Not-top moment of the night?
Joseph Nardone: The Hype Bros defeating The Ascension.
I’m not a fan of The Hype Bros. This can simply be preference based, but to watch them perform and easily beat another tag team that should be in a position of getting the push — it was like watching a snake eat one of your children.
That’s probably too harsh. It’s just that those two have no future as a team together, and this feels like WWE’s lazy attempt to make sure something is together so they can have Mojo’s buddy, Rob Gronkowski, be on programming at some point down the line.
Adam O’Brien: The sense of dread I felt when The Spirit Squad was gifted a SmackDown Tag Team Championship match. I’m trying, I really am, to see the value in making Mikey and Kenny a weekly fixture on Tuesday nights, but it just makes a mockery of the tag team division as far as I’m concerned. Take nothing away from the two men as individuals, it’s just the gimmick and the stigma attached to the memory of The Spirit Squad that just ruins any segment that otherwise would be fun to watch. Don’t even get me started on how they’ve diminished the buzz that once made Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz one of the strongest feuds in all of WWE.
Ronnie Rowlands: What kind of question is that? From start to finish, that SmackDown was a wonderfully well constructed, interesting and exciting show. There’s something positive to say about everything, on the card, and everything on the card meant something. If I had to pick something, I suppose Carmella opening up on Nikka Bella for the thousandth time is getting a little wearisome. It might have been a better idea for Carmella to have cost her that match.
What do you make of Orton’s turn on Kane?
JN: Let me say this with as straight a face as possible: Orton did not turn on Kane. The two were never actually allied, buddies, or anything of the sort.
HBK turned on Marty Jannetty, Seth Rollins turned on the other members of The Shield. Orton just RKO’d a dude who we assumed he was going to randomly tag with.
Anyway, I thought it was fine. I don’t believe for a second Orton is actually joining The Wyatt Family or anything. That would make zero sense. If that does happen, you can politely put this angle into the dumpster.
AO: I liked it mainly because I didn’t see it coming. I thought they would continue using Kane as a prop in the Wyatt-Orton feud in order to even the odds with Luke Harper thrown in there, which seemed like a very safe route to go down. Having Orton double-cross Kane was a great way to turn this story on its head and essentially remove all sense of predictability. I don’t see much longevity in Randy Orton as part of The Wyatt Family, so expect it to be little more than a Daniel Bryan-esque infiltration of the group, but the means of getting Orton there were a necessary — and well-executed — way to really drive the nail home that Orton has taken a turn to the dark side for the time being.
RR: Subterfuge. It has to be. No way is Orton just going to turn heel and join the Wyatts and start a random feud with Kane. For a start, fans don’t have nearly enough sympathy for the “Big Red Machine” for a turn at his expense to get someone over as a heel — it sure as hell ain’t an X-Pac-Tori situation. Orton will worm his way in somehow and take Wyatt by surprise – the turn was just a much needed boost of energy to the weakest feud on the card right now.
Fact or fiction: The world title scene has too much James Ellsworth.
OK. I kid. But it is still a fact. Ellsworth is funny and delightful, but we don’t need four five-minute segments dedicated to him each week. I mean, he’s a jobber who might not even be able to work safely inside the ring. If the WWE put as many resources as it does to this guy into anyone else, maybe the guys with real life talent would be over at this point.
AO: I wouldn’t say the issue is too much James Ellsworth, more so than it is not enough AJ Style and Dean Ambrose. Now, obviously these guys are at the helm of the main event picture, fighting over the grandest prize in all of WWE, but they can’t let James Ellsworth’s involvement overshadow their own images. Keep in mind that this is a world championship rivalry, so it needs a little more of a backdrop than just Ambrose using Ellsworth to make a mockery of AJ Styles. The title needs to be the focal point of this feud. Shenanigans with James Ellsworth are a good sideshow, but it needs to be stressed that the world title is the main attraction, and not a glorified jobber.
RR: Fiction. Ellsworth has been a brilliant bit player. It’s entertaining, it’s meaningful, and it keeps things interesting. The fans love him to bits, and most importantly, he is managing to get some serious heel heat on AJ Styles because he’s physically so pathetic. Don’t forget that Ambrose and Styles have been on at each other for a good while now, and yet it is no way near as forgettable as the never-ending, ceaseless barrage of repetition we’ve been enduring from the red brand.