I bought into the winter package for the Network, so I got to see this, my first SmackDown PPV in a long time. I'll snag the predictions line-up for my notes.
A.J. Styles vs. Jinder Mahal, WWE Championship Match. Styles won after wearing down Jinder's leg and getting the submission win using the Calf Crusher. Jinder has a fantastic presentation with a hollow candy center. Styles threw himself into some brutal spots to sell his ribs, but this guy took it to Brock, and Jinder isn't in that level of presence, engagement, and work.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton; Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon as guest referees; is Owens and Zayn lose, they are fired from WWE: What a dull match. We were all waiting for the refs to be the story, and it took way too long to get there. KO and Zayn won when Bryan fast-counted a pinfall, and Shane was mad. Randy Orton continues to be the guy with three distinct moves (3.0 backbreaker, dangling DDT, and the RKO) and NOTHING ELSE. This angle might work a lot better if KO and Zayn had better opponents, but they would still be just muscle for Shane, who is dominating the spotlight. It fells like a hampered storyline, wasting Nakamura as a hired gun.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya, Lumberjack Match for the Smackdown Women's Championship. Charlotte wins a match designed to set up the Women's Rumble. Natalya pledges to turn her back on the universe, and the crowd is happy to show her the door. Watching these women so often sell bad angles is heartbreaking.
Baron Corbin vs. Bobby Roode vs. Dolph Ziggler, Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship. Dolph won, in another example of falling up. I am glad for him because I hope this means the WWE will back him for a decent run. Roode looked good, and the crowd was ready for him. Baron looks like a big ole Windham brother babyface, and his lone wolf gimmick seems misplaced. Great finishing spot with Ziggler hitting the Zig Zag as Baron hits Roode with the End of Days.
The Usos vs. New Day vs. Rusev & Aide English vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin, Fatal Four-Way for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. English is shockingly slim, and he just doesn't look like he belongs in there. Rusev is the new Santino apparently, and he even won over Dolph Drew Jericho Tracker (who is now SEVEN) as a true-believer fan. The format didn't let anyone else really get over, but Gable hit some nasty deadweight German suplexes worthy of new ROH champ Dalton Castle. The Usos retained, hitting superkicks and a splash to win.
Breezango vs. The Bludgeon Brothers. Breezango went splat. Harper at least deserves something better than this, and I hope they whittle away the costumes to something more credible. They look as goofy as The Ascension. I don't see the Usos losing the belts to these guys, so maybe they go over transitional champs Rusev and English before Mania.
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I was wondering if I should've posted this before.
It was a very in the middle show, which is what I expected going in. Nothing was bad, no abysmal booking decisions. But nothing that stands out.
The multi-tag match was probably the most fun as everbody got their spots, got to do some nice things. And wow those Gable rolling germans were brutal. Great move. Rusev is insanely over. Uhoh.
I do appreciate that Shane & Daniel didn't totally overshadow the match (like for instance HHH/Angle at Survivor Series which ruined a perfectly fine match) The fast count can be explained and should lead to more Bryan rumors probably
No clue who they line up for AJ at the Rumble. But I don' need another Jinder match. It was again ok. They worked hard to make him look like a threat but he just isn't.
Let me just slide this over here from the other thread:
TITLE CHANGE STATISTICS
WWE United States Championship New Champion: Dolph Ziggler Previous Champion: Baron Corbin 2017 Title Changes: Ninth
This is Dolph ZIggler's second reign as WWE United States Champion. He is also a two-time World Heavyweight Champion, five-time Intercontinental Champion, and one-time World Tag Team Champion (with The Spirit Squad), so he has won 10 championships overall, and is a Triple Crown Champion.
Ziggler's win ends the 70-day title reign of Baron Corbin, which was his first championship reign in WWE or NXT. He won it on October 8, 2017 at Hell in a Cell.
The last three U.S. Title changes have all occurred in triple-threat matches. AJ Styles won the title from Kevin Owens in a triple-threat match also involving Chris Jericho on July 25, and Corbin took the title from Styles by pinning Tye Dillenger in a triple-threat.
"--and really, I don't understand why everyone always complains about being overshadowed in combat. I've always found it very relaxing." --Elan, The Order of the Stick
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