1/21 Smackdown: Bland show before Rumble

WWE Smackdown Review
January 22, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

With the Royal Rumble only a few days away, Smackdown made an attempt to provide two hours of programming that would act as a final tease for the first PPV of 2016.

What we got turned out to be a very bland show that leaves me wondering what WWE’s television product is attempting to accomplish in between PPV events.

ROMAN REIGNS IS A “THING” STILL

Look, being negative is sort of an internet gimmick and I do my best to try and see the big picture when it comes to WWE programming. But when an audience in Dayton is barely excited to see the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion just days before he defends said title in a 30 Man Royal Rumble match, is it really just me at this point? After all the teases in 2015, I really did feel like Reigns deserved a geniune opportunity to get a run with the title. With many key injuries plaguing the main roster, now was a perfect time and the actual title change moment coming off TLC was executed great.

However, in the weeks since we’ve been treated to Vince and Stephanie McMahon picking on Reigns and stacking the odds against him. The normal reaction to that is to get behind that person and want him to overcome the odds. The only problem is: I don’t care if Reigns overcomes the odds anymore. I don’t care if Reigns retains his title on Sunday. WWE has literally found a way to build up a babyface and make him completely unlikeable in the span of just a few weeks. It’s quite an accomplishment.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to book myself into a corner expecting Reigns to lose this Sunday. He will most likely retain. This product definitely needs a boost heading into WrestleMania season and what we are getting right now with Reigns just isn’t what this programming needs. Putting the title on someone else may not be the answer to all of the problems, but it certainly would freshen up television.

THURSDAY NIGHT JERICHO…AND DAYTON DOESN’T SEEM TO CARE

What on earth was going on with the fans in Dayton this week? The audience literally had no interest in what Chris Jericho or The New Day had to say creating a very awkward open to the show. Between Jericho claiming he will win the Rumble to New Day dropping “Making a Murderer” references that seemed to go over the heads of the audience, it felt like WWE was producing a show at the old Impact Zone at Universal Studios.

AMBROSE AND OWENS STILL KEEPING THINGS INTERESTING

One of the rare rivalries actually doing well right now on WWE television is Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens. While the mic delivery of Ambrose can be a bit goofy, adding The Miz to the mix was a good call and helped build more interest for the Last Man Standing match this Sunday. Both Ambrose and Owens overcame the weak Dayton crowd delivering some good hype and finishing off the segment getting to slap around Miz.

QUICK THOUGHTS

* Dolph Ziggler and The Usos should work more six man tags. Fun stuff.

* Ric Flair was off the charts great on commentary putting over Charlotte.

* Bray Wyatt’s offense is still very solid and it always feels like he’s mixing it up.

* Titus O’Neil feels like he needs just one more thing to really take off on this roster.

* The League of Nations had such potential. Now it just feels like dudes doing stuff.

FINAL IMPRESSION

A very weak episode of Smackdown. On the bright side, the Royal Rumble is always a show many wrestling fans look forward to and is a nice change of pace. With the advent of great WWE Network programming, I’m still struggling to make a case as to why anyone should watch live or DVR the current WWE TV product with YouTube clips at your disposal.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you thought of Smackdown in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter: @adamwrestleview