SmackDown’s oment of the night?
Adam O’Brien: As cheesy as the Spirit Squad reunion was, I think it was MizTV. Last week’s announcement didn’t really sell me on the title versus career match at No Mercy, but this week’s interaction definitely has me on the edge of my seat to see what happens on Sunday. The Miz has been absolutely sublime in all aspects of the product over the last month, and the way he gets under Dolph’s skin and messes with his head with video packages and blasts from the past is so enthralling. The animosity between these two is palpable, and the dynamic has put The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler right up there as the one to watch this weekend, regardless of the result.
Joseph Nardone: The Miz-Dolph Ziggler segment. As it has been for a few weeks now, this angle churned out even more gold on Tuesday. Between the heated exchanges, the terrific video package mocking Ziggler, to the Spirit Squad (in part) reuniting, and everything else in between, it was a 5-star segment.
It served its purpose, too. It heightened the already crazy high stakes, and makes the insides of my belly sincerely excited to witness the two perform scripted violence on each other on Sunday.
Brandon Jackson: Moment of the night was the face to face to face with Cena, Styles and Ambrose. I thought it was going to be one of those run-of-the-mill time-wasting segments just to bide time until Sunday, but it was much better than that. Styles and Ambrose took it to Cena on the mic, which is always good to see. Both the heel and the face in this match made true and excellent points about Cena, which always helps make the match that much more heated. And all three men got the chance to look strong at the end.
Chris Schubert: It would probably have to be the Spirit Squad returning to confront Dolph Ziggler. And this isn’t a joke. That’s how good this part of The Miz-Ziggler feud has been. There is real bad-blood between these two guys, and when the WWE references Superstars’ previous gimmicks, it does a lot for the storyline. It is acknowledging history, and history can make a huge impact on the fans and why they should care. Do most of them know who the Spirit Squad are? Probably not. But for those of us who do, it was a nice nod to our knowledge of wrestling. Those moments are cool.
Has Jack Swagger’s push on SmackDown been working?
AO: Does the fact that Jack Swagger vs. Baron Corbin is the feud on SmackDown that I’m least interested in answer your question? I like Swagger, I really do, but his time on SmackDown thus far could’ve been so much more. All he’s really done is stand around and talk, and correct me if I’m wrong, but this week was the first time he’s even competed on the brand, and he couldn’t even walk away with a definitive victory. He hasn’t emerged from mid-card purgatory whatsoever in my eyes, and since Corbin has far more potential to be a heavy hitter on Tuesday nights in future, I don’t see Swagger coming out of this one with very much in the way of development.
JN: Heck to the no. Almost all of me (99 percent, to be exact) of me thinks this angle is still to get Baron Corbin over, but that the WWE is so inept that it thought it would be a good idea to put a rarely used Swagger over in a convoluted finish.
Now, if this is an actual angle that is meant to push Swagger, is it ever a tepid one. He gets to beat a guy (finally) after the opponent didn’t actually quit? Talk about pushes!
BJ: It’s going as well as it can, but the ceiling on this was never going to be that high. Jack Swagger has no credibility to the WWE audience, and switching shows wasn’t going to help that. If they really want to help Baron Corbin, Jack Swagger shouldn’t be his opponent in a feud. Swagger is doing his best, but I don’t see him traveling up the card much farther than this, unless he finds a tag team partner that can elevate him. Something like the Real Americans would be a step up for Swagger right now.
CS: No. There’s too much bad history with Jack Swagger. All of that can’t go away with just one little push in a feud against Baron Corbin. There is a lot of jobbing and nothingness associated with Swagger. It takes more than just three weeks of a push to erase that. Could it work down the road? Absolutely, but only if they continue to build him up. Then fans can slowly start to forget everything else. His catchphrase still gets cheers, so there’s something there. He can add depth to the mid-card of SmackDown, only if the WWE does what it needs to get fans to forget everything that’s happened over the past couple of years.
Does Erick Rowan’s injury affect Bray Wyatt in any way in 2016?
AO: Not really. While it’s not going to be easy portraying Bray Wyatt as a cult leader without any followers, his delivery is still on a whole other level, and since Wyatt himself walked out on Erick Rowan not too long ago, SmackDown clearly isn’t left in ruins by this development if they had plans for it in the first place. Wyatt’s segments with Randy Orton this week all but proved that “The Eater of Worlds” is more than capable of maintaining his eerie bravado with or without Rowan at his side, and even though I anticipate them bringing in Luke Harper eventually to fill the role of sidekick, they really don’t need to have him with anybody. Weave it into a promo or something, acknowledge that Bray Wyatt is all alone in the world, just let it be noted and Wyatt himself will stand to benefit from the isolation.
JN: I don’t think so. I’m in the camp that thinks Rowan is rock solid and does add to Bray’s aura. That said, the WWE has done everything in its power to ruin all of Wyatt’s special feel. Between losing matches to ho-hum guys to having now cut a similar promo for eight months, if Bray is lacking anything — now or in the future — it is because the WWE is taking him for granted.
Seriously, a loss to Kane and now maybe to Randy Orton? What, is this 2011 and is Bray Wyatt performing the Husky Harris character?
BJ: No it doesn’t affect him, but I wish they would make that designation on if the family is together or not. Because about a month ago I thought Bray Wyatt was on his own again until Rowan showed up. Wyatt can be destructive and powerful on his own. Wyatt is still surviving what has been done to his character only because he has what it takes to get over by himself and despite what goes on around him. It can be said every month, Wyatt just needs to go on a winning streak taking people out, and he’ll be a legitimate world championship contender.
CS: No. The past two weeks have been really good. They have been going to old-school, Attitude Era stuff with the Randy Orton-Bray Wyatt. Whether it’s the backstage segments, or just the creepy lighting, it feels like something we would have seen in 2002. It’s refreshing. Bray is tapping into that creepiness again, and it’s working. I actually am excited to see Orton and Wyatt go at it on Sunday. I’m concerned with Wyatt losing, but Orton has gotten the upper hand a lot so far, that it seems fitting that Wyatt gets a victory on Sunday.