SmackDown Live returned last night (Feb. 20) from the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. You can find all the results at the live blog here.
This week’s show started with WWE Champion AJ Styles being interviewed in the middle of the ring by Renee Young. The Champ articulated the risks of a fatal 5-way. Sure, he’d love to put Kevin Owens through an announce table or toss Sami Zayn into the ring steps, but while he’s doing that, someone like Dolph Ziggler could be winning the match in the middle of the ring.
Then he went on to put his opponents over, acknowledging their attributes but noting he can beat them one on one. It’s always good when wrestlers make sure to build up their opponents in a promo. It means more when they win or lose.
This brought out Corbin, who pointed out that he’s beaten AJ for the US championship. Then Kevin Owens came on out, because that’s what happens in these type of segments. He said plenty, including that he’s had to claw for each opportunity because of Shane McMahon (despite the fact he’s had all the opportunities in the last six months). KO also stated that his friend Sami Zayn let him down because he couldn’t beat Dolph Ziggler last week.
Eventually, Shane came out and set up a couple matches. Ziggler vs. KO and AJ vs. Corbin.
Before I get into Dolph’s match, I have to touch upon his entrance music/non-music. It’s dumb. Either have no music or have your regular music. But this record scratch pause for five seconds is silly. It sounds like he wants to run with silence but can’t commit.
Outside that, the match was entertaining. Kevin Owens won when Sami Zayn ran down to the ring, getting the attention of the Show Off. KO took the opportunity to kick Zigs in the side of the head for the win.
Sami’s role here was the most interesting of it all because the look on his face was more telling Kevin “You needed me to win” than about helping him. Their relationship is progressing to an interesting place: They’re two heels whose egos are too big to get along but are friends/allies.
To make things even more intriguing, Sami told Kevin backstage that he owes him for his current status and he said after they work together at Fastlane, that he’d be willing to lay down for Owens! Now, we know that’s some next level BS. Sami has proven that’s not his style. It’s more like Owens has created a monster and now has to deal with consequences.
The other match born out of the opening segment was the main event and it was pretty good. The champ got the win over the Lone Wolf. After the match, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn ran in for the attack, but Corbin delivered two End of Days and stood tall at the end.
The issue with both of these matches is there were no stakes to them. If they have to claim momentum is on the line, then nothing is on the line. Because momentum isn’t a thing that matters in WWE. And with weeks to go before Fastlane, there’s no indication that that will change.
The biggest problem is there’s really no story to this match. Sure, Sami and Kevin are adding an interesting wrinkle, but overall, we’re looking at “AJ has to defend against 4 other guys, two of them who are super random.” The lack of creativity leads to a lack of excitement and an overall lackluster and underwhelming main story.
You Just Made the List... of Stupidity
So Jinder Mahal came out this week and had a fake SmackDown Top 10 list that was supposedly the way Bobby Roode voted in the actual SmackDown Top 10. You know, the worked list that means absolutely nothing? That’s the list we’re talking about.
Bobby Roode came out, both dudes talked about how much they do or do not like Randy Orton. Then Randy... you know what? Forget it. If you want to know the specific details, check the live blog.
Basically, all you need to know is this US title feud is built around a worked list and how much two dudes may or may not like Randy Orton. It’s as entertaining as you’d expect.
Make an Entrance
The New Day defeated the team of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable to win the right to face the Usos at Fastlane. There was some unfair play on the part of the New Day as Kofi, who wasn’t part of this match, distracted the referee when Woods looked down and out.
But Usos vs. New Day! That’s awesome, right?
Not so fast.
After their win, the Bludgeon Brothers walked to the ring early for their scheduled squash match. At this point, the Bludge Bros walking to the ring may be the best part of the show. It’s a rad entrance.
Harper didn’t even look at the new #1 contenders. And when Rowan stared their way, Harper called him off.
Are we headed to a triple threat at Fastlane? Or are the Brothers going to wreck house after the Usos and New Day go to war?
Oh you wanted an original title? Perhaps WWE should have an original idea for the women’s matches, then.
(If you read yesterday’s Raw recap, you’ll notice I just copied this word for word from what Brigade said. But hell, it applies here too.)
Listen, this was a fine match, and as far as 6-woman tags go, this one has a bit more of a purpose given how the Riott Squad has targeted all three women. But we’ve still seen this one before. At this point, they may as well create a women’s trios title to have something for them to fight for in all of these 6-woman tags.
Where the hell is Rusev?
Rusev Day, you know the hottest act on SmackDown Live, was once again not on the show. Because why would you want such an entertaining duo on the show?
This show is becoming a chore to watch weekly. The main event angle is very underwhelming. Sure the matches aren’t bad, but without a good story to back them up, they’re not enough. The women’s division is still running 6-woman tags. And more exciting members of the roster, such as Rusev Day or Shinsuke Nakamura, are nowhere to be seen.
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