SmackDown had a tough task, needing to compete with Monday Night Raw. How did they do?
It was a tall order, needing to top what the WWE pulled out on Monday night. And it had the perfect angle in order to be watchable. In the end, SmackDown missed a golden opportunity to have a rather unique and interesting angle for the next couple of months. Instead, the show felt like such a letdown.
That being said, let’s rebook this edition of SmackDown Live:
The Daniel Bryan-Miz saga
So that was the big payoff to the angle? After a whole week of hype, and the WWE even hyped it itself by saying that it would open the show, Daniel Bryan didn’t apologize on SmackDown. He took to Talking Smack to apologize, and even admitted that the WWE is stopping them from doing anything. They don’t want Bryan in the ring, so the company is cutting this angle off before it gets too big.
That’s a mistake.
Bryan didn’t need to get into the ring for this to work. In fact, him getting in the ring would have been an awful idea. But this segment had so much money in it. As a general manager, Bryan could have put Miz through a gauntlet and get Miz over as a heel. Instead we got a promo from Miz, and they went with a match against Dolph Ziggler.
Continuing this feud by having Bryan test Miz and say that he’ll think about respecting The Miz could have major implications on the entire show and its plan going forward. The open to the show set it up. Miz’s promo helped out, and then they went for this angle.
Apollo Crews angle
Apollo Crews is very, very talented. Crews is a great babyface for the WWE to invest him, but they aren’t giving us a story to connect with him. The clean-cut babyface only goes so far, and the WWE has not built up Crews for that role. He has been randomly thrown into feuds and matches, and we are supposed to care. WWE had something there with The Miz, and he only got one non-inspiring match against him. And Tuesday, he just gets a match with no real direction.
What if tonight was used to establish Crews’ next foe? He could go against Kane, a big guy for him to take down. Or Erick Rowan. Baron Corbin is even an option. Give Crews something to establish him as a player. Right now, he’s just a guy, and that makes his segments unwatchable. This is a problem for a show that is trying to build up new guys. Having all the great matches is one thing. Them meaning something is another.
The main event
Good on the WWE for giving Baron Corbin that shot. Let’s see what he can do in a television match against the champion. It was a good idea. Then they went for the ending, which was really odd and weird and not funny. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose should be a serious feud between two of the better performers in the WWE. Why couldn’t they have had a legitimate staredown again? Or have them brawl. There’s only two weeks left until Backlash. Some fighting would be good to help sell this card.
The goofy stuff is better off for lower down the card with guys like Heath Slater. I get that Ambrose is goofy sometimes, but this could be a huge feud. It doesn’t need stuff like this. It makes it feel too cartoonish and paints Styles in a bad light.