The first edition of SmackDown Live, with its own rosters, didn’t hit the mark like many expected. Hope, among fans, was that SmackDown would rebound this week, and put itself in a good direction, as we are just 17 days away from WWE SummerSlam. After what Monday Night Raw brought to the table just two days ago, SmackDown found itself under the microscope once again.
This week, it delivered. Two hours of quality wrestling television left fans wanting more next week. That is the designed goal of this brand split, and so far it is achieving that goal.
With all of that out front, there were still some portions of the program that needed some tweaking. One of these should look familiar, because it was a complaint from Monday’s show as well.
Triple threat to determine Intercontinental Championship No. 1 contender
Following the draft, there were a lot of questions about the SmackDown roster, mainly with its mid-card scene. There were some concerns that SmackDown wouldn’t be able to put together a roster for its mid-card title scene. Last night, we saw a glimpse of what that looked like, when Apollo Crews (not Creed, Daniel Bryan), Kalisto and Baron Corbin took part in a triple threat match. The winner of that match would become the No. 1 Contender to The Miz’ Intercontinental Championship.
All in all, a good match. The idea of it was to get all three Superstars over with the crowd and make them appear strong, giving SmackDown a base of mid-card superstars to build off of in the future.
The issue with this match is in its finish, where Crews rolled up Kalisto. If the idea was to make everybody look strong, having Crews win the No. 1 contender spot via a roll-up isn’t ideal. He doesn’t pose a legitimate threat to The Miz after he could barely get a victory against Kalisto and Corbin.
It’s a simple little fix, but making Crews look like a legitimate threat before this match with The Miz would have been really good for this feud, but alas, we will have to go on without it.
Lesnar gets his revenge
It wouldn’t be professional of me to just write “See Rebooking Raw.” I’ll extend the thoughts from then. Brock Lesnar showed up on SmackDown and got his revenge on Randy Orton for the RKO on Monday.
It’s not even two full weeks into this brand split, a hard brand split, and we are already running the invasion storyline. The hope is that they are only doing this for this feud, because they think this is their only out and that following SummerSlam, they will stop this crossover stuff.
On Monday, we outlined a way to do this feud, involving Paul Heyman that could keep the guys on their respective shows. They would be brought together one time, during the week of SummerSlam. It would have the proper hype and when they did finally meet face-to-face, it would have been the final touch on hyping up this match.
Instead, it looks as though we are getting Orton on Raw and Lesnar on SmackDown, hurting both shows in the long term.
On the surface, these segments served their purpose. Eva Marie played the injury card, getting out of her match with Becky Lynch. Then the Natalya-Carmella storyline that ended with Carmella getting jumped by Natalya before her match both furthered a storyline without matches. It was good.
But, for these to be the only two women’s segments, without any wrestling, really was a bad move. It, whether warranted or not, showed that SmackDown really is the B-show for the women. There’s no title right now, and they don’t have any major names besides Becky.
One match on this show, somewhere, could have just reminded the fans about the women’s division. Carmella could have fought Natalya and have it ended in a DQ with Natalya doing exactly what she did. The feud would have been furthered, and we would have gotten the wrestling to remind us of that division.