Coming off of a SmackDown in which was some of WWE’s finest work so far this year, we move closer to the finishing line that is the WrestleMania. This is the last week of SmackDown being taped on its own before it moves to its ‘pre-RAW’ slot for WrestleMania week. Let’s get into the show.
SmackDown emanates from Boston, MA with a pyro opening. Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, and Byron Saxton are on commentary as per usual.
For some odd reason, we cut right into a segment, as Becky Lynch magically appeared on commentary. Charlotte was out with Ric Flair, and they had stuff to say. Short and to the point promo from Charlotte, stating her case that she’d be going over both ladies at WrestleMania, and running down two main points: she is going to turn the Divas Revolution into the WOOO Revolution, and all of Dallas will be chanting WOOO when all is said and done (that won’t be happening). Boston was mentioned, and another thing that was mentioned was out from Gorilla; to a fairly large hometown pop – Sasha Banks.
You could tell they wanted to give Sasha something after the embarrassing TLC pre-show ordeal the last time Sasha had a hometown ‘advantage.’ This was more than fine for only a multi-minute match, where Sasha and Charlotte worked a fast pace, tons of kickouts style so that they could fit everything they could into the segment length. Sasha pulled out hurrincanranas, double knee galore, but no Bank Statement; yet still managed to get the win. Sasha did a great job mocking Flair and adding extra dazzle with the strut and hack-lick chop. The match spilled outside where at times inaudible Becky Lynch was used as a domino effect for Charlotte. Banks was pushed into Lynch, and the two had a kerfuffle. As soon as Banks won the match via roll-up, Becky entered and gave Banks a Bex-plex, as well as Charlotte. That backed up her claim that she’d be the one taking the title at WrestleMania. Banks gave Charlotte a nasty backstabber to make the hometown crowd extra happy.
New Day strutted through backstage, coming across the same dude on RAW, where as the parallel is twerking. Except, this time, he wasn’t good enough for them, so they dunked on him as they’ve done to others in the past. Speaking of New Day, an abysmal levels canned pop was added in for them. They cut a solid promo as per usual, with tons of out there comparisons, putting over Booty O’s; and the fact that they’ll be leading the largest hip swivel in history in Texas. They also compared League of Nations to hilarious subjects. They’re apparently Jar Jar Binks if they’re Star Wars characters, and are the Michael Jordan of baseball in WWE.
These guys are going to continue to have really good matches until the big WrestleMania blowoff. For about 10 minutes, this was almost pay-per-view quality. Kofi was fired up, and laid into Sheamus hard from the start of the match; and in an ode to a time where he was getting his shit in weekly, he pulled off a somersault plancha as well as other athletic showcases. New Day is slotted in as babyfaces and even if the turn isn’t fully complete, it’s completely obvious if you’re looking at match structure. The heat was put on Kofi rarely, and when he was on the offensive, he was going all out like this was a title match. The story told was yet again the fact that League of Nations had the numbers advantage. Kofi did a spinning heel kick, went for the cover, yet because of The Lads, Sheamus’ foot was on the ropes. Things blew off, and Xavier and Big E went to chase off League of Nations, but Barrett was on another side of the ring as well, and Sheamus was able to Brogue Kick the hell out of Kofi for the victory. Kofi literally flipped all the way on a rotation to sell for Sheamus, which added to the insane performance in such a short period.
A quick squash match. The Ascension got TV time yet were stereo superkicked into oblivion again. This lasted less than a minute, not much to the match other than that finish.
The Dudleyz were shown backstage looking through a monitor as The Usos brought out tables. The Usos delivered stereo splashes to Viktor and Konnor through the tables.
In a neat transition, the cameras faded out to the monitor fading out and an immediate reaction with Renee Young. Bubba explained they’ve come back to steal the show yet again at WrestleMania, and that they’ve beat up Rikishi, have beat up The Usos, and would beat The Wild Samoans if they were still wrestling today. The Dudleyz were in the midst of cutting a great promo when Roman Reigns showed up. He was pretty much booked as a dick here, stopping Bubba and big leaguing him, in a ridiculous looking serious demeanor and un-natural sounding tone, told him he wanted a match tonight – and this was Boston. That set it up. So awkward.
A re-run of the pushed like it’s a sports game Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker video package aired.
Zack Ryder, Stardust, and Sin Cara are blatantly building the Ladder Match on C-shows for the most part. This was a top tier WWE tag this year. For all intents and purposes, it overdelivered. I’m not saying I didn’t expect a lot, but this sure as hell combined tons of storylines into one and added some callback spice as well. The main narratives were Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens, and Miz and Owens have troubles still as a tag team. Throughout the match, Owens was hilarious with his sidelines banter, exclaiming he’s so much better than Miz, and yelling at the ref for not calling it like Kevin saw it. We got a callback where Owens was about to walkout on Miz, but Zayn did a loop around the post to tackle both guys. From there this tag went next level with great near falls, action, and stories being told. Owens and Zayn still didn’t touch too much. The sweet spot was hit. Owens superkicked Zayn out of a cover after a Blue Thunder Bomb. We got a great near fall with Zayn rolling up Miz, and a double collision occurred! As Owens was about to walk out successfully, his WrestleMania compatriots that weren’t in the tag walked out and Miz dragged him back in the ring, only for Ziggler to give him a superkick, Miz to give him a Skull Crushing Finale, and a superkick/Helluva Kick combo pinned Miz to get the faces the win. A fantastic match.
Stardust attacked post-match and knocked off the faces. Sin Cara cleaned up Stardust, and Zack Ryder was enziguried off the apron. Ziggler superkicked Cara but was pop up powerbombed by Owens. Ryder hit Rough Ryder on Owens and stood tall to a good reaction.
A Roman Reigns/Triple H video package aired, your typical recap stuff, including RAW’s bizarre events. It’s official that Roman Reigns now enters down the ramp like everyone else. He still looks like a robot during his entrance, and it gives off a massive heel vibe.
This was legitimately hilarious. I wonder which road agent was behind this. This furthers the narrative that Roman Reigns is an absolute dick to the rest of the roster, and someone who won’t stop at anything to assault someone, characteristically speaking. Reigns Superman punched Bubba, then proceeded to brawl for a short while and then smashed Bubba’s head against the announce table repeatedly about 2 minutes into the match, receiving a disqualification in the process. A leaping off steel steps superman punch was delivered to D-Von, who simply wanted to check on his partner, and a spear was given to Bubba. All I can say is, what.
Another Golden Truth segment backstage. This time, it revolved around Goldust painting backstage? Goldust reassured Truth that they weren’t partners, but Truth questioned why he saved him on Monday. Goldust said he felt bad, and that’s why he ran in. He painted “NO” in gold paint on Truth’s head. Truth, backwards in a mirror, got hyped over reading the paint backwards. It’s “ON”…
Lucha Dragons walked through backstage, and Kalisto told Sin Cara he would become the new Intercontinental Champion. Sin Cara, in return, then explained he needs to focus on Ryback. Speaking of Ryback, they bumped into each other backstage. Ryback explained the physical difference between the two, screaming microscopic vs. seismic and not big vs. small. He continued to bury Kalisto for his size, and Kalisto replied with the fact that he will defy odds like he has all his life.
AJ Styles pre-match arena walk through aka hype!
If you were to say this was the twos first match in WWE, the buzzer would sound as you’d be incorrect. Good for a squash match. AJ sold his ass off for Breeze regarding the two times he got hit with offense, including a deadly knee to the face. However, AJ put on a show for TD Garden, with a diving, flying forearm to the outside, and one to finish the match off – the springboard variation. Lawler making fun of Styles’ moves is dumb even for heel commentary. He made fun of the Ushigoroshi by calling it the “Inokimagasushi.” He still said Inoki.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman main evented the show in a segment. Heyman cut a good promo as per usual, explaining that Brock is the main event of SmackDown, the beast of WrestleMania, how Dean Ambrose is a certified lunatic, and what’s going to happen in the Street Fight at WrestleMania. Heyman ran down the legends that have helped out Lesnar and gave one of the most memorable lines of this decade in a promo.
“The only reason why Mick Foley and Terry Funk are still alive today, is because God refuses my prayers on a daily basis.”
As per usual Heyman converted the legendary quote into a segue way as how it pertains to the WrestleMania match. The most dangerous weapon in a match is Brock Lesnar! Heyman then called out Ambrose as Lesnar wanted to fight tonight. Instead, The Wyatts came out. The Wyatts surrounded the ring, but Brock took Rowan out with a suplex, Strowman got the advantage but eventually got German’d too. Ambrose teed off on Brock with a kendo stick until he got clotheslined to hell and smashed with his weapon. Brock snapped the kendo stick in two and gave Ambrose an F5 to end SmackDown.
SmackDown was, no surprises, better than RAW this week. It gave tons of variety with good short singles matches, and a medium sized drawn out tag which intertwined lots of things. We also saw Sasha Banks stand tall in her hometown, two no frills squash matches, Roman Reigns being booked in the worst ways possible, and lastly, a fantastic Heyman promo with a few teases to boot. Operation Brock in Beantown was a success, as we’re almost a week away from WrestleMania 32.