6/4 Smackdown: WWE figuring out audience

WWE Smackdown Review
June 5, 2015
By: Dustin Holland

I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like the WWE is beginning to figure out what the fans want to see in their product. The value of WWE programming the past few weeks has gone from the usual response of “eh” to something like “wow, that was different” and this week’s episode of Smackdown continued that trend.

With Money in the Bank only 9 days away, Smackdown continued to improve its show quality being used as a hype method for yet another WWE PPV event. The MITB PPV will be the 3rd event for the WWE in the last 5 weeks. This use of higher quality shows in such a short time span has really pushed the WWE into a good direction heading into the summer. Title changes and superstar debuts have given us something to talk about again, making fresh topics and reviews available for discussions. The WWE is almost “cool” again. I haven’t felt this good about the product in years as it has gotten me saying things like “wow” and “wait, what?” – things I haven’t said for a long time. The shift is on and I believe WWE is finally taking wrestling back. The use of the network is better than ever. The Stone Cold Podcast was must see and made me feel like I was 14 or 15 again, actually feeling butterflies in my stomach thinking about one more match for Austin vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania.

Smackdown has gone from purely a B show to a very well used “bridging” program providing build up from Monday Night Raw to carry on late in the week and also leading some great storylines into PPV’s. The Smackdown brand is something that I see improving on a weekly basis and this week was no different.

Rollins and Ambrose Saga Continues

I give the proverbial eye roll as I listen to Rollins say he is the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Do I believe him? Absolutely not. Well, not yet. You see as I thought about what he said again, I started to think, “Pshh, greatest of all time? Yeah right, whatever.” Then it hit me. He may be right…but we may not realize it until way down the road. During Rollins time as champion, the product has gotten significantly better. He has been the Champ during many must see moments in the past year within the WWE. I don’t think he is the greatest of all time as far as wrestling skills goes or for his skills on the nic, but the WWE has seen its biggest push in recent memory while he was the champ. So for right now he may not be the GOAT, but we may look back one day and say something different. Ambrose taking the belt was a very well used marketing idea for Money in the Bank. He has taken something from Rollins and to get it back he will have to climb a ladder and snatch it from the rafters. It should be a great match as Ambrose and Rollins have given us some great ones over the past few weeks. Ambrose with ladders is a must watch event and I am ready to see if Rollins can perform as well in a one on one MITB as well as he did last year with multiple stars in the match.

Tag Team back again…

Next up was a 3 way Tag match to determine the #1 Contenders for the WWE Tag Team Championship as The Ascension took on Lucha Dragons and Prime Time Players. This was a match I thought could carry on the recent run of wonderful tag team matches that the WWE has been providing lately. I was wrong though, as we got nothing special. The Lucha Dragons did their usual thing, flying around the ring and providing us with “whoa” moments. The Ascension…..well they are The Ascension. They growled and acted tough just to make their presence known and the biggest disappointment of the match was The Prime Time Players who won the match. I don’t understand the concept of making one team look really good in the ring with the crowd behind them just to give the title shot to these two guys. Lucha Dragons to me are a much better draw than the Prime Time Players.

Feeding Time for the Big Guy

The next match was more like a snack than a full meal for Ryback as he faced Stardust in an non-title match. He made quick work of Stardust giving us the usual Ryback action. We know his time as champ will be short but they could have given us something other than Stardust. This match was nothing but filler and could have been cut from the show without anyone noticing.

Change the World

Paige has become the new AJ Lee apparently and her push is going in the wrong direction. She has gone from a great in ring performer and the future of the Divas division to whining on the microphone about the Bellas. She has the potential to be a game changer for the WWE if they would use her properly. She talks about the Bellas bringing back Twin Magic and how they have ruined the Divas division for anyone wanting a chance. She says if you don’t like the world you live in then you must change it. Well for her sake I hope she does because she is quickly becoming just another Diva to me.

Being a Real Man

Kevin Owens’ NXT Championship Open Challenge was next. The match is actually pretty decent. The debut of Owens has gotten me really thinking about his potential as a WWE heel, a real WWE heel. I don’t think he will be a babyface turn later in his career. I think he is what he is and that is something fresh for us as fans. We don’t need a “good” bad guy. We just need to get back to the old school with heels vs. faces. Simplicity is gold in this business and I think Owens can take us back there.

Gravity Gaining Momentum

The next match put Kofi Kingston up against Neville. Neville highlighted nearly all of this match with his use of in ring skills as well as high flying maneuvers. I thought Kingston would show flashes of what he used to be and the match would highlight the night. Kingston used to be like Neville doing those amazing things in the ring off the ropes and flying all over, but since his New Day affiliation we have seen less of that and more filler in his matches. Neville is quickly becoming a great entertainer as he pushes towards a championship run. I can see him becoming a great performer and champion if he can hone his microphone skills. If he can grab our attention there as well as with his in ring performances he has a bright future ahead of him.

Miz TV….Really?

The Lana, Rusev and Ziggler love triangle continued as Miz has Lana as a special guest on Miz TV. Ziggler and Lana will be fun to watch if they can keep this thing rolling. I think Ziggler has been underutilized lately and maybe this gives him a spark going forward.

Kane Reigns over his Kingdom

The Main Event of the night was actually a really good match. Sheamus exposed the ribs of Roman Reigns and they had a great back and forth throughout. The finisher parade was just getting ready to start when Kane interferes and takes out everyone with J and J Security which was pretty predictable and then declares that he is the last participant in the MITB ladder match.  I believe this might be Kane’s last big push in the WWE as a performer in the ring and it is goof that they are letting him participate in this match. I can see this being his last great run or maybe this is where the alignment with The Authority comes to an end and the Big Red Monster comes back for run this summer. It will be fun to see how Kane is used as he hits the twilight of his career.

Money in the Bank looks like it will not disappoint and its only 9 days away. I am looking forward to it and I would like to know what you think. Thanks for reading and feel free to share your thoughts on Thursday’s episode and the upcoming MITB PPV.

Hope you enjoy your weekend.

Follow me on Twitter: @DustinHolland84