event, Dolph Ziggler defeated Sami Zayn (in what was a fun match) as well. The main event of Fastlane looks to have four heels and one babyface, though we’ll see if Dolph is transitioning to babyface or not.
Last week, I lamented that the main event scene was stale and wished they’d spice it up. However, I feel I wished on a cursed monkey’s paw because it was answered in a way that made me think “Be careful what you wish for.”
They added two men to the main event scene, but in the most senseless way possible. The two men who received the opportunity did nothing to earn it. They were just randomly thrown in. I thought the SmackDown Top 10 list was supposed to help decide who gets future opportunities, but as of now, 4 of the men in the Fastlane title match aren’t on said list.
We’ve got a long ways to go until Fastlane so that’s plenty of time for them to fill in all the holes they left tonight. Or they can do a combination of random matches involving the five men until March. I have my guess of which one it will be.
Don’t Get No Respect
Bobby Roode started his own United States title open challenge. Randy Orton, who RKO’d Roode last week outta nowhere, answered.
Those who didn’t want to see a title match shouldn’t worry. This segment devolved into three men arguing about where they fell on a locker room list about how much people like them which ended with Jinder Mahal standing tall in the middle of the ring!
Basically, Jinder interrupted the match to try to stir the pot between Roode and Orton, pointing out that the SmackDown list that clearly doesn’t have any actual championship implications had Roode higher than Orton. The Viper responded that he doesn’t care about the list (probably the right response), Roode said he respected him, Sunil Singh got an RKO, and Jinder delivered the Khallas multiple times.
Charlotte Flair’s quest to vanquish the Riott Squad continued, this time with a win over Sarah Logan with Becky Lynch and Naomi in her corner. Logan gave Charlotte a run for her money in what was her best showing on the main roster. Plus her sell of Natural Selection was awesome.
Now I’m going to nitpick a bit. This isn’t something that took away from it, but it was something that popped into my brain early on and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
On one level, Charlotte bringing out Becky and Naomi to have her back makes perfect sense. Riott Squad are three so it’s smart to even the odds. That being said, it didn’t feel like it was necessary since last week, Charlotte defeated Liv Morgan without backup with little issue. She didn’t endure any attack or three on one beatdown after the match. The champ came out, got the job done alone, and left. So bringing in backup, while smart, didn’t feel necessary. It also takes away from the Queen going it alone against the Riott Squad vibe it had last week.
The New Day tried to have Big E break a pancake eating record but he couldn’t get past zero.
They were soon interrupted by Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable, who have been the fun police of the tag division. They mocked the New Day for acting like fools and claimed they weren’t serious and then to prove them ... right?... the New Day got really angry when Benjamin and Gable threw some pancakes around.
This led to a match which the New Day won.
This is one of those things I probably wouldn’t have minded if the rest of the show wasn’t so dumb. But it was brought down by what surrounded it.
Woof. This was a rough one, folks. There was the nonsensical main event scene. There was the open title challenge that was revealed to be a talking segment. And stars like AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rusev were no where to be found.
Long ways to go until Fastlane. Long ways to go.