With Wrestlemania 33 less than two weeks away, it is time for the WWE to put their pedal to the metal, and culminate every story line to grab the fans attention. This weeks episode of Smackdown did just that, elevated story lines, and also gave us some great matches in between.
The show started with AJ Styles interrupting GM Daniel Bryan backstage, demanding that he tells him where Shane McMahon is. It seemed that the main point of this weeks episode was to build up the storyline between AJ and Shane, because lets face it, a lot of people are kind of skeptical about the match, and that was something AJ even addressed. When he went into the middle of the ring, decked out in a very corny Wrestlemania visor and shirt, not helping his soccer mom look at all, he told the crowd that without him, Smackdown plummets in the ratings. I hate to say it, but he is kind of right, he is probably the best wrestler on the program, and this segment really drove that home. He actually sold me on this match, because now the rivalry seems personal. Just last week, I was asking myself why are they even going to fight at Wrestlemania. A pretty good opening to set the pace for the show.
The first match was between American Alpha and the Usos, and surprisingly, it was for the tag team titles. To be honest, I didn’t think they would chance belts this close to Wrestlemania, but I guess I was wrong. What a match these two tag teams put on. One of the best non PPV matches I’ve seen in a really long time. Seeing the Usos as heels and coming out dressed as thugs with “Day One Ish” jumpsuits is something I am still getting used to, especially seeing as they wore more neon colors than John Cena during their run on Raw in the past few years. The crowd was really into this match, and rightfully so. We saw some good physical spots from both teams, including moonsault from Chad Gable onto the outside of the ring, and a plethora of suplexs from American Alpha. I really like AA because they remind of me Team Angle back in the day. I’m a huge suplex guy, and they are great at them. The Usos ended up winning the belts in a PPV quality match. I am really excited to see where these two tag teams end up in the future, I would love to see a rematch at Wrestlemania.
Throughout the show JBL and the Smackdown announcers kept hinting that The Miz has unreleased “Total Bellas” footage that was going to bury and besmirch the name and reputation of John Cena. Something that I was actually excited about. But what we got was even better. We ended up getting a fake Total Bellas show with The Miz playing a very robotic and awkward John Cena, and his wife playing an exaggerated version of Nikki Bella.
The segment was great, and they played different clips throughout the show. When they announced we were getting a mixed tag match at Wrestlemania between the two couples, I, like many other fans, were let down. But what The Miz has been doing the past couple of weeks on the mic, and now cutting these funny videos, is nothing short of spectacular. As for Cena and Nikki, they really haven’t done much for the storyline, except do each other’s finishing moves in pointless matches like John Cena vs Fandango, that we got this week, and then hug each other in the ring afterwards. I am sure Cena and Nikki will win at Wrestlemania, but it is a shame, because The Miz has been carrying this whole rivalry.
Up next was a very slow and boring match between Baron Corbin and Randy Orton. The match was kind of dull, and it ended with Orton hitting an RKO, with the help of a distraction from Dean Ambrose. Two weeks ago, Corbin squished Ambrose with a forklift, which in real life would have easily crushed him to death, but because this is WWE, he is fine, and is not pressing charges. In the middle of the match, Ambrose comes out to the entrance ramp, standing on the same fork lift that was used to almost murder him two weeks prior. After Orton wins and leaves the ring, Ambrose hits Corbin with a Dirty Deeds, and tells him his match for the Intercontintel Championship at Wrestlemania is on. Usually, I would be excited for this match, but lately, the Lunatic Fringe is kind of boring. If they want fans to get excited for this match, make it a No Holds Barred or a Street Fight. Fans were excited for the Ambrose vs Lesnar Street Fight last year, but were disappointed when nothing really happened. Except Dean did try to attack Brock with a chainsaw.
Just let Ambrose and Corbin go at it, weapons, chairs, tables, blood, and maybe even chainsaws. Make the match something like Edge vs Mick Foley at Wrestlemania 22, and the crowd will appreciate it.
The show ended with Shane McMahon finally in the ring, calling out AJ Styles, demanding he comes forward. Shane was rocking a nice shiner on his eye, which I couldn’t tell if it was real, or just a good makeup job. Obviously AJ, who was hunting down Shane the whole episode comes down, but it trying to apologize to Shane. Shane wasn’t having it, and the two started brawling. I think everyone knows what happens next, yup, the flying elbow. Vintage Shane-O-Mac.
For Shane to be as old and as powerful as he is, and still being doing this kind of shit is amazing. It really shows that he wants Smackdown to be the #1 show. There is no need for him to be wrestling at Wrestlemania, and there is certainly no need for him to be risking his body doing stunts like this. But god damn it do I love it. I know this match is kind of random, but when you have Shane in this kind of shape, still be able to hit spots like that, I am now interested. With one more Smackdown until the big show, I am interested in how they will wrap it all up and bring these rivalrys to a head. Lots of opportunities here, lets hope they don’t screw it up.