For the final time on cable television, WWE had the opportunity to sell the general public on their SummerSlam pay-per-view. On Tuesday, SmackDown Live stepped up and put on a show, showcasing their feuds that will culminate on Sunday.
With that bar to live up to, and with matches to sell, SmackDown had some segments go a little sour on them. So let’s re-book this week’s edition of SmackDown.
Apollo Crews interrupts Miz TV
This is an interesting one — mainly because the segment itself was fine. The issue is its placement.
On a two-hour show, SmackDown’s job is to get all of their feuds on the show, during the allotted time. Have segments run while on commercial and then showing them after just diminishes their value. Watching Apollo Crews interrupt The Miz would have a lot more impact if it happened during live T.V., not during a commercial and then played after.
And it wasn’t the only time they did this. It happened again with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton having an altercation.
There’s already five hours of WWE television per week. Showing that it still isn’t enough, and things need to happen while we aren’t watching, is just a bad look for the WWE. They know their time limits. These things don’t sneak up on them. Maybe instead of allowing Naomi to do her long entrance, or doing two Eva Marie segments, they could have allowed time for the WWE to showcase Crews vs. Miz for Sunday.
Whatever that tag team segment was
So just one week ago, all these tag teams were beating each other up. Tuesday, they were working together in a 12-man tag match, which really had no purpose. In the end, American Alpha stood tall, which has been the running theme so far.
The match itself did nothing for any of the teams in the division, or for their intended goals. The assumption being that all the teams are vying to impress Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon. If they are able to do that, they could be in line for a future SmackDown Tag Team title shot.
This match only established one team: American Alpha. As a team, they really don’t need it. When rebuilding an entire division, certain teams need to take precedent in the beginning. A ‘main event’ of tag teams need to be established, with other teams being the ‘mid-card’ of the division. Once the main event is established, those mid-card teams can be elevated to that status once they are ready.
For that to take place, they can’t have all the teams brawl. What they should do is have American Alpha take on a team that isn’t ready to be established at the top of the card. That could be the Ascension or the Vaudevillians or whoever. Then after the match, or during it if the team is a heel, another team (The Usos/Breezango) can appear and start a brawl, elevating themselves and separating themselves from the pack.
John Cena vs. Alberto del Rio
So the SmackDown main event, in its last push before SummerSlam, put on a match between Alberto del Rio and John Cena. From a general wrestling standpoint, there was nothing overly wrong with the match. It was very basic, and nothing new from these two. It was a little clunky, and it was very clear when Cena was calling spots.
From a storytelling standpoint, this wasn’t very good. First off, the match went on way too long. Remember when I said before that the WWE shouldn’t have to flashback to segments that happened during commercial? It’s long, boring matches like this that cause that to be the case. Cut this match in half and it has the same impact.
Secondly, and this is a problem WWE has had for a while now, there was no reason for del Rio to have the match. Yes, beating Cena would be a big win for ADR, but he’s done it before. Why would he accept a match against Cena? Just like he accepted one against Orton the week before.
A simple backstage segment where ADR is promised a future title shot by Bryan/McMahon or an ‘opportunity’ and there is reason for ADR to win. It takes two minutes, and now we don’t have random matches thrown together. Take Orton vs. Heath Slater for example. On its face, a very random match. A simple segment to open the show, gave us a reason for that match taking place.
They know how to do it, but they need to do it consistently. Their shows depend on it.