Moment of the night?
Brandon Jackson: The moment of the night was the Eva Marie injury spot. I think it’s a great direction they’re going with her. In NXT she became a sort of “meta” heel because everyone knows she’s limited in the ring, and they used that to get heat. It looks like she’s headed in that same direction now. When Eva came down from the ropes and was acting injured, it was worrisome because the SmackDown women’s talent is thin. But when it became apparent that it was a work, I realized how genius it was.
Ronnie Rowlands: Quite a few to choose from, in spite of the limited amount of actual wrestling on offer. Styles and Cena brought it in their promo, although it is nothing short of the excellence we are used to seeing from the two guys. Whatever that thing with Eva Marie was was… a moment. It was a big thing that happened, for sure, and basically killed any anticipation for some decent competition from the womens’ division on SmackDown in one fell swoop. It was a moment, in the same way that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was a moment, I suppose. But let’s go with the entirety of Dolph Ziggler’s performance. We got a real, holistic view of the man’s capabilities throughout the night. In the ring, on the mic, and backstage, he masterfully elevated his entire profile in one night.
Joseph Nardone: I actually think the moment of the night was when Dolph Ziggler pinned Bray Wyatt. It not only solidified him being in the SmackDown main event against Dean Ambrose, but it clearly propped him up another level with casual fans. Thing is, Ziggler’s issue with fans was never his actual ability, but with how the WWE used him. By going over Bray – who, yes, puts over every rising star – it will make fans buy back into him. Plus, the superkick getting the win instead of the zig-zag was a nice touch. Makes us believe any of his moves can defeat Ambrose at SummerSlam
American Alpha’s debut on the main roster was _______.
BJ: Fine. A lot of the main roster audience does not watch NXT, and it’s going to take them a while to really get over. What makes them great to watch is their in-ring ability, so it will take some time for the crowd to get used to them, and get excited for Jason Jordan’s hot tag. There was a time in when no one knew American Alpha, but they made us care pretty quickly. I think it’s only a matter of time before it happens again.
RR: Fine. They were highly entertaining, but it was sad that The Vaudevillains were essentially nothing more than enhancement talent for American Alpha to burst through. The match was actually pretty good, and I’d have liked to have seen it go on at least a little bit longer than it did, because we were actually seeing some resistance from The Vaudevillains. The trouble is, this just ain’t won’t last. The tag team division on SmackDown is the absolute pits in terms of its stock; all of the big winners went to Raw, the losers to SmackDown. None of these guys have had the chance to build themselves up as realistic competitors. There’s also still no word on a title, so it’s hard to see where, a mere week into their arrival, AA can go from here.
JN: Iffy‘s debut a C+.
Has a feud between Cena and Styles lost any steam yet?
BJ: That feud hasn’t lost any steam because there hasn’t been a true one-on-one finish yet. And we know that these two can put on a great match, and it was obvious this rivalry would get extended to SummerSlam from the start. With no Club, we should get a clean finish this time, and that alone makes the match must-see. Styles and Cena are ultimate professionals, so I expect them to use the next couple of weeks to build a good story.
RR: Not at all! It’s a dream program, and they’re playing it just right. They’ve had their preliminary squabbling, where any decisiveness over who the “better man” is was sullied by the interference of The Club. Now that the joking is over, it’s time for both men to get serious for SummerSlam, although I wouldn’t even mind if this feud continued beyond then. There is so much you can do with the two guys, and they each represent an absolute paragon of their respective field. John Cena as the mainstream, wish-making, company golden boy and AJ Styles as the international, hard-grafting, pure-wrestling expert. The WWE needs to get everything it can out of these to guys while they can still hang at the top level.
JN: The Cena-Styles feud, to me, hasn’t. I don’t care about any of their talking back and forth, as there’s nothing left on the line, so the quality of their promos means very little to me. I do like watching them partake in scripted violence together, though. That alone will keep me hooked to this feud through SummerSlam. All of that being said, even though I literally just mentioned not caring about promos, I can do without Styles saying – in different variations – that he’ll prove himself to be the better wrestler. I mean, man, I get it. That’s your angle here. I don’t need it drilled in my head. Plus, this is the same shtick so many other guys did when facing Cena that, at this point, I don’t care anymore. Just, you know, BEAT UP JOHN CENA.